Hey ho — it’s time for another Writer Wednesday post. This week’s guest is Alina K. Field. I met Alina at my first Desert Dreams conference in Phoenix. Has it really been almost four years ago? Oh my…
She writes historical romance (my favorite to read when I’m not devouring books by fellow contemporary romance authors) but happens to love baseball, so she wanted to hear more about my Love & Baseball series.
Award winning author Alina K. Field earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and German literature, but she found her true passion in reading and writing romance. Though her roots are in the Midwest, after six very, very, very cold years in Chicago, she moved to Southern California and hasn’t looked back. She shares a midcentury home with her husband and a blue-eyed cat who conned his way in for dinner one day and decided the food was too good to leave.
She is the author of the 2014 Book Buyer’s Best winner in the novella category, Rosalyn’s Ring, a Regency novella; and the novel-length sequel, a 2015 RONE Award finalist, Bella’s Band, both Soul Mate Publishing releases.
And here’s the blurb for Bella’s Band:
Bullets, blades, and incendiary bombs—Major Steven Beauverde, the latest Earl of Hackwell, belongs in that world, and is determined to get back to it. His brother’s murder has forced Steven out of the army and into the title, but he has no interest in being the Earl, and worse, no idea how to salvage the depleted estate. A rumor that his brother had a son by a woman who may be a) the murderer, and b) his brother’s wife, sets Steven on a mission to find her, the boy, and—Steven ardently hopes—proof of a secret marriage that will set Steven free.
Annabelle Harris is a country heiress and a confirmed spinster resettled in London to find her sister, the mistress to the Earl of Hackwell. While she searches, she fills her home with orphans and street urchins. When the Earl is murdered, Annabelle’s sister thrusts the Earl’s illegitimate child into Annabelle’s care and disappears. Now, with suspicion pointing at her sister, Annabelle has begun a new quest—to find her sibling and clear her name.
When their paths converge, the reluctant Earl and the determined spinster find themselves rethinking their goals, and stepping up to fight back when the real murderer shows up.
Read on below our “This or That” segment for a sneak peek inside the book.
Water: tap or bottled? Tap! We have a reverse osmosis filter. Of course if I’m stopping at a gas station in the middle of nowhere, I go for the bottled stuff.
Regular fries or sweet potato fries? I like them both, and they like me because they stick around my middle.
Urban dweller or rural gal? Although I have fantasies of living rural, the reality is, if I’m more than 15 minutes from something essential, like toilet paper or half-and-half for my coffee, I kind of freak out. Hmmm, and actually I’ve lived urban, in Chicago, and didn’t much like that. Let’s call me a suburban gal.
Shopping bags: paper, plastic or reusable? Definitely plastic. Those Trader Joe bags break on me all the time, and the reusables aren’t any good as waste can liners or dog doodoo bags.
Personal chef or personal trainer? Personal chef—providing that he or she cleans up the kitchen after.
Jocks or nerds? Though I suppose it’s shallow of me, I’ll take the jock.
And Arlene left the most important question for last:
Toilet paper: Over or under? Over. Aways over. True for paper towels also. We’ve settled that argument at my house and I’m right! We’re still working on the silverware up or down in the dishwasher rack. I’m only a little OCD!
I have definite opinions but I welcome diversity, so if you disagree on any of these important topics, shout it out!
And, if you want to know more about me and my books, please stop by my website at http://alinakfield.com.
Here’s that promised sneak peek at Bella’s Band:
Surprise pinned Annabelle to the cracked leather seat of the carriage and finally her heart restarted and picked up its pounding.
“Good evening, my lady.” Lord Hackwell flashed her a wide, easy smile that made his face glow like a boy who had pulled a very fast one.
The shock eased. She realized she felt not one whit of fear.
“Is this an abduction, Lord Hackwell? I have never been abducted before. Shall I scream with alarm? Do you mean to harm me?”
His smile disappeared and his face grew too serious. “I mean to protect you, Miss Harris. This is an escort. I mean to see that you return home unharmed.”
“I see. Unharmed, except for the besmirching of my reputation. Shall we appear in the scandal sheets tomorrow, do you suppose?”
“In this bourgeois neighborhood? I think not. Unless, the man who helped you into the hackney is someone of interest?”
Oh, he was prying, and she was so tempted to lead him on. But of course, she had Robby to think about. “Very much so. He is my solicitor. He asked me to dinner to counterbalance his wife’s inquisitive aunt who is visiting from the country, and curious about all things criminal, political, and financial. The poor man has difficulty balancing his client’s confidentiality with his need to be polite to his children’s future benefactress. She is wealthy, I believe.”
“So he set her on you. And how did you maintain your secrets, Miss Harris?”
“We spoke of my home.”
A ribbon of sensation uncurled in her secret places. The space between her and Lord Hackwell had shrunk, and his dark eyes showed more than an interest in her pedigree. Her nerves tingled with the anticipated pleasure of a repeat of the earlier kiss.
I must not.
“Yorkshire,” she said, as blandly as possible. “I grew up on a good-sized estate there.”
“Do you plan to take Robby there?”
Sudden tears pricked her eyes and she turned quickly to the window. Robby and Thomas would have loved Ryeland. With acres and acres of freedom and kind neighbors, they could have played for hours and had adventures that didn’t involve cutpurses and the Watch.
“No, Lord Hackwell. My family home was entailed. The cousin who inherited, I’ve only met once, at my father’s funeral.” And his invitation to linger had been merely perfunctory. Besides, staying in the district of her childhood would beg questions about Veronica.
“So you had no brothers. Is your mother living?”
He hadn’t asked about sisters. That was curious. Perhaps he suspected her relationship with Miss Miller was more than a friendship, and was coming to the question, inch by torturing inch.
“You are dancing again, Lord Hackwell. It is ever so tiresome. Let us get you to the facts. I am the eldest surviving child of Edward Harris, who died two years ago. I had a brother, who died many years before. I have a younger sister who has found a position and made a life with a distant cousin in Scotland. My mother has been gone since I was eighteen. I am twenty-seven years old now. I never had a coming out, because my father took ill, and needed me to manage the estate.”
His eyes widened and he went very still, examining her. The air around them seemed charged with a kind of explosive tension.
Oh heavens. He was finding fault with the country spinster. The gown was from her mourning two years previous, outdated of course, and she felt her hair slipping again, and she’d never been one to effect powders and pigments. “Yes. Well—”
“You managed an estate?”
“Astonishing, isn’t it?” She waved a gloved hand in the air, and he captured it.
He dropped a kiss on her knuckle. “And you managed the household also?”
“Yes, of course.”
“And you don’t care for dancing?”
“I enjoy dancing very much, though my experience is limited to our local assembly. I have not been to a ball in so many ages, and never a town ball.”
She could only laugh at that and shake her head. She receive a voucher for Almack’s? Ridiculous.
“No waltzing, Miss Harris?” His manner remained intense.
“Sadly, no, Lord Hackwell, I have never waltzed.”
He straightened in his seat and his eyes looked ahead. “But you have counted ploughs,” he said thoughtfully.
Tears pricked again, suddenly and unexpectedly. What a dismal woman she was. Too plain, too proper, too practical. Alone in a closed hackney with a devastatingly handsome man, and they were talking about farm equipment.
Never had she felt more desire to be younger, prettier, more daring. This must have been how Veronica had felt.
Her heart filled with compassion and grief. “Ye—yes. Ploughs. Very important they’re correctly deployed. Fate of the tenants’ crops and the estate’s income depends upon them.” She sniffed.
“What’s this?” His large ungloved hand covered her smaller ones, enveloping her in his warmth. “I’ve distressed you?”
She shook her head and tried to compose herself.
“Of course I have, my dear. I’ve reminded you of your lost home.”
“It is fine, sir. My current home is—is not the best, but it is mine, and I can afford to move to something better if the neighborhood deteriorates further. You needn’t worry about Robby. I will give him a good life. Not, perhaps, an aristocratic one, but—”
“Shall I tell you about myself, Miss Harris? Yes. I believe I must.” He cocked his leg on the seat so he sat sideways, and extended his hand to caress the back of her neck. The other remained squarely over her folded hands. “I am twenty-nine. The younger son of the Earl of Hackwell. The very, as it has turned out, needful spare. My mother was the second of two wives. She died not long after I was born. My father sent me off to be fostered, then off to Eton, and then to university for a very short while. I’m not much of a scholar. I landed in the army, where I found I could do something of worth.”
His mouth had grown taut and his hand had tightened over hers, so that she could feel his tension.
“Thomas, the late, great, Lord Hackwell, aside from one lengthy grand tour, was kept close under the paternal wing and learned the business of managing the earldom, standing in the House of Lords, and immersing himself in society. From the state of the accounts, it was the last activity that drew most of his interest.”
He let his fingers caress her neck, distractedly, as though the gesture comforted him, like petting a favorite hound.
Comforting to him; deliciously unsettling to her. Pleasure rippled through her at each touch. She held her breath, lest his fingers pause too long in his search for his next words.
“I can bow properly and make reasonably polite conversation, but I was never much good in a ballroom or drawing room, Miss Harris. Still, like every gentleman with a purse, I had my share of immersing myself in pleasure. Here, and on the continent.” He lapsed into a momentary dark silence. “Not so much since my return.”
“You fought at Waterloo?”
“Yes. And before, on the peninsula.”
And before that too, at every step of his motherless, fatherless life, she’d warrant. As in the children’s game she played with the boys, Annabelle drew out a hand from the pile and pressed his between hers.
And her heart skipped with a realization. Lord Hackwell had no family except Robby.
She felt his eyes fixed on her. He drew her head closer and she could smell his woodsy clean scent, so intensely male. The carriage passed by a street lamp and into a dark stretch, and she could no longer discern the outline of his face.
Her heart tingled and her breath came in short little huffs of anticipated pleasure.
“Annabelle,” he whispered. “What do they call you? Anna? Belle?”
She tensed remembering her chat with Lady Rosalyn.
“It is Belle. How very appropriate.” He kissed her hand.
“Bella,” she whispered. “And not appropriate at all. How did you learn my name?”
“Bella.” He breathed her name in a brandy-laced murmur. “The maid at the Harley Street house gave me your last name. And by the way, she worships you.”
Dear Trish. Annabelle pushed at the seat and squirmed, with no success. He still held her fast.
“I’ve found that servants know everything and talk prodigiously.” He dropped a kiss on her nose.
Annabelle bit back a disagreement and stilled. In a properly run household, gossip was squashed. The poor man had never lived in a properly run household.
His lips hovered over her and she waited. He’d kissed her nose. Perhaps he’d been aiming for her mouth and missed. She wanted one more kiss. She would be safe. In a carriage on a public street, he wouldn’t attempt to take more.
Steven held himself an inch away from her lips. Her nose had been cold, but heat radiated between them, holding them in a warm cocoon. She smelled of plain soap and faint lavender. There was nothing cloying about Miss Harris. He’d breached a line of defense with the use of the pet name. Bella. She wanted him to kiss her.
Not yet. Not yet. She was lovely, and innocent, and perfect. He was known for his quick thinking under duress, and he’d made up his mind. He would do this honorably. He was not his brother. It would not be a seduction.
“Bella, you are right that we should dispense with the dance. You are right that we should speak to the point, and so I will. I think you and I, we should wed.”
“What?” She jumped a full inch from the seat before settling back.
Alina has offered to give away one Kindle copy of Bella’s Band to a commenter, so be sure to let us know you’ve visited! Why not weigh in with your answer to one of this week’s questions? I agree with her about the toilet paper always going over the roll, but you’re welcome to TRY to convince me otherwise.
And if you want to know more about Alina, visit her at:
Wednesday again? That makes it time for a new installment of Writer Wednesday.
I met Kimberly in 2011, when we were in same class of RWA Golden Heart finalists, and was thrilled to hear she’s a RITA finalist this year. (Pushing the Line is a finalist in the Romance Novella category.)
Her enthusiasm — for writing, food and life in general — is contagious.
Kimberly Kincaid writes contemporary romance that splits the difference between sexy and sweet. When she’s not sitting cross-legged in an ancient desk chair known as “The Pleather Bomber,” she can be found practicing obscene amounts of yoga, whipping up anything from enchiladas to éclairs in her kitchen, or curled up with her nose in a book. Kimberly is a 2015 RWA RITA® finalist who lives (and writes!) by the mantra that food is love. Her digital Line series is all about the hot cops and sexy chefs of Brentsville, New York. She is also the author of the Pine Mountain series, which follows small town singles as they find big-time love. Kimberly resides in Virginia with her wildly patient husband and their three daughters. Visit her any time at www.kimberlykincaid.com or come check her out on Facebook (www.facebook.com/kimberly.kincaid1) and Twitter (@kimberlykincaid).
Her latest book, Just One Taste, is No. 4.5 in her popular Pine Mountain series. The blurb:
A little home improvement can go a long way…
Jesse Oliver was a medic in Afghanistan, but back home in Pine Mountain he’s happy to switch gears as the Double Shot bar’s new sous chef. When his apartment floods and his old Army buddy offers the family’s dilapidated lake house as temporary quarters, Jesse thinks a little remodeling on the creaky duplex sounds like a fair return favor. That’s before he sets eyes on the gorgeous woman moving into the other side of the cabin—and discovers she’s his buddy’s kid sister, a.k.a totally off limits.
Kat McMarrin has fought hard for her space, and she’s not too interested in sharing it. Of course, her job as a physical therapist means she won’t see much of Jesse, even if he’s a few thin floorboards away—unless she seeks him out. And with his sculpted body and slow-burn gaze, she might be tempted. Maybe the fixer-upper projects she has planned for the cabin will keep her mind off him. Or maybe her instincts to strip the place down will get out of hand…
Now let’s play “This or That?”
I think I already know the answer to this one, as does anyone who follows you on Facebook, but I’m asking anyway. Sneakers or heels? Heels 🙂 The higher, the better. I love them!
Breakfast of choice: Sweet or savory? Savory. My current addiction is an egg white scramble with turkey sausage and spinach.
Paper calendar/journal or electronic version? Paper calendar. I am very tactile. I like to flip the pages!
Iron Man or Captain America? I so don’t want to choose here. It’s very close to a tie. But I’ll go with the Captain. I think it’s the smile!
Bacon or sausage? Bacon. No brainer.
Shopping bags: paper, plastic or reusable? Reusable! I have tons of them and use them all the time.
Want a copy of Just One Taste? Get it here:
I’ve been doing well to remember My Sexy Saturday every couple of weeks. However, now that I’m finally settled in (ha!) to my new place, maybe I’ll get back in the habit.
Have I mentioned how much moving sucks?
Anyway — let’s move on to the sexy stuff, because that’s a lot more fun than unpacking boxes and trying to find new homes for all the stuff I probably should have left behind.
Not coincidentally, JUST RIGHT is set for re-release in Turquoise Morning Press’ “And They Lived Happily Ever After” boxed set May 26. It’s been available as a standalone since early April, but now it’s coming out with its brethren in a beautiful collection of modern fairy tales.
Beside him, Callie’s breath caught. “Oh, Ty! It’s gorgeous.”
Out of your league.
As if Callie could read his thoughts and wanted to prove him wrong, her head turned and her chin lifted. Her lips parted.
Ty would have to be a fool to ignore the clear invitation—and Will Behr hadn’t raised a fool. He angled his head to capture her lips. At the same time, he settled his hands on her hips. She willingly melted into him, her kiss both sweet and hot.
He groaned and pulled her closer still. Their tongues warred, battling for control, until Ty was dizzy from wanting her. Afraid he’d do something unmanly, like fall on his ass, he eased away. “Ah, Callie.”
Laughter danced in her eyes. “I know I wasn’t doing it wrong.”
JUST RIGHT is available now at Turquoise Morning Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, All Romance eBooks and Smashwords. Or add it to your TBR list on Goodreads. And starting May 26, get all six of TMPress’ modern fairy tales for one low price.
Join me in welcoming Beppie Harrison to Writer Wednesday. Beppie is another fellow LaLaLa, and while I was (f)unemployed last fall, I had the pleasure of copyediting her holiday novella, The Grandest Christmas. It was delightful, as she is.
Without further ado, here’s Beppie!
Beppie Harrison lives in southeastern Michigan with her husband and two slightly addled cats, their four children having grown up and flown the coop. They live a somewhat cross-Atlantic lifestyle. Her husband is an English architect and they began their marriage living in London, only moving to the States 10 years later. In many ways, England is still home. For Beppie, the pull from across the Atlantic comes not only from old friends and familiar places in England, but from Ireland. Did it start with its literature, its history, or its wonderfully garrulous people? However it happened, she is addicted now and her greatest satisfaction is weaving the Ireland she knows into tales of the hearts and ambitions of characters who would have lived 200 years ago.
A little about her new release, The Abiding Heart:
Diarmaid MacGuinness, the red-headed, enigmatic Irish rebel from The Divided Heart, returns with a story of his own, still working for Irish freedom. The story starts in the remote hills and bogs of Donegal, where he encounters a stubborn and independent girl with hair as red as his own. How the two of them exasperate and fascinate each other as they walk across Ireland makes an enthralling story of determination and the growing commitment to find a place for themselves in the Irish world as it existed around them.
Two gingers in one novel? I bet the sparks fly!
Anyway … let’s move on to my favorite part of the post, a round of “This or That.”
Snack of choice. Sweet or Salty? Oh dear. Probably overall favorite would be sweetish. Am currently onto madeleine cookies (Proust’s memory stirrer?) which also taste splendid dipped in coffee. But don’t sit next to me with a freshly opened bag of chips—or crisps, as my beloved Englishman calls them, or you will see a hand reaching into the bag, chip after chip after chip.
England or Ireland? Oh dear again! Two different loyalties come swiftly into combat. England is the home of the Englishman, and was my home for ten years. England is where my first baby was born. England is where my dearest friends—of 45+ years’ standing now—live, also my favorite of my in-law relatives. I step off the plane at Heathrow and I’m home.
But Ireland? That’s the place I fell in love with all by myself. So beautiful (well, England’s pretty good, too) and with an open welcome with a brogue unlike the more formal English. Then, too, Ireland has a terrible history, largely because of the English, but the ruins are made more heart-catching because of the wonderful green surrounding them. It rains a lot in Ireland.
Luckily in June we are taking our 12-year-old granddaughter to Ireland, the Isle of Man, and then to England. So this year I don’t have to choose!
Afternoon nap or early to bed? Easy peasy this one. Midnight is an old friend of mine. I am a dedicated night owl and midnight is usually greeted with the rattle of fingers on the keyboard. Of course if I stay up too far past midnight (1 a.m.? 2 a.m.? Shall we try for 3?) there may be a spontaneous afternoon nap, otherwise known as falling asleep sitting up with laptop on lap.
(Note from Arlene: I’ve done that a time or two myself.)
Ebook or print? Ebook for convenience, cheapness, and travel. Print for illustrations or a text I’m likely to go back and read again and again. It’s a lot easier to flip pages than to tap away on Kindle or whatever and sometimes it goes backward and sometimes forward. Very annoying. Ebook illustrations are getting better, but glossy paper beats them every time.
Dogs or cats? Pause there to cover eyes of two beloved cats so they won’t see what I’m writing. Would love a dog, but presently live in penthouse condo in Michigan with two busy streets close at hand. Indoor cats do fine. Dog would require walking in foul Michigan winter weather, as could not let it out on its own. Not me. The Englishman says not him either. Cats have litter box.
Where do you write: home office or favorite coffee shop? I write planted in the middle of the living room on the couch, with pillows to move around as comfort demands. Feet flat on floor, laptop on lap desk. Started this during recuperation from major back surgery, and here I still am. Have now written four books right here, while life of cats, occasionally grandchildren, and now and then one of the four children, now all adults, surges around me. I block out distraction well.