Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Twelve Days of Christmas Mail-Order Brides: THE DRUM by E.E. Burke

Can Noelle be saved in just one day? 

Behind her back, they call her Bad Luck Penny. After being twice widowed before the age of thirty, misfortune follows her all the way to Colorado, culminating in humiliation when the third groom skips town on the day they’re to be wed.

Mayor Charles Hardt will do anything to save Noelle, the town he founded, as long as it doesn’t involve taking a wife. But then a jilted bride shows up at his door begging for a ride out of town on the day before the town must deliver twelve married couples as part of a deal to secure Noelle's survival.

Under no circumstances will Charlie allow the last bride to escape, even if Penny is certain Noelle can’t take any more of her bad luck. For that matter, neither can Charlie...

Here's an excerpt:

She reached to put a dried plate on the shelf. He turned and she nearly bumped into him, but he caught the plate before it dropped. “Oh goodness! You really ought to keep me away from anything that might break.”
He waggled the plate. “Nonsense, we make a good team. You throw it and I catch it.”
His good-natured teasing eased what could’ve been another awkward moment, and she found she could laugh about it because he didn’t act annoyed, or worse, scared.
“You have good reflexes,” she pointed out. “Maybe you should take up juggling.”
His lake-blue eyes sparkled with amusement as he picked up the second clean plate and tossed it upwards. Catching it, he sent the other plate airborne and snagged that one, too.
 “Shall I try?” She reached for one of the plates.
He pulled it back, and then put both plates on the shelf.  “Mm. I only have two. Maybe there’s something else we can do together that doesn’t involve breakables.”
“Such as?”
“How about this?” He circled his hands around her waist and drew her to him.
Kissing him seemed the most natural response in the world.
The touch of his lips reignited the fire he’d set the night before, and she wrapped her arms around his neck. Oh yes, this was something they did very well together, and it didn’t involve anything that could be broken.
Except for her heart.

Buy the book now! http://bit.ly/12DayDrum


What in the world inspired you to write about a bad luck bride?

Her name. When I first imagined Penelope or Penny, as she's known, I started thinking about the old ideas about good luck -- i.e., Lucky Penny. But then it struck me, now ironic if Penny thinks she has bad luck? She's twice-widowed before age thirty, and if that isn't bad enough, she's always dropping things or bumping into people. You'll meet her in the very first book in this series, and poor Penny continues to have bad luck all the way until...well, almost the very end. She's a perfect foil for my hero, Charles Hardt, who's suffered through serious misfortune, but refuses to accept the notion of bad luck--even when it seems to be following Penny every step of the way.

What's the biggest challenge in a project involving other authors?

Keeping up with everyone else's stories! We set out to write what is essentially one long story about a little town name Noelle and the residents who band together to save it. That involves a lot of interconnection between characters and plots, which means we were doing a lot of talking back and forth, as well as reading each other's books. I considered it an honor, as well as a challenge because in the process we helped each other out. One great example: I needed a scene where Penny takes action to do something about her bad luck, and author Mimi Milan shared with me about Mexican religious customs associated with ridding people of bad luck. The hilarious bath scene is a result of Mimi's brilliant inspiration!

Here's an inspiration board for how I see my two main characters, and also images of the mine, the town and a map of Noelle (very important for continuity).

πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„ If you haven't yet, be sure to check out the entire series! πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„

Christmas, 1876: Noelle, Colorado is in danger of becoming a ghost town if the railroad decides to bypass the mountaintop mining community. Determined to prove their town is thriving, twelve men commit to ordering brides before the railroad’s deadline six days into the New Year.

Each of the twelve women has her own reason for signing up to become a mail-order bride. But after they arrive in the uncivilized settlement, they aren’t so sure they’ve made the right decision. Neither are the grooms.

Will the marriages happen in time to save Noelle? The countdown starts on Christmas Day.

The Twelve Days of Christmas Mail-Order Brides, written by twelve bestselling authors, put a new twist on an old song in this heartwarming historical romance series.

The Partridge by Kit Morgan - A clever man’s plan becomes a matchmaking disaster…and the countdown begins to save the town of Noelle.

The Dove by Shanna Hatfield - A bewitching gypsy and a beguiled blacksmith tangle over a hidden treasure…with only eleven days left to save the town.

The Hens by Merry Famer - A wandering woman finds exactly who she was looking for, but not who she was expecting...with only ten days left to save the town.

The Calling Birds by Jacqui Nelson - A wanted woman's flight, a man in pursuit of honesty not stolen gold...and only nine days left to save the town.

The Gold Ring by Caroline Lee - A dangerous masquerade and a twist of fate put Noelle’s future at risk…with only eight days left to save the town

The Goose by Peggy Henderson - A woman on the run, a man who doesn't want to be caught—it's one wild goose chase…with only seven days left to save the town.

The Swan by Piper Hugely - A beautiful woman with secrets comes to Noelle to confront a powerful person with the truth...and only six days left to save the town.

The Maid by Rachel Wesson - A convicted murderer, a young maid on the run...and five days left to save the town.

The Dancing Lady by Mimi Milan - A desirous diner owner and a disguised dancer waltz their way to love... with only four days left to save the town.

The Lord by Danica Favorite - An assayer and a ladies maid, each living a lie. Will the truth ruin everything...with only three days left to save the town.

The Piper by Amanda McIntyre - A determined matchmaker, a stubborn mountain man...and only two days left to save the town!

The Drum by E.E. Burke - A bad luck bride, an exploding disaster…can Noelle be saved in just one day?

Get the series here: http://amzn.to/12DaysSeries

Enter the Rafflecopter drawing below for a chance to win a special ornament, a copy of THE DRUM, or a $10 Amazon gift card!

If you had to pick one gift from the Twelve Days song, what would it be, and why?


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Monday, December 11, 2017

It's my Book Birthday!!


What has been almost a year in the making finally came to fruition this past week. Starting on December 1, the first of twelve books by twelve talented authors in an unprecedented historical series was released. The Twelve Days of Christmas Mail- Order Brides series was the brainchild of historical author; Caroline Lee and it has been a journey that has been one of the most productive and inspirational in my writing career.

My book is THE PIPER; the Eleventh Day. And it tells the story of one of my favorite tropes—second chances.

Mrs. Genevieve Walters widowed at a young age by the War between the States, had been in an arranged marriage to a man whose mistress was the battlefield. Passion had not been part of their union. Nonetheless, Genevieve remained faithful, writing each day to her husband. 

Little did she know that the letters she wrote had been read aloud to her husband by a young soldier serving as his captain’s aid. Nor did she realize the impact her letters would have on the life of that young soldier…not until the unthinkable happens and, keeping true to the promise made to his captain he must deliver the news personally to his captain’s wife and return both the letters and a watch she’d given her husband on their wedding day.

But what if the  then, young soldier fell in love with the woman, even before meeting her? What happens if the attraction between them would turn out to be so strong that they'd succumb to a passionate, but forbidden kiss? Only to part ways out of guilt. 

It will be a dozen years before they face each other again—but their circumstances, their lives are now vastly different!

Genevieve has since moved to Denver where she becomes involved in the Benevolent Order of Lost Lambs, a church affiliated group started to help women in need, placing them through careful correspondence as mail-order brides in the new frontier!
Little does she know that he matchmaking journey will challenge her to examine her own happiness or that what fate has in store in the crystal blue eyes of a stranger may give her a second chance at the passion she once felt in the arms of a young soldier by the name of Christian Ezekiel Kinnison!

It is no coincidence that I've brought to my story a relative of the Kinnison Legacy stories in End of the Line, Montana! It's long been a dream of mine, to utilize the rough and tumble stories of the little historical Montana mining town and give further roots to the folks that live there!

To celebrate the union of history to the present, I am offering a FREE gift of my book featuring a young contemporary Kinnison Holiday story--

***ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS  from 12/11-12/15/2017***

I hope your holidays are merry & bright, blessed with good health, family , laughter, and friends~

And I hope you'll pick up each of the stories in this amazing 12 book series!!

Get them all HERE:AMAZON  http://amzn.to/2ibnG7S

The Partridge: Day 1 by Kit Morgan
The Dove: Day 2 by Shanna Hatfield
The French Hens: Day 3 by Merry Farmer
The Calling Birds: by Jacqui Nelson
The Ring: Day 5 by Caroline Lee
The Geese: Day 6 by Peggy Henderson
The Swan: Day 7 by Piper Hugely
The Maid: Day 8 by Rachel Wesson
The Dancing Lady: Day 9 by Mimi Milan
The Lord: Day 10: by Danica Favorite
The Piper: Day 11 by Amanda McIntyre
The Drum: Day 12 by E.E. Burke

Until next time,

Friday, December 8, 2017

Amelia Autin's Black Ops Warrior!

Amelia's post was initially scheduled for earlier in the week, but due to a family emergency, I am posting it now.  Thanks for understanding, and be sure to scroll all the way down for some fun giveaways!

Black Ops Warrior
Harlequin Romantic Suspense



Help her. That’s all Niall Jones can think to do when his target almost panics. Undercover operative Niall is tracking suspected traitor Dr. Savannah Whitman, but when she comes under threat, he can’t help but swoop in to save her. And the sparks that fly between the secret agent and Savannah are anything but covert.

After a personal tragedy, Savannah decided to depart her high-security defense job to live life to the fullest. But she never expected to meet a sexy, mysterious stranger—or for her very safety to be under siege…and enigmatic Niall is the only one who can protect her!

READ A LITTLE, BUY THE BOOK—link to read an excerpt and/or purchase

Excerpt from Black Ops Warrior

Teaser from Black Ops Warrior

Black Ops Warrior on Amazon

Black Ops Warrior on Barnes & Noble

Black Ops Warrior on Harlequin

Black Ops Warrior on Books A Million

Black Ops Warrior on eBooks

Award-winning author Amelia Autin is an inveterate reader who can’t bear to put a good book down…or part with it. Her bookshelves are crammed with books her husband periodically threatens to donate to a good cause, but he always relents…eventually.

Amelia is a long-time member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), and served three years as its treasurer. She currently resides with her Ph.D. engineer husband in quiet Vail, Arizona, where they can see the stars at night and have a “million dollar view” of the Rincon Mountains from their back yard.

Hey there! Since I’ve been a guest on the Get Lost in a Story blog several times now, instead of the usual question and answer blog post, I thought I’d tell you the genesis of Black Ops Warrior. (I can’t think of a better example of Getting Lost in a Story than talking about the story behind the story, can you?)

It all started in 2013, when I began writing fiction again after eons away from it (two romances published in the 90s and then nothing…for years). But as I stated in the Dear Reader letter prefacing Black Ops Warrior,

When I wrote Cody Walker’s Woman, I gave my heroine, Keira Jones, four brothers—all older, all former US Marines, and all playing a role (good and bad) in shaping the woman she was.

The only reason I gave Keira four older brothers was to explain what drove her. To explain why respect was her mantra. I had no intention of writing her brothers’ stories. Truly. I didn’t even name them in Cody Walker’s Woman.

Once that book was finished, however, Keira’s partner, Trace McKinnon, demanded I tell his story, which I did in McKinnon’s Royal Mission. Lo and behold, Keira’s two youngest brothers suddenly appeared as secondary characters in that book. One thing led to another. Then another. And…well…Alec’s Royal Assignment and Liam’s Witness Protection soon followed.

Now the stories of three of the five Jones siblings had been written, leaving only Shane and Niall. Piece of cake, right? Not so fast! A personal family crisis precipitated the start of Shane’s story (Keira’s oldest brother), which eventually became Killer Countdown. Eventually. Not right away, you understand. Pantser that I am (as opposed to being a plotter), I had no idea how Killer Countdown would evolve. I had no clue about Niall, either. I’ll let the Dear Reader letter explain my dilemma.

…Niall—the second child of five, like me—was elusive. All I really knew about him at that point was how Liam described his brother in Liam’s Witness Protection—a one-time US Marine and now a black ops warrior. But that description alone captivated readers, who begged me for his story.

Then Niall showed up out of the blue to help his older brother, Shane, as I was writing Killer Countdown. And suddenly I knew him. Knew what motivated him. Knew almost everything there was to know about him…except for one thing. Here was a man who loved women, and whom women adored. But Niall was still alone at age 40. Why was that? Shane had a tragedy in his past to account for the lack of a woman in his life in Killer Countdown, until Carly showed up and blew his solitary life to pieces. But not Niall Jones (aka Niall Johnson, the name he uses when he introduces himself to the heroine). His job as a black ops warrior had isolated him, but this is a romance. Which means—(waggles eyebrows)—something had to give. Pulling from the Dear Reader letter again,

…I needed a woman to match him. All the Jones brothers except Niall had found exceptional women to love—Angelina, Cate, and Carly. How could Niall settle for anything less?

I was racking my brain. Racking my brain. Then I looked up and saw a brilliant someone sitting a few feet away from me. Someone whose character and avocation I’d “borrowed” for another heroine, Dr. Mara Marianescu, in McKinnon’s Royal Mission. All at once I knew I’d found the exceptional woman for Niall—intellectually, emotionally, and in every way except gender.

How much did Bodyguard (as he’s known on Facebook) influence the character of Dr. Savannah Whitman in Black Ops Warrior? PhD in mechanical engineering? Check. Missile Guidance, Navigation, and Control (GNC) engineer for an international defense contractor (before he retired)? Check. Three patents? Check. Quietly patriotic? Check. A frighteningly powerful intellect? Check. Loving and fiercely determined? Check. Quick-witted, with a droll sense of humor? Check. (Don’t let Bodyguard know, okay? Let this be our little secret, or he might want royalties, lol).

I had my hero and heroine now, but I needed a setting. A conflict. A story arc. And since this was a romantic suspense, I needed some suspenseful elements as well. Yikes!

Then in October 2015 Bodyguard and I embarked on a land tour / river cruise through northern China to fulfill bucket list items for both of us, including visits to the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City in Beijing, and the Terracotta Warrior Army in Xi’an.

Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding!

I mined that trip for all it was worth, and I think I was successful. As Susan Kyser Frank, an ARC reviewer, wrote on Susan’s 2017 Reading Blog,

“I loved how the setting was as much a part of the story as any of the characters. The descriptions of the various sights were vivid and made me feel as though I was right there with Niall and Savannah. I especially liked the description of Savannah's combination of awe and disappointment at the Great Wall, as she had to deal with the effects of the crowds on her joy of being there. Having had similar feelings at other places, it made Savannah that much more of a real person to me.”

Another ARC reviewer, Amelia Richards, made me smile when she wrote on her AlwaysReviewing blog,

“Much of the story takes place in China, and Amelia Autin certainly took me on a colorful trip around this country. As Savannah and Niall take in the sights, I also got to “see” the many unique wonders that can only be found there.”

Bodyguard played a crucial role in the story once again, not only because photography is his hobby and he took thousands of photos on that trip (another trait I gave my heroine), but also because of his insistence on cameras that embed GPS coordinates in the digital jpg files. These things became key elements of the plot (I won’t tell you how—you’ll have to read the book!)

Suffice it to say those photos were extremely helpful after the fact as I was writing Black Ops Warrior, reminding me of places we’d been and things we’d seen. So I was able to craft realistic and unusual settings for everything that occurs in the story. Of course, no one was trying to kidnap me or kill Bodyguard on that trip, unlike Savannah and Shane, thank goodness!

Writing is hard work, but once I had all the critical elements the story flowed in a steady stream. Only the necessity of going to the day job kept me from writing non-stop (umm…did I happen to mention I work at the same international defense contractor Savannah and Bodyguard once worked for?) I turned the completed manuscript in on time at the end of 2016, and here we are a year later.

One last thing before I go. Readers have written to me about the unusual middle names two of the Jones siblings have (Liam and Shane). That really wasn’t planned. In fact, it didn’t even show up until almost the end of book three (Liam’s Witness Protection) of the five-book family saga. If you’re interested in learning how this all played out, click on the following link:

Thanks for reading about the genesis of Black Ops Warrior. Be sure to keep scrolling down for a couple of giveaways (books and SWAG!)

Contact      Website      Facebook      Twitter: @Amelia_Autin (but I don’t tweet much)
Previous GLIAS interviews:


Nothing scheduled for publication at this point. I’m working on several ideas, and not only romantic suspense. They include:

1)     A romantic suspense story for Trevor Garrett, who was a secondary character in Rescued by the Billionaire CEO. No title in mind yet (I’m lousy at catchy titles), but I’m more than half done and really excited about it.
2)     A romantic suspense story for Cam Mackenzie, another secondary character from Rescued by the Billionaire CEO. Again, no title, merely the beginnings of a story ARC and a killer opening “hook.”
3)     A story for his Royal Highness, Colonel Xavier Gabriel Dominic Marianescu (Zax to his intimates), who was a secondary character in King’s Ransom and Alec’s Royal Assignment. It’s not a romantic suspense though; somehow when the idea occurred to me it was a regular romance—no suspense in sight!


Man on a Mission miniseries
Rescued by the Billionaire CEO (HRS August 2017)
  Check it out on YouTube! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRtJQaxYbew
The Bodyguard’s Bride-To-Be (HRS November 2016)
Killer Countdown (HRS August 2016), a 2017 RITA finalist (the Academy Awards of romance!)
  Check it out on YouTube! https://youtu.be/NcJRtTphUpg
A Father’s Desperate Rescue (HRS April 2016)
Liam’s Witness Protection (HRS October 2015)
Alec’s Royal Assignment (HRS August 2015)
King’s Ransom (HRS June 2015)
McKinnon’s Royal Mission (HRS April 2015)
Cody Walker’s Woman (HRS October 2014)

Coltons of Texas miniseries
Her Colton P.I. (HRS May 2015)


SWAG! I have SWAG from the RWA 2017 conference! (In the interest of full disclosure I’ll volunteer that these darling cosmetics bags were leftovers and were going to be discarded on the last day of the conference; we were told to take whatever we wanted. So of course I immediately thought of my readers, most of whom love SWAG!)

To win one (smaller than a football, by the way, no matter how big it looks in the pictures) all you have to do is be one of the first five US residents to email me the correct answers to the Scavenger Hunt questions at AmeliaAutin@aol.com. Please don’t comment the answers—that would spoil the game!

If you’re not a US resident but you still want to play, the prize for being one of the first five with the correct answers will be an emailed ebook of Black Ops Warrior for Kindle, Nook, or iPad.

Scavenger Hunt Questions
Eight is a lucky number in Chinese numerology, so there are eight scavenger hunt questions.
All revolve around the Jones family. Some are easy, some are a little harder, but the answers to most of them can be found in this blog post, on my website (www.AmeliaAutin.com), or by consulting Google Maps. A couple will require a little deductive reasoning on your part.

1) There are five books starring the Jones siblings (one heroine and four heroes). In publication order, they are:
Cody Walker’s Woman, 10/2014 (Keira Sedona Jones, youngest child)
Alec’s Royal Assignment, 08/2015 (Alec Loveland Jones, middle child)
Liam’s Witness Protection, 10/2015 (Liam Thermopolis Jones, fourth child)
Killer Countdown, 08/2016 (Shane Breckenridge Jones, oldest child)
Black Ops Warrior, 12/2017 (Niall Aspen Jones, second child—like me!)

Name the three states where the five cities in their names are located.

2) What’s the “hook” opening sentence from Liam’s Witness Protection?

3) Where did I get the idea for Alec’s Royal Assignment?

4) What is Keira’s one-word mantra in Cody Walker’s Woman?

5) The opening scene of Killer Countdown takes place in what city and state?

6) My hyper-secret federal “agency” (a cross between the FBI and the CIA, but authorized by Congress to act both within and outside US borders) appears in six books. Name them.

7) All the Joneses have unusual occupations: Keira works for the “agency,” Alec and Liam work for the Diplomatic Security Service (the DSS), Shane is a US senator, and Niall is a black ops warrior for an unnamed federal agency. But that’s now. Every one of them—not to mention a few other heroes, including Reilly O’Neill (aka Ryan Callahan), Cody Walker, and Trace McKinnon—also served in one particular branch of the Armed Forces (Shane had even intended to make it his career, as his father did). Which branch is it?

8) This secondary character first appeared in a cameo role in Reilly’s Return back in November 1997, and has featured to a lesser or greater extent in more of my books (including all five in the Jones family saga) than any other character. Who is he?

(Author’s side note: Readers have asked for his story and I pitched it at one point, but it was shot down. So it’s not happening any time soon even though I adore his character and would love to write about him and his beloved wife, Lorena.)

Thanks for playing the Scavenger Hunt game. Giveaway ends at midnight, Vail, AZ time (aka MST), on Friday, 12/15/2017. If no one answers all eight questions correctly, the winning entries will be chosen in descending order (seven correct, six correct, etc.). Winners will be notified by email no later than Saturday, 12/16/2017.

I’d also love to give away two autographed copies of Black Ops Warrior (sorry, US only for the autographed paperbacks). For international entries (including Canada and Mexico), I can email an ebook for Kindle, Nook, or iPad.

To enter the drawing all you have to do is comment below, either in response to my question or anything you’d like to say. Giveaway ends at midnight, Vail, AZ time (aka MST), on Friday, 12/15/2017. Winners will be posted on Saturday, 12/16/2017, so be sure to check back!


Absolutely! Niall and Savannah fall in love while on a fifteen-day land tour / river cruise through northern China. Except for the beginning and a brief period in the middle, they’re with each other 24/7. Night and day. And as Niall tells Savannah at one point, “We’re way past dating.” But they sleep together early on. In fact, in the very first chapter Savannah’s thinking:

This whole tour and cruise was a dream come true. Why couldn’t Niall Johnson be part of it?

She wasn’t crazy enough to believe in love at first sight. And she wasn’t having rosy visions of happily-ever-after. But no man had ever, ever made her body meltingly aware of every breath he drew the way Niall Johnson did. And she decided then and there that if he planned to seduce her into his bed, she was totally on board with that idea.

What do you think about this? Is it a problem for you? Keep in mind they’re not hurting anyone by being together—neither is involved with anyone else. Yes? No? Does it bother you they slept together before admitting to themselves and each other they’d fallen in love?