Spring in Romsey

My guest today is Emma Calin. She is a talented writer who spends part of the year in the UK and part in France. Sounds very exotic to me. Welcome, Emma!

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It’s great to be back on your blog, Anneli Purchase. Thanks for having me.

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Names and words are the stuff of writing aren’t they. A character’s name may be all you need to describe them. A few days ago I was in a church where my daughter was suffering a music exam. My mind had drifted onto the contents of this guest blog post. I had to do a bit of a double take since I was staring at a plaque commemorating the lives of different members of the Purchase family. What a coincidence.

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Well into the 1960s, the principal grocer’s shop in the country town of Romsey in Hampshire was run, named, and owned by the Purchases. William Overbury Purchase (Doesn’t that name draw a fine Victorian Alderman in your imagination?) was the mayor and Justice of the Peace. A daughter, Florence, was a leading light of the abstinence movement, having taken the pledge as a child – one imagines at the instigation of a parent.

Florence Overbury Purchase

So, seated in the church I pondered the nature of life in which names, seasons, and beliefs form so many links in the flow of time. Looking at church inscriptions always takes my mind back to those great tomes of the glamour and shoulder-pad saga period, where books were sold by weight. I just don’t have the focus or work ethic to write one, but I do occasionally sketch one in my head. I think William Overbury could be some kind of patrician tycoon.

William Overbury Purchase

This is a beautiful part of the world, where spring is running desperately – trying to catch up with my aspirations for it. Here are some pictures from in and around Romsey to compare with the spring where you are. Perhaps, Anneli, some of your family may have seen these very woods?

Bluebells in Romsey Woods

Bluebells in Romsey woods

Primroses

Primroses

Tulip

Tulip

On the subject of writing, which was supposed to be my focus for this post, take a look at this video – I did not create it but it says it all (although I have not actually been banned from anywhere – yet.)

http://youtu.be/3G-vQ8YhoJo

Emma Calin Quartet

Find more from Emma Calin here:

Amazon: Emma Calin Amazon Author Page
Emma Calin Blog: http://www.emmacalin.blogspot.com
Emma Calin Website: http://www.emmacalin.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/emma.calin
and pages: http://www.facebook.com/Knockout.Romance.Novel & http://www.facebook.com/TheChosenbyEmmaCalin http://www.facebook.com/Escape2Love
Twitter: @Emma Calin
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/emmacalin/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4915751.Emma_Calin

Tell a Story Day

My guest today is Melanie Robertson-King. Her idea of suddenly finding oneself in the past is something that has always intrigued me. What if you found yourself suddenly transported into the middle of a threatening situation? What if you liked being in the past so much it would be heartbreaking to leave it? What if … so many what ifs….

But here’s Melanie to tell us more.

Melanie:

Thanks for hosting me today, Anneli, especially since April 27 is Tell a Story Day. I’m going to share the story of Sarah Shand, the heroine in my YA Crossover Novel – A Shadow in the Past.

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Sarah is an average teenager with huge dreams of escaping life in rural Aberdeenshire, Scotland. You know when you read When a contemporary teen is transported back through time to the Victorian era, she becomes A Shadow in the Past… that things aren’t going to follow the plan Sarah had laid out for herself.

Okay so I’ve teased you with my “one-liner”. Want to hear some more? Okay, here goes…

Nineteen-year-old Sarah Shand finds herself thrust back into the past. There she struggles to keep her real identity from a society that finds her comments and ideas strange and her speech and actions forward, unlike Victorian women. When Sarah verbally confronts confining social practices, including arranged marriages; powerful enemies commit her to a lunatic asylum. After falling in love with the handsome Laird of Weetshill, Robert Robertson, she must decide whether to find her way back to her own time or to remain in the past with him.

 

I told you things didn’t go according to Sarah’s plans for the future. I mean how could they when she ends up in the past? I’m not going to tell you any more other than if you want to find out what happens to Sarah, you’ll have to read A Shadow in the Past and find out for yourself.

In the US you can buy A Shadow in the Past from my publisher:

http://4rvpublishingcatalog.yolasite.com/robertson-king.php

as well as amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.

 

In Canada from Chapters Indigo (including Coles bookshops), amazon.ca and various brick and mortar stores in the eastern Ontario region.

And finally in the UK from amazon.co.uk.

About the author

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Prior to turning her hand to fiction, Melanie Robertson-King wrote articles and has been published in Canada, the US, and the UK. In addition to writing, her interests include genealogy, photography, and travel. On one of her trips to Scotland, she had the honor of meeting The Princess Royal.

Melanie is a member of Romance Writers of America and their Ottawa Chapter.

She lives in Brockville, Ontario, Canada along the shore of the majestic St. Lawrence River with her husband, son, and oldest grandson.

A Shadow in the Past is her first novel.

Chocolate Cake, Anyone?

My guest today is a lady who would probably rather be in France. Welcome Patricia Sands, author of “The Bridge Club” and  “The Promise of Provence.”

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Is there anything you like better than reaching for something chocolate as you turn the pages of a good book? To me, the two just go together! The only difference is that there’s no limit to the pages you can turn.

As a special treat for those of you who love chocolate as much as I do, here’s the recipe for what I think is THE most delicious chocolate cake ever. Our future daughter-in-law, surprised me with this cake at the book launch for The Bridge Club two years ago. Not only is it scrumptious, but she iced it to look exactly like my book cover.
Clever!

Patricia.

1 cup butter, softened
1 ½ cups granulated sugar 1 ½ cups buttermilk
2 eggs ½ cup cocoa powder
1 tsp each baking powder and baking soda 1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour ¼ tsp salt

CHOCOLATE ICING:
1 ½ cups butter, softened
½ cup whipping cream
1 tbsp vanilla
3 cups icing sugar
6 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped, melted and cooled

In a large bowl, beat butter with sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time; beat in vanilla. In separate bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir into butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, making 3 additions of dry ingredients and 2 of buttermilk.
Spoon into 2 greased then parchment paper-lined 9-inch round metal cake pans. Bake in centre of 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until cake tester inserted in centre come out clean. Let cool on rack for 20 minutes. Remove from pans; let cool completely on racks. Cut each cake horizontally into 2 layers.

CHOCOLATE ICING: In a bowl, beat butter until fluffy; gradually beat in cream. Beat in vanilla. Beat in sugar, about 1 cup at a time. Beat in chocolate until fluffy.
Place 1 layer, cut side up, on cake plate. Slide strips of waxed paper between cake and plate. Spread cut side with about ¾ cup of the icing; cover with remaining half. Cut side down. Spread top with another ¾ cup of the icing. Repeat with remaining layers.
Spread remaining icing over the side and top. Remove paper strips.
( Make-ahead: cover loosely and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Let come to room temperature before serving.) Makes 16 to 20 servings.

Now plans are underway for the launch of my next novel, The Promise of Provence, and I can’t wait to see what Nicole is whipping up for that!

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Amazon.com                            http://amzn.to/YXmpy7

Amazon.ca                               http://amzn.to/16zMZOa

Amazon.co.fr                            http://amzn.to/10Et8vm

Amazon.co.uk                         http://amzn.to/ZDZyU7

Patricia’s Goodreads link:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4381348.Patricia_Sands

Patricia’s blog: http://patriciasands.wordpress.com/

The Restaurant @ The Mill

Today’s guest is the lovely Linn Halton from the UK. Welcome Linn.

Linns bookshelf

About the author: Linn writes contemporary women’s love stories that reflect life, the baggage we all carry around with us and the complexities of relationships. You are always guaranteed an uplifting ending that won’t disappoint and often a psychic twist that will make you stop and think… what if? Linn lives in the small village of Arlingham, in the UK.

Linn signed with US publishing house Sapphire Star Publishing in 2012; The Quintessential Gemini, a heart-warming romance was released in June 2012 and The Restaurant @ The Mill, a collection of life/love stories based around an old mill, was released in August 2012. Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

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Linn’s links:

Website

Twitter: @LinnBHalton

Facebook: Linn B Halton

Amazon.co.uk (buy)

Amazon.com (buy)

Pinterest

A Loveahappyending Lifestyle feature editor

Signed by: http://www.sapphirestarpublishing.com/linnbhalton

Romantic Novelists’ Association page

 

It’s lovely to be here with you today Anneli. Wish it was in person as I would love to visit your very beautiful part of the world!

The mill featured on the cover

Setting is so very important when writing a novel and when I wrote The Restaurant @ The Mill it was crucial. The mill around which this novel is based is actually a composite of two existing buildings. Both are beautiful, old mills that have been preserved and retain a sense of atmosphere. One is a working water mill, which was one of the features in the book and allowed me to provide some accurate description. The other was a pin mill, and had a layout that would work if I were converting an old building into a restaurant. The composite building became very real to me. I could walk around it in my head and see it as if it were a place I had visited!

It was important though, as I wanted the readers to fall in love with what was essentially the heart of this book. I needed them to regard it as having an existence of its own; the characters were simply a transient part of the life of the old building. It is the restaurant that is the common theme, bringing together the stories of love at every stage in life – from newlyweds to a couple in their twilight years. Whilst the spirit of “Sarah” is a cameo role within the novel, she helps to gently remind the reader of the age of the building. She sees everything that is happening through the eyes of a Victorian mill owner’s wife, albeit a slightly confused and disorientated one at times. Her purpose was to bring a sense of generation and history, and a reminder that what was happening in the here and now was simply another passing phase in the life of the mill.

Some of the individual stories of the couples who dine there play out to a conclusion, some are a work in progress – in the same way that life itself is never “complete” because no one knows what tomorrow will bring.

My favourite restaurant is in a very old building in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire in the UK. When I sit there I can almost feel the presence of the past – I do hope that is what the readers take away from my story.

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The Restaurant is not just about the owners, Hilary and Ben, but as “The Restaurant @ The Mill” thrives and comes alive with the conversations and emotions of people unconnected in their day-to-day lives, another five stories unfold. Only one thing is certain, life is an eternal struggle and that is the common thread, which ties us all together. Life, love, sadness and happiness….

The Restaurant @ The Mill; the owners, the staff and the customers – each of the six individual stories reflect a different set of life and love problems. One thing ties them together, they all frequent the Mill.

Is happiness guaranteed? Not necessarily, but when love fails it simply means it’s time to move on. Can young love survive when two people have been parted for most of their lives? Can a lonely man ever find the peace and true love he seeks? Will old wounds ever heal and can people learn to love again?

And then there is the spirit of a young woman named Sarah, who wanders the Mill looking for her beloved husband. Will she ever be able to rest? The Restaurant sees it all.

The Earth Shifter

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My guest today is Lada Ray. Welcome to Anneli’s Place!

Born in Russia, Lada is a world traveler, linguist, financial consultant, Feng Shui Master, shaman, futurist, and metaphysics/spirituality researcher. Lada holds a Master’s Degree in comparative linguistics, is fluent in several languages and has traveled to over twenty-six countries on most continents. She is the author of the Accidental Spy Adventure Series, including GOLD TRAIN (Accidental Spy Russia Adventure), STEPFORD USA (Accidental Spy Small Town Adventure), and Green Desert (Prequel). Lada has just released a visionary fantasy/thriller, THE EARTH SHIFTER. Coming soon: EARTH KEEPERS CHRONICLES: ORIGINS (Catharsis, Lemurian Crystal, Atlantis).

The Earth Shifter by Lada Ray

SYNOPSIS

A top-rated visionary fantasy/thriller set on Sacred Lake Baikal in Siberia, in Moscow and New York. Immerse yourself in global conspiracy and remote viewing, visit fantastic realms of Heaven and Earth, rub shoulders with shamans, shifters, psychic spies and Russian oligarchs. Grab onto and hold close the endearing and spectacular characters, and root for Time and Mind Shifter, Sasha, in her quest to find her destiny.

“Mankind would never know how close it came to annihilation on June 30, 1908. Somewhere in the murky depths of the Cosmos, the Comet of Karma is born. When all hope fades, it’s sent to planet Earth. It has happened before, and it can happen again, except this time, the Earth Keepers would not interfere….”

Sasha is no ordinary teenager. She is Time and Mind Shifter, yet even her mentor, famous Siberian shaman Tengis, doesn’t know how far her powers will develop when the time comes to create the Earth Shift.

The Earth Shifter is a metaphysical fantasy cleverly intertwined with true history and modern world events. Don’t look for swordfights or deadly lightning bolts; the powers described here are much more subtle, and therefore, infinitely more Earth Shifting.

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Excerpt

Yuun Lin’s only son, Hao, was already eight at the time the Lee twins were born. He was a good boy, respectful and helpful, but he became jealous of all the time Yuun spent with the Lee brothers. He felt neglected and when he was eighteen, he enlisted in the army. As many Chinese, he was good at science, math, and computers. He was quickly assigned to the Army Intelligence unit, which serviced the U.S. advance weapons technology. Yuun was very proud of her son, telling everyone she knew how the U.S. army trusted him with state secrets.

And that’s when disaster struck. Hao downloaded secret information and sold it to the Chinese government. At least, that’s what the U.S. government was saying. Whether it was true or not… He was accused of spying and was now in jail, awaiting trial.

Yuun felt that it was all her fault. She had neglected her baby, while spending so much time with other people’s kids. She made her son feel unwanted and unwelcome. She never saw the signs. And now it was too late. Or was it? She had to do something, she had to bargain for her son’s life. That’s what the Chinese did: they bargained. She was as good a bargainer as any of her compatriots, but what could she offer in exchange for her son’s life? She didn’t know any important foreign government secrets; she wasn’t privy to any information of that magnitude. Despite her big title—Famous Feng Shui Master—she was just a humble Chinatown merchant, with a modest income and small nest egg. She had nothing to offer in exchange for her son’s life.

But then she remembered! Yes, there was something she could offer. Something very big! In fact, something much bigger than just a mere government secret! It was the secret that affected life on Earth as we know it!

It was something she was never supposed to know. But when she was nursing Dao-ming back to health after the difficult delivery of the twins, she overheard her speak in her sleep. At first, Yuun dismissed these strange, feverish utterings of the sick woman, but after she kept hearing the words Key, karma, and the future of mankind over and over again, she started listening. That’s how she learned the secret of the Key. Dao-ming soon got better, but Yuun never mentioned to anyone what she overheard, having solemnly promised herself to take her friends’ secret with her to the grave. Yet, the circumstances changed and now she was ready to betray her best friends in order to save her son’s life.

A knock on the store’s back door made her jump. A stocky man stepped through the threshold wearing a trench coat, hat and dark shades that partially concealed his face. He took off his shades and hat to reveal a balding head with an oversized forehead and sharp eyes. Then, he hung his coat on a coat hanger in the corner, remaining in a gray jacket with white shirt, white-red-and-blue tie and an American flag pin in his lapel.

“I was expecting you, Mr. Drakley,” uttered Yuun.

“What was it that you wanted to share, Ms. Lin?” said Drakley without preamble, depositing his large body into the kitchen chair. The old chair made a pitiful screech.

“I have important information which I want to exchange for my son’s life and freedom. It is something that affects not only the United States, but life on Earth as we know it.”

Drakley scanned the surroundings skeptically. Somehow, he still doubted that this woman could have such earth-shattering information. But on the slim chance that she did, it was worth the visit.

“I can tell you all about a special person that will serve as the Key to open the new era of human civilization… in exchange for my son’s life and freedom.”

Drakley observed the Asian woman intently, trying to figure out whether this was a ploy, and whether he was dealing with another Chinese agent. His eyes drifted to Yuun’s hands. They were trembling, as her fingers nervously crumpled the hem of her red Chinese jacket. That convinced him more than anything else did that she was for real.

“I am listening,” he said.

“First, I need assurance that my son will be released.”

“Ms. Lin,” said Drakley impatiently. “If your information proves to be of value, I will do everything in my power…”

“This is not good enough!” The poor woman almost shrieked. “You have no idea what it cost me to make this step! What I had to sacrifice…” She stopped, her breathing heavy.

Drakley observed the woman with surprise. What if his assessment was incorrect and she was really losing it? What if she decided to take him hostage, if he wasn’t too cooperative? He surreptitiously felt for his gun.

Should she make the wrong move, I’ll shoot her, he decided. But that was his very last option. He’d only do it if there were no alternative left. He would much prefer to leave here discretely, and without any unnecessary complications. Besides, if she really knew something about the Key, then this woman was invaluable; therefore, he needed to appease her. It was imperative to find out whatever he could. The Society knew miserably little about this subject of utmost importance.

He took a steadying breath and said in the most calming tone he could muster, “Please understand, Ms. Lin, I cannot guarantee anything until I know that you really have the goods.”

“No,” stubbornly repeated Yuun. “I will not tell you anything until you promise me that my son is safe.”

“Fine,” said Drakley, shrugging his shoulders. “I promise. Your son will be safe, if your information proves valuable.” He made this verbal promise lightly.

“No,” Yuun shook her head. “Not like that.” She took out a clean sheet of paper and pen.

“Write: I, Assistant Director of the CIA, Aloysius Drakley, guarantee that Hao Lin will be exonerated from all charges of espionage against him and set free in exchange for the valuable information provided by Yuun Lin.”

Drakley wrote everything down obediently, but in the end, instead of: “in exchange for the valuable information provided by Yuun Lin,” he put down: “if the information provided by Yuun Lin proves valuable enough to warrant such actions.”

“Look, Ms. Lin,” he said in his most soothing voice. “I want to work with you, I really do. But you have to understand my position. I can’t just promise something like this out of the blue. This is a matter of American National Security! I can’t throw around such promises. I have to be sure first that the information is really worth it.”

“Trust me, it is.” Yuun carefully folded the piece of paper containing the promise of her son’s life. She opened a Chinese box with painted dragons on the lid, which was displayed on the nearby shelf, and hid the paper inside. She closed the box, which made a very distinct clicking sound as it locked in place.

Drakley observed her movements with avid interest. If need be, later he could always raid the place and retrieve this compromising piece of paper. But for now, he wanted his information. That’s what he came for. He had to make this woman trust him.

“Fair enough,” he said soothingly. “And now, why don’t you start from the beginning, Ms. Lin.”

Available as both e-book and paperback at Amazon, Barnes&Noble and other retailers.

The Earth Shifter:  Amazon US   UK

Official author site: LadaRay.com

Author blog: LadaRay.wordpress.com

Geopolitcs/predictions blog: Futuristrendcast.wordpress.com

Twitter: @LadaTweets

Goodreads

Also by Lada Ray:

Stepford COVER ebookGT COVER ebook