Donna MacMeans is Time Traveling from Spain

It's nice to have new authors visit the blog (at least new to us). I noticed Donna's book titles and checked them out. I'm a serious time-travel junkie. Hope you check out her books, too.

A Charm Gates Time Travel Romance

The Charm Gates have stood at The Court of Two Sisters for more than a century with no one guessing the secret they hold. Thanks to a jealous vindictive queen and a blackmailed alchemist, French “charm teacher” Madeline Charlebois’s essence is encased inside the iron charm gates, until a grieving professor touches them during a storm and Madeline tumbles out, not in her own 19th century Spain, but in 21st century New Orleans. 

Quantum physics Professor Grant Stewart has mourned his wife’s death for the last three years. But he must move on for his young daughter’s sake, the child who delights in terrorizing babysitters. Grant needs adequate childcare to pursue tenure at Tulane University. What he doesn’t need is a French beauty believing nonsense like time-travel and voodoo, and whose very being is melting his heart. 

Maddie may be without resources but she’s good at making new friends, even if they are on the quirky side. She believes Professor Stewart can return her home, but first she must earn his trust to win his cooperation. Babysitting his daughter gives her both proximity, and love for the child. Will Grant be the key to returning to her time? Or will she, in turn, unlock his frozen heart? All they need is time and maybe a little voodoo… 

Read a Little, Buy the Book

Before beginning her writing career in earnest, DONNA MacMEANS kept books of a different nature. A certified public accountant, she recently abandoned the exciting world of debits and credits to return to her passion: writing witty and sensuous romances. Her debut novel, The Education of Mrs. Brimley, won the 2006 Golden Heart for Best Long Historical. Her second book, The Trouble with Moonlight (now titled Bound By Moonlight), won the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award for historical love and laughter. Her most recent release, Charming the Professor, is a finalist for BOTH the National Readers’ Choice Award and the Prism Award. Originally from Towson, Maryland, she now resides in central Ohio with my husband, two adult children and her kitty keyboard companion, Koko. Late Breaking News: Looks like Donna will be a first time grandmother this September!

ANGI: How often to you get lost in a story?
DONNA: Every day! I’m an “organic” plotter which basically means I haven’t a clue where the story will go until I sit down to write it. Then I get sucked in and can’t hear anything going on around me. I’m totally lost in my story and I love it! :-) As for getting lost in another author’s stories, I do that whenever I can. I think it’s really important for a writer to keep reading even though it’s easy to feel guilty because you’re not writing. But reading is often the inspiration that keeps me going.

ANGI: Hugh Jackman or Chris Pine?
DONNA: Can’t I have both? Love Hugh Jackman. If you have the DVD of Kate and Leopold, the movie where Hugh, a nobleman in need of a wife in the 1800s, comes forward into modern time, you might have see the deleted scene of Hugh in the bathtub. Why on earth did they ever cut that out!!! But I love Chris Pine as well. I’m a huge Star Trek fan. I thought they did a great job with the reboot. Chris made a wonderful Captain Kirk. So I’m truly a fan of both.

ANGI: Can you tell us about a real-life hero you’ve met?
DONNA: My brother is a retired two-star General in the Army. I consider him a hero - but he’s also my closest sibling, so he’s just Dennis to me. i will say, I went to a change of command ceremony for an Army base that he was relinquishing. Afterward there was a formal dinner with assigned seating. But one table was left bare. No one was allowed to sit there. Before everything began, the lights were dimmed and a spotlight shone on the table, which was next to ours. A voice explained that this was the table for the soldier who died defending our country and couldn’t be there. I was weeping at the end. This may be a common “seen-it-before” for anyone in a military family, but this was a first for me. And of course, my husband is my personal hero. We’ll celebrate our 43rd anniversary this year.

ANGI: What's your most favorite thing to do in your state?
DONNA: Eat - at football tailgates, at county fairs, at the state fair. I love to eat :-) . My husband and I belong to a group of friends that call themselves “the Gourmet Group.” We have had themed potlucks at each other’s houses for the past 30 years. I’m always responsible for bringing the dessert because they know I bake with love and alcohol :-) Here’s a pic of my last dessert - Hard Lemonade cake and Grasshopper Brownies. I couldn’t get a picture of the Bourbon ice cream. It disappeared too quick!

ANGI: What’s your favorite meal?
DONNA: Whatever I can find on the menu - and I can always find something.

ANGI: What do you like about the hero of your book?
DONNA: He loves his little girl - I mean really, truly loves his daughter and will sacrifice his own future happiness for her if necessary. I like that he loved his wife. My hero lost his wife three years before the book begins to a drunk driver. The book opens with him saying goodbye to her. That scene tears at my heart. But then all Hell breaks loose when the heroine is released from the Charm Gates. I like my hero’s intelligence and his sense of humor and the way he rushes to save the heroine when he thinks she’s in trouble.
ANGI: Sand or Snow?
DONNA: You might think I’d say snow as I’m located in Ohio, but I’m originally from Maryland and have too many fond memories of burying my feet in the sand, cracking open crabs for dinner, salt water taffy, and Old Bay Seasoning on French fries :-)

ANGI: What might we find in your heroine's purse?
DONNA: My heroine is from 1853 which means she’d have a reticule which doesn’t hold a lot. She was in Spain when the evil queen had her imprisoned in the charm gates, so she’d have some Spanish reals, perhaps a small hand fan, and a handkerchief. Not much, I’m afraid.

FWIW, a friend of mine was teaching a class in characterization and asked the class what was in the hero’s pocket or the heroine’s purse. I thought it would be fun if the hero was wearing someone’s else’s coat and had no idea what was in the pockets. Then I wondered what if the person providing the coat was a magician so that when the hero reached into his pocket, he ended up pulling a string of attached colorful handkerchiefs. :-) I used that in one of my books, Redeeming the Rogue. (I’ve included the link to that excerpt which includes that scene below.)

ANGI: Would you rather be in a Fairy Tale or Action Adventure?
DONNA: I’m a strong believer in happily-ever-afters so the answer would have to be fairy tales. Although, some of those fairy tale heroines can really kick butt, and there’s usually quite a bit of action in them, so yeah - put me down for fairy tales.

ANGI: What’s your favorite rerun on television?
DONNA: Big Bang Theory. I love that show. i think you’ll see the influence of Big Bang in Charming the Professor. Check out the professor’s desk. He’s a fan as well :-)

ANGI: What’s your favorite movie of all time?
DONNA: This may not be a well known one - but the answer is Hanover Street. I’m sure part of the reason I love it so is that I saw it right after my daughter was born. Harrison Ford is a USAF pilot in WW11, stationed in London. He falls in love with an English woman whose husband has gone to Germany on a spy mission and is presumed lost. But he isn’t and Harrison Ford has to go save him. Two men in love with the same woman have to work together to get out from behind enemy lines. The moment the music starts for that movie, I’m in tears.

I’m also a big fan of Romancing the Stone and use examples from it all the time when I’m teaching writing workshops.

ANGI: What drinks or snacks are always on your desk when you’re writing?
DONNA: I used to drink A LOT of Diet Dr. Pepper or Diet Coke and would always have a cold can nearby when writing. I don’t drink coffee, so this was my caffeine intake in the morning. However, I’ve recently had problems which I suspect are related to my Diet Dr. Pepper addition. It didn’t help that recently a plumber suggested my husband pour some Coke over a frozen waterline connection to eat away at the corrosion. Ugh! And we drink that stuff? Now I keep either a glass of water or diet peach tea nearby.

ANGI: Hiking Boots or Dancing Heels?
DONNA: LOL. I’m a dancing queen! Love to dance. I fell in love with my husband (who I met in a bar) because he wasn’t afraid to be the first one out on the dance floor. However, I’d twist my ankle if I tried to dance in heels. I’d need flats - or boots. Yeah - I’d need Dancing Boots! LOL

ANGI: Are you a Star Wars fan? Favorite thing about the reboot?
DONNA: I love the original Star Wars. I remember when it first came out. I made my husband see it with me. We were pretty broke at the time and so had to go to the matinee. The line was around the block and full of little kids. He thought I was crazy insisting that the movie would be worth the hassle. He was a believer when we came out. :-) The reboot was good, but not AS good as the original. Loved that they had a young woman as the protagonist. Her character name is Rey. My middle name is Rey. Instant connection! :-) I’m glad they brought back Princess Leia and Han Solo. Bummer that they killed him off in the end…but did they really? After seeing Gandalf come back in Lord of the Rings, and Jon Snow come back in Game of Thrones, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Han Solo again in the next installment.

ANGI’S GOTTA ASK: What’s one thing from your bucket list?
DONNA’s GOTTA ANSWER: I keep a wish list on my computer of all the things I want to do and all the places I want to go. A couple of years ago, I went to Scotland to research The Whisky Laird’s Bed (one of the books below). Looks like I’ll get to scratch another of the places off my list this fall. We’re going to Paris, France. Woohoo! Eiffel Tower, here I come!

Of the things I want to do - I want to be a RITA finalist. I’d love to actually win the gold statuette, but for now I’d settle to be a finalist. Charming the Professor is a National Readers Choice Award finalist and a PRISM finalist, but not a RITA finalist :( . One of these years, I’ll break that glass ceiling.

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DONNA is giving away 2 copies of Charming the Professor to North America Readers

Note: COMMENTERS are encouraged to leave a contact email address to speed the prize notification process. Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only unless specifically mentioned in the post. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants. Winners of drawings are responsible for checking this site in a timely manner. If prizes are not claimed in a timely manner, the author may not have a prize available. Get Lost In A Story cannot be responsible for an author's failure to mail the listed prize. GLIAS does not automatically pass email addresses to guest authors unless the commenter publicly posts their email address.

ANGI'S back tomorrow with

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DONNA WANTS TO KNOW: As Charming the Professor involves time-travel, I’m wondering where you would go if you could travel anywhere in the past or future in the world?


  1. Hi Donna

    What a great post loved those questions and answers I have to say I have read all of Donna's books and love them so much Charming the Professor is so special woohoo can't wait for the newest one :)

    Have Fun

    1. Thanks Helen - Great to see you here :-) You're a sweetheart.

  2. Angi - Just wanted to say thanks for having me here today. I truly appreciate it.

  3. I hope your prediction about Han Solo comes true. That lines up with my theory.

    As far as your question, I'd probably stick with the present and visit England or France.

    1. Kim -

      Aha! Great minds think alike! :-)

      I've been to England, but I'd love to go back. When I was there decades ago, I had no idea that I'd ever write a book (let alone 8). At the time I thought I'd be a painter and so all my photographs are "scenes" for future paintings. Now I want to go to the museums and do research :-). My husband has book a trip to France for later this year. I'm stoked. Can't wait.

  4. Donna, so glad you could join us today. And thanks for the great giveaway.

  5. Great post. Love getting all the little secrets about your guests. I've read all of Donna's books, except the latest one. It's burning a hole in my kindle. Can't wait to read it. Donna's books tend to go from serious to lite hearted and outright funny.

    1. Hugs and Kisses to you, Barb. So...where would you go on your time traveling journey?

  6. Replies
    1. If you go to Brazil, bn100, be sure to pack zika mosquito spray and a soccer ball, of course. :-)

  7. seems time is getting lost, i wouldn't mind just going back a little bit to figure out where the year has been flying off to ;)

    1. Oh Man! When you find out, will you let me know? Can you believe it's June already! I sure wish I could slow time down, or maybe stop it. Hey, that could be another book!

  8. I wouldn't mind a little time travel ahead to get a peek at how the kids fare in the future... that is, assuming what I see won't break my heart ;) I guess it might be safer to travel back in time to the time of Christ--that would be an incredible visit!

    1. Hi Fedora -

      A peek at the future to see how your kids fare depends on what you wish for them. I'd have to say that my two didn't turn out the way I thought they would when they were little - but they're both happy so I think I can't ask for anything more. Hey - did I tell you that I'm to be a first-time grandmother in September? That makes me happy :-)

      It would be amazing to travel back to the time of Christ especially given what we know today.

  9. OK this is going to post as my grandson's name, sorry bout that, I can't figure out how to switch it back to me!
    I want to travel back in time to the beginning of the 20th century. I want to know the story of my great-grandparents, and in turn 2x great, and if my research is correct, even my 3x great-grandfather. I've heard tons of stories, but I want to know the real reason my great-grandfather came to America and why my great-grandmother followed him, since one of the stories I heard was he left England so as to get away from her!
    I'd also love to have know Queen Elizabeth I, Was she really the "Virgin Queen"? Is that a strange thing to want to know?
    Amy Conley

  10. Hi Amy -

    Doesn't matter what name you use, I'm glad you're here. LOL at the story of your great-grandfather & great grandmother. I'd like to go to Ireland to research my mother's grandparents. They're the ones that crossed to America. I'd also like to know something about my father's grandparents. Both his mother and father were adopted as babies - so we don't know anything about his biological parents. Have you ever thought of doing one of those DNA tests to learn your ancestry? I haven't done that, but I think it would be cool.