Please give a hearty Reviews and Interviews welcome to romance author Wareeze Woodson. She’s here today to talk about her Regency novel, Conduct Unbecoming of a Gentleman.
Wareeze has 3 giveaways during her tour. Two lucky people will receive an e-book of Conduct Unbecoming of a Gentleman and one lucky person will receive a $50 gift card. To be entered for a chance to win one of the giveaways, leave a comment below. And to increase your chances of winning something, feel free to visit other tour stops and leave comments there, too!
Welcome, Wareeze. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a native of Texas, but I have traveled throughout America and beyond. As a dreamer, I love to visit new places where I can image a heroine meeting a hero in a special way. I’m an avid reader (all sorts) and I love to write.
I married my high school sweetheart and after having raised three sons plus one daughter, our love for each other remains unshaken. Now we enjoy our eight grandchildren. Grandchildren are grand. We can send them home, but we’re always happy for their return.
Outside of my family activities, I sing with the Silver Belles at my church and hate to miss even one practice. The local chapter of RWA is also at the top of my list of pleasures. It keeps me grounded with craft and connected with other writers.
Most of all, I enjoy going fishing with my husband. Give me a pole and leave me alone to bask in the sun, listening to water gurgle along the riverbanks while allowing my mind to float away to some distance place. Ah! Perfect.
Please tell us about your current release.
Recently widowed Lady Laurel Laningham flees Landings to escape her untenable position. Alone now and at the mercy of her sister-in-law, she decides to nestle under her aunt’s wings for a spell. To add to her burdens, her young son’s new guardian, Lord Adron Gladrey, has announced his intentions to take complete charge of his ward. The killer is stalking her and a devious jewel thief is stealing the family jewels. Can she convince her son’s guardian she is not a dangerous lunatic and is perfectly capable of raising her son or will he always consider her untrustworthy as a mother to his ward? Will his stubborn blindness send her straight into the path of the murderer, or will he relent in time to save her from following her husband into the grave?
What inspired you to write this book?
Part of a story bothered me and the ending made me want to throw the book against the wall. I decided to write my own version. In the book I mentioned, the mother pretended to want her child, but she found a rich man besotted with her charms and married him without looking back. She left her child behind to be raised by others. I couldn’t stomach the thought of such a selfish mother.
Needless to say, my story is nothing like the other novel. I wanted a heroine with courage and devotion, a mother willing to protect her child at all cost. I found my heroine much more satisfying.
Excerpt from Conduct Unbecoming of a Gentleman:
Freedom. Freedom. Freedom. Each rotation of the hired coach’s wheels whispered the word. Laurel cradled her sleeping two-year-old son, the new Lord Laningham, as a heady sense of satisfaction curved her lips. She didn’t even mind the slight musty odor pervading the vehicle, although she leaned over and raised the window cover for a breath of fresh air. With a sigh she settled back against the seat. At least for a while, Rhonda’s constant complaints would no longer ring in her ears and for that she was devoutly thankful.
Out of nowhere, a rider flashed by the coach window and her startled gaze locked with his brief glance. Although she’d caught only a glimpse of the stranger, in that instant his intense, deep-brown eyes mocked her and unease shivered down her spine. She stared after him for a second before instinctively gathering her child closer. Laurel planted a kiss on his blonde curls, drawing reassurance from the nearness of his warm little body. As long as she had Jamie nothing else mattered. Her son must remain safe.
Everything happened at once. The coach lunged to the right and scraped against the bushes beside the road, sending a shower of droplets splashing inside the window. Her book and Jamie’s wooden horse thumped to the floor. The racket of brakes screeching shrilled in her ears as the vehicle rattled and lurched out of control.
“Jamie,” she cried.
The horses’ screams echoed through her head and the sudden jerk of the coach as the team broke away from the trace chains added to her fear. When the doomed coach started to roll onto its side, she braced her feet against the opposite bench and clutched her son tightly against her chest. Tumbling against the seat, she scraped her elbows and banged her head. The sensation of falling forever tensed every muscle in her body before the force of the impact threatened to tear Jamie from her arms. She landed between the banquettes against the door, her howling child clutched in her arms. The carriage lantern, suspended from a hook on the wall, swayed overhead scraping metal against metal and briefly caught her attention.
Laurel struggled to a sitting position, gulped a deep breath and wiped dirt from Jamie’s face. With her heart in her throat, she examined a tiny trickle of blood at his hairline. Thankful his injury appeared minor she clutched him to her bosom and kissed his cheek, comforting his cries as her pulse slowed to normal.
The accident left her shaken. Frightened, she felt more alone than ever. If only Robert were still alive. She stifled that thought immediately—nothing could be accomplished by wishing for the impossible.
Laurel drew a shaky breath and tilted her head back in order to peer at the window above. Panic overwhelmed her and her breath came in short gasps. The banquettes seemed to close in on her. She fought to escape her trapped position in the overturned coach. Holding Jamie with one arm, she grasped the seat with her other hand and struggled to her feet. Her head whirled for a second before settling back into a deep pounding pain, while her knee and elbow throbbed in rhythm.
Ignoring her discomfort, she glanced around. As she studied the problem, she heard the murmur of voices and listened intently. With a sigh of relief, she recognized the driver’s voice however the other deep tone was unfamiliar.
“Help me,” She cried, “I’m in here.”
Only silence echoed back and the sound of voices moved off. For a second, panic clenched her stomach and her head pounded even harder.
“Stay calm,” she whispered, and the words spoken aloud steadied her. She listened for several long minutes before someone climbed atop the overturned coach. The door was yanked open with considerable force and she breathed a sigh of relief. Gray clouds added gloom to the inside of the carriage and a dark figure blocked out what little light was available. She couldn’t see his face clearly, but his broad shoulders and the arrogant slant of his head were a shadowy outline against the stormy sky.
His voice floated down to her. “Are you or the child injured?”
“I think several scrapes and bruises at most.” Laurel trembled and brushed her bonnet out of her face. She heard his quick intake of breath.
“You’re positive? You must have taken quite a tumble when the coach overturned. Possibly you’re more injured than you know.”
“Only a little shaken.” She took a deep, calming breath then continued with more force. “I’m certain we’re both fine.”
He hesitated and exhaled deeply. “A damsel in distress then. Do you perhaps have a name?”
Authority rang in his voice. She clutched Jamie a little tighter and offered him a tremulous smile. “Laurel Jane Laningham. Thank you for coming to our rescue.” She shaded her eyes with one hand, waiting for him to return the introduction.
“Let’s get you out of there. Hand me the boy first.”
He reached down into the overturned coach and Laurel lifted Jamie above her head into the waiting arms of the stranger. Her rescuer leapt to the ground with her son. A chill of foreboding curled around her. He’d said the boy. An unknown man shouldn’t know the child was a male. With every one of her senses alert, she listened intently for the stranger to return. Saddle leather squeaked and the thunder of hooves struck the ground in retreat.
Laurel screamed, “Bring my son back. I’ll see you hanged for this, you blackguard. Come back here. Help. Driver, help me.”
What exciting story are you working on next?
An Enduring Love will be release March 2014. Edits, blurbs, and all manner of things are required before that date.
Here is the blurb:
Born and raised in Latvia, Rebecca Balodis marries Rhys Sudduth, an English diplomat. Shortly thereafter, he is summoned home to attend his father’s death-bed. Rebecca cannot accompany him at the time and becomes trapped in the turmoil plaguing her country. He is informed she died in the upheaval.
Nearly four years later, she escapes and arrives in London with their son in tow. Arriving in the middle of his sister’s ball is very awkward, especially since Rhys plans to announce his betrothal to a young debutante later in the evening.
Trouble, tangled in suspense and danger, follow her from Latvia. Can this pair ever find or even recognize an enduring love? Is it worth keeping?
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think I considered myself as a writer the day I signed the contract for Conduct Unbecoming of a Gentleman. I’ve written off and on for years, but I needed the validation of actually having a book published before the fact sank into my brain.
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I am retired from my job as the accounts manager for a medical equipment firm. I write at least 100 words each day. There are times when I spend several hours at the computer, but alas life must be lived. An article by a writer I ran across astounded me when he revealed his time schedule. He spent 30% of his day on social media (A must for a writer) and 70% writing. I wondered when he had time to live.
My grandson gets off of the bus at my house and eats a snack before we tackle homework. I also have a very dear husband that I must consider. Meals to cook, groceries to purchase, a house to clean and minor things like that take some of each day. If I’m in the middle of something really important, I tell everyone to leave me alone for a while. Sometimes it works.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Some would find it amusing that I started my first novel at the end and wrote forward. I don’t do that anymore, or mostly not. I am a pantser and a plotter combined. I write a scene, and if I like it, I plot it into the script.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a nurse because my mother was a nurse. I admired her very much. When I entered high school, I discovered that I liked teaching. I traded it all in to marry my high school sweetheart and raise children. I don’t regret that decision in the least.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I hope your love of reading will continue throughout your life. Only imagine all the places you can visit without leaving the comfort of your home. Have a happy life and escape into a book for a spell to replenish your inner self.
Thanks, Wareeze! Readers, remember to comment if you want a chance to win one of the giveaways!