Saturday, August 11, 2012

Circles Intelocked on Sweet Saturday Sample

Sweet Saturday Sample - Saturday Aug 11, 2012

Circles Interlocked – contemporary romance

Hot cheese and pepperoni invaded her dreams. She awoke to see Robert standing next to her, with a pizza and a bottle of Chianti. "Supper?"
She stretched, hopped off the bed and followed him into the living room. He placed the pizza on the coffee table, cracked open his beer and opened her wine.
He handed her a slice of double cheese and extra pepperoni pizza and a coffee mug of wine. "You know Julie, this is the second time this week you've almost given me a coronary. How'd you find me?"
Julie took a moment to savor a bite of her pizza. "You brought me here a long time ago. Brittany said you were pulling your disappearing act. I guessed you'd come here. Went down a bunch of wrong lanes, but I found you." She took another bite. "Good pizza."
Forcing himself to separate from the scent of her perfume, the closeness of her body, and the heat of his desire for her, Robert went into the kitchen then returned with two oil lanterns. Lighting them, he placed one by Julie, and the other near where he sat. Dancing flames cast hypnotic shadows about the darkening room. "So, what're you doing here?"
Julie sipped her wine, and thought about his question. "I don't really know. I took some time off to think. I'm at a…a crossroads in my life…." She twirled her ring around her finger. "And my career. And I can't seem to read the direction signs."
"Home's that way." He pointed over his left shoulder.
Ignoring him, Julie continued, "I have to make some decisions, and somehow – I don't know how – but at a low gut level those decisions are connected to me and you." She wiped the pizza grease from her mouth and fingers. Pouring herself another mug of Chianti, she leaned back on the couch. "I tried to think at home, in Westland, but there were too many distractions."
"Didn't bother thinking that maybe I'd come up here for a little peace and quiet, and didn't want any human invasions."
"Do you want me to leave?"
"Yes." His response surprised even himself. Robert swallowed the last of his beer, laid it next to the pizza box and grabbed another. Shaking his head, he said, "You're sitting there looking shocked at my rudeness. Here you are, politely making conversation, and I rudely ask you to leave. Your hypocrisy has grown."
Julie's brown eyes darkened as she glared at him.
He chugged his beer a couple of mouthfuls of beer "Oh don't be so damn annoyed, you still hate me to the point of barely being able to look at me. We were lovers, and yet you couldn't even say good morning to me, and I'd just spent the night sleeping with you."

For more – click on the Free Read tab.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Hannah Warren on Victoria's Pages of Romance

Let me introduce  Hannah Warren and her new book Casablanca, My Heart.

Please tell us everything about your latest book.

Oh boy, talking about my writing is not my forte. I’d much rather sit at my desk and invent another character than talk about the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of the products of my imagination. A long time ago – when I was a literature student and a rebel - I walked out of the lecture room because I was fed up with my professors ‘tearing apart’ all my favourite books: what is the plot, which subplots can you detect, how is character development realised, how does the book fit in with its contemporaries, what are the author’s motives for blah-blah-blah?

 I became allergic to this kind of ‘vivisection of books’ because it destroyed all my fun in the sheer magic of reading and writing. No, I never passed that degree but at last my love for books has remained intact.
Anyway, I ended up as a translator for Miles and Boon’s (into Dutch) and fell in love with the genre. Just for fun I tried to write one myself but that soon got out of hand as I’m actually a bit of a poet at heart so I have a tendency to lard my sentences with a stiff dose of lyrical, sumptuous words not generally found in the standard candlelight romance.  

But back to Casablanca, My Heart, my d├ębut novel.

I loved writing it, I will always be grateful to the story because it’s the first one to go out into the world on its own, bravely defying all other millions of books in an attempt to find readers. It’s a tentative book, me dipping my toes in the water. Can I write, do people like my writing style, appreciate the way I tell a story? I love complex stories, can’t stop myself from jumping into a chaotic situation and then –splash, splash- together with the reader find all the pieces of the puzzle to make it a fitting whole. I love dabbling with POV’s and tenses, I guess I overdid that a bit in this one and am stricter with myself in the next book. Still, so far readers have told me they love the book, even with the changing chronology and POVs.

The genre.
Casablanca, My Heart is first and foremost a contemporary romance but it can also be labelled literary or romantic fiction. 

Who are the main characters?
The main female character is Femmy Lovecraft, pen name of Heather Simpson, a 31-year old acclaimed romance novelist, whose husband Luuk Routers, an artist and equally famous, is in a coma as a result of an accident for which Heather blames herself.
The male protagonist is Ghalib Tourniquet, Prince Hassan VII, a Moroccan aristocrat and playboy, who has been infatuated with Heather and her books for years.  

How long did it take to write?
I started writing the book five years ago and finished it a year later. Then, I left it in the recesses of my computer to gather dust amidst all the other short stories, poems, finished and unfinished manuscripts. Last year, I dug it out again and found the guts to send it to a professional editor. That set the ball rolling…

Was there a period during the writing of the story where you sat and stared at the screen because what your characters just did surprised the heck out of you?
Constantly, I have quite an erratic mind myself so it is no wonder my characters do unheard-of things all the time. Luckily, I have a good sense of humour and am broad-minded so I let them have as much fun as they can. At times they have to pay a heavy price for that, but the good thing about romance is that they always patch up in the end.
A good example of such surprising behaviour is the famous hot steam scene in Chapter 4. I’ve upset some applecarts there. Readers were shocked about the sudden passion that flared up between the two strangers, one of whom (the guy, of course) was absolutely untrustworthy. Why did Heather let herself be fooled like that by him? Ah well, strange things happen in Casablanca!  

How did you pick the title?
Gosh, I wouldn’t know. I know all my titles before I write the story but have no idea where they come from. Casablanca speaks for itself as the white city is featured so prominently in the book. And the heart? That’s the leitmotiv of the book. Everyone has or does something with his or her heart.

Who designed your cover?
My dear friend, the author and artist Sessha Batto. She is not only a fantastic cover designer, she also has the patience of a saint. I was super demanding and critical but in the end she made something that we both think has exactly the right feel.

Who’s your publisher?
My publisher is Tim Hewston of Taylor Street Publishing (formerly Night Publishing). I’m very proud to be part of TSP, Tim works really hard for his authors, many of whom have also become my friends. TSP publishes books in all genres, also non-fiction and is based in San Francisco, CA.

Have you written other books? Their titles and genres.
I’m currently working on a psychological thriller, Prior To You, which I hope to finish soon so I can start the editing rounds (some 15,000 words to go). As I’m a relentless editor and also work with professional editors, I hope to have it published this year but it might be the beginning of 2013.
My drawer contains another (finished) thriller I wrote in 1993, The Goose Eater, which I might pick up one day. Then, there’s another romance in the pipeline, Daughter of the Alvar, situated in Sweden; a romance scam I became involved in Maker of Despair; a children’s picture book Happy Dance and Scary Sky; at least two collections of short stories and a poetry volume. Enough to keep me off the streets until my last breath. J

Plotter or a pantser?  Why does this work best for you?
No doubt: pantser. I only have a vague idea where the story is going to lead me, I see the characters, their problems, the outcome but in between... no idea. I love this process of finding out on the paper, being the first reader of a developing story, it's one of the most exciting feelings I can experience. I know my characters and I know how they behave, but to start off with they’re like shadowy parts of myself, dream shapes that float in and out of my eyesight. Whether they like marmite or wear mustard-brown underwear is really of no importance to me at the beginning of the process. They will tell me in due course. One of the nicest compliments I got from a reader was that according to her each and every one of my characters was like someone she knew. 

Short question time.
Favourite TV show?
So You Think You Can Dance. I’m totally hooked on dance, wanted to become a dancer when I was young but it never happened. My next main character is a modern dancer so I see it as “work” watching the show. Haha.

Most romantic place you've visited?
Paris, always Paris, the city where I was born!

If Hollywood called, which actor should play the hero or heroine in your book?
Reese Witherspoon should play Heather and Hugh Jackman would be perfect to play Ghalib.

Three things you'd want on a deserted island.
My Kindle, an Ice Tea and pair of multi-coloured flip-flops

Which would you choose – a knight in shining armour or a roman gladiator?
A knight, whose shining armour is fastened with Velcro so it can be undone in one swooping movement to display his gorgeous muscles.

Favourite thing to do on a vacation?
Oh I’m not exotic in my taste: read on the beach under a parasol, then swim in clear blue seas, followed by a seafood-meal with my beau.

If you could meet one famous person – past or present – who would it be? Why?
Oh no, don’t tempt me! There are so many writers, actors, artists I am in awe of, past and present. But if I have to choose one, it would be Leo Tolstoy. I absolute adore every word the Master ever wrote. Anna Karenina is unsurpassed; I can read and reread it every hour of the day.

Any last comments – ideas – your blurb or excerpt.
Thank you so much for this interview, Victoria. Especially for your readers I’ve selected an excerpt from Casablanca, My Heart

Stansted Airport, 20 September 2010
“Mummy, do you see her yet?” Lucy cries.
“No, sweetheart, I don’t.”
Her four year old weight, constantly shifting on my shoulders, is starting to be considerable.
“I’ve got to put you down, Luus, if only for a couple of minutes. You’re getting way too heavy. Look. You can stand on the railing over there and I’ll hold you, okay?”
“Okay, but let’s run, Mummy. I don’t want to miss seeing Omy come.”
Lucy wriggles free, zigzagging through the crowds at fast as her chubby legs will carry her. I run after her, anxious I will lose sight of her, glad when I catch hold of her hand again.
“Heather? Heather! My God. It’s you!”
The voice freezes me in my tracks. My immediate reflex is to run and hide, but my feet refuse to move. I stand stiff and motionless, and unable to breathe. As if a barrel has been stuck between my ribs.
Lucy comes to a standstill as well, looking up at me with big, round eyes. Startled by my sudden rigidity, she forgets about her grandmother for a moment. Then curiosity gets the better of her and she turns to see who has called her mother’s name. Taking heart from my daughter’s bravery, I turn to face the inevitable.
It is him.
There is no doubt. He stands there, staring at me, at us, his expression shocked but intense. He is the same person, but looks much older. Lines fan out around his eyes and beside his mouth. He seems to have lost weight. But the light in his eyes hasn’t changed in the least. They still shine with that vivid blue passion that has been with me, inside of me, everywhere I went ever since our brief and fateful meeting five years before. Those eyes take me in with the intensity of someone drinking fresh, clean water after a long period of drought, but there is nothing teasing or lustful in them this time. His gaze is turned inwards, showing a restraint and pain that wasn’t there before. It seems to border on sorrow.
His dark brown hair has started to thin at the sides and is greying at the temples. Compassion sweeps through me, but I control the urge to bridge the few steps between us and touch his hand. I register all his visual details as if catching up on lost years and hoarding them up … for what? The lonely years ahead?
His skin can still be considered dark, definitely darker than most of the North Europeans surrounding us, but even his tan, once so glamorous, has lost some of its southern glow. He’s dressed elegantly in a dark blue business suit, but without a speck of extravagance. At some deeper level his inner posture is still intact, in the way he keeps himself upright, in the distinct classiness that reveals his aristocratic background. On closer inspection I think he looks even more attractive than he did five years ago, now all the former flashiness and arrogance is gone.
He is different from the other businessmen with their raincoats draped over their overnight bags, but he seems deliberately to have chosen a low profile.
This is not the Ghalib Tourniquet I remember. I’m puzzled by the dramatic difference in his appearance and wonder what could have happened in his life to cause such a drastic change. I also wonder why I care, and why I don’t feel angry with him. In fact, anger seems the only emotion I don’t have for him.
Swallowing the dry lump in my throat, I try to think of something to say. We must look like a pair of idiots just standing there, mute and frozen. But no words spring to mind. I realise Lucy’s hand is still squeezed in mine, sweaty and damp and I’m amazed she has stood still all this time. How long we’ve been standing like this, I don’t know.
Just as I’m getting grounded in reality again, he takes his eyes off me and turns his gaze to Lucy, a vague half-smile hovering on his face. Instantly, the smile disappears. His eyes search mine again, briefly, questioning. I see the enormity of the situation as it crosses his mind.
“Heather! Lucy! There you are! I’ve been looking for you!”
The spell is broken. I become aware of the movement of people around us; they pass us by on all sides, swiftly, anonymously. The private moment during which the three of us existed on a remote island has passed.
I turn to face my mother, then turn again, but he’s already moving away, his back disappearing in the crowd, a stranger among the strangers.

Thank you so much Hannah for visiting Victoria's Pages of Romance and for giving us a chance to get to know you and your book Casablanca, My Heart. 

Now that you've made it this far - Hannah has a giveaway. Post a comment and tell us what is your favourite flaw in a romance hero?  What does he do bad/wrong but is still a hero and sexy?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

SIx Sentence Sunday on Victoria's Pages of Romance

Six Sentence Sunday -Aug 5, 2012

From my contemporary romance – Circles Interlocked

On her wedding day, Julie receives a letter from her lover, Robert.

If you're reading this then something went wrong and I guess I'm dead. Sorry. But that's only one more screw up to add to my list. I've messed things up a lot in this relationship. Why do people who should never be together fall in love?
I should've never met you and I certainly shouldn't have fallen in love with you, but I did.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Victoria's Pages of Romance is on A Hero's Bloghop

Welcome to A Heros Blog Hop

If you are here for Sizzling Summer Reads - please scroll down

couldn't make the picture stick - so I'm just letting you know you are in the right place.A Heros Blog Hop

You can also tweet this -  #HeroBlogHop

We all have a picture in our head of that perfect man – physically describing him wouldn't be beneficial here as you might prefer muscular blonds and I prefer tall dark haired hunks. But we have that picture. But what makes a male a hero? A dictionary type definition is - a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.

The list of heroes is long – firefighters, police officers, paramedics, soldiers, sailors etc.  These are definitely men of courage who daily perform noble deeds. I think of them as "Noble Heroes." But my blog today is about the Romance Hero. The male in the story who is supposed to sweep the heroine off her feet and carry her away to "happily ever after" land.

Now if your hero is a noble hero, you're half way to the happy ending. There may be numerous pitfalls and dangers the characters have to survive, but a noble hero always overcomes all. (Although it may not happen until the sequel.)

   What if your hero is a "bad guy"? He could be super bad – vampire or werewolf. Or, like my hero in Circles Interlocked, bad by association. As a teenager, Robert ran with a gang and the stigma of that follows him throughout his life. More than once, he lived up to his image – fought a gang war, got involved in the drug trade, lied to and cheated on his girlfriend.

So why is he my romantic hero? Brave deeds and noble qualities. In Circles Interlocked, Robert accidently wakes up next to his former girlfriend. The one woman he loves and the same woman he lied to and cheated on. His misdeeds and lies have created a wide and long wall between them and Robert is unaware of how to break down the separation.

Years have passed since their last face-slapped meeting and Julie has developed a prescription drug problem. Robert steps up and helps her, even though he is clearly aware of her raging hatred of him.

When Julie is kidnapped and facing danger, Robert charges in to save her, fully knowing he could be killed. His sworn enemy would be satisfied with killing Robert or the woman he loves. Does he hesitate for a moment? No. The romantic hero must do what must be done.

What was your favourite romantic hero like? Was he a noble hero or a bad boy? What was it in that hero that made you want to cheer for him?  Do you know any one like him? (Unless of course he's a vampire?)

Excerpt –
If you're reading this then something went wrong and I guess I'm dead. Sorry. But that's only one more screw up to add to my list. I've messed things up a lot in this relationship. Why do people who should never be together fall in love?
I should've never met you and I certainly shouldn't have fallen in love with you, but I did. I never stopped loving you once in the years we were apart. Telling you this now seems a little stupid, I guess I should've done it before I let you go back to Langston.
A long time ago - in high school - we had to write an assignment for our last English essay. You and I had broken up and everyone was mad at me for being such a bastard. For my essay, I handed in a poem. Ya me, I wrote a poem. Mrs. Wolmsely liked it - hell, she gave me an "A".
She wanted to read it in class. She was hoping you'd forgive me. Which is exactly what I didn't want. I wanted you to go dance. I wanted you to live out your dream. I'm sorry I screwed up on that. Anyway, this is my poem. I've revised it a bit. It was only two verses long then. I wanted to call it LOVE SUCKS, but I didn't think Mrs. Wolmsely would like that.
She possessed my being -
Gave me a future -
A life.
Our souls intertwined -
Fantasies fulfilled

Reality intruded.
One's dream realized
One's destroyed.
A heart broken
The pain -
Where a heart should be
A void existed.
The expanse of days
Became years.
A dream withered.

By chance -
Two faces meet
And smile
Lips touch
Love strikes once more.

My being possessed -
Desires fulfilled -
A dream revived.
A future
With Love!

I don't know why I told you all this. All I wanted to do is tell you I love you, but it seemed cold and impersonal on paper. Please don't grieve for me. Remember our good times together. Forget the bad stuff. Have a happy life, full of love and joy.
With Love,

To win a copy of Circles Interlocked – tell me about your favourite romantic hero? Was he a noble hero or a bad boy? What was it in that hero that made you want to cheer for him?  Do you know any one like him? (Unless of course he's a vampire?)

Here's the link so you so go off hopping on the other sites - <script src="" type="text/javascript"></script>

Comment on as many blogs as you can because the prizes are out of this world. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Summer Splash on Victoria's Pages of Romance

Welcome to the Summer Splash Blog Hop on Victoria's Pages of Romance.

Anybody else feel like singing that '60s Lovin' Spoonful song – "hot time summer in the city, back of my neck getting burnt and gritty…."

Or the hit by The Jamies – It's summertime sum sum summertime,
Summertime summertime sum sum summertime
Summertime summertime sum sum summertine….

I live in Canada – we love summer! You don't shovel summer. Your nose doesn't freeze in summer. And, you easily drop 20 pounds just by hauling off your winter coat, mittens, boots and scarf!

 Another exciting thing about summer is you can sit by the beach, or on your deck or under a tree and relax and enjoy a good read.

And that's what this hop is about – finding new authors and good books to read.

Circles Interlocked is a story about Julie and Robert and how they were love, fell out of love and fell back into bed. Oops – that was an accident – but it rekindled the fire inside them.

Summer doesn't play a big part in the story other than getting Robert to strip down and dive into the lake and step onto the beach with water streaming down his bugling pecs and rippling abs.

Excerpt –

Wednesday the sun broke through, the leaves dripped morning dew and the birds sang joyful songs. Finished lacing his running shoes, Robert stretched tall and inhaled. The sense of depression caused by the grayness of the storm, and the listlessness from his headache had vanished. He needed to go for a run. Glancing at his watch, he decided not to leave a note for Julie. He'd woken with the sun and the birds. He'd be back before she was awake.
He loved running through the brush along the hiking trails. The paths followed the crests and curves of the surrounding hills traversing them from summit to lake. It was a hard run. What kept Robert going was the thought of the cool lake water at the edge of his dock.
Although it was early in the morning, the heat of a July's summer day put a light coat of sweat on his forehead. The slickness of the wet path made Robert swipe against a shrub, bringing a moment of cool, wet relief. He was careful when in the bush. He respected the area. He knew years after he was gone it would look as it did now. Mother Nature would still be the landlord. He was just a tenant.
The pure air filled his lungs, pushing out the last of the staleness of the city. His heart pumped. He crested the last hill then descended to the dock and a well-earned swim in the lake.
Sweat rolled down his face, arms, chest and back as he stood on the dock. He stripped off his shirt and tugged at his sweat-soaked shorts, stopping himself when he remembered his sleeping guest. He peeled off his runners and socks and with a joyful leap cut through the surface of the lake.
Near the stony beach, in shallow water was a large grey boulder. Robert often wondered where it originated, as there weren't any others like it in the surrounding area. Climbing onto it, he sat relaxing in the sun.
Gawd, I hope she's human today. I can't take any more of her shit. She wasn't in to drugs or bitchiness when we were together. What changed? Why did it change? He rubbed his chin.
No response formed in his mind. He sat in quiet meditation. Today's the day. Time to be a big boy and force her to talk about why she came. Note to self, be out of striking distance when you do. Am I that stupid that I want to get into a bitch fight with her?
No. I don't want to fight. I want to hold her. Kiss her and make love to her. I remember how sweet she tasted. Her lips were soft and so hot when she kissed me. He rubbed his hand up his arm. Shit, I've got goose bumps on my arms just remembering. Oh ya, the way her belly fluttered as I ran my tongue up it. And the smell of her as I kissed the insides of her thighs. The heat of her. Gawd, I want Julie. I still want her. I can't tell her that. We have to clear this stupid mess up. Because all I want to do is make—.
"Ahoy on the rock."
Robert slipped off the rock and splashed into the cold lake. He surfaced spitting out a mouthful of water and coughed. "Holy shit! You startled me." He paused, caught his breath and discreetly adjusted himself before he climbed back onto the rock.
"I'm sorry." Julie covered her mouth stifling a giggle.
He held out his hand and helped her climb next to him. Even the simplest touch of hands brought a deep ache to his soul. Settling himself on the rock, he suppressed what he wanted to say.

I must remember to remind you about the great grand prizes: Two Kindle Fires, $75 amazon gift card, $50 amazon gift card, kindle cover, and signed paperbacks of our books.  Yikes! It's like Christmas in July around here. Here's the link to get back  - Main Page

If you tweet you get more chances - WIN Kindle Fires, Amazon gift cards and more at the #summerhop  #freekindle #free #giveaway #win

WIN FREE SWAG at the author #summerhop prizes include two kindle fires! #freekindle #free #giveaway #win

WIN more than 75 prizes at the author #summerhop prizes include two kindle fires! #freekindle #free #giveaway #bloghop

WIN BIG at the author blog hop. More than 75 prizes including 2 kindle fires!  #summerhop #bloghop @freekindlefire


To win an ecopy of Circles Interlocked – leave me a fun comment – not just-  thanks for the giveaway.

If you are in the mood to purchase -