Guest Fox Linda Oaks

Hey everyone. I’m honored to be a featured guest author on Four Foxes, One Hound. My name is Linda Oaks. I’m a relatively new author. I have five books published as to date. I live in Kentucky with my husband and two children on a farm. I love chaotic romances with happily ever afters. I have a passion for sweet tea, fuzzy socks and eighties big hair bands. When I’m not busy writing or staring blankly at my computer screen waiting for inspiration to hit, I can be found spending time with my family, reading, fishing or lying in my hammock in the front yard daydreaming. I’m also a substitute teacher.
I recently had a new release to come out April 5th. Holding Sky can be found at Painted Hearts Publishing or your favorite online e-book retailer. It’s a second chance romance set in a small town. There’s a lot of angst, sizzling chemistry and also a lot of laughs. Here’s a little peek at Holding Sky.
Excerpt:

He rubs my hand over his heart, and a tear trickles down my cheek. He leans in capturing it with his lips and softly murmurs, “No one but you, Sky.

long to ask if him if he still loves me, but I’m afraid to push him; afraid of pushing him until there’s nothing left in his heart for the girl he used to love, and only the one, who betrayed him.

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What do you think? I’m so in love with this cover, and with County and Sky. Their story is an emotional journey, and one I hope you’ll enjoy. I’ll share another teaser, the blurb and the links for the book below just in case you’re interested in reading more about County and Sky.

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Eight seconds is nothing compared to her.
He was a lost boy in need of rescuing.
She was the girl with the perfect life.
At the age of eighteen, Sky Blue Jessup and County Montgomery were inseparable. Life was perfect, but the future Sky envisioned for her and County fell to the wayside after graduation, their lives each taking a different path.
If there’s one thing Professional Bull Rider, County Montgomery knows, it’s how to hold on with all his might. Returning home to recover from an injury, he encounters the girl he left behind. Sky’s days are spent at her parent’s diner. She never made it out of their small hometown in Laurel County. She has responsibilities now, and her and County are no longer kids. She plans to leave the local celebrity in the past where he belongs, but it’s hard to deny what your heart yearns for still to this day.
When unconventional circumstances force these two together, sparks fly. While County may know how to ride a bull, he doesn’t have a clue how to deal with Sky. Can they rekindle their relationship despite their rocky past? Is history really worth repeating? Did County Montgomery ever find anything else that came close to Holding Sky?
➡️Book Strand:http://www.bookstrand.com/holding-sky
I’d like to thank Four Foxes, One Hound for the feature. Y’all are awesome. If you’d like to give me a follow to see what I’m currently up to, I can be found hanging out here:
If you have any questions about Holding Sky or anything in general, I’d be more than happy to answer them…well, almost anything. 🙂 You can also reach me by email at authorlindaoaks@gmail.com. Once again, thanks Four Foxes, One Hound and thank you, yes you, for reading.
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Guest Author: Alina K. Field, Historical Romance

Alina K

After reading A Leap Into Love by Alina K. Field, I noticed that she had a regency series. Since I love series romance, especially when they’re centered on families, I asked her to come and share with us about her books, and she kindly agreed. So without further ado, here’s Alina!

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I’m thrilled to join the Four Foxes, One Hound as a guest today!

Patricia and I know each other through another author group, and a few weeks ago she very kindly reviewed my Leap Day romance, A Leap Into Love. Like almost everything I’ve published, A Leap Into Love is historical romance set in the Regency/late Georgian period.

I do have several unpublished contemporary stories that I hope to pull out from under the bed someday if I ever move into the twenty-first century. But every time I think about the task of updating my characters’ gadgets, cars, and ways of communicating, I slide them back under the bed and go back to my comfortable Regency world. Hey, if I live long enough, those stories will be historical fiction also!

In April I released The Counterfeit Lady, Book Four in my Sons of the Spy Lord series. Patty recently asked me how I came up with the idea for this series and whether it’s based on a real person or people.

It all starts with being a history nerd (I like reading memoirs and diaries) and fan of stories with not just romance, but also adventure. I loved the Richard Sharpe and Horatio Hornblower stories, as well as Joanna Bourne’s excellent spy series.

A few years ago I was researching spying during the Napoleonic Wars and I came across a Mr. Wickham, not the Wickham of Pride and Prejudice fame, but William Wickham, a British spymaster in Europe during the French Revolution, and Chief Secretary in Ireland during the Robert Emmet era.

And thus, the Earl of Shaldon, the Spy Lord of my series was conceived! Of course, Shaldon is totally fictitious—his story and the details of his life are completely different than Wickham’s. Also, the series is set in 1819-1821 England, after the wars have ended. The Spy Lord has come home to England to reconnect with the children he barely knows, to maneuver each of them into marriage with the spouse of his choosing, and to settle old scores with old enemies.

RogueThe first child to be dealt with in The Bastard’s Iberian Bride, was the earl’s illegitimate son, who happened to be a veteran of the Peninsular War and valet to the hero of my short Regency romance, Bella’s Band. Book Two, The Viscount’s Seduction, includes an Irish heroine for the earl’s heir; and Book Three, The Rogue’s Last Scandal, a heroine whose father is a missing English privateer for the wild youngest son.

CounterfeitI took liberties with the series title and in Book Four, The Counterfeit Lady, tells the story of the Spy Lord’s daughter, who clashes with ruthless free-traders and a mysterious American artist. And since my widowed Spy Lord has run out of children, I wrote a romantic adventure for him. That book is with the editor now for an autumn release.

I hope to go backward in time to the 1790s for at least one story, and my muse is, well, musing about a series set in the early Victorian era.

 

This week two of my Regency stories will be free on Amazon.

LLFrom May 21-25, Liliana’s Letter, a National Readers’ Choice award finalist: this novella-length romance is about a spinster chaperone who helps the young lady in her charge dodge a match with an unsavory earl and find the perfect mate, meanwhile getting her own chance at a happily ever after.

Bella's BandFrom May 25-May 28, Bella’s Band, a RONE award finalist: this short Regency is a sequel to Liliana’s Letter, and tells the story of a reluctant new earl who clashes with the independent lady who may have the secret to his brother’s killer.

Please be sure to download your copies!

 

Alina KAuthor Bio and links:

Award winning author Alina K. Field earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and German literature, but her true passion is the much happier world of romance fiction. Though her roots are in the Midwestern U.S., after six very, very, very cold years in Chicago, she moved to Southern California and hasn’t looked back. She shares a midcentury home with her husband, her spunky, blonde, rescued terrier, and the blue-eyed cat who conned his way in for dinner one day and decided the food was too good to leave.

She is the author of several Regency romances, including the 2014 Book Buyer’s Best winner, Rosalyn’s Ring. She is hard at work on her next series of Regency romances, but loves to hear from readers!

Visit her at:

https://alinakfield.com/

https://www.facebook.com/alinakfield

https://twitter.com/AlinaKField

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7173518.Alina_K_Field

https://www.pinterest.com/alinakf/

https://www.instagram.com/alinak.field/

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/alina-k-field

Newsletter signup: https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/z6q6e3

 

 

Posted in Guest author, Guest author post, Patricia Kiyono | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Assault Authors

This week we are talking about book genres that we hate/really don’t like.

When I am asked what I read, I generally say, “Everything”, but that isn’t completely accurate.

There was a time when I used to say, “Everything but Romance”, and that certainly is not true anymore. (How I got here with romance writers is part of the story.) I still don’t care for bodice-rippers and if it’s too sappy, I’m not wild about that, either.

I read a lot of detective stories, but don’t care for details of gore; the same goes for horror. I will read a well-written horror, but I am going to stop, generally, if it’s gory. I also get turned off quickly when the writers try to ‘turn me on’; i.e., if they are trying to disguise porn as sci-fi, it’s out.

Books of one genre that I will seldom seek out are historical novels. My husband has many. He used them to engage his history students, and I read many of them. It aggravates me when writers take liberties with the lives of historical figures, changing honorable people into cheaters, changing their attitudes and sensibilities, and usually for the worst. If they base it in true events or even as a “What-If”, (and stay within the actualities of the people’s actual personalities), I’m good with it.

The books that I absolutely despise are those which are mislabeled and misleading. The ones that are self-serving and have agendas hidden within the stories. They are common, and are nothing new by any means. I find it happens in quite a few novels, actually in many “classic’ novels, and what bothered me was that the degradation is often found in the ones which were, and perhaps still are, required reading for students.

More often than not, the story is an attack on organized religion and the moral teachings within. Oh, how cruel society is! Oh, how rigid and hateful the ministers/priests/religious leaders always are! Seldom is a ‘holy man’ ever holy. Too often, generalizations and the worst of the clergy and societies expectations are presented as the norm. It isn’t fair to impressionable minds.

The inclusion of casual drug use in books now, (and many movies), encourages kids to accept and use. I don’t like it one bit.

It isn’t just the churches, (and temples), that are undermined, but families. I am thinking of the ridiculously famous “Lake Woebegone”, in which I found little humor, but everyone did an “Emperor’s New Clothes” and decided they would laugh along. It seemed to me like Garson Keillor had bones to pick with his family and church and so used the book,(and subsequent radio show), as an outlet to attack them. I have seen such works written about Jewish families, Hindi families and others. People who dislike their upbringing, yet don’t take into account their particular situations, their own choices, but assail religion, families and society in general.

You see this in autobiographies newly-formed celebrities, (usually written with a writer, ghost or otherwise). They want to blame their parents/manager/exs/record companies/studios for the wrongs they perceive as having been done to them, and ride their fame, (or waning fame), to a few bucks doing it, telling their fans that they are ‘sharing their lives with them’. Uh-huh. If the celebs stick around, their later books are usually more in tune with reality and they often accept their own part in what may have been amiss in their lives.

I was given a book to review a few years ago, and afterward, I gave the woman from the publisher fair warning that the author will not be happy, since my review would not be very favorable. It was supposed to be a Middle-grade book, a humorous look at Public Television. I have a few bones to pick with PBS myself, but the book is a lampoon, which even attacked Cookie Monster. Many of the assaults were aimed at shows and celebrities which the children could not possibly be familiar, having been from long before they were even born. I assume the writer once worked for a pubic station and had a bad experience, but for him to try to get revenge in the guise of a book for kids was cowardice. If he wanted to write an exposé, he just should have done so, and I including that observation in my online review.

So, I suppose what I have said, (in possibly too many words), is that I hate phony books, written to convey the prejudices and agendas of the writer, disguised as a story.

I’m sure you have all experienced these.

Posted in authors, book review, Books, experiences, Family, history, reading, Uncategorized, writing | 8 Comments

I Don’t Know If It’s Art

But I Know What I DIS-like

By Jeff Salter

This week’s topic is about the kind of book [or genre] we really dislike. Gosh, this is more difficult that I imagined — it’s much easier for me to list what I LIKE in a book. Namely… plot, characters, dialog, setting, premise, and writing that keeps my interest. Those features could be in non-fiction, fiction… or even plays and poetry.

And it’s not as simple as stating what types of reading material “turns me off.” It’s more a matter of me being highly jealous of my reading time and therefore not wanting to waste any of it on something unworthy of my attention. Sound snobbish? Maybe so.

Our Wednesday Fox, Joselyn, had a list which closely parallels my own, in terms of what I don’t wish to read: “stories that contain anything with the occult, demons, fallen angels, vampires, devils, zombies, anything with thick ties to the underworld.” I don’t recall if Joselyn explained WHY she veers from such material, but I suspect it’s for a similar reason to my own: It’s spiritually counterproductive to allow those images inside my head.

— # # # # # —

Let me offer two examples of things I read that totally creeped me out.

amityville-book-cover

Amityville Horror

Having seen a bit of the post publication buzz about this supposedly true story, I happened upon a copy of the book (back around 1977). It started out interesting enough, as I recall — giving a bit of background on the house, the brutal murders which had previously occurred there, and introducing us to the family who’d just purchased the place (unawares) and were moving in. Then the author began describing the going’s on. I had literal chills… and my goosebumps developed goosebumps. I got so scared that I simply could not finish reading. To this day, I don’t think I’ve read the rest, though I have since read some articles that debunk some – perhaps most – of the claims made by that family (or that author). Did all that terrifying stuff really happen? Don’t know… and I won’t be delving into it closely enough to find out. There have been at least two movie versions of this book and I have not seen either — nor do I intend to.

creepy-mag

Creepy and Eerie

As a kid, I watched what then were called “horror” movies… but which were nothing like the horror flicks of recent decades (with gore and mindless brutality… and a high count of nubile, often only partly-dressed young bodies). Anyway, along with horror movies of the fifties and sixties, I naturally read some of the more popular horror magazines of that period. Chief among these were Creepy and Eerie. Well, that ended on the occasion when I was reading a bit too late in the evening, after dark… alone in the house. Some story about a detective trying to find out which of the members of the household was the actual vampire. Had a surprise ending… and by the time I’d reached it, I had skeered myself nearly to death. That was the last time – I’m pretty sure – that I read Creepy or Eerie as a kid. Certainly the last time I read either at night… when I was alone.

eerie-mag

When the Hero or Heroine Dies at the End

I’m not going to name this author, because I don’t care to bring him any more attention than he already has. [If you simply have to know who I’m referring to — and cannot guess by my context — then just search the term “notebook”.]

This very popular, best-selling author took the reading world by storm after one of his short novels was made into a popular movie. For a while after that, he seemed to crank out title after title in which the heroine died at the end. He seemed to crave causing sobs at his endings. That reputation may or may not be well-deserved — I don’t know. I’ve read only one of his titles and was singularly un-impressed… and therefore felt no yearning to try any others. But at least one acerbic reviewer condensed nearly of this author’s existing novels (at that time) into one basic outline. And the outline of nearly all ended with the death of the heroine. Is that unfair to this author? I don’t know. Maybe some of you have read all of his work and can say whether he has more variety than this particular reviewer found at that point. But my observation in all this is simply that I have no desire to read a book in which I’ve become fond of the major characters… and then have them die on me. No, I don’t want to cry at the end of a story.

Other no-nos

Are there other types of material I should not read? Certainly. There are numerous things I should not pollute my mind with. But, in addition, I don’t wish to waste valuable reading time on anything that’s poorly written, poorly edited, or material using unreliable (or even altered) research. I don’t wish to read authors who “talk down” to me, as if I’m a nincompoop. On the other hand, I also don’t care for ultra-detailed scientific mumbo-jumbo… because I’m not smart enough to understand it. And I don’t care!

Question:

What about YOU? What type books (or genres) do you dislike?

[JLS # 383]

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 17 Comments

I wasn’t expecting that!

I used to want to read every book in existence. Every classic, every mystery, every spy thriller, every romance.
But that was before responsibility when I could spend all afternoon reading Nancy Drew without feeling guilty about not making supper for my children. (I’m still not good at making super but I do feel guilty about it.)
Now that reading time is more limited, I want to spend it on books and stories I have a higher probability of enjoying. I stay away from works that require deeper concentration because when reading in fits and starts it’s hard to keep track of everything. If I do choose to read something like that, it’s when I have a good chunk of time to invest. So I don’t avoid those altogether, I just need to have the right time and situation.
Some genres I will only read as a favor to another author. I might read the first in the series, but I wouldn’t continue it. These would be stories that contain anything with the occult, demons, fallen angels, vampires, devils, zombies, anything with thick ties to the underworld… you get the idea. Just typing that makes my skin bubble into goose flesh. I’ve mentioned that I get nightmares from looking at stills from Walking Dead. I had nightmares after reading Dracula. Twilight didn’t bother me too much, possibly because other things about the story bothered me more. I read The Screwtape Letters this winter and that was even a little much for me.
I tend not to read stories with magical creatures in them, but I don’t mind them as long I know they are going to appear. Something in the book blurb should mention fairies or gnomes. I don’t want to be surprised by them. One book I read had nothing in the cover art or blurb that half the characters were fairies. The story was cute, but I was confused for part of the story because I was not expecting them.
Do you like to be surprised by cross-genre elements in a story?
Posted in Joselyn Vaughn, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Oh, The Horror!!!

There is one genre of books that I just can’t bring myself to read. Horror. I used to devour books by R.L. Stine when I was in school. That was also during a time in my life when I could watch scary movies. I can’t do that anymore. So that leaves this entire genre of books that I just won’t touch. Its not that the books are not well written because I know people who recommend these titles to me, its just that my imagination runs away with me and it causes sleepless nights.

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My friend Kelly Martin has always written fabulous books that I love! I have read these books more than once. Then she wrote the Heartless Series. I knew it would be a well written because all her books are. I was very iffy on reading them, but I did. I’m not ashamed to admit that I slept with the lights on for a few nights.

I purchase books in this genre even though I do not read them. My seventeen-year-old daughter has fallen in love with this genre of books, movies, and television. I’ll buy the books for her. She retreats to her room. Then when she is done reading she will come down and attempt to tell me about it. There are times I have had to say, “I don’t want to know! If you want me to buy more, don’t tell me about it.” Then there were times when she has told me that she thinks I could handle that story. There are a few set aside that she thinks I would enjoy but I haven’t picked them up yet.

I figure the world is a scary enough place why in the world would I want to seek out more horror when I’m doing something that should be relaxing to me? I’d rather read a love story.

Have you ever read a book that caused sleepless nights?

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

No Thanks, My TBR List is Long Enough

no thanks round red grunge stamp

This week, we’re asked to name the types of books we dislike.

I generally stay away from anything that involves explicit gore. So that includes horror, a lot books set in war zones, and the gritty mystery/suspense books. I’m not sure why, but perhaps it’s because there’s so much horror in the news that I choose not to read about it for leisure. I’m not particularly a fan of paranormal stories, but I’m not sure if I dislike them as much as I’m not comfortable thinking about zombies, ghosts, and extra-terrestrial beings.

There isn’t much else that I won’t indulge in reading from time to time. Mystery, suspense, memoirs, travel books – I love them all. I remember a short time (before I started writing) when reading romances bothered me. And then I realized it wasn’t the genre I disliked, it was the rather common device used by some big-name authors in which the big strong hero basically abuses the heroine for half the book. That’s not romantic to me. Fortunately, there were enough others writing strong yet likeable heroes that I kept reading the genre.

But there’s another kind of book that I dislike reading no matter what genre, and sometimes it’s hard to identify these books until you start reading them. Put bluntly, I dislike any book that’s not well-written. With self-publishing becoming easier and more popular, it seems that I’m finding more and more books that should have had more fine-tuning than it got. I have several friends who have self-published, and I know that they put in considerable effort and pay reputable editors to make their books the best they can be. But every now and then I’ll read one that contain one or more of these annoying traits:

Books that contain glaring grammar and punctuation errors. I was asked to read and review a book for an author who said she couldn’t afford to pay an editor. After reading it, I wanted to tell her she couldn’t afford not to. Publishing a book is putting yourself in the public eye. If I’m playing in a concert, I take care with my appearance and prepare by practicing my music. I don’t want to sit on the stage and play a bunch of wrong notes. If I’m speaking to a group, I prepare my presentation and rehearse it ahead of time. I try to anticipate questions that people will ask. I research and double-check my facts to make sure what I’m saying is accurate and up to date. So why would I want to release a book that hasn’t been read and re-read by people who are trained to catch errors that readers will inevitably find?

Stories that don’t have a compelling central conflict. They don’t go anywhere and don’t hold my interest. I read a book that had an interesting premise: a groups of quilters had a deadline to complete a certain number of quilts in time for Christmas. I assumed that something would happen to complicate things and put the quilters’ project in jeopardy, but that didn’t happen. The quilts were all completed in time, with no problems. One of the quilters fell in love and her romance progressed just swimmingly. I was bored silly. I think sometimes people confuse a premise with a conflict. Life for our characters should not be smooth sailing. Even in fairy tales, there’s always the villain, whose job it is to keep the hero from finding his way to the princess.

Stories with a premise I can’t get behind. When I read a book, I generally finish it, even if I don’t like it. But there was one that I could NOT make myself finish. It was about a young west coast city girl who’d been told she was born in Texas, so she assumed she could move there and become a wrangler. Really? I’m supposed to be sympathetic to a girl who’s that naïve? I’ve read other books with premises that were strange, but this one was the most bizzare. 

So these are the things that make me dislike a book, regardless of genre. What makes you close a book and stop reading?

 

Posted in Patricia Kiyono, reading preferences, TBR List | Tagged | 7 Comments