Jan 102015

10881472_10205003406097585_533607707_nI had the greatest pleasure in entertaining Lindsay Downs and his book, La Contessa and The Marquis, which is due for release January 19, 2015.

La Contessa and The Marquis is book one in Mr. Downs newest regency cozy mystery series, Rogues and Rakehells Mystery. It is the first in the series and currently available for preorder.  Amazon links have been provided below.


Please enjoy a blurb and enough of a excerpt to really get us excited!



When Bianca Maria Ledford Goretti, La Contessa de Massa, flees back to her homeland and the safety of her godmother, The Duchess of Gorham, little does she realize who’s arms she lands in.

Lord Rainer Cross, Marquis of Hathaway, is a well-known and dangerous rakehell within the ton. Little does he suspect his godmother has set him up to halt his skirt chasing days.

Over time the reason for Bianca’s return comes to light which has Rainer deeply concerned. Not sure who he can trust Rainer turns to has several of his more interesting staff. He has them use their talents to ferret out the truth.

Everything get more complicated when they learn a friend might not be who he claims to be. Not sure who to trust, except Rainer and the duchess, Bianca learns several startling facts which could protect her from harm.

Once everything is revealed the duchess steps in with a surprise, something neither could have ever seen coming.


images (1)Excerpt-

Rainer Cross, Marquis of Hathaway, settled his shoulder against a pillar where he’d ensconced himself so he could overlook the ballroom. A warning glare to several want to be rakes was all that was needed to send them scurrying back to their mommas.

With a renewed resolve, to search down one particular individual, his piercing blue eyes studied the throng of ladies. Some too old but searching for a lover, even if for a brief tryst. Others on the hunt for a husband of which he had no interest, at least with them, as he already had his sights set on one person in particular.

Granted, he’d not seen her, except from a distance, but if the reports were to be believed she was, without a doubt the most beautiful lady, the truest diamond, to ever grace the ton.

Then, as if Venus rising from the ocean, she appeared at the top of the grand ballroom vestibule. He could feel the air rush from his lungs, something he’d never experienced before, as he fixed his gaze on her.

Seeing her in the flesh, as it were, he knew all the whispers circulating about had been true. Without a doubt she was the most beautifully, enchanting and mysterious woman he ever set his eyes upon.

He was pleased to see she was conversing animatedly with an elderly, heavily bejewelled woman. From where he was standing and the angle of the matron, Rainer wasn’t able to see her face.

“As long as she’s not my godmother, then I most assuredly will gain an introduction to the Contessa,” he mumbled to himself.

Due to the loud voices, so everyone could be heard over the musicians, he didn’t hear their presentation. His only concern was the woman accompanying the contessa as he already knew her name- Bianca Maria Ledford Goretti, La Contessa de Massa. Levering himself off the pillar he started toward them, still unable to see who her chaperone was when a friend, another fellow rake, stopped him.

“Rain, I do hope you’re not going after that delicate morsel, as I’ve it on excellent authority she’s eaten up and spit out several lords,” Tony, or more precisely Anthony Fuller, Earl of Wyatt, his friend from their days at Eton then university, informed him.

“My dear friend if she does, then I’ll die a happy man for la Contessa is a gem whom I wish to possess.”

“Ah, and that’s the rub. After she dismisses you she’ll then tread over your heart leaving nothing but a shell of a man. Trust me on this for I’m sure you’ve heard the rumour her first husband died mysteriously.”

“Tony, the only lady I fear is my godmother. If you’ll excuse me I’m going to attempt an introduction,” Rainer told him. With a pat on Tony’s shoulder he stepped around his friend and started for the divan where both ladies had settled.

As he made his way forward he wasn’t surprised to see both women had already collected a small group of young ladies around them. What he found amusing were several swains on the outskirts, all trying to be noticed by either lady.

Upon seeing a frontal assault was out of the question Rainer selected to attack from the rear. Stepping into an adjourning, but linked, alcove he easily approached them and came to a halt within feet of his object.

“Damn. I thought she wasn’t in town,” he mumbled on spying his nemesis, best known as his godmother, The Duchess of Gorham.



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I’ve been an avid readers ever since I was old enough to hold a red leather bound first edition copy of Sir Walter 10877800_10205003406617598_501440069_nScott’s The Lady of the Lake in my lap.

So it only seemed natural at some point in my life I take up pen and paper to start writing. Over time my skills slightly improved which I attribute to my English teachers.

My breakthrough came about in the mid 1970’s when I read a historical romance written by Sergeanne Golon, Angelique. This French husband and wife team opened my eyes to the real world of fiction. Stories about romance, beautiful damsels, handsome heroes and plots which kept me hooked. Of course, being a man, I had to keep my reading hidden from others as that wasn’t appropriate reading for men.

With this new found appreciation of the written word I took up other books and devoured them as a starving person would a plate of food. I them attempted to write again. I still wasn’t satisfied so I put it aside for years as other events entered my life.

Finally, in the early years of the new millennium I tried again to write and once again met with limited success. At least now I was able to get past the first page or two. Then, in 2006 a life changing event brought me back to my love, I took a job as a security officer. This allowed me plenty of time to read different genres.

My favourite was regency. As I poured through everyone I could get my hands on I knew this could be something I wanted to attempt.

Since 2012 when my debut regency romantic suspense released I was hooked and have, except for a few contemporaries, focused on this genre.

Since 2012 I’ve lived in central Texas. I’m also a member of Romance Writers of America and their local chapter.


Where you can find me-


Facebook Pages-

Twitter- @ldowns2966



Lindsay Downs-Romance Author-


 Posted by at 3:50 am
Sep 172014

perf6.000x9.000.inddWhen Ms. Rendfeld asked if I wanted to do an interview, honestly I had a hard time coming up with questions because of being so blown away by her story. Where the heck do I even start?! The scope of her novel is mind blowing. I was sucked into her narrative within pages. As a mother it spoke to me, wrenching my heart into knots. For a moment there, I thought it would break only to have my greatest wish granted. As a storyteller, Ms. Rendfeld wove a tale of magic, loss, hope and love.

Keep me on your list for any other advances copies, I am so interested!


Here we go!

ME:How did you come up with the plot for The Ashes of Heaven’s Pillar?

KR:When I finished my first novel, The Cross and the Dragon, I was went through an odd sort of grief that could be handled only by writing another book. I was going to feature two nuns I had met in my debut and have the Saxon family as minor characters so that I could explore slavery and the events from the side of the Continental Saxons.

I wrote a few chapters and an outline but was still having trouble with a crafting good plot for the nuns. The Saxons’ backstory of loss and betrayal consumed more and more of my interest. The Saxons were demanding I tell their story, and I finally surrendered.

ME:How did you flesh out the characters?

KR:I had a rough sketch in my mind of the characters and knew that I wanted Leova and her children to have three different reactions to the destruction of the Irminsul. Eighth-century Continental Saxons didn’t have a written language as we know it. To get a grasp of their culture and mindset, I turned to folk tales collected by the Brothers Grimm and reread the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf.

The characters developed further as I wrote the book, my critique partners pointed out what was missing, and I made revisions. I had written a second outline but ended up throwing it away about a third of the way through. The characters hijacked the plot.

ME:What drew you to this period?

KR:I blame it on a legend. During a family vacation in Germany, we heard a tale about the origin of Rolandsbogen, an ivy covered arch on a Rhineland hill. To avoid introducing a spoiler for anyone who has yet to read Cross and Dragon, I will say only that it involves lovers separated by a lie. I could not get that story out of my mind and felt compelled to sit at a computer and write about it, never mind that I knew little about the Middle Ages.

ME:Any modern messages you want readers to walk away with?

KR:What strikes me is how much people have in common. Despite different time periods and cultures, we’ve all loved and grieved, felt great anger and great joy. I hope we can understand that even if someone disagrees with us on religion or politics, they are still human beings and deserve to be treated with respect.

Where do you get all those tiny little details? You have spells, fabrics, daily routines, etc. Wow. Your book will be how I compare all others.

I’m fortunate scholars have done research that I can use in my fiction. What I’m about to talk about is a sampling.

Daily life books such as Pierre Riché’s Daily Life in the World of Charlemagne, translated by Jo Ann McNamara, and Daily Life in Medieval Times (three books in one) by Frances and Joseph Gies provide a treasure trove of information.

But I’ve turned to several other places. People on their own faith journey to practice a religion similar to the Saxons and the Norse posted their research online, including centuries-old spells. I borrowed a little language from Beowulf for one that I used in the book.

I’ve flipped through books via Google Books and, when I thought a source might be golden, used interlibrary loan. That’s how I got my hands on The Continental Saxons from the Migration Period to the Tenth Century: An Ethonographic Perspective, edited by Dennis Howard Green and Frank Siegmund, and “Capturing the Wandering Womb” by Kate Phillips in the April 2007 The Haverford Journal.

I got my information about tuberculosis from Sheila M. Rothman’s Living in the Shadow of Death, an excellent book about what it was like to live with this chronic disease in 19th century America.

Google is my friend. My search of “hemlock case study” led me to Enid Bloch’s “Hemlock Poisoning and the Death of Socrates: Did Plato Tell the Truth?” in the 2001 Journal of the International Plato Society. The answer to the author’s question appears to be yes. Bloch’s paper recounts a 19th century researcher who experimented with hemlock on himself – twice. Yikes! I’m willing to do a lot of research, but I draw the line at drinking poison.


Thank you Ms. Rendfeld and I look forward to your next publication with great delight!

6439778You can find Kim Rendfeld at:


Kim Rendfeld: Outtakes of a Historical Novelist


Fireship Press

 Posted by at 3:34 am
Sep 172014

I was given the opportunity to read The Ashes of Heaven’s Pillar by Kim Rendfeld and all I have to say is wow!



perf6.000x9.000.inddReview: 5/5 stars


Normally I steer clear of anything during this period because of the sheer barbarism of the era along with the subject matter. Either authors are too technical or don’t put forth the amount of effort needed to make the world feel real. Ms. Rendfeld breaks both molds.

Immediately she creates a tight family unit we immediately care and identify with. Leova is a mother struggling to protect her child after a savage raid by Charlemagne’s men. Everything she has ever known (husband, village, way of life) is taken away from her. She is sold into slavery by her jealous sister-in-law and forced to do the best she can in an unknown and controlling world.

As a mother, my heart broke for this character. She felt real, thanks to Ms. Rendfeld’s beautiful storytelling. The world is flush with detail and tiny tidbits. Nothing was left out. I cringed when her daughter was sold as a slave and forced into compromising situations. I felt the stress and fear of not known if your master would sell you or your children at a moment’s notice. So many glorious ups and downs. I told myself I would read up to the end of the chapter before bed only to blow through three or four and realize twelve came and went hours before.

As stated by another reviewer, this story shouldn’t be a full 5 stars due to the abrupt ending. After so many trials, the end felt a bit flat. We are presented with a nice little happily ever after which came off feeling forced. But that detail only takes it down a small amount. The Ashes of heaven’s Pillar is sure to suck you in. Since I can’t give 41/2 stars, I am giving it 5. Seriously, it is that good.

Thank you for killing off the evil guy towards the end of the book – really made my night. I wanted to murder him in so many ways.
I was utterly amazed by the world building this author did. The hours of work and research is unfathomable. Wow. Don’t hesitate to check this story out. You will NOT be disappointed.



772 AD: Charlemagne’s battles in Saxony have left Leova with nothing but her two children, Deorlaf and Sunwynn. Her beloved husband died in combat. Her faith lies shattered in the ashes of the Irminsul, the Pillar of Heaven. The relatives obligated to defend her and her family instead sell them into slavery.

In Francia, Leova is resolved to protect her son and daughter, even if it means sacrificing her own honor. Her determination only grows stronger as Sunwynn blossoms into a beautiful young woman attracting the lust of a cruel master and Deorlaf becomes a headstrong man willing to brave starvation and demons to free his family. Yet Leova’s most difficult dilemma comes in the form of a Frankish friend, Hugh. He saves Deorlaf from a fanatical Saxon and is Sunwynn’s champion – but he is the warrior who slew Leova’s husband.

Set against a backdrop of historic events, including the destruction of the Irminsul, “The Ashes of Heaven’s Pillar” explores faith, friendship, and justice. This companion to Kim Rendfeld’s acclaimed “The Cross and the Dragon” tells the story of an ordinary family in extraordinary circumstances.

Amazon review

Barnes and Noble Review

 Posted by at 3:17 am
Jul 222014


91yRfentOmL._SL1500_Intractable Heart: A story of Katheryn Parr

1537. As the year to end all years rolls to a close, King Henry VIII vents his continuing fury at the pope. The Holy Roman Church reels beneath the reformation and as the vast English abbeys crumble the royal coffers begin to fill. 
The people of the north, torn between loyalty to God and allegiance to their anointed king, embark upon a pilgrimage to guide their errant monarch back to grace. 

But Henry is unyielding and sends an army north to quell the rebel uprising. In Yorkshire, Katheryn Lady Latimer and her step-children, Margaret and John, are held under siege at Snape Castle … 
The events at Snape set Katheryn on a path that will lead from the deprivations of a castle under siege to the perils of the royal Tudor court. 

Katheryn Parr has for many years been depicted by historians and novelists alike as a staid, rather dull woman. Her role little more than a nursemaid to a succession of elderly spouses, but she was much more than this. 

The novel, Intractable Heart, is told via four narrators, Katheryn’s step daughter, Margaret Neville; Katheryn herself; her fourth husband Thomas Seymour; and her step-daughter Elizabeth, later to become Queen Elizabeth I. 

Katheryn Parr emerges as an intelligent, practical woman; a woman who sets aside her love for Thomas Seymour to do her duty and marry the aging king. 
Katheryn becomes Henry VIII’s partner in all things, acting as Regent for England during the French war, embracing and guiding Henry’s three motherless children, and providing a strong supporting voice for religious reform. 

It is not until the king’s death, when she is finally free to follow the desires of her heart that her life descends into chaos … and wretchedness. 


I had the privilege of reading and reviewing this novel for Ms. Arnopp. As my readers know, I enjoy giving honest reviews for anyone interested. I do warn you, they are without bias.

Book+and+PenReview: (4 out of 5 stars)

Now, let me start off by saying I am not the targeted audience for this story. Normally I enjoy historical fiction where the main character is not historical figure. That saying, I started this book with an open mind. At first the narrative from Margaret as young girl felt clunky due to the level of awareness but Ms. Arnopp made the story feel as if a child was writing it, which I have to say isn’t easy for every writer to pull off. I had a hard time attaching and contemplated putting the book down. However, once we got into the story where Margaret is older and also where Katherine took over, everything smoothed out. The detail and personality of Katheryn flew off the pages with each word.  She was no longer a historical figure but a human being. The amount of research astounds me. I felt like I knew her and was a part of the world.  Great job!


Ms. Arnopp joined me for an interview where I was able to pick her brain and shuffled through her writing desk (I wish!). Enjoy 🙂


What made you gravitate towards Katheryn Parr for a historical figure?

When I first decided to try my hand at writing a full length novel I didn’t want to go near the Tudors.  Although the period has always fascinated me, I thought there were far too many novels set in that era already. But after so many of my readers asked if I had ever thought of writing any ‘Tudor’ novels, I decided to oblige.

The first of my books set in Tudor England is The Winchester Goose and in that I cover Queens Anne of Cleves and Katherine Howard. While I was working on The Goose I became hooked and went on to cover Anne Boleyn in The Kiss of the Concubine. They have both been very well received, The Winchester Goose was recently the number one bestseller in historicals and number seven in the overall Kindle chart. This made me very happy.

I have considered the remaining two queens but Katherine of Aragon would need a mammoth sized book and I’ve never found Jane Seymour as interesting as the others. We know very little about her so it would have to be heavily fictionalised.  Katherine Parr seemed the ideal next candidate but it wasn’t until I began to researcher properly that I realised just how interesting her life was. She was a strong, resourceful woman who ‘managed’ Henry very well indeed.


NPG 4451; Catherine Parr attributed to Master JohnYou also wrote about Anne Boleyn – What drew you towards her as a historical


Poor Anne. She has so many books about her but none of them seem to be very fair. Her story is so unbelievable I don’t think it needs any embellishment; all I do is bring her and Henry to life, give them a voice. I am not interested in the public side of their life, the glitz and glamour doesn’t fascinate me at all. I hone in on the private relationship, the man and woman beneath the King and Queen. I don’t believe Anne was the scheming arrogant woman she is so often portrayed to be (and certainly not a witch or incestuous). I wanted to give her the chance to put her own side of things. I put a lot of thought into every event of her life that I cover in the novel and concentrated only how it might have seemed from her perspective. Writing it in the first person meant I had to leave out many things that she wouldn’t have witnessed, things that happened behind her back, but at the same time that allowed me to illustrate how she may have really ‘felt.’


Where did your love of history come from?

I think I was born with it. As a small child I had a big picture book of King Arthur and the knights of the round table. We often came to Wales on holidays and I always I loved it when my parents took me to castles and churches. I studied it to A level at school. In a way, I’ve been researching all my life although I did no serious historical study until I went to University as a mature student where I studied for a Master’s in Medieval History. If I hadn’t done that I would never have dared attempt to write historical.


How are you drawn to a story line? Does it start with a person/place/ event?

Sometimes it can be something really small; an inscription on a tombstone, a message in the margin of a book, or a painting. With the well-known figures like Katheryn Parr and Anne Boleyn it is more of a desire to give my interpretation of their lives and attempt to get readers to see them as real people, rather than unlikely fictional characters. I don’t know if I succeed but it is fun trying.


Where does that inspiration stem from?

I don’t know. Sometimes a sentence or a scenario pops into my head from nowhere and I think about it for a while until I am sure I can take it far enough to turn it into a story. Sometimes I run through it with my partner and that helps it grow. I never have to dig very deep to find my next subject. They are often born during the research or writing of a previous book. The one I am working on now, A Song of Sixpence, is about Elizabeth of York. I’ve been meaning to write about her since about 2009 but have only just got around to it. It is going very well. Henry VIII has just been born and I am enjoying bringing his childhood to life.


How do you begin researching?

I never stop. Even if I am not working on a book I am reading history. Once I have decided on a project I gather together all the information I have (my library is huge) and when I’ve exhausted that I buy more books, or go to the university library and dig out thesis’ and things.

I like to read from every angle, every opinion counts and then I find a path through the middle. With so many conflicting opinions I have to make the decision which theory I agree with and go with that. This probably upsets people who have a different idea but I can’t help that. I am creating a possible scenario, and not at all insistent that it is actually what happened.

I also like to visit relevant places; castles, abbeys, monasteries etc. This can be difficult since I live so remotely in West Wales and the Tudors rarely ventured this far but it was great for my earlier work. I was at a Tudor event at Raglan Castle recently and seeing the re-enactors in all their gear was a great help. My holidays always turn into research trips and my research trips into holidays – which is excellent.


Do you outline or wing it?

I have a very rough outline of my fictional story. A time-line for the main historical characters showing where they were at relevant times (as far as records show). Then I wing it. Sometimes the back story ends up somewhere very unexpected but with the historical characters I can’t really do that. I have to keep to the record as far as we know it, the fiction comes in when I put thoughts and feelings into their heads.


Lastly, what advice do you give other historical authors?

I wouldn’t be so presumptuous. I think every writer approaches it differently and there is no right or wrong way to do things. My main advice would be to keep going. Don’t be put off my detractors, if your books are good enough there will be a market for them, it is just a case of finding them. It is tough out there but once you’ve decided on your genre (romance, fiction, time-slip) and discovered your niche the negative criticism won’t matter half so much. It is important to remember every writer gets bad reviews at some point, all we can do is hope there aren’t too many. I also think readers appreciate interaction. I know some authors prefer to remain aloof or even incognito, but I have had so many messages from readers thanking me for taking the time to talk to them. I am naturally very shy, and not very good at face to face meetings but on-line I find I am much braver. My readers are lovely. I owe them everything and will never forget that.


Now most blog hops stop here and you continue on, but Ms. Arnopp graced us with even more tidbits about her and our beloved, ill-fated leading lady – Katheryn Parr.


8cc8251a56290ad8986c16.L._V155136130_FIVE things readers may not know about Judith Arnopp:

1.) She is mum/step mum to seven children (happily grown up now).

2.) She is married to her best friend.

3.) She once met and shook hands with Prince Charles.

4.) She is a vegetarian and keen environmentalist.

5.) She used to be able to recite Romeo and Juliet from start to finish but these days her memory isn’t as sharp and she forgets big chunks of it.



FIVE things readers may not know about Katheryn Parr:

 1.) Katheryn was the first queen to become a published author.

2.) Katheryn was married four times.

3.) During her second marriage she was held under siege at Snape Castle during the Pilgrimage of Grace.

4.) Katheryn was an important Protestant reformer.

5.) Henry placed her as Regent over England when he rode off to war against the French. An honour only one other of his queen’s enjoyed, Catherine of Aragon.



About Judith:

Judith lives in rural Wales in the UK with her husband John and two of her grown up sons. She studied creative writing and Literature at university and went on to study for a master’s degree in medieval studies. She now combines those skills to craft medieval historical novels, short stories and essays. you can find out more about her on her webpage

Her first novel Peaceweaver was published in 2009 and is the story of Eadgyth Aelfgarsdottir who was queen to both Gruffydd ap Llewellyn of Wales and Harold II of England in teh years leading up to the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
Her second novel, The Forest Dwellers, is set just after the Battle of Hastings and tells the story of a family evicted from their homes in Ytene to make way for William the conqueror’s hunting ground. Ytene is now better known as The New Forest.
Her third novel, The Song of Heledd, is based on fragments of a 9th century Welsh poem called Canu Heledd. It tells the story of Heledd and her sister Ffreur and the disastrous destiny of a dynasty of Welsh kings.
She is presently working on a Tudor novel The Winchester Goose.




 Posted by at 9:36 pm
Jun 252014



1.) Phil Canalin’s Invisible Fable Society – Halfway through editing.

What an amazing book. Every fable pulls at my heart strings. Phil takes his reader on an emotional roller coaster ride. His characters jump off the page, a story to every faceless homeless person you’ve ever seen on the sidewalk. They’re so simple and yet poignantly written.


2.) The King’s Tournament, by John Yeo (Hope to start this by Monday)


3.) Darkest Hour, by Tony Russo


Have an interest in editing? Want to edit for Divertir Publishing? Send me an email at : j corkill (at) divertirpublishing (dot) com

 Posted by at 1:12 am
Jun 232014



Welcome as Divertir Publishing celebrates our Summer of Romance. To us, romance means believing in the impossible, striving for discovery, and never giving up no matter the cost. It in inherent. Love fulfills that longing in us to be accepted by another – to be seen through another’s eyes and found perfect. Summer is that time for romance and the unexpected. 

The Chosen Village, by Sarah Welsh, is our first romance title and we’re giving away five copies to start your summer off properly!


Savina Luciano, a waitress from a small, quirky Italian village, disenchanted with village life and desperately seeking change, finds herself unexpectedly involved in a string of mysterious events that take the normally sleepy village by surprise. Having spent the majority of her life feeling unsatisfied, insecure, and cynical about her seemingly insignificant life, Savina is caught off guard when two miracles come knocking at her door. She is forced to truly examine her beliefs and ideals, confront her wavering faith, and save a village on the verge of tearing itself in two over disagreements concerning fair trade practices between businesses on the east and west sides of town. Somehow, through it all, Savina realizes that her plans to leave her birth place and seek a more exciting life are outweighed by the magic and mystery hidden right under her nose. Were the miracles an elaborate hoax to bring tourists to the sleepy village? Will Savina survive the miracle that leaves her on the verge of death? Finally, can deceit, resentment, miracles, and love coexist in The Chosen Village?


How to Enter:

 51r9TgtwjKLJoin us over at our Facebook page as whet your appetite for adventure, romance and discovering who you truly are. Allow summer to open your heart and mind to new beginnings and, perhaps, even miracles.

Not s big fan of facebook? Post a comment here with your email address and you can enter into our giveaway!

See what readers are saying about The Chosen Village!

It will feel like you’ve taken a trip to Italy when you open this first novel by Sarah Welsh. Her characters begin to feel like family in this story of family, faith, romance, and finding oneself. You won’t be disappointed.” – Stacey Wagner (Goodreads)


“I just finished reading The Chosen Village. I love the Italian setting with it’s rich imagery, I felt that I was right there in Amedea! Sarah managed to write about the lovely setting and the character’s so well and with such rich descriptions that I felt and cared about each one of them. I loved the quirkiness and also the spiritual side of this book. It was really a fun, and interesting read!!” –  Laurell (Amazon)


“I’ve received my copy of “The Chosen Village” and started to read the first few chapters. I’m hooked! The story, setting, and characters are captivating and her writing style keeps me turning the pages to see what happens next.  Keep up the great work Sarah! And I’ll keep on reading. Thank You :)” Kara Ernst (Amazon)



Sarah Welsh’s Website:
Barnes and Noble

 Posted by at 2:58 pm
Jun 062014

Welcome to the Summer for Love Blog Hop

IMG_3173To me,  Summer has an aroma – damp lilacs in the late evening when the sun has long since set and only street lamps come out to play. There, when crickets fill the air with their orchestra, love wafts within that thick scent of that rich flower. It surrounds you – embracing every inch of exposed skin. I remember a California night when anything could have been possible – even romance. For that one brief inhalation, everything was as it should be.

The Romance Troupe is offering wonderful prizes in their Summer for Love Giveaway and Blog Hop. Check out the other stops for more chances not only to win an Amazon card, but also free ebooks. For readers, nothing inspires us more than a book that grabs our hearts and leads us through amazing adventures where anything is possible.
Do you dare venture forth?
A-Summer-for-love-blog-hopGRAND PRIZES
(6) $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Cards
Comment with your name and email to be entered into the Grand Prize drawing. Comments without name and email will not be counted. Commenting on each and every stop will increase your chances of winning.
Winners for the (6) Grand Prizes will be drawn and announced on THE ROMANCE TROUPE blog by June 10th.
  2. Krystal Shannan
  3. Jinni James      
  4. Jennifer Kacey
  5. Angela Rose
  6. Kathryn Edgar
  7. Jessi Gage
  8. Booked & Loaded        
  9. AJ Wiliams Adding Spice to Life
  10. Tara Lain          
  11. Lady Amber’s Reviews  
  12. Gina Whitney    
  13. Victoria Adams
  14. Lia Davis          
  15. Andrea R. Cooper Author Blog     
  16. Zoe Dawson – No Formulas…No Rules          
  17. Carol A. Strickland     
  18. Author Jessica E. Subject          
  19. Author Paisley Brown          
  20. A Summer Beach Read from…Alaska???          
  21. Jami Gray’s Blog     
  22. Regina Morris          
  23. Kim Headlee          
  24. Liza O’Connor     
  25. Smexy Fab Four          
  26. Kisses, Caresses & Whispers in the Night
  27. Author Dakota Skye          
  28. Romance and More    
  29. Daryl Devore     
  30. Anne Lange-Erotic Romance         
  31. Lynn Lawler          
  32. Eliza Lloyd
  33. April Holthaus          
  34. Rebecca Sherwin          
  35. Angela Christina Archer
  36. KC Cavanaugh / The Cavanaugh Connection        
  37. First Page Last Page
  38. Robyn Neeley
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 Posted by at 4:15 am
Jun 012014

cover200x300Allow me to introduce the wonderful characters from Darren Simon’s Guardian’s Nightmare. I had the privilege of editing Mr. Simon’s manuscript and I immediately fell in love with the feel of the plot. A nerdy, awkward heroine, an old bike that she can’t seen to get rid of, and a destiny she can’t escape. How many teenagers dream of being apart of something greater –  Born not of this world? It is powerful. We all have a longing to be great.


Allow me the great pleasure of introducing Mr. Simon’s characters.

Charlee Smelton:

Charlee is a thirteen-year-old girl struggling as an outcast and a loner in her new school. She loves comic books and imagines being a superhero, but whenever she sees her image in the mirror—a slightly rounded girl with thick green glasses—she thinks herself more a dweeb than a hero. Little does she know that her life has been a lie. That discovery is about to bring a frightening change that will force her to find the hero in herself to save her family, her city and the world from an evil across a dimensional divide. An evil she lets into this world.

Sandra Flores:

Like Charlee, something of an outcast at their school, Sandra becomes Charlee’s best friend. Sandra is tough, clever and not afraid of anything or anybody. That’s good because to be Charlee’s friend, Sandra is going to need all the courage she has—if she is to survive.


Dream or real—princess in danger or something else—Theodora comes to Charlee in a dream. She is a princess in some fantasy world being pursued by a dark knight under orders from the empress to slay her. But is Theodora real at all or just a creation of Charlee’s overactive mind, and why does Charlee shiver whenever around her. She may not want to find the answers to those question.


A massively large knight from the fantasy world of Charlee’s dreams, Tribon is a being to be feared. Everything from his long, pointy, bushy red beard to his leathery face to his sword as long as Charlee is tall generates feelings of terror.  But is Tribon—if he is real at all—more than he seems?  Coming to grips with that answer means facing truths about her life Charlee may not want to unearth.

Mr. Levenstein:

An elderly man, he walks with a limp and owns a deli in the city. When Charlee decides to ditch her bike in his alley, this wise old man who seems to know a lot about her becomes a part of her life whether she likes it or not.


Professor Smelton:

Charlee’s dad, a professor of literature at the university, is a kind man, who just wants to rebuild his relationship with his daughter. Since the family’s move to San Francisco, Charlee has been so angry with him. When somebody leaves an old bike on campus with a note that it should be given a new home, it reminds him of a bike he had when he was a child. He decides to give the bike to Charlee as a remodel project that might just help them rebuild their relationship. The problem is, Charlee doesn’t want it.


Mrs. Smelton:

Charlee’s mother is a tough woman out to protect her family. She sees the changes her daughter is going through and tries to reach out to her, but Charlee is not ready to talk. That’s unfortunate because her mother may just be the one person who can answer all of Charlee’s questions. Even if she does have truths to reveal, it’s information that might just come too late.

Mr. Flores:

Deputy Chief of the San Francisco Police Department, Mr. Flores is also Sandra Flores’ father. He is not thrilled with his daughter’s new friend, and he may have good reason to feel that way.

The bike:

One day, Charlee’s dad returns from his day at the university with a gift for his daughter. Could it be a new laptop? Could it be a ticket back home to the country? No, it is the ugliest reject bike from the ’60s she has ever seen with scratched white frame, white-walled tires, rusted chrome—a real mess. She hates the bike from the start and just wants to be rid of it. But for some reason, ditching it doesn’t seem to work. And why does she get an electric shock every time she touches it? What is this thing?


photo (1)To read a sample of Guardian’s Nightmare, head over to Amazon or Barnes and Noble.


Visit Darren Simon’s website or get to know more about him on Goodreads!

 Posted by at 5:01 am
May 262014

images (2)

Okay, you’ve written the next best seller – congratulations. The embodiment of months, maybe even years, of your life is sitting on your word processor.  Every word has been painfully scrutinized and stressed over. Four and five rounds of edits, sucking in your pride, swallowing the bitter taste of ego – all worth it.

You made it! Your precious creation is ready to be loved and adored by the world. In no time, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Random House and Penguin Group will be asking, no, begging to publish your masterpiece.

Firework streaks in night sky, celebration backgroundConfetti!



Invite everyone you EVER knew and share the sweet taste of success. The cheating, lying ex-friend who never had the time to read your work? Yep, invite that wretched girl over too! (BYOB)

(Oh, I hope no one posted THAT video of you on youtube)

Oh Good.

Okay, so …now what?

So, there isn’t a house elf who makes it their sole responsibility to get your work published? No? Crap. Not even some kindly fairy ready to wave their wand over your book to have it magically in book stores? Wow, I wish that WAS possible. Sadly – nope on that account as well.

Now starts the fun (hole in your head) journey of getting you and your manuscript noticed.

query2Step 1: Write a Query

(A what?) This is your first, and sometimes only, impression you will be able to make.  Like your manuscript, it needs to be just as edited and polished.

The 10 Dos and Don’ts of Writing a Query Letter

(If you’re tempted to be cute and gimmicky hoping it will make you stand out, don’t. You’ll stand out but not in the good way. Trust me when I say agents have received so many queries they’ve probably read everything under the sun.

The Anatomy of a Query Letter: Step-By-Step Guide

Interested in seeing what was accepted by agents from other authors? Successful Queries

Just like your manuscript, get everyone you know to read it.  Sometimes we don’t have those crazy author friends – what next?  Absolute Write Water Cooler has a  Share Your Work section (password is vista), and a Query Letter Hell forum(password is vista) where you can post your query letter. Please read this thread first (same password). You need a minimum of 50 posts before you can start a thread in any of the Share Your Work forums.

Getting fifty posts is really easy. Being an author is never selfish. In fact, it is incredibly tit for tat. Read other people’s queries. Give your opinion. Offer to be someone’s critique partner and swap manuscripts.

Don’t think the first draft of your query is perfect because it isn’t and I don’t mean that in an ego-crushing manner. EVERYONE’S first draft of anything sucks.

Now that you’ve written and revised your query to the point of never wanting to read it every again – it’s time to write a synopsis. (woo…)

Step 2: Synopsis

Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman), who has more than 15 years of experience in the publishing industry, posted a concise road map for writing a synopsis. She is the co-founder of Scratch Magazine, all about the intersection of writing and money, and the web editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review. She has served as a writing and media professor at the University of Cincinnati and University of Virginia, and is the former publisher of Writer’s Digest.

I highly suggest you check out. I could copy and paste what she’s written but Ms. Friedman laid it out so well. It’d be a crime.

My advice: 

First submit to agents first who don’t require a synopsis. Exhaust those choices. Then, focus on the agents with submission requires that require a synopsis.

“But you’re an editor!” you are no doubt wondering.

“Yes, I am.”

“And you’re giving us advice to go to agents first?”


Why is an editor from a small publisher advocating going through agents first? I am going to be honest with you. It is in your best interest financially to try your darnest to find a good agent because they have the connections to shop your work to all the major publishers.

Exhaust all those options. Rack up a hundred rejections. Cry, edit more. Then, come find me and pitch your query.

No, any agent does not = a good agent.

I wasted a year of my life on an agent who contracted a book of mine. “Wasted” being the key term.

Step 3: Figuring Out Your Genre

First thing you must know is the genre your manuscript falls under in the literary agent/editor world. 

You see, not all agents represent the same stuff. For example:

Agent Jane Doe

Literary Fiction | True Crime | Horror | Commercial Fiction | Women’s Fiction | Humor/Satire | Romance | Young Adult | Thrillers/Suspense

Let’s say you’ve written a romance but it also falls under suspense/crime with a haunting paranormal twist and your main character just happens to be a Bridget Jones wannabe – how would you classify your work?

Here are the genres. The break down can be found at :

Chick Lit
Commercial fiction
Crime Fiction
Historical Fiction
Literary Fiction
Science Fiction
Women’s Fiction

Hopefully you found your genre somewhere in that huge clump of words.  Your next step is looking for agents who represents your work.

wanted lit agentStep 4: Finding an Agent

If you thought the query and synopsis was hard, get ready.  This next step brings all the excitement and let down you’ll probably ever feel in your writing career (sans actually snagging the book deal…or waiting for a pregnancy test). Every time someone tries to pacify you with “patience is a virtue”, you’ll want to strangle them. If they tell you to get a hobby, walk away and curse them under your breath.

Your best friends when going through the query process are these three sites:

a.) AgentQuery – this site lists (by genre and category) agents.Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, this is a wonderful place to start fishing in the agent pool. Put in your genre and good luck. I suggest starting with those who are accepting new clients and receive email submissions. It gets costly mailing out queries with a SASE.

(Make sure you keep a list who you send queries to – helps with double submissions and feeling like an idiot)

b.) Query Tracker – Not only does this site list agents and publishers (which Divertir Publishing is on) but authors can connect with each other regarding request/rejection times. Try to gauge how long they might have to wait in order to receive a response. Finding solace int he misery of other writers helps but don’t forget to celebrate their victories because it WILL be you one day.

c.) Absolute Write Water Cooler – These forums are were authors get together and , like query tracker, talk about agents and publishers. Seasoned and amazingly helpful authors are ready to help new people (as long as you’re nice) and look for those scary red flags when something doesn’t smell right. They’re the checks and balances of the publishing world. Sign up and start getting to know the writing community because you are not alone in your dream to publish.

Oh there are other great sites. Agent blogs, how-tos (like this fabulous one, darling), and other author blogs, but you will stalk those three – trust me.

Step 5: Wait

Yep – this is the most annoying part of the pursuit to publish. Waiting. This is the time where many authors give up halfway through and self publish. Agents can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 60 days to respond to a query. Hell, some don’t respond at all. It’s hard. It single-handedly decimates your ego.

Justin C. Key on Scribophile gives us 9 Things to do While Waiting for a Response to Your Query:

1) Revise your query. If you’re just starting out, chances are you don’t know what it is about your query that will decide its fate. Was it the joke you made in the beginning? Did you spend too much time describing the plot? Even though you read a template that said to put a general introduction in the beginning, maybe you are wondering if starting straight with the action will work. In the end, different agents have different tastes, and varying your product can help you gauge those tastes.

1295783_f2602) Look in to other agents. I’m assuming that your first round of agents was based on a detailed search. For example, if your story is a thriller than you probably queried a lot of agents who specialize in that genre. There are two main reasons to now consider broadening your search. The first is that you’ll be less likely to run out of agents, and the second, more serious reason, is that interest is very subjective. For example, I recently queried an agent and, curious, looked up some comments about him on One person said he rejected them saying that horror is too hard to sell right now, and isn’t really his thing. This was back in May. Earlier this week, that same agent requested a partial on my horror novel. Point is, an agent out there who specializes in mystery could still fall in love with your romance (see what I did there?). It’s all subjective.

3) Read a good book. Now that you’ve started the process of looking for an agent, it could be helpful to delve back in to the land of the reader with a more critical eye. Knowing the process of query preparation,ask yourself how you might pitch a certain book. The plot is already proven to be publishable, so the only real hurdle would be getting an agent to read it. Think about these things. That, and if you’re reading, you’re less likely to be harassing your e-mail account. Which leads to…

4) Have a friend change your e-mail password. In the days of the smart-phone and the mobile devices, people can check their email every minute of the day if they want to, and some do just that. If you’ve been sending out email queries (and you should, some agents take only e-mail these days), you may turn in to one of these people. This just adds to the stress. Try to refrain from checking the old inbox any more than you normally would. Or better yet, set up a filter so that you know, specifically, when an agent has e-mailed you back. Otherwise, every ‘You’ve Got Mail’ (does AOL still do that? it’s been a while for me…) sound-byte will take about a year off your life.

5) Plan your next attack. Maybe for the first wave you used a basic template and sent out about 40 queries in a week. Sure, you made sure to address each to the right person, and maybe even allude to a book or two a certain agent has under his or her belt. But, much like trying different query styles, you should reconsider your approach as a whole. Might it be worth your time to only send out one or two queries per week and really research each agent, get familiar with their likes and dislikes, maybe even read a book of theirs or two? Probably. In the end, sending out 40 at a time may very well get you more responses, but how are you going to know if you don’t try.

6) Read agent blogs. There’s a lot of information out there, plus it can take the edge off the waiting process to read how human these people handing out rejections really are. They aren’t much different than you or I: they want to make an impact in the literary world, only for them that quest means sorting through hundreds of projects a month. Imagine if every time you wrote a paragraph you were forced to stop and think about 20 totally different ways to write it. Yeah, it’s something like that.

7) Compile feedback. Agents are busy, busy people, and instead of being rude to the many rejection letters you are destined to receive, try the ‘kill them with kindness.’ And this doesn’t mean beg. Simply a reply to the rejection (unless they specifically request no replies) stating that you really appreciate their time and are wondering they can share any specific feedback on why they passed. You may get a lot of silence but even if 1 out of a 100 gives some good advice, it’s all worth it, right?

8) WRITE. Don’t get so caught up in the stress of finding an agent that you forget to do what you love. Sending off a significant amount of queries can be satisfying, but also quite halting. It’s like you’ve traveled hundreds of miles just to end up at a brick wall to wait for an unknown amount of time for someone to drop you a rope. Starting a new project (or revising an old one, even the one you’re querying) will make you feel like you’re progressing towards something again. Not to mention, every writer needs the practice.

9) Frame your first rejection letter. (Okay, maybe you’d want to wait until you’ve actually reached success to frame it, but at least keep it somewhere where it can safely await the framing ceremony.) I’ve heard of some people making necklaces out of balled up rejection letters. Personally, I don’t think it’s fashionable.

Write-Bravely_2560-x-1600_1920x1200This can easily be the worst time of your life while your inbox comes up empty. However trust me when I tell you the journey is always worth the time spent. An author hardens, hones their craft and meets some amazing friends along the way. If you’re picked up by an agent – that’s amazing and I am so proud of you! If you end up at a small publisher – great job! Small publishers are blessed with some great authors (I know – we have so many.) Millions of books are published every year and a very small percentage comes from the big five. That means small publishers are discovering hidden and overlooked talent.

You are talented. If writing is your passion, don’t give up no matter how many rejections you receive. Google how many rejection letters the big names racked up before finally landing an agent/publishing contract. You can do this because you want it bad enough. Maybe it won’t be this manuscript, maybe the next one, but it will happen.

Have faith.

Have hope.

Good luck and may the force be with you.

 Posted by at 4:09 am
May 142014


I have decided to break up my reading/reviewing schedule for Divertir Publishing.

Monday, Wednesday, Friday –  reading query submissions

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday – editing contracted manuscripts.


That should help me get through my list. Here is my schedule so far:

1.) read through the sci-fi anthology – done. We are postponing this due to lack of qualified submissions. However, I found quite a few great short stories on Wattpad. I have to admit, it is so fun reaching out to authors.

2.)Last run through of edits for A Bother of Bodies

3.)Read Harper’s Donelson – currently up to chapter 5

4.) Last run through of Dime Detective

5.) Read three queries tomorrow. – One request for the full and two rejections with requested changes.


Thanks to NetGalley, I even have a few books waiting to be read for pleasure.

Also, I have been made Acquisitions Editor which means I now control the slush pile. Muahaha!


That is all.







 Posted by at 4:11 am