Friday, February 14, 2014


My guest is romance author, Elizabeth Michels. Her topic today is using bits of life and experiences in our writing.

First of all, thank you for having me here to celebrate the release of Must Love Dukes.  I feel as if I've been wandering aimlessly toward this moment for years and I’m happy to share it with you! Why was I wandering aimlessly?  Let me explain… There are little shards of my life, people I've met, experiences I've encountered sprinkled throughout this book, and really any book I write.  I started writing during nap times just after I had my little boy.  Before that, I was a small business owner sentenced to bed rest during pregnancy and given piles of romance novels for company—not too shabby a sentence, right?  *grins* My point is that I haven’t always been a writer, but I have always been a reader and an observer of life.  And often that surrounding life shows up in the fiction I write.

There is one scene in Must Love Dukes that practically wrote itself after visiting my in-laws for the weekend.  It had been a difficult week for various reasons I won’t get into here and to compensate for the unfortunate turn of events my mother-in-law decided to fuss over my husband and me while we were crawling into bed at night.  It was absurd.  I remember her piling more and more and more blankets on us while we looked at each other, shaking our heads as we wondered what was happening.  She claimed that the guest bedroom was drafty and we were cold—even though we were comfortable.  She would leave the room and then minutes later return with another layer of blankets... 

In Must Love Dukes this turned into Devon’s mother calling for food to be brought in and checking the windows for drafts when she knew her son was in emotional turmoil.  He is protesting while she flits around the room in a frenzy of activity, calling in maids as she attempts to fix things that aren’t broken because she can’t fix what is truly wrong in her son’s life.  Sound familiar?
And then sometimes inspiration is more abstract and yet still based in daily life all the same.  At the heart of Must Love Dukes is Lily’s struggle to hold on to her family heirlooms while her brothers seek to auction off everything to the highest bidder—including her.  Disagreements over inheritance seem to plague every family at one time or another, causing rifts between siblings, driving proper ladies into a life of crime.  Alright, so maybe not all ladies at war with their brothers turn to thievery to solve their problems, but Lily does just that.  Only unlike real life inheritance battles, Lily’s journey leads her into peril when she steals from the wrong man—the Mad Duke of Thornwood.

Many of the family dynamics I enjoy writing about in my books occur today just as frequently as they did in Regency England.  Must Love Dukes does have twirling ball gowns and a swoon-worthy mad duke bent on revenge, but it also has people trying to navigate the path to happiness and love in life.  Finding one’s way down this path often requires sacrifice, hard decisions, and occasionally, it requires setting hunting dogs on unwanted suitors in a ballroom…Oh, you’ve never been in that situation?  Well, maybe not everything in my stories is based in the life I see around me, but I think that’s the enchanting part of reading a book—never knowing what adventure will be on the next page. 

  • What inspires you in your daily life?


BUY: AmazonB&Noble,Chapters/IndigoB-a-MIndieBound

The Mad Duke leaned in closer, his lips gently brushing her ear, and whispered, "I dare you."

She Can't Resist the Dare…
Lillian Phillips could not imagine how her quiet, simple life had come to this. Blackmailed by the Mad Duke of Thornwood into accepting one wild dare after another...all because of a pocket watch. Desperate to recover her beloved father's pawned timepiece, Lily did something reckless and dangerous and delicious—something that led to a night she'd never forget.

He has a Reputation for Scandal…
When Devon Grey, Duke of Thornwood, runs into a mesmerizing, intoxicating, thieving woman who literally stole from his bedchamber—with his new pocket watch—Devon plots his revenge. If the daring wench likes to play games, he's happy to oblige. After all, what's the ruse of being the Mad Duke if you can't have some fun? But the last laugh might just be on him...


Elizabeth Michels grew up on a Christmas tree farm in rural South Carolina. After tip-toeing her way through school with her focus on ballet steps and her nose in a book, she met a boy and followed him a thousand miles away from home to Kansas City, Missouri, before settling down in North Carolina. She attended Park University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BA in Interior Design. Elizabeth is a lover of happily-ever-afters; she invites you to read her stories, get lost, and enjoy. For more information, please visit and

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


My guest is historical and romance author, Christy English. She's been in love with writing stories since the tender age of 8 when she concluded that writing was a whole lot harder than she first thought. Still, her love affair with words kept her at it until she finally got it right--years later. I, for one, am glad she persevered! 

When I was four years old, I asked for a typewriter for my birthday. And due to the love and devotion of my parents, I got one: a bright, shiny yellow one.

At this point in my life, I knew the alphabet and had begun to learn to read, but writing was a far distant goal...something that at that point had never consciously occurred to me. I did think it odd that the letters were all out of order on the key board. To be honest, I still don't know why the keyboard is like that. I am not even sure why i wanted that typewriter. I just knew that I did.

When I was 8 years old, I finished reading one of my library books and for the first time in my life, I thought: "I can do that." I got about five chapters into my novel, handwritten in poor, painstaking script, one page per "chapter", and then I gave up. It seemed that writing was much harder than it looked.

From the time I was 12, I began to have characters show up with stories to tell, dancing in my head. I know that sounds a little nuts, probably because it is, but those of you who are writers will know what I mean. And when these characters showed up, I started writing their stories down. I never foisted these hideous works of "art" off on other people, except for a couple of devoted friends (LaDonna and Laura, you know who you are.) Those two patiently read and praised stories that were so bad, they would peel paint of the walls. Trust me when I say that telling a good story is a  skill that takes YEARS to learn. Or at least, it took me years to learn how to do it.

So now, when I look at MUCH ADO ABOUT JACK, my fifth novel, and my third romance, I think of all the truly terrible writing I used to do, and I am amazed that I finally got better. Amazed and grateful.

If we focus and work hard, we can produce good writing. Storytelling is a joy, for the teller and, hopefully, for the reader. 

Good luck and many blessings on all of you who are writers, too, published and yet-to-be-published. Hang in there. If I can do it, so can you.


BUY: AmazonB&NB-a-M,ChpIndigoIndieBound


How to Become London's Most Notorious Widow:
1. Vow to NEVER remarry
2. Own a ship and become fabulously wealthy
3. Wear the latest risqué fashions in your signature color
4. Do NOT have a liaison at the Prince Regent's palace with a naval captain whose broad shoulders and green eyes make you forget Rule #1

Angelique Beauchamp, the widowed Countess of Devonshire, has been twice burned by love, and she is certain that no man will ever touch her heart again. But that doesn't mean she can't indulge a little—and it would be hard to find a more perfect dalliance than one with the dashing Captain James Montgomery.

After a brief torrid affair, James tries to forget Angelique and his undeniable thirst for more. The luscious lady was quite clear that their liaison was temporary. But for the first time, the lure of the sea isn't powerful enough to keep him away...


Christy English is happiest when she is dreaming. Her dreams have taken her to the royal court of Henry II in THE QUEEN’S PAWN, to medieval Paris in TO BE QUEEN, and now to Regency England in MUCH ADO ABOUT JACK, LOVE ON A MIDSUMMER NIGHT, and HOW TO TAME A WILFULL WIFE, where she loves to watch her characters find true love, often in spite of themselves. 

Please visit her on her blog, Facebook, or  Twitter 

Monday, February 10, 2014


“Oh the weather outside is frightful,
But the fire is so delightful,
And since we've no place to go,
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

It doesn't show signs of pausing,
And I've bought some corn for popping,
The lights are turned way down low,
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”

Lyricist, Sammy Cahn and the composer Jule Styne wrote Let It Snow in 1945. Inspiration being what it is, no doubt Sammy Cahn had some experience with being snowed in and probably cabin fever. It's a song we most hear at Christmas although it's not, technically, a Christmas song.


Let it Snow was also used in the Bruce Willis film Die Hard (one of my favorite movies), when the hero, John McClane was traveling to meet his family at Christmas.  We can safely say that John didn't have cabin fever.  The ‘frightful’ weather didn't affect his creativity in the least. Yippee Ki-yay!

However, not all deal with cabin fever quite so creatively as Sammy Cahn or John McClane.


  • Does Cabin Fever affect your creativity?
  • Are you more creative at these times or less?


Upcoming guests this week: 

Wednesday, February 12, Christy English will be talking about her life long romance with writing. Friday, February 14, Elizabeth Michels' topic is When Daily Life Turns Fiction.

Additionally, I will be not be around on the 14th as I'm scheduled for out-patient (we hope) surgery. Not exactly how I envisioned spending Valentine's Day this year. I'll not be visiting blogs on that day but I will try to visit on Saturday--depending upon how I feel.