Friday, March 5, 2021

Review of The Spinster of Emerson Pass (Emerson Pass Historicals #2) by Tess Thompson


 
Her love died on a battlefield. He carries a torch for a woman he’s never met. Can the tragic death of a soldier entwine the souls of two strangers?

Colorado, 1920. Josephine Barnes wrote every day to her beloved fiancé battling in the trenches of the Great War. Devastated when he’s killed in action, she vows never to marry and buries her grief in the construction of the town’s first library. But she’s left breathless when she receives a request from a gracious gentleman to visit and return the letters containing her declarations of desire.

Philip Baker survived the war but returned home burdened with a distressing secret. Though he knows it’s wrong, he can’t stop reading through the beautiful sentiments left among his slain comrade’s possessions. Plagued by guilt, he’s unable to resist connecting with the extraordinary woman who captured his heart with her words.

When Josephine invites Philip to join her gregarious family for the holidays, she’s torn by her loyalty to a ghost and her growing feelings for the gallant man. And as Philip prepares to risk everything by telling her the truth about her dead fiancé, he fears he could crush Josephine’s blossoming happiness forever.

Will they break free from their painful pasts to embrace a passion meant to be?

The Spinster is the second book in the heartwarming Emerson Pass historical romance series. If you like staunch heroines, emotional backdrops, and sweeping family sagas, then you’ll adore Tess Thompson’s wholesome tale.


Book Links:
(affiliate link included)


**My thoughts**

When the first Emerson Pass: Historical came out ,I admit I was a little apprehensive. I adore Tess Thompson’s books, but I am not usually a fan of historical novels. I was blown away by that one and was excited for the arrival of the second in the historical part of the series.

Now we have moved forward several years. The kids are adults in their own right, starting to embark upon their own lives. The parents are quite settled into their life as a new family, even having a couple more children of their own. The twins had gone off to war and came back changed, particularly Theo. Cymbaline is still feisty and I love her. And then there is Josephine, the eldest, who had been forced to grow up too soon thanks to her biological mother’s mental illness.

Her next loss was when her love, Walter, was killed in the war. They hadn’t been together long, but Jo is the kind of woman who takes her responsibilities seriously. So it is of no surprise that she remained single.

Enter Phillip. He was childhood friends with Walter and the two were stationed together during the war. He knew Josephine via her letters and wanted to meet her in person, hoping that she could perhaps eventually fall in love with him.

I love the romantic notion of writing letters to each other, and how someone else could also fall in love reading them. Today’s emails and text messages don’t cut it. You add in the generosity and kind nature of the Barnes family, plus the romantic backdrop of Emerson Pass, and you know that this is a formula for a successful relationship. But it will take time to evolve and have a few bumps along the way.

I admit I predicted a few of the twists. But the overall warm and fuzzy feeling I got from this book was all that mattered. I am in love with this family and this town and I look forward to the next installment.

I was requested and received a review copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Meet Michael McLaren from Related by Murder by Jo A. Hiestand

 


I do love it when authors visit the blogs to help us get to know them a bit better. But I do absolutely adore it when we get to meet their characters in a new light! Today we get to meet Michael McLaren from Related by Murder by Jo A. Hiestand in this character interview. You can also check out an excerpt from the story and then follow the tour for more. Remember to leave questions and comments along the way. Best of luck entering the giveaway!



From the moment ex-police detective Michael McLaren arrives at his friend’s house, he’s plunged into a nightmare of a case. Two men, hanged a year apart, each killed on a Good Friday. A barrister. A solicitor. Related careers. Related by murder. Related motives?

Pottery shards, a torn newspaper article, and biscuits are found in each man’s pocket. What do they signify? And the blackmail letters Melanie receives… Are they related to the murders, or are they separate, terrifying in their own way?

Professions, calendar date, McLaren’s attack. Could it all be entwined? Or is the motive for murder something else, something so secret that keeping it is worth attempting a third one?


Read an excerpt:
McLaren sat up and leaned against the remnant of a broken-off column. How long had he been there? Forty-five minutes, his wristwatch announced. It was time to end this farce.

He didn’t, though. A beam of light near the river changed his plan. He crouched down, hugging the column, and watched.

The torchlight moved up the riverbank, a slow and steady progress that implied the walker was picking his way over rocky ground. The light bobbed several times as the person holding it evidently lost his footing. But it remained focused ahead, toward the main grounds of the Abbey. The progress was now more sure, signifying the rocks and sand had been left behind and the walker was now on firm soil. The light never flicked from side to side, as it would if the person was unsure of the land and was looking for obstacles. Several times the light slid behind a portion of the stone wall or a taller column remainder, but it always appeared again within seconds, still moving straight ahead.

Who the hell would be here at this hour?

Suggestions whispered to him, and he moved quickly to the cemetery section of the Abbey. Hoping to blend in and look like another pile of rocky foundation, he crouched beside a stone coffin. He turned his head and held his breath, not wanting any sound to give away his location.

When he looked up, the light had vanished.

Available on Amazon
(affiliate link)
On sale for $0.99!


Interview with Michael McLaren

In what situation is your self esteem most at risk?
I guess it depends who you ask. That sounds flippant, but you’ll get different answers from Jamie, Melanie, my sister or me. But since you’re asking me, I’ll say when I’ve taken on someone’s case. People expect me to solve these cold cases in a snap. Some have been as old as five years, and witness memories aren’t as good as they were. It’s hard to search a crime scene so long after the fact—things aren’t the same. My experience as a former police detective, my present day skill, and my reputation are at stake. It’s a lot of pressure. Add to that, I’m working alone, and I now have an audience of sorts: my mate, my girlfriend, and the person who employed me. I don’t want to fall on my face and let the grieving family down. So yeah, my self-esteem could suffer if I fail.

What are you keeping a secret?
My claustrophobia and fear of the dark.

What are you lying to yourself about? To others?
That I can make a marriage commitment. Maybe it’s obvious to everyone, even my girlfriend. I’m reluctant to talk about the future and our developing relationship. It’s not that I don’t love her—I love her more than my life. But I’m scared of what might change inside me if we marry. I want to continue helping people with my investigations, but marriage should involve putting the spouse first. I don’t know if I can do that when someone’s counting on me to find the killer of his or her loved one. So I’m in a dilemma. If I don’t marry Melanie, I might lose her from my life. And I couldn’t live with her gone. But marriage might limit the time I can help others. So the easiest way out is to tell myself and her that we’ll set the wedding date “next month” and then “next month” and so on.

Is there anyone in your life that you are attracted to?
Melanie.

What scares you about this person?
She can read my soul.

How do you know you love someone?
Wanting to be with her constantly, sharing joy and pain, helping her through rough times, laying down my life for her if it would help her.

What are you most afraid of?
Dying alone and unloved.

If you had one wish, what would it be?
There’d be no crime in the world.

What do you like best about yourself?
My tenacity. If I’ve told a person I’m going to find his or her loved one’s killer, I’ll keep at it until I do. Or die trying.

What do you like least about yourself?
My tendency to be pessimistic and cynical. I guess it comes from being lied to when I was in the job—witnesses, suspects and even some colleagues lying to cover their backsides. I have to remind myself not everyone’s like that, but it’s difficult when I continue to encounter that even now in my private investigations.

What do you like best about your best friend?
Jamie’s the most loyal mate a bloke could have. He’d literally die for me, I think, but I hope it’ll never come to that. I place a high value on loyalty. It’s the reverse of the lies and treachery I get from others.

What do you think other people think of you?
Teachers: a curious chap. He might make something of his life if he can focus his energy
Best friends: always there for them, supportive, good fun in a small group
Parents: sensitive, thoughtful, steadfast
Sibling: bit of a bore, too staid but can ask him for opinions and help
Colleagues: trustworthy, he’ll watch his partner’s back, honest. However, Charlie Harvester, my former colleague, is another matter. Besides hating my guts, he thinks I’m a know-it-all who’s overdue for a downfall

If you could change anything about your life what would it be?
Not waste time—it’s a precious commodity. Not let the years of separation build up between my grandfather and me. It’s devastating when you realize how much joy you could’ve shared, how close you could’ve been.


I grew up reading Dumas, Twain, duMaurier, Dickens and the Brontes. I loved the atmosphere of those books. Add the Basil Rathbone-Nigel Bruce movies and the moods of 1940s/50s movies like Brief Encounter, Night Must Fall, and The Thirty-Nine Steps, and I knew I wanted to write mysteries, and the books had to be set in Britain. That was a must even though I knew only what I’d seen in the movies and read in the novels. But the British pull was tenacious. Three years ago I discovered that I have literally centuries and centuries of English, Scottish and Welsh ancestry. Do genes mean anything?

My first visit to England was during my college years and that cemented my joy of Things British. Since then, I’ve been lured back nearly a dozen times, and lived there for a year during my professional folksinging stint.

What do I write? Well, at the moment, I write two British mystery series: the McLaren Mysteries and the Peak District Mysteries. The McLaren novels feature ex-police detective Michael McLaren, who investigates cold case murders on his own. The Peak District books feature a different British custom/tradition that is the backbone of each book’s plot. These are a combo cozy/police procedural, and members of the Derbyshire Constabulary CID Murder team work these cases.

I combined my love of writing, mysteries, music, and board games by co-inventing a mystery-solving treasure-hunting game, P.I.R.A.T.E.S.

I founded the Greater St. Louis Chapter of the international mystery writers/readers organization Sisters in Crime, serving as its first president.

In 2001, I graduated from Webster University with a BA degree in English and departmental honors. I live in the St. Louis, MO area with my cat, Tennyson, and way too many kilts.

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/jo-a-hiestand

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jo.hiestand.3

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/AnglophileJo

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/joahiestand

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/JoHiestand

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoHiestand

Website: http://www.johiestand.com

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/MysteryAuthorinSTL



Jo A. Hiestand will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 1, 2021

Review of Murder With Strings Attached by Mark Reutlinge

 


I featured this mystery last week on the blogs (Andi's Book Reviews and Candrel's Crafts, Cooks, and Characters) and told you to stay tuned for my review. I had the chance to read this book this weekend and got a big kick out of it! Check out an excerpt and then my thoughts on this quirky mystery story. Make sure you follow the rest of the tour to read more and to make comments and leave questions for the author! Best of luck in the giveaway!



Sometimes even the most carefully conceived burglary can take an unexpected turn. Florence Palmer has her eye on concert violinist Aaron Levy's priceless violin. Unfortunately, she finds it's already been stolen. Her surprise doubles when the virtuoso she'd planned to burgle offers to hire her to help him steal it back. But they're not the only ones looking for the missing violin. When Flo inadvertently becomes the prime suspect in a case of murder, she and Aaron need to clear her name. Will they find the real killer and get the violin back to its rightful owner without anyone else, especially themselves, being killed?


Read an excerpt:

Passing the front desk on my way to the elevator, I wanted to avoid eye contact with any of the clerks on duty. But, like Lot’s wife, I couldn’t resist just a peek. Unfortunately, one of the check-in clerks, an older woman with gray hair pulled back into a tight bun, happened to be looking in my direction and our eyes met.

The woman immediately called to me, “Miss, would you please step over here?”

I returned a mimed “Who, me?” gesture. The bun lady nodded in the affirmative.

Damn, that’s all I need, I berated myself. I just had to look, didn’t I? But I knew I now had no choice but to comply. I walked over slowly as I tried frantically to think of answers, having no idea what the questions might be. Would I be asked who I was and what I was doing here? If so, would my answers be credible? When I reached the desk I tried to act nonchalant.

“Yes, ma’am?”

The bun lady said, “Just a moment, please,” and reached under the desk.

Totally irrationally it flashed through my mind that the woman was going to pull out a pistol and place me under arrest. Good thing I’d just peed, or I’d probably have done it now. It’s amazing what tricks a guilty conscience can play on you. What she actually pulled out, however, was a stack of letters. She handed them to me and, motioning toward a mail box mounted on the far wall, said, “Would you be a dear and drop these in the box over there?”

I accepted the letters and the assignment with relief. “Certainly, ma’am. No problem.”

I marched directly over to the mail box and deposited the letters. I then continued on my way to the service elevator, this time resisting any urge to look anywhere but straight ahead.


Buy on Amazon or Barnes & Noble

(affiliate link included)


**My thoughts**

Our story begins with Flo uncomfortably crouched in a closet, attempting a burglary. She then backtracks to explain why she's there, and is a little scattered. And at first, I'm not sure I'm going to like this heroine who has purposely decided to become a burglar and whose best friend actually semi-supports her.

But I pressed on.

And when she gets back to the present to where she is caught by her intended victim and the tables turned on her, I was all in.

This story is actually quirky and delightful, rather light, and yet has plenty of plot twists that kept me engrossed. 

It's naturally a bunch of borderline ridiculous situations that would likely never happen in real life. But that is what makes this kind of book so much fun to read.

The author is also an adept storyteller who is capable of making us believe that this craziness really happened. His detail brings the story to life, playing out in your mind like you are watching it on a screen. And I think this one would make for a fun movie.

I'm not sure if Flo has any other books about her [mis]adventures as a burglar, but I would definitely read about more of them!

Thank you to the author and Goddess Fish for providing me with a requested review copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.



MARK REUTLINGER is an attorney and former law professor. He now writes novels in which the law is frequently broken, including his “Mrs. Kaplan” cozy mystery series (MRS. KAPLAN AND THE MATZOH BALL OF DEATH and A PAIN IN THE TUCHIS) and the political thrillers MADE IN CHINA and SISTER-IN-LAW: VIOLATION, SEDUCTION, AND THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (under the pen name M. R. Morgan). MURDER WITH STRINGS ATTACHED is his latest novel. He is also a reviewer for the New York Journal of Books.

Mark and his wife Analee live in University Place, Washington, where in addition to reading and writing he plays clarinet with the Tacoma Concert Band and enjoys tennis, biking, exotic cars, model railroading, and various arts and crafts. He has no idea where he finds the time for it all.

Visit Mark at MarkReutlinger.com and MRMorganAuthor.com.

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/markreutlinger

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1192934.Mark_Reutlinger




Mark Reutlinger will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, February 26, 2021

The Cyan Huntress by Krystal Pena


Welcome to the Book Blitz for The Cyan Huntress by Krystal Pena! 

The Cyan Huntress 
(Prophecy of Caerleon 1)
by: USA Today Bestselling Author, Krystal Pena! 
Genre: YA Fantasy 
Release Date: June 29th 2021




Summary:
She will avenge her husband’s death, even if she must kill every knight in Caerleon to learn who betrayed him.

Anwyn thought she would finally enjoy comfort and happiness when she married a traveling psychic--that is, until Uthyr Pendragon unleashed a war on all magic-users and had her new husband burned alive.

She’s determined to wreak her revenge, until a Druid boy’s prophecy convinces her to put aside her personal vendetta and learn to hunt the ones who want her dead--harder to do when she’s captured and taken to Caerleon to be tried as a sorceress.

Now, if she can escape with the help of Caradoc, a man whose secrets rival Anwyn’s, she will have to fulfill her vow of revenge while on the run and attempting to find the one leader who can unite three broken kingdoms under a single banner.

Assuming, of course, she can protect herself from burning at the stake, safeguard her heart from the enigmatic Caradoc, and complete her training as the Cyan Huntress.

Fans of Jeffe Kennedy, Grace Draven, and Laura Thalassa will love the blend of Arthurian legend and exciting action in this romantic fantasy adventure!



Buy Links:

Amazon *  Apple BooksNook * Kobo 

(affiliate link included)


Author Bio:

USA Today bestselling author Krystal Pena resides with her four children near Boston, MA. She writes paranormal romance, urban fantasy and fantasy, and enjoys writing stories about strong women who overcome the greatest obstacles to achieve their dreams or goals. Many of her characters reflect her and the adversities she has overcome, which she wants to relay in her writing to empower the young women of generations to come. Many of her stories have roots in ancient ideals and folklore, and she loves hiding alternate meanings or symbolism in her writing.

Aside from writing, Krystal enjoys photography, archery, horseback riding and MMA. She loves history and art, and frequents historical sites and art galleries in her spare time. Above all else, she loves being at home, baking and cooking with her children, visiting her family and reading bedtime stories.

She works as a personal assistant to other authors by day and writes late into the night, a strong cup of coffee always within reach. 

Krystal is also one-half of USA Today bestseller KM McKenna, which she shares with New York Times bestselling author Margo Bond Collins in writing YA/NA fantasy. She enjoys working alongside Margo as both co-author and PA. 


Author Links:

Website: https://kpenabooks.com/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kpenabooks/ 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kpenabooks/ 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kpenabooks 

Amazon Author: https://www.amazon.com/Krystal-Runkis-Pena/e/B01G470KPM 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/krystalpena 


Blitz created by YA Bound Book Tours 


Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Murder With Strings Attached by Mark Reutlinger

 


I love reading mysteries, especially those with a touch of humor in them. This one looks like it is going to be a lot of fun! Read an excerpt today and then stay tuned, because I will be reviewing it here later! Make sure you follow the rest of the tour to read more and to make comments and leave questions for the author! Best of luck in the giveaway!



Sometimes even the most carefully conceived burglary can take an unexpected turn. Florence Palmer has her eye on concert violinist Aaron Levy's priceless violin. Unfortunately, she finds it's already been stolen. Her surprise doubles when the virtuoso she'd planned to burgle offers to hire her to help him steal it back. But they're not the only ones looking for the missing violin. When Flo inadvertently becomes the prime suspect in a case of murder, she and Aaron need to clear her name. Will they find the real killer and get the violin back to its rightful owner without anyone else, especially themselves, being killed?


Read an excerpt:

I was going to use my “one phone call” (assuming a person really gets one and that’s not just something they say in the movies) to call Aaron, but I didn’t have to bother. Almost as soon as I arrived at the police station, Aaron, who obviously had been watching developments and following the police car I was in, walked in and inquired how I might be released. Given the relatively minor nature of the charge, despite what they might actually suspect, and my clean record, despite all the burglaries they were thankfully unaware of, bail was set according to a standard schedule rather than my having to wait to see a judge the next day.

I don’t know how much it cost Aaron to bail me out, but of course whatever it was, he could well afford it; and besides, he owed it to me. After all, I was really just his employee, and surely posting bail is a standard employee benefit.

When all the necessary papers had been signed and funds transferred, Aaron and I walked out into the sunshine that I’d been afraid I wouldn’t be seeing for quite a while.

On the way to Aaron’s car, I gave him a hug and a little kiss on the cheek and thanked him for extricating me from the pokey and doing it so quickly. He looked a bit embarrassed by that, but he cleared his throat and said in his best businesslike manner:

“Okay, so why’d you shoot him, and where’d you put the violin?”


Buy on Amazon or Barnes & Noble

(affiliate link included)


MARK REUTLINGER is an attorney and former law professor. He now writes novels in which the law is frequently broken, including his “Mrs. Kaplan” cozy mystery series (MRS. KAPLAN AND THE MATZOH BALL OF DEATH and A PAIN IN THE TUCHIS) and the political thrillers MADE IN CHINA and SISTER-IN-LAW: VIOLATION, SEDUCTION, AND THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (under the pen name M. R. Morgan). MURDER WITH STRINGS ATTACHED is his latest novel. He is also a reviewer for the New York Journal of Books.

Mark and his wife Analee live in University Place, Washington, where in addition to reading and writing he plays clarinet with the Tacoma Concert Band and enjoys tennis, biking, exotic cars, model railroading, and various arts and crafts. He has no idea where he finds the time for it all.

Visit Mark at MarkReutlinger.com and MRMorganAuthor.com.

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/markreutlinger

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1192934.Mark_Reutlinger




Mark Reutlinger will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, February 19, 2021

Cheryl Holt, author of A Summer Wedding at Cross Creek Inn on her journey to becoming a writer


 

Not every author shares the same path to becoming a writer. Today, Cheryl Holt, author of A Summer Wedding at Cross Creek Inn, share her journey and an excerpt from the book. Be sure to follow the tour for even more! Best of luck entering the giveaway.



From New York Times bestselling author, Cheryl Holt, comes a sparkling, fast-paced novel about the complexity of family—and all the ways they can drive us crazy.


The lavish Layton-Benjamin wedding promises to be an event to remember, and the groom’s wealthy parents have spared no expense to impress their guests by hosting it at the exclusive Cross Creek Inn, a private mountain retreat tucked away in the heart of the Colorado Rockies. But the bride and groom are from completely different backgrounds, and they’ve only known each other for a few months, so it’s been a ‘hurry-up’ engagement that has everyone worried.

When the groom arrives late and tempers start to flare, it’s clear the wedding is a minefield that has to be carefully navigated. As parents and friends begin taking bets over whether the happy couple will make it to the altar, secrets are revealed, new loves emerge, and true happiness is finally found.

Book your visit to the Cross Creek Inn! A witty, fun summertime story about family, friendship, and finding out what matters most—that only Cheryl Holt could tell.

* * * *

An Amazon ‘Top-100’ Bestselling Author…

* * * *


Read an excerpt:
Sharon…

The view out the window of her suite was spectacular, and Sharon was trying to enjoy it. She was surrounded by thick, verdant woods, and off in the distance, stark mountain peaks rose, seemingly to the stratosphere. Even though it was mid-July, they were dotted with snow.

She’d never been what might be described as a mountain person. Being a typical Californian, one who’d been born and raised in Los Angeles, she’d had her auras read and her chakras aligned and her pores opened. She was a water person, and she lived on the beach in Malibu where she could stare out at the ocean.

Still though, the Colorado scenery was beautiful, and she had to remember that it was and focus on that fact. It was awfully quiet though, and the silence would take some getting used to. In Malibu, with its lone highway that was constantly clogged with cars, there was always a hum of traffic. It was a regular drone that never ended.

She wondered if the serenity and isolation might gradually drive her crazy, but then, she was staying in Colorado for four short days. She could endure any torment for four days. Couldn’t she?

On Sunday morning, after Eric and Jennifer departed on their honeymoon, she would head back to California, and the appalling weekend would be over.

As the mother of the groom, she should have been more excited, but she couldn’t muster the necessary enthusiasm. Initially, she’d decided she wouldn’t attend, but friends had nagged until she’d changed her mind. So…here she was, but she wasn’t glad about it, and she had to alter her mood, bury her misgivings, and forge on with a positive attitude.

Available on Amazon
(affiliate link)


Please tell us about your journey to becoming a writer…

I had two kids back-to-back when I was 38 and 40 years old, so my husband and I decided I would stay home with them. It meant we lost my income, so I needed to do something at home where I could begin earning money. I’ve always been a very clueless person, and I had always wanted to write a novel. I thought I would have plenty of “free” time while I was loafing at home with two little babies and that it would be the perfect time to begin writing.

I jumped into the world of publishing, working at it in between nap time and play time and in the evenings after my kids were in bed. I didn’t know anything about how to write a commercial novel. I didn’t know anything about the publishing industry or how it worked. I didn’t know how to find an agent or a publisher. I didn’t know anything about genres or subgenres, royalties, or print runs. But I’ve always been a driven and stubborn person, and I just assumed I would eventually figure it out.

I spent four years lurching around and struggling to learn how to put a manuscript together. I’m a lawyer, so I wanted to be a suspense writer, and my early attempts were all suspense manuscripts. But that market is extremely competitive, and I didn’t know what I was doing, so my writing was pretty awful. (I didn’t know it was awful!) When I hadn’t sold anything after four solid years of constantly working at it, I decided I had to try something different, and I switched to romance. It’s a massive market, and the contemporary end of it is really hot, but I’m a historical fiction fan, so I was drawn to the historical end of it, which has a much smaller audience.

I wrote a historical romance, and I marketed it myself, without an agent. (Entry-level romance writers don’t get paid much money, so agents aren’t interested in authors when they’re new. Lots or romance writers begin without an agent.) I didn’t know much about the romance market, but I read a bunch of historicals, then I sat down and wrote one of my own.

All of a sudden, a dam seemed to burst. It turns out I have a great knack for writing love stories. Who knew? I sold 5 books on my own—in a little more than a year—to a major New York publisher that specialized in romance. I thought I was set, that I had finally “made it.” But before the first book was out of production and ready for sale, the publisher decided to shut down the line I was writing for, and I was dropped. I talked to my editor and said, “But my first book isn’t even out yet. Can’t you wait to see how it does?” And she said, “We don’t need to wait. We know how it’s going to do.”

By then, I actually had an agent. (When you sell your own books to get yourself started, agents are always interested in you then.) He said my historical career was over, that my publisher had dumped several hundred historical romance writers out on the market, and I wouldn’t be able to find a new spot with another company. This was in 2000, and he advised me that there was a new trend starting. It was being called ‘erotic historical romance’. Apparently, the books were hard to write, but all the publishers were looking for them. If I could write a hot, sexy love story, we’d have a hot property to offer.

Without much thought, I agreed to try, and I penned what would become my signature novel that was titled, LOVE LESSONS. After a year of trying, and dozens of companies considering and rejecting it, we sold it to a big NY publisher. It was a life changing event for me, and I wrote thirteen erotics for them. I actually became known as, “The Queen of Erotic Romance.” My agent had been correct that it would be a hot market trend. It’s still going strong today in 2021. I didn’t like writing them though. As the years rolled along, as writers pushed the envelope, the subgenre grew very pornographic and the books were no longer simply sexy, fun love stories.

My publisher wouldn’t let me write anything else though, or tone down the temperature, so I left them and went to another NY publisher. They promised to let me go back to writing historical love stories. It’s what I love to do and where I’m strongest. I delivered the first book, of what was supposed to be a 3-book deal, but my editor hated Book #1 and I could never rewrite it sufficiently to get her to accept it and send it into production. After a year of trying, I withdrew it, and the contract was terminated.

This was autumn 2008. The next morning, I got up, and the world economy was collapsing. And I didn’t have a publisher. I had another agent by then, and she was able to wedge me in with my fourth NY publisher. We signed a three-book contract in January of 2009, and they paid me a price that was appropriate for 2007 books. Yet as we moved through 2009, and I was writing the novels, the publishing industry collapsed and all of the bookstores closed. When the books came out in 2010, all of the mall stores like Waldenbooks, where my paperbacks were sold, had closed. My publisher took a huge loss on the books, wrote them off as a loss, and I was let go yet again.

I took the economic collapse personally. I felt as if the universe had crashed the whole world just to force me to admit I would never succeed at writing. I quit for two years. I took down my web page and shut off my email. In 2010, I worked for the Census. Then, in 2011, I was mentoring a guy who was aghast to hear that I had quit writing. Amazon had started self-publishing, and many other on-line booksellers were doing the same. He offered to design a cover for me if I would start over, and after months of nagging, he dragged me, kicking and screaming, into publishing my own novels.

In 2012, I released my “Lord Trent” trilogy. The books are LOVE’S PROMISE, LOVE’S PRICE, and LOVE’S PERIL. They are my bestselling books so far, and they pushed me into the Amazon “Top 100” bestseller list. So…

I kept self-publishing. I do it all myself now, and I have been doing it for nine years. I wrote 24 novels for the NY publishers, and now, I’ve published 36 on my own. My new contemporary novel, A Summer Wedding at Cross Creek Inn, is available now, and I’ll have another 3-book historical romance trilogy out in August, 2021.

Every day of it has been hard. When I was dealing with those big NY companies, I suffered some of the most traumatic days a human being could suffer. But I persevered, and I kept writing. I always knew, deep down, that I was a really good writer. Sometimes, I lost sight of that fact, but I never quit. And now, every time I release a new book, I am reminded that I am the walking-talking example of an American success story. If you haven’t ever tried one of my books, I hope you will!


CHERYL HOLT is a New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon “Top 100” bestselling author who has published over fifty novels.

She’s also a lawyer and mom, and at age forty, with two babies at home, she started a new career as a commercial fiction writer. She’d hoped to be a suspense novelist, but couldn’t sell any of her manuscripts, so she ended up taking a detour into romance where she was stunned to discover that she has a knack for writing some of the world’s greatest love stories.

Her books have been released to wide acclaim, and she has won or been nominated for many national awards. She is considered to be one of the masters of the romance genre. For many years, she was hailed as “The Queen of Erotic Romance”, and she’s also revered as “The International Queen of Villains.” She is particularly proud to have been named “Best Storyteller of the Year” by the trade magazine Romantic Times BOOK Reviews.

She lives and writes in Hollywood, California, and she loves to hear from fans. Visit her website at www.cherylholt.com.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/officialcherylholt/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/theCherylHolt
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/36853.Cheryl_Holt


Cheryl Holt will be awarding an autographed print copy of the book (US ONLY) to 10 randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway