Friday, January 29, 2016

Interview with historical fiction novelist Phyllis Edgerly Ring

My special guest today is Phyllis Edgerly Ring. We’re chatting about her historical fiction novel, The Munich Girl: A Novel of the Legacies that Outlast War.

Phyllis Edgerly Ring lives in New Hampshire and returns as often as she can to her childhood home in Germany. She has studied plant sciences and ecology, worked as a nurse, been a magazine writer and editor, taught English to kindergartners in China, coordinated programming at a Baha’I conference center, and serves as workshop facilitator and coach for others’ writing projects.

She is the author of the novel, Snow Fence Road, and the inspirational nonfiction, Life at First Sight: Finding the Divine in the Details. She is co-author, with Ron Tomanio and Diane Iverson, of With Thine Own Eyes: Why Imitate the Past When We Can Investigate Reality?, an exploration of how to achieve balance between the material and spiritual aspects of life.

Welcome, Phyllis. Please tell us about your current release.
The novel’s protagonist, Anna Dahlberg, grew up eating dinner under her father’s war-trophy portrait of Eva Braun. Fifty years after the war, she discovers what he never did—that her mother and Hitler’s mistress were friends. Plunged into the world of the “ordinary” Munich girl who was her mother’s confidante—and a tyrant’s lover—Anna uncovers long-buried secrets and unknown reaches of her heart, to reveal the enduring power of love in the legacies that always outlast war.

What inspired you to write this book?
German families were among my very first friends and Germany made a deep impression on my heart when my family lived there in the 1960s. I wanted to understand more about Germany’s experience during the war. Shortly after I decided this, I received a copy of British/German writer Angela Lambert’s biography of Eva Braun. Then a combination of still somewhat baffling circumstances led to my owning the portrait of Eva that features in the story. You never know where a decision will lead. At the time, I was simply looking to learn and understand, not necessarily write a book. I certainly never imagined that the pathway of my discoveries about Germany would follow the life of Hitler’s companion.

Excerpt from The Munich Girl: A Novel of the Legacies that Outlast War:
For my extra day of freedom, I planned to linger over breakfast at a table with a sunny view of the mountains. But the dining room was a frenetic symphony of clinking and clattering when I arrived and the maitre d’ stuck me in a dark corner.
I had just poured my coffee when a young male voice shrilled, “Fräulein Peggy Adler?” from the entrance.
I turned as he reached my table in a handful of long strides. He wore the stiff uniform of Hitler’s Leibstandarte: dark tunic, breeches, tall boots, and rounded helmet. All that was missing was the rifle customarily slung over the shoulder.
“Come with me, please.”
Terror struck so hard, I couldn’t speak—not even to ask where. Especially not that. It seemed incriminating. At last, I stammered, “I-I—”
“You have been requested for an interview,” he said.
What kind of interview? I still couldn’t find words to ask. Should I get my stenographer’s pad? Or was this about questioning me?
“We have a car waiting outside.” His tone was threaded with impatience, as though I were already taking too long, being too slow to understand. I’m surprised he didn’t check his watch, tap his foot. His face had a youthful softness. He was perhaps 19 or 20. I thought of my brother, Peter.
I noticed a waiter at the neighboring table and glanced at my unfinished cup of coffee, as though it might offer some possibility of reprieve—he would insist I stay, since I hadn’t finished.
He also seemed uneasy around the guard as he said, “No trouble, Madam. We will keep your table for you.”
But would I return to it?
Then I remembered my co-workers, and Erich, and blanched with fear as cold as the sweat that rose instantly on my neck. Hadn’t I been careful enough, yesterday? Had I said too much? Had someone besides Eva been listening, or had my cohorts from the Foreign Office somehow been found out?
My mind raced to the worst of all possibilities—they’d been apprehended. I refused to let that thought take root, claimed my mind back from it the way I try to rescue my breath from panic each night in the air-raid shelter back in Berlin.
Appear unfazed and cooperative. I’d heard this tactic from Erich and others in the Resistance. If stopped by the Gestapo, or called in for any reason, seem slightly surprised, untroubled, and entirely willing to comply.
I reached to gather my things. I had only my purse, and the book I’d brought along. “Will we be going far?” I found courage to ask.
“It is right nearby.”
When we reached the car, his brisk movements included a snap of his heels as he opened the door for me. Clearly, he wasn’t going to manhandle me like a suspected criminal. Not yet.
I clambered into the back, toward the middle, and closer, of the two bench-like seats. The mammoth Mercedes had as many huge tires as a delivery truck. Its convertible top was down, and bright sun blinded my eyes.
The young uniform joined the driver in front. The car exited the Platterhof parking lot, made a hard left, and rolled down a sharp incline, though only a short distance.
Goering’s house was somewhere off to the right, hidden by trees. I’d learned recently that beneath us was a burgeoning network of tunnels and bunkers under construction, a subterranean complex that those who dwelt above ground might not even know was there. Perhaps it would open up suddenly and swallow us all.
The car blocked the narrow road when it stopped at a guardhouse barely big enough for one person to stand inside. Behind it was the Hotel Türkenhof where Aunt Paula and I had once stayed. It looked to be in use as barracks of some kind. Is that where they were taking me?
The uniform turned and said, “Your papers, please.”
I had them ready in anticipation of this, though I’d already gone through all the rigmarole of admission to the Führer Zone two days ago.
He took them, got out, and strode to the guard shack.
I’d been taken in for questioning once before, after I’d accompanied Jewish children to England as an escort with the Kindertransport. A petty Nazi bureaucrat summoned me because of my dual citizenship. I’d dressed conservatively in a simple cotton print skirt that hinted at a dirndl’s lines, and a borrowed white blouse tied loosely at the throat so the top half of my décolletage was visible, while the rest remained virtuously concealed.
During my inquisitor’s first burst of questions, I’d offered simple answers with a demeanor of complicit meekness. Finally, I’d evoked tears by imagining the inevitable fate of that Jewish child I’d seen pulled back through the train window into her father’s arms. “Can’t you imagine how thankful I am that Germany is my birthplace?” I nearly shouted at him. “That my mother is so faithful?”
More advice from those in the Resistance: act indignant, insulted even, at the very dishonor of being suspected of disloyalty.
“There are many spies,” he said. “Dual citizenship makes an excellent cover.”
It does, indeed, my thoughts concurred.
“How can you even suggest such disgrace?” I tried to sound hurt. “When my British blood is disgrace enough, for me?”
Then I’d covered my face in the refuge—and strategy—of sobs. It had been over-dramatic, but I wanted to leave no doubt in his mind. I used my best high German for these impassioned declarations. Once I saw he was softening, I lapsed into the Schwäbisch dialect I’d detected in his own speech, thanking God for my ear for nuance and language.
The inquisitor turned almost paternal, even invited me for coffee. I’d had to pretend disappointment, say I was expected home to help Mutti.
“You are the kind of maid who will assure the Fatherland’s triumph!” he’d avowed, like the final line of some Wagnerian drama.
“Whatever you do, use the language of the current view, and mold it to your needs,” Erich had advised me before I’d accompanied those Jewish children to safety.
It was the only way to deal with these fools. These very dangerous fools.

What exciting story are you working on next?
My next book is likely to be a memoir-style reflection about where this novel has led me. Nothing about it is what I would ever have imagined or predicted on my writing path, and there are experiences I’ve had in the course of this book’s coming together that I’m probably never going to be able to understand, let alone explain. One of the most personally stunning was a phone call I received while staying in Germany that neither the person on the other end, nor I had initiated – twice in a row! She was someone with whom I was glad to connect in relation to my research, and she had a delightfully philosophical view about “connections” being made in such a way.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Sadly, not until others first published my writing, when I was in my late 20s. But I recognize now that I was a writer all along.

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?
Writing is both my life’s work and my pleasure. When I have a project of my own I want to advance, I go to a very public place on a set schedule in order to either generate the pages or work on revising what’s already been captured down. Typically, my best energy for any of that is from very early morning until late morning or early afternoon. Once I realized this, I also recognized that I have always, essentially, been a “morning person.” I love the start of the day, and love to give it to myself and my work. My life as a writer also stays fresh through my involvement in accompanying others in their writing projects, both as editor and what I like to think of as “doula.”

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I absolutely love revision, the experience of passing through the world of the story again and again until it comes whole. It’s so entirely absorbing with fiction-writing that I couldn’t let myself do it until our kids were grown, because I knew it required the level of attention I’d want to never deny our children. My writing “style” is to write all over the place in a work, not the least bit chronologically, until I can begin to feel the themes that are uniting the various pieces, and then it all becomes more beginning-middle-end in an ordered flow.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Someone who could do exactly what I wanted to! Isn’t that what most of us most truly want? I suppose I wanted to be a story crafter of some kind, as I was always creating worlds and stories of some type in my play.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
One of my greatest privileges is hearing from readers with their thoughts and reflections about the book. They can contact me at Thanks very much for this opportunity.

Other ways to connect with Phyllis:

Happy to have you join my blog, Phyllis!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Interview with paranormal teen romance author Melissa Frost

My special guest today is Melissa Frost. We’re chatting about her new werewolf teen romance novel, Coming Home.

Melissa Frost grew up loving young adult novels and continues to immerse herself in the current authors on the market. In the fifth grade, she won a writing competition to work with children’s author Colleen O'Shaughnessy Mckenna, and it inspired her to write stories of her own. She never looked back.

Welcome, Melissa. Please tell us about your current release.
As a foster care child, Andi never stays long in one place. She doesn't have a chance to connect with anyone—until sexy, blue-eyed Devon walks into her life.

Devon claims to have known her birth parents. He’s even got a photograph to prove it. He shows up offering her everything she could ever want—a friend, a connection to her family, and answers.

The only problem is Devon’s friendship comes with a few complications attached. There’s the fact that he’s a werewolf, and then there’s the territorial clan out to start a war with Devon’s pack. What started as a simple journey to learn about herself turns into a dangerous road trip that could get her killed.

If she can survive, Andi just might get the answers that have been plaguing her, and she might just fall in love with her new furry pal along the way.

What inspired you to write this book?
My husband and I were going through the adoption process, so I think that influenced this book. I learned a lot about the system and how it works. I guess it inspired me.

Excerpt from Coming Home:
“I’m still not convinced.” She informed him of this in a tone that stated quite clearly she thought him to be a liar. “You’ll have to try harder than that.”

At her skepticism, Devon gave a grin that could only be described as devilish. Climbing to his feet, he yanked the zipper down on his coat and shrugged out of it. He tossed the coat into the snow before lifting his shirt over his head.

As if they had a mind of their own, her eyes drank in the sight of his bare chest. He was amazingly sculpted, his arm muscles bunching with every movement. His abs, which appeared rock solid, mirrored the action. He even had an interesting scar along his left shoulder that only seemed to add to his sex appeal. She cleared her throat uncomfortably, willing her body to settle down. She didn’t usually get so affected by boys.

When his hands went to his belt buckle and began unfastening it, she gave a squeak of objection. “What are you doing? Stop taking your clothes off!”

He grinned over at her. “You wanted to see a werewolf, didn’t you? I’m just obliging.”

“But … but …”

He stripped out of his jeans with ease. “Werewolves aren’t freaked out by nudity, Andi. If you remembered even the slightest bit about your history, you would know that.”

As his briefs came down, her eyes lifted hurriedly to the sky. She gazed at the clouds as if they were the most intriguing thing in the entire world. Which was a complete farce. Standing before her was the first naked boy she’d ever been in the presence of. She desperately wanted to sneak a peek, yet she was too freaked out by the idea to even lower her gaze a fraction of an inch.

“Sheesh, you’re such a human,” Devon said in complaint. “You’re such a prude that you’re about to miss all the fun.”

Andi scowled, but her gaze was still lifted skyward so she had no idea if he saw her or not. As she stood awkwardly gazing at the clouds, she realized how absolutely absurd this situation was. She was standing in the entrance to a public park. With a naked boy. In the snow.

“This is so—” Her protests broke off as an odd popping sound filled the air. She couldn’t quite place it, but it felt so familiar. It was a noise she’d heard before, but she couldn’t remember where.

Her eyes lowered to Devon’s bare shoulders to find them shifting and cracking. His flesh moved in such an unnatural way, she nearly cried out in alarm. Her own hand pressing to her lips was the only thing that stopped the sound from escaping.

She watched with morbid fascination as Devon’s body repositioned and changed itself into something new. Before her very eyes, his entire being altered, and he transformed into the shape of a wolf. It took no more than a minute or two, but the time seemed to stretch on forever.

She witnessed soft puffs of cream fur appear that seemed to burst right out of his skin. His fingers elongated, the nails growing out into sharp claws. The urge to run lasted a mere second before she was stepping forward in fascination.

Her fingers outstretched toward the furry muzzle that had once been Devon’s nose. She wasn’t frightened by him in the least. How could she be? He was the wolf! The one she’d seen outside the school staring into her classroom window.

She knew instantly he’d been there for her, watching over her as he awaited their reunion. She bet he had seen it playing out quite differently. Closing her eyes, she allowed her fingers to brush over the soft fur between his ears.

The sensation of it shook her to the core. Her body remembered it, recalled it like it was yesterday. Werewolf fur. She wasn’t sure if it was his fur in particular that felt so much like home, or if it was werewolf fur in general. Either way, it startled her just how much she longed to be near him in that moment.

Her eyes snapped open, and she stumbled back, unsteady on her feet. This was far too much to absorb in one afternoon. Her mind was racing, and she didn’t even know where to begin. As a result, she simply plopped down into the snow, stunned.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am finishing up the last touches on the fourth installment of my Dating Tutor series. This one will feature Sasha.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to be an author. I wrote my first short story in second grade! It’s always been in my blood.

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?
For the last twelve years, I worked for the US government. I wrote when I could find time. Last January, I found out I was pregnant. I was given the opportunity to stay home and take care of my two beautiful children. I gave up government work to be Mom instead. This means I can write full-time, but anyone with kids knows just how little time I actually have for that. I probably have less time than when I was working!

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Juice in wine glasses! When I’m ready for some serious writing, I’ve always got a wine glass at my side. Of course, it’s filled with juice or iced tea, but it is my feel good cup!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A writer!

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Not many people know this, but my writing name is a “shout out” to my son. His middle name is Frost, so I chose that for my writing name.


Buy links:   Bookstrand   All Romance eBooks    Evernight Teen     Amazon

Thanks for being here today, Melissa!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Interview with romance author Cara Bristol

Today's special guest is romance author Cara Bristol. She's here chatting about her newest novel, Mated with the Cyborg (Cy-Ops Sci-fi Romance 2).

During her virtual book tour, Cara will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

Multi-published, Cara Bristol is the author of more than 23 erotic romance titles. She writes science fiction, contemporary, and paranormal erotic romance. No matter what the subgenre, one thing remains constant: her emphasis on character-driven seriously hot erotic stories with sizzling chemistry between the hero and heroine. Cara has lived many places in the United States, but currently lives in Missouri with her husband. She has two grown stepkids. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading and traveling.

Welcome, Cara. Please tell us about your current release.
In the Cy-Ops series, Terra and the other planets of the galaxy are threatened by terrorists. Kai Andros is a cyborg operative (spy) who goes undercover as android on the enemy’s space station. His mission is to get the intel that will bring down the reclusive terrorist leader. When he discovers that the enemy general intends to kill his own daughter, he’s forced to choose between his mission and saving her life.

This is the blurb:
Kai Andros’s orders were simple. Get in. Gather the intel on the terrorist organization. Get out.

Then he met her. Mariska. Beautiful. Innocent. Ignorant of her father’s atrocities. And marked for death.

His orders said nothing about saving her. But he did. He went off-mission.

Can a rogue cyborg outrun both Cyber Operations and the terrorists to save the woman he loves?

Mated with the Cyborg is an action-packed erotic sci-fi romance between a man with a mission and a woman with a secret that jeopardizes their lives and the fate of the galaxy.

What inspired you to write this book.
I fell in love with cyborgs. They’re part man, part computer/machine and are the ultimate alpha male. But when they meet their Ms. Right, they fall hard. In most other sci-fi romances, cyborgs are created by an evil government who use them as soldiers and force them to fight. I wanted to offer something different. My cyborgs are rough and tough, but they are operatives, spies who are fighting to save the galaxy from terrorism, which was inspired by present day threats.

Excerpt from Mated with the Cyborg:
Mariska’s dress dragged along the metal floor as she headed for the general’s receiving room. People glanced at R981, but the android could have been alone for all the notice they paid her. Her veil seemed to render her invisible.

If only she could truly disappear. Years had passed since the last summons. Why had her father called her? Nervousness slickened her palms, and she had to concentrate to avoid wiping them and leaving a telltale stain on her clothing. The only thing worse than being afraid was showing it. At least her voluminous skirt hid her wobbling knees. Outside her father’s fortified headquarters, she halted and took a deep breath. I can do this. I can do this.

“You are nervous,” stated R981 in his stilted, but gravelly voice. No other android had vocals like his. His rumbling tone vibrated through her in a most disturbing way.

“No, I’m not,” she quickly refuted. Fear was a flaw. Flaws were punished. Although R981 was assigned to her, he had been programmed to report misbehavior and anomalies to her father.

The solid black orbs of his robotic eyes blinked once. “I detect pupil constriction, increased perspiration and respiration, which indicate fear.”

“I believe you are mistaken and require a full diagnostic. How long has it been since your last maintenance overhaul?”

“I am a new model entered into service five weeks ago. I do not require maintenance for another fifty-five point four days.”

She needed to shore up her courage, but R981 pulled open the door, making it clear he served her father. Just like the other droids.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m working on the third (still untitled) Cy-Ops Sci-fi romance. It will be Dale Homme’s story. He’s a secondary character in Mated with the Cyborg, but is such a cool guy, he needed his own book. Although I plan to focus on sci-fi romance in 2016, in February, I’ll have a “sooper sekrit” short BDSM romance that will come out in an anthology. To catch both books, sign up for my newsletter.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve been writing for so long, it’s hard to remember that once it actually was hard to announce, “I am a writer.” I was a journalism and PR professional before I became author. I’ve been writing fiction for more than 20 years, but I’ve only been writing erotic romance since 2009. Mated with the Cyborg is my 23rd book.

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 do write full time. I get about 5:30 a.m., grab a cup of coffee and hit the computer. I answer email, respond to comments on my blog, check Facebook, etc. for about an hour, and then I start to write. I’ll work until about 9 a.m. when I break for breakfast and a shower. By 10:30 a.m., I’m back at the computer. I work until about 4 p.m, with a half-hour break for lunch.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I can’t write sex scenes if someone is in the room with me. That’s why my husband and I no longer share a home office. Lol.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I considered a lot of careers. Until junior high, I wanted to be teacher. After that, I thought about interior decorator, private investigator, and biologist. By the time I was filling out my college applications, I fortunately realized I loved to write most of all. I chose journalism because it involved writing. I became a newspaper reporter and then PR professional. However, being a romance author is the BEST gig in the world. I love it.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Yes, three things. First, thank you! Thank you for buying and reading my books and for all the reviews you write. I do read them and I do evaluate the criticism I’ve received and have made some changes in what I write based on what some readers have said. Second, although Cy-Ops is a series, each book can be read as a stand-alone. You don’t have the read the books in order. Third, I have another sci-fi romance series: Breeder. It’s “edgier” than Cy-Ops, and may not be for everyone, but it’s quite compelling. The books are Breeder, Terran, and Warrior. You should read that series in order.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Special excerpt from contemporary romance, Royal Pain, by Danielle Doolittle

The special feature today is an excerpt from the contemporary romance novel, Royal Pain, by Danielle Doolittle.

During her virtual book tour, Danielle will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

A little bit about Royal Pain:
Prince Henry Fitzgerald, once high flying playboy, finds himself grounded and forced into rehab. Changing isn't in the cards but facing off with feisty horse trainer, Carleigh Philips, makes him see he's not as far gone as everyone-including himself-thought. When a series of accidents add up to foul play Henry must set aside his fear of failure and act quickly to save the woman who woke his heart.

A little bit about the author:
Danielle Doolittle has always had a knack for storytelling. When she completed her first work of fiction at age six about a bunny and particularly juicy carrot she was hooked. Years later, she's spinning tales of first loves, awkward moments, and the occasional creature that goes bump in the night.

She lives in the wilds of a Northwest Ohio college town with her husband and three small children where she consumes above average amounts of coffee and dark chocolate and spends way too much time on Twitter.

She loves to hear from readers so don't be shy!

Excerpt from Royal Pain:

"You asked why I was spending so much time with her. I’m teaching her how to trust — to love — for the first time. It’s slow, hard work, but it’ll be worth it in the end. The first time is always the hardest, especially for those who don’t know where to begin."

Carleigh met Henry’s searching gaze over the fence. She wasn’t sure if she was talking about the horse anymore. Somehow, she got the feeling Henry had never allowed himself to be vulnerable enough to accept love, even from his family, and that was the saddest thing of all. How long had he been shutting himself off from the people around him? Some of her compassion must have showed on her face, because right before her eyes, the harsh lines that had relaxed during her story appeared again. He was shutting down, and a part of Carleigh cried out at the loss.

He shrugged, as if her explanation was of no concern to him. "I didn’t really come out here to talk about the horse."

"I figured." Carleigh tilted her head, studying him. "Why did you come here?"

"Do you mean that question in the universal ‘why are we all here?’ way?"

"I’m serious, Henry."

"I gathered, Carleigh. That’s the trouble with you, you know. I’ve noticed you’re always very, very serious." Carleigh tried not to fidget as his gaze swept her body. "Except for the other night, that is. The other night, the only thing that was serious was the heat between us."


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