Monday, May 29, 2017

A Mother’s Secrets

Author Gail Cleare
by Gail Cleare, author of the USA Bestseller The Taste of Air

"One of the greatest riddles, it turns out, is a parent's real life, the one not shown to children.” —Kirkus Reviews

When I started writing my new women’s fiction novel The Taste of Air, I had recently lost my mother. My sister and I looked through the papers in her safe deposit box, found her birth certificate and were amazed to see that at some point, she had changed her name. Neither of us, or my brother, had known about this. It seemed very strange that she would hide such a thing.

The storyteller in me immediately spun this into a mysterious tale, where all kinds of wild things might have happened. Highly unlikely, knowing my mother, who was a model of decorum and self-control. Nonetheless, that night I had a powerful dream, and my writer’s imagination set the stage for the novel I was about to begin.

I dreamed I was walking through a house. It was familiar, but also strange. I had never been there before. It was sort of my mother’s house, decorated in her colors with things that were similar to hers, but not exactly the same. I knew it was her house, though, and that I was not supposed to be there. I had no fear of being caught, though, she was gone. But it was private, and I was intruding by seeing things of hers that were a secret.

The Taste of Air by Gail Cleare
Inevitably, when I next sat down to write, my mind wove this dream into a tale of two sisters and their elderly mother, whose secrets are much, much bigger than my mother’s were. The dream became the scene in the first chapter where Nell enters her mother’s cottage in Vermont for the first time and has the same uncanny feeling of familiar yet not, like walking in the world of the looking glass.

I braided three story lines together to show how the present is an echo of the past, connected and similar, yet also containing the potential for progress. We can learn from the past, transform ourselves and edit our life stories, as all three women do in my book, while remaining products of family history.

Destined by Gail Cleare
Mary Reilly chooses to lead two lives and keep her lakeside hideaway a secret, even from her closest family. Bridget chooses to leave behind her history of abusive relationships, and Nell decides to reach higher for what she wants. Each of them has to live with the possible consequences, good or bad.

All three women’s stories are a patchwork of snippets from my mental filing cabinet. While Mary’s began with a dream, her past days as an Army nurse in Vietnam were inspired by my former neighbor, who was a Lt. Col. in charge of the nurses at a field hospital near Saigon in the late 1960s. I supplemented her firsthand anecdotes with some wonderful research online, where you can here audio interviews with nurses who served there then, and see actual film shot for television news coverage. Bridget’s story is a mashup of two of my friends, with a splash of sheer fantasy. Nell is based on a lot of women I know, and went to school with. And what happens in the hospital at Mary’s bedside is largely real, based on some of my mother’s last moments. The way her daughters feel about it is real too, as I hope you will be able to tell. 

Follow Gail on Facebook, Twitter and check out her Website

Blog for A Pirate’s Darkness

Author ML Guida

Hello, everyone! My name is ML Guida, and I write historical paranormal romance. My books are also filled with adventure and have lots of fight and battle scenes in my books.
I live in beautiful Colorado with my little cocker spaniel, Raven. She loves to sit next to me when I write, and I refer to her as my little snuggle bunny. If you would like to find out more about my next books and what books Raven is recommending, please sign up for my newsletter at
I am pleased to announce my next book in the Legends of the Soaring Phoenix Series: A Pirate’s Darkness. This is the last book about the three princesses of the sea. My princesses are the daughters of Eldric, king of the undine.
What’s an undine? An undine is a water elemental. They are similar to mermaids, but they do not have tails, and they can live in both fresh and salt water. Undines also do not have souls. The legend is that if an undine mates with a human, she’ll become pregnant and develop a soul.
I took liberties with this legend. First of all, I discovered that it’s very difficult to write a heroine without a soul, because they are basically immoral, so I changed it. When my undines mate with a vampire, their babies become super powerful, and the villain, the demon Zuto, wants that power.

A Pirate's Darkness by ML Guid
The heroine in A Pirate’s Darkness is the youngest sister who has the power to control ice and snow. Yes, I stole the concept from Elsa, because I loved that character, but Penelope is an undine destined to be the ruler of her people. The hero is Ewan Kelley, the gun master of the Soaring Phoenix, and all he wants to do is protect his little girl from ever knowing that he’s cursed.
Below is the blurb about this exciting new tale:

Destined to be queen of the undines, Penelope must master her winter powers and remain pure. But time is running out. A time spider is hunting her. To save her people, she must flee. If caught, the beast will bite her and drag her back to a demon’s island. Then, the demon will feast on her blood, allowing him to the escape the island and kill all those she loves.

            Her only hope is trust Ewan Kelley, the grim gun master of the Soaring Phoenix. 

            Ewan wants no part of this and is still mourning the loss of his beloved woman and guarding his blind daughter from the demon. But an archangel reveals that the demon knows where she is and plans to kidnap her. To keep her safe, he must save a woman he barely knows. In return, the archangel promises to give sight to his little girl.

           Their attraction for each other proves to be too strong, and soon they learn that their forbidden love will not be denied. Only by working together can they defeat the forces of evil. 

Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and check out her Website

Monday, May 8, 2017

10 Things I Love About This Series

I cannot tell you how excited I am to be finally publishing this new Young Adult series: Bryant Rockwell. I started the first book nearly two decades ago, when the three girls jumped into my busy life, full of sass, humour, and awesome talents.
After writing the first three books, I swapped careers and became a maths teacher in a number of UK high schools. What an awakening! The nice girls I’d written had little in common with today’s teens. After a decade of teaching (when it was impossible to write anything), I revisited the stories, updated them, and wrote the next three.
Unfortunately, when I looked for an agent, all they wanted were tales of magic schools and vampires in order to jump on various bandwagons. So my gorgeous gals were assigned to the back burner, while I wrote five fantasy books set in a mediaeval-alternate-world. If this appeals, check out the Hengist books; all of them were #1 bestsellers in their genre.

I’m thrilled, because my trio deserves to tell their stories to a wider audience; however I put it off for so long because of the number of adverse comments made by US reviewers about British spelling and punctuation. So I’ve compromised by using US punctuation and modifying the occasional word to avoid the real spelling snags (e.g. practice/practise). But these teens speak with British accents, and the UK school system means subtle differences in their daily schedule and terminology. Because of this, I’ve added a glossary at the end so non-UK readers can translate.
Living on this side of the pond means my guys get to watch Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” in his very own theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, a treat I’ve enjoyed many times. Hope you enjoy your vicarious experience of this. You can read a little more about the characters here.

The elevator pitches go like this:
New Kid in Town: Liv, Jude and Kat are greater than the sum of their parts. Separately they are Brainy, Sporty and Arty. Together they are invincible. Until Drop-Dead-Gorgeous Ray wheels up.

The Show Must Go On: Liv's a snarky chocoholic, Luke's a reformed thug. Who better to take Dirty Diana down a peg or two? She totally has it coming.

I was encouraged when one beta reader described the first book as “10 Things I Hate About You” meets “Glee,” which is great for people in the US. For UK readers, I’d add in the gritty reality of “Waterloo Road.”
I would call it a character-driven romantic comedy, other people say:
Funny, intense and endearing. Wish I had such a group of friends,” and “Drama you can't look away from. I was hooked from the first page.”
The review site, Book Viral, called it “Snappy, well-pitched and edgy. An enjoyable read which will appeal to anyone who has a sense of humour and an ear for the ironic.”
And Readers’ Favorite gave it a shiny, silver 5-star medal: “A well written teenage high school experience. The romance elements fitted perfectly with the plot and were the right balance of lust, love, and friendship.