Monday, March 30, 2009

Everything but the kitchen sink...

Current Read: To Beguile a Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt

Happy Monday, Armchair Heroines!

My computer and internet service have been acting very wonky the past few days - maybe it's the snow and wind we've been experiencing here in Colorado? Apologies for being a bit absent.

In order to get all caught up and squared away, today is an "Everything but the kitchen sink..." day!

First, I have a contest winner from "Reader Feature: Deidre":


Email me at and I'll pass it on to Deidre so that you can get your prize!

A very special thank you to Deidre for being our featured reader last week and for offering up some booty for a prize. It was wonderful to get to know you a little better, Deidre!

Any of you AH readers interested in being a featured reader can drop me an email at the address above!

"Friday" Fiction (on Monday):

I was lucky enough to receive an ARC (advanced reading copy) of Elizabeth Hoyt's, To Beguile A Beast, and have been loving it! It's not out until May but you can read an excerpt here. I'm not quite finished, but if you enjoy historical romances, I'm betting you'll like this one!

Let me know and keep an eye out...I might just offer up my ARC to one lucky reader when I'm finished with it!

Book Trailer:

If you visited last week and checked out Deidre's feature, you might remember me mentioning my new fave vampire author, Lynda Hilburn. Here's the trailer for Lynda's latest release, Dark Harvest...

It's Spring Break here and my little noseminers are anxious to get out and have some "school's out fun", so I won't be blogging any more this week. But don't worry, I'm lining up some stellar features for the romance novel lover in you! Watch for an interview with 2009 RITA finalist Elise Chidley in April and 2008 Golden Heart winner Kris Kennedy in May. See you on Monday, April 6th!

Also, feel free to stop by MamaWriters where I'm talking about how breathing can help authors create a strong physical foundation for their writing!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Reader Feature: Deidre

Current Read: To Beguile a Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt

Today I'm excited to welcome Deidre, a reader being featured at Armchair Heroines!

First off, how did you come to love reading?

I think most readers are born that way. I always loved books and writing. I can remember setting at the kitchen table with my Mom just scribbling away, cursive style when I was about three years old. As soon as I could read, I was reading everything, from books to shampoo bottles. LOL

Been there, done that! :0) What do you read?

I'm one of those people who can pretty much read anything, but it has to strike some chord in me for me to pick it up. I've always loved anything paranormal and I've been on a young adult kick lately. I've also been reading a lot of graphic novels. I collected comic books as a child and still have quite a few, though they're much harder to find these days. Favorite authors or books? I love the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris. I started the series somewhere around book 4 or 5 when I was shelving it at the library where I work. I said, hmmmm, this looks interesting. I was blown away and backtracked picking up the earlier books and have read them all. Though I have been somewhat disappointed in the last couple of books, I feel Ms. Harris will redeem herself and the series in the near future. I also fell in love with Christine Feehan's Dark series from the beginning when I happend to pick up the first book in the series. Her vampires are a little different, even called Carpathians instead of vampires and I'm always looking for something different in vampire literature. I used to pretend to be a vampire when I was younger, talk about an obsession. LOL

One of my new fave vampire writers is Lynda Hilburn ( If you check her out let me know what you think! Do you have any favorite rockin' networking sites for readers?

Networking sites are really growing by leaps and bounds, aren't they? MySpace has slacked off some, but Facebook and Twitter are going strong. I'm also a member of Writers & Readers of Distinctive Fiction and there are so many wonderful blogs by both authors and readers where we can connect with each other. It's such a great time to be a reader or author and I personally believe from my own experience that romance authors are some of the best around. They take time to mingle with fans and give of themselves in so many ways.

I agree, and I love hearing that about romance authors. I certainly have had that same experience! Do you have a favorite memory about reading a book?

That one's a toughie. I'm going to go with just a favorite book as a child that I have read many times. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin......I've read it more times than I can count. It's a mystery and just really enthralling. I encourage adults and kids to read it. An oldie, but goodie!

What do you do when you aren't reading (job, hobbies, etc)?

I was at a public library in a small town where we pretty much have to do it all. There are only two of us who work full time and some days can be quite hectic. However, I do love my job and most of the people that I deal with, but it is a public job and we do get some really stranger characters on a regular basis. Oh, the stories I could tell. LOL

I also am working part time at a video store and movies are another love of mine. I really love scary movies and truly funny comedies. I say that because good comedies are kind of rare these days. Both jobs are really keeping me on my toes.

Something else I enjoy doing is playing video games, board games, cards, etc. I adore the Nancy Drew computer games as well as any cool adventure games for computer, Playstation 2 or GameCube. I'm hoping to make the leap to a PS3 or XBox 360 in April when the price is reportedly going down by $100.

My kids are playing ball and my son is in Boy Scouts, so that pretty much keeps me hopping as well.

You're busy! Imagine having tea (or coffee) with one of your favorite authors...tell us about the experience.

I would love to talk to J.K. Rowling about the Harry Potter series which is another of my favorites. She's led an interesting life and the details she renders in her books are extraordinary. I was simply amazed reading them. They were so addictive that it was almost impossible to put them down or wait for the next one.

Can I come too? :0) Do you have a favorite saying that you or a character you love uses? What is it and what's so great about it?

Here are a few about books in general.

The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who'll get me a book I ain't read. - Abraham Lincoln

Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. - Sir Francis Bacon

Books to the ceiling
Books to the sky.
My pile of books
Are a mile high.
How I love them!
How I need them!
I'll have a long beard By the time I read them.- Arnold Lobel

As for quotes from books, I really can't think of any right now. There were several from the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer, which are some more favorites of mine. I just got lost in them. She caught me hook, line and sinker. Amazing story, as is The Host, which she also wrote.

Thank you, Deidre, for being here today! Anything else you'd like to add?

I would love to invite your blog readers over to my blog, where I frequently have contests and guest authors along with thoughts that are rolling around in my head.

Thanks so much for having me here Tiffany and I'm going to give away a surprise to a lucky commenter. Not even I know what that will be yet, but feel free to ask me questions or comment. I'd love to hear from you guys!


You heard her Armchair Heroines! Tell us what's on your mind!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Featured Author: Leslee Breene!

“Hearts on the Wind, a fast-paced romance, aptly captures the tensions of time and place
while also creating endearing characters.”
~ Joan Hinkemeyer, Rocky Mountain News
Grade “A” review – Author Spotlight

Welcome, Leslee! Tell us about your most recent release, HEARTS ON THE WIND.

Thank you for inviting me to share my writing journey with your Armchair fans, Tiffany!

My newest release from Five Star-Gale/Cengage is a Midwestern historical romance. Here’s the front cover flap summary of HEARTS ON THE WIND:

“At a northern Minnesota country wedding in 1876, Swedish farm girl Ingrid Johansson meets Norwegian railroad heir Andreas Eriksen. Her father instantly disapproves of Andreas. He is not only a “Norskie,” but a railroad man. The new railroad is charging farmers too much to ship their crops to the city. To seek her dream of becoming a teacher, Ingrid must find a way to attend a Minneapolis women’s academy, thereby defying her father’s wishes.
In St. Paul, Andreas makes a deathbed promise to his father to help build the financially ailing, fledgling St. Paul & Pacific Railroad.

Ingrid and Andreas’s paths again cross and their attraction grows. But, when his willful stepsister Dagmar returns from an eastern finishing school, a magnetic spark also draws her to Andreas. Soon Dagmar determines that she must possess him; together they will share the power and wealth of the evolving Northern Pacific Railroad, now backed by railroad baron, James J. Hill.

Hearts on the Wind is a dynamic journey into the heartland of historical America, leading the reader through the passions, greed, revenge, and triumph of its characters. Ingrid and Andreas’s odyssey plunges them into the turbulent Great Chicago Rail Strike, each seeking to fulfill their promises and their seemingly impossible future together.”

Have you always written historical romance? If so, why?

All three published books have been set from late 1870s to around 1880. What a fascinating time it was to live in America then. The railroads were working their way West. Rail barons and cowboys, and strong eastern women played important roles in that arena. So many adventures, so many love stories…

Why have I written mostly Western historical novels? All those sexy cowboys! (She winks.) Also, I’m in awe of the magnificent vastness of the place, the heart and the guts it took for those women and men to stake their lives here.

I'm a cowboy lover too! Tell us about your journey to becoming a writer.

I began writing romantic adventure novels after several years of studying and writing short fiction, back in the early nineties. At that time, I was a member of the National Writers Association. Then I joined the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and began attending a critique group and realized how much there was to learn!

After publishing in a few anthologies and sometimes winning short fiction competitions like the international Moonlight & Magnolias and ByLine Magazine competitions, I was inspired to expand my horizons and attempt novel-length fiction.

I was fortunate to interview with author/agent Denise Dietz at the 2005 RMFW Conference in Denver. Denise and I had critiqued together about ten years before, so we had developed a mutual respect for each other’s work. She liked LEADVILLE LADY, the book proposal I had submitted, and sent it on to John Helfers at Five Star. It was a thrill to have LEADVILLE LADY released as a Five Star Expressions (hardcover) in October 2006. My first historical romance, FOXFIRE, was published several years before as a POD.

What are you working on now?

It’s a contemporary, closer to women’s fiction with strong romance elements. More of an internal journey as well as an external journey for my heroine. Of course, this story is a love story, but also a woman’s love for a child. It spans the time and place of Katrina in New Orleans to the Sand Dunes of Colorado.

Tell us about some of the fun you've had interacting with readers.

Actually the members of my Bally’s water aerobics class have provided great fun and support for my work. For several years, my co-ed group has attended all my signings. It’s really a kick to have feedback from the men! One of the guys is a senior “biker” and strolled into Barnes & Noble in his black, fringed leather jacket, bandanna, motorcycle boots, etc. A big, tall dude with his silver hair pulled back in braided ponytail and wearing large yellow-tinted goggles! He was center stage.

I’ve put his photo in my “pic” collection on MySpace. =) BTW, your Armchair readers are invited to join me any time at and share their comments.

Do you get nervous before book signings?

Sure, it’s a “high” experience. Whenever you have a serendipity setting, anything can happen. I must admit my first solo signing at the Highlands Ranch, Co. Tattered Cover last November was an exciting challenge. But longtime friends attended like Joanne Sundell, fellow Five Star author, and Rob Baldwin, a talented Denver poet and author, and other family and friends, so it went quite well. The event even wound up on YouTube, so that was certainly icing on the cake!

Tell us a little about how you research your books.

I love to go on road trips to various Colorado locales like Leadville, the Sangre de Cristo mountains, the Sand Dunes, Jackson Hole, Wyo., and others. Just “being there” is so fascinating. The history, the real-life characters who lived there, the natural sights, buildings, and old cemeteries provide my muse with wonderful possibilities for future stories.

Any favorite authors or books?

That is a tough question. I’m very eclectic in my reading, so there are many authors of past and present who have influenced me. In the romance genre, Maggie Osborne and LaVyrle Spencer are monumental favorites. Joan Johnston and mainstream (Hallmark) author, Ann Howard Creel, are tops. I’m in awe of Women Writing the West authors Jane Candia Coleman and Jane Kirkpatrick. Helen Keller and Somerset Maugham inspired my earlier years.
Western singer/song writers are recent wellsprings . Jon Chandler, Bill Barwick, and flutist Douglas Blue Feather have all influenced my work.

Just for fun, what is one thing you are never without?

I never leave home without my sunglasses and bottled water. One should always stay hydrated in this dry Colorado climate!

Very smart, Leslee! Thanks so much for joining us today.

Thank you, Tiffany, for this wonderful opportunity to blog…just share my thoughts and writings with your Armchair Heroines visitors!

Leslee is here today to answer questions and comments, so post away!

And be sure to check out Leslee's website in order to enter her latest contest: A hardcover copy of HEARTS ON THE WIND will be given to the contest winner each month, a softcover copy to the runner-up!

Happy Half-Week Day!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Author Interview: Cindy K. Green

Current Read: Instant Attraction by Jill Shalvis

Please welcome romance author, Cindy K. Green!

You have two new historical books out this year. Tell us about them.

The Heart Never Lies is my first historical western. I’m new to this genre and I just had so much fun with it. It is also the steamiest I’ve written. Long and Short Reviews called it ‘An Exceptional Read.’ And You Gotta Read Reviews gave it a ‘Need to Read’ rating: Cindy K. Green was able to give us human emotion, love, lust, and adventure in a very well written novella. It's hard to imagine that in 28 very short pages. The Heart Never Lies had it all.

Here is the blurb: When ranch hand Beau Tucker announces his intent to leave the Double C for California, Kit McCauley tells herself, ‘Good riddance.’ Unfortunately her heart isn’t quite in agreement with her head. Perhaps she’ll just have one more talk with the handsome cowboy before he disappears out of her life forever.

Temperatures rise as their interlude is interrupted by an injured horse thief who shoots at Beau and kidnaps Kit. Will Beau be in time to save her or did the ruffian’s bullet ring true, bringing his young life to an end and forever keeping their revelations unsaid?

You can get a copy at Champagne Books and Fictionwise for just $1.00. Read an excerpt on my website.

Amazing reviews on The Heart Never Lies, Cindy. Congrats!

Dilemma of the Heart was my second release this year and it is also a historical. This time it’s a sweet historical taking place in post-Civil War Philadelphia. I loved writing this story. I have a degree in history and have done special research on this time period so I’d always wanted to write a historical set at this time. Dilemma is the story of loss and making a decision that could affect the rest of your life. It is poignant, moving and yes I threw in some sass as well. There is a full-length sequel in the works.

Here is the blurb: Cassandra Huddleston has a dilemma. Her heart still resides with her sweetheart, Frederick Adair, reported as killed in action at the close of the Civil War. Now she has a new suitor, Emerson Bryce, powerful, attractive, and dominant; he usually gets what he wants. Cassandra must decide if she can forget the man of her heart and learn to love the man offering her a future.

As she struggles with her feelings, Cassandra is faced with the possibility that Frederick’s death might have been greatly exaggerated. If that is true, will Emerson be willing to let her go?

It’s available now at The Wild Rose Press. Read an excerpt on my website.

You write in a bunch of different areas within the romance genre. Is it difficult to switch back and forth?

I love writing in all the different genres. I find it keeps the writing fresh and original. It also stems off writer’s block. If you get tired or stuck in one, you just pick up another. I always have like six manuscripts waiting for attention. I love to read so many different genres so it only made sense to write them too. I remember a time I was writing my second NovelTea book (romantic suspense) and Dilemma of the Heart (historical) at the same time. My critique partner commented to me how very different they were and how on earth could I write them simultaneously. What can I say, my mind must be kept busy.

That's wonderful! But how do you balance it all and not get hopelessly confused?

I do try to get myself prepared to write in a certain genre. Focused. I’ll read books in the genre and watch movies that insight my imagination for that particular genre. Like watching The Princess Bride before working on my humorous high fantasy or reading a Jane Austen novel before writing a historical. That sort of thing. It gets me in the mood. I just sorta follow my muse. She’s never let me down. I just have to remember to listen because maybe she doesn’t want to work on the ms that I currently have open.

That's difficult to do - tune in and go with the flow. I find it much easier to make rigid plans and that doesn't always pan out so well. :0) Do you have an all-time favorite sub-genre?

My two favorites are romantic suspense and historical. I could read those non stop. I grew up loving classic literature which infused my love of historical romance. And then I enjoyed mysteries like Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie which led later to Mary Higgins Clark and Catherine Coulter. But really if the author has an intriguing ‘voice’ and characters I care about then I’ll read it.

I'm with you there! For me, it's all about the characters. Favorite authors or books?

Easy! I am a total Jane Austen fan. A JaneJunkie. That’s even my screen name over at YouTube. Jane Austen had a way of creating the best characters: characters to laugh at, hate, and fall in love with. I am always reading one or another of her novels these days.

Favorite Book?

Persuasion by Jane Austen. This is a second chances love story which is my very favorite kind of romance. Throughout the entire book, these two characters are still in love with each other and the tension continues to build and build that they should be together. It is so romantic when the hero, Captain Wentworth, writes a letter to his lady love, Anne Elliot. “I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone forever.” It just gives me chills every time.

That's beautiful...and who wouldn't want to receive a heart-felt letter like that?! What are you reading right now?

North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell (classic) This is another favorite of mine. Wizard of EarthSea (fantasy) by Ursula K. Le Guin, Masked by Moonlight (Historical romance) by Allie Pleiter. Oh and a couple others. I review books and I’m always in the middle of several books at once.

Ooh, I've been wanting to read Ursula LeGuin! Do you have a favored snack that you eat while you are writing?

Oh I can’t eat while I’m writing. It’s far too distracting. I just make sure that I’m full because I definitely can’t write when I’m hungry. And then away I go. But never fear, I am a chocoholic and while I am in ‘writer-mode’ I have a healthy supply of the addicting stuff. I firmly believe it infuses my creativity.

Infuses your creativity...I like that! Anything else you'd like to share?

Stop by my website to see what’s going on with me. And my blog: I have a newsletter which includes a serial FREE READ titled, Valentine’s Challenge. Email me at and I will send you the latest edition and the 1st three parts of Valentine.

Thanks so much for being her today, Cindy! I know you so much better now. :0)
Hey all you commenters! Cindy is graciously offering a copy of The Heart Never Lies for one of you. The winner will be announced here on Friday.
Happy Wednesday!
Drum Roll please! The winner of a PDF copy of Cindy's book, The Heart Never Lies, is...
Helen Hardt
Helen email Cindy at and she will send that out to you. Thanks!
A huge thank you to Cindy for taking time out of her busy schedule to spend the day with us and a massive thanks to all of you who stopped by to say "hello"!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Fiction Friday: More Fabulous Historical Fiction

Current Read: Siren's Song by Trish Albright

The Virgin Queen's Daughter by Ella March Chase

First, There Is A River and Jasper Mountain by Kathy Steffen

Devil's Brood by Sharon Kay Penman

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

March is Women's History Month

Current Read: Siren's Song by Trish Albright

March is Women's History Month, and we're celebrating here at Armchair Heroines!

Want to try out your women's history I.Q.? Check out this quiz at the National Women's History Project website: Test Your Knowledge

Check out these stellar historical fiction novels:

The Firemaster's Daughter by Christie Dickason

Signora da Vinci by Robin Maxwell

The King's Grace by Anne Easter Smith

Check your area for Women's History Month happenings! If you're in the northern Colorado area don't miss the series of three events at the Bas Bleu Theatre in Fort Collins: Dancing in Combat Boots (3/10), Cups (weekend of 3/20) and Life Begins at 80 (weekend of 3/29).