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Mindy KlaskyMindy Klasky, Author of THIRD DEGREE

Ms. Klasky learned to read when her parents shoved a book in her hands and told her she could travel anywhere in the world through stories. She never forgot that advice.

Her travels has taken her through multiple careers. After graduating from Princeton University, Ms. Klasky considered becoming a professional stage manager or a rabbi. Ultimately, she settled on being a lawyer, working as a litigator at a large Washington firm. When she realized that lawyering kept her from writing (and dating and sleeping and otherwise living a normal life), she became a librarian, managing large law firm libraries. Ms. Klasky now writes full-time.

For years, her dating life was a travel extravaganza as well. She balanced twenty-eight first dates in one year, selecting eligible gentlemen from sources as varied as Washingtonian magazine ads, Single Volunteers of D.C., and supposedly-certain recommendations from best friends. Ultimately, she swore off the dating scene entirely. After two years of carefully-enforced datelessness, she made one last foray onto Match.com, where she met her husband on her first match.

Her travels have also taken her through various literary genres. In addition to her light paranormal romances and category romances, Mindy has written traditional fantasy novels (including the award-winning, best-selling The Glasswrights’ Apprentice), short stories, and nonfiction essays. As Morgan Keyes, Ms. Klasky writes for middle grade readers.

In her spare time, she quilts, knits, and tries to tame her endless to-be-read shelf. Her husband and cats do their best to fill the left-over minutes.

Third Degree

Klasky-ThirdDegree200x300There are a few things that make a book a Mindy Klasky book — most notably, fun descriptions of food.  And THIRD DEGREE is no exception!

if you can’t take the heat…

Chef Ashley Harris wants to own a restaurant – that’s why she attended culinary school, and that’s why she’s working for the world’s most lecherous restaurateur.

Raleigh Rockets third baseman Josh Cantor wants to launch his investment restaurant with the family recipes he loved growing up. Josh has been promised that treasure trove – but only if he can convince his grandmother that he’s dating again, after a traumatic divorce.

When a cooking reality show comes to Raleigh, Ashley and Josh must compete against each other to achieve their dreams – even when the flames in the bedroom roar higher than the ones in their kitchens.  In the end, only one of them can win Who Wears the Apron.  Will their relationship survive this trial by fire?

So?  What are you waiting for?  THIRD DEGREE is a perfect summer read — fun and sexy!  For a copy of  THIRD DEGREE by @MindyKlasky please visit amazon http://bit.ly/AmazonThirdDegree . Enjoy!

We wait for the day of the DSCF5409Washington Romance Writers’ retreat to arrive with great hope, joy and excitement. We look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones as we share stories of our struggles and achievements with our writing.

We come dreamy-eyed in the hopes of acquiring an agent or publishing house, attend the workshops for knowledge, and participate in the wonderful raffle baskets prepared by our members―the funds collected from the raffles go to charity. This year WRW had two.DSCF5271

The Retreat Committee, composing of committed WRW members, this year was Chaired by Ms. Yvette Bazzell, and they gave it their all (110%) in making sure that this year’s retreat is the best one yet and I say they have succeeded.

The retreatDSCF5278 started on a Friday with a Newcomer Orientation, a Welcome Reception, and a Dinner with a special guest speaker. This year we were honored by Ms. Liliana Hart, Author of Cade: Book 1 of the Mackenzie Family series – Cade – Liliana Hart. She shared her touching and funny story of her journey to fulfill her dreams of becoming an author. After dinner we were directed to one of the rooms for several hours of karaoke.

Saturday begins with “Early Bird” specials like “Improv for Writers” or “Legal Issues and the Digital World.” The day continues with many workshops and appointments arranged for us with visiting literary agents and/or editors.

This year WRW was pleased to host Ms. Jill Marsal, from Marsal Lyon Literary Agency; Ms. Patience Bloom, Senior Editor with Harlequin and Ms. Esi Sogah, Senior Editor with Kensington, to name a few. As you wait for your appointment well wishes are spread around―a sense of camaraderie, nervousness and anticipation fills the air. We are rewarded as we see our colleagues emerge from their interviews with smiles on their faces, as they are invited to submit their writings. A peer’s success is everyone’s success.

The day starts to wind down DSCF5437with cocktails and getting ready for dinner and another guest speaker, Ms. Robin Perini, Author of “The Cradle Conspiracy” – The Cradle Conspiracy – Robin Perini Whose touching story had some of us wiping our eyes in fear of the tears threatening to pour out as she spoke about her mother’s inspiration and commitment in making sure her daughter had a chance to follow her dream. Her story reignited in all of us our continued commitment to the passion of writing and our desire to be known as wonderful story tellers.DSCF5451

After dinner everyone gathered for a steam-punk-themed game of “Romance Jeopardy”. The competition was fierce, but filled with laughter, singing and cheering on.

Moonlight Madness, back on the Retreat’s agenda, was stationed in the back of the room, where romance jeopardy was taking place. Attendees got a chance to check out the many goodies they offered for sale―silk scarves, make-up, DSCF5473jewelry, hand-crocheted cowls, Writing Blocks Idea Dices and many other fantastic items.

By the end of the evening everyone is exhausted, but it is a great feeling of exhaustion because we had spent our time with friends who had us laughing, talking, dancing and singing.

Sunday, there was a sense of calmness, as folks attend either Ms. Kimberly DSCF5466Kincaid’s yoga class or another early bird special. Editors and Agents prepare for their journey home. Members’ passions are renewed with new energy and desires.

There is great anticipation, as there is an expectant of sad goodbyes, but with excitement as we prepare to spend another year of writing, connecting with our readers, and remembering to share our news and successes with our friends at the next WRW retreat. But before everyone goes home to write, the final event is the famous basket raffles. Glorious baskets prepared by our members DSCF5528with different themes.

On behalf of WRW members I would like to thank the following ladies for the love, the energy and commitment in which they went about to make this one weekend-a-year last a lifetime:

Ms. Yvette Bazzell – Retreat Chair & Programs and Retreat Folders, Flowers and Special Decor

Ms. Candy Lyons, President of WRW – WRW Board Liaison and Awards Booklet/Retreat Promo/Bios

Ms. Julie Halperson, Vice President – WRW Board Liaison

Ms. Terri Brisbin – VIP Liaison & Transportation Coordinator

Ms. Gwen Hernandez – Retreat Registrar and Retreat Name Badges

Ms. Denise McInery – American Author Coordinator

Ms. Deborah Barnhart – Rooming Coordinator

Ms. Christine Trent – Editor/Agent Appointment Coordinator

Ms. Robin Covington – Editor /Agent Appointment Coordinator

Ms. Binnie Braunstein – Awards Booklet/Retreat Promo/Bios

Ms. Helen Hester-Ossa – Awards Booklet/Retreat Promo/Bios

Ms. Kimberly Kincaid – Goody Bag Coordinator

Mr. Tim Bentler-Jungr – Retreat Room Setup

Ms. Lisa Dyson – Newcomer Orientation Coordinator

Ms. Keely Thrall – Romance Jeopardy

Ms. Tricia Wheeler – Retreat Recording Coordinator

Ms. Sandy Rangel – Book Swap

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 Making new friends and meeting with old ones.

 

 

 

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Latest pic 3-26-12 509-2Dear Readers,

I know it has been a while since you last heard from the Regency Inkwell. It has been a crazy couple of years. I lost a dear friend in 2012 and two more in 2013. Also in June of 2013 my 14 1/2 year old yorkie, Sassy, whom I considered as my child, lost a battle with a brain tumor. She was a large piece of my heart and soul. She was my shadow and loved me beyond belief and I loved her as well. I miss her every day and at times feel at a loss without her. She spoke to me often like no other animal has ever spoken, though I do believe that there are others who probably have or have had the same relationship with their beloved animals. I have Lilly, she is turning 14 in May, but fear she too will leave me. So I am spending a lot of time with her. Holding her and telling her I love as often as I can. Thankfully, she is healthy.

I started the Lady Jane Salon Silver Spring back in November of 2013. It is a Romance fiction reading series located in the Silver Spring area, though we have met in Rockville and now meet in Bethesda, Maryland. I feel that the Greater Washington area has a large community of talented and gifted Romance writers and wanted to have an opportunity to have these writers connect with readers of Romance fiction. We have a charity, the Lost Dog and Cat Rescue foundation and am looking forward to contributing the proceeds to them at the end of each year. I am pleased to announce that LJSSS has been very successful due to the authors who have come to read and those who have come to cheer them on. To read at one of our series, you must have either self-published or published a romance novel. For more information you can visit us at: www.ladyjanesalonss.com.

The Vicar’s Deadly Sin has gone through several bouts of edits. I am still struggling with the decision of whether to self-publish or send it off to Harlequin, who wants to read it.

I have also been looking for a part-time job and thankfully found one assisting a renowned author of science fiction.

I have picked up writing book II of the Lady Jane Bartholomew and Miss Margaret Renard mysteries and that is going well.

Anyway, I have one more book review to write and then I will do the others as time permits. I do hope to keep it up, I have enjoyed reading the others and writing their reviews.

Well that is it for now. I hope to keep you abreast of the latest news, etc.

…Sincerely,

Miguelina

Daughters of the Nile slide

From critically acclaimed historical fantasy author, Stephanie Dray comes the long-awaited new tale based on the true story of Cleopatra’s daughter.

After years of abuse as the emperor’s captive in Rome, Cleopatra Selene has found a safe harbor. No longer the pitiful orphaned daughter of the despised Egyptian Whore, the twenty year old is now the most powerful queen in the empire, ruling over the kingdom of Mauretania—an exotic land of enchanting possibility where she intends to revive her dynasty. With her husband, King Juba II and the magic of Isis that is her birthright, Selene brings prosperity and peace to a kingdom thirsty for both. But when Augustus Caesar jealously demands that Selene’s children be given over to him to be fostered in Rome, she’s drawn back into the web of imperial plots and intrigues that she vowed to leave behind. Determined and resourceful, Selene must shield her loved ones from the emperor’s wrath, all while vying with ruthless rivals like King Herod. Can she find a way to overcome the threat to her marriage, her kingdom, her family, and her faith? Or will she be the last of her line?

Read the Reviews

“A stirring story of a proud, beautiful, intelligent woman whom a 21st century reader can empathize with. Dray’s crisp, lush prose brings Selene and her world to life.” ~RT Book Reviews

“The boldest, and most brilliant story arc Dray has penned…” ~Modge Podge Reviews

“If you love historical fiction and magical realism, these books are for you.” ~A Bookish Affair

Read an Excerpt

Below me, six black Egyptian cobras dance on their tails, swaying. I watch their scaled hoods spread wide like the uraeus on the crown of Egypt. Even from this height, I’m paralyzed by the sight of the asps, their forked tongues flickering out between deadly fangs. I don’t notice that I’m gripping the balustrade until my knuckles have gone white, all my effort concentrated upon not swooning and falling to my death.

And I would swoon if I were not so filled with rage. Someone has arranged for this. Someone who knows what haunts me. Someone who wants to send me a message and make this occasion a moment of dread. My husband, the king must know it, for he calls down, “That’s enough. We’ve seen enough of the snake charmer!”

There is commotion below, some upset at having displeased us. Then Chryssa hisses, “Who could think it a good idea to honor the daughter of Cleopatra by coaxing asps from baskets of figs?”

The story the world tells of my mother’s suicide is that she cheated the emperor of his conquest by plunging her hand into a basket where a venomous serpent lay in wait. A legend only, some say, for the serpent was never found. But I was there. I brought her that basket. She was the one bitten but the poison lingers in my blood to this day. I can still remember the scent of figs in my nostrils, lush and sweet. The dark god Anubis was embroidered into the woven reeds of the basket, the weight of death heavy in my arms. I can still see my mother reach her hand into that basket, surrendering her life so that her children might go on without her. And I have gone on without her.

I have survived too much to be terrorized by the emperor’s agents or whoever else is responsible for this.

If it is a message, a warning from my enemies, I have already allowed them too much of a victory by showing any reaction at all. So I adopt as serene a mask as possible. My daughter blinks her big blue eyes, seeing past my facade. “Are you frightened, Mother? They cannot bite us from there. The snakes are very far away.”

I get my legs under me, bitterness on my tongue. “Oh, but they’re never far enough away.”

###

Daughters of the Nile cover

 

Available now in print and e-book!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo | Powells | IndieBound | Goodreads

Available now in print and e-book!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo | Powells | IndieBound | Goodreads


Stephanie Dray Headshot

STEPHANIE DRAY is a bestselling, multi-published, award-winning author of historical women’s fiction and fantasy set in the ancient world. Her critically acclaimed historical series about Cleopatra’s daughter has been translated into more than six different languages, was nominated for a RITA Award and won the Golden Leaf. Her focus on Ptolemaic Egypt and Augustan Age Rome has given her a unique perspective on the consequences of Egypt’s ancient clash with Rome, both in terms of the still-extant tensions between East and West as well as the worldwide decline of female-oriented religion. Before she wrote novels, Stephanie was a lawyer, a game designer, and a teacher. Now she uses the transformative power of magic realism to illuminate the stories of women in history and inspire the young women of today. She remains fascinated by all things Roman or Egyptian and has-to the consternation of her devoted husband-collected a house full of cats and ancient artifacts.

Dear Readers,

I’m so excited for this pre-Christmas sale on the book that started the series. Lily of the Nile is now, for a limited time only, on sale for all e-readers for only $3.99.

With almost 400 5-star reviews on Goodreads, this first book in the series is on sale in anticipation of the imminent release of Daughters of the Nile, on December 3rd, so if you start reading now, you’ll be all caught up!

Buy Lily of the Nile

Cover for Lily of the Nile, by Stephanie Dray

Read an Excerpt | Go Behind the Story | Reviews | Bibliography

Synopsis:

With her parents dead, the daughter of Cleopatra and Mark Antony is left at the mercy of her Roman captors. Heir to one empire and prisoner of another, it falls to Princess Selene to save her brothers and reclaim what is rightfully hers…

In the aftermath of Alexandria’s tragic fall, Princess Selene is taken from Egypt, the only home she’s ever known. Along with her two surviving brothers, she’s put on display as a war trophy in Rome. Selene’s captors mock her royalty and drag her through the streets in chains, but on the brink of death, the children are spared as a favor to the emperor’s sister, who takes them to live as hostages in the so-called lamentable embassy of royal orphans…

Now trapped in a Roman court of intrigue that reviles her heritage and suspects her faith, Selene can’t hide the hieroglyphics that carve themselves into her flesh. Nor can she stop the emperor from using her for his own political ends. But faced with a new and ruthless Caesar who is obsessed with having a Cleopatra of his very own, Selene is determined honor her mother’s lost legacy. The magic of Egypt and Isis remain within her. But can she succeed where her mother failed? And what will it cost her in a political game where the only rule is win or die?

Buy Lily of the Nile

…Sincerely,

Miguelina

avamilesAva Miles, Author of Nora Roberts Land

Ms. Miles burst onto the contemporary romance scene after receiving Nora Roberts’ blessing for her use of Ms. Roberts’ name in her debut novel, NORA ROBERTS LAND, which kicked off The Dare Valley Series and brought praise from reviewers and readers alike. Much to her delight, BlogCritics says “It [NORA ROBERTS LAND] captures the best of…a Nora Roberts novel,” while USA Today’s Happily Ever After blog praises the series noting its “wonderful, idyllic setting… [and] great characters.” Ms. Miles continued The Dare Valley Series in FRENCH ROAST, which Tome Tender says “raised the entertainment bar again” and then THE GRAND OPENING, which reviewer Mary J. Gramlich says “is a continuation of love, family, and relationships.” She has recently released the fourth book in the series, THE HOLIDAY SERENADE, with her recognized wit and charm, creating happy endings with humor and heart.

TRI: Tell us about Ava Miles, the woman and the writer.

AM: It’s great to be here with you and my fellow members. I’m from a small town in the Midwest, which is why I wanted to write a small town contemporary romance series. There’s something so special about them. I’ve been telling stories since I could speak, writing them down since I could write. My mother is fond of saying I was born with words in my mouth. I released my first book in July called Nora Roberts Land, which is linked to our own Washington Romance Writer legend, Nora Roberts herself. I am so grateful to be a part of WRW because if I hadn’t been a member, I would never have been able to receive Nora’s blessings to use her name in the title and premise and write Nora Roberts Land.

TRI: That is awesome. Do you have philosophy for your writing career or life?

AM: My philosophy is to be an inspiration, a healer, a force for love and peace and blessing. I consider writing a sacred charge, and love to have the themes of empowerment, transformation, love, and forgiveness run through my books. I want readers to come away with what they needed in their lives at that moment.

TRI: Never thought about it that way. It is refreshing. What drives you to write?

AM: An inner passion to share the stories I’m given. The characters come to me in my imagination. Their stories are like our own. They have disappointments and victories, connection and heartbreak. I want to share our human experience through my stories.

TRI: How much of your writing is driven, influenced by your readers?

AM: I am always hoping my stories speak to the reader exactly where they are. Perhaps they are divorced like my sister was and need to believe in happily ever after again, which is part of the premise of Nora Roberts Land. My intention is for the readers to connect with something in themselves that allows them to come out of the reading experience changed. And after some laughs too since my characters have quite a sense of humor like I do.

TRI: Is there something that you would like to share that your readers or peers do not know about you?

AM: My total bad boy crush growing up was on George Michael when he did “Faith.” Don’t judge.

TRI: I promise I won’t. Who is your favorite romance author? What draws you to this writer?

AM: Well, with my book’s premise being about Nora Roberts, I would have to say her. I have read her since college. The thing I valued the most about her books is that I could take them to war zones and read them when bombs were going off or the city was blacked out, and it would help me pass the scary night in my hotel room. I am grateful to Sea Swept and so many others who passed the time with me.

TRI: I love her books. I have always called her the female version of Stephen King, but for romance of course. He is an amazing story teller and so is she. We know authors love all of their creations, but is there one of yours that is your ultimate favorite? Why?

AM: I would have to say Nora Roberts Land. It came from my sister’s experience of her ex-husband telling her that he blamed their divorce on her reading Nora Roberts. We were all so shocked, but then a story came through for me.

TRI: That is fantastic. Tell us a little about Nora Roberts Land.

AM: The story is about a newly divorced journalist who returns to her hometown to debunk her ex-husband’s notion that Nora Roberts’ novels ruined their marriage. She intends to write an article about her attempts to find Nora Roberts Land, what her mom calls happily ever after. She dates all of the Nora Roberts-like heroes in the small town from the forest ranger to the firefighter. Then she meets Tanner McBride, and well, that’s when it gets really good. Tanner has been sent by her ex to stop Meredith’s story because he’s afraid it will hurt his run for the US Senate. And that’s when the sparks fly.

TRI: Tell us about discipline in your writing career?

AM: Discipline? What’s that? I am a pretty organic person. I try to do what’s in front of me in terms of priority, with an eye toward the longer horizon. I like to work in chunks, so will devote blocks of time to something rather than flitting from one thing to another.

TRI: As a writer do you feel you have come full circle?

AM: As a newly published writer, I am still learning what my new normal is. The main thing for me is to keep feeling fulfilled by what I am doing. That is the key to happiness for me.

TRI: Any words of wisdom for newbies?

AM: Listen to your characters. Trust them. They know the story. And they are your friends. Savor your time together.

TRI: I like that. Good advice. Thank you for taking the time to meet with me.

AM: It was my pleasure.

Laura Kaye croppedLaura Kaye, Author of Hearts in Darkness

Ms. Kaye is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over a dozen books in contemporary and paranormal romance. Growing up, her large extended family believed in the supernatural and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses and this cemented her life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

TRI: Tell us about Laura Kaye, the woman and the writer.

LK: I’m originally from Western Maryland but now live in Annapolis. I’m married and have two daughters, ages 9 and 7. Technically, I have a full-time job as an Associate Professor of History at the U.S. Naval Academy, though I’ve taken a leave of absence to write and will terminate the job at the end of this semester to write full-time! I started writing five years ago after a brain injury left me with a very strong creative urge.

TRI: Do you have philosophy for your writing career or life?

LK: I’ve never really thought of it as a philosophy before, but I guess I do. For writing it would be, write what you love and remember that a writing career is a marathon, not a sprint. For life it would be, live like today’s your last.

TRI: What drives you to write?

LK: The stories and the characters, for sure. They won’t leave me alone. Writing is the only way to get them out of my head!

TRI: How much of your writing is driven, influenced by your readers?

LK: My readers are definitely an inspiration to me. Knowing readers are falling in love with something you create is an incredible rush, not to mention privilege. I’m not necessarily influenced by my readers though. I tell the stories that come to me and demand to be told, and I tell them as I “receive” them. I never really feel like I’m making them up…

TRI: Is there something that you would like to share that your readers or peers do not know about you?

LK: Hmm. I’m pretty open on social media and guest posts after over a dozen releases, so I’m not sure there are many secrets left! LOL…I think most people know my career started after a brain injury in 2008, and a lot know that I wrote several Twilight fan fiction stories back in 2008 and 2009, all of which are still up. I also have several tattoos, which most people know about me too since I talk about my love of tattoos so much!

TRI: I’ve been thinking about getting one. Who is your favorite romance author? What draws you to this writer?

LK: My favorite romance author is J.R. Ward, and I particularly adore her Black Dagger Brotherhood series. I love the grit of this series, the bromance, the characters, and the rawness of so much of it. I am a ginormous fangirl. Which is why I broke down crying in the middle of a HarperCollins workshop at RWA when I learned that she’d given me a cover quote for my upcoming novel, Hard As It Gets.

TRI: We know that authors love all of their creations, but is there one of yours that is your ultimate favorite? Why?

LK: Yes, it is hard to choose! But my tortured hero Marco Vieri from Her Forbidden Hero has a lot of me in him, particularly his journey to recover from the head injury that was one of the reasons he was discharged from the Army Special Forces. But I have to say, the latest book I’ve written Hard As You Can (Hard Ink #2) might be my favorite book ever. Really raw emotion in that one.

TRI: Tell us a little about Hearts in Darkness.

LK: It’s my little story that could! Hearts in Darkness is a 30,000-word novella originally published by The Wild Rose Press and now my first self-published title. It was the first book I published and has sold well over 100,000 copies. It’s the story of two strangers who get trapped in a pitch-black elevator for four hours and find acceptance and even love despite their lack of sight.

TRI: That is an interesting premise. Tell us about discipline in your writing career?

LK: I do something related to my writing career every single day. I treat it as a full-time job, which is even more important now that I’m not working my day job anymore. In terms of writing, my daily goal is a minimum of 2-3K a day, and I often hit more (mostly because I have a crazy number of deadlines right now). I think discipline is key to success because so much of building a readership is about publishing multiple stories, releasing them fairly quickly, and interacting with fans on social media. And that takes dedication, time management, and productivity to achieve.

TRI: As a writer do you feel you have come full circle?

LK: Hmm. I would say no. And I’m not sure what that would actually be for me. So much of my journey as a writer has been totally unexpected. I never would’ve predicted a year ago I’d be where I am now, and the same was try the year before that, too.

TRI: Any words of wisdom for newbies?

LK: Write, write write. Revise, revise, revise. Read, read, read. Surround yourself with other writers. And don’t give up hope!

TRI: Thank you for taking the time to meet with me.

LK: Thank you so much!

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