Thursday, May 31, 2012

Announcing the winner of "Cowboy Fever"

The winner of "Cowboy Fever" by Joanne Kennedy (chosen through the service is..................Angie Adair! Congratulations Angie! And thank you again to everyone who left a comment for the drawing!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Big Thanks!

Wow! Yesterday was such an exciting day:) So many people visited my little blog to support one of my favorite authors, Joanne Kennedy. Some of them were fellow authors...of which I love so it was really cool having so many people I admire and look up to visit my blog! I want to thank Joanne again for taking the time to visit with me and wish her all the best with her new book:) And thank you to everyone who left a comment! I will post the winner of Cowboy Fever sometime this week, so make sure you check back to see if you won. It's such a good book and honestly one of my all time favorites. You're in for a treat:) Thanks again everyone!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Interview & Giveaway with Western Romance Author Joanne Kennedy

What an exciting day! Today it is my pleasure to host western romance author Joanne Kennedy! Joanne is joining us today to talk about her love of writing and her amazing books. Please join me in welcoming her:)

KL: Thanks so much for joining us today Joanne! When did you first realize that you wanted to become a writer?
JK: I always wanted to be a writer, but it wasn’t until my midlife crisis hit that I realized I was never going to fulfill my dreams if I didn’t go after them.
Discovering romance also made a big difference. I wanted to write literary novels, or mysteries, or thrillers, but every time I submitted anything agents said it was “too romancey.” Once I got the hint and focused on the kind of stories that come naturally to me, I was off and running.
KL: Where do you find the inspiration for your novels?
JK: Inspiration can come from anywhere—a glimpse out a window, an overheard conversation, or an article in the newspaper. But the two things that inspire me most are my home state of Wyoming and my husband.  I try to show my readers that there’s a place in the world where they belong and a love that is waiting for them. If they’re true to themselves and open to the possibilities around them, they’ll find the life they’re meant to live.
KL: What do you enjoy most about writing western romances? Have you ever dabbled in writing any other types of romance or genre?
JK:I love the way history and tradition blend with the challenges of the modern world in the West. Ranching is a hard life to hang onto these days, and it takes a lot of determination and hard work. That’s what makes cowboys such great heroes.
I actually write in many genres. My agent originally signed me for a paranormal romance, but it didn’t sell and when the cowboy crazy hit, we switched gears. I also love thrillers and mysteries. I need more hours in the day so I can write all the books that are rattling around in my head!  
KL: Out of all of your novels, which female character would you say is your favorite and why? How about favorite male character?
JK: I have a real soft spot for Charlie and Nate from One Fine Cowboy. I get more e-mails about Nate than any of my characters, with readers often saying I’ve brought back someone they loved and lost. Charlie is simply the woman I’d like to be—brave, funny, passionate, and determined to create the life she wants. Both of these characters are so real to me that it wouldn’t surprise me to run into them on the street – I’m sure they’re out there somewhere!
KL: If you had to choose one, and only one, of your novels to be made into a movie, which one would it be and why?
JK: My first book, Cowboy Trouble, was under consideration by a producer for a while, and I would have loved to see Luke and Libby brought to life along with all the quirky residents of Lackaduck. Then again, I’d love to see Cowboy Fever as a movie because it focuses on therapy riding, which is one of my favorite causes, and a movie might get more people to understand how much horses can do for people with disabilities.
KL: Many people I know, including myself, love reading series. Any plans for possibly writing one?
JK: Yes! I have two series ideas in my head right now that I’m working up into proposals. I think writing a series is a real challenge, since you have to satisfy both new readers and faithful followers. You have to introduce new readers to your world without boring those who have followed the series from the start, and you have to find a satisfying ending that leaves room for a sequel. I really want to make sure that every book in the series is a complete and satisfying reading experience, no matter where in the series you start.
KL: As an accomplished romance author, what would be the best piece of advice you can give to other authors who are just starting out?
JK: I think the most essential skill a writer can have is the ability to take criticism. It can be very hard to hear negative things about your writing, but as the writer, you’re probably the least qualified person to judge the quality of your work. Every book is a collaboration between the writer, who lays the groundwork, and the reader, who fleshes out the details in their mind. You need to know how others will see your story, and while you don’t have to implement every suggestion, you do have to listen and be open to ideas that might make your good book even better!
KL: Your newest release, Cowboy Crazy, comes out on June 5th of this year. What can your readers expect to see from you in this novel?
JK: For starters, they can look forward to my hottest cowboy hero ever! Lane Carrigan is an oil company heir turned rodeo cowboy who’s trying to get back to his family’s ranching roots. Sarah Landon is a small-town girl who’s in a big hurry to kick the country dust off her boots and become a part of the wealthy world Lane takes for granted. They meet in the middle between the two world and the result is a wild ride. I loved writing this book because I got to do a lot of rodeo scenes. I’m a big fan of the sport and did my best to put the reader right in the arena!
KL: What would you say was your favorite part of writing Cowboy Crazy? Any scenes that you particularly enjoyed bringing to life?
JK: Without a doubt, researching the rodeo scenes! I spent a lot of time behind the chutes at Cheyenne Frontier Days, listening to the cowboys, watching them prepare for their rides, and seeing the action up close.
KL: What's next for you? I'm sure after we all get our cowboy fix with Cowboy Crazy we'll be itching for more…any new novels in the works?
JK: I’m just finishing up Cowboy Tough, which is about a rodeo cowboy who returns to the family homestead to help his family turn it into a dude ranch. Their first guest is an artist who’s bringing a group of students to learn to paint in the Wyoming backcountry.  He’s a pretty basic guy, and a big-city artist is the last woman he expects to fall for—but sometimes opposites really do attract. 

Joanne's new book Cowboy Crazy is out on June 5th!

From stable to boardroom...

Sarah Landon's Ivy League scholarship transforms her from a wide–eyed country girl into a poised professional. Until she's assigned to do damage control with the boss's rebellious brother Lane, who's the burr in everybody's saddle. 

He's determined to save his community from oil drilling, and she's not going back to the ranch she left forever. Spurs will shine in this saucy romp about ranchers and roots, redemption and second chances. - from

Joanne will be giving away one free copy of her novel Cowboy Fever to one random lucky person who leaves a comment on this post today. Trust me folks, this novel is so good and super sexy with characters you will just fall in love with. Don't miss out on your chance to own a copy of it:)

Visit Joanne:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My "Hunter Moon" by Cait Lavender Review

Bawling cattle tore Shelby Flint from her bed. With lawyer fees to pay in her struggle to keep her ranch from the clutches of her greedy cousins, she couldn’t afford the loss of even one calf. When she sees a large wolf circling her cows, she aims and fires. While the wolf escapes, Shelby can’t seem to get away from her troubles when a marijuana grower sets up shop on her land, sabotaging her property and eventually coming after her. Adding to that, a handsome game warden is poking his nose into her business and working his way underneath her skin. Shelby will have to fight harder than she ever fought before to keep from losing her heart and everything she ever loved.

My Review:
I’m just going to go ahead and admit this right now. When I first read the synopsis for this novel I thought it was all over the place. Here we have twenty-six year old Shelby Flint who inherits her grandfather’s ranch; the same ranch she was raised on by said grandfather and helped maintain throughout the years. On top of having to run the ranch by herself now, she has to deal with her money hungry cousins suing her as they believe she put their grandfather up to willing her the land instead of selling it and splitting the profits with the family. Shelby is having enough trouble making ends meet without the added lawyer fees and new form of trouble for her herd of cattle in the form of a large wolf that she finds hovering around her property. Things couldn’t get any worse, right? Wrong. To top off the list of bad things going on in her life, she stumbles across a dead body on her property and soon finds out that marijuana growers are using her land for their product. Little bit of everything in this book, huh? That being said, the author really makes this work. The novel is written from Shelby’s point of view and I really enjoyed seeing things through her eyes. I will also say that I loved her inner monologues. LOL. She had me cracking up more than once through this read. I have never read a book before with a heroine like Shelby. She is a no-nonsense, gun wielding, strong willed woman who doesn’t back down to anyone. She fights for what is hers and isn’t afraid to stand her ground. That being said, I also liked how she interacted with Cash Newcomb, the new game warden in town and Shelby’s love interest. Cash has this ability to make Shelby shed her tough girl exterior and lose herself in the moment. The relationship between the two of them was so teasingly sexy that I actually felt every bit of sexually frustrated as Shelby. And Cash. Cash is just so…sigh. He is super sexy and very alpha male, which makes him way protective of Shelby. I loved their whole love/hate relationship and how the two of them just couldn’t stay away from each other. I read this novel in one day, staying up well past my bed time just to finish it. The only complaint I have about this novel is the fact that it ended:) I swear, when I hit that last page I honestly didn’t believe it was over. I kept swiping my finger across my kindle screen to get the page to turn, and when it didn’t I started tapping it like a mad person. If my kindle had the ability to file assault charges against me I think it would, lol. Honestly this was a very, very good novel. Cait Lavender is a talented writer and I’m expecting big things from her. That being said…Cait, please hurry up and write the next novel because I’m dying to know what happens next!

My Rating:
5 out of 5 Stars

Book Content:
Some Adult language, Mild Sexual Situations and Mild Violence

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My "Cowboy Moon" by Cait Lavender Review

Hank Cooper pretended an average bull rider, going from town to town trying to get those elusive eight seconds. But when he and his best friend, Sam, come to the cowboy town of Clovis, California, he meets a woman destined to be his. Hank can’t run away from what he is any longer, but will she? 

Tammie Flint is just a girl who wants to have a good time at the rodeo with her best friend--maybe even meet a few cute guys. She didn’t expect to fall in love with a cowboy or to put the lives of everyone she holds dear in danger. 

Will any of them survive the Cowboy Moon?

My Review:
This is a very quick and enjoyable read. So enjoyable that I hated for it to end! Hank and Tammie have this instant connection that at first just seems to be completely sexual, but soon you realize that they are destined to be together. This story is written in the first person, and I found that a bit confusing at times because it jumps from Hank’s point of view to Tammie’s. But after a while you get use to it and it’s not confusing anymore. All in all, this was a very good story and I definitely recommend it for others to read. Word of warning though…make sure you have plenty of time to spare because as soon as you hit the last page of this novel you will be wanting to read more:) And that’s where Cait Lavender’s full length novel, Hunter Moon, comes in to play. Check back tomorrow for my review of Hunter Moon!

My Rating:
4 out of 5 Stars

Book Content:
Some adult language, sexual situations (mild), and mild violence.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Writing Quote of the Day

"Read, read, read. Read everything -- trash, classics, good and bad and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write. If it's good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out of the window."
-William Faulkner

Friday, May 18, 2012

"When the Heart Falls" Blog Tour Stop #9

Happy Friday everyone! Today I am visiting at MK McClintock's blog sharing one of my greatest adventures. I hope you all will stop by and check it out. Don't forget to leave a comment on the post for your chance to win a $15 amazon gift card or a copy of my book (ebook for Kindle). Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Author Spotlight with Michael Lorde

Today it is my pleasure to host author Michael Lorde during his blog tour for his new novel "Blind Veil". Welcome Michael!

What does an unreported crime that occurred decades earlier have to do with a NYC cop?  Everything.

Nothing the old scientist told him could possibly be true…or so the decorated New York Cop and former Marine tries to tell himself.

But as the evidence mounts, he faces the terrifying question -- is the Blind Veil lifting?

In a race for his life, he must decide if he is losing his mind or is the world he thought he knew merely an illusion?

Please enjoy this excerpt from "Blind Veil":

Time to hide.

There was only one safe place in the house.  He wasn’t a kid anymore.  Could he still fit?  If they found him hiding there he’d be trapped, but he was trapped anyway, here in the house.  Simms opened the pantry door, almost knocking down an old can of peas.  He caught it mid-fall.  Careful not to disturb the dust, he placed it precisely from where it had fallen.  They’d notice a clean spot.  He grabbed the rope which hung at the rear corner of the pantry wall and pulled it to the left.  It revealed an open space about three feet wide which dropped to a small enclosed area below the house.  The total ceiling clearance there fell just shy of five feet, too small for a man his size to fit.  The radio sounded outside the window.  It crackled before spitting out whispers.  Simms stepped over the pantry floor and into the tiny space and turned around.  He hadn’t made a sound.  He willed himself into the faux root cellar before twisting his hand around for the rope.  He used it to carefully slide the panel back in place, keeping a tight grip on it to lock it in.  He was sealed off from the pantry and the kitchen, but was so squished he couldn’t breathe.  His ribcage was crammed in like an oversized sardine in a can. His lungs couldn’t fully expand.  Standing blindly in the tight closet, he wondered how long he could stay in this position before passing out.  Sweat dripped from his pores.  A spider web clung to his cheek as he turned his head toward the sounds in the house. 

Quiet footsteps meandered from room to room.  The search was thorough.  Twenty minutes later, they were now in the kitchen.  Cabinets were being opened.  He closed his eyes in the pitch black.  He could feel them walking towards him.  The pantry door swung open.  The gun tip shone like a brilliant ring from the kitchen light.  Between the slats, Simms could clearly see the militant head covering and the dark eyes of the man peering from behind it as he searched through the cabinet.   
He felt safe.  No one knew about this cubby hole he’d claimed as his personal hiding space as a child.  It was virtually unseen from the searcher’s viewpoint.  All the same, he didn’t breathe at all until the professional was satisfied with his sweep of the pantry interior and closed the door behind him. 
Things sound so much clearer in the dark.  He listened as they finally left the house.  Fifteen minutes or so later, the engines of the all terrain vehicles faded into the distance.  He was covered in sweat which stuck him to the walls that concealed him.  Still, he waited a good twenty minutes longer before he opened the slat and poked his head out of the pantry door.  He breathed deeply, then listened intently for sounds in the house, any sound.
It was silent.

The soft squeak of the pantry hinge put him on edge as he slipped back into the kitchen and dropped to the floor.  He skidded on knees over to the window.  The vehicles were gone. 
Black and green liquid dripped from underneath Emmett’s truck, pooling onto the yard, beneath it.  He could smell gasoline. 

‘Damn.’  They cut the hoses and the fuel line.

Links to purchase the book:


About the Author:

Author Michael Lorde is a former law enforcement officer and detective.

Books have been a priority for as long as Michael Lorde can remember.  Always reading or writing Michael has written for years, since the first book ‘Babbly’ was completed as a kid in the 1970’s. While growing up, this author loved sports of all kinds, and was on numerous sports teams at school, including track, basketball and swimming, to name a few.

Michael loves kids and animals and enjoys reading thrilling stories, attending live performances, doing carpentry, and artwork.  The Literacy Council, Special Olympics and Samaritan House are causes that this author has participated in and contributed to in the past and present.

Michael Lorde currently lives in Michigan.

Visit Michael Here:
TWITTER:  @BlindVeil

If you like the book, feel free to LIKE its facebook page.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"When the Heart Falls" Blog Tour Stop #8

Hello everyone! Today I am guest posting at Waiting on Sunday to Drown. I hope you all will stop by and check it out:) Have a great day!

Monday, May 14, 2012

"When the Heart Falls" Blog Tour Stop #7

Good morning everyone! Today I am doing a guest post at Words I Write Crazy. Come and join us and check out Louisa's review of my book:) Hope to see y'all there!

Friday, May 11, 2012

"When the Heart Falls" Blog Tour Stop #6

Today I'm doing a guest post about some of my favorite books over at Books are Magic. What are some of your favorites? Stop by and leave a comment:) Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Writing Quote of the Day

"And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt."
-Sylvia Plath

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Interview with Kristine Cayne

It is my pleasure today to be hosting author Kristine Cayne! Kristine is joining us for an interview to talk a little bit about her new novel "Deadly Addiction". Please join me in welcoming her!

KL: Have you always wanted to be a writer? If not, what drew you to the world of storytelling?
KC: I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was very young. But as I got older, creative writing took a back seat to essays, projects, and other technical writing. It wasn’t until I found Cherry Adair’s Kiss and Tell that the spark came back. After reading it, I knew that writing romantic suspense was what I wanted to do.

KL: What inspired the idea for "Deadly Addiction"?
KC: I’ve always been fascinated with the idea that someone’s hero is another person’s villain. I grew up in the Montreal area, which was the site of a huge crisis between the provincial police and the local Mohawk communities. It escalated to the point where the Canadian Armed Forces were called in. Twenty years later, hard feelings still exist on both sides. I wrote Deadly Addiction so that I could explore this conflict and learn more about Canada’s First Nations.

KL: Without giving too much away, tell us a little bit about your book.
KC: The Blackriver Iroquois Reserve is a powder keg ready to blow. Rampant crime and drug abuse are tearing the tribe apart. Two people, Rémi Whitedeer, the half-white grandson of one of the tribe’s traditional chiefs, and Alyssa Morgan, a maverick cop, take on the task of restoring order to this troubled nation. Fed up with interference from white authorities, a radical sovereigntist sets off a chain of events that could destroy everyone Rémi cares about, including Alyssa.

KL: What was your favorite chapter (or scene) in “Deadly Addiction” to write and why?
KC: There were a lot of scenes that were fun to write in this book. I’ll mention two: one is a certain romantic scene that takes place by the river’s edge. Another is when Rémi must confront someone from Alyssa’s past. The first scene simmers with sexual tension and those first-time questions and insecurities. The second scene explodes into a huge conflict between Rémi, Alyssa and this third person. The foundation of the relationship Alyssa and Rémi have built is put to the test.

KL: What has been your greatest challenge as a writer? Greatest achievement?
KC: I’d say my greatest achievement has been to get my book out to readers. Every time I get a note from a fan or a great review, I’m thrilled; someone has taken the time to read my book and let me know what they think about it. It’s a fantastic feeling. The greatest challenge has been to find a balance between work, writing, and family. I’m still working on that one. 

KL:  Do you have any advice for other authors who are trying to make their way into the writing world?
KC: Two things are of major importance: one, write as much as you can; two, learn as much as you can. No one knows everything about the craft of writing, so find out what your weaknesses are and take a class or attend a workshop. Never stop learning.

If you’re not sure where to start, I’d recommend joining a writers’ group of some sort, such as Romance Writers of America (RWA), which offers classes and has chapters around the country where you can meet other writers. Having local support is immensely helpful.

KL: Is there a message you'd like readers to take away from this book?
KC: That no one is all good or all bad. I made a point of having people of all races on both sides of the good/bad divide. I hope that after reading my book, people will better understand the plight of the native people, even if it’s only a little. They are a proud and generous people, and I’ve enjoyed learning about them tremendously.

KL: Do you have any interesting writing quirks?
KC: I find it very difficult to write if I’m not at my desk. I can occasionally manage to write in my car or a café, but I must begin with that goal in mind. I’ve tried writing on airplanes or in hotels, and it really doesn’t work.

KL: What is your favorite non-writing pastime?
KC: Reading! I love to read all romance genres. I also enjoy a good mainstream suspense or thriller. 

KL: What do you have in store next for your readers?
KC: I’m currently working on a short story/novella that will appear in an anthology sometime this summer. I’m also beginning to write Deadly Betrayal, book three of my Deadly Vices series. Since Kaden’s story will take us to Afghanistan, I’ve been reading up on the people, culture, traditions, politics, and languages of that country. I expect it to be a very different take on Afghanistan than what people have seen in romantic suspense up to now.

A proud people. A nation divided.
Rémi Whitedeer, police officer turned substance-abuse counselor, dreams of restoring order to his tribe. Violence and crime are rampant throughout the unpoliced Iroquois reserve, and a civil war is brewing between the Guardians, a militant traditionalist group, and other tribal factions. As the mixed-race cousin of the Guardians’ leader, Rémi is caught in a no-man’s land—several groups lay claim to him, but all want him to deny his white blood.

A maverick cop on an anti-drug crusade.
When she infiltrated the Vipers to take down the leader of the outlaw biker gang responsible for her brother’s death, police sergeant Alyssa Morgan got her man. But her superiors think she went too far. Her disregard for protocol and her ends-justify-the-means ethics have branded her an unreliable maverick. To salvage her career, she accepts an assignment to set up a squad of native provincial officers on a reserve.

A radical sovereigntist bent on freeing a nation.
Decades of government oppression threaten the existence of the Iroquois Nation. But one man, Chaz Whitedeer, is determined to save his people no matter what the price, even if it means delving into the shadowy world of organized crime.

When Rémi and Alyssa uncover the Guardians’ drug-fueled scheme to fund their fight for true autonomy—a scheme involving the Vipers—Rémi must choose between loyalty to family and tribe or his growing love for Alyssa.

Can Rémi and Alyssa leave everything behind—even their very identities—for a future together?

Please enjoy this excerpt from "Deadly Addiction":
Rémi tipped up her chin until their eyes met. “Alyssa. Tell me what’s got you so upset.”

Did she have to draw the man a picture? His rejection burned. Why did it feel so personal? They had nothing more than a professional association. Except she’d wanted more, hadn’t she? “You must really hate me.”

His face paled as he continued to stroke her face. “Why would you think that?”

Like a warm breeze, his low voice slid over her skin. God, she really didn’t want to deal with this, with him, right now. “You couldn’t have looked more revolted if you’d been standing neck deep in a pile of manure.”

“We were talking about the SQ, not you.”

“But that’s just it: I am the SQ.” She tugged on her wrist and this time, he let her go. Turning away from him, she pulled in a lungful of air. Warm hands held her shoulders and she felt his heat against her back. Her body swayed. What would it feel like to let herself go and accept his strength? Let him pull her against his body and envelope her in his comfort? It would feel like heaven. Until he pushed her away, again.

He leaned in close and whispered, “The SQ is your job, not who you are. You’re a beautiful, intelligent, strong woman. And I’m far, far from hating you.”

Visit Kristine:
Links to purchase the book:

Monday, May 7, 2012

"When the Heart Falls" Blog Tour Stop #4

Today I'm visiting at A Book Lover's Library. Please join me there for an interview and a review of my novel. Happy Monday everyone!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Western Roundup Giveaway Hop

First Annual Western Roundup Giveaway Hop

July 20th - 26th

Featuring books with cowboys!
Cowboys are sexy and deserve a hop of their own. The western genre has exploded beyond old west and romance to include werewolves, wizards and other magical beings. Want to meet a charming cowboy or tough as nails cowgirl? Want to know what magic has to do with the old west? Want an old-fashioned historical western romance? Well then, hop on and enjoy the ride!

Hop Rules
  • You can feature any book in the western genre, with cowboys, get the idea. It can be paranormal, supernatural, historical, romantic, etc as long as it has cowboys. 
  • The book cannot contain steamy covers or erotica.
  • Blogs must be 'family-friendly' (no 18+ over sites).
  • It can be a printed copy or an ebook.
  • You may feature just one book or multiple books that meet this criteria.  You may have just one winner or multiple winners.
  • No gift cards.
  • There can only be 3 possible entries per person.  1 mandatory entry and up to 2 optional entries. 
  • The Hop Image and Linky must be part of your post.
  • Your post must be live by 12:01 AM EST on Friday July 20th.  Plan to put your post up anytime after 3:00 PM EST on Thursday, July 19th.

There's a prize for participating blogs too! 

At the end of the hop, we'll have a drawing where one participating blog will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card and a western ebook of their choice ($5 value).

To sign up to host a giveaway, add your blog to the linky with your shipping info in parenthesis after your blog name - (US) or (Int).

Saturday, May 5, 2012

"When the Heart Falls" Blog Tour Stop #3

Hi folks! Today I'm being interviewed at BK Walker Books Etc. Stop by and check it out:) And don't forget to enter for your chance to win a $15 Amazon giftcard:) Have a great day everyone!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Be back tomorrow...

Sorry folks, I'm a little under the weather this morning. I'm gonna get some rest and I'll be back tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

"When the Heart Falls" Blog Tour Stop #2

Hello everyone! Today I'm visiting at Mass Musings and doing a guest post on some of my favorite books. Stop by and say "Hi":)
And I'd also like to announce that the winner of the $10 amazon giftcard from yesterdays post goes to MK McClintock! Thanks for your comment MK!
Have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Interview with Hillary E. Peak & A Giveaway!

Please join me in welcoming author Hillary E. Peak! Hillary is currently on tour for her new book "Wings of Hope" and is joining us today for an interview. Welcome Hillary!

KL: So you have a law degree...What made you decide you wanted to write novels instead of practice law?
HP:  In truth, I do practice law.  So far, I don’t make enough money from writing to stop!  I became a lawyer to try and change things, but when I realized that wasn’t going to happen, I started looking for something creative to do.  When I quit a job after only two days, the story was so funny I wrote it down and a passion was born.

KL: What inspired the idea for "Wings of Hope"?
HP:  My father.  He did all the things that Sol tells about in the book.  He had an amazing life.  He passed away seven years ago.  When I was pregnant with my daughter, I wanted her to hear all my dad’s stories.  I started writing them down and pretty soon found I had an idea for a novel.

KL: Without giving too much away, tell us a little bit about your book.
HP:  When Sol, the father, finds out he is terminally ill, he asks his daughter, Jules to come and stay with him.  He and her mother divorced when she was little and lived on opposite ends of the country.  Her life isn’t really what she wants, so she gives it up and moves to stay with her father.  Her father tells her about his life and imparts one of life’s greatest gifts—the power to try to achieve her dreams.

KL: Do you have a favorite scene from "Wings of Hope" that you'd like to share?
HP:  My father had always been a serious early riser.  I, on the other hand, could sleep until 9 or 10 any day of the week.  Without an alarm, I couldn’t possibly get up.  Staring at the clock when I went to bed, I vacillated about setting it.  There was nothing we had to do; I’d asked my father before we went to bed.  With the three hour time difference, I worried whether I would wake up before noon.  In the end, I figured it couldn’t hurt to sleep late, so I didn’t set it.  
Blearily, I looked at the clock, 9:45, especially since I was still on San Francisco time.  Not as bad as I had anticipated.  Pulling on some comfy red and white drawstring pants and thick graysocks, I padded down the hall toward the kitchen, praying there would still be some drinkable coffee.
When I saw my dad sitting at the table with a cup of coffee and the Times still in his robe, I knew that besides dying, he actually didn’t feel well.  I couldn’t recall another time in my life that if I rose after 8 a.m. He wasn’t already in a custom tailored shirt and pants with Gucci or Prada shoes (always new, my father loved shoes more than any woman I’d ever seen).  Concern flooded through me.
“I got smoked white fish and bialys yesterday.  There’s still plenty of coffee.”  He motioned toward the cabinet.  Worried gnawed at me.  My dad and I take our coffee the same way--three or four sugars (depending on the size of the cup) and enough cream to make it almost white.  For years, my dad had made me coffee when I got up.  Tears pricked at my eyes.  I closed them to make them go away.
Instead, I tried to be cheerful.  “Thanks!  I can’t wait to have bialys--can’t get those anywhere but New York.”
As we sat at the table sipping coffee, I ventured my first question, “Dad, what were your parents like?  You haven’t told me much about them, except that your mother had more brains in her pinkie than you’ve ever had.”  I worried I wouldn’t have time to find out all I wanted to know.
He looked up, surprised.  “Haven’t I told you about them?”
I shook my head.  “But I’d really like to know more about them--especially what they were like.”
A smile spread across his face, “Really?  I can’t believe that.  My mother would have loved you--eaten you with a spoon.  Remember when I took you to Fiddler on the Roof?”
I nodded, not wanting to break the spell by speaking.
“You were horrified that Golda hadn’t even met Tevya before they were married?”
I nodded again.  That had horrified me, I couldn’t imagine not falling in love, courting, all that comes with the fun of meeting someone special, dressing up to go out, etc.  The coffee mug warmed my hands, as I listened enraptured. 
“Well, my parents were married like that.”
Rather than actually seeing it, I felt my jaw hit the floor.  “You’re kidding!”  I exclaimed without thinking.
“Nope.”  He shook his head, watching me with amusement.“They’d never even seen one another.  Married in a little village in Poland called Tarnapole.  It is gone now--burned to the ground by the Nazis, I think.”  His eyes misted over, but continued anyway.  “My mother got pregnant with your Aunt Rebecca almost immediately.  My dad was a barrel maker--and a fine woodworker.  He made furniture for people as well.  Six months after Rebecca was born, my mother got pregnant again--with Aunt Rachel.  The pogroms went on at that time, and getting worse every day from what I gathered from my parents.  Money and food were running out.  It was quite desperate.  My father decided to come to America, make some money with my mother’s brother who already lived here in New York, then send for my mother and the two girls.  He left taking nearly two months to get to New York.  It was barely three weeks after he stepped onto Ellis Island when World War One started.  My mother and your aunts were trapped for the next three years.  For a while, my dad could get in touch with them.  He sent money, but after about a year, the lines were totally cut off.  He didn’t know where they were, if they were even alive.  As far as I know, he kept working, saving money.  My mother on the other hand, was starving.  The pogroms were continuing.  The Cossacks were riding through villages, raping women and running everything that moved through with a sword.”  He licked his lips, concentrating, clearly thinking about what it must have been like for his mother.  My hair stood on end.
“One day, my mother was in the town rather than at their farm when the Cossacks came riding in.  One grabbed my mother around the waist and lifted her onto the horse while he was moving.  He intended to rape her in the saddle and kill her.  She grabbed his pistol from out of the holster around his waist.  She shot him dead as they rode.”
My mouth was open and my eyes were far bigger than saucers.  My dad laughed at my expression.  “I know.  Totally amazing--she was an amazing woman.  She never told me that story.  Her brother told me after she died.  I remember saying to him, ‘My Mother?’  I couldn’t believe it.”
“What happened?”  I asked mesmerized.  “How did she get away with it?”
He nodded solemnly.  “I asked the same question.  She rode back to the farm.  Her brothers buried the body.  They slaughtered the horse and ate the meat—they couldn’t keep it, even though it would have been great for the farm, because it would have aroused suspicion and questions--but it was no longer safe for her or your aunts.  People had seen it happen.  They knew it wasn’t long before someone turned her in for a loaf of bread.”  He bit the inside of his cheek, just a bit; frightened for them even though he knew it turned out alright.
“So she took what she could carry, along with my sisters and started walking to America.”
“Walking?  Are you serious?”  I literally could not imagine walking thousands of miles.
“Yep.  She and my sisters hid in the woods during the day and walked at night for months.  Eventually, she joined a refugee line.”
“How long did it take?”  I couldn’t imagine.  The fear I felt hearing about it was palpable--what must it have been like to go through something like that?
“Two years.”
“Two years--are you kidding me?  She walked for two years.”  I was incredulous.
He nodded.  “Unbelievable, huh?”  He clasped his hands and looked down at them, trying to imagine what those two years would have been like.
I was speechless, thinking of the small things—nothing to eat, nowhere to sleep, no privacy for anything.  
“The most amazing part is that she made it.”
“Wow, I wish I’d met her.”
“Me, too.  She was something else.  She spoke eleven languages.  When she arrived in America, she would go through the streets looking for broken furniture and bring it back for my father to fix and resell.  They built up quite a furniture business.  When the Depression hit, they lost it all.  My dad had to take a job as a window washer, earning $9 a week, to feed a family of six.  I never saw him in the morning, he was up and gone before the sun.”  There was a dreamy quality to his expression.  I imagined him as a little boy looking up to his father.
“He fell off his ladder once.  Your uncle and I were young teenagers.  For two weeks, we did the window washing route.  The two of us couldn’t do together what he did in a day.  After the two weeks, my dad was up with only a broken hand.  Your uncle and I went with him for two more weeks.  With a broken hand, he did twice as many windows as your uncle and I did in a day.”  His smile was rueful.  
With a small chuckle, he continued, “My mother was the brains of the operation.  After six years, my dad came home--I’ll never forget it--she said, ‘You don’t work for Jakob anymore. ’
My dad turned white, ‘My God!  He fired me? ’  I was terrified he was going to drop dead right there; he was stricken.”  Dad’s face blanched at the memory.  He had really been frightened.
‘No, ’ she responded looking horrified.  ‘I bought the business. ’
Can you imagine?  She was able to save the money for that?  Let me tell you, we never went hungry--or at least the kids never went hungry.  As I think about it, I’m not certain I ever saw my parents eat.  We did eat dinner together, but I imagine that was actually the only meal they ate.”  His face was sad, realizing this now.
He shook his head in wonder.  “I don’t really know if they were happy.  People didn’t think about that then.  Life was just too hard--but they knew they wanted a better life for their children.  My mother wouldn’t let me speak anything but English.  She said, ‘You’re an American, speak English! ’”  The recollection brightened him.  I felt a stab in my chest, thinking that he wouldn’t be with me much longer.  
Each of us took a sip of our sweet, milky coffee.  Quiet.  Dad sat his coffee back on the table and gently stirred it.  “I remember after I graduated from medical school, she came to my first office in Newark.  She looked around, and when she left, she dusted off my shingle--my name at the front door.”I’d never seen my dad so sentimental.  His eyes had tears in them, and he was clearly too choked up to talk.  Slipping my hand over his, I waited.
After a few minutes, he looked up at me and smiled.  Squeezing my hand, he said in a husky voice, “that was one of the best days of my life.  I knew I had made her proud.  I’ve been trying to recreate that feeling since then.  I wanted to make the world proud by doing something significant.  Now, I’m dying, and I don’t know exactly what I’ve accomplished.” Dad cleared his throat, and I knew the moment was over.  

KL: What made you decide to choose self-publishing? Would you do it again?
HP:  I got tired of sending my novel out and getting letters that said how well I wrote, but it wasn’t right for this editor or publisher or agent.  I thought if I really could write, maybe I could make it by publishing it myself.
Before I self-published, I would spend a whole year trying to do traditional publishing.  I don’t think I gave it enough time.

KL: What has been your greatest challenge as a writer? Greatest achievement?
HP:  Promotion is super hard!  I’m trying to figure it all out, but I’m still barely getting the hang of it.
Achievement?  I’ve written three novels!

KL: Is there a message you'd like readers to take away from this book?
HP:  Yes—it is always worth it to try and do what you want in life.  It is better to fail than never to try.

KL: Do you have any interesting writing quirks?
HP:  The strangest thing I do is write the story and then go back and fill in descriptions.  I find them hard to write because I skip them in my own reading.

KL: What is your favorite non-writing pastime?
HP:  Yoga—someday I hope to be a master yogi.

KL: What do you have in store next for your readers?
HP:  I’ve just finished a legal thriller entitled “Justice Scorned.” 
 “Today, I received a black world.”  Randall Taylor tells his mentor as he pulled the tiny globe out of his pocket.  It is black on black, with the oceans matte and the landmasses glossy.  Randall’s certain he is going to receive all the money and power he seeks, but long sought after revenge puts him in prison instead.

The letter said he was dying, that’s all Jules Weinstein knows when she leaves her life in San Francisco and moves to New York City to be with her father. She goes for the remarkable opportunity to really know her father. She never dreamed he had liberated a concentration camp, dealt cards to Bugsy Siegel or saved the life of a Black Panther. Wings of Hope is a road trip through the memories of a man making peace with his life. Little does she know that by getting to know her father, she will find herself. While her father struggles with whether his life was meaningful, Jules discovers that her father’s last gift to her is the ability to reach for her dreams. Her journey teacher her that “the goodbye” is sometimes the most heartbreakingly beautiful part of life.

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