Happy New Year’s Eve From Cheryl Holloway

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From the Cheryl Holloway Blog Family to you and yours,  We Wish that this New Year’s Eve is filled with merriment, good tidings and joy for you and all of your loved ones. Thanks for being a blog reader and a blog follower during 2017.

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On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

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5 Reasons Writers Procrastinate by Cheryl Holloway

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Don’t Let Procrastination Steal Another Year…Write Your Book, Now!

 

If you want to be a writer, here are some serious questions for you to think about.

Are you are in danger of letting procrastination take yet another of your opportunities?

What is procrastination?

According to the dictionary, procrastination is the action of delaying or postponing something.

Why do writers procrastinate?

Here are my top five reasons why writers procrastinate and don’t finish writing their book.

  1. They don’t believe that their writing is good. I think this is the number one reason writers procrastinate. Everyone doubts themselves at one time or another, especially a writer who has never been published before.
  2. They don’t allot time to write each and every day. I think this is the number two reason writers procrastinate. Remember…writers write. 
  3. They don’t make attainable goals. I think this is the number three reason writers procrastinate. Give yourself deadlines to help you meet goals and keep you writing daily. Set a daily writing goal that is small and attainable. Note: 250 words a day is about one page. If you write one page a day for one year (365 days), you will have a complete book. Now, you’re ready to organize and edit it. 🙂
  4. They have too many distractions. I think this is the number four reason writers procrastinate. They read their emails (on several accounts), visit social media sites (such as facebook and twitter), and search the internet (google anything and everything). If you are serious about writing a book, you need two things—a quiet space and a designated time.
  5. They are not accountable to anyone. I think this is the number five reason writers procrastinate. Get a writing buddy that you are accountable to and vice versa. It will help you stay on track with your writing. I am an Accountability Writing Coach. You pay me to keep you on track. I am your writing mentor, who encourages you and supports you—even at your lowest point.

Here are some facts:

In the U.S., 82% of people say they want to write a book, but only 2% actually write a book.

Of the writers who are bold enough to start writing a book, only 3 in 5 writers actually finish writing the book.

Jan 1st is an opportunity to fulfill your dream of writing a book.

But, before I go, let me leave you with a final thought: On writing your book…Where will you be this time next year?

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On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Guest Author Interview – Penny Warner – A Writer’s Path

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A Writer’s Path on A Writer’s Day

The title is one that I hope will spark some constructive discussion among writers. Yes, it’s A Writer’s Day on the Cheryl Holloway Blog. We will share writing tips, information and advice for writers.

Penny Warner, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Penny Warner. She is an American mystery writer, who has written more than 60+ books in a variety of genres and she has won multiple awards. She also writes under the pseudonym Penny Pike. Welcome to my blog, Penny. Below are some books by Penny Warner.

   

CH: It is not often that I meet a successful writer who has written numerous books over decades and who has been traditionally published and self-published. So, let’s ask her some important questions about writing—information for the new and seasoned writer.

CH: Penny, what do you attribute your long-term success to as a writer?

PW: Perseverance! I just keep at it and don’t give up.

CH: You write on a variety of subjects ranging from cooking to parenting guides to party and activity books. In addition to the Connor Westphal mystery series and the Code Buster Club series, you write books on all subjects for children and adults. So, do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

PW: A combination – I want to be fresh, but writing mysteries has a traditional formula that readers expect.

CH: Do you want each book to stand on its’ own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

PW: Each series stands on its own, but I have a certain style/ sense of humor that connects the books.

CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your writing style?

PW: I hope my books are informative, as well as entertaining. I try to include interesting topics but not bore the reader.

CH: How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

PW: Tons! But I keep them handy, just in case…

CH: What does literary success look like to you?

PW: Having readers read your work and letting you know they enjoyed it.

CH: How long were you a part-time writer before you became a full-time one?

PW: I’m still part-time. I need to work outside of writing to stay topical.

CH: Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

PW: I used to read them, but I realized I couldn’t please everyone.

CH: What was your hardest scene ever to write?

PW: I can’t write sex scenes so I’ve given up. I need to do more research… 😉

CH: How do you select the names of your characters?

PW: I try to make them related to the character’s background, and make sure it’s age appropriate.

CH: How long on average does it take you to write a book?

PW: Six months for an adult mystery, three months for a kid mystery, like The Code Busters Club.

CH: What advice do you have on the best way to market your books for new writers?

PW: Attend conferences, do blog tours, host book signings, talk at women’s groups, and speak at schools for kid’s books.
CH: What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?

PW: Wow—certainly not chocolate, lattes, or wine…what’s left?

CH: You’re in a writing group, how has this helped your writing? Was there inspiration from the writer’s group?

PW: I have a great group, all published writers but one. They give honest feedback without hurting my feelings!

CH: Can you tell my audience where your books are sold?

PW: Amazon and bookstores.

CH: How to Find Penny Warner:

CH: Any closing remarks?

PW: Great questions! Lots of fun! Thanks so much, Cheryl!

CH: Thank you so much, Penny Warner, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

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Subscribe to my blog because I share great books with wonderful readers all over the globe!

   

On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Christmas Greetings to Everyone From Author Cheryl Holloway

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Merry Christmas 2017 From Author Cheryl Holloway

Cheryl Holloway, Author

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Don’t Keep this Blog a Secret…Tell Your Friends about it!

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Subscribe to my blog because I share great books with wonderful readers all over the globe!

   

On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Wanted BOOK REVIEWERS For Cheryl Holloway Books

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Don’t Keep this Blog a Secret…Tell Your Friends about it!

Readers and followers, please share this post with your friends.

Subscribe to my blog because I share great books with wonderful readers all over the globe!

   

On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Cheryl Holloway Wishes Everyone A Happy Christmas Eve!

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Cheryl Holloway, Author

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Don’t Keep this Blog a Secret…Tell Your Friends about it!

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Subscribe to my blog because I share great books with wonderful readers all over the globe!

   

On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Guest Author Interview – Elaine Everest

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Title: Christmas at Woolworths

Genre: Saga

Synopsis: Even though there was a war on, the Woolworths girls brought Christmas cheer to their customers.

Best friends Sarah, Maisie and Freda are brought together by their jobs at Woolworths. With their loved ones away on the front line, their bonds of friendship strengthen each day. Betty Billington is the manager at Woolworths, and a rock for the girls, having given up on love…until a mysterious stranger turns up one day—Could he reignite a spark in Betty?

As the year draws to a close, and Christmas approaches, the girls must rely on each other to navigate the dark days that lie ahead…with so much change, can their friendship survive the war?

Elaine Everest, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest is International Author, Elaine Everest. She also runs a writing school. Welcome to my blog, Elaine.

CH: Please tell us in one sentence, why we should read this World War II saga.

EE: A story of its time set in a real town, true history and honest characters.

CH: Your book deals with the realities of life during a war. So, how did you come up with the premise for this book?

EE: My sagas had to be set in a world that I knew—albeit later than WW2. I knew so much history of Erith as that is where I was born and grew up. I also knew the people of Erith to be hardworking and reliable. Knowing how loved Woolworths was, I was ready to write my stories.

CH: With that in mind, was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and elaborate?

EE: I have four timelines for Christmas at Woolworths. The first is WW2 as what happened in my country at that time had to influence the story. Next, came the history of the town itself. I was putting my story into a place that many readers still remember, so I had to be true to my readers. Third, was Woolworths. I had to show the Erith store, as people remember it. An iconic company has to be treated with respect and the history of Woolworths has to weave through my story. Finally, comes the fictional timeline. My characters need to go on an adventure that fits in with the other three timelines.

CH: Did you have to do any special research to write this wartime book?

EE: Saga writers always have to undertake research. At times I feel I would love ‘just to write a story’ but I have too much respect for the time period to do that without checking facts. For my research, I use national archives, reliable non-fiction books and local history experts. I couldn’t write my books without the excellent Woolworths cyber museum, where I gained inspiration and advice.

CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your writing style?

EE: I’m not sure about ‘different and exciting’ but I like to stay true to the people of the town and what life was like ‘back then.’ For example, Ruby Caselton lives on Alexandra Road in Erith. The street of Victorian houses is still there—I lived at number 13 for over twenty years, when first married. I absorbed the stories and the lives and I hope this comes through in my writing.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

EE: That is a hard question. My three main characters Sarah, Maisie, and Freda are known to me, I have always known how they will live during the war and what will happen to them in the future. To me, they are real. However, there is one character, Ruby Caselton, Sarah’s Grandmother, who is the linchpin to the book, as she not only has her own hopes and fears and lives by the rule of being honest and helpful. How she advises and acts, can at times make for pivotal moments in my stories. If she gives the wrong advice to ‘the girls’ there can be life-changing effects.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

EE: I love writing Betty Billington’s story. Her life was set from the moment she lost her husband to be in WW1. A spinster and manager at Woolworth her future was set in stone. Or was until I decided to make some changes…

CH: Which character was hardest to develop?

EE: Sarah Caselton/Gilbert. She was the main character in the first of the Woolworths books and as my readers loved her so much I have to be very careful what happens to her in future books.

CH: When you wrote the first book in this series, did you know then that it would be a series?

EE: I had no idea that my publisher would decide to carry on with the stories. Readers took The Woolworths Girls to their hearts and so the series began. It did cause a problem as anyone who has read The Butlins Girls would know. This book is set in 1946 and Freda plays an important part in the story. She mentions her mates at Woolies and so, when I came to write Carols at Woolworths, Christmas at Woolworths and the two following books, I’ve had to remember what was mentioned in that one other book.

CH: Are there any additional books in this series?

EE: Yes, Christmas at Woolworths is the third book in the series, Carols at Woolworths is an eBook, and there will be more books. Wartime at Woolworths will be published in May 2018 and I’m writing another book at the moment for the end of 2018.

CH: There is a lesson to learn and a reason to celebrate Christmas, especially during a war. Is there a message in your novel that you want the readers to grasp?

EE: I’m a storyteller. I’m not sure that I give messages in my books. However, I’ve found that younger readers learn from my books about how people lived through the war and that patriotism carried us through dark times. Celebrating weddings and Christmas gives normality to families at a time when no one knew what would happen next.

CH: What kind of feedback are you getting from readers of this book?

EE: Readers have been very generous with their feedback. I hear from people who worked at Woolworths in its heyday. They send memories of their working life and tell me that I have helped them remember happier times. It is an honour to hear from ex Woolworths workers from around the world and to know that for the time, they are reading my books, they are taken back to their youth.

CH: What is your favorite Christmas book? And why?

EE: My favourite book is The Christmas Carol. Charles Dickens is the best storyteller of the period and can carry me away to a time when Christmas really meant something.

CH: Are there any authors that provide inspiration for your writing?

EE: True saga writers, who write beautiful characters and strong storylines that stay with me are Harry Bowling, Dilly Court and Dee Williams, to name but three. It is an enjoyable part of my work as a saga writer to study those who have mastered the art and set their books in areas I recognize.

CH: What is your next writing project?

EE: At the moment, I am halfway through writing another Woolworths book due for publication in November 2018. This book brings the war to a close and sees my girls looking to the future and peace.

CH: How to Find Elaine Everest:  

CH: Can you tell my audience where this book is sold?

EE: Christmas at Woolworths, along with most of my other books, can be found on Amazon, as well as in all good bookshops.

CH: Any closing remarks?

EE: Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog, Cheryl. It is an honour to be invited to talk about my books.

CH: Thank you so much, Elaine Everest, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet, Elaine Everest and Cheryl Holloway.

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On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Subscribe to my blog because I share great books with wonderful readers all over the globe!

   

On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Guest Author Interview – Lindsay Townsend and Deborah MacGillivray

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Title: One Yuletide Knight (Box Set)

Genre: Historical Romance/Medieval/Holidays

Synopsis: Travel back to medieval times to celebrate Yuletide with these dashing knights and their spirited ladies in a wonderfully romantic boxed set of stories you won’t want to put down! Lose yourself in this collection of eight exciting stories of medieval days penned especially for this most joyful time of year.

With exciting tales by talented authors such as Deborah MacGillivray, Lindsay Townsend, Keena Kincaid, Cynthia Breeding, Angela Raines, Patti Sherry-Crews, Beverly Wells, and Dawn Thompson, you’ll find it hard to put this collection down until you’ve read to the very end! Don’t miss these adventures of holiday romance spiced with medieval danger in One Yuletide Knight!

Lindsay Townsend, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

 

 

 

 

CH: Today’s Guests are International Authors Lindsay Townsend and Deborah MacGillivray.  Both are English novelist with a passion for writing historical romance.  Welcome to my blog, Lindsay and Deborah.

Let’s discuss one of the novellas included in the box set, Sir Constantine and the Changeling by Lindsay Townsend.

CH: Please tell us in one sentence, why we should read this Christmas historical novel.

LT: If you are looking for passion, magic and adventure set in a  past when Christmas was also Yule and the darkness of the year and the Solstice were more than simple night, please read this collection of novellas.

CH: You seem to enjoy writing about dashing Knights, their spirited ladies and their romances.  How did you come up with the premise for this novella?

LT: I was re-reading Steven Runciman’s ‘History of the Crusades’ and was struck by how many Knights went abroad on crusade, sometimes for many years. What impact did such a long absence have on their families back home and on their relationships? That thought was the germ of the idea behind my novella, Sir Constantine and the Changeling, particularly when married to medieval beliefs concerning changelings. After a long time apart from his wife Kari, my knightly hero Constantine falls prey to the insinuations of his brother, and that trouble forms the backdrop to the story between Constantine and Kari.

CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and elaborate?

LT: It was very satisfying to use real medieval beliefs to shape my story and to make it more realistic and compelling. I took the fear and distrust that some medieval churchmen had towards women and used that to drive a dangerous wedge between my main characters. In the middle ages, winter was a time of danger and hunger, so I could use that to add to the stakes, plus I took the figure of the Yule Goat and put that in as part of the climax of the novella.

CH: Did you have to do any special research to write this book?

LT: I needed to refresh my knowledge of medieval Christmas customs and also Yule-time food and drink.

CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your writing style?

LT: I hope that my readers enjoy my characters, who are not kings and queens, but more down-to-earth people, each struggling with situations and dilemmas that are timeless—love, betrayal, trust, and so on, very human problems. I try to write as vividly and with as much immediacy as possible, so readers feel as if they are part of the developing plot.

CH: Which character was hardest to develop?

LT: I found Constantine’s Templar brother Hadrian difficult to write because he is so certain and unyielding in his narrow faith. I found him almost impossible to develop since, unlike his younger brother Constantine or Kari, he does not want to change and consider anyone else. In the end, I was glad when he went away!

CH: Is there a message in the novel that you want the readers to grasp?

LT: That couples should talk to each other and to never let the sun go down on a quarrel without some kind of resolution, however grudging and hard to reach.

CH: This book is part of a Christmas box set.  What kind of feedback are you getting from readers of your novella?

LT: It’s only just out, so early days yet. I know the other Christmas box sets have been well-received. People seem to enjoy slipping back to the Middle Ages, especially over Christmas. I think the colour, chivalry and spectacle of that age is interesting to savour in the depth of winter, when outside can be gray, cold and dark.

CH: Is this your favorite genre to write?

LT: Yes! I love writing romance and historical romance, particularly romance set in the distant past.

CH: What is your favorite historical Christmas romance?

LT: I love Mistletoe Everywhere by Linda Banche. It’s a Regency romance, full of the magic of mistletoe, the plant of peace and reconciliation. I find it a perfect escape for Christmas.

CH: What is your next writing project?

LT: I plan to promote the upcoming re-issue of my medieval romance novel, A Knight’s Captive, and work on a new medieval story, Ugly Meg.

CH: Any closing remarks?

LT: Only a large ‘Thank you’ to you, Cheryl, for hosting me, today, and wishes for a happy, healthy and peaceful Yule for you, your readers and everyone!

 CH: Thank you so much, Lindsay Townsend, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

CH: How to Find Lindsay Townsend:

Next, let’s discuss another novella included in the box set, A Marriage Made in Hell by Deborah MacGillivray.

Deborah MacGillivray, Author

 

 

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

 

 

 

 

 

CH: Can you sum up your historical Christmas novel in 20 words or less?

DM: Probably not…lol…but I shall try.  A woman, who lives in the shadows of her beautiful sister, finally gets the chance to find love and happiness.  Okay, I guess I can.  20 exactly.  Ta Da!

CH: You write historical romance novels. Can you tell us how you started writing historical romance novels?

DM: Originally, I began writing suspense and contemporary romance.  History was such a strong part of my life it’s not surprising that I was pulled in that direction.  I found a story about a distant part of my family, complete with an ancient medieval trust that remains a riddle to this day.  The intrigue took hold and wouldn’t let me go.

For many summers, I was a researcher to my grandfather, a retired historian.  During WWII family records were moved from southern England, fearful of the buzz bombs hitting, or that Hitler was going to invade.  The kids in the family were packed off to the States to keep them safe.  The extensive records, going back for centuries, were boxed up and sent to the Hebrides in Scotland, hoping to protect them.  Only, my great-great-grandfather and great-grandfather were not appreciative of the records, of history.  They were dumped in a seldom used thatched house.  Some papers were damaged when the roof leaked.  Thankfully, my grandfather set about the task to salvage, restore and record, as much of the papers as he could.

From childhood, I had a deep love for knights and their chargers, ladies in the beautiful costumes of the period, so naturally I loved reading old letters, diaries and writings from the various periods.  Later on, I was a trained typist, so I moved to helping my grandfather in his work.  I guess instead of dry facts from the distant past, I heard the voices of people.  Men and women, who had laughed, loved and fought to survive.

Old places call to me.  I always see a castle, or manor home and wonder who lived there, what were their lives like?  I supposed it was a natural extension to pick out some piece of the past and use that as a launching pad for my series, lending voices to the force of their love, what brought a man and woman together, wove their lives, and their destinies into one.  That power transcends dates and facts.  To my romantic heart that is pure magic.

CH: This book is about the adventures of a holiday romance spiced with medieval danger.  So, how did you come up with the premise for this book?

DM: This novella, A Marriage Made in Hell, launches a new series: Hell Knights: The Knights of Hellborne. It is a spin-off from the current medieval historical series I pen—the Dragons of Challon (Prairie Rose Publications now, originally Kensington Historical Books).  So, I already had a setting, and a period fixed.  After that I just needed to figure out the premise.  And what could be more dreamy, than a holiday romance where deepest wishes come true?  In a novella, you have such limited space to flesh out characters and plot.  You have to jump into the story and get things moving quickly.  Christmas being a wondrous time, when dreams could come true, I imagined a young woman wanting a marriage desperately; yet, it was beyond her reach.  In contrast, I saw a man, a fourth son, who didn’t ever expect to marry.  Suddenly, you have all sorts of room for amusing situations.

CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and elaborate?

DM: I rarely take my characters anywhere.  They take me.  I create names, a setting, give them the seeds of the story, and then breathe life into them.  Once that conjuring is done, my characters awaken and tell me their tale.  I literally see the plot like a movie inside my head.  The scenes, and the emotions are there.

CH: Did you have to do any special research to write this book?

DM: I actually find I have to do more research for my contemporary novels.  Things are changing so quickly.  When I began the Sisters of Colford Hall series,  there were no cell phones.  Mobile phones were just coming into use.  Originally, I was writing the series by hand and on a word processor.  Nothing like laptops were about to help you.  Fortunately, they came along by the time I finally got to the point of seriously submitting.

I spent so many of my summers working with the family records, along with other historical projects, such as archaeological digs, so I often feel more comfortable with one foot in Medieval times.  When I was small, my grandfather used to read me history instead of fairytales—William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, and Sir James, the Black Douglas.  I think I was about nine before I understood that William Wallace wasn’t an ancestor!  Before I began my Dragons of Challon series, I created a massive ‘bible’ for the novels.  Extensive bios, maps, where were Wallace, Bruce and Edward Longshanks on any given day—several years worth of work.  Now, I will check details to make sure there are no conflicts, but I don’t research the Medievals.  I just have one foot firmly planted in the 13th Century these days.

CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your writing style?

DM: I bring hands on experience.  Besides learning about history, my grandfather thought we should experience it.  So, for summer projects, the grandkids would do unusual things like making lye soap, collecting honey, creating wax and dipping candles.  One summer when I was nearly fifteen, I was painted blue with woad from head to toe.  That was an experience!  When I was twelve I was clomping around in armour, thus I have dressed in plate and mail, and know how it feels on your body, what it does to your movements.  I learned to fight with claymores, throw knives, shoot bows and arrows, sew medieval gowns and weave baskets.  I have gone through secret passageways and prowled hidden rooms.  I messed up my knee in a bike accident when I was about ten, so I missed the lessons on looms, which I later regretted.  I tried to learn to spin wool.  While I wasn’t very good at it, I do understand the process.  I have sheered sheep, carded wool, cared for horses and cows.  I have cut and split wood, built fires using only a flint, and cooked on open fires.  I washed clothes outdoors in huge kettles.  Dried fruits.  I have shod horses, and even spent time in a real forge seeing how horseshoes and swords were made.  I loved the experience, though it was too hot for my comfort.  Thus, my medieval stories have a sense of how things were, a realness.

CH: Wow. You had an interesting childhood, full of the unusual. Which character was hardest to write?  Which character was your favorite to write?

DM: The character I am writing about at the moment is always my favorite.  I feared after creating Julian Challon that I might never love another hero as I loved him.  I soon learned I could fall for Des Mershan, Damian St. Giles, Redam Maignart…well, I love them all.  I have to bring that love for my hero to the story to make the reader love them, too.  Julian was also likely the most troublesome to write.  Originally, I plotted him in a much darker vein.  I am a BIG fan of Anne Stuart.  She writes Gamma rogue characters like no one else.  I wanted that dark edge she imbues in her bad boys to be the platform for Julian.  I quickly learned he truly didn’t appreciate that.  One night, after I fell asleep, I was ‘awoken’ by a man sitting on the edge of the bed.  He said, “My name is Julian…and we need to talk.”  LOL   That was the first time I realized characters were demanding and would permit me to tell their stories—if I listened to them.

In my novella,  I think the secondary character of Elspeth was most problematic.  Her complete naive selfishness was hard to maintain.  I feared her coming out two-dimensional.  I was setting her up to be the heroine in the second novella in the series, On The Road To Hell, where she finally grows up and gets past her childish, self-centered ways and becomes a caring woman.  She needed to be bitchy in the first novella, but not to the point readers won’t believe her transformation in the second story.

CH: Is there a message in the novel that you want the readers to grasp?

DM: I am not big on messages.  I write to give the reader an adventure they won’t find elsewhere—an escape to another world.  However, often the thread of being true to yourself, being who you really are, who you are meant to be, tends to be something I see again and again in my works.  It’s not conscious, but I think we start out believing we will be one type of person; as we grow, life experiences will reform those self-opinions and how we see life, and how we go through this world.  Also, for us to strive for our dreams.  If you stand back and wait for life to come for you, then you might miss something very special.  You have to reach out and try.  Even if you fail in trying, you change and grow.

CH: What kind of feedback are you getting from readers of this novella?

DM: Very positive.  I have a strong reader base.  I have been very lucky in the faithful readers that have been following me for over a decade now.  I think if I commit any sins, it’s in not getting the stories out quickly enough.  Christmas stories always are a magical way to enjoy the season by curling up with a cup of Earl Grey, by the fireside, and slipping away to a magical adventure.  The novellas at Christmas are perfect length.  You have less reading time, so these give you the heartwarming tales of a different time, of love and hope.

CH: You often review books by other authors, how important are reviews for books?

DM: I no longer review books.  I was on several review sites for nearly a decade, a member of  Reviewers International Organization (RIO), and a top reviewer on Amazon.  I am still on staff at Paranormal Romance Reviews, but I don’t think I have reviewed a book in several years.  I continue to run their promotional site.  Basically, I don’t have the time any more.

How important are they?  I think that has been the question for a long time.  Most reviews you see out there are not reviews anymore.  They are opinions.  Reviews cover the structure of the book, the craft, how special or original they are.  Maybe you address how this book compares to other books from the same author.  Most opinions posted on novels are just that.  They will overlook those things and post how they like a book.  Liking should come into play, but I don’t have to LIKE a book to think it’s a five star novel.  I might not care for it because it simply isn’t something I found fun to read.  However, the book could have thought-provoking purpose, or show me a great skill at wordsmithing to make me see others would find the book super.  I have often really liked books that had problems.  A book that comes from the heart and makes me enjoy my time spent with it can make me forgive problems in structure or plot.  I don’t see many postings showing that objective view of a book.  If you reviewed an erotica novella, but you don’t like erotica, your opinion of the book could be very bad.  However, maybe they penned such an amazingly original story, that you have to see the talent behind that and anticipate they will grow and sharpen that ability.

Also, Amazon now restricts authors from posting reviews.  Very odd, since Montlake (Amazon’s Romance publishing) keeps encouraging me to write them.  However, another branch seems to be going around warning authors not to post them.  They miss a balance, I think.  Author’s understand what it takes to make a good book, what is interesting voice or writing style.  Perhaps, they just need to label the review as such and let the readers decide if that review helps or not?  I have seen books getting horrible reviews go on to become bestsellers.  Some books with no reviews, do well.  Still, I think we all look to find feedback from readers.  What they enjoyed about our works.  Questions they might have.  So, I cannot really say if reviews help or not.  Bad reviews often provoke readers to buy the book just to see for themselves.  You simply don’t know.

CH: What is your next writing project?

DM: I am currently finishing up with redoing the third Dragons of Challon novel, One Snowy Knight.  Then, I will be finishing up and releasing the fourth in the series, Redemption.  It’s a book that has haunted me.  I finished it once:  the night my house burned down.  I had to rewrite the whole thing from scratch.  It’s been a bit of a bugbear for me, because of memories, but I am determined to move past that, now the historicals have a new home.  I will also do the novella On The Road To Hel,l which will be a sequel to the novella in One Yuletide Knight.

I will also be penning the fourth in the Sisters of Colford Hall series—Some Things Never Change.  Also, I am helping Candy Thompson get out a book that her late sister, Dawn Thompson was in the process of publishing when she died.  Dawn has a novella in this same anthology, A Wish Under a Yuletide Moon.  Candy and I made a promise to get her final novels and novellas out and keep them out, something we take to heart in seeing is done.

I am never without a cartload of projects waiting for completion…lol.

CH: Yes, you seem to be quite busy. Any closing remarks?

DM: I want to thank you for allowing me to visit with your readers.  I wish each the Happiest of Holidays and a very special Happy New Year.  May 2018 bring peace to us all, to the world.

CH: Thank you so much, Deborah MacGillivray, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

CH: How to Find Deborah MacGillivray:

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Guest Author Interview – Melinda Hammond

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Title: The Duke’s Christmas Bride

Genre: Historical Fiction/Historical Romance/Regency

Synopsis: Waldo, the fifth Duke of Charingden, shows no inclination to marry. In desperation, his family invites a string of eligible beauties to the Christmas Ball at Birklands for him to choose from, but the only young lady to interest the Duke is little Clara Tillotson, who is herself desperate to avoid being forced into marriage…a sparkling Regency romance with just a touch of snow!

Melinda Hammond, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest Author is International Author, Melinda Hammond, who also writes as Sarah Mallory. She writes historical romance adventures. Welcome to my blog, Melinda.

CH: Can you sum up your book in 20 words or less?

MH: A reluctant bridegroom finds himself dancing in the snow with a beautiful stranger in this sweet Regency romance.

CH: Your Christmas book deals with a Duke who has no inclination of marriage. So, how did you come up with the premise for this book?

MH: I wanted to write a feel-good festive story, for pure escapist entertainment. I had an image in my mind for some time of a Regency couple dancing in the snow on a country house lawn. It is another take on the Cinderella story, but in this version I wanted both my hero and heroine to be reluctant to marry.

CH: Did you have to do any special research to write this historical fiction/regency novel?

MH: I have been writing novels set in the Regency period for decades now, but there is always something new to discover, little points of accuracy that I like to get right. Being set in a country house, and much of it at winter time, I had to pay attention to costume detail, to make sure my poor heroine did not get frostbite!

CH: Did you run into any challenges while writing this book?

MH: The story is set in and around a fictional country house, Birklands Hall, one of the country seats of the Duke of Charingden, so the biggest challenge was to bring all the characters into that setting. It is not a long book, so it was important not to get too bogged down with back story or too many characters.

CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your writing style?

MH: That is a difficult one for any writer to answer! First of all, I want to keep the story moving, so the reader doesn’t get bored. I try to make my characters real and to set them and their story against a historically correct background. I also like to put in some adventure, too. Of course, I am writing fiction, and romantic fiction at that, so it must have a happy ending. We all know that real life can be pretty amazing, so although this is fiction, I like to think that it could have happened.

CH: Since this book is a historical Christmas novel, was it hard creating believable situations and issues during the Christmas season or did you take them from real life and elaborate?

MH: This story takes place over two winters, so it was important to check just how Christmas was celebrated in the Regency. Most of the traditions we associate with Christmas—carols, cards, and Christmas trees—are from the Victorian era (although decorated trees and Christmas hymns were known in the Regency, and presents, too were exchanged, but nothing on the scale that came later).

At this period, Christmas was mainly a religious occasion, but being in the depths of winter, it was a good excuse for some celebrations. Farmers and the gentry would prepare feasts and possibly make little gifts for one another. The aristocracy might hold a servants ball and give their staff little presents, but this varied a great deal. They might also give presents to one another, but it was not obligatory. The poor, of course, had little to celebrate at any time of the year.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

MH: My heroine, Clara. She is a meek, gentle soul, but with a stubborn streak that will not give in to intimidation. She is fleeing from her father, a bully who is trying to force her into marriage with a man she loathes, but for all that, she is not about to marry a good man, just because he proposes to her, even if he is a Duke!

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

MH: Will you allow me, two? It is the Misses Goodliffe—the elderly sisters, Hannah and Harriet. Researching the Regency, one is constantly aware of the plight that can befall women with no money and no one to protect them. The Misses Goodliffe are living on the Duke’s charity, making do with very little but content, for all that. They are the heart-warming core of this story and provide a refuge for Clara in her times of trouble.

CH: There is a lesson to learn and a reason to celebrate Christmas. Is there a message in your novel that you want the readers to grasp?

MH: Simply that people should be good to one another. I hope readers will find this is a Christmas story to warm the heart. A little bit of Christmas magic.

CH: What kind of feedback are you getting from readers of this book?

MH: The Duke’s Christmas Bride has only been out a short while as a single title eBook, so I am still waiting for fans to let me know!

CH: What is your favorite Christmas book? And why?

MH: It has to be A Christmas Carol. That sums up all the lessons we need to learn for Christmas, but is a darn good read, too!

CH: Is there a special knack that an author must have to write Christmas stories?

MH: The story must come first, and it must be something that draws the reader in. It doesn’t have to be particularly realistic, in fact, Christmas stories tend to work well with a little bit of magic.

CH: You also write under a pen name, Sarah Mallory. Can you tell us a little about writing under two names?

MH: I began writing many years ago as Melinda Hammond, writing mainly Regency and Georgian romantic adventures, but other historical periods, too, including a couple of dual time novels. When I began to write Regency and Georgian romance for Harlequin Mills & Boon I wanted to choose a different name, so that as Melinda Hammond I could continue to write stories that do not quite fit the romance genre. My Sarah Mallory novels are all fast-paced historical romances, but they tend to be hotter, with more sexual content than my Melinda Hammond books.  Not all readers enjoy that style, so I wanted to keep it as a separate “brand,” if you like.

CH: Are there any authors that provide inspiration for your writing?

MH: Too many to name, but I will give you a few: Mary Stewart, Jeffery Farnol and Georgette Heyer were my first inspiration, but since then I have found many more, including Louise Allen, who writes rip-roaring historicals.

CH: I enjoy Louise Allen also. She was recently interviewed on my blog.  What is your next writing project?

MH: I am writing a short story for an anthology of northern authors, to be published in the summer of 2018, plus I am working on another Sarah Mallory novel, and I have in mind another “sweet” Regency, so plenty to be going on with.

CH:  How to Find Melinda Hammond:

CH: Can you tell my audience where this book is sold?

MH: The Duke’s Christmas Bride is available as an eBook via Amazon.

CH: Any closing remarks?

MH: Thank you, Cheryl, for setting some stimulating and thought-provoking questions. Christmas is a time for spreading happiness, and I hope your readers enjoy this interview, it has been great fun!

CH: Thank you so much, Melinda Hammond, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet, Melinda Hammond and Cheryl Holloway.

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On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Give Cheryl Holloway Books This Christmas!

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On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Guest Author Interview – Louise Allen

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Title: A Candlelit Regency Christmas: His Housekeeper’s  Christmas Wish (Lords of Disgrace Book 1) A Candlelit Regency Christmas: His Christmas Countess (Lords of Disgrace Book 2)

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency/Christmas

Synopsis: His Housekeeper’s Christmas Wish – Resolute bachelor Alexander Tempest, Viscount Weybourn, accidentally collided with penniless, curvy Tess Ellery on the icy streets of Ghent but he did his indolent best to make amends. But Tess is left stranded, so Alex is honour-bound to take her home…as his housekeeper! And, despite his long-held rule of spending Christmas alone, Tess’s warmth soon has this brooding Lord determined to make all her wishes come true!

His Christmas Countess – Grant Rivers, Earl of Allundale, is desperate to get home to his son in time for Christmas. But when he stumbles upon a gentlewoman all alone in a tumbledown shack, having a baby, it’s his duty to help her. Grant knows all too well the risks of childbirth and, once he’s saved her life, he is determined to save Kate’s reputation too…if she will consent to marrying a stranger on Christmas Day!

Louise Allen, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest Author is International Author, Louise Allen.  Writing the Regency is her passion. She finds it an endlessly fascinating era full of contrast and change, danger and elegance, luxury and squalor.  Welcome to my blog, Louise.

CH: Please tell us in one sentence, why we should read these Christmas Regency novels.

LA: In very different ways these two novels have a message of warmth and hope that I think is very right for the Christmas season.

CH: Your scandalously witty regency romances deal with the realities of life and love. So, how did you come up with the premise for these Christmas stories?

LA: These are two of a series of four novels loosely linked by the four heroes, who are friends. The stories grew out of the heroes’ very different characters and needs.

CH: Since your specialty is regency romance, did you have to do any special research to write these romantic and passionate novels?

LA: I write almost exclusively in this period, so the general information was at my fingertips. But I did have to research the town of Bruges in Belgium and the landscape of the Scottish Borderlands.

CH: Since you write about England’s elite, was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and elaborate?

LA: I try and make the situations and issues develop from the characters themselves and I hope that they are believable in the setting of the early 19th century.

CH: This Christmas book is unique in that it is two books in one. Why did you decide to put two books in one?

LA: This was the decision of my publishers, Harlequin Mills & Boon. The two novels are also available separately.

CH: Your books seem to offer much more than just romance. What else do they offer readers?

LA: I also aim to have an undercurrent of humour in all of my books—and also passion! I do try very hard to make certain that my historical details are correct.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

LA: Alex Tempest, Viscount Weybourne, in His Housekeeper’s Christmas Wish, was a puzzle because he is commitment-shy and hides behind a façade of caring for nothing. Both the heroine and I had to dig deep to find the ‘real’ Alex.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

LA: Kate Harding in His Christmas Countess. Kate has been abandoned by her lover, is giving birth in a really dangerous situation and then finds her life turned upside down by her rescuer. I enjoyed writing such a strong, brave woman.

CH: Which character was hardest to develop?

LA: Grant Rivers, the man who rescues Kate. He has a dark secret in his past and it was challenging to explore how he was going to get past that—it took two Christmases for this story to work its way to a happy ending!

CH: Which book was easier to write?

LA: They both had challenges and places where I couldn’t see the way ahead and they both had parts that flowed easily, so I can’t say which was easier.

CH: Which book is your favorite?

LA: I don’t think I can choose one—they are very different stories and I enjoyed writing both very much—I hope that comes through to the reader. The book that one is writing at the moment is always an author’s favourite!

CH: Yes, that is so true. Is there a message in either novel that you want the readers to grasp?

LA: That however dark things seem, there is always hope if you give love a chance.

CH: What is your favorite Christmas romance book? And why?

LA: I honestly don’t think I can pick one! There are so many heart-warming seasonal stories.

CH: I must agree. There are several loveable Christmas stories. Can you tell us a little about your writing journey?

LA: I’ve been writing for a long time, it seems! I am working on my 58th novel for Harlequin Mills & Boon, but I have also written several historical non-fiction books based on my researches and I write historical romantic mysteries and Regency romantic time-slip novels independently. I would describe my journey as one of learning both my craft and what I enjoy writing and will find a challenge.

CH: You are a talented and experienced author. Are there any authors that provide inspiration for your writing?

LA: Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen gave me my love of the Regency period and I think almost any Regency romance author will tell you the same. There are several current authors whose work I admire, but I think we each have to find our own path and our own style.

CH: What is your next writing project?

LA: My current ‘work in progress’ is a novel for Harlequin Mills & Boon. The heroine owns a vineyard in Portugal making port wine and I researched that in the Douro Valley on a wonderful river trip. There is no title yet, but it should be out next year.

CH: Do you have a blog?

LA: Yes, I blog about the Regency period at http://janeaustenslondon.com

CH: How to find Louise Allen:

CH: Can you tell my audience where this book is sold?

LA: The 2-in-1 volume, A Candlelit Regency Christmas is available as an ebook or a paperback in the UK only (Mills & Boon website www.millsandboon.co.uk)  or www.Amazon.co.uk

Both titles are available separately as ebooks on Amazon and www.amazon.co.uk. There are buy-links to all my books on my website.

CH: Any closing remarks?

LA: Cheryl, thank you very much for the opportunity to be a guest on your blog—and a very happy Christmas to you and all of your readers.

CH: Thank you so much, Louise Allen, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet, Louise Allen and Cheryl Holloway.

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On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

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