Category Archives: Coffee Talk Writers

Ava Stone fans: Review of A Scandalous Past

Review: A Scandalous Past

by Ki Pha 

Note: Ki Pha is a guest reviewer for Coffee Talk Writers. This review was originally posted on doingsomereading.wordpress.com

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A Regency Historical Novel – Book Four of the Scandalous Series…
After years of abuse at the hands of her mother, Cordelia Avery knows the only way out is marriage to the perfect man. A man who will allow her all the freedom she has ever craved. And she has the perfect man picked out. The scandalous Marquess of Haversham might not be perfect to anyone else, but taking the man’s black reputation under consideration, Cordie believes she’ll enjoy all the freedom she’s always wished for in his disreputable arms. If only she could get her heart to go along with the plan and to stop leaping whenever Lord Adonis…er…the Earl of Clayworth is nearby. But the very proper earl is most assuredly the wrong sort for her purposes.

Brendan Reese, the Earl of Clayworth, has no intention of ever marrying again. He’s still trying to clean up the mess his first wife left him, even years after her death. To all the world, Clayworth is the epitome of the perfect English gentleman, and he so wishes that image was the truth. But the truth, as it often can be, is ugly. After all, a perfect English gentleman would never have a traitor for a mother. And unless Clayworth can find the evidence his late wife hid, he could face the gallows himself. But a chance encounter with the reckless Cordelia Avery gives him the best lead he’s had in years to finally putting his family’s past to rest. Unfortunately, focusing on anything other than Miss Avery seems a nearly impossible task.

REVIEW

A Scandalous Past (Scandalous book #4) By Ava Stone

Audible Narrated by Stevie Zimmerman

Published: 2011   Publisher:  Night Shift Publishing     POV: Third person

Setting: London and Derbyshire, England; 1814

Wow! I was really surprised by this book! I got an audio version and gosh it was fantastic.

This was filled with lots of action, humor plus suspense. I was surprised there were some POVs from the secondary characters. It was great to have a view into their heads/thoughts and a different perspective.

So our heroine, Cordie, is miserable without her best friend Olivia (Livvie). Ever since Livvie created a scandal and got married to the Duke of Keltfield, her mother has banned her from seeing Livvie ever again. So Cordie is banned and practically imprisoned in her home except when being dragged to teas and boring social events. She endures endless reprimands at the hands of her mother. Everything Cordie does is wrong. Not being pretty enough, not catching a gentleman, dancing with the wrong dude, talking with people beneath them… yady yady yada.  She’s always getting backlashed from her mother’s blundering mouth. The worst possible person ever!!! And there is a secret too!!! Argh~ I was so not seeing that coming and hated her even more! She should be punished by the hands of Cordie’s husband! But anyways….

That’s why Cordie decided to find a mate, and fast! After ditching a certain Captain seeking for her hand, she planned to find a husband just like Livvie’s; a rogue, a rake, a man whore! She will finally then get her freedom and do as she pleases and get to see her friend without being dictated and controlled. But when she meets the Earl of Clayworth, everything about him is wrong. He doesn’t know his deceased wife was her elder sister’s best-friend! He is a controlling, scrooge, stuck up, uninteresting but very very handsome; Lord Adonis! She knows he’ll never give her the freedom she craves and from what she’s heard, he’s a cold and heartless man! He will never do. But Marcus, the Marquess of Haversham is a wildrake, full of passion and energy, and will do immensely. She will get her fill of adventure and freedom when she marries him. At least that’s what she thinks.

Our hero Brandon, the Earl of Clayworth, is broken and has demons of his own. Plus he has a sister and nephew to look after and is happily widowed. Except for fruitless search for his mother’s traitorous letters his dead wife spoke of. First, he must find ‘the Lion’ who supposedly holds the letters Second, will “they” return the letters to him once he found them? And now the Little minx, Miss Avery, is catching his attention and not in a good way.

She’s interesting and the first lady to ever diss him, and for that overbearing rake Haversham! But she holds the clues to his lost letters and he’ll use any means to get them back. He just wasn’t expecting to fall so hard for her during his time escorting (and stalking) her. But she makes things very difficult indeed, being wild and all.I love how Brandon is very protective of Cordie even though she hates him. He’s not going to stop shadowing her; she keeps putting her life in danger with scandalous and compromising situations. He’s focused and determined and well, I love it when he’s jealous because of Haversham.

However, Cordie can get on my nerves when it comes  to annoying Brandon with her escapades. But then Cordie is a very bold and determined character. She’s not going to fall prey to her true feelings for Brandon because she knows he’ll never give her leeway if they’re married. Although she feels for Marcus (Haversham) and wants to be with him for “good” reasons, her feelings towards Brandon are even more dangerous every time he’s around her. I found that very fascinating because she really likes Marcus when they first meet. There was an immediate attraction between the two, which gave me pause and confused me at the same, because I didn’t know who was going to be the hero. That and the POVs of Cordie, Brandon, and Marcus got my mind swirling. They worked but I thought it was going to be some ménage or something because both dudes wanted the girl and well, she liked or was confused with both dudes.

I can honestly say that I was hating Marcus as the story hit the halfway point. I really loved him in the beginning and then when he admits his feeling towards Cordie, I was lost. Like the heroin, I didn’t know whom to love more, Marcus or Brandon?! But as the story went o,n I just wanted him to leave and do as he promised: wait till Brandon was through with his two weeks with Cordie.  SPOILER: And then that scene when he brought Cordie to his house and his reaction when she bailed!!! I thought I was going to have to beat him up, especially with his own secret out! Sheeesh~ But my love came back around for him because well, he was a gentleman to the every end, so it’s all good and repaired.

Maybe my anger should be directed at Cordie. Even in her naiveté, she was leading the poor man on a leash. She was pretty good at making herself look, err act…. experienced in the realm of flirting and…… such….. This is what caught Marcus in the first place. If only he knew! But I really did like Cordie and her witty, humorous banters and thoughts. I wouldn’t do as she did but it was practical, I guess. What I found hilarious was when she didn’t know what the “bulge” was when Brandon kissed her. It was the out most hilarious thing ever!

Oh, the lovable secondary characters. If you didn’t read the past 3 books you might not know who they are or how huge of a role they play in the series. But they were a fabulous bunch of guests and really did have a great part in driving this story forward.

There is a suspense element to the story concerning the letters and Brandon’s ex-wife’s secret, but the main focus is on the courting and growing relationship between Brandon and Cordie. Brandon did forget about those two troubles because of his determination to get Cordie but all is well.

So over all, this was a very enjoyable read and listen. And well, Stevie Zimmerman with her accented narration of the book is just fantastic! I wouldn’t mind listening to her read more Regency romances.

This audiobook was won as a gift by the author.

5 Mugs from CT – A sip of divinity, very near perfection.

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AVA STONE

Ava Stone

The author of several Regency Noir Romances, Ava Stone first fell in love with Mr. Darcy, Jane Austen and Regency England at the age of twelve. And in the years since, that love has never diminished. If she isn’t writing Regency Era romance, she can be found reading it.

Her best-selling Scandalous Series is filled with witty humor and centers around the friends and family of the Machiavellian-like Lady Staveley, exploring deep themes but with a light touch. A single mother, Ava lives outside Raleigh NC, but she travels extensively, always looking for inspiration for new stories and characters in the various locales she visits.

Together with Tammy Falkner, Ava makes up 1/2 of the Lydia Dare Paranormal Regency writing team.

Feel free to contact her at ava@avastoneauthor.com

Picture and author bio taken from Julia Quinn’s Amazon author page: 

http://www.amazon.com/Ava-Stone/e/B005VUIJB6/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

If you liked this review, visit Ki Pha at doingsomereading.wordpress.com

Winter Night Scavenger Hunt

Chase away the winter doldrums with some games and giveaways. Click on the photos of each blog and find the clues listed below. 
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SCAVENGER LIST: 
  1. Cute White Puppy in a Cup
  2. Leaves with the word LOVE cut into them
  3. Dish of Colorful Candies
  4. A Pencil with a note that says “You Make My Heart Glow
  5. Heart shaped pocket watch hanging in the trees.

TO SEE PHOTOS OF WHAT THESE IMAGES LOOK LIKE, GO TO THE MAIN PAGE FOUND HERE: Gliterary Girl 

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But wait – there’s more:

Win your choice of one of the following ebooks: 

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  Henry small cover

Rafflecopter link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/01288e6/

Find your clues by hopping to these awesome blogs. Once you are done, click on the Grand Prize Rafflecopter link below:

Sponsored by:
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Premier Fantasy author Belinda Mellor

I’d like to welcome world traveler and fellow author Belinda Mellor. Her debut novel, Silvana The Greening was released in December of 2013.

Aubrey: Tell us something about yourself and your travels, Belinda.

 Belinda: I was born in England, lived for many years in Ireland and now live with my family on a lifestyle block near Nelson in New Zealand; a place we came to on holiday some years back and forgot to leave. I studied theology at uni and applied spirituality a few years later, and have been known to teach from time to time. These days I do a fair bit of freelance editing, when I’m not goat milking or egg collecting.

Aubrey: Sounds like you keep pretty busy at home. How did you get interested in writing? Or have you always considered yourself an author?

Belinda: At the age of five I won a school award for ‘free expression’ and have not stopped writing since.  In 1998, I was a winner of an inaugural Ian St. James Literary award, 3rd overall, and one of the twelve finalists whose short stories were published in an anthology ‘At the Stroke of Twelve’ by Collins (as they then were). It was quite a big deal, with celebrity judges and presenters and fairly substantial prizes.

Since then I have had numerous pieces published in magazines and newspapers and a play for children performed by a theatre-in-education company.

AubreySilvana-The Greening is your first published novel. Before you go, tell us a little about your story.

Belinda: It is a gentle fantasy spanning 30 years. It tells the story of Fabiom, a young nobleman, and Casandrina, a tree spirit – a Silvana.

Since the four-year-old boy had hidden, terrified, beneath her tree, Casandrina hoped Fabiom would dare to love her when he came of age. But risking his life, or his sanity, to win a Silvana’s hand is only the start of Fabiom’s problems. A bitter mother, economic espionage, feuds with other holders, and the unwanted attention of a powerful woman will test their relationship.

Besides true love, Silvana is a story of growth, silk-making, archery, poetry, and the beauty of nature.

Aubrey: Is your novel part of a series?  Can you tell me a little about the world you’ve created?

Belinda: Silvana started life as a single novel – spanning fifty-odd years – a fantasy biography of Fabiom, the Lord Holder of Deepvale in the land of Morene who risks everything for the love of a Tree Lady, Casandrina, the Silvana of the title. But, over time, the story grew and grew so that, in the end, it became two novels and Fabiom and Casandrina’s son, Lesandor, became the main character in the second. I called the two parts The Greening and The Turning after the two main festivals of Morene’s year, marking the start of spring and autumn. I am currently editing the second book and – all being well – it will be out by the end of this year. That was supposed to be it, until a couple of months ago when I suddenly knew what happened next! So now I am writing Book 3, tentatively called Restoration, which will be another generation on.

Aubrey: What inspired you to write your current novel?

Belinda: As for inspiration, I’d have to say a mixture of love of nature – especially trees, romanticism, and a fondness for classical history and mythology. The society Silvana is based on borrows heavily from Ancient Greece, which I think complements the dryad-like nature of the non-human characters.

Aubrey: What do you think readers will enjoy most about your novel?

Belinda: The feedback I’ve had since The Greening was released has been interesting, to say the least. A number of people have told me that they don’t normally read fantasy but really enjoyed reading the book and want to know when part 2 will be out. So that’s great! As for what I’d like them to get – well, Fabiom falls in love with the wildwood and is happy to be lost there, and that’s what I want readers to feel: in love with the story and the characters, and happy to be lost in their world.

Once heard, the song of a Silvana can never be forgotten.

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Buy Links: 

Print copies: http://shop.copypress.co.nz/shopn/spi/copyp_12214

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Silvana-The-Greening-Belinda-Mellor-ebook/dp/B00HE5J4Z6

Excerpt:

“I have made a decision,” Fabiom said, half reluctant to reveal his intention yet wanting, needing, to share his thoughts with someone. He was well aware that if he did not take this opportunity there might never be another.

Nalio stayed silent, waiting for him to continue.

“It’s fifteen days to my seventeenth birth anniversary.” He looked at Nalio meaningfully and indeed there was little need for him to say more.

Nalio almost laughed. “Sleep in the woods? You are joking? You’re not joking, are you? Fabiom – you can’t. How can you even think of trying to win a Silvana now?”

“Now? It’s not as if there’s any other chance. It’s fifteen days from today or not at all.”

“My advice? Choose not at all.”

“I can’t. Truly, Nalio, I can’t. I tried –”

“What do you mean, you tried?”

“I came here to the woods to say farewell, to accept I had to live in the world of men and take up the responsibilities my father left me. Instead I found another piece of amber, and the words would not come.

“That night, I tried to imagine my life if I didn’t at least make the attempt, and I couldn’t – I couldn’t imagine anything.”

“You risk much. Only son of a high house. Heir to a grand holding and a deal of responsibility.”

“I know all that,” Fabiom replied rather shortly, challenging Nalio to tell him something he did not already know.

Nalio did not oblige. “May I ask why? I mean, I know we all daydream about doing such a thing; I certainly did, even after I met Eifa. I doubt there’s a boy who hasn’t. But fantasising about wedding a Silvana and actually presenting yourself in the woods on your seventeenth birth eve are two very different things. And that difference is what makes most of us forego the imagined delights of being in the arms of a Tree Lady – for the sake of our continued sanity, or our life, for that matter. 

Keep in touch with Belinda Mellor:

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Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/BelindaAnnMellor

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/belindamellor9/silvana/

Website/Blog: http://silvanathegreening.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bmellor1

 

 

Aubrey’s Ageless Romance Café: The Other Boleyn Girl

Aubrey’s Ageless Romance Café

by Aubrey Wynne

In this literary world, a handful of stories will stand the test of time. A modern classic novel holds the attention of every generation with a thoughtful plot, complex characters and a scene or two that lingers long after the final page.

These books will never be traded in at the paperback store or sold for a quarter at a garage sale. An ageless romance is passed on to your sister, then to her daughter who loans it to a friend. By the time it makes it back to your shelf, the pages are yellowed, earmarked and appreciated. And every so often, when you need to be reminded of the remarkable power of love, you dust off that old friend and peruse its pages again. These are the stories I want to share with you in Aubrey’s cafe.

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The Other Boleyn Girl

By Philppa Gregory

Published:     Publisher:  Touchstone    POV: First person

Setting: England: Tudor Court 1521-1536

 Are there any Tudor fans out there? Prepare for a heavenly read of historical fiction. The Other Boleyn Girl, the first book I read by Philippa Gregory, consumed my time and thoughts until the last page. It revolves around the older sister of Anne Boleyn. The twist in perspective grabs the reader immediately. The little known life of Mary Boleyn brings a unique and fascinating picture of the Tudor Court and Henry VIII.

Mary catches Henry’s eye at the tender age of fourteen. Henry Tudor was not always the fat, unpleasant king presented in the numerous portraits of dusty history files. Once a handsome king, he caused flutters in the hearts of women young and old. The athletic monarch played tennis, hunted and jousted. He was competitive, fit and loved women and adventure. In today’s world, I would compare him to Prince Harry.

So the dazzled Boleyn falls in love with the ruler of England. Yes, she has a slight moral qualm over betraying her Queen. But Katherine of Aragon does not see Mary as a threat. She accepts her husband’s weaknesses and looks the other way. Mary’s husband, William Carey, is not so forgiving. But what can he do? He accepts the bribe offered, and for the most part, keeps his mouth shut. Even when Mary becomes pregnant with a child that is most likely not his.

Enter: little sister Anne just returned from her stay at the French court. The younger Boleyn is sophisticated, witty and flirtatious. An immediate enmity grows between the sisters. In the back of Mary’s mind echoes the warning Anne gave as she left for France. “Anyone can attract a man. The trick is to keep him.”

I do not need to list the details. Readers who enjoy this genre already know the basic facts and timelines. What I found fascinating was the attitudes and inner thoughts spun by Gregory. The research is flawless; her interpretation captivated me. She did not choose one of the many opinions explored throughout the centuries. Instead, she combined several. And in my creative mind, it made perfect sense.

The rivalry between the sisters rang true: they fought, even hated each other at times then worked through their problems as families often do. Mary’s affection and loyalty for her sister falters but never dies. Anne is relentless in her quest to win the king’s heart. She plays the game well and wins for seven long years. Mary tries to move on and even leaves court. Yet each time, Anne relentlessly pulls her back into the plotting and intrigue. Mary even throws herself on the King’s mercy at one point to save her sister’s life. Yet in the end, nothing can save Queen Anne. She burns too many bridges, refuses to hold her tongue and allows paranoia to take control of her life.

I am a history geek like most historical romance writers.  The stories created in my head to fill in the gaps in history provide countless hours of diversion during long trips or boring conferences. Yet nothing prepared me for this novel. Philippa brought the Tudor court to life in a way I had never before experienced.

The conversations rang in my head after I closed the cover. Images popped into my mind’s eye throughout the day and I could not wait to get home and read more. When the movie came out, I jumped for joy. Sadly, it did not do justice to the book.

This is the first novel I have given five mugs. I am not a harsh reviewer but to give a work a perfect score means there was no piece of it I would change. The complex characters, excellent pacing and riveting plot mesmerizes the reader. I did not skim a paragraph of this novel. I did not edit in my head while I read it. I just sat back in the glow of Gregory’s words and enjoyed darn good story.

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About The Author

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Born in Kenya in 1954, Philippa Gregory moved to England with her family and was educated in Bristol and at the National Council for the Training of Journalists course in Cardiff. She worked as a senior reporter on the Portsmouth News, and as a journalist and producer for BBC radio.

Philippa obtained a BA degree in history at the University of Sussex in Brighton and a PhD at Edinburgh University in 18th-century literature. Her first novel, Wideacre, was written as she completed her PhD and became an instant world wide bestseller. On its publication, she became a full-time writer, and now lives with her family on a small farm in the North of England.

Her knowledge of gothic 18th century novels led to Philippa writing Wideacre, which was followed by a haunting sequel, The Favoured Child, and the delightful happy ending of the trilogy: Meridon. This novel was listed in Feminist Book Fortnight and for the Romantic Novel of the Year at the same time – one of the many instances of Philippa’s work appealing to very different readers.

The trilogy was followed by The Wise Woman, a dazzling, disturbing novel of dark powers and desires set against the rich tapestry of the Reformation, and by Fallen Skies, an evocative realistic story set after the First World War. Her novel A Respectable Trade took her back to the 18th century where her knowledge of the slave trade and her home town of Bristol produced a haunting novel of slave trading and its terrible human cost. This is the only modern novel to explore the tragedies of slavery in England itself, and features a group of kidnapped African people trying to find their freedom in the elegant houses of 18th century Clifton. Gregory adapted her book for a highly acclaimed BBC television production which won the prize for drama from the Commission for Racial Equality and was shortlisted for a BAFTA for the screenplay.

Next came two of Gregory’s best-loved novels, Earthly Joys and Virgin Earth, based on the true-life story of father and son John Tradescant working in the upheaval of the English Civil War. In these works Gregory pioneered the genre which has become her own: fictional biography, the true story of a real person brought to life with painstaking research and passionate verve.

The flowering of this new style was undoubtedly The Other Boleyn Girl, a runaway best-seller which stormed the US market and then went worldwide telling the story of the little-known sister to Anne Boleyn. Now published in 26 countries with more than a million copies in print in the US alone, this is becoming a classic historical novel, winning the Parker Pen Novel of the Year award 2002, and the Romantic Times fictional biography award. The Other Boleyn Girl was adapted for the BBC as a single television drama and a film is now in production starring Scarlett Johansson as Mary Boleyn, Natalie Portman as Anne Boleyn and Eric Bana as Henry VIII.

A regular contributor to newspapers and magazines, with short stories, features and reviews, Philippa is also a frequent broadcaster and a regular contestant on Round Britain Quiz for BBC Radio 4 and the Tudor expert for Channel 4’s Time Team.

She lives in the North of England with her husband and two children and in addition to interests that include riding, walking, skiing and gardening (an interest born from research into the Tradescant family for her novel, Virgin Earth), she also runs a small charity building wells in school gardens in The Gambia. Fifty-six wells have been built by UK donors to date.

Connect with Philppa Gregory at www.philippagregory.com

Note: Book cover, author photo and bio were taken from Amazon.com. Both cover and photo are linked to the original source. Click and enjoy. 

Meet historical fiction author Carmen Stevens

Interview with historical fiction author Carmen Stevens, debut novel Anne.

By Aubrey Wynne

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 Carmen Gross, pen name Carmen Stevens, was born in Fargo, ND, March 1992. She currently resides in Detroit Lakes, MN, where she works and attends college full time. Carmen published her novel “Anne” in July 2013-an exciting, richly written historical work about a young English girl who makes many bad choices throughout her life and then struggles to find redemption.

Aubrey: I am pleased to introduce  Carmen Stevens. As a history buff, I am always intrigued by a captivating story with historic base. I love being able to fall back into the heroin’s time period and feel as if I’m there. As an author, the research can be as exciting as the actual story. What do you think readers will enjoy most about your novel, Anne

Carmen: I think that a reader who likes historical fiction will be delighted further when they find out that my book contains English history, mystery, tragedy, and suspense. The title character is very complex and I think it would be difficult for the reader to ascertain what move she will make next.

Aubrey: Anne sounds like a compelling story. What was the hardest part about writing this novel?

Carmen: For this novel, I had to really perform a lot of research on British history, since the entire novel takes place in England in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. I also wanted the story to be as perfect as it could be, so I took many plot and character notes and paged through the notes enough so that today this book of notes isn’t in very good shape.

Aubrey: What piece of advice would you give a new author?

Carmen: I would tell them to work hard, be patient, and don’t give up. You will reap what you sow, eventually.

Aubrey: Good advice for all of us. Is being an author your primary career?

Carmen: No, it’s not. I’m currently attending college studying law; I’d like to be a paralegal.

Aubrey: What is the one thing about a book that will make you close the cover and not finish it?

Carmen: I won’t finish a book if it’s badly written or just doesn’t interest me anymore.

Aubrey: I agree. There are too many good books on my TBR list. If you could have a super power, which one would you want?

Carmen: I’d want to see into the future, I think. I wonder a lot about what the future holds for me and the rest of the world.

Aubrey: Describe yourself in three words.

Carmen: Shy, bubbly, and hard-working.

Aubrey: Thank you so much for joining us today on Coffee Talk. I wish you the best of luck with your debut novel.

Connect with Carmen:

Facebook Pagehttps://www.facebook.com/hisfic?ref=hl

Bloghttp://bubblymissy16.wordpress.com

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/obloomluvr

Tumblrhttp://animer20.tumblr.com/

Emailbubblymissy_16@hotmail.com

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Excerpt:

Prologue

She had not been there at the time. She had not the courage to go back. She knew how she could not, anyway. Why would she want to? Her father was nothing but a selfish, sadistic drunkard, always abusing her, always devouring that whiskey. Yet she knew the impulse to rush back and the sudden desire to do so.

Why did Anne suddenly feel like her life was changed?

Her young nose sniffed the thick air cautiously. Was that the stink of old London bathing itself in one of its filthy baths of smoke and fog, or the defective redolence of brick being eaten by a fast fire? Whichever it was, she had to turn back. If her learned instincts whispered to her truly and that comfortless beast of a house was crumbling down onto its firm foundation, perhaps her paltry father had crumbled down on his shaking foundation as well, within it. The horrible building had always been, after all, a rather disconsolate, unwieldy object for Anne in her rather unreliable life. Her father had been no different, yet she had still learned to live fluently and somewhat successfully in the fearful world of London. She knew strongly in her heart, thus, that she could continue to faithfully persevere, no matter what event fate would next throw her way.

Buy Links:

Amazon linkhttp://www.amazon.com/Anne-Carmen-Stevens-ebook/dp/B00E4D3HY0

Barnes & Noblehttp://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/anne-carmen-stevens/1117474326

Smashwordshttps://www.smashwords.com/books/view/372253

Cast Your Vote For Coffee Talk Writers Aubrey Wynne and Renea Mason

Best Books of 2013:
Editors and Predators Readers Poll

Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewers Choice

Many of us are looking back on the Best of 2013. Bloggers, book sites and publishers are running contests to support the authors whose work stood out from the crowd. Two of our Coffee Talk Writers, Aubrey Wynne (Merry Christmas, Henry) and  Renea Mason (Symphony of Light and Winter) have been added to these lists. Aubrey has been nominated in the  Predators and Editors Reader’s Poll for Best Romance Short Story. Renea has been nominated for by The Paranormal Reveiwer’s Choice Awards for Best Paranormal Romance.  Please show them some love and support by clicking the links below.

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Henry, a shy and talented artist, moonlights as a security guard at a museum and loses his heart to a beautiful, melancholy woman in a painting. As his obsession grows, he finds a kindred soul who helps him in his search for happiness. On Christmas Eve, Henry dares to take a chance on love and fulfill his dream.

Click below to vote for Aubrey Wynne

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Symphony of Light Book One

One woman. Seven men. All bound by one man’s undying devotion.
Fundraiser Linden Hill has a knack for reading people. She always knows which conversations will put a prospect at ease, which drink will loosen a patron’s lips—or his wallet, and how cleavage will make a donor sweeten the deal. She’s even foreseen her dateless weekends four hundred and sixty-four times in a row.

But ten years after watching life drain from her former mentor’s and first love’s eyes, her skills for divining the predictable are lost. When Cyril returns, he’s still gorgeous, but this time he’s beyond human, far less dead, and pissed. His lack of memory drives him to desperate acts, and his turbulent re-acquaintance with Linden pulls her into his war with a creature hell-bent on his destruction. His group of six supernatural men share a tantalizing secret, but despite the hunger, it’s love that leads her to sacrifice everything to save him…

 Click on the box below to vote for Renea Mason

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The Goals and Successes of the Ladies of Coffee Talk By Kishan Paul

Reblogged from www.coffeetalkwriters.com

http://wp.me/p390gW-Ju

With just another day left in 2013, many are looking ahead with hopes and goals for the new year. The ladies of Coffee Talk are no different. I managed to drag these amazing women away from their busy lives and holiday festivities to find out what each were looking forward to in the upcoming year and to see what they felt they did well in the one they are about to leave behind.

This is what Aubrey Wynne (author of Merry Christmas, Henry) had to say about her accomplishments of 2013.

I published my first novel. Joined the CT group. Took my hubby on a long trip out east and taught him how to relax. For 2014, I want to: (1) Lose weight and be regular at the gym. (2) Get my next book published (3) Write something every day and at least 3000 words a week regardless of how busy I am. (4) Have more patience with my parents. (5) Stop saying, “I’ll do it if you can’t find anyone else.”

Isabella Harper, our youngest member in CT, had some major life changes in 2013.

I’m excited about completing April NanoWriMo, buying a house, and having our daughter. As far as 2014, I don’t really do “resolutions” because I feel like they kinda fall by the wayside as the year progresses. I like to call them goals. In no particular order: finish my MS and possibly publish, finish renovating our house, enjoy every second with my family, continue to eat healthy, expand my cooking/baking horizons, blog more often. Exercise is huge on my goal list this year, and I’m toying with becoming a “coach” of some sort… I haven’t figured that goal out exactly yet. I’d like to bring in some money of my own… maybe even open an Etsy shop. We will see…

Marianne Willis (author of Killer Temptations) chimed in from Australia.

I’m proud of the continual support from loved ones and new fans. My goal for 2014 is to write the next book in the bonded series as well as start a new book trilogy. I also hope to finish a YA paranormal.

Nessie Stranger (author of Living Dead Girl) what are you most proud of?

2013 brought lots of changes, like moving and getting my first publishing contract. As far as 2014, like Bella, I don’t necessarily do resolutions. In 2014, I hope to complete the sequel to Living Dead Girl and hopefully get that one published as well. I hope to become more financially stable, and better provide for my family. Maybe get better organized, too

Renea Mason (author of Symphony of Light and Winter) how about you?

In 2013, I became a published author and I’m excited that my book is successful. My family didn’t disown me. I met a lot of wonderful people. I recently took a new position in my company that will allow me to continue to grow and learn and I am most thankful for that opportunity.   

For 2014, I have two young sons and the other day I looked at the price of college.  WOAH.  So my resolution is to save more money for my boys. I already made a commitment that all of my book earnings will go to them so when they grow up and realize that Mommy writes smut, I can fall back on, “Hey, it paid for your college.” My second personal goal is to lose weight and stay healthy. Damn pumpkin roll. From a writing perspective, I’m looking to complete the second book in the Symphony of Light Series currently entitled, Between the Waters. 

Valerie A Twombly (author of Eternal Flame) what are yours?

I’m proud of signing with a publisher and releasing 2 books. My goals for 2014 are: (1) lose weight and work out more.(2) Publish book 2 of the Guardians series. (3) Work on a new series. (4) If time permits, work on Brock’s story for book 2 of Demon Heat.

For me, Kishan Paul, I have a lot I’m proud of as far as 2013. I completed my first novel, The Second Wife, and started querying. In the process, I discovered new friends, like my ladies at CT, and realized just what an amazing and supportive family I have. My goals for 2014 are to publish and finish my next book. I plan to keep learning about the art of writing and to keep learning about social media. I hope to express more gratitude and love to the people in my life. And my hardest goal of all: to bite my tongue and walk away.

I decided to end this post with CT’s other Aussie member and technology whiz. Michaela Miles, please share your accomplishments and goals for the new year:

My main New Year’s Resolutions are to keep in touch with family more often and take some more “me” time. After that, I have a few other things I’d like to achieve: I’d love to publish a few books, finish renovating our house, hire a manager for my businesses so I can write more, get out and exercise more, knock another year off my Uni degree, read more books, travel… just a small wish list

 For 2013, I am proud of joining the Coffee Talk ladies and really becoming interested and involved with their writing, publishing, and marketing processes. It’s made me become more involved with my own and given me much more advice and confidence than I’ve found anywhere else. I have also completed a novel and a short story, and plotted out a series of books in genres I’ve never considered before, and again that’s all down to the Coffee Talk ladies. Such amazing ladies – I raise my glass to each of you.

Well said Michaela.

To all our followers out there: We are humbled and grateful for all of your support and look forward to spending another great year together.

Happy New Year from the ladies of CT.

My Christmas Wishes Come True.

Christmas is a time to delight in the unexpected and hope for generosity in mankind. It is a day of reflection, counting blessings, and being with those we love. A time to share memories of those special people still in our hearts but no longer with us. With the chaos of everyday life, we need this day to remind those close to us how much we care.

I would like to send a special holiday message to my Coffee Talk girls: thank you. Santa got it right. This group has been one of my most unexpected and cherished surprises of 2013. Your unconditional support and mentoring have sustained me through the best and worst of times. I don’t know what I would have done without you.

This has been a whirlwind year for me both personally and professionally. I am thankful for a loving and supportive family and loyal friends. My job is secure with good health benefits. In past years, I took these things for granted. With age, I have learned to appreciate all of the little blessings that are sent my way.

So may I extend a heartfelt Merry Christmas to all of my virtual friends I have met over the past year. The online support from so many of you have been a constant reminder of the good in all of us. In particular, I am  grateful for the friendships of Susan Stuckey, Jena Baxter, Chris Drew, Louise Redman and Belinda Mellor.

And Happy Holidays to Melange Books, LLC for publishing my first story. If you need to a little nudge to believe in the magic of Christmas again, let me introduce you to Henry. Cheers to all of us!

Aubrey

 Merry Christmas, Henry

Henry, a shy and talented artist, moonlights as a security guard at a museum and loses his heart to a beautiful, melancholy woman in a painting. As his obsession grows, he finds a kindred soul who helps him in his search for happiness. On Christmas Eve, Henry dares to take a chance on love and fulfill his dream.

Excerpt:

“The museum will be closing in five minutes. Please make your way to the nearest exit.”

Henry tore his gaze from the painting, and looked around at the weekend crowd hurrying by. No one noticed him. He always blended into the background. Henry the Trifling—that would have been the title of his self-portrait. A soft sigh escaped as he pulled his gray coat over the frayed cuffs of a cotton shirt. There were extraordinary people and there were ordinary people. Henry considered himself less than ordinary. He was insignificant.

“You’ll never amount to nothin’. Just like your worthless father.”

He shrugged off the memory of his mother’s nagging image and looked toward the last group of art enthusiasts headed in his direction.

This was his favorite part of the day. In a crush of people, everyone was equal. No one stood out in the sea of indistinguishable faces. There was no pressure to make witty or charming conversation. Henry liked people but had never been good at interaction. The anonymity of a crowd gave the illusion of belonging. For a man as painfully shy as Henry, it was the only way to mingle in a city like Chicago.

Casting a last wistful look at the lady in the painting, Henry took a deep breath and eased into the middle of the exiting crowd. A large woman trying to grab her boisterous child knocked into his left shoulder. She distractedly patted a chubby hand at the obstruction and mumbled a quick apology without glancing his way. Henry smiled and nodded.

The group approached the turnstile and bunched up, shoulder to shoulder, waiting for their turn to leave. Someone jostled him from the

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Aubrey Wynne

side and he felt the heat of another body against his back. He tried to absorb the vivid energy surrounding him. Last week a pretty woman had smiled at him. He had felt warm all the way home. He’d started painting her but had not yet decided on the setting. It had to be somewhere as beautiful and inviting as her smile—Venice, perhaps.

Stepping onto the sidewalk, he buttoned his overcoat against the early November chill. Christmas lights intermingled with the traffic lights, blinking and glowing on the wet streets. The wind had picked up and people rushed by with their heads down. Henry pulled his collar up against the icy sting of a light rain and quickly walked the few blocks to his small apartment.

Stopping in front of the dilapidated building, Henry looked up at his fourth floor window. He always left the light on so it seemed as if someone was home to greet him. He smiled as his thoughts returned to the woman in the painting. He would never forget that snowy December day she arrived at the museum. He had been working his usual graveyard shift and the day manager had needed help with a shipment arriving that morning.

*** *

“Hey, Henry, you want a little overtime?” the supervisor had asked. “Charlie called in sick and I could use an extra hand. Another rich collector remembered us in his will. We’ve got a pricey piece arriving in about an hour and I’d feel better with some extra security.”

Henry tried to wipe the smile off his face. Five years in the city and he still felt like a country bumpkin. “Sure.”

“The paper says a Rubens. Flemish, wasn’t he? But it’s a small one.”

Henry gave a whistle. “Impressive.”

“There’s a companion painting with it, artist unknown. We’ll have to find a spot for it in appreciation for the collector’s piece.”

An hour later, Henry held a priceless painting in his hands. God, he loved this job.

“The family probably figured they wouldn’t get any money out of the other one. But this one sure is a beauty,” the supervisor said as he reached for the Rubens.

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Merry Christmas, Henry

“Yes, indeed,” Henry replied, as his eyes landed on the second painting. “Striking.”

Henry’s boss laughed. “I’m talking about this one, Bud. The little one is worth the big bucks!” His boss headed toward the office to start the paperwork on the new museum pieces.

“Yes, of course,” he murmured, but his attention remained focused on the woman in the larger painting.

She sat on the edge of a rocky cliff, her face slightly turned as if looking over the edge. Her legs were out to the side, knees bent, a long, olive-colored skirt spread around her haphazardly as if blown by the wind. The stormy ocean breakers rushed between jagged rocks then turned into frothy waves that lapped at the sand. The details in the picture were crisp and stark, the color was minimal—just the woman on a cliff with the turbulent water below. But the overall effect created a hauntingly beautiful scene.

He felt her distress, her sorrow. His fingers itched to reach out and pull her from the painting and hold her, soothe her, give her comfort. Henry knew that if she could turn and face him, he would be looking at the most exquisite creature he’d ever seen. His hand shook as he reached out to touch the canvas.

“Are you okay, Henry?”

Henry drew his hand back quickly as if he’d been caught in the act of—of what? Touching a frame? Good lord, he must be tired.

“What? Oh, yeah, I just need some sleep. ” As Henry turned to leave, he took one last look at the woman who had just stolen his heart. Fate had given him a precious gift. He whistled “Angels We Have Heard on High” all the way home.

 

A virtual trip to a ski lodge in Vail, Colorado. Oh what fun it is to ride a bunny hill today.

Wine and Chat with Cait and Aubrey Wynne

wine and cheese words

Aubrey Wynne

Aubrey

Buy now: Melange Books

Amazon

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December is a magical time of the year to spend time with family and friends. Some of us have a special someone, others dream of a spark that could generate chemistry so strong that you believe the person you see is that special someone, the person that makes you smile. In the world today, there’s so many different ways to meet someone: in person, online, but to see a portrait in a gallery and know the person is special that is magic.

Sitting by the fire on the leather couch in a ski lodge in Vail, Colorado, I can’t wait for one of my favorite peeps to arrive. Aubrey Wynne released her first book, Merry Christmas, Henry, a few weeks ago. It’s the perfect cozy Christmas read. Oh heck, I can’t tell you anymore, here she comes.

Cait: “Aubrey! It’s wonderful to see you.” I jump to my feet and hug her.

Aubrey: “I have been talking about this all week. My husband almost pushed me out the door. Thank you for inviting me.”

Cait: “You are welcome. Thank you for joining me.

We sit on the couches a table dividing us. A tall golden-haired, green-eyed man sits at a nearby table.

Cait: “Aubrey, he looks like the hero in my latest manuscript, Second Chances.”

Aubrey: Long sigh. “Absolutely mouth-watering. He is just how I pictured Ryan if you swap out the skis for a skateboard. If he’s an instructor, I’m up for a lesson.”

Cait: I laugh.“Speaking of delicious, Merry Christmas, Henry, is a wonderful story. Would you give a little detail about the book?”

Aubrey: She smiles and tears her eyes away from the gorgeous blonde. “Henry is a handsome and talented artist but painfully shy. His life revolves around his painting and best friend Melinda, the owner of an art gallery. While working as a security guard in a museum, he becomes infatuated with the portrait of a woman. When Melinda accepts a marriage proposal, Henry realizes he must find his own happiness. So he comes up with a plan that depends on his artistic skill and the magic of Christmas.

Cait: “The story is so unique. I don’t believe I’ve ever read anything like it. What inspired you?” Arches eyebrow. “Have you ever admired a pic of a guy?” I laugh.

Aubrey: Giggles. “Good grief, as a teenager my wall was filled with posters. I spent hours drooling over and talking to Robert Redford, Paul Newman and John Travolta. And of course, Starsky and Hutch. Oops, I think I just gave away my age.”

Cait: “Too funny.”

The Ryan-like character from Second Chances winks at Aubrey. She winks back.

Aubrey: “I need a drink. I think the ski instructor is flirting with me. Maybe he likes cougars?”

Cait: “It appears so.” I’m smiling so hard my cheeks hurt. Aubrey’s a hoot.

The waiter arrives, bringing glasses of wine I ordered when I first arrived.

Cait: I hold up my glass. “A toast to your first release and to all the ones that follow.” Our glasses clink.

Aubrey: “Yes, indeed.” She holds up her glass. “Here’s to more great romances in the New Year.”

Cait: I set my glass on the table and reach behind the couch. “I have a surprise for you.” I pull out the picture of the woman Henry admires. “The owner of the ski lodge loved your book so much they had a painting made of it. They want it hung in here. We get to do the honors of deciding where it goes.”

Aubrey: “I’m honored, and such a wonderful way to celebrate my first publication. The design and setting of this lodge would have pleased Henry.”

We crossed to the wall Aubrey decides. She lifts it up and places it against the wall. Strong arms reach over her head and grab the sides of the frame. The Ryan-like character smiles down at her. “I’ll do this for you.”

Cait: I smirk and step back, giving them a moment, and sip more wine.

Aubrey: “It just keeps getting better, Cait.”

Ryan marks the wall and retrieves the hammer and a nail from a side table. “Great story, you must be the author, Aubrey Wynne. I heard you’d be by today.”

Aubrey: “Yes, I am. Thank for your help. So do you like romance or are you more the action and adventure type?”

“I’m the action, adventure type. You interested?”

I choke on my wine, the liquid rushes up my nose. Ugh. I hate that.

Aubrey: “If I were a little younger… Seriously, though, you remind me of someone. But he’s already taken.”

He hammers the nail in the wall, hangs the picture, and steps back admiring his handy work. “Very pretty.” He turns to us. “See you in Second Chances, my destiny awaits.”

Ryan leaves and our mouths gape.

Cait: “Wow, you have a fan and I have a nose full of wine.”

Aubrey: “My heart just skipped a beat.”

Cait: I let out a breath and stare at the picture. “He’s right, she’s quite beautiful. Would you tell us about her?”

Aubrey: “Her name, according to Henry, is Rebecca. She is a beautiful, melancholy soul and I think that is what attracted Henry. It became his mission to make her happy.”

Cait: “What is your favorite part of the book?”

Aubrey: “The ending.”

Cait: “My next question was to ask you to read your favorite part, but we don’t want to give anything away. So, would you give an excerpt from another part of the book?”

Aubrey:

“Hey, Henry, you want a little overtime?” the supervisor had asked. “Charlie called in sick and I could use an extra hand. Another rich collector remembered us in his will. We’ve got a pricey piece arriving in about an hour and I’d feel better with some extra security.”

Henry tried to wipe the smile off his face. Five years in the city and he still felt like a country bumpkin. “Sure.”

“The paper says a Rubens. Flemish, wasn’t he? But it’s a small one.”

Henry gave a whistle. “Impressive.”

“There’s a companion painting with it, artist unknown. We’ll have to find a spot for it in appreciation for the collector’s piece.”

An hour later, Henry held a priceless painting in his hands. God, he loved this job.

“The family probably figured they wouldn’t get any money out of the other one. But this one sure is a beauty,” the supervisor said as he reached for the Rubens.

 “Yes, indeed,” Henry replied, as his eyes landed on the second painting. “Striking.”

Henry’s boss laughed. “I’m talking about this one, Bud. The little one is worth the big bucks!” His boss headed toward the office to start the paperwork on the new museum pieces.

“Yes, of course,” he murmured, but his attention remained focused on the woman in the larger painting.

She sat on the edge of a rocky cliff, her face slightly turned as if looking over the edge. Her legs were out to the side, knees bent, a long, olive-colored skirt spread around her haphazardly as if blown by the wind. The stormy ocean breakers rushed between jagged rocks then turned into frothy waves that lapped at the sand. The details in the picture were crisp and stark, the color was minimal—just the woman on a cliff with the turbulent water below. But the overall effect created a hauntingly beautiful scene.

He felt her distress, her sorrow. His fingers itched to reach out and pull her from the painting and hold her, soothe her, give her comfort. Henry knew that if she could turn and face him, he would be looking at the most exquisite creature he’d ever seen. His hand shook as he reached out to touch the canvas.

“Are you okay, Henry?”

Henry drew his hand back quickly as if he’d been caught in the act of—of what? Touching a frame? Good lord, he must be tired.

“What? Oh, yeah, I just need some sleep. ” As Henry turned to leave, he took one last look at the woman who had just stolen his heart. Fate had given him a precious gift. He whistled “Angels We Have Heard on High” all the way home.

Cait: “This has been great, but the slopes are calling our name. Maybe, you can fall into Ryan?” I snicker.

Aubrey: “I’m not known for my grace or balance. It would be a perfect ending to a perfect day.”

Cait: “Would you leave your contact information for the readers?”

Alternate Website: http://www.coffeetalkwriters.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aubrey.wynne.7?fref=ts

About the Author

Aubrey Wynne resides in the Midwest with her husband, dogs, horses, mule and barn cats. She is an elementary teacher by trade, champion of children and animals by conscience, and author by night. Obsessions include history, travel, trail riding and all things Christmas. She is a proud member of the Coffee Talk Writers.

The Christmas season is official: 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop begins. In addition to recipes and cash, join me on Dec. 7 and 12th for my personal giveaways.

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12 Days of Christmas
December 1st – 12th 2013
Hosted by: As You Wish Reviews & Confessions of the Paranormal
Sponsors: As You Wish Tours & Book Dragon Designs

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Welcome to the 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop!!!

Everyone has a YUMMY cookie recipe to share and there are some extra little treats scattered around the Hop too, so be sure to visit each of the Authors and Bloggers blogs to make sure you don’t miss out on something SWEET!

Also for an extra special something in your stocking check out the Rafflecopter GRAND PRIZE Giveaway below.

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Rafflecopter Share Link
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/ZmU3ODJlOTQzODNlMTU4NTgzYzZlNmJiYWJjY2MxOjc4/

I hope you are on Santa’s Nice List!                  Additional giveaways coming up:

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December 7 – Copy of Holiday Hopes (Christmas anthology in ebook or print) and $5 Amazon gift card

MerryXmasHenry2 (1) copy

December 12 – Copy of Merry Christmas, Henry (ebook) and $5 Amazon gift card

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Linky – Author’s List
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