Sunday, November 19, 2017

Romance and Scandal at Churchill Downs in Lizbeth Selvig's new book.



I love to go to the racetrack and spend an afternoon watching stunning equine athletes charge for the finish line. I admire the wiry super-strength of the jockeys doing what I’ve always wished I’d been able to do for a career. I love the bugler’s call to the post. I love the post parades and the jockeys’ silks. Horse racing definitely is a sport like no other.

I don’t go often—once or twice a year. It’s like going to a movie—take twenty or thirty dollars along and bet no more and no less. It isn’t the money that attracts me, it’s the sheer awe in the power and unpredictability of the competition. And, of course, the horses. They are the main attraction!


 I love the sport, but I’ve also never been blind to the problems or criticisms that surround “the sport of kings.” Some animal lovers call racing cruel. Doping of horses, over-medicating before races, cheating drug tests, and jockey tricks like using buzzers to shock horses into running faster: these are just a few of the complaints, often legitimate, about the horse racing business.

It was my love of horses and racing and the wish to shed some light on the problems and the people trying to solve them that led me to write “Missing By a Heartbeat,” for the Chandler County series of books. When I heard that the series was set near Lexington, Kentucky and centered around the Kentucky Derby, I had to write a story—one I’ve wanted to tell for many years.


 Here’s a little bit about the book, releasing December 15th:
 Dr. Tori Sterling knows her way around race horse injuries better than vets with twice her experience, and she’s used to defending her scrupulously honest reputation in a world where rule-bending beats honesty.

Churchill Downs' iconic Twin Spires
Trainer Winn Crosby has finally made it to his dream destination: the venerable Churchill Downs. With a gift for getting the best from his horses, his goal is training a horse for a big stakes race. It’s no easy task, however, when every member of his staff is young and has a record. When a Derby-bound colt is targeted by a saboteur, Winn and his stable of misfits are prime suspects.

Winn teams with Tori to save his own reputation, and their partnership blossoms into unexpected passion, but they’re soon racing against time. Someone is desperate to eliminate them and their investigating, and the two have to find out who it is before they lose their careers, their lives or, worse, their chance at love.


Some of the problems Winn and Tori face in this story include the struggle to be totally ethical and honest in a world where that isn’t always valued. Some trainers and vets will push the rules as far as they possibly can in pursuit of winning.

I also talk about doping, and sabotage, and crooked trainers, and complicit track workers. Tori talks at one point about why it isn’t cruel to have two-year-old horses race, and Winn is on a campaign to change breeding programs so that thoroughbreds are better able physiologically to withstand the rigors of racing.

If it sounds like this novel is a treatise or an apology for horseracing, it definitely isn’t! It’s a romantic suspense with emphasis on the romance! But I think it might help show that there is a lot right with horse racing, and that most of the people involved care deeply about their animals.

The catalyst for this novel came, as many, many of my ideas do, from my own beautiful daughter. She is an equine veterinarian who started her career on the track. She’s passionate about horse health and safety, and she also loves racing. Readers who know me, might see a lot of my daughter in Tori—from the zillions of animals at her farm, to her steadfast refusal to do what’s not right to her involvement in a non-profit retired racehorse rescue.  As long as there are people like her in the world, things for animals will continue to get better!

The famous Barbaro Statue at the entrance to Churchill Downs

Enjoy an excerpt from “Missing by a Heartbeat.” 
 “Once I told him all the weird things going on, all the coincidences happening in one day, he wanted to help,” Tori said. “My dad can’t resist a mystery.”
She’d barely gotten the words out when the growing group in the barn aisle was stunned into speechlessness by a looming figure of a man. Well over six feet tall and broad as a lumberjack, his eyes a cold blue and his face as calm as the eye of a powerful hurricane, Nick Forge marched toward them. Winn had never met the trainer, but his presence was hard to miss. And his reputation as a hardass was not a secret.
“A mystery?” the man said, his voice so quietly threatening it rang as if he’d used a bullhorn. “You’re damn right it’s a mystery. And you.” He lasered in on Tori, making hot blood rush without warning to Winn’s head. “You think you’re the keeper of morals around here and you just need to jump into every little issue and figure it out, don’t you? Did you set the cops on me? Send them around to make me a suspect? What the hell do you think you are? Everyone’s sanctimonious Sunday school teacher?”
When he took another step forward, bringing him to within six feet of Tori, Winn jumped.
“Back off, Forge,” he said.
The next thing he knew, a rod of flesh-and-blood steel attached to a hand the size of a Humvee had swept into the nearest post as easily as a swatter nailed a fly.
Tori had grown up with two older brothers who’d made play out knocking each other to the ground, so she didn’t scream at the shock of seeing Winn hit the post and flop to the ground. But she had no trouble or second thoughts about launching herself at Nick Forge’s arm and twisting it from the wrist until she brought it behind his back. She dealt with strong thoroughbred horses every day. A surprised trainer, despite his height and weight, was nothing.
“Are you insane?” She spat the words at him like venom and gave his backward-facing arm another yank.
She let him go when he allowed a quick grunt of pain and dropped to the ground beside Winn. He shook his head, eyes dazed but mostly with surprise.
“Hey, don’t get up fast.”
“I’m fine,” he started to scramble up but she pushed him down, too. “Tori, I really am.”
“Just make sure nothing cracked or got hit when you went down.”
“The asshole just took me by surprise, that’s all. My shoulder hit the post and I lost balance.” He protested but nonetheless quieted under her touch.
She heard the angry shouting beside them as the others descended on Forge and his protests began, but she refused to look up, concentrating instead on checking Winn’s eyes and running her fingers along his shoulder to check for bruised spots. She would have been smarter to believe his protests that he was fine. Touching him was like touching fire, or at least it felt so to her fingertips. He might not have been brawny the way Nick Forge was, but Tori doubted she’d be able to summon the strength to lift Winn’s arm much less twist it behind his back. Funny the difference between adrenaline and attraction.
“Nothing hurts here?” She pressed one last spot.
“Na. The shoulder blade stings a little, but it’s like knocking a funny bone—it’ll go away. C’mon.” His lowered voice caressed and wheedled as if he had to talk her into believing him. “Let me up now. This is hell on my male pride.”
“I’ll bet.”
There wasn’t anything funny about what had just happened, but they smiled anyway. Once they both straightened Tori finally saw that the tall blond man she assumed was Sawyer Richards had pushed Forge up against a wall and was holding him there. The rest of the kids were haranguing Forge with epithets and curses, and her father was allowing it for the moment. Clearly Nick Forge was putting up no resistance since none of Winn’s young employees could have held him had he wanted to push them aside, but he did gaze back at them with arrogant amusement on his heavy-featured face. Seriously, the man looked far more like a steroidal gym rat than a horse trainer.
“All right, that’s enough.” Winn’s tone brooked no argument and he expertly guided his charges away from their quarry.
“He has no right to come around our barn punching people out.” Leo was the last one to move back.
“True enough,” Winn said. “But he made his own bed—don’t you go sleeping in it.”
“What kind of panty-waisted girl are you, Crosby?” Forge eased his shoulders as he stepped away from the wall. “I had no intention of knocking you down. You just needed to stay out of my way.”
“I’d be careful about using the word ‘girl’ in that way, Nick.” Winn eyed him with mild reproval. “It wasn’t a man who got you into a hammerlock minutes ago.”

I hope you’ll watch for the release of “Missing By a Heartbeat” on December 15th, and visit me in Chandler County! I’m excited for this story, which is also, by the way, my very first “whodunit.” 
You can pre-order the book HERE.

Meanwhile—I'm eager to know what you love and don’t love about your favorite sport. Horse racing, football, baseball…every sport has its darker side. Tell me what you’d do to change your favorite activity for the better!  I have a $10 Amazon gift card for one commenter today.

And remember—there are seven other Chandler County novels coming by Christmas. Three are available for you now!
 


 


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Celebrate Christmas in Scotland!

Regan here. I'm so excited to tell you about my new release. If you are looking for an escape this holiday season, or if you're home alone and wish you were celebrating Christmas with a group of wonderful friends, I have the story for you!

My brand new release, A Secret Scottish Christmas, is a Regency set on the northeast coast of Scotland. Celebrate Christmas in Scotland with spies, Scots and shipmasters—and the Agents of the Crown!


“A bit of a love triangle, handsome spies, artistic heroines and secrets, traditions and romance all wrapped up with a big Christmas bow. Seasonally enchanting and romantically perfect!” 
Chicks, Rogues & Scandals

Scotland 1819

Twin brothers Nash and Robbie Powell of Powell & Sons Shipping, London, sail with their fellow Agents of the Crown to Scotland for a secret celebration of Christmastide, a holiday long frowned upon by the Scottish Kirk. But more than Christmas is being kept secret. The two brothers have accepted an assignment from the Home Secretary Lord Sidmouth to ferret out a fugitive fomenting rebellion among the Scots.

Aileen Stephen, the only daughter of an Aberdeen shipbuilder, had to be clever, devious and determined to gain her place in the family business. She succeeded to become a designer of highly coveted ships. One night, a man’s handsome face appears to her in a dream. When two men having that same face arrive on a ship full of Londoners, Ailie wonders what her second sight is telling her. Is the face she saw a portender of the future, a harbinger of danger, or both? And which of the two Englishmen is the one in her dream?

Two brothers vie for the affection of the Scottish lass but only one stirs her passion. Which one will it be? And what will she do when she learns they are spies?

On Amazon US, UK & Canada 

Read an excerpt and join Ailie and the Powell twins in the woods for a snowball fight:

After traveling for a while, Will had the groom stop in a wooded area where there was a stand of mature birch trees, the bark partially covered by snow. “Will’s been scouting the best trees for the Yule log,” Ailie explained.
Nick and Tara alighted from the sledge first. Nash climbed down and helped Ailie to the ground, Robbie right behind her.
They all gathered around Will, who pointed to the trees behind him. “There are some good choices for your Yule log behind me, but to save a lot of labor, I’ve spotted a few we can root out of the ground where they fell. The older ones are better for burning, too, the more knotted the better.” The groom handed Will a rope. “We’ve brought a sled to haul the log back when you’ve found the one you want.”
With that, Will released them to hunt for the log.
Ailie gazed into the forest. The carpet of snow made the woods appear lighter. She surveyed the birch trees within easy range, almost certain her brother had identified a log he liked. But Will would not deprive their guests of having a hand in selecting the one that would burn during the celebration of the English Christmastide.
Plunging into the woods, Nash cried, “Come on, Ailie, let’s find a good one.”
“Not without me,” said Robbie, taking her elbow and urging her forward.
Though it was low in the sky, the sun had not yet set as they entered the woods, their boots crunching on the ice-crusted snow.
A snowy owl, disturbed by the invaders, launched from its perch. Their English guests gasped as the huge bird with its five-foot wingspan flew over their heads.
“Never seen one of those before,” remarked Nick.
“Magnificent bird,” said Nash. “I’ve read about snowy owls.”
When the owl had gone, Hugh leaned up against the thick trunk of one birch, crossing his arms over his chest. Fixing his eyes on Will, he grinned. “Are you certain you don’t want to cut down this one?”
Before Will could respond, Mary pelted her husband with a snowball.
Hugh’s searching gaze found her, a teasing smile on her face. Looking highly offended, he said, “We’ll see about that!” Ailie could tell by his expression as he reached for the snow he was not offended at all, but excited. Forming his own snowball, he launched it into the air to hit Mary’s back just as she turned to run.
The fight was on.
Ailie joined up with Tara, who led the ladies in a battle of great proportions as snow flew all around them. “We shall bury you in snow,” Tara shouted to the men.
Nick tossed a snowball, hitting his wife’s head, thankfully covered with the hood of her cloak. “Not likely!”
Ailie threw a snowball at one twin and then the other. Everyone was so covered in snow she couldn’t tell one Powell twin from the other. She, too, was covered in white, panting for the effort at returning the many snowballs aimed at her. It was great fun.
After a blizzard of snowballs whizzing everywhere, Will called a halt to their battle. “My hands are frozen. Time to hunt the log before ’tis full dark.”

 
GIVEAWAY: Tell me why you’d like to spend Christmas in Scotland (in your mind, at least) and enter to win one of three copies of The Holly & The Thistle, the “prequel” to A Secret Scottish Christmas. It's the story of William Stephen, Scottish shipbuilder, and Lady Emily Picton, who host the Agents of the Crown for Christmastide. 

A chance meeting at Berry’s wine shop, a misunderstanding and Christmastide all come together to allow the most handsome Scot in London to give Lady Emily Picton the best Christmas gift ever: a marriage not of convenience, but of love.



a Rafflecopter giveaway








Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Season of Anthologies

YAY, PLUMBING PROBLEMS AT CHRISTMAS...
NOT IDEAL.

Sometimes, I give myself a prompt and let my fingers fly. This was the case for my romantic comedy short story, Holiday Disaster. When I was a single girl, I’d dropped a contact and watched it flow down the drain. At least, I had the presence of mind to turn off the water and pray the darn thing had lodged in the trap. I waited for the maintenance man to go on duty, phoned, and he came right over. He unhooked the trap, poured the contents in a bowl, and out flowed my contact.

I’d been asked to write a holiday story for the Season of Magic boxed set. I began with “disaster,” reached back in my head, sifting through the billions of disasters I’d been through. Out popped the scenario I described above, only I twisted it into a holiday one.
Once I had put that scenario on the pages, another disaster came to mind, the one when my roomie and I had a dinner party. The disposal backed up with potato peelings. Who knew? A call later, Mr. Maintenance Man came to the rescue.

And then there was the time when Handsome and I hosted a wedding reception. The next morning, I went to the basement to wash linens only to find the sewer had back up. So not pretty. That went in the story too. It’s about plumbing—right?

But I had to have more. Mr. Maintenance Man wasn’t who my librarian heroine (did I say I should have been a librarian?) thought he was. And he was pretty flirtatious and arrogant.

Christmas + Bad Plumbing =
HOLIDAY DISASTER

So what is new? Why Season of Magic, a holiday boxed set, is now FREE at Amazon and all the other great e-retailers. Here’s a bit about our stories:

Noel Noel Noel by Merry Holly ~ Dumped and lonely, is it possible to find love at the local mall? Noelle thinks not, but a chance encounter with Chase Clayborne while Christmas shopping has her rethinking her rigid set of rules.

A Cinderella Christmas by Cara Marsi ~ Jessica Gallo no longer believed in fairy tales or happy endings. And she certainly didn’t believe she’d find her Prince Charming at Saks Fifth Avenue. Her Fairy Godmother thought differently.

Matchmaker Matchmaker by Bobbi Lerman ~ With Chanukah around the corner, is there enough magic left for a matchmaker to bring Molly's cynical heart back to life?

Yuletide Bride by Gerri Brousseau ~ The Dowager Duchess’s decree that her grandson must marry before Twelfth Night or relinquish his title and fortune sends him into a tail spin. Without any prospects and with only two weeks until Christmas will Stuart Nelson find himself destitute or will he find The Yuletide Bride?

Holiday Disaster by Vicki Batman: The week before Christmas and all is in disarray when a librarian experiences horrible plumbing issues and a Mr. Maintenance Man who isn’t nearly as jolly as Santa Claus.

 
Join all our freebie fun at: Amazon | Kobo





VICKI IS OFFERING A $10.00 STARBUCKS card to one commenter. Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter. Enter through Sunday, Nov 19th.

HAVE YOU HAD SOMETHING DISASTROUS HAPPEN ON A SPECIAL OCCASION?

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

E.E. Burke's Best of the West featuring Peggy Henderson


The Yellowstone Romance Series
A young woman is given the opportunity of a lifetime to travel back in time to the era of the mountain men in untamed Yellowstone, where she meets the love of her life and sets in motion an ancient plan for the preservation of the park we love today. 

Yellowstone Heart Song: Book 1

"I am not good with words, but you make my heart sing, Aimee..."

Nurse and avid backpacker Aimee Donovan is offered the opportunity of a lifetime. She encounters a patient who tells her he is a time traveler and can send her two hundred years into the past to spend three months in the rugged Yellowstone wilderness at the dawn of the mountain man era. The only requirement: she cannot tell anyone that she’s from the future. 

How did a white woman suddenly appear in the remote Rocky Mountain wilderness? Trapper Daniel Osborne’s first instinct is to protect this mysterious and unconventional woman from the harsh realities of his mountains. While he fights his growing attraction to her, he is left frustrated by her lies and secrecy. 

Daniel shows Aimee a side of Yellowstone she’s never experienced. She is torn between her feelings for him and exposing a secret that will destroy everything he holds as truth. As her three months come to an end, she is faced with a dilemma: return to her own time, or stay with the man who opened her eyes to a whole new world. When the decision is made for her, both their lives will be changed forever.

Excerpt from Yellowstone Heart Song

Daniel wrapped the buffalo robe tighter around his shoulders, trying to ward off the chill of the cold October wind. His hair whipped around his face. He gazed out across the gaping expanse of the canyon before him. Sitting on a rocky outcropping, he solemnly watched the brilliant yellow and red colors of the canyon walls change their shimmering hues with each passing moment as the morning sun’s rays illuminated the rocks.  Off in the distance, the mighty E-chee-dick-karsh-ah-shay roared as its turquoise waters plunged loudly several hundred feet deeper into the canyon. He never tired of this awesome spectacle in all the years he had come to this spot. This time, however, it brought no joy to his heart. Everywhere he looked, visions of Aimee materialized before his eyes. The sound of her voice echoed in the wind, sometimes so clearly, Daniel thought he was losing his mind.
“I want you to know that no matter what happens in the future, I will always love you. I’ve never loved anyone the way I love you. Please don’t ever forget that.”
Had he been wrong? Had she tried to tell him something that last day? With the way she clung to him the morning he left the cabin? The intensity and passion with which she made love to him the night of the storm, and her words of love couldn’t have been acted.
He stiffened at the rustling sound of leaves behind him, but didn’t bother to turn around. He had been aware of Elk Runner watching him from the trees for some time already.
“Why do you come here, brother?” he finally asked, his eyes still riveted on nature’s splendor before him. He had wanted to share this spectacular place with Aimee, but had never gotten the chance.

Meet Peggy

Thank you so much for having me on Get Lost in A Story today!

I am an award-winning, best-selling western historical and time travel romance author of the Yellowstone Romance Series, Second Chances Time Travel Romance Series, Teton Romance Trilogy, and the Blemished Brides and Wilderness Brides Western Historical Romance Series. When I’m not writing about Yellowstone, the Tetons, or the old west, I’m out hiking the trails, spending time with my family and pets, or catching up on much-needed sleep. I’m happily married to my high school sweetheart. Along with my husband and two sons, I divide my time between living in Southern California and Yellowstone National Park.

I’m currently finishing the eighth – and final – full-length novel in the Yellowstone Romance Series, which is a series that started as a single book I never expected to publish. The first book, Yellowstone Heart Song, was simply a story stuck in my head that I finally had to write down. I was urged to publish it after it sat on my computer for over a year after I finished it. I never thought anyone would be interested in reading about a modern woman traveling to the Yellowstone of the past, and have been overwhelmed with how well the book, and the entire series, has been received.


E.E.: How often to you get lost in a story?
Peggy: I get lost in a story as often as I can. I may not have as much time to read anymore as I used to, but I love listening to audiobooks. I can listen in the car of when I go for walks or do other chores, and make the time fly.

E.E.: Fairy Tale or Action Adventure?
Peggy: I love a good action adventure. If it combines with fairy tales, even better.

E.E. What sound or noise do you love?
Peggy: I love the sound of horses munching on hay in a warm barn. It’s just such a peaceful and happy sound. I also love the sound of a creek gurgling along, the wind through the tops of trees, and rain falling. I’m a lover of nature, and these are the sounds that bring me inner peace.

E.E.: Why did you start writing?
Peggy: I started writing because, frankly, I couldn’t find the story that was in my head for over a year and wouldn’t let go. I searched and searched, but nothing was close to the story or the setting, so I finally decided to write it down. That story became a 12-book series and two spin-offs!

E.E.: Do you write while listening to music? If so what kind?
Peggy: No, I have to have complete silence to write. There’s enough chatter going on in my head that is distracting. I don’t want to add any more to it by adding music. Even music without words tends to distract me. I will sometimes listen to a song or melody to get me mentally ready for a scene I’m about to write, but I can’t have the music playing while writing that scene.

E.E.: If you were given a chance to travel to the past where would you go?
Peggy; To the place I write about in my Yellowstone Romance Series, of course! Yellowstone National Park. The Yellowstone of the past is where I send all of my modern heroes and heroines.

E.E.: What is something that not a lot of people know about you but you WISH more people COULD know?
Peggy: This is difficult for me to talk about, but lately, I’ve been more open about it. I suffer from depression and anxiety disorder (general anxiety, plus social anxiety, and health anxiety) No, I’m not a hypochondriac when it comes to health anxiety. There are only a two or three things I worry about when it comes to my health, and talking about them sets off triggers. It’s not easy dealing with constant fear and constant sadness (depression is more than sadness, but I’m keeping it simple) on an almost daily basis, and it’s even more difficult to explain to people, even those we are closest to. It’s a very misunderstood problem, which makes people with anxiety and depression more isolated. 

E.E.: Which of your characters would you most/least to invite to dinner, and why?
Peggy: I would love to invite Lucas Walker from the Teton Romance Trilogy. He is such a fun character, so full of life, and I know he’d have a lot of incredible tales of action and adventure in the Tetons to tell.

E.E.: What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
Peggy: I’ve been able to write full-time, and from anywhere, which has given my husband and I the freedom and opportunity to move to Yellowstone National Park this past season. I wrote my books while he took a job as a historical preservation craftsman (his dream job) at the historic Old Faithful Inn.

E.E.: What three things are, at this moment, in your heroine’s purse?
Peggy: A gun, a petrified snakehead, a cellphone

E.E.: What is your hero’s “kryptonite” – in other words, what will bring him instantly to his knees?
Peggy: If anything happened to his heroine

E.E.: What drew you to write in the genre(s) you do?
Peggy: I love the American West and the history that goes with it. I especially love the time of the explorers, the trailblazers – the mountain men and fur trappers, and then the scouts and pioneers. That’s why my favorite genre is historical westerns.  I also have a lot of fun with “present meets past” in my time travels that bring heroes and heroines from that time period to the future and sends them from the future to that time.

Win a signed paperback copy of YELLOWSTONE HEART SONG! Just enter the Rafflecopter below. Tweet or Follow Peggy to get more chances.

If you could travel anywhere back in time, where would you go and why?


a Rafflecopter giveaway