Monday, 25 August 2014

Maggie Shayne's WINGS IN THE NIGHT Celebration Tour

I am so excited today! In my long experience of being an avid reader, there are a few authors that have left their mark, that I have stuck with, that I have made a point of getting my hands on every single book they have written. Today's guest is one such author. Her words are literally magic.

Today's guest has written books that have fueled my imagination, that have given me courage, and hope. 

I am delighted to welcome Maggie Shayne!

She is touring some fantastic blogs this month to promote her latest release; Twilight Guardians: Wings in the Night Reborn

(from the publisher)
Maggie Shayne is best known as the New York Times bestselling author of more than 50 novels, nearly 30 novellas, a former soap writer, (The Guiding Light, As the World Turns,) a former advice columnist (Shayne on You,) and RITA Award winner. But what’s less known about her is that she’s been a practicing Witch for almost as long as she’s been a published author.
Known within the Craft of the Wise as LadyHawk the Mythmaker, Maggie studied in the Black Forest Circle Seminary for three years, earning her 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree elevations there. A licensed minister of Wicca, Maggie was later made a Craft Elder, and co-founded a new Wiccan tradition called RavenMyst Circle. Her coven, The Coven of the Redtail Hawk, turned out five new high priestesses, several of whom went on to form covens of their own, and making Maggie, according to the Old Ways, A Witch Queen.
Maggie has published westerns, category romances, romantic suspense, paranormal romances, urban fantasy, women's fiction, and just about everything in between. She's a winner of the RITA Award, the romance fiction industry's most prestigious prize, and has won countless others including several RT BOOK RREVIEWS "Reviewer's Choice" Awards, two RT Career Achievement Awards, the Daphne du Maurier Award, The Golden Leaf Award and numerous others.

Maggie's "Twilight" series of vampire novels, officially known as Wings in the Night, began in 1993 with TWILIGHT PHANTASIES from Silhouette Shadows. The series concluded with TWILIGHT FULFILLED in October 2011, but has come back to life now that she has gone indie.

Q1:  Can you tell us 3 random things about yourself?
A: 1. Every time we go out for ice cream, I get a peanut-butter cup flurry. 2. I love birds. I’m actually kind of a bird nut. My ring tone is “I like Birds.” 3. I’m a hermit. It takes a lot to get me to leave my home. I love it here. Bonus Random Thing 4: I’m a mystic and a witch. I meditate. I channel. I counsel. I cast and conjure. I read tarot cards and interpret signs in nature. I philosophize. I have frequent spiritual breakthroughs and “aha!” moments. And I am constantly seeking a deeper level of understanding about all things.

Q2:  What’s a typical writing day like for you?
A: First there are several hours of procrastination, followed by repeatedly sitting down at the desk and getting up again because I forgot something (fresh coffee, a cordless phone, my glasses.) Then finally, I get started. I usually write hard for a solid two or three hours, during which time I become so enmeshed in my fictional world that I lose track of the one around me. I’ve had experiences when I was writing a blizzard scene during the summer, and when I finally looked up from my desk, and out the window beyond it, I was momentarily lost, wondering where the snow had gone. It’s very very intense and exhausting. Anything over two hours, and my brain is mush for a few hours afterward. I take a long long time to answer questions, and mostly just act like a zombie for a while. But then I come back around.

Q3:  You’ve been writing for quite awhile. Can you tell us a little bit about how your journey to getting your first book published went and how it’s been since then?
A: Oh my first one! I had five little girls, about two years apart. The oldest was 14 and the youngest was about to start kindergarten. I had been writing and submitting for a few years by then, but nothing was happening. I had promised myself that if I hadn’t sold a book by the time my youngest daughter Lisa (who is the model on the cover of Twilight Guardians, by the way) started kindergarten, I would get a “real job.” Two weeks before that fateful day, I had a call from an editor at Silhouette (now Harlequin.) I tried to take the call in my bedroom for privacy, but all five girls followed. 5, 7, 9, 11, and 14, and every one of them knew how important this was to me. The editor said she wanted to buy RECKLESS ANGEL for Intimate Moments (now Romantic Suspense) and to suggest revisions to TWILIGHT PHANTASIES which I had submitted to the “Shadows” line. I managed to sound very businesslike and calm as I sank to the floor, because my knees had given out. The girls were all bouncing and clenching their jaws to keep quiet, wide eyed, wondering if this was it. (Except the little one, who was probably just bouncing because everyone else was.) And as soon as I hung up, and turned to them, and said, “Mommy’s book is going to be published,” all six females in that room started screaming and jumping and hugging. It was a good thing we lived in the country. Close neighbors would’ve called 911!

A month later, the editor bought the revised Twilight Phantasies too, and I was published in both lines. That was in 1992. As excited as I was to have a dream come true, there is no way I could’ve known then how thoroughly my life had just changed.

By the end of 2014 I will have published 60 novels and 28 novellas for almost every major publisher in the industry. I’ve hit the New York Times and USA Today Bestseller Lists many times over. I’ve won a RITA Award and countless other industry awards. I spent a year writing for CBS Daytime soaps. And earlier this year, I took a huge leap of faith to become a fully independent author, writing for my own label, Thunderfoot Publishing.

Q4:  If you could choose 3 words to describe yourself and your journey as an author so far, what would they be?
A: Dream. Believe. Receive.

Q5:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?
A: Pantser, all the way. I almost never know what’s going to happen until it does. Once I have an idea, I’ll usually generate a handful of major turning point, big important scenes that I know I want to include, but even those can change as I write. It’s all channeled. At least that’s how it feels. Like I’m “finding” the story somewhere in the astral, and writing it down to be shared here on earth. It’s not at all like I’m making it up. It’s like it already exists somewhere and I’m just locating it, uncovering it, brushing it off, and putting it on display. Like an archaeologist digging up bits of ancient civilizations.

Q6:   What are you the most proud of with regards to your career thus far?
A: A reader was pregnant and the baby, she was told, would not survive. The pregnancy was high risk to the mother. She should abort right away. She was despondent, naturally. Her teenage daughter found one of my books at a lawn sale and brought it to cheer her mother up. It was EDGE OF TWILIGHT. The daughter had no idea what it was about, but knew her mom had enjoyed my stories in the past. In that book, there is a doomed pregnancy, and a miraculously happy ending. The reader took the storyline as a message, as a sign, and she decided to keep her baby and take her chances. Her choice, and fully her right to make it. Anyway, she continued the pregnancy against medical advice, and later delivered a healthy baby girl. Both of them are fine and well to this day. She wrote to me after the baby was born to tell me about all this. I still have that note. It’s one I’ll cherish always. I think the Universe used my book to reach that reader, and I’m so very grateful to have been a small part of what can only be described as a miracle.

Q7:  Was there any specific inspiration behind the creation of Twilight Guardians?

A: I wanted to begin a new chapter of Wings in the Night, where new readers could begin without having read the earlier novels. This is a new start, hence the “Reborn” part of the series name. But at the same time, I knew longtime fans of the series would want to catch up with beloved characters. This was a big challenge, but I think we’ve hit the balance here. We have two couples, a beloved pair, Rhiannon, the diva of the entire series, and her mate Roland, coming to the aid of a young vampire named Killion who believes he is the last of his kind, and the girl who’s being trained to hunt his kind, Charlie O’Malley. It’s hard to put any heroine into a book with Rhiannon because Rhiannon tends to outshine everyone around her. However, Charlie really rose to the occasion, and even Rhiannon grudgingly admires her by the story’s end.

Q8:  What are you the most proud of with regards to Twilight Guardians?
 A: Besides the fact that my youngest daughter is on the cover? :) I’m proud of the growth of female lead Charlie. She starts the story as a young woman who’s been treated like a piece of fragile china her entire life, and she ends the story kicking ass and taking names. It’s a huge evolution for her, and it’s an extremely empowering story for women, young and old.

Q9:  Can you tell us a little bit more about the characters of Twilight Guardians?
 A: Killian is one of the loneliest people I’ve come across. He thinks he’s the only vampire left in the world, as this story opens after human/vampire wars have supposedly wiped them all out. He doesn’t know about a group of undead in hiding across the Atlantic. Charlie is a tragic case of a woman who learns she’s going to die very young, and suddenly realizes she has not yet lived. These two have so much to teach each other as we go along. Rhiannon, who can sometimes come off as a bit of a diva bitch, is brought to her knees by a little surprise in this book, (and Roland by a big one) and she and Roland enter a very new phase of a very old relationship.

Q10:  How long have you had the story for Twilight Guardians in your head and how did it come to be?
A: I came up with the barest bones of the story in February just as I finished the final book of my publishing contract. I wrote an outline for it to begin my next contract, and to my surprise, my publisher had very different ideas. This was a large part of my decision to go indie. That’s how much this series means to me. I had tried to let it go for two years, and it just wouldn’t leave me alone. So I took a giant leap of faith. I started writing immediately and had a first draft in about 10 weeks.

Q11:  What was the most challenging thing about bringing Twilight Guardians to life?
 A: Not letting Rhiannon take over the story. Keeping the focus on the main couple. Writing a younger heroine and not having her sound and think like someone my own age. But those are little things. I’m finding the hardest thing right now is to finish the story and let it go. I keep thinking it needs one more draft, and one more and one more. I don’t have a big payment waiting for me the day I finally declare it done and let it go so I can keep polishing as long as I want, and I’m finding I’m jittery and nervous about calling it finished. It will be my first entirely independent full length novel, so...I’m riding without training wheels here.

Q11:  What are you hoping readers will take away from reading Twilight Guardians?
 A: My message is always some version of “Love is the strongest force in the Universe.” That’s the sermon I preach with every story, and it’s why I write in the genre I do. There are really only two motivations behind every act we undertake in life. Love and fear. Hate is just a manifestation of fear. If we can trust in love, and try always to make the decision that’s based on love, I think our lives would be happier and there would be peace on earth.

Q12:  What’s up next for WINGS IN THE NIGHT: REBORN?
 A: It hasn’t come to me yet, but it will. :) 

Thank you so much for stopping by the blog Maggie, it was so much fun!!

Twilight Guardians

Print Length: 400 pages
Publisher: Thunderfoot Publishing


Add the book to your GoodReads Shelf

Discounted price Pre-Order ($2.00 off regular price!):

"My inspiration has always been Maggie Shayne's Wings in the Night." #1 New York Times Bestselling Author, Christine Feehan

They told 20-year-old Charlie O’Malley that they had a cure for the rare blood condition that would eventually kill her–an untested, experimental cure. All they wanted in return was for her to join their elite military team and train to kill the Undead.

She took the deal, not because she cared so much about extending her life, but because it would make her strong–stronger than ordinary humans. Strong enough to kill the vampire who’d pretended to love her, taken her blood, used her body, and murdered her mother.

Killion was the last of his kind, or so he thought. When he found Charlie, he felt the pull. She had the rare Belladonna Antigen all vampires had as humans. Vampires were compelled to protect those rare mortals they called The Chosen. But with Charlie, the bond was different, more powerful than anything he’s felt before, and impossible to resist, even though surrendering to it will probably get him killed.

Ancient vampire elders Rhiannon and Roland come out of exile, risking their lives to help their mortal friend Roxy reclaim her granddaughter. But before the tale ends, their lives will be forever changed.

Join Maggie Shayne as she returns to her most beloved series of all time with this new beginning….

Wings in the Night: Reborn

To celebrate the release of Twilight Guardians, Maggie has some giveaways!  

Maggie is offering up a $100 Amazon Giftcard to a lucky grand-prize winner at the end of the tour, a Runner-Up prize of a new Kindle, PLUS an eCopy of Twilight Guardians for a random commenter at each Tour Stop.
Find the Rafflecopter for the Event here, follow the directions, take action, and mark as ‘Done’.
To see the complete list of tour stops so you can read some great Q&A’s, Interviews, Guest Posts and more check out the full Wings in the Night Reborn Celebration Tour Schedule HERE.

You didn't think we could finish without mentioning the original series did you?
I'll let the expert take over from here, Rhiannon, if you please?

WELCOME to the World of Wings in the Night! You may begin here…

I am the vampiress Rhiannon. I would like to tell you how I, and my stories, came to be.
In 1991, before “paranormal romance” even existed, my authoress, Maggie Shayne wrote a vampire romance short story she called Twilight Phantasies and submitted it to several fiction magazines. One responded favorably, saying they loved the tale, but had a policy of only buying from their subscribers. So if she would kindly send them the hefty subscription fee, they’d be happy to make her an offer. Maggie was not yet a published author, but she was also not an idiot. (Had she been, I would not have chosen her to tell these tales I’ve been whispering into her brain for the past twenty years.) So she decided to just keep working and the story grew into a novel. 

In 1992, she submitted it to Silhouette Books’ brand new line called Shadows, a line that was far ahead of its time. It was very well received, but the editor asked her to do some revising. An offer could not be made until she did, because she was so new. The revisions were mainly about cutting back heavily on a secondary character, my beloved Roland de Courtemanche, and keeping the focus on the book’s main couple, Eric Marquand and Tamara Dey. I had every intention of paying the editor a midnight visit for this insult, until she said, “Don’t cut Roland’s scenes. Save them for the sequel. He needs a book of his own.” It was in that moment that the Wings in the Night Series was born, even though the author didn’t realize it at the time.

When the revisions were complete, Silhouette bought the novel for a four thousand dollar advance. Sadly, Shadows was doomed before it began. As I said, ahead of its time. The paranormal romance craze was only a seedling, just beginning to germinate, and nowhere near the phenomenon it would later become. The Shadows cover art had a comic or graphic novel look about it. It did not scream “romance fiction.” No matter. It is my belief that the line’s chief reason for existence was to help give birth to my stories. Once Wings in the Night began, even the line’s eventual demise could not stop it.
My authoress was on fire as I pried open her channels and continued pouring stories into her mind. She didn’t know where they were coming from back then. But it was an effort. When she first began my story, I was drawn as the villainess of the piece, and some weak and pathetic mortal female was supposed to be Roland’s mate! I schooled myself to patience. My authoress was just learning, after all. She did not yet understand who I was.
Trust me when I tell you, she does now.

Twilight Memories, my story, was published next, in 1994. You’ll have to pardon the blue eye shadow. It was the nineties, after all. I did finally get through to my authoress. In fact, I opened the lines of communication so widely, that I dictated the opening of the story. Those first four pages marked “Introduction” truly were my introduction to my authoress. I was speaking to her, telling her who and what I am, warning her that I am no one to be trifled with.
She merely wrote down what I said. And I’ve been dictating the stories of my people to her ever since.

One more novel, Twilight Illusions, featuring the magician Damien Namtar (formerly known as King Gilgamesh of Ancient Sumer) and his fledgling Shannon, was published under the Silhouette Shadows line. Damien is our link to our origins, a link that continues to unfurl all the way through Book 20 of the series. But I digress.
After this book was published, Silhouette Shadows closed down. My authoress received two messages. One from her publisher, telling her there would be no more Wings in the Night. The second was from me, telling her to begin the next book right away. She listened to me, and wrote Born in Twilight over the next eight weeks. Flat.
Shadows died. Silhouette was absorbed by Harlequin. Harlequin has been purchased by Rupert Murdoch. But Wings in the Night lived through it all, and still lives on.
My authoress has taken my advice and broken free of all of them. She will no longer allow fat, rich, mortal men to become fatter and richer from the fruits of her labor, but rather, will continue to share her gift and my voice directly with you. This also means my contact with you will be far less diluted. Less filtered. More like…a direct current.
Wings in the Night includes 15 novels, 4 novellas, and 1 “online read”
So far….
A brand new incarnation of the series begins this year with Wings in the Night: Reborn
Book One, TWILIGHT GUARDIANS will be a September 1, 2014 release in both print and electronic formats, from Maggie’s own label, Thunderfoot. And for those of you who missed the first 20 books, this is a fresh start. You may begin here….


Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Book Review: Return to Homecoming Ranch (Pine River Book 2)

Return to Homecoming Ranch by Julia London

Format: eBook via Netgalley
Publisher: Montlake Romance

About the Book: Curly-haired Libby Tyler never stops smiling…until her beloved boyfriend suddenly forces her out of their home and away from his adoring kids. When she learns he dumped her for his flighty ex-wife, Libby’s sadness turns to fury—and she very publicly smashes his truck with a golf club, earning herself a trip to a mental health center for some “rest.”
Handsome, hazel-eyed deputy Sam Winters has been sober for two years. Afraid of backsliding, he lives in the mountains and keeps his distance from people. Yet he never forgot Libby, his former colleague at the sheriff’s office whose charm and cheerfulness always warmed his days.
Now Libby’s back, ignoring the townspeople’s whispers (and her ex’s restraining order) while desperately trying to make Homecoming Ranch a successful event destination. She keeps causing trouble for Sam, but he finds her smile more beautiful than ever…and his touch gives her thrills she’s never felt. Could these two lost souls mend each other’s broken hearts?
About the Author: Julia London is the New York TimesUSA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of more than twenty romantic fiction novels. Her historical romance titles include the popular Desperate Debutantes series, the Scandalous series, and the Secrets of Hadley Green series. She has also penned several contemporary women’s fiction novels with strong romantic elements, including the Pine River trilogy, Summer of Two WishesOne Season of Sunshine, and A Light at Winter’s End. She has won the RT Bookclub Award for Best Historical Romance, and has been a four-time finalist for the prestigious RITA Award for excellence in romantic fiction. She lives in Austin, Texas.

I have been a long time fan of Julia London's Historical Romance novels, and only a few years ago discovered her Contemporaries. Well, it doesn't matter if it's an assembly in a glittering London ballroom, or a ranch house of a dusty country road; the woman can write. Her multiple awards are nothing to sneeze at either.

 Return to Homecoming Ranch is the second novel in the Pine River series (the first was Homecoming Ranch) I don't think it is necessary to have read the first book in the series to understand the characters and the dynamics, but it would help. (It's also lovely to know all you can about this wonderful cast of characters)

Both main characters are flawed, not in the "I have a chipped tooth but I'm still adorable" way or even the "I wear mis-matched clothes and can't cook" way. But in the "I flipped out and bashed my ex-boyfriends car with a golf club" way (I'm sure we've all had days like that.) This doesn't make them bad people, it makes them people, and they are all the more likeable for it. Libby was just so sweet and goodhearted, it's impossible not to like her or relate to her. I could feel myself cringing at some of the situations that Libby finds (and puts) herself in, but I could also feel how she really didn't see or feel that she had much of a choice. It was heartwarming to watch the relationship between Libby and Sam develop. 
Sam has demons of his own, in the form of an ex-wife and a drinking problem. But he is a strong character, doing his best to survive.
Watching these two picking up the pieces of their old lives and eventually building a future together was wonderful. It had ups and downs, and some very low downs, but in the end love prevails.
The book deals with many issues that are not standard issue; alcoholism and PTSD to mention a couple. Julia does a masterful job of treating these issues seriously, but respectfully and helps to provide the human side of what is all too often misunderstood.

And then there's Leo. You may want to read the book for him alone. He's a former football stud with a motor neuron disease, but that doesn't stop him. He's charming, witty, observant and manipulative (in the best way) and still very much the stud. 

I highly recommend this book.

Return to Homecoming Ranch is available for purchase on, and at Barnes and Noble as well as other book retailers.

About Homecoming RanchMadeline Pruett has made up for a lonely childhood and being raised by an irresponsible single mom by creating a solitary world where timetables and highlighters are essential for the predictability she craves. But Madeline is shocked out of her carefully constructed life by word that a father she never knew has died and left her an inheritance and, surprisingly, two unknown sisters. Madeline hopes that she can fly to Colorado, meet her sisters, discover her inheritance, and return to Orlando in a few days to close the biggest deal of her budding real estate career and get back to what she knows best: a quiet life.
For years, Luke Kendrick has juggled school and career and rescuing his family from illness, death and financial crisis. But he has never lost sight of his goals: building and selling his own dream homes. Just when it seems that dream might finally materialize, Luke is called home to Pine River, Colorado to reclaim the ranch his father lost in a gentlemen’s agreement. He is not surprised—Luke’s family knows he will put his life on hold to rescue them...again. But Luke is surprised by a sexy yet uptight button-up woman in impractical shoes who thinks his ranch now belongs to her.
Madeline isn’t sure how to put order to a sprawling, rundown ranch, not to mention a pair of sisters who are nothing like what she imagined or hoped them to be. The only thing she’s sure of is that careful planning is useless in a place where roads have names like Sometimes Pass and men as ruggedly handsome as Luke Kendrick behave so unpredictably.
As Luke and Madeline go toe to toe over the future of the ranch, sparks fly as hot and fiery as their kisses. Madeline thinks she’s the expert, but it’s Luke who teaches her a thing or two—about breaking down walls, finding home, and the true meaning of family.

Homecoming Ranch is available for purchase on, as well as other book retailers.