Monday, April 23, 2018

Paradise Girl




Today is a guest post by Phil Featherstone to celebrate the release of his novel.

Readers often ask me where I got the idea for my novel Paradise Girl. The answer is, it came from a bug. Or, to be more precise, a virus.


Nobody knows how many viruses exist, but scientists agree that they outnumber all other living things put together (actually there’s some debate about whether viruses can actually be considered alive, but for now we’ll assume they can). Only a tiny number of them affect humans, and most of those that do are easily dealt with by the body’s immune system. However, there are a few that the immune system can’t cope with, and these can cause serious illness and, in extreme cases, death. An example is ebola, which is spread through the transfer of body fluids. It’s also transmitted by fruit bats, which can carry the virus without being affected by it.


A few years ago a volcano in Iceland erupted, throwing smoke and ash several kilometres into the sky. A result of this was the grounding of commercial aircraft for several days. I live in a remote farmhouse high on the Pennine hills in the north of England. Usually the only signs of human life outside my home are the vapour trails of planes as they approach or depart from Manchester, or travers the country to and from other places. At the time of the Icelandic eruption, they stopped. The skies were empty, a beautiful, clear blue. For that short time I could have been the only person alive. This started me thinking: suppose that really was the case, where might everyone else have gone? What might have happened to them? Destroyed by radiation? Abducted by aliens? Wiped out by a plague? Ebola was in the news at the time, and so the latter seemed the most likely.


I began to work on the idea. Somebody in such a situation would be subject to unbearable pressures. They would be desperately lonely and terribly afraid, alternating between relief at surviving and the daunting prospect of a future without hope. It would add poignancy if the central character was young, maybe still in their teens with their life before them. Think about an almost endless series of days stretching ahead, with nothing to relieve them or distinguish between them. What dark places might a mind go when faced with that? What terrible dreams might occur?


They would try to cope by writing a diary, which would describe what they saw, heard and thought, and through which they could reflect on their predicament. It seemed to me that this would work best if such a character was female. Kerryl Shaw introduced herself, and I began to write her story. You can read it in Paradise Girl.



Find the Paradise Girl here: https://amzn.to/2ETah9P
https://amzn.to/2ETah9P

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Hidden Kingdoms



I love fantasy. I write it. When I was young and sad or scared, I would slip into one of my "Book Lives" as I would call them. I would find strength as a warrior princess or an intrepid explorer. I could quiet my fears as I floated amongst cold and serene stars. I laughed with fellow knights and sang the histories of noble ancient peoples. I found acceptance and  love in so many wonderful worlds.
As an author, I love that I get to do that for myself...and hopefully for those who need it. So, be it a welcome respite after a trying day at work or the distraction a worried mind needs in a sterile lobby somewhere, the stories I write are of the same magic that rescued a troubled teen like me. They are tales knitted with strands of hope.

But there are so many stories that I never knew about growing up. And I was a kid who LIVED in the library.  They are the ancient lore of my own people. The ferocious and fascinating history of the Maya.

As I explore this rich, but so far largely hidden culture, I find myself riveted by the complexity of a society I am just discovering. The Maya nation was embroiled in political intrigue, ruthless invasion, and delicate diplomacy across a civilization that, according to newly unearthed findings, was almost ten million strong which spanned multiple continents.

The Maya explored of the meaning of existence and time, the intricacies of nature, and the wonder of the stars. They created one of the most complex languages that rivaled that of Egypt, Mesopotamia, and China. As I read their tales of war and the fight for power, I see Caesars and Hannibals and Rameses. Men of great vision who wielded charisma and intelligence to seize the reigns of one of the most richly vibrant peoples I have ever seen.

And so, as an author, how can I not celebrate this breathtaking world, in all of its contradictions? The more I learn, the more it is evident to me the stories of these kings and queens deserve to be told. Their kingdoms and discoveries shaped the world and so the world should know of them. Where there are Camelots and Mordors...let there also be Xibalba.

 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Facebook Groups: An Author's Bread and Butter



I cannot emphasize to you how much connection with other authors and readers on a daily basis truly helps to keep me motivated. From group deadlines, critique circles, conference help, or just a bit of silliness, joining a group that you feel comfortable with is a key part of staying engaged with both your readers and the industry.

I am a part of the Knights of the SciFi Roundtable and though we are both science fiction and fantasy, there is a lot of crossover in terms of advice and world building. I find that joining a group that is specific to your genre really helps to make connections.

I've been able to join co-op giveaways and contests where I learned so much. A fellow Roundtable Knight walked me through setting up a landing page and newsletter on MailChimp...on her own time...over a couple of days.  Talk about really helping out a fellow word-slinger!

Not to mention anthologies and conference booth opportunities. But it also helps you to keep your finger on the pulse of what is going on in the publishing world

This month, I have joined a multi-author giveaway. SciFi Roundtable partnered with Art of the Arcane to put together an unprecedented event with so many authors and contests and giveaways.  I am so excited to see how it turns out as it is my first one of this magnitude.

But more than the technical and business of writing, groups often provide something no one else can. Fellow authors can understand your struggles, your weird sense of humor, and often your doubt like no one else is able.

The Write Life posted a wonderful list of 20 Facebook Groups for Writers You Don't Want to Miss and let me tell you, it is awesome. From motivation to calls for submissions, these groups truly tether an author to the publishing world via a supportive community.

What types of things have you found that truly help your writing journey?  Do you have any suggestions for all of us?


Friday, February 23, 2018

Silently in the Night Collection


SILENTLY IN THE NIGHT


A collection of tantalizing tales with more twists than braided hair:


Here you will find mystery, murder and mayhem – plus a moment of romance. All the stories will make you stop and think, even question your role in the world and the universe. Just what are we doing here, and where are we going? Easy questions with problematic answers.

This anthology of sixteen short and thrilling tales of unusual, extraterrestrial and conspiratorial stories is the latest compilation from Clayton Graham, the author of science fiction novels Milijun and the soon to come Saving Paludis. The characters in this eclectic collection are mostly ordinary people whose reactions to their fears and to unexpected events will have you guessing at every turn of the page.

This collection is intriguing reading which, among many other things, encourages the reader to:


Sympathize with a doomed husband and connect with an altruistic robot.

Explore an isolated Scottish isle and touch down on a far-flung asteroid.


From the light-hearted to the darkest depths of the human psyche you would be hard pressed not to find something to like about Silently in the Night.


Many different visions of the future are within these pages. And as a bonus, there is an excerpt from the soon to be published Saving Paludis, which introduces the reader to two of the principal protagonists in this tale from the edge of mankind’s known universe in the year 3898AD.


If you love mystery with a hint of the paranormal, and the interplay of human foibles, grab this smorgasbord of short stories then get yourself a copy of Milijun, the mind-bending sci-fi novel by Clayton Graham.  




Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Special Announcement and Live Interview


If you're as obsessed with subscription boxes as I am...I'm talking about you, IPSY! Then you are going to love this!
I am so blessed to be a part of the Four Anchors book box where the Tremblers is featured in the #AnchorChest for the month of February!

They've even included an exclusive signed letter from me to you which I hope will inspire. Not to mention a ton of other fun swag!

Check out the amazing site and sign up for your own #anchorchest subscription!



Today I am doing a LIVE interview over at The Write Stuff with Parker Cole! I met her at a writing conference this past summer and she is such a hoot. I'm going to drop by to talk about monsters, mechanica, and mayhem...you know, the fruit of my writing labor.

Stop by to call in and chat...its going live at 4pm Pacific time.  Hope to see you there!



Multi-Author Giveaway Extravaganza

On another note, be on the lookout for my newsletter where you can take part in a humongous Multi-Author giveaway.  This event is sponsored by SciFi Roundtable and Art of the Arcane and promises to be amazing! There will be so many free reads and prizes. I can't wait!

If you haven't already, be sure to sign up to receive my author newsletter for details on how to take part. You don't want to miss out on this super fun event!


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Red Sky Over America


Today I welcome author, Tamera Lynn Kraft as she celebrates the release of her novel, Red Sky Over America. I asked her to let us in on her thought and writing process.

A little about her...

Tamera  has always loved adventures. She loves to write historical fiction set in the United States because there are so many stories in American history. There are strong elements of faith, romance, suspense and adventure in her stories. She has received 2nd place in the NOCW contest, 3rd place TARA writer’s contest, and is a finalist in the Frasier Writing Contest and has other novels and novellas in print. She’s been married for 39 years to the love of her life, Rick, and has two married adult children and three grandchildren. 


 Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Yes, I do, but do you really want me to tell what they are? LOL. I'll give you a bit of a hint. First, I like to use symbolism in my novels (colors, objects, weather) that is hopefully not too obvious, but still adds richness to the stories. I also have something similar about every villain's name in my stories, but I'm not going to tell you what that is. Don't drive yourself crazy trying to find out what it is though. You probably will never guess.

What is the first book that made you cry?

That's a difficult question because there have been so many books that have touched me emotionally. I've always loved to read, so I can't say for certain. The first book I remember shedding a tear while listening to my Grandma read it to me was Black Beauty. I think I was about seven or eight then. I hated the way the drunk abused such a wonderful horse.

Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?

I'm not sure. I do think a writer needs to be aware of her deep and strong emotions and motivation in life to be able to write effectively, but I don't feel a writer has to be an emotional wreck about it. I think we all have strong emotions. A writer has the perfect way of dealing with those emotions. I might not show my emotions to everyone, but they always end up coming out in my characters.


 How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

Everything is on a deadline now. I can't spend a couple of years playing with my story to try to figure it out. I have nine months to get it done before my next deadline. This has changed me from a total seat of the panster to someone who does some pre-planning and plotting of the main signposts of my story. I still don't plan every detail, but I do have a direction to go before I start writing.

About the Book:

William and America confront evil, but will it costs them everything?
In 1857, America, the daughter of a slave owner, is an abolitionist and a student at Oberlin College, a school known for its radical ideas. America goes home to Kentucky during school break to confront her father about freeing his slaves.

America's classmate, William, goes to Kentucky to preach abolition to churches that condone slavery. America and William find themselves in the center of the approaching storm sweeping the nation and may not make it home to Ohio or live through the struggle.

Red Sky Over America tackles the most turbulent time in history with thorough research and fascinating characters. Tamera Lynn Kraft has woven a tale about the evils of slavery that should never be forgotten. -- Mary Ellis, author of The Quaker and the Rebel, The Lady and the Officer, and The Last Heiress.


You can find Tamera at her author blog, or on Twitter and Goodreads.

Monday, February 12, 2018

A Collection of Kisses + a Giveaway!


Today we have a treat for Valentines! Author Robin Bayne is here celebrating the release of her novel, Hearts on the Harbor.

One lucky commenter will win a free ebook copy of the entire Cooking Up Kisses collection! Just answer the question in the Rafflecopter link below...Thank you, Robin!

Here is a short exerpt:

Chapter One

“Don’t look now, Car, but your ex is here.”

Cara Peyton stiffened in her seat. Jackson? Here? Why?  A shiver ran through her as she willed her head not to swivel. Around her the clink of silverware and diners chatting faded into the background.

“He’s really hot,” Jill observed, leaning forward over her iced tea. “Hotter, really. He looks more like a man now than a teenager. How long has it been?”

Cara didn’t need to think. “Seven and half years. Seven and three quarters, actually.”

“Wow.” Jill turned her chair slightly. “Doesn’t look like he’s with anyone. Female, that is. Doesn’t he have a brother?”

“Yes, a younger one. Why?”

“The guy with him looks like him. You know, I should go over and—"

 “Please don’t make a scene.” Cara gripped her water glass, the beads of water pooling on it cooled her palms. It had taken years to get over Jack, if she ever really had. She couldn’t get emotional now. She gazed out the wall length windows onto the cobblestone street. A white van marked “Charm City Cabinetry” partially blocked her view of the harbor. A little Christian fish magnet, slightly crooked, was stuck to its side door. She sighed.

“Don’t freak out, I won’t do anything.” Jill picked up her tuna sandwich. “So how late do you need me to stick around tonight? I have a date.”

“Oh you do? Who with?” Cara took a bite of her Caesar salad and half listened to her partner’s description of some guy she’d just met.

The other half of her attention was focused on not looking at the table behind them, not listening for any whisper of the voice she remembered. What would Jackson be like now? Would he be married? She knew he’d be childless, either way. Didn’t want kids. Did he regret, or even remember, leaving her like that? It has all been about his music.  Did he remember the last time they’d been together? Did he—

“Hey!” Jill waved her hand in front of Cara’s face. “Have you heard anything I’ve said?”

Cara blinked. “Um, no, sorry.”

“That’s okay,” Jill said, staring at her friend. “I know where you were.”

Her face warming, Cara wiped her mouth with a paper napkin. “I’m back.”

“Uh-huh, sure.  So who am I seeing tonight?”

Could she come up with some name from her subconscious? She snapped her fingers. “Oh, I know, Greg from that accounting firm we interviewed.” That was it. Cara smiled, proud of herself.

“Um, no. Wanna try again?”

“Not really.” Cara smoothed the napkin with her hand. “I’m sorry, it’s just that—"

“Just that your mind is full of Jackson Bridger right now. I get it.” Jill sighed and brushed the crumbs from her sandwich onto the floor, regarding Cara with the smug smile of a friend who knew too much.

“Can I get you ladies anything else?” Tom their waiter flashed a smile and presented a coffee carafe.

“Just the check,” Cara said. “Thanks. We have to get back to work.”

“Nice working right next door, huh?” Tom grinned before bowing his head to total the check.

Cara stood, prepared to head for the ladies room so she could finally see if it really was Jack.

“Don’t move,” Jill hissed. “He’s coming over.”

“No.” Cara’s pulse raced and her hand shook as she grabbed her purse.

“Oh, yes.”

Silence followed for several long seconds, three, four. . .

“Hey, Jill. Cara.” Jackson’s deep voice held confidence and a bit of amusement.

She finally let herself turn to find her former boyfriend towering over her. His wavy brown hair was cut short now, his face as lean but a bit more weathered than she remembered. Reminding herself to breath, she forced a smile. “Jack, hey, you’re looking good.” She sent up mental thanks that her voice didn’t quiver. “You too, Luke,” she said to the other man who joined them.

“Hi Cara.” Luke glanced at his brother, probably wondering why Jack just stood there staring. Luke leaned forward and gave her a loose hug.

“How are you, Luke? What are you up to these days? It’s been a couple years since we e-mailed.” Cara turned to face Luke, but still felt Jackson’s gaze on her.

“Great, thanks. Got a job with an insurance company, have a girlfriend. We go to the same church. Getting ready for the holidays. Life is good. What are you doing? You look fantastic, by the way.” With that he elbow-jabbed his brother in the gut.

Cara felt her face warming. “Thank you. And I’m happy you’re doing well.” She turned back to Jackson, who glared at his brother now. “And how about you? It’s been a long time.”

“Seven years, nine months,” he said without hesitation.

Cara’s jaw dropped, and she forced her mouth closed. She had been unsure if he’d even acknowledge her. A twinge of anger ran through her. Why was she feeling this way, like a schoolgirl getting a glimpse of a forbidden love? He’d been the one who left. To get famous.

“Why don’t you guys join us for a minute? I could order us coffee.” Jill spoke up in a chipper voice, obviously enjoying the awkward show. Before Cara knew what was happening, the men had slid into chairs across from them.

Tom told them to take their time, no one was waiting for the table, and he’d bring four coffees.

“We only have a few minutes,” Cara told him. “I have to be back at work for an appointment at one-thirty.” Tom nodded and headed for another table.

“So,” Jack began, his voice a caress. “Cara. How have you been?”

Cara’s tongue felt swollen, and suddenly, she had no idea how she was.




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Charlotte's Battle Rages On in Wind Reapers + Giveaway!


It has been so exciting sharing the world of the Blackburn Chronicles with you! I've had such a great time hearing what all of you think about Charlotte and her spy, Ashton, and their dangerous destiny with the Order of the Sword and Scroll.  And Charlotte is just getting started! 


I'm giving away a copy of the first book in the series...the one that set the calamity in motion,  The Tremblers. Enter via the rafflecopter below.
Continue her fight with the Wind Reapers...

Charlotte Blackburn—Hero, hunted, the unwitting symbol of a dark rebellion—she thwarted the deadly intent of the treacherous Order of the Sword and Scroll, but at a shattering cost. Now, she fights to survive among a tribe of fierce Wind Reapers who troll the wasteland aboard massive metal walkers. But a new storm is brewing and Charlotte is once again the linchpin in a deadly plan.

Sebastian Riley has one goal: Help the citizens of his floating Outer City to survive the Ashen Croup, a terrible affliction that drowns victims in their own lungs. But help comes in the form of the infamous Lady Blackburn, a woman wanted for treason who is determined to run headlong into destruction to prevent a coming war—even if it means reaching out to those who want her dead.

Pursued by the shadowy Order and hunted by the furious Reaper clan, Riley and Charlotte brave the monstrous hordes of decaying Tremblers and the terrors of the Wasteland to stop the bloodshed and secure a mysterious calculating engine—a device that can bring about the destruction of an entire nation.

With brutal forces gathering against the unsuspecting citizens inside the Tesla domes, a vicious scientist intent on capturing Charlotte for his experiments, and the whole of the country in deadly peril, one of them must make a sacrifice too terrible to comprehend.

What people are saying about Wind Reapers:

"This book is a non-stop adventure led by Charlotte, Tesla, and Riley. Technology can only do so much in the face of "blood storms" and a desert veined with fissures releasing searing gas and lava. Outside the dome there are a new set of obstacles and Charlotte doesn't know who she can trust. Having followed Charlotte's journey from naive girl to the point she is at at the start of this book, a competent and somewhat Machiavellian champion for what she perceives as right, this story follows her continued evolution. What struck me the most about this was that the author made the bad guys very real, not archetypal villains. I understood and sympathized with their motivation as well as I understood Charlotte's. This made the right and wrong of the matter very much a gray area. It was thoughtful and threatening, ruthless and emotional. I cried (when a book makes me cry, it has won me over) and cheered and gasped... I couldn't put it down. Wind Reapers is a heartrending adventure that full of hope and fear, a story that challenged me and made me question my own values."



~ Spocktastic Reviews



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Courtly Scandals Cover Reveal!

I'm excited to share the first cover reveal for Courtly Scandals. It captures that moment of magic in the first kiss in a frozen garden.
It is available for pre-order now http://bit.ly/2EADAiS 

Blurb:

Amid the revelry of Queen Elizabeth’s court at Christmas, scandal after scandal finds a spirited young woman who learns to defy society, own her actions, and fall in love.
Pleasure takes priority during the twelve days of Christmas in Queen Elizabeth’s court, and newcomer Mary Montgomery jumps in with abandon. Unfortunately, such joie de vivre also leads to accusations that she has stabbed an earl, impersonated the Queen, and punched a countess in the face.

Despite the gossip swirling about her, Sir Charles, a knight and member of the Queen’s Guard, is drawn to her vibrancy. After all, scandals are nothing new at Queen Elizabeth’s court. Unfortunately, Mary does not have the wealth or rank to survive them unscathed and soon finds herself on the outside of society’s good graces. And though his loyalty taints his own reputation, Charles continues to stand by Mary’s side.

He knows his intentions and where his priorities lie—he just isn’t sure how she’ll react when she finds out that the man who ruined her reputation is his half-brother. Indeed, before she can accept his affections, Mary must not only forgive herself for her past but realize she is worthy of love.

I have read Ms. Spock's romances and they are a raucous ride of breathless moments, intrigue, and sumptuous court life. For more on her and her books, you can find her here...

Erin Kane Spock lives in Southern California with her husband, two daughters, an old-lady dog, and a puppy. She is a teacher and an active Irish dance mom. Find Erin Kane Spock at her blog at CourtlyRomance.blogspot.com, on Facebook and on Twitter at @kanespock.

Buy links: 

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Running Toward Illumia - YA Fantasy




Hi, I’m Angel Leya, and I write clean young adult stories with (at least) a touch of magic and romance. My latest story is Running Toward Illumia, Astrea’s tale of finding herself while running from the one thing she wants most: To find her sense of belonging.

Astrea’s lived in the Mist all her life, and she loves it there. In fact, she’d do just about anything to feel like she fits in with her Rudan people, even hunt a unicorn to feed her starving tribe.

Illumia is the first city beyond the Mist, just past the Dragon Range. Astrea’s come up with 10 reasons to never go to Illumia. I’ll let her tell you more.

***

Top 10 Reasons NOT to Travel to Illumia


10. They don’t have fog.


Who needs sunshine? I’m a Mist girl. Great for concealing movement, comfortable like an old blanket, and you never have to worry about dry skin. 

9. They don’t all have red hair.


That’s why this tribe is here, despite being sent to the fog to die. And why we call ourselves the Rudan, rather than the Banned.

Wish my hair was redder. And I could use a few more freckles. But I’m one of the Rudan, I swear. I’d be dead if I wasn’t.

8. They’re weak.


Fog weeds out the weak. And if the fog doesn’t, the Lynx, ogres, or Rudan will. Illumians live the easy life. They have no reason to be strong.

7. They’re not very welcoming.


The Rudan take in anyone who can survive the fog. Illumians kicked us out (or at least my parents, but children of the Banned are no less welcome).

6. Illumians are idiots.


Everyone says so.

5. Big government.


I know all five of my council members, and they earned their spot. Like Seneca, first huntress—my mentor. Illumians probably have no idea who runs their council.

4. The journey’s dangerous.


Even if you can navigate the fog, streams filled with flesh-eating fish, and ogre-infested swamps, there’s the dragon range. There’s one pass, guarded by Illumians. The rest is mountain. Treacherous, dragon-housing mountains. No other way around it. Going to Illumia is a fool’s errand.

3. My family’s not there.


If you think getting one person into Illumia is hard, try five. Two brothers, plus Mamaa and Pawpaw.

Course, the whole tribe’s basically family. I’d want to take them all.

Except maybe Mavin. He’s a jerk. (Kidding. Sort of.)

2. I can never come back.


Going to Illumia is a one-way trip. Illumians and dragons ensure that.

1. I don’t want to.


Do I need any other reason?

***

Thanks for reading! If you’d like more, click for an excerpt from Banned, Part 1 of Running Toward Illumia.

Get all 4 parts of Running Toward Illumia today:

1.       Banned (free!)

2.       Lost (On Sale for 99¢ through 2/15/18)

3.       Drenched (On Sale for 99¢ through 2/15/18)

4.       Marked (On Sale for 99¢ through 2/15/18)

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Tremblers Is On Sale...

I am so excited to announce that tomorrow The Tremblers
will be on sale for 99 Cents

 From breathless moments with her wayward spy, Ashton, to facing her darkest fear amid the caverns of a fractured world, Charlotte Blackburn's story is EPIC...

Charlotte Blackburn—Beautiful, intelligent, a gifted tinkerer—lives in a cloistered world of wealth and privilege beneath the Electric Tesla Dome that shields survivors of The Great Calamity. But when her father is abducted, and a strange sickness starts transforming men into vicious monsters, she discovers that technology is no protection at all.

Ashton Wells has a dire mission: Secure Colonel Blackburn and deliver his research to The Order of the Sword and Scroll. But the plan goes awry, and he is left with nothing but the colonel's daughter who has a target on her back and is willing stop at nothing to rescue her father—including handing over to the enemy the only means to stop the monstrous plague.

Branded as traitors, Ashton and Charlotte brave the treacherous floating sky ports of Outer City to hunt down the elusive inventor who is the only person able to activate the strange device that harbors the secret to their salvation.

With the government closing in, a rebellion brewing in the streets, and terrifying Tremblers attacking the innocent, the two must work together to stop their fragile world from crumbling once more into destruction.

Don't forget to check out the exciting sequel to Charlotte's thrilling fight to save the Peaceful Union in...
Available February 9th!

Charlotte Blackburn—Hero, hunted, the unwitting symbol of a dark rebellion—she thwarted the deadly intent of the treacherous Order of the Sword and Scroll, but at a shattering cost. Now, she fights to survive among a tribe of fierce Wind Reapers who troll the wasteland aboard massive metal walkers. But a new storm is brewing and Charlotte is once again the linchpin in a deadly plan...


Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Romance on the Run + a Giveaway!

As an author, I often find myself scouting for book locations while on vacation in real life. A trip to visit my brother in Seattle sparked one of my first romantic suspense novels. I think it was the stormy sky and all that flannel that opened up the idea of a city being part of the emotional journey for the main character. The scent, the light, the hum of a place that isn't your home can really be exciting and just the thing to spark some romance.

An old abandoned building with its shifting shadows could make for an intriguing meeting place. Perhaps the cute cabin on our family hike would be ideal for my sweet proposal scene. The zoo was fun. I am well prepared for a lion escape.

Locations can be a major force in storytelling. From windswept cliffs and creepy mansions in a Gothic romance to the sunlit hills that soothe the soul of a returning heartbreaker. I'm always on the lookout for unique places to spark that romance.

My husband is good at this. He'll point out an especially strange buildings or unsettling dark alleys and ask me what I would do to cause havoc there. He knows me so well. Often my stories of romance come at an edge-of-your-seat pace. And maybe a few explosions.

For my upcoming series, I faced a new challenge with regard to location.  My steampunk romance, The Tremblers, is set in alternative history. Victorian America after a calamitous event that nearly leveled the country. So the set pieces of my romance needed to be both beautiful and haunting. There had to be echoes of what was lost and a hope for what was to come. A lot like the relationship between my hero and heroine.

The most romantic places in The Tremblers are also the most dangerous. Outer City, the boomtown in the clouds boasts romantic vistas of the entire fragile land. The sky boardwalk and floating markets with blimps and dirigibles in bright colors is a sight to see while sipping from a glass with your swashbuckling sweetheart.

I know that the massive electric Tesla domes protecting the cities sparkle purple at dusk against a pink sky....but I would love to cuddle with my husband and see it for real. However, I think it is the stark beauty of the wasteland desert where multicolored flames lick against a crimson horizon that is the most romantic place.

Whether you are on your own front lawn or sailing on an aero ship, one can find romance in unexpected places.

Article originally appeared as a guest post on InkSlinger Blog

I'm having a giveaway to celebrate the release of The Tremblers!
Only two more days to enter...

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Tremblers by Raquel Byrnes

The Tremblers

by Raquel Byrnes

Giveaway ends January 31, 2018.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway