Scotland Lures Me With Each Book

I’m happy to welcome Soul Mate author, Madelyn Hill. Today Madelyn shares the inspiration for her novels and her new release, Christmas in the Highlands, an anthology with two stories: A Family for Christmas and His By Christmas.

Here’s Madelyn!

I have often been caught with my nose in a book. My love for the written word inspired me to begin writing (seriously writing) after I decided to be a stay-at-home mom. I needed something, something of my own that allowed me to dive into a creative work. I started with a flourish, delving in and researching. I picked a location and time period in which I was curious. That curiosity turned into a love of a genre and location that still inspires after all of these years.

Scotland lures me with each book. The rich and tragic history. The braw Highlanders and the spirit of the lasses who love them. And that brogue! When said with the right intonation draws you in and you understand how the heroine tumbles into love with a Highlander. Scotland holds a mystique, a history which has been made over umpteen times and layered with romance and heroism.

That rich history is perfect fodder for my novels. I take snippets of truth and weave it into my stories. Clan history and the antics of their lairds and ladies. Scandals, battles, feuds, unique characters, all feed into my stories and help bring some connection in my writing to the fascinating past.

Inspiring to say the least. What inspires you?

A Family for Christmas – Book One

Laird Malcolm Sutherland needs a bride. He has few requirements of his new wife; demands he should have insisted with his former betrothed—namely, honesty, loyalty, and resources.

Lady Rossalyn Gordon will do anything to be rid of her tyrant father, even if that means deceiving the man who offers her an escape. If revealed, those secrets will either bring her mercy, or thrust her back into the hands of the devil who sired her.

When Rossalyn’s bastard of a father arrives at Sutherland Keep, going back on his word and ordering her return, Malcolm must decide if he can forgive his wife enough to listen to his heart and have a family for Christmas.

His by Christmas – Book Two

Fiona Sutherland longs for love with the man she has pined after since she was a lass. When he weds another she is devastated, and questions why the man she pledged her heart to has forsaken a vow made in their youth. Could loving her be so hard?

Cameron Munro adores Fiona from afar, knowing her heart has been set on another. She is everything he desires—strong, loyal, and fiery in spirit.

Determined, he pledges to prove his love to her and win Fiona’s heart by Christmas.

Amazon (US) | Amazon (Canada) | Amazon (UK) | Amazon (Australia)

Bio

Madelyn Hill is an historical author who loves the lure of Scotland, captivating Highlanders and the strong women they love.

Many of her novels were finalist for the National Rone Award, which honors literary excellence in romance writing. Highland Honor was awarded the coveted Crowned Heart by In’Dtale Magazine.

Madelyn’s first book, Wolf’s Castle has been #1 in the Historical and Scottish Romance category at Amazon.

Madelyn lives in Western New York with her husband, three children and a naughty puppy named Cannoli.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | BookBub | Amazon | Goodreads

Night Shifts: Love’em or Hate’em

I’m happy to welcome multi-published Canadian author Dr. Melissa Yi. Today, Melissa shares an entertaining post about night shifts and her new release, Graveyard Shift.

Here’s Melissa!

Graveyard Shift, the name of my new Hope Sze thriller, is slang for the night shift.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, night shifts are powerful beasts that you must know how to control as an emergency doctor. So it seems like an appropriate subject for the Power of 10.

Here are five reasons to hate ‘em mixed with five to love ‘em.


Hate #5: Fewer tests

At my tiny rural hospital, I don’t have access to extended labs or any X-rays after hours, let alone ultrasound technicians, CT scans, or MRI’s.

This is scary. Sure, we have a portable ultrasound and our stethoscopes and our training, but anything could go wrong.

Love #5: Bragging rights

No one admits this, but if I’m doing a night shift, the whole world has to know about my extreme dedication. I post signs on my door saying, “DO NOT DISTURB! NIGHT SHIFT!” I warn new friends that I don’t answer my cell in the ER, and I turn everything off before a night shift. Because I’m doing a NIGHT SHIFT. Are you doing a NIGHT SHIFT? No? Then you are not as wild as me. Sorry

Hate #4: Skeletal Staff

We only had one nurse in my rural ER overnight a few years ago. Now I have two, but the volumes have gone up, meaning that we can have many people, some of them on cardiac monitors, including patients who have been admitted but don’t have a bed on the floor, or who’ve had a heart attack and are waiting to be transferred to the heart institute. We can only juggle so many patients before our brains and beds overload.

Love #4: Chill patients

Some night shift patients are a different breed. They’re not the high-strung 40-year-olds who’ve been hanging out with Dr. Google and getting themselves revved up for the past six hours. They’re the teenagers wandering in at 3 a.m. because their toe looks funny. Tell them their toe is fine, and instead of saying, “But don’t you think I need a C-reactive protein? I read that a CRP can be extremely helpful in situations like this,” they say “Okay” and go home.

Hate #3: Drunk or wasted patients

Okay, not everyone. But many people! More than you’d think. The ones roll in regularly (“Is that Sam again?” “Of course it is.”). And the ones who think a company Christmas party is a good reason to do shot after shot after bottle after bottle.

Love #3: “If I work nights, I can be home with my kids during the day.”

This is the #1 reason nurses give for working night shifts. Personally, I would deteriorate into a seething mess if I worked all night and then spent all day with my knee-high offspring, but I admire the people who do this.

Hate #2: I am alone for a long time

I work in a single coverage emergency room. That means I’m the only MD guaranteed in house. Family doctors have clinics during weekdays and some evenings, but after 7 p.m. and every weekend, I am the only physician. The buck stops with me. Every code, every lawsuit, has my name on it.

Yes, I can call specialists at other hospitals for help. It doesn’t mean they’ll be instantly available.

And night shifts last from 6 p.m. until 8 or 9 a.m.—if you leave on time. Many times, we stay late to see a patient through or chart.

Love #2: I’m alone with good people

The nurses focus on me. When I first started at one of my hospitals, we used to have a single nurse dedicated to the doctor, so that every time a wrote an order, he or she was on it. Now, when up to six doctors are work, the nurses are sometimes like, “Aaaagh! Too many orders! Take a break.”

I miss those dedicated days. But on the night shift, I’ve got it back.

And the nurses are some of my favourite people. We make jokes. We laugh. One super doctor (not me) makes fancy desserts before her night shifts, so it’s kind of a party.

Hate #1: I’m tired and more prone to mistakes

Some people may love all-nighters. Not me, and certainly not multiple ones in a row. Studies have documented more medical errors at night, when staff is tired and overworked. I try to counterbalance this by double-checking doses and by telling nurses to please let me know if they spot anything amiss. Two or three heads are better than one, and we need all brains on deck at 3 a.m.

Love #1. I get all the cool cases

No other doctor siphons off the shoulder dislocation or the pre-arrest. I’m it. And that is the #1 reason to do emergency medicine—because you love the thrills, the bizarre, the extremes of humanity.

So there you have it. Love it or hate it, night shifts aren’t going away.

And if you want to read about the world’s worst night shift, I wrote my next thriller about it: Graveyard Shift! Thanks so much to Joanne for having me.

Buy Links

Amazon | Wind Tree Press

Kobo is kindly offering a promo code, GRAVEYARD100, so you can grab a free copy here.

Some of the proceeds will prevent violence against women. Part of them will go to a scholarship in honour of Dr. Elana Fric, and some will go to the Akwesasne Family Wellness Program.

Thanks again!

Bio

Melissa Yi wields a stethoscope and a scalpel as an emergency physician. She also pens the Hope Sze medical thrillers, which have been named one of the best Canadian suspense books by the Globe and Mail, CBC Books, and The Next Chapter. Yi was a finalist for the Arthur Ellis Award for best crime story in Canada and shortlisted for the Derringer Award for the best short mystery fiction in the English language. Her novels will debut in audio as Kobo Originals on November 5th. Sometimes, she sleeps.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Sgt. Scott Coulter – Inspired Graveyard Shift

Sgt. Coulter will attend this evening’s Facebook Launch Party for Graveyard Shift. All are welcome. Find out more here.


Spotlight on In Over Her Head

I’m happy to welcome award-winning author Krysten Lindsay Hager. Today, Krysten shares ten life lessons from her dad and her new release, In Over Her Head: Lights, Camera, Anxiety.

10 Life Lessons from My Dad

I love the idea of sharing life lessons from my dad because not only was he the one I went to for advice, but he inspired both the character of Cecily’s dad, Mr. Damone, and her vice principal, Mr. Warwick, in In Over Her Head: Lights, Camera, Anxiety.

My dad was always the one people went to for advice and we lost him far too soon, but I still have people ask me what he’d advise them to do on things. So, here are some life lessons from my dad.

10. You know how people will say to treat the janitor the same as the CEO? Well, he didn’t just say it, he did it. Years ago, my sister left my dad’s golf club behind at her down. Weeks later, the janitor came down the hall saying, “Amy’s dad, I have your golf club!” Someone else found it and wanted to keep it, but since my dad had always stopped and chatted with the janitor, the guy went out of his way to return it. He said he locked it up so no one could steal it because he appreciated my dad always taking time to talk with him.

9. He always said people want to feel remembered, so he’d visit people in nursing homes, attend funerals, and visit people who were ill.

8. He told me the hardest thing was being there for someone as they’re making a mistake. I didn’t fully get this until a friend of mine got engaged weeks after dating someone. He told me if I said anything, she’d double down, but if I let her talk, she might need someone to talk to about any doubts she had. I half did it just to show him how ridiculous that was, but you know what? It happened JUST like he said.

7.Follow your passion and not a paycheck. My dad’s passion was helping people find their path in life. After he passed, we received condolences from students saying, “he took the time to really listen to me,” “He cared. No one else had, but he did and I turned my life around.”

6. Take time to appreciate the simple things. He always pointed that out to me and so I gave Mr. Damone this line, “You don’t always appreciate the good things or even the everyday things if you haven’t been through some storms. I remember when my dad got well after being sick and I woke up that morning and it was the first time I truly appreciated a sunrise. That first sip of orange juice was like nothing I ever experienced… Now I make it a point to appreciate the little things like a sunny day.”

5. Integrity is everything. He always kept his word even when people took advantage of that. Integrity is something people don’t put value on because it isn’t something that brings monetary value, but it is invaluable.

4. Education and books are always worth it. He was a big supporter of education and a great Dad to have when you have a book addiction. You’ll never regret paying for something you learn from.

3. Look out for others. I have countless stories of people who told me how my dad made them feel safe during times when they felt intimated by someone else. My dad really hated seeing people of all ages being intimidated and bullied. He even stuck up for a nurse getting bullied when he himself could barely walk.

2. If you have to correct someone then do it without making them look stupid. Remembering that is what gets me to delete responses I soooo want to send, but I know it’s not right.

1. Let people talk and they’ll let you know everything about them. You know how some people just wait for the other person to stop talking so they can start? He was one of those rare people who actually listen and hear what a person is saying. And he was right—you can learn so much just by letting someone talk.

Blurb

Cecily feels like she has it all: great best friends, the beginnings of a career as a model/actress, and she’s dating her favorite singer, Andrew Holiday. Then Cecily’s best friend Lila begins to ditch her every time Lila’s boyfriend calls. Cecily feels lost, but she and Andrew begin connecting more and she’s never been in a relationship where she felt so understood. Andrew even begins to confide in her about his anxiety. Soon Cecily experiences her own anxiety on a magazine photo shoot, but she manages to impress the magazine staff. Just when it seems like all her dreams are coming true, everything comes crashing down when a photo of Andrew with another girl appears online. He swears nothing happened, but Cecily is crushed. She feels like she’s lost two of the people closest to her.

Was her perfect relationship real or was she in over her head?

Excerpt

One day I had the career and the guy of my dreams. Then Danielle King came along. If people could be trusted, maybe it would have been okay, but they can’t. They suck. And now my dream relationship was gone and no one would ever know what had actually been in my grasp.

How can a person go from having a whole life with someone, and then it ends like you were never even together? No wonder people talk about how awful divorces are. That must hurt a million times more. Sure, I don’t have to see Andrew every day at school like I did Zach, but it seems like Andrew was everywhere. I went to the grocery store with my mom and they were playing one of his songs because he’s technically a local.

Andrew’s music was always what I listened to when I was sad. His heartache music got me through the worst times and now, not only could I not stand to listen to it, there was now the chance I could end up hearing music about our breakup. Actually, I didn’t know which was worse: the possibility he’d use our relationship as inspiration for a song, or finding out I was barely a blip on his radar and not even warranting a mention.

What was I supposed to do with my life now?

Buy Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon Canada | Amazon Japan | Amazon IN

Author Bio and Links

Krysten Lindsay Hager writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. She is the author of True Colors, Best Friends…Forever?, Next Door to a Star, Landry in Like, Competing with the Star, Dating the It Guy, and Can Dreams Come True. True Colors, won the Readers Favorite award for best preteen book and the Dayton Book Expo Bestseller Award for childen/teens. Competing with the Star is a Readers’ Favorite Book Award Finalist. Landry in Like is a Literary Classics Gold Medal recipient.

Krysten’s work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Beavercreek Current, the Bellbrook Times, Springfield News-Sun, Grand Blanc View, Dayton Daily News and on Living Dayton.

Website | Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter

Giveaway

Krysten Lindsay Hager will be awarding a $10 Amazon/Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here.

Follow Krysten on the rest of her Goddess Fish tour here.


On Navigating the Murky Middle

I love beginnings—in life and on the page. Anything and everything is possible whenever a blank slate appears before me. That momentum can last for days, weeks, months, and sometimes even longer.

At least, that’s what I like to think whenever I begin a new writing project.

A linear pantser, I write brief character sketches, plot the first three chapters and the last, and then let the words flow. At some point, usually around Page 80, I encounter the murky middle, that nebulous place where I find it difficult to continue or sustain the tension of the novel. In short, I’m lost with no clear trail or direction in sight.

Continue reading on the Sisterhood of Suspense blog.


All About the Mesdames of Mayhem

I’m happy to welcome the Mesdames of Mayhem. Today, Madeleine Callway shares the history of this group and their new anthology, In the Key of 13.

Here’s Madeleine!

In 2012, my writer friends and I faced a new and challenging publishing world. What to do about social media? Some of us were comfortable with computers and software, others were pretty expert at digital marketing. Many of us though knew nothing at all.

My friend, publisher and author, Donna Carrick and I came up with an idea. Why not pool our strengths and share our skills with our friends? That’s how our two writing groups came together to form The Mesdames of Mayhem, because at the time, we were all women.

The way we came up with our name is lost in the mists of time, but what I do know is that we voted on it. We operate as an autonomous collective (thanks, Monty Python!) and vote on all important decisions, like the themes, book titles and covers of our anthology.

As a retired management consultant, I knew that to keep the Mesdames motivated and going as a group, we needed a goal. What better way than to give our readers a sampling of all our work? Readers could discover new favorites, especially since we all write mysteries ranging from comedy to cozy to noir.

Our first anthology featured 13 writers. Since our launch coincided with Halloween, it seemed logical to have a scary title. We called our book simply Thirteen. And indeed thirteen has become our lucky number!

Our anthology received two Arthur Ellis nominations for best short story. Thus encouraged, we published a second collection, 13 O’clock, with the theme of time and our third, 13 Claws, featuring animals: cats and dogs, of course, but also snakes, animal crackers and even a dragon!

Our stories have since been honoured with several Arthur Ellis nominations and in 2018, Catherine Astolfo’s story, “The Outlier”, won the Arthur Ellis Best Short Story award. Cathy’s story is truly one of the scariest I have ever read!

Donna and I often ask each other: what would we have thought seven years ago if we could have seen what the Mesdames have accomplished together? We’ve given numerous talks on Canadian crime fiction and the art of writing and met hundreds of new fans. More importantly, we’ve all been there for each other, through triumph and tragedies, illness and good health.

We now number 19 crime fiction authors, with members as far away as Fort McMurray. And we even have two Monsieurs.

Last year, at one of our library events, a young filmmaker approached us about doing a documentary. Her passion is supportive communities especially ones that are a little unusual. The filming proved to be an amazingly rewarding experience for us. Cat Mills’ film is due to be released on October 25th by the CBC and should be available for viewing on GEM.

In addition to GEM, the film may be available here:

CBC Short Docs Website | CBC Short Docs Facebook Page | YouTube

Blurb

Our fourth anthology, In the Key of 13, has a theme of music, mischief and murder.

Music from Mozart to Beethoven to Elvis is a sweet accompaniment to sin in 19 wicked tales, ranging from cozy to noir, by 18 acclaimed Canadian crime writers and one talented newcomer.

Can you hear the violins? They may be plotting your demise. Are you an opera lover? Take care, your passion means a revenge served cold. And that tune that refuses to leave your mind? That brainworm will truly drive you mad.

buynow

Bio

Madeleine Callway (M. H. Callway) is one of the founders of The Mesdames of Mayhem. Her thriller, Windigo Fire, was short-listed for the Debut Dagger, the Unhanged Arthur and the Arthur Ellis for Best First Novel. Her short crime fiction has appeared in several anthologies and zines.

To learn more about the authors who belong to the Mesdames of Mayhem, please visit our website.

Mesdames of Mayhem Links

Website | Facebook | Twitter

M.H. Callway Links

Website | Facebook | Twitter


Spotlight on The Monday Book

I’m happy to welcome author Shari Ramming. Today, Shari shares her new release, The Monday Book.

Blurb

In the midst of pain, Shari Ramming saw an opportunity to learn and create The Monday Book to help others find themselves in their brokenness. With personal evaluations, she guides you to wholeness. Shari lays out steps to finding the treasure in the trauma of life: Acknowledge, Honor, Connect, Practice, and finally, Open to receive the gift of the lesson. Her simple straight-forward advice for fixing whatever feels broken is “begin and continue.” It seems hard in practice, but in showing up for yourself, you’ll find small ways to daily love yourself and become the cure for your own brokenness. Her message puts your problems outside so you can interact with them in a productive way. By seeing everything and everyone as a reflection of yourself, you’ll become more compassionate toward yourself and everyone else. Open yourself up to the true and best you.

Excerpt

Imagine this. A woman seemingly without doubts about her life. A wholesome and satisfying life filled with family, travel, friendships, children, and social activities. Her focus is on accomplishments, security, and home life. A life that is fast and full. Caught up in the way life seems to zoom when it is bursting with an abundance of three children, a few businesses, multiple homes, a crowded travel and social schedule, and the usual day-to-day duties.

I believed putting my family first was important, that coming in second (or third) for myself worked out okay. With that belief I lost myself and my own power. My passion and my uniqueness.

Life showed me where I was powerless, and also where my power was. My life, until that point of reckoning and painful loss, was ostensibly satisfying. What had guided me was being challenged.

What I had used previously needed some serious updating. I was being tested and I was being shown my darkness. I was meant to understand that I needed to let go of previous held beliefs that kept me going but were not evolved enough for where my life’s journey was taking me. All the change, death, disease, and dishonor was a fierce way of being shown a new path.

buynow

Author Bio and Links

Shari Ramming writes on a broad range of subjects. She feels there is a great intelligence that is not of the mind. Loving her three grown children fiercely she uses verve and wanderlust to make her home in Austin, Texas. She is still learning.

To learn more about Shari and her books, go to http://www.shariramming.com.

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

Giveaway

Shari Ramming will be awarding a $15 Amazon/Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here.

Follow Shari on the rest of her Goddess Fish tour here.


Chia Seed Power!

From the start, I loved the sound of the Mayan word “chia” and its meaning: strength. Originally grown in Mexico, these seeds were valued for their nutritional and medicinal properties. Runners and warriors used chia seeds as fuel while running long distances or during battles. Aztec warriors claimed that one spoonful of chia seeds could sustain them for 24 hours.

Recent research has found even more benefits. An excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, protein, and antioxidants, chia seeds support the heart and digestive system, build stronger bones and muscles, promote healthy skin, and can help reverse diabetes.

Definitely a superfood and one that can be easily incorporated into our daily diets. A reassuring fact for non-foodies who don’t like to cook.

Continue reading on the Soul Mate Authors blog.