September 28, 2013

Barri Bryan

Barri Bryan’s Heart Lays Deep Within Texas

Barri Bryan is the pen name for Billie Houston. She acquired a pseudonym at the behest of adult children when they discovered a steamy excerpt from one of her romances at the web site of a publisher.
Barri grew up during the thirties. Her formative years were spent in a small town in West Texas. Life was simple then. She could accept what was without questioning what would be, or wishing for what would never come to pass. She sensed there was a world beyond my limited horizon. but it seemed remote and far away. That horizon began to expand and move nearer when she discovered reading and books.
Barri’s dad taught her to read before she started to school; thus began her journey. In the seventh grade, she found the Bronte sisters and fell in love with romantic novels. Since then, she’s been an avid fan of happy-ever-tales.
Today Barri is a wife, a mother of three, and a grandmother to seven wonderful grandchildren. She’s also a former teacher and educator and a published author with over twenty novels, four books of poetry, numerous essays and short stories, and one how-to-write book to my credit.
Barri has a graduate degree in Educational Psychology from the University of Texas, and holds six valid teacher certifications.
Barri’s writing career began late in life, writing her first book in 1990. Her first romance was published in 1998 and writes the kind of books she enjoys reading --- romantic tales about relationships; stories that explore feelings and probe emotions. The plots revolve around ordinary people caught in extraordinary circumstances and faced with difficult decisions.
Barri likes poetry, George Strait’s music, old movies and Earl Grey tea. Her many hobbies are reading, quilting, sewing, knitting, crocheting, taking long walks, and growing house plants. 

Could you please start by telling us a little about yourself.

I can’t remember a time I didn’t want to be a writer. I am an octogenarian. I am not an extraordinary person, but my life’s journey has been extraordinary in many ways. I have stood on the sidelines of history and watched a rapidly changing world’s passing, panoramic parade. My personal life has embraced change, struggle, difficulty, and an enduring love. I’ve had my share of happiness. There has been tragedy too. I have known misfortune and heartbreak. I have gambled and often lost, but sometimes won. There are so many things I would go back and change, if I could. I have pretty well come to terms with both my capabilities and my limitations.

How much research do you do for your books? Have you found any cool tidbits in your research?

I do a tremendous amount of research, especially when I write historicals. I am always finding tidbits that interest me. When I researched for my novel Renegade, I discovered that Texas men in the 1830’s didn’t wear cowboy boots. Most of them wore moccasins. A few wore brogans. When I researched for my novel Changeless as the Heavens, set in 1944, I was surprised to learn that during WWII gasoline was rationed, not to save gasoline, but to save tires that were made of rubber, which was a scarce commodity. My research for my novel Wish on the Moon revealed that in 1906 it was considered disgraceful for a woman to go out in public without wearing a corset under her other clothing. My WIP is set in 1966. There were no seat belts in cars in 1966.

What main genre do you write in?

I write romances. Many of my romances are historicals set during a specific decade in the twentieth century. I write some contemporaries, and some historicals set in the nineteenth century.
I also write verse. My poetry is eclectic. I write about what speaks to my heart and quickens my insight.

What are your hobbies?

 I enjoy reading.  I like both fiction and nonfiction. I’m an avid Texas History buff. I read anything I can find about the history of The Lone Star State. I enjoy Regency Romances if they are historically correct and well written. I’m a fan of C. S. Lewis. I read Victorian poetry. I especially like Christina Rosette and Emily Dickinson.  I love taking long walks. That’s when I do much of my planning and problem solving for my writing. I raise house plants and herbs.  I love crafts and handwork. I knit, crochet, and quilt.

If you had to choose one person to have dinner with, who would it be? And why?

If I had to choose one person to have dinner with it would be Christina Rossetti. Of all the poetical voices that echo down through the ages, none rings more sweetly in my ear or resounds with more clearly through my senses than this Victorian spinster’s lyrical compositions. Oh, the questions I would like to ask that lady, not only about her work, but about her personal life also.

What is your writing process? Do you outline, fly by the seat of your pants or a combination of both?

The first thing I do is make character sketches of my main characters. I need to know them well before I begin writing about them. Then I outline, by chapter, the story I have in mind. After that, I do much of my research for the story. This gives me a feeling of where I am and where I want to go. I don’t always go in that direction. I have been known to do a 180 degree turn and take another path. Would it be safe to say I combine the two?

Current Release Details:

My current release is entitled For Jenny’s Sake.” It is a contemporary romance set in a small town in South Texas. It’s published by Desert Breeze Publishing.

Can you please give us a sneak peek at any of your upcoming books?

I have a book titled Renegade that is scheduled to be published by Desert Breeze Publishing in January of 2014.The story is set in the little village of San Antonio de Bexar the year after the fall of the Alamo.

What is the best and worst advice you have ever received?

The best writing advice I ever received was from the teacher whose name I can’t recall. She was the instructor in an adult education class I took several years ago. She began her class by saying, “Be honest with yourself so you can be honest with your readers.” I thought that was a strange opening statement for the teacher of a course titled: How to Write Short Fiction. She wasn’t speaking of literal truths, but personal truths. Throughout much of my writing career, I have tried to stay true to that premise. Memorable, moving books are not written from a sense of anything but the writer’s deepest and most honest convictions.
The worst advice I ever had was, “Sit down and write what you feel. As you move along, the story will unfold in your mind. All you have to do is write it down.” Maybe that works for some. It doesn’t for me. I need structure and purpose.

What was your first published work and when was it published?

My first published book was titled A love Like Mine. It was published in 1998 by new Concepts Publishing.

What would be the best way for readers contact you? Do you have a website? Email address? MySpace site? Blog? Message Board? Group?


Eight years ago Erin Harrow left her hometown in the wake of shame and scandal. She’s back now, as Erin Bennett the rich widow of recently deceased billionaire Sheldon Bennett. She’s returned to claim what is hers and to set the record straight on some very important issues.
Gabe Harrow has never recovered from his ex-wife’s flight to oblivion, and he’s never forgiven her for disappearing without leaving a trace. She’s back now and determined to take from him the one thing that gives his life meaning, his daughter Jenny. But then, she’s Erin’s daughter too. 


September 21, 2013

Helena Fairfax

Helena Fairfax Races to the UK


Helena Fairfax was born in Uganda and came to England as a child.  She’s grown used to the cold now and that’s just as well, because nowadays she lives in an old Victorian mill town in Yorkshire, right next door to windswept Brontë country.  She has an affectionate, if half-crazed, rescue dog and together they tramp the moors every dayone of them wishing she were Emily Brontë, the other vainly chasing pheasants.   When she’s not out on the moors you’ll find Helena either creating romantic heroes and heroines of her own or else with her nose firmly buried in a book, enjoying someone else’s stories.  Her patient husband and her brilliant children support her in her daydreams and are the loves of her life. 

Could you please start by telling us a little about yourself?

My name’s Helena Fairfax.  I’m a British author, and I live in Yorkshire, in the north of England, near the moors which are the setting for Wuthering Heights.  I go walking on the moors every day with my dog.  I love to watch the changing seasons and the wildlife – although my dog is more interested in chasing wildlife than watching it!

Please tell us your latest news!

My first novel, The Silk Romance, was published in May as an e-book, and my second novel, The Antique Love, was released on 4th September.  I’m still really excited!

Please describe your writing environment.

Wherever I write, my dog goes with me.  Right now, my dog is asleep on the settee next to me.  If I work upstairs on the computer, she comes there, too, and if I sit outside in my yard, she lies at my feet.  She’s a really affectionate dog, and I love her to bits.

How much research do you do for your books? Have you found any cool tidbits in your research?

I do quite a bit of research, even though my novels are contemporary, not historical.  For The Silk Romance, I researched the history of silk in Lyon, France, because the hero is French and he owns a silk mill.  For The Antique Love, I researched London’s Richmond Park.  This is the largest park in London, and it plays a big part in the novel.  Richmond Park became a Royal Park in the 17thc, when King Charles went there to escape the plague.  He turned it into a hunting park, and there are still many deer there today.

What main genre do you write in?

I write sweet contemporary romances – although one reviewer said they were sweet romances with a tang!

What are your hobbies? 

My mother was a needlework teacher, and she taught me how to knit and embroider.  I especially love knitting.  Besides the usual jumpers and baby clothes, I also knit little figures.  Last year I knitted the Royal Wedding :)  You can see the photos here on my friend’s blog:

Do you write full time? What did you do before you became a writer? Or Still do?

I’m lucky to be able to write full time now..  Before this, I worked in manufacturing for many years, in the textile and printing industries. My experience in textile weaving helped me when I wrote The Silk Romance.

Do you have a website recommendation for other writers?

I really love Romance University  They have a weekly “lecture schedule” of posts on all aspects of romance writing, from technique to finding the right publisher.  Even if you don’t write in the romance genre, I can still highly recommend them for writing tips.

Is there a genre of book you would like to write but haven't yet?

My romances are short contemporary romances.  I would really love to have a go at writing a saga.  Something in the style of Penny Vincenzi, or Barbara Taylor Bradford. 

What would be the best way for readers to contact you? Do you have a website? Email address? MySpace site? Blog? Message Board? Group?

I have a Facebook page at .  You can also follow me on Twitter @helenafairfax , friend me on Goodreads, or email me at .  My blog is at Feel free to get in touch.  I love to meet people!


Jean-Luc Olivier is a devastatingly handsome racing-driver with the world before him. Sophie Challoner is a penniless student, whose face is unknown beyond her own rundown estate in London. The night they spend together in Paris seems to Sophie like a fairytale—a Cinderella story without the happy ending. She knows she has no part in Jean-Luc’s future. She made her dying mother a promise to take care of her father and brother in London.   One night of happiness is all Sophie allows herself. She runs away from Jean-Luc and returns to England to keep her promise.


Also available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple iBooks and other major e-tailers

September 14, 2013

J.R. Lindermuth

J.R. Lindermuth Digs for Gold

J. R. Lindermuth is the author of 12 novels, including five in the Sticks Hetrick mystery series set in a fictional rural community near Harrisburg PA. A retired newspaper editor/writer, he is now librarian of his county's historical society where he assists patrons with research and genealogy. He has published stories and articles in a variety of magazines, both print and on line.
Additional information on his books and writing is available at . 
Could you please start by telling us a little about yourself?
I’m a retired newspaper editor who lives and writes in central Pennsylvania. Since retiring, I’ve served as librarian of my county historical society where I assist patrons with research and genealogy. I’m a member of EPIC, International Thriller Writers and the Short Mystery Society. 

Please tell us a little about your new release without giving too much of a spoiler away.
It’s 1898 and Sylvester Tilghman, third of his family to hold the job of sheriff in
the little town of Arahpot, Pennsylvania, has a murder victim with too many enemies. There’s Claude Kessler, who is found standing over the body of Will Petry with a knife in his hand; there’s Rachel, Petry’s stepdaughter who admits she meant to cause him harm, and there’s a band of gypsies who claim Petry stole one of their women.
If that isn’t enough to complicate Tilghman’s life, add in threats to his job; a run-in with a female horse thief; scary predictions by a gypsy fortuneteller; the theft of Doc Mariner’s new motorcar, and the continued reluctance of Lydia, Syl’s longtime girlfriend, to marry him. 

What comes first: the plot or the characters?
Character makes the plot. 

Do you plan all your characters out before you start a story or do they develop as you write?
I “invent” my characters, but they often seem to have minds of their own as to what’s going to happen next. It usually works best if I listen to what they’re telling me.

Do you have a ritual when it comes to writing? Example….get coffee, blanket, paper, pen, laptop and a comfy place.
I believe in setting butt in chair and fingers on keyboard. Since I’m often writing in my mind before taking the seat, I don’t usually need more impetus. A cup of coffee or two is good in the morning and some background music (not too loud or strident) helps shut out other distractions.  

Do your books have a common theme or are they all different?
I write two series, so there’s a commonality to the characters but not necessarily the plots. I’ve also written some standalones. 

How long does it take you to write and then edit a story?
That depends on the particular story. The first draft of some has gone very quickly. Others might take years to develop. All will then face editing, the amount of which again depends on the story. 

How do you go about naming characters?
In my other work as a genealogist I’m constantly on the look out for names that might suit a character down the road. I jot these down in a notebook for future reference. The name has to suit the character, though, and there have been instances where I’ve changed a name because it didn’t ring true. 

What so you see for the future of publishing and e-books?
I love so called “real” books and I think they’re going to be with us as least for some time in the future. However, I like the convenience of my Kindle, particularly when traveling, and I think we’re only at the beginning of the electronic novel age. Who would have thought just a few years ago that it would be possible to read a book on your phone?

What are your current books out right now, and what are the books coming up for release?
This is the second book in the Tilghman series and there are now five in the Sticks Hetrick series. A Burning Desire, sixth in the Hetrick series, will be coming out next March and I’m currently at work on a seventh. 

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I enjoy spending time with my children and my four grandsons. I like to walk/hike, draw, do genealogy. I read (constantly). I love music and film. If I had the money I’d do a whole lot more traveling. I can’t understand people who say they’re bored. There isn’t enough time in the days to do all the things I’d like to do. 

Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers we have not touched on?
For those who have read and said they’ve enjoyed my books, I want to express my appreciation. If you’ve written a review or recommended them to family and friends, I’m even more grateful. A writer is nothing without readers.  

Where can the readers learn more about you and find your books on the web?

Ø Buy links:



John is offering a print copy to a commenter to be selected by drawing.

September 7, 2013

Jane Toombs

Sail the High Seas with Jane Toombs


Jane Toombs, the Viking from her past and their calico grandcat, Kinko, live on the south shore of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula wilderness. Here they enjoy refreshing Springs, beautiful Summers, colorful Falls and tolerate miserable Winters. Jane is edging toward ninety with her published books and has over twenty-five novellas and short stories to her credit. She’s been published in every genre except men’s action and erotica, but paranormal is her favorite. She’s a member of a closed twelve author promo group called Jewels Of The Quill, where she’s “Dame Turquoise". 

Could you please start by telling us a little about yourself? 
I’ve returned to live in the small town I grew up in. Some years ago, when I was still living in upstate New York after my second husband died, an old classmate of mine called me to tell me I’d spelled my Swedish hero’s name wrong in my latest book, because en was Norwegian—on was Swedish. It turned out he was living in Nevada. As we talked, we discovered in the next month I was attending a family wedding in lower Michigan, and he’d been invited to a family reunion in lower Michigan on the same weekend, in a town only a few miles from where I’d be.  So he told me he’d drive over to see me.  He’d never before kissed me, but when he left after his visit, he did. Wow! We’ve been together since shortly after that. 
I grew up intending to become a writer, but wound up an RN instead due to WWII. When I finally returned to writing I was married with five kids. I dabbled in it at first, but finally wrote my first book, a rather dark gothic romance that sold to Avon. For some reason this upset my doctor husband (his opinion was I was writing trash) and we eventually divorced. I met my second husband in a writing class. After we married, he decided if I could sell a gothic, he could.  So he wrote one and it did sell. So then we both were writing. We never collaborated, but we did edit each other’s work until he died unexpectedly.
Elmer doesn’t write, but cheers me on. At 88, he now has Parkinson’s, but is up and about in a W/ C. I’m now his caretaker, but he’s able to help me a lot. I’ll be 87 in December, and still writing. Slower, though. 

Please tell us a little about your new release without giving too much of a spoiler away.
I’m finishing up my fourth and last book in my Dangerous Darkness Series, Stranger On The Shore. This series traces the lives of four Special Op guys after they return to civilian life, believing the fourth guy has been killed. Well, he has and he hasn’t and the last book is his. These are paranormal suspense romances and the first three, Shadow On The Floor, Watcher At The Door and Trouble From Before are available from my website:  

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Trying to find a logical way to keep the hero of the fourth book alive, when all three of the heroes of the other books saw him riddled with bullets. Luckily being an RN was a help. 

What comes first: the plot or the characters?
They all come together for me. I do a synopsis for each book and use it to keep myself on track, though I deviate from it a lot.  

Do you plan all your characters out before you start a story or do they develop as you write?
Until I do the synopsis I don’t have any characters. And, yes, they develop as I write because I get to know them. 

Do you have a ritual when it comes to writing? Example….get coffee, blanket, paper, pen, laptop and a comfy place.
Nope. Butt in the chair in front of the computer is all I need. 

Do your books have a common theme or are they all different?
Other than good overcoming evil, I can’t think of a common theme. 

How long does it take you to write and then edit a story?
That varies with each book. Some seem to flow from my fingers and others definitely do not.   

How do you go about naming characters?
I give them names that seem to fit them. Have no idea how I do that. 

What so you see for the future of publishing and e-books?
E-books are gaining in popularity, but I do believe holding a book in your hands won’t ever go out of style completely. 

What are your current books out right now, and what are the books coming up for release?
I’ve been doing a lot of scanning of old rights-back books, which I then send to Books We Love, Ltd. to turn into ebooks. I’m no techie, so I wouldn’t dream of trying to put them up myself. BWL provides editing and great covers. The latest one up is Love’s Odessey, and Bride of The Baja will soon be up. Both are historical romances. 

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers we have not touched on?
If it wasn’t for my father, who gently critiqued all my early writing, I doubt I’d be published today. He taught me how to accept well-meant critiquing, which is a priceless gift. Unfortunately, he didn’t live long enough to see me succeed. 

Where can the readers learn more about you and find your books on the web? 

This is the story of a sixteen-year-old American girl who is orphaned when her father dies and she is sent to live with her English uncle. Unfortunately he falls out of favor with the king and is killed. This is where she meets Adrien who saves her from a dire fate by taking her to Holland to live with her mother’s sisters.
They sail to Java on the same ship, but Rommel and Adrien are fated to be torn apart again and again. She has only her courage and her beauty to keep her alive—and her impossible love for Adrien. He never gives up searching for her, even after she is abducted by a Chinese pirate and taken to Amoy. He’ll need all his ability as a swordsman to survive long enough to rescue her.
This is truly an odyssey for Rommel and Adrien as he keeps losing her and must set off to find her once more. Travel is by Dutch East India ship, by junk and by raft.