Monday, March 30, 2015

Book Locations: The Drake Hotel.

My current work-in-progress involves travel (as all my books do). The heroine starts in Chicago, Illinois, and ends up in Athens and Delphi, in Greece. As part of my preparation to write, I like to collect maps, photographs, and descriptions of my locations.

My first location is the Drake Hotel, a long-time fixture of the Chicago Gold Coast. For me, it has long been the epitome of luxury, style, and class.

So of course, I had to set a scene where my hero receives his top-secret orders and his weapons on a secret floor. Something like this:

Obviously, I need to go to the Drake and get some of my own photos!

(The following clip has nothing to do with the Drake, so just think of it as a bonus yummy for the day.:)

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Bohemian Life: Travel to Santa Barbara, CA

In my little world view, the basic necessity to live a Bohemian life is to travel. I never thought I would be able to travel as much as I have in the last five years. It is glorious, freeing, life-changing, and mind-expanding. I learn something no matter where I go, be it nearby or overseas.

My latest travel adventure took me to Santa Barbara, California, for the wedding of two dear friends. What better reason to travel than to celebrate love?

I loved this little fountain, tucked away in the property where the bride and groom stayed.

Overlooking the beach.

Sneaking away to clamber the cliffs.

Doing my best world traveler face.

Spring on the Harbor.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Blog Tour: Love Under Two Outcasts by Cara Covington

Girl, that coat rules!
Please welcome Cara Covington, author of Love Under Two Outcasts!

Cara will be awarding a $25 Bookstrand giftcard to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour, and a $10 Amazon or Barnes/Noble giftcard to a randomly drawn host.

Click here to win the $25 Bookstrand gift card- a Rafflecopter giveaway.

1. Tell us a little about yourself; your hometown, your age, anything cool!
I’m from a rural community in southern Ontario, Canada called Flamborough. I turned 60 on my last birthday. I’ve been married for 42 years to my High School sweetheart. We’re parents, grandparents of 6, and great-grandparents of 2. Cool? I think the fact that I had to retire from work when I had open heart surgery at the age of 48, and then went on to live my dream of becoming a published author is as cool as it gets. Some days, I have to pinch myself! 
2. How did you know you wanted to write?
I began to write when I was around 8 or 9. Picking up a pen was just something that came naturally to me. My father passed away when I was 7 and it wasn’t until much later that I learned that he, when he’d been younger, had always, always had a pad of paper and a pencil in his pocket, as he was a writer, too. In fact, I discovered not that many years ago, that my brother had a few of his poems and stories tucked away. So I guess you could say that for me, writing is in the blood.

3. What inspires you to write on those inevitable rough days?
I remind myself, on those rare days when I don’t feel like writing but I know I must, that there are readers waiting to read my next book. Just lately, I only have to turn my head to the left to see a picture—my street team sent me an enormous picture frame with their photos pasted inside it. All those beautiful smiling women who treasure my books! Can you imagine it? That’s reason enough for any writer to get back to work.
4. Tell me some of your current projects- Your works in progress, ideas, or any crazy, off the wall things.

 The Lusty Texas series began with two historical novels, set in Texas in the 1880s. The series then jumped to contemporary times, as the heroes and heroines, descendants of the characters in the historical novels, clamored to have their stories told. Some people would say that having a series that already expands beyond 24 books is crazy! My December 2014 release, Love Under Two Outcasts was book 24 in the series; the next one, A Very Lusty New Year, released January 23rd was the 25th book in the series. And as I am writing this in January, I can tell you that I am working on Love Under Two Extroverts, book 26, and I expect a late March release date for it.

5. What would you like people to know about your work?
I write erotic romantic fiction. Some, under my pen name Morgan Ashbury, but lately, as Cara Covington. My stories are entertainment, mostly—a place for readers to escape from their every day trials and tribulations. A place they can visit and bask in my ideal of small town life. Where your neighbors care about you, and where you soon find that you belong.Within the pages of a Lusty, Texas book, you may find a few hugs for your heart – that was the way one reader described my stories, and nothing has ever touched me as deeply as that.

6. This is a chance to meander or talk in greater depth if you like. Here you can talk about what hobbies you pursue, how you refresh your well of ideas, what you would recommend to other writers.
I’m afraid I don’t have any exciting hobbies; I’m limited, mobility-wise, but my husband and I have traveled a great deal throughout North America over the last few years. We’ve been on several cruises, as well as having visited some vastly different cities from New York to Dallas, Chicago to New Orleans, to Anaheim and Orlando and Daytona Beach.
I love to read, of course, and some of my favorite authors are also friends: Heather Rainier, D. B. Reynolds, Emma Wildes, and Kelley Armstrong to name a few. I also love to read Nora Roberts/J D Robb, Julie Garwood, Catherine Coulter, Barbara Delinsky and Linda Howard. I have 2 surviving children, 6 surviving grand-children and 2 great-grandchildren. Life in the Ashbury household can be very hectic. We have a cat who adopted us and has graciously allowed us to stay in the house, and a Morky dog who is most definitely a spoiled little fur baby.

My advice to my fellow authors: if you are not yet published, do not quit. If you want it bad enough, keep working at it and do not quit. Just write and write and write some more. Believe in yourself; make your craft excellent; and you will get published. If you are published, I have a word of advice for you, too—because I’m 60, you see, and feel entitled to give a bit of that prickly commodity now and again.

Please, remember that once you put it out there on the web, it is there, forever. So try to remember that whatever you do, your readers are watching you. Be the best you that you can be.
And now, Love Under Two Outcasts!

Charlotta Carmichael is mostly not ashamed of the way she paid for her college degree. Mostly. As an exotic dancer at a gentlemen’s club, she earned enough to get her degree in psychology. But sometimes the scorn she’s suffered in the past comes back to haunt her. She fears a similar reaction from Jesse and Barry Benedict. Will they still think she’s good enough for them if she tells them the truth?

Jesse and Barry know all about past mistakes and regret. Feeling like outcasts, they left their Montana home and headed to Lusty, hoping to make a new start. Once they understand that Charlotta is their soul mate, they confess their sins of the past—because they want their relationship to have a solid foundation.

As Jesse and Barry rush to save Charlotta from a stalker, they all soon learn that moving on is easier said than done—and requires a bigger leap of faith than they’d ever imagined.

Appetite whetted? Here's a teaser.

The sound of high heels on the marble floor echoed in the reception area. Jesse realized belatedly the feminine footsteps were coming their way.

“Gentlemen, I apologize for keeping you waiting.”

Jesse knew the voice from the two telephone conversations he’d had with the doctor. He looked up—and had the surreal sensation that in that instant, with that simple tilt of his head, his entire life had just changed. One quick glance over at Barry, and he knew his twin was experiencing his own personal epiphany.

Jesse got to his feet, his gaze taking in her piled high blonde hair, soft grey eyes, and the way her beige silk blouse and trim brown skirt displayed her made-for-sin body.

He met her gaze, pleased when he read in hers that he and his brother weren’t the only ones to get gob smacked with a flood of pheromones.

She’d extended her hand and Jesse wasted no time in clasping it in his. The zing of electricity shot straight to his groin, and it took supreme will to keep his wood from tenting his jeans.

“I’m Jesse. And you have no need to apologize, ma’am. We’re here at your service.” He saw the double entendre hit its mark and liked the humor he read in her eyes.

And then he appreciated her ability to give as well as she got, when she said, “Well in that case, please follow me to someplace a little more private.”

Morgan’s books at Siren-Bookstrand:

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Bohemian Life

Darla's sweet and smart short story
Darla Luke, a wr.iter of formidable insight, told me that I had a Bohemian life.

And I went, "Me?? No way." After all, a bohemian travels the world, dyes her hair crazy colors, has an eclectic and varied family of choice, and wears funky, sassy clothes.

Funky color green

Talk about a moment of clarity. I grew up in a very small town in Northern Illinois. There was a strong tendency toward, shall we say, conformity. I never once believed I would go overseas, write books, or even live in a beautiful city.

Visiting Amsterdam

Visiting the Louvre! 

I still can't believe I went to Istanbul!!

The best adventure of all: The Charming Man.