Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sunday Brunch 2/23/14


First and foremost, it is a pleasure to have you here. Welcome to Harper’s Sunday Brunch Interview!
It’s a pleasure to be here, Harper. Thank you for having me.

So, can you tell us what makes Chuck Lovatt tick? What got you started on the path to becoming an author?
Oh I’ve always loved writing. I started way back in the early 80’s, writing my first novel longhand. Of course it wasn’t very good, and there wasn’t very much encouragement besides, so I tried to pretend that writing wasn’t very important to me. Still, not very good writing has its own value, in that it shows what you have to do to improve. So I puttered away for the next twenty years, gradually getting better and better, but never taking it very seriously. Then I met my friend, Amber Clark, who actually valued what I did. Even more important, I valued her opinion. It was like this crucial part of me, that had been lost for all those years, had suddenly, and at long last, fallen into place. It makes all the difference in the world, having someone believe in you, who thinks that what you’re doing is worthwhile.

What are you currently working on? Would you care to share a snippet?
You caught me in one of those rare instances when I’m between projects, so I thought that I would share the first few paragraphs of the novel I was most recently working on a few weeks ago, Josiah Stubb, ironing out the last few wrinkles before its release at the end of this month. So stay tuned, everyone, it won’t be long now!

The cover art isn’t finished, and of course there aren’t any links yet, but if I may, I thought that I would start with Josiah’s blurb: It is 1758 and the siege of Louisbourg is raging. The military might of the British and French empires collide in a desperate bid to control the key strategic fortress and, in turn, Quebec and French-held North America.

One man caught amidst the bloodshed is the young grenadier, Josiah Stubb. Raised by a whore amidst poverty and incest, Josiah seemed doomed from birth to a life in the gutter. His attempt to leave his sordid past behind leads him to Louisbourg, but it comes back to haunt him in the form of a gifted officer, battling his own inner demons.

As the siege blazes towards its inevitable bloody climax, will Josiah live to overcome the formidable obstacles that keep him chained to his past, or will his aspirations for a better life die with him on the brooding shores of Ile Royale?

First a little setting is required: A British armada lies just offshore of Louisbourg, on what is now Cape Breton Island. The story begins with the landing boats going in…

Under a graying sky, Kennington and Halifax continued popping away with their broadsides, the blasts echoing off the shore, reaching us flat and muted in the early morning wind. We watched them with a measure of hope, as the tongues of flame stab, again and again, in the uncertain light, each of us praying with forlorn anxiety that the navy would actually manage to hit something for a change.

On board our barge, I watched as its prow heaved in the violent swell, for some reason reminding me of Fat Sally’s chemise.

Odd how the mind works: here I was sailing into the teeth of the French defenses along with the rest of my mates, and also like the rest of my mates, feeling green as grass while our stomachs heaved right along with the boats – partly in fear, but mostly due to those blasted waters off the coast. Odd that I should think of her now, or think of her at all, really, but her chemise did tend to heave up and down quite a bit, especially when the lads were on the town with a few coins to spare; and although not wooden in any way, shape or form, it had to be admitted that Fat Sally was quite as ponderous as a ship of the line, let alone a barge.

Yes, it was odd, but like I said, I was afraid, and I’ve heard from many of the older hands that it’s only natural to think of your mother at a time like this.

Do you include some of your own personal experiences in your books or do you prefer to use your imagination?
A little of both, actually. Some of my characters are based on people I’ve met, or bits of several people. But personal experience plays such a large part of our lives, I don’t think it’s possible to say with absolute certainty where that ends, and the imagination begins. I just follow where the story leads me, and don’t think too much about where it came from, only where it’s going.

What genre do you typically write in and why did you choose this over others?
Funny, I’ve written a great many short stories over the years, some winning awards, but without exception, they’re all literary fiction. Yet when I sit down to write a novel, I invariably turn to historical fiction. Why? Darned if I know. It’s people that interest me more than anything. I write about them dramatically, or with humour. Both are equally appealing.

Do you have a specific process or a ritual you go through when sitting down to write?
Not really. I just do my best to keep distractions to a minimum: disconnect the phones, make sure the cats are fed, that sort of thing. If the neighbour’s dogs are barking, I’ll turn the radio on low, which I daresay is not the way Classic Rock was ever intended to be listened to, but it works for me.

Where do you find your inspiration for your plots? Do you have any tricks of the trade you would care to share?
Plots? Oh no, nothing so grand as all that. I make it up as I go along! Every once in a while, I will work on an outline, but it’s just for kicks and giggles. It’s as though all my characters gather ‘round for a look, share a good laugh, and then off they go, to do precisely what they please! So far it seems to be working, though. My debut novel, The Adventures of Charlie Smithers, has made appearances on the best sellers list of three countries on Amazon. It’s currently #16 in African historical fiction in the US, and #20 in Canada, for Single Women of all things!

What is the oddest place/situation where an idea for a book/plot has come to you?
I was driving along the highway north of the small town where I work, when I came to an intersection, turning onto the Trans Canada. Just prior to easing into traffic, I checked to see if anyone was coming. As luck would have it, there was a car with British Columbia license plates drawing near, so I had to stop. British Columbia is three provinces and a thousand miles to the west of Manitoba, where I live, and I found myself thinking, “What are the odds that this person and I should meet here, at this exact place and time?” That was the first seed of an idea that resulted in a pretty good short story, The Mathematics of Fate. It was published a few months later.

What makes a book stand out and perk your interest?
The quality of the writing. When that’s working, the plot is of a secondary interest to me. I just want the story to go on and on.

We all have our favorite authors. Can you share some of yours and tell us why you like them?
I would have to say that my absolute favourite was George MacDonald Fraser, the author of the Flashman books. His research was meticulous, his wit razor sharp, and his humour as irreverent as only the best humour can be. And underneath it all, you can discern a deep and unapologetic pride of when Britain was in her glory during the Victorian era. I admire that, especially since it has become fashionable to think otherwise. It takes guts to go against the flow, and stand up for what you believe in.

My next favourite would be Stephen King; not so much for what he writes, but how he writes. It’s so relaxed. He’s never afraid to meander, seemingly off topic, for page after page, and then gradually knit, what appears to be a literary walkabout, back into the story so seamlessly you’re there before you know it. Most writers wouldn’t even attempt to do that (and I’m one of them), but he does it without even breaking into a sweat.

We all have a pet peeve, care to share yours?
I daresay one of my greatest pet peeves is the same as it is for the vast majority of authors—there never seems to be enough time to write!

When you’re not writing, what are the things you enjoy doing to relax?
I’m an avid (read: ‘rabid’) fan of Canadian football—a game much like American football, except for a larger field, twelve men on either side, and only three downs from scrimmage, as opposed to four in the US. But I really couldn’t call it relaxing: my favourite team, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, have found a way to break my heart, over and over again, for the last twenty-four years (and counting.) So, barring that, what I do find relaxing is reading a good book (heavy emphasis on ‘good’).

Thank you so much for joining me here today, Chuck. I know my followers will enjoy this spotlight as much as I have conducting it. Good luck on all your future endeavors.
Thank you, Harper! The pleasure was all mine.


CW Lovatt, is the award-winning author of numerous short stories, as well as the best-selling novel, The Adventures of Charlie Smithers. His second novel, Josiah Stubb, is due to be released in a few weeks time. 


TWITTER or @tacscwl


Harry Flashman, step aside, old son. Make way for Charlie Smithers.

The time is the nineteenth century. The place, the Serengeti Plain, where one Charlie Smithers—faithful manservant to the arrogant bone-head, Lord Brampton (with five lines in Debrett, and a hopeless shot to boot)—becomes separated from his master during an unfortunate episode with an angry rhinoceros, thereby launching Charlie on an odyssey into Deepest Darkest Africa, and subsequently into the arms of the beautiful Loiyan…and that’s where the trouble really begins.

Maasai warriors, xenophobic locals, or evil Arab slavers, the two forbidden lovers encounter everything that the unforgiving jungle can throw at them.




Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunday Brunch 2/16/14


First and foremost, it is a pleasure to have you here. Welcome to Harper’s Sunday Brunch Interview!
Thank you for having me. I’m delighted to be here.

So, can you tell us what makes Cara Marsi tick? What got you started on the path to becoming an author?
What makes me tick? I don’t believe I’ve ever been asked that before. I’m not quite sure how to answer. I think if you asked my husband, he’d have a different answer than my son, and my son would have a different answer than my sister. I’m a self-proclaimed TV junkie, a news junkie, a political junkie. Besides my husband and son, I love books, history, traveling, and cats, not necessarily in that order.

I’ve always been a sucker for a good love story. And from the time I first learned to read, I’ve loved books. As a child, I’d read anything I could get my hands on, even cereal boxes. I always had my nose in a book. I love movies and TV, too. Starting from about the time I was eight years old, I’d stay up late on weekends watching old black and white romantic comedies on TV. Those old movies influenced my love of romance. As a teen, I read the YA romances of Elizabeth Howard and the Judy Bolton mystery series, which always contained a little romance. I once wrote to Elizabeth Howard and told her I wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t have a typewriter (this was in the dark ages before computers). She wrote back that I didn’t need a typewriter to be a writer. I wish I’d kept that letter. Growing up, my dream was to be a published author, but life got in the way.

What are you currently working on? Would you care to share a snippet?
I’ve just started the third book in my Redemption series, Anita’s Temptation, a romantic suspense. Anita is the cousin of Doriana and Franco, main characters from the first two books. I’ve had readers ask for her story. Here’s a very rough, unedited snippet from the first chapter:

She got to her front door and let out a little scream. The packages fell from her hands to land in a pile by her feet. Her front door hung open, splintered as if someone had kicked it in.

Insides trembling, she backed away and ran down the steps, digging into her purse for her phone. Near the bottom, she stumbled and almost fell, but strong arms grabbed her and kept her upright.

“What’s wrong?” a deep male voice asked.

She looked up into brown eyes, almost black in their intensity. A stranger. Had he been walking along the sidewalk, or did he follow her from her house?

Do you include some of your own personal experiences in your books or do you prefer to use your imagination?
Yes, I do include some of my own experiences in most of my books and short stories. In A Catered Romance, I took a hurtful thing the guy I crushed on in seventh grade said about me and expanded it to form the inciting incident in the story. In one I’ve just written, Capri Nights (no release date), I used the experience I had when I visited the Isle of Capri in Italy when I was twenty. I met an Italian named Giuseppe Desiderio, made out with him on the roof of the Europa Palace Hotel, and wrote to him for six months after I got home. Of course, I change the incidents in my stories to make them deeper and more interesting than they really were. My life is dull.

Also, on that same trip to Capri, I had a date earlier in the day with another Italian guy who worked at our hotel (two dates in one day!). I was on some mountain with this guy and he got fresh with me so I hauled off and hit him with my purse. In Murder, Mi Amore, my heroine hauls off and whacks a guy with her purse because he’s attacking the hero.

What genre do you typically write in and why did you choose this over others?
I mostly write contemporary. I love the Presents line of Harlequin, and many of my books have those same elements, a strong guy with vulnerability redeemed by the love of a woman. My heroines are usually more independent than the heroines in the Presents line though. I love writing about feisty heroines and the strong guys who love them. As a news junkie, I’m very aware of what’s going on in the world, and that helps me write contemporary stories. I have written short stories with paranormal or fantasy elements, and I wrote one werewolf romance. I got the rights back for the werewolf story when the publisher closed its doors. I’ve had it edited, something the publisher never did, and I plan to republish it within a few months. I’ve written three romantic suspense stories, Logan’s Redemption, Franco’s Fortune, and Murder, Mi Amore. I love writing mysteries into my romances.

Do you have a specific process or a ritual you go through when sitting down to write?
I wish I could say I’m really organized and have files and index cards with character analyses and scenes. But I don’t. I usually write a short outline, then I have to force myself to put my butt in the chair and write. I have a hard time starting a story.

Where do you find your inspiration for your plots? Do you have any tricks of the trade you would care to share?
I find inspiration from things that have happened to me; from things I see or read about on the news; sometimes plots pop into my head from nowhere. If I knew any tricks of the trade, I’d publish a How-to Write a Book book and make millions. There are no tricks other than work hard and never give up. Writers who give up never publish.

What is the oddest place/situation where an idea for a book/plot has come to you?
I can’t think of any odd places or situations where I got an idea for a plot. When I visited Italy in 2006, I kept thinking that Rome, with its twisting, ancient streets would be a great place for a suspense book with a chase scene through the streets. I wrote Murder, Mi Amore based on that.

What makes a book stand out and perk your interest?
If the blurb pulls me in, I’ll buy the book. I like characters with flaws who are real people, characters with emotional baggage who grow through the story. If the blurb makes me think the characters are perfect, I’ll probably not read the book. I love traditional romances with strong, hot heroes. I like the heroines to be independent, or women who are fighting for their independence to live their lives the way they want.

We all have our favorite authors. Can you share some of yours and tell us why you like them?
I love Jude Deveraux. She writes in several sub-genres and tells compelling stories. Her A Knight in Shining Armor is one of my favorite books of all time. I also like Amelia Grey. She writes historical romances that always have a little humor. There are many others, too numerous to list.

We all have a pet peeve, care to share yours?
There are some grammar errors that bother me. For instance, the misuse of further and farther. I don’t know why that bothers me, but it does. Also when I read or hear someone use “I” when it should be “me.” For instance, this sentence: “That bothers her and I.” It should be “That bothers her and me.” Those nuns who taught me in grade school spent half of each day on grammar. I’ve retained some of what they taught.

When you’re not writing, what are the things you enjoy doing to relax?
Reading, of course. I exercise for an hour five days a week. As mentioned before, I’m a TV junkie. I have my viewing schedule down to a science. I also like to cook. In fact, I’ve written some foodie romances and am getting ready to put three of my foodie romances in a boxed set I’ll call Sweet Temptations Boxed Set.

Thank you so much for joining me here today, Cara. I know my followers will enjoy this spotlight as much as I have conducting it. Good luck on all your future endeavors.
And thank you for having me.


Cara Marsi, an award-winning author and self-proclaimed TV junkie, is a former corporate drone and cubicle dweller. Freed of her fabric-covered cage, she can now indulge her love of all things romance. She craves books with happy endings and loves to write about independent heroines and the strong heroes who love them. And she loves to put her characters in dangerous situations or situations merely dangerous to their hearts and watch them fight for the happy endings they deserve.

An eclectic author, Cara is published in romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance. She's also published numerous short romance stories in national women's magazines and online. When not traveling or dreaming of traveling, Cara and her husband live on the East Coast in a house ruled by their fat black diva of a cat named Killer.


Amazon Author Page
Her Website
Twitter or @CaraMarsi
Facebook Author Page
Romance Books 4 Us Blog


Doriana Callahan's life is unraveling. Someone is stalking her and sabotaging her father's company; her teenage son is rebelling; and Logan Tanner is back in town. For sixteen years she's kept an explosive secret from Logan, a secret he soon discovers.

Logan never belonged in Doriana's world, but a long time ago he allowed himself to dream of a future with her, until the awful night he was forced to run. Now he's back and he needs her forgiveness, but first he must forgive himself.

Despite the fact that Doriana kept the existence of his son from him, Logan vows to protect her. He races against time to stop the culprit threatening Doriana and works to forge a bond with his son.

Can the love and passion that still burn between Doriana and Logan overcome old lies and new dangers? The clock is ticking on a second chance at love.


Friday, February 14, 2014

Two New Releases for Elodie Parkes


Alice longs for love. Oliver wants to give her flowers and candy until he thinks she has another lover. Will his jealousy drive him away from Alice or straight into her arms?


An Excerpt from The Flower Box

She pressed her neck against his face as he sucked.

He pulled her skirt up around her waist and kissed up to her ear. “I want you,” he whispered into her ear and she gasped. Oliver pushed her pantyhose down around her thighs. He kissed her lips, and felt her part them to moan as he slid his hand between her legs. She was wet and his cock jerked. His breath came in short gasps as he pushed two fingers into her pussy. The feel of her inner muscles around his fingers sent a spike of sensation through his cock. He thought he’d come right then as his hips thrust in response to her opening her legs wider for his hand. He murmured against her mouth. “You feel so good. I can’t wait to get you home.”

Alice kissed him. “Let’s go. I’m desperate for you.”

Her words made his cock leak. He wondered if he could make it to her car. He took his fingers from her pussy and lingered with his fingertips against her clit.

She held his shoulders and kissed him hard.

Oliver took his fingers from her clit and rested his face against hers. “Sorry, Alice, does anyone else use this path?”

Her voice was low as she answered against his cheek. “Not usually.”

He hugged her. “That’s good.” He moved from her

She made a little sound as he pulled her pantyhose up.

He held her face and kissed her tenderly. “Let’s go.”

Copyright Elodie Parkes 2014

Tom found a new job, but can he find love?
Working in a surf coast hotel seems like the remedy for his previous unhappiness, but as Valentine’s Day approaches, Tom realizes he’s lonely, and looks around for someone to love.


An Excerpt from Candy Hearts

She watched him closely.

Tom saw her gaze trace his mouth, then his body. The atmosphere between them charged as she broadcast attraction signals. He edged his hand along the tabletop so that he might touch hers when she reached for her water glass.

It happened as they stared at each other.

Tom’s cock hardened as the prickle of desire flew along his arm from her touch. He saw her eyes darken and she leaned into him. He took hold of her hand then, locking fingers with hers. He had to kiss her. He raised his other hand, slid it gently along her cheek, and brought her head to his.

The kiss was devastatingly sexy. His cock, rock hard now, pushed at his suit pants. Sky’s lips parted for his tongue. He kissed her, and the steady hum of the restaurant guests’ chatter receded. Surrounded by the scent of her silky hair and softness of her skin, Tom took his time. He held her head to his until he felt her try to move from the kiss, away from him. He let her end the kiss, but he tightened his grip on her hand. As he lifted his head he realized their food had arrived and the server waited by the table for them to end the kiss. He smiled and let go of her hand.

She smiled too leaning back so that the plate could be placed on the table in front of her.

As they ate little bites of their steaks, Tom again asked for her real name.

He swallowed. “I’d love to know your name. Seriously, after that kiss, I can’t keep calling you Sky.” He saw her hesitate, and then she answered.

Copyright Elodie Parkes 2014
Five behind the scenes facts from Elodie about 
The Flower Box and Candy Hearts

1. Candy Hearts was originally going to be titled, A Piece of my Heart. I changed it as I realized the importance of the hearts in the story.

2. Amber, Tom’s ex, in Candy Hearts was originally called Susie. Then I realized there’s a Susie in my book The Winter Girl.

3. The Flower Box was originally titled, A Random Act of Kindness and then I decided it wasn’t a very hot title for an erotic romance.

4. I very nearly had a male rival for Oliver in, The Flower Box and then decided it wasn’t much of a twist and I do like my twists so I changed the story.

5. I designed five covers for The Flower Box and couldn’t decide which one I liked best. Even now, I’m not convinced I chose the one with the right color scheme. I always do that to myself, design heaps of graphics, and then can’t choose. (laughs)

Elodie Parkes lives in Canterbury, United Kingdom. It’s famous for the Cathedral, Chaucer, and there is a UNESCO world heritage site, which includes the ancient ruins of St Augustine's Abbey and St Martin's Church. There is also a ruined castle. It’s a pretty place too and the coast nearby is great.

She work in an antiques shop and writes. She has two dogs that keep her fit with their need for walks.

Elodie writes romance, contemporary and erotic with a twist of magic, paranormal, mystery or suspense. She likes to make the story unusual in some way, by a quirk in the tale.


Her Blogspot where you can read lots of snippets from her erotic romance novels, meet other authors and read snippets from their books.

Her Goodreads Blog
Twitter or @ElodieParkes
Her Website
Manic Readers
The Romance Reviews
Amazon Author Page
Barnes & Noble