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  1. A warm hello to my Guest Author, Amy Mullen. Amy's latest book, Redefining Rayne, is published by Astraea Press.



    Rayne de Latham, cousin to King William Rufus, should be enjoying a life of privilege. Instead, she has only known misery. Her disastrous first marriage yielded nothing but pain, suffering, and three stillborn children. She believes she is cursed and is certain another pregnancy will end in another tragedy. When the king seeks to get rid of her by sending her to marry one of his knights, she will do just about anything to get out of her betrothal.

    Widower Andre de Grelle is father to two small boys who came to him by marriage. When his first wife jumps off the castle walls in a fit of madness, he keeps the boys he has grown to love as his own. When the king sends him a new bride, the lovely but troubled Rayne, he vows to have more patience with her than he had with his first wife.

    Once Rayne arrives at Cuxton Castle, Andre realizes there is much more to her than meets the eye. She does everything she can to force him to send her away, but nothing works. Frustration grows as Andre discovers his betrothed is hiding something from him about her past, something so devastating she cannot speak the words out loud.

    In the midst of a siege on nearby Pevensey Castle, a truth comes to light that changes everything. As the real story of Rayne’s past emerges, lives change forever. Will love be enough, or will it be easier to walk away?


    Andre moved closer to her. His body was mere inches from hers as he lifted his other hand and slowly tilted her face toward his. Cupping her cheek, he wiped away a tear with his thumb. "You have no idea how fascinating you are," he whispered.

    Involuntarily, her eyes closed and she tilted her chin up. She felt his soft lips brush hers and she started to tremble. The short, light touch of his mouth stirred something in her. A young maiden's dream of love, of being loved and cherished, welled up from a place where she had hidden her hopes a long time ago. She returned his kiss, but just for a moment.

    Her eyes flew open, and she pulled her head back. This was all wrong. This was not how this was supposed to happen. In a rush to break the spell, she stammered out the first thing she thought of, "Someone will see us! Odo may come."

    An expression of disbelief washed across his features and was replaced by irritation. "Odo? What has he to do with this? He is my guest but hardly has a say in what I do with you."

    "You…" she stumbled over her words, "you… he is your…"

    Andre stood and stepped away from her. He stared down at her, but she could no longer read his face. "Do your affections lie with Odo, Lady Rayne?"


    Buy Link:


    Barnes and Noble

    Astraea Press


    About Amy

    Amy Mullen

    I asked Amy to tell us a bit about herself

    1.  How did you get started writing?

    I was young, full of angst, and needed an outlet. I started writing really dreadful poetry at age 12 and wrote some stories with a friend a few years later. I began writing seriously in my twenties, but did not pursue publication until recently. I have worked pretty steadily as a freelance web writer in the past as well.

    2.   Can you tell us a fun fact about yourself?

    I have been all over the east coast of the US seeing…the Wiggles. My daughter (now 12) loved them and I guess I did too. I still do. We had a lot of fun and met a lot of amazing people, many of whom are still good friends today. We attended a live taping of a concert, sat in the front row, and ended up on a DVD. I’m not telling you which one though!

    3.       What’s your top writing tip for new writers?

    Find someone who will go over your work with you. You could be making some basic mistakes that will get your manuscript tossed aside. This does not mean you are not a good writer or that you do not have a good idea for a story. It just means there are things you do not know. I have two published books and I know I have tons yet to learn. If you can find someone to go over it with you, jump at the chance. Do not take their suggestions as defeat. Think of this as learning. You’ll be glad you did.

    Author Bio

    Amy Mullen is a freelance writer and romance author living in Corning, NY, with her husband, Patrick, her two children, and an orange cat named Steve. She has written two medieval romances called A Stormy Knight and Redefining Rayne.

    Amy has been writing about love both lost and regained since she was old enough to have her first broken heart. Her love of history and her intermittent jaunts into amateur genealogy led her to a love affair with writing historical fiction. When not writing, she snaps pictures, gets nutty over football, enjoys the company of her family, and when time allows, loves to bury her nose in a good book.

    She can be found online at www.authoramymullen.com or www.facebook.com/authoramymullen.


  2. Astraea author Elaine Cantrell is back today to tell us more about her book, The Enchanted.






    Forced by his father into a marriage he didn’t want, Prince Alan soon finds that his bride isn’t the sweet, submissive creature he expected.  Morgane has the heart of a dragon and beauty beyond compare, but she isn’t thrilled about the marriage either.  When black treachery threatens the kingdom, Morgane and Alan embark on a perilous journey that has an excellent chance of ending in failure and death for them and all of their people.  

    Let's find out a bit more about Princess Morgane.

    Greetings, kind readers.  I am Madame de Barra, and I have been granted the honor of an interview with the Princess Morgane, wife of Prince Alan who is heir to his father King Bowdyn. I am rather nervous even though I am an experienced interviewer.  I have read Madame Cantrell’s tale The Enchanted and must confess that I am all atwitter at the thought of meeting the princess.  Oh!  She comes now.

    Madame de Barra scrambles to her feet and bows deeply.  “My princess.”

    Princess Morgane inclines her head to Madame de Barra.  “Please, take a seat, Madame.  It is my honor to meet you.”

    They both sit in comfortable twin chairs covered in red velvet with an eagle embroidered on the back.

    Madame de Barra:  Thank you for granting me an interview, Princess Morgane.

    Princess Morgane:  I am grateful for your interest in my story.

    Madame de Barra:  Could you tell us about your family?  The kingdom yearns to know more about you.

    Princess Morgane:  I am the daughter of King Maccus who lives on King Bowdyn’s northern border.  My mother died when I was a child.  Last year my father arranged my marriage to Prince Alan in order to ally the two kingdoms.

    Madame de Barra: I am sure you were apprehensive about marrying a man whom you had never met.

    Princess Morgane: (laughs)  Indeed!  Yet all has turned out well.  I found my missing half when I found Prince Alan.

    Madame de Barra:  Your adventures in Pygeria and those with the false princess are now legendary.  What was the scariest moment for you?

    Princess Morgane:  Oh, that is easy.  I was most afraid when the three enchanted ones cornered Prince Alan in an alley.

    A noise causes the princess to pause.  A tall man dressed as a warrior enters the room.  Madame de Barra springs to her feet and bows to Prince Alan.

    Prince Alan: Welcome Madame.  It is most kind of you to take an interest in the princess.  He sits on a stool at Princess Morgane’s feet.  Perhaps my princess was most afraid when I was cornered by the enchanted ones, but she did not hesitate.  If not for her quick action, I would have died that day.  I owe her my life.

    Madame de Barra: (beams at Princess Morgane) Indeed.  The entire kingdom celebrates her bravery.  If I may ask, Princess, what now makes you happy?

    Princess Morgane:  Prince Alan, of course. (She smiles at the prince.)  I am also fond of riding my mare Etheswitha.  I enjoy growing roses and reading as well.

    Madame de Barra:  I enjoy a good book myself.  What are you reading now?

    Princess Morgane: I am reading A New Dream.  It is also by Madame Cantrell who chronicled my adventures in her book The Enchanted.  The king is most pleased with The Enchanted and has greatly honored Madame Cantrell.

    Madame de Barra: Indeed. As a representative of the press, I covered the release party that the king gave for Madame Cantrell.  If my readers are interested, they can find my coverage of the party at http://www.elainepcantrell.blogspot.com/2013/05/release-day-enchanted.html.  Are there any causes that you are passionate about?

    Princess Morgane:  I have long been concerned over the lack of opportunities for women.  I am doing research to see what can be done about it.

    Madame de Barra: That is a wonderful cause!  (She pauses to look at her notes.)  If you could apologize to someone in your past, who would it be?

    Prince Alan: (scowls at Madame) The princess has no need to apologize to anyone.

    Madame de Barra: Of course. Please excuse me.  If I may, one last question. If I came to see you early in the morning, would I find a chirping bird or a grumpy bear?

    Princess Morgane: (giggles. She and Prince Alan speak at the same time.) A grumpy bear.

    Madame de Barra: Thank you for your interview, Princess Morgane.  The entire kingdom waits to read it.

     If that's whetted your appetite to buy Elaine's book, you can get it from the following places.


    Barnes & Noble


    Thank you for joining us, Elaine.


  3. tired woman


    Today is "My Writing Process" blog tour day, when writers answer questions about their writing process. Last week, fellow Astraea romance author Sherry Gloag, posted hers. You can read it at http://sherrygloagtheheartofromance.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/my-writing-process-mywritingprocess.html Thank you Sherry for inviting me to join in the blog tour.

    1) What are you currently working on?

    I'm working on four books at the moment. I like to work on a few different projects as I find it keeps the creativity flowing  and is great for curing writer's block. If I get stuck on how to proceed with one story I can move onto another one for a while. This helps me return to the other one with fresh eyes and a new perspective.

    One of my projects is a YA, called Sapphire Blue. It's an after-life romance adventure, and I've mentioned a bit about it in my previous blog so scroll down if you want to find out more. Two of the other books are romance novels and the fourth book is a picture book. They are all at various stages of development.

    2) How does your work differ from others of its genre?

    I hope it's because I like to write about tough subjects in a light way, with every day characters that readers can relate to. I want to make people think 'what would I do?' in that situation. Sapphire Blue is essentially a love story, but both the hero and heroine die in the first chapter. The theme of the story is can true love survive anything even death? Sapphire and Will, my hero and heroine, are separated in the after-life and have to go through a lot of tough stuff if they want to be together. Is their love strong enough? It's written from both Sapphire's and Will's point of view as Will insisted on telling his story too (again this is mentioned in the previous blog).

    I like my female characters to be strong and sassy, not afraid to kick butt if they have too, and a bit quirky. And my male characters to have a caring side. In Perfect Summer, my previous YA, Morgan has to make some tough choices to save her brother and Jamie will do anything for his little sister.

    Someone who read Perfect Summer said,'I’m just so glad Karen wrote this book and that I got to read it because its really made me stop and think about my life'. And one reviewer for my romance novel, The Millionaire Plan, said 'Jed was totally endearing to me and I felt his relationship with his sister made him an even better man.'

    3) Why do you write like you do?

    I’ve always written in different genres and for different markets. I first started writing for the teenage magazine, Jackie, then romance stories for Patches, Loving and Blue Jeans. I wrote children’s  books for a long time, writing anything from comic strips, fiction, non-fiction even plays. I had my first romance, Never Say Forever, published in 2007, Perfect Summer was published in 2012, then  my second romance,The Millionaire Plan, and I now write for all three markets.

    4) How does your writing process work?

    I usually get my character first. She/he pops into my head and starts telling me their story. I really like to get to know what makes my character tick before I start writing. I work out a character profile for them, filling in all sorts of information  not just their appearance but their character traits, their family, their background, what they want most, what they fear most, the worst thing that happened to them ever. Anything really.

    Next, I work out a basic plot. I make lots of notes at this time, in notebooks, on scraps of paper, in the margins of newspapers, even on the back of my hand if something occurs to me when I’m out and have no pen and paper. When I’m comfortable with my character and where the plot is going I start writing. This is where the fun starts because things don’t always go to plan and sometimes a character takes over or the story goes off on a tangent.

    I write my first draft first, then go back and edit it, rewriting and revising until I’m satisfied with it. Not that I’m ever satisfied but there has to be some point when you tell yourself to stop editing before you lose the original spark. :)


    Next week the following three authors will be telling you about their writing process:

    Ann Evans - http://annsawriter.blogspot.co.uk/

    Ann is a good friend of mine, we often run writing workshops together. She writes fiction and non-fiction for children and adults.

    Susan Price  http://susanpricesblog.blogspot.co.uk/

    Susan is a former Carnegie medal winner. She writes for children and Young Adults, mostly fantasy tinged if not outright fantasy.

    Bill Kirton. http://bill-kirton.co.uk/?page_id=402.

    Bill writes crime, historicals and satire/humour for adults and stories for children.



  4. musings 3

    I've been working on my second YA novel for a while now. It's called Sapphire Blue and is an after-life romance adventure. I don't want to give away the plot but above and below are a few pictures from my Pinterest musings board, which I use for inspiration for the story.

    Musings1                       musings 4           musings2

    You can check out my Pinterest musing board to see more pictures that I'm using as a muse for this book.

    One of the reasons this story is taking a bit longer to write than I hoped is because I've had to change my plan. I'm a great believer in plotting, so that I have some kind of outline to work with. I think that this helps to make sure that the story has a solid construction, the plot is realistic and credible, and that I tie up all the loose ends at the end. So far so good. When I wrote my YA Perfect Summer, that worked fine.


    But this isn't the case with Sapphire Blue. It started off well. I had the heroine, the hero, the theme and the plot all sorted out so I settled down to write. The first chapter flowed okay, the second chapter started to stumble, by the time I got to the third chapter I knew I was in trouble. The hero was hijacking the story and turning it into his story. Not only that the heroine was changing the viewpoint. I started off in third person viewpoint but suddenly the heroine was talking in first person and first present at that! This was a surprise because I do sometimes write in first person but never in first person present. As for the hero, he was really taking over. It was all about him. Me, me, me. I tried to control him but he wasn't having it - but, and here's the tricky bit - he wanted to tell me his story in third person present. So there was nothing else for it but go back, change the first three chapters and give my hero alternative chapters so that he could tell his version of events too.

    A change like that alters the whole dynamics of a story and it can be tempting to stick to the Plan and carry on writing the story how you intended to but I've learnt from experience that if you feel something needs changing then do it.

    How about you? Do you ever find that a character takes over your story or the plot goes off on a tangent? Do your stories always go to plan?

    Karen x

  5. A warm welcome today to popular children's author and fellow Sassie, Diana Kimpton. Diana's latest book, There Must Be Horses is now out.



    Sasha’s love of horses has been the only constant during her turbulent life in care. When a failed adoption placement results in yet another move, she ends up at Kingfishers – a farm where Joe and Beth train troubled horses. To Sasha, this seems like the perfect place to live. But she can’t stay. Joe and Beth are adamant about that. They have only agreed to take her for a little while, and they only did that reluctantly.

     Can Sasha persuade them to change their minds and let her stay forever? And can she do it before her social worker finds her another home – one without horses?

    Buy Links



    I asked Diana to tell us a bit about herself: 

    How did you get started writing?

    I've made up stories since I was very young, but I didn't start to write them down until I was much older. At school, I gave up English as soon as I could because I hated writing essays about teapots and dissecting other people's books. Instead, I concentrated on maths and science, gained a maths degree, became a maths teacher. It was only after I'd given up work to be a full - time mum that I went back to writing.

    I started with articles for various magazines, wrote a full-length non-fiction book for adults (A Special Child in the Family) and then switched to writing for children which I love.  My first success was a picture book called The Bear Father Christmas Forgot but after that I concentrated on non-fiction for quite a while I taught myself how to plot.

    My big breakthrough came when the editor who had bought that first picture book phoned me up and asked if I'd like to write a series of books about a princess with four ponies. That became my Pony-Mad Princess series which is still popular almost 10 years after it was still published.  I'm not surprised, it's a lovely series. :)

    Can you tell us a fun fact about yourself?
    I like larping - that's live action role play which is like playing dungeons and dragons for real. Chasing through a wood fighting goblins is great fun and surprisingly relaxing. It sounds fun!

    What’s your top writing tip for new writers?
    In fiction, everything you write should build character, add humour or move the story forward.  (I wish I could remember who told me that originally - it's made such a difference to my writing)

    Excellent tips, Diana.


    Author Bio

    Diana Kimpton is the author of more than forty books for children, including The Pony-Mad Princess series. 
    She has always loved horses and finds that writing about them gives her the perfect excuse to spend time at the stables.

    Author website


    Diana's self publishing site


    Twitter handle: @dianakimpton


    Thanks so much for dropping by and telling us about your book, Diana!