Guest Author AnneMarie Brear

Published May 24, 2017 by francesothomas

Where Rainbows End AnneMarie Brear

 

AnneMarie Brear’s latest novel Where Rainbows End was just released. She graciously provided the blurb and excerpt below.

 

Blurb

“I’m not a man, but that won’t stop me. Just you wait and see.”

It’s 1850 and the Noble family have arrived in Australia to start a new life after scandal drove them from their native England. Headstrong Pippa Noble is determined to reclaim their honour by making her father’s plans for a successful stud farm a reality.

Pippa is immediately spellbound by the untamed outback landscape, although she learns the hard way about the unforgiving nature of the bush – sometimes with devastating consequences. When circumstance leads to Pippa tending the new farm alone, it is the steadfast friendship of neighbouring country estate owner Gil Ashford-Smith that helps her through.

Then an unexpected visitor from England arrives, putting Pippa’s dreams in jeopardy. But she refuses to let go. She will hold onto her family’s land and make her mark, even if it means losing everything else …

 

Excerpt:

‘Pippa! Come look!’ Davy ran into the stables. ‘There’s a carriage coming with two shiny black horses with white feathers on their heads.’ He grabbed her hand and pulled her outside. ‘A carriage!’

Intrigued, Pippa frowned at Robson as he came to stand at her side. They both stared along the valley track. Indeed a large, shiny black carriage pulled by magnificent horses rumbled beside the creek towards them.

‘Who could it be?’ Pippa glanced at Robson for his input.

‘Nay, miss, I know of no one with such a carriage in this district.’

Davy jumped up and down, clapping his hands. ‘It’s a Prince!’

Pippa gently pushed him towards the house. ‘Go to your mother.’

She and Robson walked away from the stables and waited under the big gum tree near the footbridge. On the other side, Davy and Millie watched the carriage approach.

The driver halted the fine pair and drew the carriage to stop. The door was flung open and Gerald popped his head out. ‘Pippa!’

Pippa’s eyes widened in disbelief. ‘Father?’

Gerald exited the carriage and handed Hilary down and then the maid, Cissie. ‘We’re here at last!’ he shouted, reaching back into the carriage.

Hilary ran up to Pippa and hugged her. ‘It’s good to see you! Have we surprised you? How are you? Mother fainted! As soon as we started the descent into the valley, she screamed that we would all fall to our deaths and then fainted.’

Blinking rapidly to make sure of her vision, Pippa let Hilary’s words wash over her. Her family here! She couldn’t believe it. They’d sent her no word of their impending arrival.

‘Come, come, Esther. Pippa wishes to greet you,’ Gerald cajoled his wife out of the carriage. ‘You’re safe now, so stop your hysterics.’

Pippa stepped forward and kissed her mother’s pale cheek. ‘Welcome, Mother.’

Esther, fanning herself with a white handkerchief, sniffled. ‘What a journey, Philippa, what a journey.’ Slowly she raised her head and gazed about. Her eyes widened, her mouth dropped open.

The heavy weight of guilt sunk Pippa’s happiness at her family’s arrival. Her mother’s rigidness confirmed her fears. She hated the valley. ‘Mother—’

‘You …’ Esther turned to scan the whole valley and all it contained, her eyes filling with tears. ‘Gerald …’ She blinked, her chest heaving as though she struggled to breathe. ‘You brought me here?’

‘Mother—’

‘Esther—’

‘How could you?’ Esther’s voice lowered in anger. ‘I’ll not spend one night in this god-forsaken backwater!’ She spun on her heel, re-entered the carriage, and slammed the door.

Pippa stared at her father, whose cheeks flushed beet red. He stormed to the carriage and jerked open the door. ‘Get out at once!’

Hilary silently came to Pippa’s side and took her hand as, in disbelief and with acute embarrassment, they watched their parents argue and wrestle. At last, Esther emerged from the carriage, dishevelled and indignant.

‘I will stay but one night, then I am returning to Sydney to the Talbots.’ She marched past them all and crossed the footbridge. Hilary hurriedly followed her.

Sighing, Gerald walked away, around the other side of the carriage, and, after a glance at Hilary, Pippa went to join him.

‘I’m sorry, Father. I didn’t expect you. Hilary’s letter said it could be another month as Mother had engagements. Inside the house is not complete yet. I kept the men working on extending the stable block.’

‘I do not blame you in the least, dearest.’ His eyes softened and he slipped his arm around her waist to hug her to him. ‘In fact, I’m so very proud of you.’ He gazed out over the valley, at the cluster of buildings, the horses and sheep grazing. ‘What you’ve achieved here in such a short time is inspirational, my dear. You have the courage of a lion.’

Pippa kissed his thin cheek, aware that his ill health had taken its toll on him. ‘I did it for us all, Father. This is our home now, and we’ll be successful, I know it.’

‘I have no doubt about it, not with you in charge.’

‘Oh, but Father, I’m not in charge now you’re here.’

Gerald shook his head. ‘No, Pippa. This is your dream, your future.’

She stepped back, frowning. ‘But it’s yours, too. We share it together.’

‘Yes, but I don’t have the youth, the energy, the heart that you do.’ He shook his head and sighed. ‘All I wanted to do here was to make money. You wanted to make a home.’

She touched his arm, frightened by how old and defeated he looked. ‘We can do both, Father.’

He remained silent for a long time, staring out over the land.

‘Please don’t be dispirited, Father. We can be successful. The mistakes made in England do not have to be repeated here.’

‘My health is failing, but I tend to think that is a good thing.’

‘No—’

Gerald held up his hand. ‘Hear me out. I insist we have honesty if nothing else after so many years of lies.’ He paused and took a deep breath. ‘If I were hale and hearty and a few years younger, there would be no stopping me, but no doubt that would have led to our ruin as it did back home.’

‘Father—’

‘I’ve had time to think while bedridden and holed up with the Talbots, and I’ve made a decision.’ He took both her hands in his and smiled. ‘I was going to tell you this later, but I might as well do it now and be done with it.’

‘What is it?’ Pippa braced herself for bad news, for his tone was the same he used in England when he would admit failure in some investment or when the bailiffs came to clear the house of their belongings to repay his gambling debts.

He sucked in a deep breath. ‘The valley is yours to do with as you please. I’ll sign it all over to you, with the provision that you support your sister.’

Pippa blinked. ‘But what about you and Mother?’

‘We shall return to England.’

‘No!’

 

To buy Where Rainbows End

All Amazon Kindle sites; myBook.to/WhereRainbowsEnd

Kobo UK: https://goo.gl/24Tir1

Annemarie Brear

Author Bio:

Australian born AnneMarie Brear writes historical novels and modern romances. Her passions, apart from writing, are reading, researching, genealogy, roaming historical sites, buying books and gardening. She is an author of historical women’s fiction, contemporary romance and several short stories and is currently living in England. AnneMarie Brear on the web: http://www.annemariebrear.com http://annemariebrear.blogspot.co.uk https://www.facebook.com/annemariebrear   Twitter @annemariebrear.

Rewrite Your Life book review

Published May 8, 2017 by francesothomas

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We’ve all heard the dictum “write what you know.” And most if not all writers use incidents from their own lives in their books. Yet how well do we know ourselves on an emotional level? I read an awful lot of “self-help” books but rarely do the suggested exercises. All that introspection is hard work and brings up too many things I don’t want to examine or re-live.


In Rewrite Your Life,
Jessica Lourey bravely exposes her own experiences and relates how she has freed herself by incorporating what she learned about herself. I am trying to deepen my own fiction writing, so I am actually working my way through her prompts.

Along the way, Lourey also gives good info on choosing a genre, concept, characters, plot, and setting.

I highly recommend this book to both authors and those who want to overcome the painful parts of their lives through journaling.

A Charmed Little Lie book review

Published April 23, 2017 by francesothomas

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I dog sat for a friend once. Said dog did not pee on me like the one in this book, and I still did not enjoy the experience, so I have to give props to Lainie. Her supposedly temporary dog sitting turns permanent, and she takes it in stride.

She gets herself into all sorts of complicated situations without even trying. Like picking up a pretend husband in the parking lot of a diner, for example.

Of course, it’s not hard to guess where this marriage of convenience is going. Who wouldn’t fall for Nick, a drool-worthy guy who just happens to be a chef of equally drool-worthy food?

Lainie is a sympathetic, albeit sort of raunchy, heroine. And for living in a town built around honey, some of the denizens of Charmed, Texas, are far from sweet. Still, the small town vibe that I always lean toward is there. Lovelace has an authentic and amusing voice.

 

Blurb Lanie Barrett didn’t mean to lie. Spinning a story of a joyous marriage to make a dying woman happy is forgivable, isn’t it? Lanie thinks so, especially since her beloved Aunt Ruby would have been heartbroken to know the truth of her niece’s sadly loveless, short-of-sparkling existence. Trouble is, according to the will, Ruby didn’t quite buy Lanie’s tale. And to inherit the only house Lanie ever really considered a home, she’ll have to bring her “husband” back to Charmed, Texas for three whole months—or watch Aunt Ruby’s cozy nest go to her weasel cousin, who will sell it to a condo developer.

Nick McKane is out of work, out of luck, and the spitting image of the man Lanie described. He needs money for his daughter’s art school tuition, and Lanie needs a convenient spouse. It’s a match made . . . well, not quite in heaven, but for a temporary arrangement, it couldn’t be better. Except the longer Lanie and Nick spend as husband and wife, the more the connection between them begins to seem real. Maybe this modern fairy tale really could come true . . .

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Author Info

Sharla Lovelace is the bestselling, award-winning author of sexy small-town love stories. Being a Texas girl through and through, she’s proud to say she lives in Southeast Texas with her retired husband, a tricked-out golf cart, and two crazy dogs.  She is the author of five stand-alone novels including the bestselling Don’t Let Go, the exciting Heart Of The Storm series, and the fun and sexy new Charmed in Texas series.

For more about Sharla’s books, visit http://www.sharlalovelace.com, and keep up with all her new book releases easily by subscribing to her newsletter.  She loves keeping up with her readers, and you can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Southwest Florida Reading Festival

Published March 18, 2017 by francesothomas

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I just got home from the Southwest Florida Reading Festival, an event held each March in Fort Myers. When I attend, I always make a point to go to hear any romance writers who are featured. This year’s panel included Cassandra King, Susan Wiggs, and Lori Wilde.  I’ve read and reviewed Wiggs and Wilde, but King was new to me. After hearing her speak, I intend to remedy that situation.

The three women took turns introducing themselves and then answered questions from the audience. King and Wilde grew up on farms. Wiggs was born in upstate New York but grew up in various places in Europe. All three said they were from families where reading was important. King and Wiggs became teachers when told they needed to have something besides writing to earn a living. Wilde became a nurse, a profession she professes to dread ever having to go back to.

King has written five novels but also nonfiction. Wiggs’ first novel was published in March 1987. Wilde has written more than 80 books. Asked the typical question of where ideas come from, King related how she modified  her original premise for Moonrise after she rented a house to do research in the area in which the story is set. Alone in the rather spooky house, she began to read Du Maurier’s Rebecca, and the story developed from that. Wiggs wrote Family Tree during the last year of her father’s life, inspired by his unfailing optimism. Wilde wrote Christmas at Twilight when she was coming to grips with mental health issues within her family and overcoming her own need to fix everything.

None of the three does a complete outline before beginning to write although they all know the general story arc. Wilde said her characters used to keep her awake at night until she learned to give them boundaries. Wiggs motivates herself to write by rewarding herself with an M&M for each page. She writes in longhand first and then goes back later and types her manuscript. King stressed that writers must uphold their contracts and meet deadlines. Publishers don’t buy the excuse of artistic temperament.

None of the women have much say over the covers on their books. Wiggs just saw for the first time the cover of her next book to be released in August. King once had a different cover put on the paperback edition of her book than had been on the hardback. Wilde said covers are a crap shoot. What may appeal to the author might not be a cover that will sell the book.

Asked about agents, Wiggs said she’s had the same agent for decades. Wilde is on her third agent. King said her first agent didn’t do much for her. She advised authors to publish anything they can, anywhere they can to increase the possibility that an agent might find them.

I’m so grateful that this event is held every year. The authors’ back stories  are fascinating.

 

 

 

 

 

The Runaway Queen book review

Published March 14, 2017 by francesothomas

 

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This book took me back to the days when I devoured Harlequin romances. The components are all there: brooding hero; spunky blonde who just happens to be a future queen, Greek scenery. If you are having one of those days when you wish a dark, handsome man on a horse would whisk you away from it all, this one’s for you. Short and “sweet.”

 

Romancing Dr. Love book review

Published March 7, 2017 by francesothomas

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What an interesting premise this book has. Dr. Samantha Love has been subjected her whole life to the conjectures that come with being the daughter of renowned sex therapists. To prove she’s not loose, she has gone too far in the opposite direction. Her one experience at romance has solidified her disbelief in the whole concept.

Dr. Ethan Quinn has been burned before too, but he had the benefit of parents who truly loved each other. He can tell Samantha is the one for him even before he takes her compatibility blood test.

I liked the setting of a small. southern college, where everyone knows everyone’s business. It’s a perfect place for Samantha to connect with what is really important in life. She’s a believable character, but I found Ethan too good to be true.

About the book:

Dr. Samantha Love says it’s all about the chemistry. A brainy psychology professor and researcher, Sam has based her entire academic career on the theory that what we call love is simply a chemical reaction. She is currently running a study to prove that her compatibility blood test reveals perfect matches—sort of like an organ donor, but for relationships. No romance required.

Along comes sexy literature professor, Dr. Ethan Quinn, who says it’s all about the romance. He thinks the pretty psychology professor has taken love and all its mysteries and reduced it to something as romantic as a cholesterol test, and he sets out to prove her theory wrong.

When Ethan signs up for her study, Sam discovers to her horror, that according to her compatibility test, they are a perfect match. Sam faces an existential crisis over her career and her research. If she believes in her science, shouldn’t it follow that she believes Ethan is her perfect mate? And if she doesn’t believe he’s her perfect mate, doesn’t that bring into question her research? Her compatibility test? Her reputation? And her very career?

As Sam struggles with her dilemma, Ethan pursues her with all the romantic tactics in his arsenal. Will Sam’s theories succumb to his challenge? Or will Ethan lose the battle for Sam’s heart?

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Rebecca Heflin is an award-winning author who has dreamed of writing romantic fiction since she was fifteen and her older sister snuck a copy of Kathleen Woodiwiss’ Shanna to her and told her to read it. Rebecca writes women’s fiction and contemporary romance. When not passionately pursuing her dream, Rebecca is busy with her day-job as a practicing attorney.

Rebecca is a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), Florida Romance Writers, RWA Contemporary Romance, and Florida Writers Association. She and her mountain-climbing husband live at sea level in sunny Florida.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Loving Vivienne book review

Published February 26, 2017 by francesothomas

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This book is Book Six of Christina George’s Publicist Series. While she included enough explanatory material to make it viable on a stand alone basis, I was left wishing I’d read the earlier books. The plot revolved around a lot of past history and  resultant grudges, and that required a bit of reading between the lines to fill in the blanks.

Vivienne has written a hugely successful book that has just been turned into a movie (we authors should all be so lucky). On a vacation to Costa Rica, she meets Daniel, a very heroic hero indeed. He’s there helping out at a local orphanage although he is an intern back in New York City. That part struck me as far-fetched. I don’t believe interns can just pick up and fly off to Costa Rica no matter how noble their mission.

The book really demonstrates how family dynamics can get in the way of love if you let them. Don’t you let them.