Author Linda McLaughlin guest post

Another one from last December. The giveaway is over….

Our next guest, Linda McLaughlin, is here to tell us a little bit about her Regency romance novel, Lady Elinor’s Escape, and the era and area in which it’s set.  Miss Linda, why don’t you come on over here by the fire and, whenever you’re ready, tell us about your intrepid Miss?

Lady Elinor’s Escape
By Linda McLaughlin
Amber Quill Press

I’ve been in love with historical fiction for most of my life, and Regency romance is one of my favorite subgenres. In 2003, shortly before Lady Elinor’s Escape was released, I had the pleasure of a jaunt through the “Regency triangle” of London, Bath and Brighton. It was one of the most enjoyable trips of my life. The photo on the book’s cover was adapted from one I took during my trip.

Lady Elinor’s Escape is kind of a Cinderella story in reverse. Though Elinor is well-born, the daughter of an earl, like Cinderella she is trapped in an untenable situation, stuck with a crazy, abusive aunt rather than a wicked stepmother. Elinor’s only hope is to escape to London where she hopes to send a message to her father, who is currently stationed in Lisbon. While in London, she pretends to be a seamstress in the shop of her mother’s former maid, Mimi, who plays the role of Fairy Godmother. The hero, Stephen Chaplin, plays the role of Prince Charming, though his social status is below hers, yet another complication once he realizes the woman he rescued is really a lady.

This isn’t your typical Regency romance. Much of the action takes place in the shop, showing a different side of the Regency. Not everyone lived in a grand town house with servants at their beck and call. Staying with Mimi gives Elinor a taste of “real life” and the experience makes her a stronger, more compassionate person.

Oh, I forgot to mention the book was a Finalist in the Regency Category of the 2005 Golden Quill Contest, sponsored by the Desert Rose Chapter of RWA.


Lady Elinor Ashworth always longed for adventure, but when she runs away from her abusive aunt, she finds more than she bargained for. Elinor fears her aunt who is irrational and dangerous, threatening Elinor and anyone she associates with. When she encounters an inquisitive gentleman, she accepts his help, but fearing for his safety, hides her identity by pretending to be a seamstress. She resists his every attempt to draw her out, all the while fighting her attraction to him.

There are too many women in barrister Stephen Chaplin’s life, but he has never been able to turn his back on a damsel in distress. The younger son of a baronet is a ‘rescuer’ of troubled females, an unusual vocation fueled by guilt over his failure to save the woman he loved from her brutal husband. He cannot help falling in love with his secretive seamstress, but to his dismay, the truth of her background reveals Stephen as the ineligible party.

Read an excerpt:

(Note: Elinor has run away from her abusive aunt who hit her the day before. She meets Stephen Chaplin at a nearby inn.)

“Excuse me, madam, but I could not help overhearing you say that you must leave for London immediately. Allow me to introduce myself. Stephen Chaplin, Esquire, at your service.”

Elinor turned to face the gentleman who had suddenly appeared. She stared at him through a haze of black, taking advantage of her veil to get a closer look at this tall, dark-haired, seemingly well bred gentleman. He was above average height, with finely chiseled features, and while he could not, strictly speaking, be deemed handsome, there was something in the intense scrutiny of his light brown eyes that drew her to him. By the cut of his bottle green Superfine coat, which emphasized his broad shoulders, but was not so tight as to hamper movement, and his casually tied neckcloth, she surmised he was no society dandy.

“How do you do?” she said politely, extending one black-gloved hand.

“Fine, thank you.”

As he took her hand and bowed over it, Elinor savored the warmth of his touch for a moment. It had been a long time since someone had touched her out of kindness. Suddenly realizing she was clutching his hand, she withdrew hers. He studied her, his gaze seeming to penetrate the veil, and she could only stand like the veriest lump under his scrutiny.

“I beg your pardon, madam, but what did you say your name was?”

“Eli—” Elinor broke off and feigned a cough, panic bubbling up inside. Her name. Dear heavens, she needed a new name. If she told him who she was, he would never agree to take her to Mimi. She stared down at the gentleman’s yellow nankeen trousers and shiny brown boots. “Brown,” she stammered. “Ellie Brown.”

“Mrs. Brown, may I offer my assistance? I’m heading for London myself and would be pleased to convey you as far as Chippenham, where you may pick up another stage coach.”

Relief flooded through her at his offer, but could she trust him? No proper young lady rides in a closed carriage with a gentleman who is not related to her. The words of her governess rang in her ears. “I do not think—”

“Of course, you are cautious,” he interrupted smoothly. “Any genteel lady would hesitate to trust a strange gentleman.”

“But I am not a lady,” she blurted. If Aunt Sarah learned that a ‘lady’ had been here, she would know where to look for her. “I am merely a seamstress.”

“Really,” he drawled, doubt evident in his tone.

“Yes, I have a position awaiting me in London.” She was surprised, and a bit uncomfortable, at how easily the lies flowed from her lips, but they were necessary.

“Then you had best accept my offer, lest your position go to someone else. Miss Wainwright can vouch for me. We traveled here together from London. Nancy,” he called out. “Over here.”

A young serving woman who was obviously in the family way approached them. “What can I do fer ye, Mr. Chaplin?”

“I have offered to convey Mrs. Brown to London, but she is not sure I can be trusted.”

Nancy giggled. “Oh, ma’am, ye’ve naught to fear. Mr. Chaplin’s the finest gentleman I’ve ever met. And we gets quite a few gents here at the Horse and Cart.”

“Yes, I expect you do.” And not all of them honorable, Elinor thought with a glance at Miss Wainwright’s belly.

Elinor pondered her choices. It was either Stephen Chaplin in a closed carriage or back to Aunt Sarah’s cottage where, at best, she would be locked in her bedroom after today’s escapade. And at worst…

She remembered Aunt Sarah’s pistol and promptly made up her mind. Stephen Chaplin was undoubtedly the lesser of two evils.

“Very well, sir, I accept your escort.”

“Would you care for some breakfast first?”

The inn was warm and she’d like nothing better than to settle near the fire and break her fast. Her stomach felt like it was stuck to her backbone, but she shook her head, afraid to stay a moment longer.

Scant minutes later, Mr. Chaplin led her outside to a closed traveling carriage standing in the inn yard. He must be a gentleman of some means, she mused, to have his own carriage. He supervised the loading of their luggage then held out his hand to help her into the carriage. As she stepped up, the wind caught her veil and blew it upwards. For a second she had a clear glimpse of his startled face.

He had seen the bruise.

Oh, poor Elinor. I’d go with Stephen, myself, how ’bout you gals? Well, care to give us a little peek at the trailer, Linda? I hear tell it’s very well done. 😉

Lady Elinor’s Escape is available in e-book format from Amazon Kindle Store and Barnes and Noble eBookstore. A trade paperback is available from Amber Quill Press and

Author’s Bio:

Linda McLaughlin sold her first romance novel in 1997 to Kensington Precious Gems. Since then she has written historical and Regency romance for Amber Quill Press and, under the name Lyndi Lamont, she pens steamier romance, including male/male erotica, for the erotic imprints of AQP. You can reach her online at:
Buy link:

One commenter will win an electronic copy of Lady Elinor’s Escape.

Thanks for bringing us this intriguing tale, Linda! Good luck with it, and all you do, and… Don’t forget to leaven Linda a comment or question for a chance to win. 🙂

Five days and counting…Merry Christmas all!

Heather Hiestand–The Story behind Captain Andrew’s Flying Christmas

Again, another one from last Christmas.


Oh, hi. Back again I see? No, no. Don’t worry about those rope ladders, we’re not being invaded.

No, today, we have an interesting guest for you, Miss Heather Hiestand, writer of romance and steampunk stories such as her latest, Captain Andrew’s Flying Christmas. No, she’s not one of Santa’s elves but she’s could help him get around. *Points to roof* see, she’s all about early air travel—yes, almost like the contraptions my former master (yes I had one, centuries ago) tried to get me up in. Sorry. I think I’ll stay Earthbound.

Either way, I’m sure, should Santa show up early, he and my guest would have much to talk about. Anyway, she’s here to share a bit of history with us. Heather, you have the floor.

The story behind the Story

by Heather Hiestand

I adore Christmas stories and do my best to devote at least a couple of weeks in December to reading them each year. Being a writer, I also get ideas for holiday stories too. “Victoriana” my first published romance (and Christmas story!) came to me in complete form in a dream. It’s in the Holiday in the Heart anthology available electronically and in print. Last year, I wrote “Christmas a Go-Go” for Ellora’s Cave under my Anh Leod pseudonym and then this year published “Victoriana Adventure”—the January sequel to the original “Victoriana.”

This summer, I had bronchitis and it interrupted the flow of the Victorian-set Christmas romance novel I was writing. By the time I was well again, my toddler had given up napping and my free time was gone. I decided my brain needed something shorter than a full-length novel if I was going to ever get any writing done again (Tot playing at my feet quietly while I write? Not so much.) and I noticed there weren’t too many steampunk romance Christmas stories out there. Since I’ve already co-written one full-length steampunk novel, I thought I was just the writer to add to this sub-sub-erm-sub? genre.

The original idea came to me about a year ago, and the kernel was a girl finding a ladder waiting for her at her attic window. Above? An airship, with a life of possibility. Below, all the responsibilities of being a housemaid at Christmastime.


London, December 24, 1892
Linet Fenna shivered in her attic bedroom as she stared out the open window. Downstairs, all was merry and bright with evergreen branches, mistletoe and handmade garlands festooning trees and mantles. Under the eaves here, wind blew through a crack in the undecorated wall and rustled in the chimneys above.
A fever had made the first housemaid take to bed just after breakfast and Linet, the second housemaid, had been run ragged all day by her demanding mistress and her ever-arriving family. Now, finally done with work, she just wanted to stare at the stars and dream.
“Close the window,” Ann-Marie said, coughing from her iron bedstead in the darkest corner of the room.
“In a minute.” Linet took one last breath of chilly air and had her hand on the sill when she heard a metallic chugging in the distance. The sound came from outside, and wasn’t likely to be Father Christmas.

What are you stuffing into stockings this Christmas? Leave me a comment below.


One commenter will win an electronic copy of my sweet holiday romance, “Victoriana.”*


Author bio:
Heather Hiestand is the author of seven novels as well as many novellas and short stories. Her imagination keeps her entertained with romance, mystery and futuristic/fantasy story ideas, many of which eventually become words on a page. She lives in Washington State with her husband and son. For more information, see her website at

Captain Andrew’s Flying Christmas Blurb:
Housemaid Linet Fenna would rather be an air pirate than a servant. When she finds the ladder to an airship dangling outside her garret window on Christmas Eve, 1892, she ascends to the skies above London on her late father’s flagship dirigible, the Christmas. The new captain is someone she never expected to see again, a dangerous, sexy foe. Is the Fenna family nemesis offering Linet her heart’s desire or a dastardly trap?

Captain Andrew’s motivations are as foggy as the coal-soaked sky. Prime Minister Gladstone’s Blockaders, a horde of automen and a teenage girl named Hatchet want Linet to fail in her quest to discover what happened to her missing family, but she is determined to have a happy Christmas.

You can get Captain Andrew’s Flying Christmas at the follow places:


I love this premise, don’t you folks? Oh the romance of the Victorian age… 😉 Don’t forget to leave her a comment or question for a chance to win a copy of Captain Andrew’s Flying Christmas! Thanks for being with us, Heather, good luck with Captain Andrew–I mean, with your book about the Captain– (why is my minion looking at me like that? I didn’t say a word.) Have a great holiday!

*Giveaway has ended

Caroline Clemmons–ten days and counting.

Another oldie from Christmas last year. Giveaways over with.

 Our next guest, romance writer Miss Caroline Clemmons, is waiting by the fire to assail you with her memories of Christmas past. 😉 *Steps inside, closes door* What’s that? Yes, I promise, I’ll douse the flames before Santa shows up.

Ah, Caroline, good. We have guests waiting to meet you, dear, so anytime you’re ready, the floor is yours.

Ten Days and Counting…

by Caroline Clemmons

Yes, I’m as eager for Christmas Eve as any six-year-old kid. Anticipation swirls through our home. I’m a big list maker, so I’m checking off the list as if I were the real Mrs. Claus. Wait, maybe I am. LOL Tree up and decorated, cookies made, candies made, gifts wrapped (thank goodness for gift bags!) and under the tree, stockings hung by the chimney with care. Now I can relax and enjoy the holiday. Uh-oh! The cards, the Christmas cards aren’t addressed and stamped. Ah, well, that’s for this afternoon.

What are your favorite Christmas memories and traditions? Are they from your childhood, handed down for generations, or did they originate with you?

My parents each had dismal holidays as they grew up. When my dad was four, his mom died on Christmas Day. He and his siblings were never allowed to celebrate the time because my grandfather thought it would be disrespectful to Dad’s mom. My mom grew up very poor, and her stepfather showed marked favoritism to his own children. One year when my grandmother was ill, she sent my step-grandfather to town with the money to buy gifts for my mom, her sister, and her stepsister. Unfortunately, Mom’s stepfather bought her an orange, her sister and apple, and his daughter a doll. Sad year for my mom and her sister.

I don’t want to be Debbie Downer, so please let me tell you the happy result of the bad times my parents endured. As a child, I was always given a wonderful Christmas. (Actually, I had a wonderful childhood.) We didn’t have much money, but my parents made certain I didn’t realize it. Except for a Red Ryder B-B gun (my mom and dad really did say I’d put my eye out), I received everything I asked for from Santa. So did my brother–except for the year he asked for a pool table. Where he thought we’d put one in our small house, I have no idea. Anyway, Christmas was always a BIG day following a month filled with dreams and anticipation.

My favorite childhood Christmas was when I was three. I remember everything about that Christmas Eve, even where I sat and who was there. That year, we lived in Southern California and the Christmas Eve celebration was at our home. All the relatives were there. Santa arrived with gifts for each of the children. Imagine how impressed I was that Buster Reed knew Santa personally and arranged to pick him up at the airport just for us! Wow, who knew one of my favorite relatives had that kind of pull? Years later, I learned Santa was really Buster’s older brother, Roy, in a very realistic red velvet suit. Buster, Roy, and their brother Chester also had a sparse upbringing. Buster knew how to overcome adversity, and he determined to spread joy wherever he went…and he did for all of his life.

Fast-forward almost twenty-five years and my husband, our eldest daughter, and I were visiting the Reed family for Christmas. Once again, Santa appeared, this time crawling through the Reed’s two-way fireplace so that it appeared he’d come down the chimney. His appearance was so realistic that the college-aged non-family guests couldn’t believe Santa hadn’t slid down the chimney. The suit may have been the same one, or a very good copy, but this time Herschel Johnson wore it. My daughter’s eyes were as wide as mine must have been years and years earlier. She didn’t even look at the doll Santa gave her until he had to leave for the North Pole.

The point is, traditions don’t have to be many generations old. We can build our own traditions that we choose to observe each year. We have the opportunity to build new memories as we embrace the old ones. What traditions are your favorites? What traditions began with your generation?

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

*wipes tears from eyes* Oh, Caroline! How funny. Thanks so much for coming by with some Christmas Cheer. 😉 Folks, if you’d like to learn more about Caroline and her fine books, check out her website at:

Linda LaRoque–Born in Ice

This is another old one, from last year (December 14, 2011). So the Christmas references and the giveaway …yeah, all outdated and over with. Still, I wanted to keep this for post.

 Please welcome romance writer, Linda LaRoque to our little home to tell us a little about her futuristic tale, Born In Ice.

Born in Ice

This futuristic romantic suspense story grew from a dream, one of a woman frozen in a block of ice and found by fishermen from an undersea world. She’s taken to their home and with the help of advanced medical technology, she recovers. In time she learns she must learn to fit into their social system, one different from what she’s known.


Pulled from an icy grave…into a world of doubt and danger.

Frozen in ice for seventy-five years, Zana Forrester suffers the agony of rebirth to learn her son is dead, and her daughter’s whereabouts is unknown. The year is 2155. A man’s soothing voice and gray eyes haunt her drug induced dreams. When she recovers, she meets their owner and finds her heart in danger. But, a relationship isn’t a consideration; she must find her daughter.

Brock Callahan is drawn to the beautiful woman taken aboard his salvage ship. He’s determined she’ll be his wife and a mother to his young daughter, but he vows not to love her. All the women he’s loved died. While Zana searches for her daughter, Brock must protect Zana from the evil that threatens.

My editor for Champagne Books has graciously given permission for me to post the Prologue and Chapter One of Born in Ice, so for 10 days I’ll be sharing another installment.

Chapter One – installment 10

The vehicle was a self-sealing model, one that upon impact sealed
the interior from water and gases, including oxygen. The purpose was to
preserve any life-form inside. On occasion, individuals found in bergs were
thawed, and life resuscitated.

In 2065 when widespread temperatures dropped to dangerous levels,
a drug was developed to help protect body tissues, under certain conditions,
from freezing. Individuals five years and older took a monthly dose of the
preparation. The medication gave cells the ability to be frozen and thawed
with minimal damage. Of course, there were exceptions, cases where the
procedure failed, but the success rate was over fifty percent.

Lost in thought, Brock started at Luke’s question.

“Do you know the location of the deactivation switch, Skipper?”

“Yeah.” Brock walked around, peering inside the darkened windows.
He couldn’t see much, but a shadow in front gave him pause. “Call the
hospital, and have them send a hermetic pod in case we find a body.” The
container would help preserve life if it was present. He was nervous as hell.
Always was when they pulled one of these babies out of the water. It was a
constant shock to see a human, frozen and resembling a figure in a wax
museum display, but finding bodies without hope for survival haunted him.

“They’ve got one on the way.”

He reached under the driver’s side fender well. The small box was
easy to locate. He twisted the lever, opened the container, and pushed the
button. A flurry of clicks sounded around the car.

Brock opened the door. A blast of cold air whooshed out. The faint
smell of death washed over him filling him with dread. He staggered back for
a moment. The first thing he noticed was the child’s seat in the back. Empty.

He drew near again and saw the driver’s seat was reclined. A body lay curled
on its side holding a bundle close.

His voice gruff, he called, “Bring us a light. Luke, open the doors on
the other side.”

Digger held the light as Brock leaned in to look at the bowed figure
on the seat. From the person’s figure and profile, there was no denying the
delicate features beneath the mask belonged to a woman. She was dressed
from head to toe in a silvery grey snowsuit with fur-trimmed matching boots.
Fur as soft and as gray as a dove’s wing edged her parka making her appear
even more ethereal. Dark lashes brushed her face covering, similar to a ski
mask, made with cut-outs for her eyes, nose, and mouth.

He carefully pulled the blanket away from the bundle and groaned at
the mummified features of what had once been a child. Oh, God, no. Not a

Tomorrow I’ll be ending my blog tour on Rachel Firasek’s blog at I hope you’ll stop by as I share 3 books on my Christmas Wish List. Thank you all for taking this journey with me. Wow, I can’t believe I made it!


Please leave a comment today to be entered into a drawing for an ecopy of A Way Back, my time travel set in the 1930s oil fields of Texas. Your name will also be entered in the GRAND PRIZE drawing for my blog tour—a KINDLE. A name will be draw at the end of my tour on December 16th.

Good luck!


I also have a release contest going. Sign up for my newsletter by emailing me at with Born in Ice in the subject line. Your name will be added to the drawing for this rhinestone frog pin. For each of my releases I try to find a piece of jewelry significant to the story. After reading Born in Ice you’ll understand why I chose this frog.

Wow. sounds great, Linda! Good luck with it. 🙂 And once again, sorry for the delay. Hopefully, my minions have locked the zombie back in her grave and we won’t have this trouble again! Thanks so much for your patience. Folks, don’t forget to leave Linda a comment so you get in the running for this cute frog. And for more on Linda LaRoque’s works, see her website, or her blog.

and if you’d like to check out–or purchase–Born In Ice (or A Way Back) for yourself, you can do so here and here.

Have a great day.


My favorite holiday.

My favorite holiday? Halloween. I know, how that must sound, but I just love dressing up, and with my brother enamored of it too, we sometimes go all out with tableux and so forth for the holiday. Second favorite holiday is Christmas, of course–the colors, the food, the gift exchanges, what’s not to love? 🙂 It’s all the stressful stuff I could do without.