Thursday, June 26, 2014

Author Spotlight - Sarah Hegger

I'm delighted to feature author Sarah Hegger on Book Blather. Sarah, like me, is entranced with all things medieval and has done the research to back it up, as evidenced in her debut novel, The Bride Gift, (an excerpt is included in her post.) Readers will look forward to her upcoming release, Sweet Bea, available on September 1st. To read more about the globe-trotting Sarah, be sure to check out her bio titled "A Little About Me." Welcome to Book Blather, Sarah.

One of the first questions I get asked when I tell people about my book (which I’ll do to anyone if they stand still long enough) is Why Medieval.
And it’s not that easy to answer. I started out wanting to be the modern version of Georgette Heyer. After torturing myself, and my critique partner, through one Regency novel (never published, thank God), I realized that I just didn't have what it took and there were so many others doing it so much better.
The attraction to medieval lies mostly in the fantasy element. LadyHawke, The Princess Pride, Camelot – I’ve seen them all HUNDREDS of times. And it’s not that I don’t understand that the reality was so very different – dirtier, grittier and those knights were more thug than hero. But the magic remains for me.

It began with a visit to my favorite castle, Kenilworth. I couldn’t stop imagining the lives that had passed in front of those walls.

In fact, standing just about where this photograph was taken. The castle is nothing more than a ruin now, but it still echoes with the life that passed through it.

And the dresses. Is it shallow to admit I love all those sweeping gowns?

At the start of my research I came across an historian postulating the nature of women of the time. The Bride Gift is set in England, 1153. He said that we tend to think of these women as these wilting flowers, damsels in distress, but the reality had to be different. Times were hard and the women must have been tough to survive them.
That started the magical...

What if we had a woman trying desperately to control her own destiny in a time when she really had little chance of doing so?
What if I snatched it out of her hands and saw what she did to regain control?
What if I put that control in the hands of the sort of man who was her worst nightmare?
This is how it all ended up.

It’s 1153 in the period dubbed ‘The Anarchy’, King Stephen and Empress Maud are not the only ones embroiled in a fierce battle of the sexes.

Determined to control her own destiny, willful Helena of Lystanwold has chosen just the husband to suit her purposes. But, when her banished guardian uncle attempts to secure her future and climbs through her bedroom window with a new husband by a proxy marriage, she understandably balks. Notorious warrior Guy of Helston is everything Helena swore she would never marry; a man who lives by the sword, like the man who murdered her sister.

This marriage finally brings Guy close to his lifetime dream of gaining lands and a title. He is not about to let his feisty bride stand in his way. A master strategist, Guy sets out to woo and conquer his lady.

 Against a backdrop of vengeance, war and betrayal, Guy and Helena must learn to forge a united front or risk losing everything.

The Bride Gift is my debut novel and released on May 14th. It’s available now on Amazon.
I have a second medieval, Sweet Bea, releasing on September 1st and it is the first in the series, Sir Arthur’s Legacy.

A little about me:

Born British and raised in South Africa, Sarah Hegger suffers from an incurable case of wanderlust. Her match? A hot Canadian engineer, whose marriage proposal she accepted six short weeks after they first met. Together they’ve made homes in seven different cities across three different continents (and back again once or twice). If only it made her multilingual, but the best she can manage is idiosyncratic English, fluent Afrikaans, conversant Russian, pigeon Portuguese, even worse Zulu and enough French to get herself into trouble.

Mimicking her globe trotting adventures, Sarah’s career path began as a gainfully employed actress, drifted into public relations, settled a moment in advertising, and eventually took root in the fertile soil of her first love, writing. She also moonlights as a wife and mother.

She currently lives in Draper, Utah with her teenage daughters, two Golden Retrievers and aforementioned husband. Part footloose buccaneer, part quixotic observer of life, Sarah’s restless heart is most content when reading or writing books.
She is always delighted to hear from you. Sarah can be reached at any and all of the following places:

And if you’re still with me, here’s a small taste of The Bride Gift:

Slowly, Helena turned and approached her husband.
His large body barely fit in the wooden tub. He sat with his knees almost to his ears. A slight frown creased his dark brows.
Helena dipped her hand in the soft soap they kept for bathing; more jasmine. She rubbed it between her fingers to create lather. When they next made soap she would need to produce something less feminine for Guy.
From this position, his head was almost on a level with her breasts. A feeling akin to excitement fluttered through her belly.
He watched her face as she leaned forward to soap his head, working it through his cropped hair. The bristly ends tickled her palm.
She reached for a bucket of rinsing water. He closed his eyes as soap and bubbles streamed down the strong planes of his cheeks. Droplets clung to his lashes. They were almost ridiculously long and so incongruous with the rest of him. Probably the only part of him that could be called soft.
He dropped his head forward onto his knees so she could finish rinsing.
Guy presented the broad expanse of his back, and she laid her hands across the sun-darkened skin. He was warm under her fingers and beneath the smooth skin, his muscles bunched slightly as she spread the soap. This might be bearable. When she rubbed her fingers on either side of his spine, he made a soft purr of enjoyment.
Her pulse jumped.
"Soft hands," he said.
Her fingers traced a long, puckered scar running beneath his shoulder blade and disappearing around his side.
"A lance man with poor aim," he murmured.
The skin on his back was firm, but marked by the scars of a lifetime spent wielding a sword. "It appears you really do fight," she commented lightly.
For some reason those accumulated injuries and the pain they had caused angered her as well as rendered her sorry for his suffering. Helena steeled her resolve. It was just these sorts of wounds that made him perfect for her purpose.
She lathered soap across his shoulders and down the thick, corded muscle of each arm. Her belly reacted with another odd little quiver as her fingers slid across his skin like oil poured from a vial.
Guy raised his eyes to her face. A slumberous warmth made them glow nearly silver.
Her breath quickened in her chest as if she had been running; her hands tingled where they touched him.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Author Spotlight - Dyanne Davis

Throughout the summer, I will be featuring a number of writers in an Author Spotlight. Award winning author, Dyanne Davis, is the first. A frequent workshop presenter, Dyanne has written 20 novels and hosts a local cable television show The Art of Writing to help aspiring writers. She also pens a vampire series under the name, F.D. Davis. Dyanne lives in a Chicago suburb with her husband of 43 years, William Sr. 

Welcome to Book Blather, Dyanne. I’m so glad you found time in your busy schedule to drop by.

First and foremost, I want to thank Marilee for her open invitation to authors on the Pan loop.

On Monday May 12th, I participated in a blog tour that a friend asked me to be a part of.  My blog mostly talked about how I promise to do things (like blog) and then worry about what the heck I'm going to talk about.

On Tuesday, May 20th, I saw a post from Marilee on the RWA PAN loop looking for guest bloggers and emailed her before I could stop myself. In my defense, on Monday, I'd had a couple of medical procedures and was more than likely still under the effects of anesthesia.  When Marilee emailed me back, and said, "sure you can blog," I went into an immediate panic and asked if I could send it to her the next day.

This morning I woke and wondered, why, why, why, did you ask to blog? LOL. So I thought about the title of Marilee's blog, Book Blather and I thought to myself, I can totally blather, that's what I do. Besides, I love books and I've been reading since I was four.

And this is what I'm going to blather on about: Writers and the process of writing. For the past eight years I've done a cable TV show, The Art of Writing, in my home town and I've interviewed countless writers, many NYT and USA Today bestselling authors. To name drop a few: L.A. Banks, Jade Lee, Cathie Lintz. Simone Elkeles, Donna Hill, and Elizabeth Hoyt. For several years I also interviewed award winning authors for the Romance Slam Jam blog and for various on-line magazines

Now this is the beauty of writing and writers. In the eight years I've been doing the show there has not been two writers who have ever had the exact same process. They are all as unique as their works. For me there is nothing better (well almost) than listening to a writer tell about the characters.

Even the most shy becomes filled with passion when telling of their characters. That elusive muse that we speak of is real and at times will bring the germ of an idea to a dozen writers at the exact same moment. None of them however will write the same story.

The things I've learned from other writers: Their process change with age and family obligations. They soak up ideas like sponges. Everything their friends and family talk about may one day wind up in a book. They have no idea what their muse will bring them next. And, oh yes, they all hear voices.

I suppose I love listening not only to the process of other writers, but knowing I'm in this huge group of people who hear voices. I hear the voices when I'm in a packed movie theater, or in a group of people having a very pleasant conversation. I have scenes play out in my mind while soaking in the tub and having the answer to a plot hole magically appear. Even in the most intimate of moments characters decide to show up and tell me what they want me to write.

I've been traditionally published for over a decade and for the last three or so years have decided to go the Indie route with the good and the bad. The bad being that I have to force myself to do things I might not want to. The good being that I can finally write about things that my ex-agent wasn't able to sell and that editors didn't want. And the thing of it is that I understand that generally in a trilogy all the books are in the same vein. My aren't.  My muse thought I needed to shake things up with first person, paranormal and the divine.

And that's my segue into the book I'm going to tell you about. One week ago I put Full Circle out for the world to read (wouldn't that be nice if it came true) Full Circle is the last book of a trilogy about reincarnations and psychics.   I'll give you a brief overview without the blather.
The Affair. A married woman, Michelle Powers meets her past life husband, Chance Morgan and begins a torrid affair. Together they meet their son from their past life, famed psychic Blaine Madia.

In the second book, The Gift, Blaine Madia, more famous for being a medium meets a female psychic who's running from a prophecy. He wants to help and they become embroiled in an all out psychic war.

In, Full Circle, Chance has to discover why he and Michelle did not meet in this lifetime before she'd begun a life with Larry. It had always happened before. Chance, a cardiologist goes to India in order to not be so close to Michelle. He has to find out how to get rid of his karmic debt in order to be reunited with his family in the next life.                                                  
Chance wants to be with Michelle in this life and is ready to ignore that he's already built up karmic debt by having an affair with her. He hates that she uses that word and still thinks of her as his wife.

While an India Chance begins a study of the Runes, a tool that is intuitive in nature and speaks to the spiritual side. Every stone he pulls point him in a direction he does not want to go.

When finally he's regressed by a group of mystics he learns the full scope of his past life debt. It is his fault that he did not find his wife until it was too late. He knows and finally accepts that Michelle can not be with him in this life. And he must wash the sins of the past away in the only way possible, one that he abhors.

More blather

I have to tell you this.  I did a ton of research for this trilogy and worked with a psychic for several years. I interview a dozen people who had experienced past life regression. ( I was too afraid to do it myself)  I personally experienced several seemingly impossible things of a psychic nature. I wrote several things that my critique partners for a decade thought were impossible, things, that I found out had actually happened to others. I was  aware that something, or someone wanted me to write this trilogy. Even knowing that my fan base would more than likely not be interested in the subject, I felt compelled to finish the books. I'm a romance writer, hmm, an award winning romance writer who was now writing things my readers most likely wouldn't read. Whatever was I thinking?

I confess, writers are strange indeed. I count myself lucky to be among that strange group, and to be able to pick the brains of my fellow writers, published and not yet published alike. They are all fascinating. It's a pleasure to find out their unique strangeness. Everyone has a story and I've been fortunate enough to hear a lot of them. Just in case you'd like to watch one of the streaming interviews on line, here's the link. on the left hand side click on web videos. When the box pops up scroll down to The Art of Writing. I also have several clips on Youtube. Just put in my name, Dyanne Davis.  One day when I have the time I plan to put a clip from all of the shows on Youtube. 

Thank you again, Marilee for giving me a chance to Blather.