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Alyssa Drake Novels

Steamy Romance with a Twist

Journey into the mind of a writer on deadline...‚Äč

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An interview with Christine Sterling

Posted by Alyssa Drake on 18 March, 2022 at 13:15 Comments comments (0)


Pre-order your copy of The Letter Wife, for just 99 cents, one of fifteen historical romances available in Secrets, Scandals, and Seduction. On sale for 99 cents. Order now.


Get to know Christine Sterling, author of The Letter Wife


What do you find interesting about your main characters?

Both of my characters are honorable to the core. You make a promise, and you keep it. No matter how difficult it may be. Bass Pickett’s word is his bond and Emily Frost finds herself a people pleaser who can’t say no, so she is stuck with her decisions.


Bass is a strong dominant male and has little time for romance. He has a ranch to run and is more interested in expanding his herd than expanding his family. Of course, all it takes is one softly spoken young lass to put him off his game and regret a choice he made, but he feels honor-bound to keep away from Emily. After all, she is supposed to marry his brother.


Emily Frost is on the bad end of other people’s choices. A people pleaser to the core, she will do anything to keep the peace. After running away from home to escape the scandal caused by her father and brother, she feels compelled to make her new marriage work, no matter what. What she doesn’t expect is that her attraction to Bass grows the more time she spends with him.


Where does the story take place and why did you choose this setting?

My story takes place in the fictional town of Flat River, Nebraska. Set in the lower center portion of the state in Lincoln County, Flat River is based off North Platte and lies where the Platte River diverges into the North and South Platte Rivers.


I created this setting when I was crafting The Chapmans series. The need came about when I was writing my Pinkerton Matchmaker Series and needed to craft a backstory for a set of twin sisters. I needed somewhere close, but not too close. I settled on Nebraska, and this corner of the state has been featured in most of my books and series, so it made sense to place The Letter Wife in this location as well.


Share a little about the story behind the story.

I read mail-order bride romances for as long as I can remember. I found it incredibly brave that these women would travel across the United States to marry a stranger. Of course, more happily ever-afters appeared in books, than in real life, but the process must have worked, because the US is quite populated.


Most women would answer an advertisement in the paper, or solicit the services of a matchmaker. My thought was – what if a group of letters, enroute to their destination was lost? All these women who had written, seeking a better future, might never have a chance. So, I made the packet found by our hero, Bass Pickett who runs a ranch with his brother.


Since Flat River is such a remote town during that time in history, it would make sense that stumbling on a stack of letters like this would be like finding gold. My question was – what if that person who finds the letters realizes that the town needs more Christian women, and starts responding to the women?


These are the letter wives…


What is the theme or takeaway you want readers to think about?

My favorite trope is the opposites-attract romances. The tension between two people who are completely different makes for the most entertaining stories. I love the attract and repel dynamic and The Letter Wife certainly has a lot of that! I want people reading this book to understand that although you may think that because things work out a certain way, it could be because God has a bigger plan for you and your plans are not always His plans.


When did you know you wanted to be an author?

Since I was seven. I would interview people and write their stories – with quite a bit of embellishment. I loved being able to disappear into a story and couldn’t wait to be able to tell stories of my own.


Favorite animal?

My Shih Tzu, Morgan. After that a sloth. Given Morgan likes to lay around all day and do nothing, I figure they are one in the same.


If you could travel to any spot in the world, where would it be?

Greece. Give me warm sand, blue seas and a clear sky any day.


What’s next in your writing?

I have two series coming out that also take place in Flat River – The Hartmans and The Flat River Matchmaker. I’m also branching out into contemporary romance and hope to reach a new group of readers with my plot-driven stories.


Social media links:

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An interview with Lynn Donovan

Posted by Alyssa Drake on 11 March, 2022 at 18:25 Comments comments (0)


Today's interview comes from Lynn Donovan, author of Sweet, White Lies

Exclusively available in Secrets, Scandals, and Seduction. How do you capture a man's heart... a lady never tells.

Click here to pre-order now for 99 cents.


What do you find interesting about your main characters?

Emilia is resourceful and stubborn. Although she is living in 1883, a time when women did what they were told, she is determined to do things her way. I think it's funny how the plans that are made for her are exactly what she would have chosen if she’d been given the opportunity to say what she preferred. But because they were laid out for her, she rebelled mightily by choosing a random cowboy and lying about who he was. She never dreamed one little white lie would snowball and land her in a world of trouble with her parents, her friends, and the handsome cowboy.


Jasper, too, loves his independence. Although he respects his parents and will not go against their wishes, he obeys their instructions to attend a ball in which he is to meet his bethroathed by doing it his way, dressed as a rugged cowboy. Intrigued by the little vixen who tells him to play along and introduces him as her fiance, he soon learns she is the intended his parents had sent him here to meet. Now, he doesn’t know if he can trust one who lies so easily.

 

Where does the story take place and why did you choose this setting?

Salida, Colorado in 1883. I love this time frame. Salida is a beautiful town about an hour’s drive from where I live and has a rich history for fodder for a historical story. The railway came through there in this time which helps get characters from their far away ranches to town in less than a day, thus allowing my main male character’s parents to come be with him for his bethrothal.


Share a little about the story behind the story.

My initial thought was to have my female character be a rebellious young woman. She doesn’t trust her parents to arrange a marriage suitable for her and is looking for a way to get out of the agreement she assumes they have made. When she spies a handsome, rugged, and rather dirty cowboy at her birthday ball, she decides to tell her parents he is her secret courter and they are already engaged to be married. Thinking it will buy her time to get our of her parents’ arrangement and find someone she really can love and live with the rest of her life. But I knew the twist had to be that the dirty cowboy was the man her parents had made the arrangement with and now she wants to set things straight. But the cowboy, while amused by her antics, doesn’t feel he can trust her.

 

What is the theme or takeaway you want readers to think about?

It’s hard to believe a liar even when they tell the truth.


One little white lie will lead to another and another until you are so entangled it will be difficult to get out of the mess you have made. The only way out is to tell the truth and set the record straight.


When did you know you wanted to be an author?

I was in my twenties when I absolutely knew I wanted to be a writer. I took a creative writing class then and loved it, but while my babies were young and I worked full time outside of the home I couldn’t not fit it into my schedule. In truth, looking back over my life, I realize I’ve always been a writer. I was the kid who made up the story that we would act out. We played Mom and Dad, children, Cowboys and indians, etc. I wrote plays and coaxed my friends to act them out. I made hand puppets and entertained my friends with little puppet plays.


When I was 53, my life took a drastic turn and I found myself at home as caregiver to my mother with dementia and my special needs sister. I realized I had copious amount of time on my hands and thought, “Why not try this thing called writing?”


I published my first book the next year and now, 12 years later, have 70+ books published on Amazon. It is a career for me now and I love it!

 

Favorite animal?

I have 7 dogs, 1 cat, 12 chickens. But I love all animals! I can’t imagine life without some critter in my lap or in my house. The chickens are outside, of course. LOL I’m that person who goes to someone’s home and sits down to visit with the pet(s).

 

If you could travel to any spot in the world, where would it be?

My bucketlist is to go to Europe. I’ve never been. I want to go, not as a tourist, but on the insiders track, visit real people, see how they live in that country and eat what they eat, help work in their garden, etc. My second, and more achievable bucket list item, is to take three weeks and drive from my home in Colorado to the east coast, drive up to Maine, have a lobster dinner, then head back on an interior highway so I can see different things from the way up. I want to take our time, stop when we want to, pull off because we saw something interesting, and get there when we get there.

 

What’s next in your writing?

I have a Time Travel Historical Romance I am publishing this year, 2022, and I have a Dachshund Cozy Mystery series I wrote half of last year. I will finish that series this year. I have some Multi-Author Series I will be writing in that will publish this year also. IF I can get everything written that I planned, it could be 20 books. But we’ll see and I’ll do what I am able. Nothing says I can’t push some of them over into 2023.

 

Social media links:

You can learn more about Lynn on her blog, follow her on Twitter @MLynnDonovan, Facebook Author page at LynnDonovanFGG and her website, LynnDonovanAuthor.com.

Follow me on BookBub. Instagram. GoodReads. Facebook readers page: Books by Author Lynn Donovan.

Want more? Sign up for her newsletter and get a free book not available anywhere but to subscribers. 

For more publications by Lynn Donovan go to: Amazon.com/author/ldonovan

 

 

 


An interview with RL Ashly

Posted by Alyssa Drake on 4 March, 2022 at 16:30 Comments comments (0)

With 15 tales of romance included in Secrets, Scandals, and Seduction boxed set, this collection of sweet and steamy historical romance is a bargain for just 99 cents (get your copy here). Over the next few weeks, I'll be introducing you to each of the authors.


Today's interview comes from RL Ashly, author of Isle Celare.


What do you find interesting about your main characters?

Kessie Fox is an art restorer who is desperately in need of work. She insists on paying her own way. I enjoy a strong female protagonist.


Where does the story take place and why did you choose this setting?

Isle Celare is a fictitious island off the Pacific Coast. I thought it would be fun to create something different.


Share a little about the story behind the story.

I love the Pacific Ocean. It’s beauty and power is breathtaking. So, for this story, setting is important.


What is the theme or takeaway you want readers to think about?

Being oneself. Having an adventure.


When did you know you wanted to be an author?

In the fifth grade.


Favorite animal?

It’s a tie between dogs and cats. Dolphins are a favorite too.


If you could travel to any spot in the world, where would it be?

Europe


What’s next in your writing?

I have three novels that I’m releasing this summer. I’m also planning on attending a writing conference soon


Exclusively available in Secrets, Scandals, and Seduction. How do you capture a man's heart... a lady never tells.

Day 86 - Lesson learned

Posted by Alyssa Drake on 4 November, 2021 at 14:55 Comments comments (0)

You know that moment when you realize the decision you made was not the best choice?


As I was manually tallying up the latest newsletter giveaway entries, I realized that this entire step of transferring the data to an Excel sheet (and double checking it) could have been skipped had I set up a Google form at the time I created my newsletter.


Head...desk.


However, it's too late now, and due to that incorrect choice, I've dedicated an entire session that I could have been editing (or writing) to this giveaway. As I'm toggling between the email replies and my Excel sheet, I'm thinking this task is something I could have passed over to an assistant, had I not been suffering from "do-it-myself" syndrome (but that's a whole other kettle of fish).


We'll call this a lesson learned for next time.

Day 85 - Come play with us

Posted by Alyssa Drake on 3 November, 2021 at 14:45 Comments comments (0)

While I've participated in several boxed sets, I've never had the pleasure of assembling one myself. I probably shouldn't have made that my first task when I got the edits back for Horrified, but considering it does need to be assembled prior to loading it into the magical book making program (Vellum, for those of you who are curious), I decided to tackle that task first. 


The main concern I had was ensuring the reader was aware they were reading the next story in the collection, and not the background story running through the set. Therefore, I decided to use the covers that were originally attached to each story as the indicator of the next tale. I'm curious to see how this will look in paperback, as that will be printed in black and white, not the beautiful, bright colors on the covers.


I also fiddled with the chapter headings, changing them several times before deciding that each introduction section would also have chapter numbers. I must admit, I am in love with this cover, it fits more perfectly than I could have imagined. It just gives me the creeps.

Day 84 - An opening, take two

Posted by Alyssa Drake on 2 November, 2021 at 18:00 Comments comments (0)

 I was looking forward to beginning Chapter Two of my historical romance, because it's told from my heroine's POV (the Wiltshire Chronicles being my only series with dual POVs), but the difficulty I've found with showing both sides is that instead of writing one First Chapter, I have to write two, since each character must introduce themselves to the reader. Even though I have this story plotted out, I wrestled with how to portray her in the "second" opening.


Sarah was originally a side character that was introduced in A Perfect Plan as one of several young ladies who could be a potential wife for Benjamin, Lord Westwood. She's mentioned again, when her sister, Louisa, ends up with Alana Flannery on the ill-fated ship attacked by pirates in An Imperfect Scoundrel. At neither time was she portrayed in a good light. So, why would I give her a chance at happily ever after?


Because first impressions are sometimes wrong, and sometimes, the most trusted confident, shouldn't be trusted (cough, Alice Shirely, cough).


In Sarah's case, she discovered how fickle her friends could truly be, and when she was forced to resort to the very behavior of which they accused her, they destroyed her reputation. Mean girls, historical style. So, I gave her a second chance. I hope she doesn't muck it up.

Day 83 - NaNoWriMo

Posted by Alyssa Drake on 2 November, 2021 at 4:55 Comments comments (0)

NaNoWriMo (def.) The time a year when authors undertake the inane task of writing 50,000 words in 30 days.


For those authors who can write 2,000 words a day, this is not problem. In fact, I've seen authors complete this in a week, and while I am impressed by their ability, this is not something I've ever been able to do. At my most productive, I still fell short (that year I hit about 38,000 words), which was due to having to shift my focus from writing to editing. Inevitably, I have to edit during November. I'm not certain why that is, but this year is no different.


I'm actually waiting for two edits to come back. The first one, Horrified, is releasing November 19, and yes, I'm cutting it close for submission. Amazon does give you many (many) warnings about getting your book uploaded on time, and I have never been late, so I have no intention of starting now. The other story is my historical co-write (which will take most of my attention during the latter part of November). In between all of this, I have roughly 48,000 words to write for my historical romance, which would be the perfect goal...


So, I set up my NaNoWriMo profile for this year in the hopes that this year will be different.

Day 82 - They call this work?

Posted by Alyssa Drake on 31 October, 2021 at 13:30 Comments comments (0)

 I find it amusing that reading romance novels counts as work research, but it does. When given the choice, I'll take paperback over screen (which I'm certain sparks some kind of debate). I admit, I was reluctant to move to screen, and though I do like being able to carry more than two books around, I miss the feel of a book, or more so, the pages beneath my fingertips. It evokes memories of hiding beneath blankets with flashlights, and rainy afternoons curled up on a windowseat.


When asked what my favorite genre is, I usually give the answer romance. Yes, that is broad, but there are so many subgenres and beautiful mixes of tropes in romance that I can't pick just one (I don't even write just one). So, my bookshelves are an eclectic collection of authors and series, some from my youth, and others that I discovered along the way. If I'd read the book again (or already have) it earns a spot on a shelf. Those I'd prefer not to experience a second time are donated to the library so others may discover a new favorite author.


Unless the book is autographed, then it never leaves the shelf. And this collective habit comes from my dear mother, who wrote to Richard Scarry and asked for his autograph when I was just a baby.

Day 81 - Down periscope

Posted by Alyssa Drake on 30 October, 2021 at 20:15 Comments comments (0)

The worst part about feeling ill when you're the only employee, is that no one is there to pick up the slack (I am so fired).


So, while I'm laying here thinking of all the things I "should be" doing, I am thankful that I got my social media posts scheduled earlier this week. The most important task that needed to be done, was done, and although I have a myriad of things piling up, none of them are at a critical status.


For now, the mind of a writer on a deadline, is more a foggy mess than anything else, but I have green tea, and a sweet cat who can't decide if he'd rather lay on me or beside me with his paw on my arm.


I'm hoping to surface tomorrow. Down periscope.

Day 80 - Falling down

Posted by Alyssa Drake on 29 October, 2021 at 13:30 Comments comments (0)

I do not have time to be sick. (I do have time to take care of my family as they fall one by one to the illness that sent my little man home from school.) However, after playing nurse, it appears to be my turn for a bit of rest (okay a lot of rest).


I pushed myself through today, knowing that obligations needed to be met (which is probably the true reason I got sick, since I have a tendency to go until I drop). 5pm found me in pajamas, laying on the couch and thinking I'll just close my eyes for a moment...


That moment turned into the next morning, and honestly, I can't remember how I made it to bed. However, now I can't get out of bed, so I'm just going to lay here and stare at the cat (seems fitting, he stares at me all the time). First non-productive day since I started this blog, and unfortunately, it won't be my last.


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