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The Stranger Final Cover.jpgAnna del Mar writes hot, smart romances that soothe the soul, challenge the mind, and satisfy the heart. Her stories focus on strong heroines struggling to find their place in the world and the brave, sexy, kickass, military heroes who defy their limits to protect the women they love. She’s the author of The Asset, At the Brink and her newest romantic suspense, The Stranger. Anna enjoys traveling, hiking, skiing, and the sea. Writing is her addiction, her drug of choice, and what she wants to do all the time. The extraordinary men and women she met during her years as a Navy wife inspire the fabulous heroes and heroines at the center of her stories. When she stays put—which doesn’t happen very often—she lives in Florida with her indulgent husband and two very opinionated cats.

Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, The Stranger. To begin with, can you gives us a brief summary of what the story is about and what compelled you to write it?   

A: The Stranger  is my third novel, my newest romantic suspense and the second book of my Wounded Warrior Series, following on the heels of the Amazon bestseller, The Asset. Just in case you’re wondering, you don’t have to read the novels of the series in order, because each book is a standalone journey.

In The Stranger, Alaskan tycoon and ex-military pilot Seth Erickson is fighting his own demons, but when he finds Summer Silva, a beautiful, warmth-loving, Miami woman stranded in the frozen wilderness, he’ll do everything in his power to keep her safe from murder, treason, and the ruthless Alaskan winter.

I wrote The Stranger after my kids dragged me out of the comfort of my writing studio. I’m not exactly the outdoor type, you know, but Alaska was totally stunning and irresistible to my writer’s mind. Hiking the backcountry, riding in tiny airplanes, floating in aluminum boats over icy lakes, it was all knew to me. I knew I wanted to drop a couple of feisty characters haunted by their demons in the middle of all that spectacular, ruthless beauty and watch them deal with the challenges as their lust turned into forever love.

Q: What do you think makes a good romantic suspense? Could you narrow it down to the three most important elements? Is it even possible to narrow it down?

A: I think we talked about this the last time you and I sat down to chat, when The Asset was released.  My views haven’t changed. I don’t know that we can define the elements of a good romantic suspense per se, but I think strong, vivid, authentic and evolving characters make a difference, as does a well-constructed plot that challenges and defies the characters and a rich, interesting setting. In that sense, Alaska was the dream setting for a romantic suspense. In the end, the relationship is always at the center of the story and our ability to connect to those characters is key. When I write, I always want to reach out and touch the reader’s heart.

Q: How did you go about plotting your story? Or did you discover it as you worked on the book?

A: I had a general idea of how the story was going to go when I started to write, but in The Stranger, the characters really drove the plot and created their own challenges and fireworks. In that sense, Summer and Seth’s journey was very much their own. These were two very opinionated, capable people who valued self-reliance and had no clue how much they needed each other. No bossy author was going to tell them otherwise. They had to figure it out themselves.

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist and how you developed him or her. Did you do any character interviews or sketches prior to the actual writing?

A: I had a pretty good idea of who Summer and Seth were when I started writing. I didn’t do any character interviews, but I jolted down the basics. Summer is a warmth-loving Miami architect who went to Alaska only because her reckless younger sister ran away with a guy she met on the internet. Alaska has never been on her list of places she wanted to visit. Summer is on the fiery side, but she’s also dutiful and hardworking. As an architect, she designs plans, buildings, lives. Being out of control challenges her in every way. But Summer also has a secret, one that makes her distrustful and vulnerable in a way she hates, the secret that leads her to Seth’s bed. That secret is at the core of who she is and who she will become as she falls in love with Seth.

As to Seth, he was also very defined from the start. He’s a powerful Alaskan tycoon dealing with a quarreling family and a hostile takeover attempt. He’s also a helicopter pilot, a wounded warrior struggling to recover from injuries he sustained while serving in Afghanistan, a man haunted by his past and fighting his own demons. Seth is your classic alpha, blunt, systematic and precise, always cool and in command, a man who despises emotion and sticks to his icy logic… until he meets Summer Silva.

Q: In the same light, how did you create your antagonist or villain? What steps did you take to make him or her realistic?

A: Summer and Seth’s foes were people who were very close to them. In that sense, I used the values that made them two really outstanding people—like the loyalty they each have for their respective families—to play up the conflict with villains that are also traitors. At the end of the day, our greatest strengths are also our greatest weaknesses.

Q: How did you keep your narrative exciting throughout the novel? Could you offer some practical, specific tips?

A: I think pace and timing are important for the suspense part of the genre. I think relationship progression does the same for the romantic angle. And then there are the disruptions. Those always up the ante.

Q: Setting is also quite important and in many cases it becomes like a character itself. What tools of the trade did you use in your writing to bring the setting to life?

A: Alaska is for sure the third protagonist of this story and I didn’t hold back. The landscape, the wildlife, the daring, it all made it into the story. I played up the contrasts, showed Seth as the master of his environment and dropped tropical Summer into one bad situation after another. She came across icy desolate roads, Bering Sea superstorms, bears, the wilderness and even a plane crash in the Alaskan Range. The tools of the trade were piled all over my desk.

Q: Did you know the theme(s) of your novel from the start or is this something you discovered after completing the first draft? Is this theme(s) recurrent in your other work?

A: The themes were familiar to me, because my Wounded Warrior series is all about lust and love’s extraordinary healing powers. At the end of day is not about the wounds at all. It’s about the joy of redemption and the power that we all have to reclaim our lives and love with all we’ve got. At the same time, I don’t want to tell the same story twice. The Stranger is a very different novel from The Asset. And it should be.

Q: Where does craft end and art begin? Do you think editing can destroy the initial creative thrust of an author?

A: The craft part is in the basic techniques, grammar, punctuation, formatting, mechanics. The art part is in how it all comes together into a readable symphony. There are editors out there who can tear apart a manuscript and kill an author’s spirit. But there are also many amazingly talented editors who can help an author to claim her voice and amplify her creative thrust. I know because I work with a couple of them.

Q: What three things, in your opinion, make a successful novelist?

A: Patience, grit and perseverance. Oh, and you have to have a story to tell. You can’t just spin words around an inert vortex.

Q: A famous writer once wrote that being an author is like having to do homework for the rest of your life. What do you think about that?

A: I hated homework when I was in school. I did it, but I didn’t like it. Writing is totally different for me. I love writing.

Q: Are there any resources, books, workshops or sites about craft that you’ve found helpful during your writing career?

A: If you are a romance writer, the Romance Writers of America is a must. I love their magazine and they have extensive resources available to help develop writers at all levels. I also like that they have lots of chapters in lots of places. If you have a need to hang out with other writers, check out your local chapter. There’s tons of helpful sites, books and workshops out there. Take a look, read the reviews, see which ones offer you the best fit. Finally, if at all possible, find yourself a good editor. He or she can offer personalized assistance and can make a huge difference in your rate of progress.

Q:  Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers about the craft of writing?

A: Writing is a vocation, an act of love. Everything else is just hype.

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Inside the Book:

Putting Out the Fire 
 
Title: Putting Out the Fire: Nurturing Mind, Body & Spirit in the First Week of Loss and Beyond
Author: Claire M. Schwartz
Release Date: May 1, 2015
Publisher: Helian Press Books
Genre: Self-Help/Grief and Bereavement
Format: Ebook/Paperback

The phone rings – your breath falls away – and each moment becomes a lifetime. The death of someone significant in your world can rewrite the scope and breadth of who you are. But in this exact moment of decisions, questions, family stress, and legalities, what do you do first and how do you cope?

When author Claire M. Schwartz lost her mother suddenly when she was 24, she experienced this exact thought process. But with all the misinformation out there about Grief & Loss, and without tools that actually made her feel better, she fell apart. After 20+ years on her healing journey, and over two dozen more losses, she brings you the Truths that no one will tell you and the Tools to truly bring you support and clarity in the initial hours and days following a death.

In this slim and personal book, you will learn:

– How to practice Self-Care during this intense emotional time

– The Ten Tall Tales of Grief & Loss ™

– the things we get told that may be well-meaning, but can be so hurtful and destructive

– how to respond and plus compassionate ideas that will better support you

– Who to trust and who to avoid, in the near-term and the long-term

– How to manage funeral arrangements, the legal bits and all those details that can make you nuts, but must be done

– Ways to celebrate your loved one, as well as what to do when the deceased was not so loved…..

– What to focus on after the first week, and what to expect in the longer term

We all experience loss in life – but what is very difficult to find is truthful advice that makes sense, and practical tools that anyone can use. This book tackles both, with compassion and clear practicality, with heart and with wisdom. There is no other book out there that focuses solely on this first, most-intense and exhausting period. It will support you when you need it most and get your healing journey started on the right foot.
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Meet the Author:

Claire M. Schwartz is from the Detroit suburbs and comes from a place she calls The Dark Ugly™. She lived in a lovely town, went to a private school for gifted kids, and had cultured and educated parents. Yet Grief & Loss have followed her as long as she can remember – trauma, violence, & neglect – loss of safety and security, loss of confidence, loss of grandparents, friends and animal companions, loss of health, opportunity and sense of place in the world. The pivot point of her life was the sudden death of her mother in 1995, which changed her world forever. Yet recovery was painstakingly slow, wrapped up in misinformation, confusion and more pain. After years of therapy, failures and mistakes, her life’s goal has been to find the answers that made no sense when her healing journey began. Now more than 20 years and 30+ losses on, she is bringing all that she has learned into one slim and powerful volume, in the hope that you suffer less than she did on her healing quest.

Claire holds a BA in psychology from the University of Michigan, is a Spiritual Counselor, Reiki Master Teacher, Certified Professional Coach and Interfaith Minister. She is happily married in New Jersey, surrounded by cats, great food and the best of friends.

You can visit her website at http://www.YouCanHealYourGrief.com

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Inside the Book:

Title: Corruption
Author: Mike Gill
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Genre: Fiction
Format: Ebook
Milo Devine had spent his life cutting corners and bending the rules to make his fortune until a late-night phone call from Parvez Iqbal helps him discover a conscience that leads him into a world of corruption and crime beyond his imagination. Politics, business, and organised crime merge into one as Milo investigates the bad guys while his friends perish at the hands of two gangs of ruthless criminals who think nothing of killing in the name of business. Just as he thinks he has won the day, the tables turn as his close friend, Simon, betrays him, and Milo becomes the next target for the assassins. Hiding out in Ireland with professional killers on his trail, Milo is soon faced with a choice: finish the fight or run for his life.

Meet the Author:

Mike Gill is a senior human resource adviser working in local government. His experience in investigating allegations of job fixing, local tax evasion, and misappropriation of grants in a northern local authority form the basis of Corruption. Mike’s evidence gathered from his investigations were supplied to an independent review team, police and auditors looking into the causes of summer riots in a north Manchester town. Mike lives in Oldham and works in West Yorkshire.

Giveaway

Mike is giving away a $25 Gift Card!

 

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins August 15 and ends on August 26.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on August 27.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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Inside the Book:

Train Up a Child
Title: Train Up a Child
Author: Dr. Johnny Holloway
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: Family & Relationship
Format: Ebook

Have you ever wished for a handbook that could help you train your children to become upstanding, responsible, and successful adults?

Unfortunately, many parents feel compelled to raise their children in the same way they were raised, despite the fact that the world is very different than it was when they were children. As a result they may be destined to repeat mistakes their parent’s made and they risk failing to give their children valuable tools they may need to succeed.

Dr. Johnny Holloway, the founder and senior pastor of Cup of Salvation Deliverance Church & Ministries in Durham, North Carolina, helps you transform your approach with this faith-based guide to parenting. Learn how to:

• build relationships with children based on love and respect;
• recognize when children are going through difficult times;
• help children confront and overcome the problems they face; and
• set high but reasonable expectations for children.

Even if you grew up in a loving home, you can improve upon the way you were raised and give your children the tools they need to navigate life’s toughest challenges.

Overcome your doubts and fears, and join the author as he looks back at his own upbringing and explores how to Train Up A Child.

About the Author

Dr. Johnny Holloway (pictured here with his mother) is the founder and senior pastor of Cup of Salvation Deliverance Church & Ministries in Durham, North Carolina. He is an internationally recognized theologian, a family and relationship counselor, and a spiritual father to many men and women. He and his wife, Pastor Deborah G. Holloway, have five adult children and fourteen grandchildren.

Giveaway

Dr. Johnny is giving away a $25 Gift Card!

 

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins August 15 and ends on August 26.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on August 27.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

Inside the Book:

Title: Wild Lavender
Author: Lynne Connolly
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Historical Romance
Format: Ecopy 


A riotous passion and a forbidden love jeopardize the future of the Emperors of London . . .

Ravishingly beautiful and accomplished, Helena has her pick of suitable bachelors—and because she is the only daughter of a powerful duke, her mother is determined she makes a good marriage. But Helena won’t marry any of them, because she is in love with the son of her family’s most dangerous enemy. Though she has now been rebuffed by her beloved, she is resolved to win him back—no matter the cost.

Tom’s forbidden love for Helena has only intensified over the years of their separation. But the discovery of his true roots has changed everything. His secret spells danger for his family and everyone he loves. Devoted to Helena, he will sacrifice anything—even his one great love—to keep her safe. And soon, caught between warring factions and hounded by a deadly assassin, the couple will be swept back together in a fight for their lives, and their destiny….

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Meet the Author

Lynne Connolly 

 I write sensuous historical romance as Lynne Connolly, and contemporary and paranormal romance as L.M. Connolly
I was born in Leicester, England, and lived in our cobbler’s shop with my parents and sister. It was an old house and most definitely haunted, but I didn’t find out until I left that my great uncle had hung himself in the living room! But I think our ghost might have been older than that. It was built on the site of the old Roman cemetery, and the land had been constantly inhabited, being in the centre of town. Then, when the council bought the house from us to build a road, my grandfather retired and my father went and worked for the Post Office. My mother was a sample machinist; that is, she worked with designers on the prototypes (models or samples) of garments. So I was very well dressed! We bought a relatively modern house in the country, and my mother was blissfully happy. It’s all very well living in a large old house, but it’s a dreadful task to keep it clean and warm!
My mother’s side of the family are Romany gypsies, although sadly we haven’t any of the old trailers that are so astonishingly beautiful. I was taught to read the Tarot cards, and I usually use two packs; the Rider pack for simple readings and the Crowley Thoth pack for the complex stuff.
I’ve always had an interest in the paranormal and it’s been a delight to be able to put some of this into my novels.
My other huge interest is the historical. I love all periods of history, but my favorites are the Tudor and Georgian eras. I research and research, because I love it. I will travel miles to see a new variation on the Palladian mansion! I am fascinated in finding out how people lived then, and creating a credible story with people who lived in past ages.

 

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Inside the Book:

Title: Geertje: Was Seen Through the Eyes of a Child as an Adult
Author: Gerda Blokhuis Vandenhaak
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: Biography
Format: Ebook

World War II officially ended some seventy years ago, but for some people, it lives on.

Gerda Blokhuis Vandenhaak, who spent the war in the Netherlands, still recalls the hunger and fear she felt throughout the war-that sticks out more than hearing about the two little boys killed or the blank expression of her father when she visited him in a concentration camp.

She looks back at the confusion she felt as a child, and how she always managed to get food for her family as a seven-year-old-even if it meant breaking curfew to roam the countryside and beg at a farmhouse.

When the war ended, her troubles did not: Her family took in another family because so many homes had been destroyed. They took up three rooms, and they had to share the bathroom, and she recalls being angry.

But those early experiences showed her what it meant to suffer, which is one of the reasons she’s dedicated her life to helping others.

Join her as she celebrates love and joy and moves past pain in this inspirational account that shows the power of the human spirit.

Meet the Author:

Gerda Blokhuis Vandenhaak is a facilitator with Darkness to Light, which is devoted to ending the sexual abuse of children. She was recognized with The Global Woman of Vision award as a result of her work on behalf of children. She has five children and twenty-three grandchildren.

Giveaway

Gerda is giving away a $25 Gift Card!

 

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins August 15 and ends on August 26.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on August 27.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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Inside the Book:

Title: Quintessential Bellydance
Author: Evyenia Karmi
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: Health and Fitness
Format: Ebook

If you’re looking for a fun, effective, low-impact workout that will build stamina, enhance flexibility, and improve your cardiovascular well-being, look no more. This gentle and effective dance is not only exciting to learn; it’s also a great workout. Bellydance strengthens your core muscles gracefully, giving you new confidence in your body’s natural sway and movement. These popular dance steps have been embraced by women of all ages everywhere.

Here, Evyenia Karmi, an experienced dancer, teacher, and member of the International Dance Council, introduces students to the basic terminology and movements of bellydance. Through careful, easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions, you can quickly begin learning the vocabulary of this ancient and beautiful dance.

Once you master the basic steps, the addition of sultry veil work can add a whole new dimension and excitement to your experience and performance. This compact and easy-to-use guide is an excellent teaching tool, featuring a gentle warm-up routine, to prepare your body for this energetic workout experience.

Create your own choreography or just have fun dancing! You’ll learn basic arm movements, technique for both the upper and lower body, directional and travelling steps, the basics of veil work-and much more.

 

Meet the Author:

Evyenia Karmi started dancing as a small child learning the traditional dance of her family. She has appeared in film and television; training includes the community adult ballet program at the National Ballet School of Canada, and The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Evyenia performs internationally as a member of CID-Unesco in Greece. She lives and teaches in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Giveaway

Evyenia is giving away a $25 Gift Card!

 

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins August 15 and ends on August 26.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on August 27.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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