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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Highlighting The World Romance Writers

Today's blog highlights the bestselling anthology, Letterbox Love Stories, Vol 1. (on sale now for 99¢!) As one of the authors involved this project, I was fortunate to collaborate with nine talented wordsmiths from around the globe. Today, Authors Gemma Juliana, Marie Laval share the spark that inspired their stories. I'm sharing mine too!

Abandoned Treasures ~ Gemma Juliana

Almost any location along the European Mediterranean coastline has always spelled romance to me. I had the good fortune to travel to many coastal towns and cities in Italy, Greece, Spain and France many years ago—including a dozen or so islands—thanks to my job on a cruise ship.

Back then, the air was infused with the perfume of romance as it wafted gently over the azure blue waters and windswept beaches.  

I’ve visited many Mediterranean islands, but was never on the island of Sardinia. I’ve been attracted to it for as long as I can remember, and always wished to visit someday. Choosing it for Abandoned Treasures allowed me to indulge in the joy of researching it. As the story took shape, I was there with Sophie and Rico, swimming at his elegant villa and sailing the turquoise and sapphire waters on his yacht.

There’s something intense and insular about islands. By their very nature, they are a world apart, and provide a unique backdrop for an emotional story to unfold. Two characters can abandon their habits and inhibitions as they taste the freedom that an island offers. Their only confines—as well as for the island itself—are the boundaries defined by the restless sea.
Three sparks ignited Abandoned Treasures.

I once purchased an antique desk that contained a secret treasure. I’ve wanted to write this into a story for a long time, but it didn’t fit into anything I’d written so far. As the characters for Abandoned Treasures defined themselves, I instinctively knew Sophie would find a desk with a secret compartment.

Sophie arrived in Sardinia with a secret, but I also wanted Rico to have a secret of his own. In fact, he surprised me by having two secrets! I didn’t know about the second one, so that was fun. I love when characters define themselves.

Pink represents love, and I had a great desire to write a pink beach into the story, but wasn’t sure I would find one in the Mediterranean. Imagine how delighted I was to discover the fine pink sand beach known as the Spiaggia Rosa of Budelli. This was one of the first sparks for my story.

When I saw how brilliantly the stars and the Milky Way shine in the heavens from that area of the world where there is so little light pollution, I knew it was the perfect place for Sophie and Rico to meet. 

Blurb~ Abandoned Treasures
What do a reality TV star and a billionaire from Sardinia have in common? Sophie Hayes is jaded from years of buying and selling the contents of abandoned storage units. After she dumps her cheating fiancé, a letter arrives from a man in Sardinia inviting her to personally deliver a rare antique desk. What better way to spend what would have been her honeymoon? Rico di Carlo is a reclusive widower with a secret—he’s been falling in love with Sophie Hayes for almost a year. Now she’s in his world and he has one week to make sure she never wants to leave.

Author bio~

I grew up on a tropical island, and even as a girl I had a natural passion for reading. Our local library had a fine selection of Mills & Boon paperback romances. They fueled the fire of my early passion for love stories. I was captivated by the exotic lands, beautiful women and mysterious men that danced across the pages of new books every month.
When a romance author took up residency a few streets away from my home, I was star struck. She lived in the sort of villa she wrote about. Waiting for her newest M&B novel every few months filled me with excitement. I heard through the grapevine she very much lived the romantic and prosperous lifestyle she wrote about in her stories.
I was only a teenager at the time, but she left a deep impression on me, and the seed was planted. What if, one day, I write spellbinding novels and live the lifestyle of a romance author?

Many bridges have been crossed since then, and life has taken me to countless glorious places. At times my journey meandered far from those early dreams, only to return to them when least expected. I’ve encountered twists and turns along the path to publication. In fact, I was a publisher before I became an author. But that’s a story for another day.
These days, my home is in Texas. I may live far away from the romantic beaches of Sardinia, but my muse and I conjure tales of love and set them in exotic locations I’ve either been to, or would love to visit someday.

I hope you’ll visit my website at and sign up for my monthly newsletter so we can stay in touch.
Thanks for visiting today!

The World Romance Writers: Letterbox Love Stories Volume I
The World Romance Writers:



Sons of the Wind ~ Marie Laval
Many years ago I borrowed my mother's old Renault 5 and toured the South of France for a couple of weeks. I had a vague idea of where I wanted to go but no fixed plan and it was with a sense of adventure that I set off from my home town of Lyon.

The first stop on my tour was Avignon where my favourite uncle lived. My uncle Roger was the most original - some may say eccentric - person I have ever met, and I absolutely adored him. He had built his own house, dug his own pond where ducks and grandchildren dived and paddled together (no one ever mentioned germs and health and safety in those days), kept all kinds of animals on his small holding, including pigeons, dogs, vicious turkey cocks, and two parrots -Marco and Polo who warned him from the treetops of the arrival of customers. He also ran a house clearing business with two elderly gentlemen aptly nicknamed 'Les Deux Vieux' (the two old ones) who did not talk much. In fact, now that think about it, I don't think I ever heard them talk at all..

My uncle was a poet - the kind of men who knew the names of all the stars and who would instruct you not to break a spider web as you went up the stairs. His house was a treasure trove. How I loved searching through the stuff he stored on the ground floor of his house. Out of tune pianos and curved Arab swords, weird bronze statuettes and old typewriters, broken dentist chairs and - oh joy...hundreds and hundreds of keys. I think this is where my fascination with old keys must have started.

The day I arrived he and his two elderly assistants had just cleared over a ton of flour from a bankrupt mill and he was wondering what to do with it.

'You don't want any flour, do you?' he asked as we enjoyed a glass of rosé wine under the shade of his almond tree before lunch.

'Of course not, I'm going on a tour of Provence! What would I do with bags of flour?'

Not in the least upset by my refusal to buy his flour, he suggested a few places for me to visit on my tour. Les Saintes Maries de la Mer in the Camargue was one of them.

Les Saintes Maries de la Mer is a fishing village situated in the heart of the Camargue, between the Rhône river and the Mediterranean sea. It is surrounded by marshes brimming with wildlife. This is where you can find ranches (called 'manades') where bulls and horses are bred. The grey-white Camargue horses are renown for their speed and their beauty, and during cavalcades and 'abrivades' that take place throughout the year, the 'gardians' (Camargue cowboys) show off their skills. 

The village is especially famous for its gypsy festival which takes place on 24th and 25th May. Every year more than 10 000 travellers come from all over Europe to celebrate their patron saint - 'Sara La Noire'. It is for them a time of celebration, of dancing and feasting, of religious worship and catching up with friends and relatives.

Les Saintes Maries is a beautiful and inspiring setting for my short story SONS OF THE WIND. I ended up staying several days there during my tour of Provence and I will never forget the evenings spent eating delicious seafood at the terrace of cafés, and listening to the 'gardians' singing and playing the guitar. It felt like a magical place.

Sons of the Wind

Provence 1826. Ten years after her brother disappeared in the marshes of the Camargue, Venetia Rigby receives a letter suggesting he is alive. Will Philippe Dantès, half-gipsy master of Terres Mortes, help her find him when he has his own demons to fight?

Author bio~

Originally from Lyon in France, Marie has been living in Lancashire for the past few years. When she isn't busy teaching French in a secondary school and embarrassing her children (two grown up sons and one daughter, the baby of the family!), she writes contemporary and historical romance, and enjoys walking in the very green, very wet hills of the Rossendale Valley. Her novels are published by Áccent Press.

Amazon Author Page


More Than Wishes Rose Anderson writing as Madeline Archer

As Rose Anderson and Madeline Archer, I often find inspiration for my novels in the myths and fairy tales and legends of the world. My newest blending of fact and fancy is about a Victorian adventurer named Stella who buys an ancient lamp in Turkey's Grand Bazaar and soon discovers it holds an unbelievable surprise. Can you guess? The tale is More Than Wishes, one of nine international stories in the Letterbox Love Stories anthology.

More Than Wishes was inspired by an ancient storyteller by the name of Scheherazade. Scheherazade married a mentally disturbed Persian king determined to see her put to death the first thing in morning following their wedding night. This marrying and murdering was done many times before Scheherazade came on the scene, and the king had reasons for his paranoia. He had loved his first wife desperately and she tried to assassinate him on their wedding night.  

Scheherazade felt that by plying her story-craft she could not only save herself, but humanize her husband in the process. Each night, she told him a story that hinted at his own fears and left it as a cliffhanger when the sun came up. He couldn't very well have her killed— he wanted to know how the story ended! 

For one thousand and one nights Scheherazade kept him interested and distracted by her stories, and the fears causing her husband's temporary madness dissolved with each story's resolution. Before long, they fell deeply in love. One Thousand Nights and a Night is better known as 1001 Arabian Nights. Scheherazade’s stories are among the world's most famous works of literature.

One of the better known tales on her collection is Aladdin and his Lamp and this one tickled my fancy. The lamp in her story holds a genie or djinn captive. The genie can only do his master's bidding. (The master is the owner of the lamp). With this in mind, I imagined how the djinn came to be trapped inside the lamp in the first place. There had to be treachery involved! Before I knew it, I had twin brothers Koray and Ishaan born to a djinn mother and a mortal father (who also happened to be Byzas the king of Byzantium). There could only be one successor to the throne so sibling rivalry plays an important role in the hows and whys. 

Flash forward to the late Victorian era when adventurers from all walks of life traveled the globe. Raised by a seafaring family on tales of adventure and far off places, my Stella is such an adventurer. With plans to travel and see the world, Stella becomes an elderly woman’s traveling companion to Constantinople (what would be Turkey today). She buys a curious lamp at the Grand Bazaar and something incredible happens when she cleans it. All Stella wanted was a simple souvenir…
Blurb~ More Than Wishes
Raised on a sailor’s tales of adventure and eager for her own, Stella Cunningham answers an advertisement for a traveling companion to the Orient. There she purchases an ancient bronze lamp with a secret. In the land of flying carpets and genies, Stella is about to have the adventure of a lifetime.
Author Bio~
I live with my family and small menagerie amid oak groves and prairie in the rolling glacial hills of the upper Midwest. In this chapter of my life, I’m an award-winning author. My active imagination compels me to write everything from children’s stories to historical nonfiction. 

Where does my story style comes from? I’ve been asked this question more than once. The first time, I struggled to find an answer that didn’t sound ridiculous. You see, I didn’t know I had a style! I’ve always been an observant detail person with an active imagination and a healthy sense of wonder. The only answer is to say my style comes from life, from listening, from everywhere. People who know me say they can hear me speak when they read my stories.

As a student of the human condition, I like to play with symbolism and metaphor dealing with core issues related to being human. Readers will find insights to the ongoing search for the ultimate meaning of existence tucked into my stories. I so love when readers say they’ve found something. Believing we are all on the same journey, I hope they strike a personal chord when discovered. I’d like people to feel my stories were written just for them, for that’s the truth. These hidden gems are my gift to my readers.

I have to say as a reader, I love real details. As far as I’m concerned, real information just makes a story better. As a writer, I especially love to dabble in that tantalizing area that lies between fact and fancy. Writing stories around factual information allows the author a better chance at suspending disbelief and make the implausible plausible. My detail-rich romances are happy ever after love stories colored in many shades. Readers will find my compelling heroes and heroines easy to fall in love with, and my villains…well, I won’t give too much away.
When not writing, I gather with friends for drumming, poetry, Reiki, and great discussions.
Stop by my main blog for interesting topics all month long. Find my links page and free reads too! Subscribe to get my posts in your inbox! I have other blogs too. See my links page.

Rose writes edgy adult romance. Madeline writes sweet to spooky stories. Find them in ebook and paperback on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and elsewhere.

Two Amazon Author Pages


Twitter (notice the _ )


Gemma Juliana said...

Thanks for featuring some of us here today, Rose.

Lynn Crain said...

Wonderful posts everyone. Thanks for sharing a bit about you and your stories. It was great.

Jenny Twist said...

Both great stories!

Helena Fairfax said...

All great stories! I'm proud to be part of the anthology. Thanks for sharing!