C.H. Hosts ~ The Midnight Hour: All Hallows' Brides

I'm delighted to feature Dragonblade Publishing's newest anthology just in time for Halloween...
The Midnight Hour: All Hallows' Brides

When doors creak and ghostly whispers are heard in the midnight hour, this stunning collection of Gothic Regency Historical Romance is sure to leave you breathless with Poe-inspired, romantic dreams…

Welcome to the All-Hallows’ Brides collection. Eight of your favorite Historical Romance authors have come together for a collection of never-before published stories that will give you a chill, a thrill, and have you reading them again and again. Inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe, you’ve never seen a collection like this by some of the biggest names in Historical Romance.  The title of each story is named for their 'Bride':

Emma by Kathryn Le Veque ~ Aislin by Meara Platt ~ Sarah by Scarlett Scott ~ 
Madeleine by Mary Lancaster ~ Beth by Maggi Andersen ~ Hyacinth by Chasity Bowlin ~ 
Eleanor by Sydney Jane Baily ~ Raven by Violetta Rand

So, grab your candle and lock your door, and settle down to read this smashing collection of darkly-tinged romantic tales with unforgettable heroes and magnificent ladies. Romance has never been so daring… or so Gothic. And if you hear a knock on your door… don’t answer it. Unless you are prepared to welcome a wandering wraith in a tattered wedding gown…

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Allow me to introduce you to a few of the authors in this fabulous Gothic Regency Historical Romance Collection:

Meet Kathryn Le Veque:

KATHRYN LE VEQUE is a critically acclaimed USA TODAY Bestselling author, a charter Amazon All-Star author, and a #1 bestselling, award-winning, multi-published author in Medieval Historical Romance and Contemporary Romance.
Kathryn is a multiple award nominee and winner, including the winner of Uncaged Book Reviews Magazine “Raven Award” for Favorite Medieval Romance (Vestiges of Valor) and Favorite Cover, all Genres (Queen of Lost Stars). Kathryn is also a multiple RONE nominee, holding the record for the number of nominations. In 2018, her novel WARWOLFE was the winner in the Romance category of the Book Excellence Award. Kathryn is considered one of the top Indie authors in the world with over a million copies in circulation, and her novels have been translated into several languages.
What makes Kathryn’s books so unforgettable? Epic adventures, rich and detailed characters, and a romance that will stay with you long after the story is over. She crafts great tales of love, battles, passion, and romance in the High Middle Ages.
In addition to her own published works, Kathryn is also the President/CEO of Dragonblade Publishing, a boutique publishing house specializing in Historical Romance, and the President/CEO of DragonMedia Publishing, a publishing house that publishes the Pirates of Britannia Connected World series. In July 2018, Kathryn launched yet another publishing house, WolfeBane Publishing, which publishes the World of de Wolfe Pack Connected series (formerly Kindle Worlds).

Kathryn's Contribution: Emma:
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Meet Meara Platt:

Meara Platt is a USA Today bestselling author and an award winning, Amazon UK All-star. Her favorite place in all the world is England’s Lake District, which may not come as a surprise since many of her stories are set in that idyllic landscape, including her award winning, fantasy romance Dark Gardens series. If you’d like to learn more about the ancient Fae prophecy that is about to unfold in the Dark Gardens series, as well as Meara’s lighthearted, international bestselling Regency romances in the Farthingale series and Book of Love series, or her more emotional Braydens series, please visit Meara's website or Amazon author page.

Meara's Contribution: Aislin ~ My story in the anthology is Aislin and it is inspired by Poe's poem 
A Dream Within A Dream (how romantic is that?). William Croft, Baron Whitpool, has recurring dreams of a young woman with long, black hair and smoke-gray eyes running amid the ruins of Tintagel Castle on the Cornwall coast. He calls her Aislin in his dreams, but who is she? If she exists, how is she connected to the missing years of his life?

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Meet Maggi Andersen:

I am an Australian author of over 35 novels and novellas. Many are Amazon bestsellers and all are passionate adventure-filled romances set in the Regency, Georgian, and Victorian eras.  I also write contemporary romantic suspense and young adult novels. Browse my website and my blog to find out more about me and my books, including  snippets, excerpts, reviews and giveaways.

Maggi's Contribution: Beth ~
This collection includes my story called ‘Beth’. Beth Harrismith first appears as a thirteen-year-old in Governess to the Duke’s Heir, Book Four of Dangerous Lords. Beth is now eighteen and in London for her first Season. But her plans to dance the night away at a Mayfair ball go horribly awry. Her brother-in-law, Andrew, Duke of Harrow has warned her to beware of rakes with golden tongues, but he could not foresee what lies in wait for Beth when she finds herself alone in a Gothic mansion and at the mercy of a dangerous rake.

Website  Blog  Facebook  Twitter  Pinterest  LinkedIn  Instagram

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Meet Sydney Jane Baily:

Critically acclaimed author Sydney Jane Baily writes historical romance set in Victorian England, late 19th-century America, the Middle Ages, the Georgian era, and the Regency period. She believes in happily-ever-after stories for an already-challenging world with engaging characters and attention to period detail. Born and raised in California, she has traveled the world, spending a lot of exceedingly happy time in the U.K. where her extended family resides, eating fish and chips, drinking shandys, and snacking on Maltesers and Cadbury bars. Sydney currently lives in New England with her family — human, canine, and feline.  You can learn more about her books, read her blog, sign up for her newsletter (and get a free book), and contact her via her website at SydneyJaneBaily.com.

Sydney's Contribution: Eleanor ~
My story, Eleanor, features the youngest Blackwood sister, who made an appearance in my Beastly Lords books. This stand-alone tale offers more than a passing nod to Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, The Gold Bug, with a secret code, a treasure hunt, and a few terribly stormy nights. Unlike Poe’s story, the greatest treasure for Eleanor and her dashing hero, Grayson, is the precious human heart.

Facebook   Twitter    BookBub    Amazon    Website

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Get your entries in today for your chance at these AMAZING prizes! http://bit.ly/2MMzLhv 


Blast to the Past: Between Love and Lies

The awesome Angi Morgan had the idea for the Get Lost in a Story crew to do a BLAST TO THE PAST and share our previously released books with an excerpt. So here’s Between Love & Lies my Dodge City historical romance with a saloon singing cardsharp and a Texas drover. 

An oldie but a goodie. A story that... Well, I'll just quote this also very awesome author…

"Spellbinding stories that whisper to your soul." ~ Linda Broday

Receiving that quote from Linda was an ultimate fangirl moment! I love Linda's stories big time.

But now back to my Dodge City cardsharp...

Can she resist the one man who can truly make her wicked? Sadie Sullivan lost everything when a herd of longhorns bound for Dodge City destroyed her beloved farm. Now she works at the Northern Star saloon, gambling for her freedom while lying to everyone and loving no one... until a certain Texas drover returns determined to win her forgiveness and her heart.

Excerpt ~ Between Love & Lies (Gambling Hearts series, book 1)

Dodge City, Kansas—1877

“I know it’s a lie,” Sadie whispered, “but I want you to kiss me as if we were married, as if we were in love.”

Noah hesitated. Love was damned complicated.

She released a resigned sigh. “I guessed right. The truth is your promises hold no more weight than a feather in the wind.”

He’d be damned if he’d walk out of this room with those words reverberating in both their heads.
Kneeling beside her bed, he gathered her in his arms and kissed her. With his lust pounding through his veins, he wasn’t surprised when her body remained rigid, and her lips sealed. He’d broken his promise to show her tenderness. 

Cursing himself for a heavy-handed lout, he drew back only to have her lips part with a gasp. 
The disappointment in the sound made his heart ache. He apologized with a kiss so soft it might have been the feather in the wind she’d mentioned. Her arms wound around his neck as easily as her hair had curled around his finger earlier, and her lips opened like the petals of a spring flower.

He drank her in one sip at a time, deepening the kiss gradually, pausing often to receive her response. Every time she replied with a kiss to match the one he’d given. She was a damned quick study. He went from a beggar lost in the badlands to a man receiving a king’s feast. He couldn’t get enough of her. 

He pulled back, shaking as much as the woman in his arms. His body demanded one thing, but his thoughts were chaotic. Sadie’s kisses were like fire, but they were also innocent. 

No denying the truth. He’d never be her first bed partner, but he was her first kiss. 

Did he have the patience to entice her kiss by kiss, instead of dollar by dollar, to stay in his arms, to forget all of the men in her past and wish for a future with only him?

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To hear more about Sadie and Noah's story (read the opening scene, watch the book trailer, view my Pinterest inspiration board, and more) head to Between Love & Lies' book page on my website

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Jacqui Nelson - Author Picture
Want to find out what happens when Welsh meets West in Colorado 1878? Read an excerpt from my September release, A Bride for Brynmor, on my website

Fall in love with a new Old West...where the men are steadfast & the women are adventurous. 

Website: JacquiNelson.com
Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/jacquinelson

Join my newsletter & receive Rescuing Raven (Raven and Charlie's story in Deadwood 1876) for free: JacquiNelson.com/download-my-free-read 


E.E. Burke's Best of the West featuring a heart-warming Christmas story from Linda Broday

This Rebel is about to learn the true meaning of Christmas... 

As a late November storm batters her sod house, Rebel Avery’s thoughts are on Travis Lassiter, the outlaw she loves and plans to marry. Eight months ago, he’d been captured, and she fears he’s dead. To occupy her worried mind, she tells two small orphans she’d taken in how she used to celebrate the Advent and gets an idea.

Rebel and the other women set about to make the entire town of Hope’s Crossing the Advent calendar. On their designated day, each home gives the children a treat and strikes a chord of hope and joy. Yet, for Rebel it becomes increasingly apparent that Travis will not return. Her heart breaking, she gives a lonely recluse the only thing of value that she possesses—swaths of red satin fabric she’d saved for a wedding dress.
As they move toward the holiday, sagging spirits are renewed, a makeshift family is formed, and Rebel finds that through troubled times, love endures and conquers all.

Here's an excerpt:

  Rebel Avery was preparing supper when four-year-old Jenny came running, her sobs cutting into her. “What’s wrong, honey?”
  “My dolly’s broken. Everything’s broken.” She thrust her doll’s arm at Rebel and ran crying to her bed.
  First her son Ely fighting at school and coming home angry, then the howling storm breaking her window, and now this. Something had to be done to lift their spirits. To lose Travis Lassiter, the man she loved, so abruptly with scarcely a word since had plunged Rebel into heartbreak and despair. This not knowing if he was alive or dead gnawed at her. Christmas should be full of hope and optimism, not this thick cloud of fear.
  Memories of past Christmases gave Rebel an idea. She grabbed her coat and fought the wind all the way to the Bowdre house.
  Her friend, Nora, opened the door, wiping her hands on her apron. “Rebel, come inside before you freeze to death.”
  “Thank you. This storm’s something.” Rebel untied her scarf. “Everything is wrong.”
  “What do you mean—everything?” Nora led her into the small parlor.
  “Ely has all this anger inside. He fought with Billy Truman again today. Came home with a bloody nose.” Rebel sighed and took a seat. “And Jenny’s doll’s arm came off, and she sobbed that everything was broken. It does seem to be the case. The window was just one. Then the pan of cookies I was baking ended up on the floor. And I haven’t heard a word from Travis and fear he might be dead.” A sob strangled in her throat.
  “Oh honey.” The teakettle whistled, and Nora rose. “How about a nice cup of tea while we chat?”
  “That sounds lovely.”
  Nora left the room and soon returned with a tray laden with tea, cups, and little cookies.   They sat with steaming cups in front of the fire while baby Willow, a child the couple had found next to her dead mother and taken in, crawled around them. Rebel admired the curvy, blond-haired woman who had the kind of strength she wished for.
  Rebel took a sip of tea. “I have an idea and want to see what you think of it.”
  “If it’s a way to dispel this gloom and make everyone get along, I’m all for it.”
  “I want to have an Advent calendar—only the whole town will be the calendar.”
  “Oh, yes! I always loved the cheer Advent added to my holidays when I was a child.” Nora’s brown eyes twinkled. “Tell me more.”
  “We’ll have to somehow fashion a large calendar with a little door on each day.” Rebel’s mind was whirling.
  Nora bit into a cookie. “We’ll make it out of sturdy wood so the wind won’t blow it over.”
  Baby Willow tugged on Rebel’s skirt and she picked her up, inhaling the sweet scent. “Inside each little door will be the name of the person offering treats that day and the children will go to that house.”
  “Yes! Yes! And on each Sunday leading up to Christmas, we’ll light one of the four Advent candles.” Enthusiasm lined Nora’s face.
  “Great idea. I wonder if the blacksmith will make us a holder. When this storm passes, I’ll ask him. We can get candles from the mercantile.” Rebel carefully untangled black strands of her hair from Willow’s little hand. “We’ll get the children involved. I know, maybe we’ll have them draw for a chance to be the one to light the candle in church that Sunday.”
  “If they fight or misbehave, they’ll have their name removed.” Nora reached for the teapot. “More, Rebel?”
  Rebel moved her cup closer. “Unless I miss my guess, this will teach them to get along better, and I think it’ll fill the town with much needed Christmas spirit.” Her hand trembled when she lifted her tea. “I just wish I knew if Travis is alive.”
Meet Linda

I'm a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of 27 full length western romance novels and short stories. Watching TV westerns during my youth fed my love of cowboys and the old West and they still inspire me. Here in the Texas Panhandle, I can often hear the voices of the American Indians and early cowboys whispering in the breeze. I love chocolate, research, and watching movies.


Website: LindaBroday.com
Facebook Author Page:  http://facebook.com/lindabrodayauthor 


B&N:        http://bit.ly/2XljwcS
KOBO:     http://bit.ly/2knJDS9

Q & A

E.E. What is your favorite Christmas memory?
Linda: I must’ve been around seven years old and my daddy had been burned really bad the month before and was in the hospital. I didn’t know if we’d even have a Christmas at all because Mom spent all her time with him. I hoped Santa would come but I prayed harder that Daddy would get well enough to come home. I woke to a silent house on Christmas morning, my heart heavy and went to the living room. There sat my Daddy, talking low to Mama. His face and arms were heavily bandaged, but he was home. Nothing else mattered, including the lack of gifts.

E.E.: What is your favorite Christmas song?
Linda: There are so many but the one I love most is “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” by Elvis Presley and if you read my answer to the first question you’ll see why.

E.E.: What personality traits of yours helps you most as an author?
Linda: Discipline, determination, and persistence. I’m able to stay focused on my writing which enables me to meet my deadlines in addition to all the other hundreds of things required.

E.E.: Do you have a favorite quote?
Linda: “Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.” George Adair
It’s a reminder to face that fear and I’ll get the prize.

E.E.: Is your Christmas story The Christmas Wedding part of a series you’re writing?
Linda: Yes, Rebel Avery and Travis Lassiter are two characters from my Outlaw Mail Order Brides series. Rebel is a former saloon girl and rough around the edges, but she has a big heart. She’s taken in two orphans and given them a home. Travis is an outlaw and just prior to this story (in Saving the Mail Order Bride) he was captured by a bounty hunter. They’re so much in love.

E.E.: This outlaw series is interesting. Why did you want to write about a group of men who skirt the law?
Linda: If you think about it, outlaws were the original bad boys and what’s better than that? They fell into two classes—the good ones and the bad ones. The first are the men who found themselves in situations where they filled in for lawmen in areas where no law existed and found justice with a gun. They didn’t enjoy it, instead saw it as something that had to be done. The bad group were men who got a thrill out of killing and robbing and they deserved to die.

E.E.: What’s next?
Linda: THE MAIL ORDER BRIDE’S SECRET (Book #3 Outlaw Mail Order Brides) releases on January 28, 2020. This story is about outlaw Tait Trinity and Melanie Dunbar. Book 4 will release in the fall of next year and close the series. As yet I have no title for that one.
Check out the other stories in Longing for a Cowboy Christmas

Linda wants to know, do you have a favorite Christmas memory you can share?

To enter the raffle, leave your email address and a comment:

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C.H.'s ~ New Release: Christmas Comes to Apple Grove & Recipe Share

Pinch me! Today is a super-special day for me, it's our oldest grandson, Jack's, 8th birthday and therefore the day I wanted to release my very first Sweet Christmas Novella: Christmas Comes to Apple Grove.

For those of you who've read my Small Town USA Series, the patriarch of the Mulcahy family, Joe, has been widowed for more than a decade. Christmas is a time for miracles, and Joe deserves that miracle--a second chance at love.

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Joe Mulcahy’s Second Chance at Love…or is it?

Now that his three daughters are settled and busy with families of their own, he’s ready to declare himself to the lovely widow, Mary Murphy. But timing in life is everything…and Joe’s plans go awry.

Christmas is a Time for Miracles
Apple Grove’s residents are in on the plan to keep Mary and Joe from letting pride and bruised feelings get in the way of what’s really important—their love for one another.

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Recipe Share ~ C.H.'s No Sugar Applesauce

Since my stories are set in the fictional town of Apple Grove, I decided to share my go-to super easy applesauce recipe. And since I couldn't find the pictures of the last time I made applesauce with Macs, I had to cook some up! No hardship for my guys--grandsons included--they love homemade applesauce. ;)

By far my favorite apples to use are McIntosh and in a pinch Rome apples. They are sweet enough without having to add any sugar, and in my darling hubby's case a Godsend since he's diabetic and has to watch his carbs and sugars very carefully.

And...now to the recipe, which is kindof like my Grandmother Purcell's stuffing recipe in that I don't really use quantities, I do it by eye.

C.H.'s No Sugar Applesauce

6 McIntosh Apples* (or the apple of your choice, but remember if they are not sweet on their own, you may have to do the taste-test and add sugar as needed)

*I cut them in half and half again, cutting out the core--DO NOT SKIN THEM--and then cut the quarters into smaller pieces. (they cook more uniformly)*

Place in saucepan and add in enough water to cover the bottom to about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch or so.

Cook on low heat, checking to see if you need a dash more water, so the apples do not burn. NOTE: some apples are a bit drier if they are older.

Using your potato masher squish the apples down as they cook. Don't worry about the skins, they turn the applesauce a lovely pinkish color ;)

When they apples have cooked down and are soft, I put them through my mini food mill, it collects any random apple seeds that I missed along with the skins, which I don't like in my apple sauce. Just need the fabulous flavor and color ;)

Optional: add cinnamon to your own bowl...at least that's what I tell my guys. I think the apple is perfect on it's own sans sugar or cinnamon, but that's just me. LOL.

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For those of you who've spent time in Apple Grove, I'll be releasing the Sweet Version of my series beginning in January 2020. Love, love my new covers, created by author and graphic artist, Sahara Kelly.

Coming January 17, 2020

Coming February 17, 2020
Coming March 9, 2020

To celebrate, I'm giving away three (3) copies of Christmas Comes to Apple Grove--Reader's choice of print or e-book!

To enter, leave a comment...Do you believe in miracles?

May your life be filled with Christmas 
blessings all year long!

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Through My Lens: Balloon Fiesta

I have long wanted to attend the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta,,,mainly because of the sheer number of balloons there. AND it seemed like a very cool place to take some awesome pictures. Let me tell you that this event should be on EVERYONE's bucket list. $10.00 to attend (each session--we went to 2).

Wow...you get to walk among the balloons both during the night "glow" and while they're actually inflating and take off. It's beyond words. Exciting. Amazing. My Albuquerque cousin told me that when hot air balloons touch it's called "kissing",  Watch the short video Tim took that I call Walking Through Kisses,,,

Attending the Balloon Fiesta will always be one of my favorite memories. In honor of Alzheimer's Month, share a favorite memory of yours. 
Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for a book. You'll have to check back and contact us if you win.



E.E. Burke Welcomes Victorian Mystery Author C.A. Asbrey

Purchase from Amazon
Nat and Abigail have decided that Canada is their best bet for a clean start with their new baby. It the place where American and Scottish accents go relatively unnoticed, and newcomers can get lost in   a crowd. The problem is that Canada doesn’t have a transcontinental train, so they have to sneak back into the USA to get to the West coast.

The train is packed full of English butlers heading west. They hope to make a fortune providing the New World nouveau riche with the Old World class, which they are desperate to buy for their children. When the train is stuck in a rock fall, they find that a woman has been attacked in the night, and her moonstone stolen. Our heroes decide it’s best to solve the mystery rather than face too many questions.

They unravel a mystery which has evil tentacles reaching across oceans. Will they be caught up in them too?              


The snow around the body was stained with blood, which had seeped into the ground, discoloring and contaminating it with a cloud of darkening gore.
Jake waved an arm at the birds jumping in to pick at what was left of her cheek. “Git!”
A raven fluttered away to the safety of nearby rocks to stare at him with indignant black eyes. Food was precious in this weather, and a prize like this wasn’t to be abandoned easily. He would wait until this human moved on and resume his feast in peace. Persistence paid off in a harsh climate.
Nat paused and eyed his uncle with practiced caution. “How are you feeling? I know how things like this take you. How’s the irritable heart?”
“Well, I’ve learned more since I saw that doc in Edinburgh,” said Jake. “I ain’t lookin’. That’s a help.”
“No palpitations? No sweats?” asked Nat. “When it’s a woman it brings back the bad memories.”
“It’d help if you’d stop goin’ on about it,” Jake snapped.   
Nat nodded and crouched over the body, noting the spiraling stress in the older man. “Her throat’s been cut.” The phrase seemed almost redundant, given the gaping, open wound staring back at them. Nat pointed at the long, thin, spray-like stain coloring the snow for yards leading up to the body. He frowned and stood deep in thought, before striding the length of the splotch, obviously counting as he went. He stood at the clean virgin snow before the long blood-splatter began, and glanced between the tracks and the cadaver, his gloved hand on his chin.
“So?” Jake demanded. “What’re you lookin’ at?”
“You see this long, thin blood stain?”
Nat sighed deeply. “Her throat was cut.”
“I can see that.”
“The train was traveling about twenty miles an hour, according to the conductor.” Nat pointed to the start of the blood spray in the snow. “Now, if her throat was slit when she was standing on the observation deck when the train was here, it would be carried outwards by the momentum of the train to hit the snow here.” He strode the length of the blotch, counting once more. “This is about fifteen yards long. There are two hundred and twenty yards in a furlong and eight furlongs in a mile. That’s seventeen hundred and sixty yards in a mile.”
Jake dismounted, well used to his nephew’s analytical mind. He was prepared to indulge it as long as he didn’t have to stare at the body. “Go on.”
“So, it would take an hour to travel seventeen hundred and sixty yards. That means it would take about thirty seconds to travel fourteen or fifteen yards. We can’t be sure of the exact speed of the train, but the blood sprayed from her body for a distance of just over fourteen yards before she hit the ground.”
Jake pushed back his hat and gazed aimlessly at the heavy sky. “So she had her throat slit and blood spurted out for almost half a minute before she either fell or was thrown from the train?”
“That’s about the size of it, Jake. We can check for traces of blood when we get back to see where it happened. I’m guessing it was the observation deck at the back.”
“She must have seen the thief. Why didn’t she cry out? I didn’t hear a thing and I’m a real light sleeper.”
“It’s hard to shout with a cut throat.” Nat sighed heavily and stared down at the last mortal remains of Maud Davies. “Maybe she was in on it, and her accomplice decided they wanted all the cash for themselves?”
“She wouldn’t be the first to go that way.” Jake strode over to the packhorse and hauled at the load. “Whatever happened, I’m glad we brought those tarpaulins. Let’s get her wrapped up, and get back to the train. It’ll be gettin’ dark in a couple of hours.”

About the Author

Chris Asbrey has lived and worked all over the world in the Police Service, Civil Service, and private industry, working for the safety and security of the public. A life-changing injury meant a change of course into contract law and consumer protection for a department attached to the Home Office.
In that role, she produced magazine and newspaper articles based on consumer law and wrote guides for the Consumer Direct Website. She was Media Trained, by The Rank Organization, and acted as a consultant to the BBC's One Show and Watchdog. She has also been interviewed on BBC radio answering questions on consumer law to the public.
She lives with her husband, and two daft cats, in York, England.  

Blog - http://caasbrey.com/
The Innocents Mystery Series Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/937572179738970/ 
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/mysteryscrivener/
Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/author/caasbrey
Twitter - https://twitter.com/CAASBREY
Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17899618.C_A_Asbrey

E.E. What turns you off like nothing else?
Christine: For me the biggest turn on has to be a sense of humor. Nothing makes a man more attractive than a sparkling mind and the ability to make me laugh. We all go through tough times in life, and being with someone who can pick you up and make you chuckle in the face of adversity is priceless. I also value intelligence. I have met a man who was absolutely gorgeous, but had the communication skills of the average doorknob. Looks alone don’t do it for me. There has to be something behind the eyes, and a personality to engage with. There’s also something quite intoxicating about a blend of strength with compassion or kindness.
I suppose I’m very like most writers in that I write what I find attractive. My heroes are smart and funny, but they all share a real humanity. Nothing strips a man of magnetism than a lack of empathy. Be they wisecracking or laconic, the men I write are  both strong and caring.

E.E.: Where do you read and how often?
Christine: I’ll read anywhere and anytime. I have a lovely porch in my garden where I love to sit on my rocking chair and read. I don’t like music when I’m outside. I want the sounds of nature when I’m outside. I have a fountain shaped like a copper willow three, and the water runs over the branches. It attracts birds and insects to drink and wash, and the dragonflies and birdsong make for the loveliest backdrop to an afternoon’s reading. In the winter, you can’t beat being in front of a roaring fire while the horrible weather does its worst outside. I’m just in the process of moving to York, so I’ll have to build up another garden in my new house. All the best elements of my current garden will be recreated there. As you’ve probably guessed, I do love my garden.
When I was younger I read in bed every single night. I now find that I can’t concentrate at bedtime quite so well, mainly because I tend to write late and go to bed when I’m dog-tired, so that has changed. I’m definitely more owl than lark, but I now use up that late-night burst of energy writing, rather than reading.

E.E.: What is your biggest vice?
Christine: Definitely tea. It’s always on the go here, and I can’t imagine a day without it. I’m a bit of a purist in that I have to pour the water in while it’s still at a rolling boil, and allow it to infuse in a teapot. I always drink from china cups. It just doesn’t taste the same out of earthenware. When I travel I always have a travel kettle and teabags in my suitcase, as my morning cup sets me up for the day. I blame my father, who also loved his tea and who got me hooked. I’ve never been a big fan of coffee, but I think my relationship with tea is very similar to that of most coffee addicts.   
My evening vice is wine. It’s definitely evening only as kit makes me feel sleepy and I don’t want that during the day. If I’m drink red wine, it has to be a deep, rich, plumy red like a Primitivo. If I’m drinking white, it has to be very dry.

E.E.: Is writing or story-telling easier for you?
Christine: I think of myself first and foremost as a storyteller. All favorite books have sweeping storylines; Jamaica Inn, Rebecca, The Great Gatsby, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Lord of the Rings, 84 Charring Cross Road  – to name just a few. They feature characters facing adversity and insurmountable odds, or paint a vivid picture of a time or place. I’m not a fan of books where nothing much happens for long periods of time, or where there’s a lot of description or minutiae.

My favorite stories feature ordinary people thrown into extraordinary situations, which then bring out qualities they didn’t even know they had until they had to deal with the obstacles and tensions. I’ve always said that romance happened in my life while I was living it, and it wasn’t always somewhere romantic. That’s how I try to write it. My first husband and I bonded over a corpse (purely professional), while I met my second through a love of live music. While the second might sound more romantic, it was through a fog of widowhood and loss, and a realization that life had changed forever. The first was in the flush of youth and was lit by the optimism and certainty of youth. My life has given me many experiences, which I hope have given me a richer understanding of life.

E.E.: Which of your characters would you most/least to invite to dinner, and why?
The character I’d least like to meet is David Bartholemew, the totally selfish and amoral murderer from my third book, Innocent Bystander. He’s arrogant, greedy, sexist, and cruel. It’s only his superficial charm, which he can turn on at will, which gets him through society. My heroine’s sister runs off to marry him against the family’s wishes, but as she’s a Pinkerton detective she starts to suspect there’s more to this man than meets the eye. A bit of digging shows that he has multiple identities, and that each of his previous wives has died mysteriously in their sleep. No cause of death can found, but Abigail is sure Bartholemew is murdering them. It’s just that nobody can find a cause of death.

As he’s a scientist it takes all the smarts both she and Nat have to find out how he kills – and they have to, if they want to stop her sister from being next.

I’d love to meet either of my heroes. Of course both are handsome! Nat Quinn is clever, charming, witty, humane, and has a mind like quick silver. Even though he’s a criminal, he has a code of honor and avoids violent crimes. He likes to use the new sciences of the 19th century to commit his crimes in the same way as the heroine uses them to solve crime.
Jake Conroy is Nat’s uncle, the youngest child of his Nat’s mother’s family . Nat was only four when their families were killed, and Jake brought Nat up from the age of 12. He became good with a gun to keep his loved ones safe, but still suffers from episodes of Irritable Heart (the 19th century name for PTSD) from witnessing the violent loss of his family as a child. He is a man of few words, but with enormous emotional depth and intelligence. He can also be very funny, and keeps his nephew in check by reigning in his worst excesses.

Both men drifted into crime to survive, but found their skills made them very good at it. They never rob innocent people, preferring to hit at the large business interests who tried to sell them off as cheap labor when they were orphaned.

What one thing about your hero drives his heroine crazy? And what one thing about your heroine drives her hero nuts?

They say opposites attract, but they do need to have a reasonable amount in common. I made my hero and heroine have loads in common; they love the new sciences of the 19th century, they read, they constantly keep themselves up to date with further research, they are skilled determined, share a core common value of humanity, and they have quick, inventive and clever minds. The only problem is that they are on opposite side of the law and she is the Pinkerton Detective sent to bring him in. Nat is far too chivalrous to actually hurt her, and they are drawn to one another despite each being a danger to the other.

There is one area which drives Nat nuts about Abigail. Abigail tells him very little about herself or her past, so he does not know she’s a young widow, and suffered a dreadful catalogue of loss. The rawness of that loss still hurts, and causes her to make rash decisions which put her in dangerous situations. As he observes in book one, “It’s like she doesn’t care about her own life.” And there’s a reason for that. Part of her doesn’t.

What drives her crazy about Nat? She sees a clever, talented man. One who can feel at home in almost any company. He’s an educated person, with whom she shares many values, but who is throwing away his whole life in a life of crime. He justifies this by pointing out to her that he drifted into crime to survive as a child, and did so in Wyoming where there is no statute of limitations. This means that he could give up crime, but he will still be a wanted man for as long as he lives. This dilemma keeps him committing crime, partly because he’ll be wanted anyway, and also because he’d never met anyone who made him want to exchange his exciting life for a more mundane life—until he meets Abigail.

What’s your favorite kid joke?

What’s brown and sticky? A stick.

What was the first story you remember writing?

I always wanted to write, but life got in the way, as I’m sure it does for many people. When I had a serious accident a few years ago, I found that the enforced leisure rekindled that idea. This is when I started writing the stories about the female Pinkerton Detective which had been percolating for years. I did, however have another couple of ideas years ago. The first was one I started writing many years ago, which was based in the story of an unknown infant washed up on a Scottish beach. Her identity was never established, and all the labels had been cut out of her clothes. Nobody ever claimed her body, and the town clubbed together to bury the child and provide a gravestone. The mystery was so poignant it stimulated my imagination, but the plot was never fully-formed and it came to nothing.

The next is the book I plan to write after I finish The Innocents Mysteries Series. It is a mystery set in Edinburgh in two time periods; the present and 19th century. I don’t want to give too much away but it is a gothic historical murder mystery, romance, and again features some of the 19th century forensics which made Edinburgh medical school famous.      

CA will give away a copy of her Innocents series to a lucky reader (4 books!). Just enter the Rafflecopter and leave a comment. 

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