Hearts Through History Romance Writers
Monthly Member Spotlight: Collette Cameron

Monthly Member Spotlight: Collette Cameron

ColletteHHRWspotlight

I have to admit I am not at all objective when it comes to our member in the spotlight this month. Having known Collette for years, I can assure you she’s as lovely in person as she is in her photos, and she’s a sweeter, kinder person than you can imagine. Please help me welcome multi-published member, Collette Cameron, into the spotlight this month!

Before we start talking about your writing, tell us a little about yourself and what you write.

I’m so tickled to be here!

So you want to know a little about me? Well, I live in the Pacific Northwest and am a self-confessed Cadbury Milk Chocoholic. I’m also a bit nuts about dachshunds and cobalt blue!

I write Regency and Scottish historicals, always with a dash of humor and often with a pinch of suspense.

Do you write full-time or part-time?

I write full-time now.

In January 2016 I stopped teaching and now spend all day long, every day doing what I absolutely love!

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I wasn’t one of those people who always knew they wanted to be a writer, though I did dabble in poetry writing as a teenager. Awful stuff!collette

But, in the back of my mind, this little thought niggled and niggled, that perhaps, someday, maybe, I’d attempt to write a book.

I never dreamed I’d write romances. Ever!

What drew you to write in the historical romance genre?

Historical romances are my preferred genre for reading, always have been, and it seemed logical when I started writing to dip my toes into what I knew.

I’m also a history buff, and I enjoy uncovering all sorts of interesting tidbits during research for my books.

What’s your favorite historical movie?

The Count of Monte Cristo!  Yummy.

If you could time travel, what era would you visit?

 19th century Scotland!  I don’t think I mentioned I’m also a bit obsessed about almost everything Scottish.

TTASH700Are there specific books or authors who have influenced you as a writer?

Not so much as far as my writing craft goes, but I attribute Kathleen Woodiwiss’s THE FLAME AND THE FLOWER for causing me to fall head-over-heels for historical romances.

I even named my daughter Brianna after Heather Brianna in that story.

Give us a brief rundown of your process. Are you a plotter, a pantser, or somewhere in the middle?

I have a friend who calls me a linear panster, although I’d call myself a plotser.

I always have basic plot points I make sure I hit, and before I start my books, I complete a Goal, Motivation, and Conflict chart for my hero and one for my heroine. I also complete an extensive questionnaire for each of them, and for my last few books, I’ve written a short summary of where I think the story will go.

My novels are character driven, though, which means, I end up places I didn’t know I was going.

That’s okay; I simply adjust the plot and keep on writing.

Thanks for stepping into the spotlight this month, Collette! To find out more about Collette, you can visit her website or find her on Facebook and Twitter.


Unpublished or published members, would you like to be featured in the member spotlight? Just drop me a line at christy@christycarlyle.com!

Monthly Member Spotlight: Ashlyn Macnamara

AshlynHHRWspotlightPlease help me welcome multi-published member, Ashlyn Macnamara, into the spotlight this month!

Before we start talking about your writing, tell us a little about yourself and what you write.

I write Regency romance with a dash of wit and a hint of wicked. Starting next September, though, my publisher will release the first in a series that’s a departure for me—fantasy romance. But it’s fantasy that has a historical feel to it—only with a little magic thrown into the mix.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Ashlyn Macnamara

Only about fifteen years ago. Though I’ve always made up stories in my head, I never thought to write them down until I discovered fanfiction. I wrote that for a while for fun, before I realized I should possibly try writing my own characters. I have often said I consider writing my mid-life crisis, but it’s safer than hang-gliding.

What drew you to write in the historical romance genre?

I started reading romance in the 80s, so historical was where it was at. Since historical has always been my top reading choice in romance, I think it’s natural that I leaned toward writing in that genre. I also love the escape element. I want to lose myself in another world.

Are there specific books or authors who have influenced you as a writer?

Stephen King’s On Writing is probably the most inspiring book I’ve ever read. I also have to say I like his attitude. He starts out saying that most writing books are BS. As someone who, shall we say, tends to chafe under the idea of rules governing a creative process, that opening immediately got me on board.

Give us a brief rundown of your process. Are you a plotter, a panster, or somewhere in the middle?

*points to Stephen King* I think one of the reasons On Writing resonated with me so much was because I discovered that he and I share a process. We both start out with characters, toss them into a situation, and say, “OK, now work yourselves out of it.” That would pretty much make me a pantser, but I’ve discovered that one of the reasons I keep writing is to find out what happens next. If I work it all out beforehand, I lose interest in writing the book.

Can you tell us a bit about your journey to publication?

As I mentioned, I started out writing fanfiction. While I enjoyed playing in someone else’s sandbox, after a while, I found myself writing about more and more minor characters, so I could do what I wanted with them. At that point, I realized that I might as well make up stories using my own characters. So I wrote a medieval romance. It was awful, but I didn’t know any better, so I queried it. And got rejected. A lot. I’m thankful self-publishing wasn’t such a thing in 2009 or so because I might have put that story out there and been embarrassed by it once I learned better.

Then I thought I probably should join the RWA®, where began taking workshops and looking for critique. Four more full manuscripts, and several abandoned stories later, I entered the Golden Heart®, finaled on my first try, and signed with an agent who sold that story. It became my debut A Most Scandalous Proposal in 2013.

Tell us about your latest release and what’s coming next for you. 

To Lure a Proper Lady came out March 29. It’s the first in a new Regency series called Duke-Defying Daughters about the progeny of a hypochondriac duke who wants to make certain his daughters make proper society matches before he turns up his toes. Naturally, being duke’s daughters, the women have ideas of their own.

In the first story, the oldest daughter suspects there may be something more than simple dramatics to her father’s bouts of illness, so she hires a Bow Street Runner to investigate. Will she marry her father’s choice—her annoying second cousin and heir presumptive to the dukedom or the rogue who presses all her buttons? Hmmm, decisions, decisions…

What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

Back when I was writing fanfiction, a good friend would beta read for me. She used to tell me, “This is good. Now make it worse.” I think that is an excellent reminder that we’re not going to tell a good story by being too nice to our characters. We have to put them through hell.

Thanks for stepping into the spotlight this month, Ashlyn! To find out more about Ashlyn, you can visit her website or find her on Facebook and Twitter.


Unpublished or published members, would you like to be featured in the member spotlight? Just drop me a line at christy@christycarlyle.com!

Monthly Member Spotlight: Alanna Lucas

HHRWspotlight_AlannaPlease help me welcome multi-published member, Alanna Lucas, into the spotlight this month!

Before we start talking about your writing, tell us a little about yourself and what you write.

I grew up in Southern California, but always dreamed of distant lands and bygone eras. From an early age, I took an interest in history and travel, and am thrilled to incorporate those diversions into my writing. I write Regency and Western historical romance.

When I’m not daydreaming of my next travel destination I can be found researching, spending time with family, or going for long walks. I make my home in California with my husband, children, one sweet dog, and hundreds of books.

Just for the record, you can never have too many shoes, handbags, or books. And travel is a must.

What drew you to write in the historical romance genre?author pic

I find history fascinating and it seemed natural to write what I love. Plus, I love to research (which can also be a problem at times).

If you could time travel, what era would you visit?

It would be difficult for me to choose just one time period. However, at the top of my list would be Italy during the Renaissance. I would have loved to be an apprentice to Michelangelo.

Are there specific books or authors who have influenced you as a writer?

I adore Sabrina Jeffries! She is such a talented writer and an amazing person.

Give us a brief rundown of your process. Are you a plotter, a panster, or somewhere in the middle?

I am an organized panster. I always begin by journaling character names, scene ideas, and sketch anything that stirs my imagination. The journal goes everywhere with me. Once I have a clear picture in mind, I begin to write- sadly, never in chronological order.

My daily writing routine varies depending on kids activities and real-life obligations, but I am always thinking about the story.

Can you tell us a bit about your journey to publication? 175Face-to-FaceFINAL

While at the 2013 California Dreamin’ conference, I learned that Boroughs Publishing Group was hosting the ‘What’s in a Name’ novella contest. I thought about entering, but did not have a novella completed (or even started), and I was leaving the country to visit family. A month later, I still did not have anything written down (but had had a wonderful time visiting my family) and the deadline was five weeks away.

One day while listening to Face to Face by Siouxsie and the Banshees inspiration struck. I sat down and just wrote. It was unlike any other project I had tackled previously. I finished the novella and a two paragraph synopsis with a couple of days to spare- talk about cutting it close!

500Waltzing-with-the-EarlTell us about your latest release and what’s coming next for you. 

Waltzing with the Earl is the last book in the In His Arms series. I was a little sad to finish the series, but ecstatic to start a new venture. I am currently “plotting” a couple of ideas. Stand by for some fun and excitement in the Regency 😉

What’s the hardest part of writing?

Time. There never seems to be enough hours in the day to do all the things I want to do!

Thanks for stepping into the spotlight this month, Alanna! To find out more about Alanna, you can visit her website or find her on Facebook and Twitter.


Unpublished or published members, would you like to be featured in the member spotlight? Just drop me a line at christy@christycarlyle.com!

Was It An Arranged Marriage?

Wedding ringsMy parents came from very similar backgrounds, Eastern European. My Mom’s family was from Rovna, Ukraine and immigrated here in 1900. Mom was born in New York City in 1908. My Dad’s family is from Snovsk, Ukraine and immigrated to the United States in 1910, when Dad was six.

I’ve been thinking about my parents. Two weeks ago would have been their 86th wedding anniversary. Both of them are gone but certainly not forgotten. I always found the story of how they met and married a bit of a romantic comedy. Their families came from the same vicinity, near Kiev. But it wasn’t until they were young adults that my Mom, Jessie, and Dad, Aaron, meet.

Both my grandmothers were single parents. Their husbands were victims of the 1918 flu pandemic. My maternal grandmother, Ida, was a piece goods worker hemming pant cuffs and shortening sleeves. My paternal grandmother, Mary, had a small grocery store.

In the early part of the 20th century, the Catskills in upstate New York had bungalow colonies where families would go to get out of the city for a week’s vacation in the summer. This is where my parents met. While my mother denied it and my father stayed very quiet, Mom’s brother, Uncle Jay, swears their marriage was arranged.

Mom and Dad day after their wedding

Mom and Dad day after their wedding

Jessie was 21 and working as a secretary. Aaron was 25 and graduating dental school. According to Uncle Jay, (Jessie’s brother), she was dating a handsome medical student, Ben, from Texas and, while a doctor was a blessing, Ida feared her only daughter would move away. Aunt Rose, Dad’s sister, told me Mary wanted Aaron, the youngest of seven and the last one unmarried, to settle down. It was time for him to start his family with a sensible woman. Ida and Mary introduced Jessie and Aaron and found lots of reasons for them to be together. Neither Jessie nor Aaron were happy with their plans. Ida threw a party for Jessie and Aaron but was a bit miffed when Aaron brought another woman as his date and Jessie walked in on Ben’s arm.

Back in the City, Jessie and Aaron spent time together the rest of the summer. Aaron became part of Jessie’s group of friends. Jessie was a practical realistic woman and a bit of a quiet person especially compared to Aaron’s outgoing nature. He held whatever audience he had enthralled with his stories and jokes.

On September 25, Uncle Jay came home from classes at Fordham University and was told to get dressed in his best suit. Jessie was getting married in their Aunt’s apartment across the hall. He was excited. He liked Ben. He stopped short when he saw Jessie with Aaron.

Ben pleaded his case up to the end but Ida would not hear any of it. He graduated, returned to Texas and never married. Jessie and Aaron had a good life together. Mom never spoke of Ben, not even when my sister and I would pester. She would just smile and tell us she wouldn’t change anything for the world.

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad.

Excerpt from Knight of Rapture – NJRW 2015 Golden Leaf Finalist

BadgeSunday morning calls from friends are always nice. My husband and I were on our way to a friend’s barbeque when Nancy Herkness called and told me my book, KNIGHT OF RAPTURE, finaled in the NJRW 2015 Golden Leaf contest for Paranormal Romance. To say I was thrilled is an understatement. I was so excited, and an hour away, I texted my friends. (Paul was driving.) Wine was poured and waiting when we walked in. The people at the party are my critique partners, the people who (along with my editor Mallory Braus) swooned over the good parts and helped my make the not-so-good-parts great.

This story was long in coming. It’s a follow-up story to KNIGHT OF RUNES, which finaled in the same contest in 2011. I love Lord Arik and his Rebeka. They have an undying love. They struggle to be with each other and continually demonstrate they are for each other. Even our villain is story-worthy. Could KNIGHT OF REDEMPTION be far behind?

I’ve included the back cover copy and an excerpt from KNIGHT OF RAPTURE for you. I hope you enjoy it.

Knight of Rapture Final Cover RACasie 400x600He crossed the centuries to find her…

For months Lord Arik has been trying to find the right combination of runes to create the precise spell to rescue his wife, Rebeka, but the druid knight will soon discover that reaching her four hundred years in the future is only the beginning of his quest. He arrives in the 21st century to find her memory of him erased, his legacy on the brink of destruction, and traces of dark magick at every turn.

A threat has followed…

Bran, the dark druid, is more determined than ever to get his revenge. His evil has spread across the centuries. Arik will lose all. Time is his weapon, and he’s made sure his plan leaves no one dear to Arik, in past or present, safe from the destruction.

But their enemy has overlooked the strongest magick of all…

Professor Rebeka Tyler is dealing with more than just a faulty memory. Ownership of Fayne Manor, her home, has been called into question. Convenient accidents begin happening putting those she cares for in the line of fire. And then there’s the unexpected arrival of a strange man dressed like he belonged in a medieval fair—a man who somehow is always around when needed, and always on her mind. She doesn’t know who to trust. But one thing is certain. Her family line and manor have survived for over eleven centuries. She won’t let them fall, not on her watch… in any century.

“A thrillilng and emotionally evocative tale filled with adventure, love and hope. Casie’s weaved an exciting medieval fantasy romance that I can’t get enough of.”   …Eliza Knight, USA Today bestselling author

Excerpt:

GLBadgeFinalist_2015She took another step and past the stone marker.

The air chilled and the sky turned an array of colors. Everything around her began to swirl. She realized her mistake too late. The portal, she was in the portal.

Arik. Close to him now, she reached for him but her hand passed through the form. She examined her hand turning it over then spotted the shadow of the man.

An illusion?

The shadow turned towards her. She watched as the wind washed over his face and it changed. “Bran,” she whispered in disbelief. Her head swiveled while she searched for something, anything to grab on to. The portal had one use and she had no intention of leaving.

Get out, her brain shouted.

His lips twisted into a cynical sneer. He tilted his head in jaunty satisfaction, snapped his fingers and vanished.

“No,” she yelled. “Arik,” she closed her eyes and screamed in her head trying to mind touch him while the wind tore at her.

“Beka,” he boomed.

Her eyes snapped open. She shielded them from the dust and debris and stared at Arik on the other side of the opening. He stood at the high plateau, miles away. His hands were braced on the opening’s edges, which were nothing more than solid streams of whirling wind. He struggled to keep the portal from closing.

“Come.” His voice didn’t allow for any argument.

The wind whipped at her, pushed her back. She tried again. “I can’t. The wind. Keeps. Pushing. Me. Away.” She shoved her staff in front of her and anchored it in the ground. Against the gusting wind, pulled herself towards him.

“A little more, Beka.” He gripped the edge of the portal with one hand and stretched the other out to her. She shoved her hand towards him as far as she could. The tips of their fingers brushed. In a burst of effort he caught the top of her hand, a precarious hold. With a tight grasp she wrapped her fingers around his thumb.

Safe, she wasn’t far now.

She concentrated on his face. The corners of his mouth turned up as he pulled her towards safety. The wind grew stronger buffeting around them then changed its path.

Before she could brace herself for the new direction, the gust blasted them. Without a firm grip, her hand began to slip. She pushed through the building panic. His smile slipped. The expression on his face turned to determination. Again her hand slipped until he held her by her fingertips.

He held them fast—crushing them but that didn’t matter. He had to hold on to her. Every muscle strained. Inch by inch he brought her closer to him. She tried to help him the best way she could. Anchored to the edge of the portal, Arik encouraged her on. But his alternatives were limited. The closer she got to him, the stronger the gale blew. Just a little closer, that’s all she needed for Arik to grab her and get her out of the portal.

The wind exploded from another direction.

The blasting gale pushed her staff away from the opening, across the dirt, cutting an ugly scar in the ground and dragging her away with her staff.

Away from Arik.

© 2015 Ruth A. Casie

Druid Knight Story 3spread Twitter

Where you can find KNIGHT OF RAPTURE:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1CtC7ad

Amazon Print: http://amzn.to/1EN0Hhk

BN: http://bit.ly/1McK4oC

KOBO: http://bit.ly/1NaqW7Q

iBook:  http://apple.co/1M5o92x