Guest Author: Jackie Keswick!

Today I have a special guest! Jackie Keswick is here to celebrate her latest release! Thanks for visiting, Jackie!

Thank you for inviting me to your blog, Charley. I’m very glad to be here, and I’ve brought my brand new action adventure romance, Undercover Star along with me. The story features a pop star, a detective, and a hunt for an art thief… and it’s set in London and Scotland.

I love setting stories in places where I’ve lived and which I’ve visited. The positive vibes and happy memories I have from those times tend to add colour to the story as I write, whether I remember a holiday cottage where we’ve stayed, a pub that served us a fantastic lunch, or a piece of countryside.

While the plot for Undercover Star came out of the blue, I’ve made use of a few of my favourite locations as settings for Josh and Matisse’s story. When Matisse tells Josh that he’s sat in his car on the seafront in Helensburgh eating pizza while the wind blew like a fury and whipped up the waves in the harbour, then he describes a memory from my very first Scotland trip. On the way from the pizza shop to the car we almost lost the pizza box to the gale, and while we enjoyed a tasty, well-deserved lunch break in our driving holiday, the rain lashed the windscreen and the waves rolled up into impressive white peaks.

Helensburgh is real, of course. Kilbride House, the location for the very exclusive charity gala that requires star credentials to enter, is not. Or rather, it’s not called Kilbride House, and isn’t a gala location.

I came across the inspiration for Kilbride House one very frosty morning when I was walking through London after an early appointment, and spotted an unexpected gap in a street of tall, well-kept Victorian apartment buildings. On closer inspection I found that the gap held a long, ornate fence with an imposing gate, with an ornate garden, and curving drive behind. Right at the end of the drive sat a large, wood-framed house that looked as if it belonged into a different era.

Which, of course, it did. Like Kilbride House, its construction suggested that it had seen the Great Fire of London and lived to tell about it.  I would have loved to see inside, but along with the fence, the house also boasted very visible security. So I resigned myself to gazing through the bars of the gate and imagined the interior in the story.

Of course, no locations were harmed in writing Undercover Star. They’re far too valuable to a writer.  Sometimes, it’s difficult to pick a location to use for a story. At other times, it’s easy. And every now and then, I read a book and decide I have to visit one of the places mentioned.

Which makes me wonder… have you ever picked a day out, or a holiday, based on a location in a story? I’d love to know. 😉

 

Excerpt:

Undercover Star – Helensburgh

By two o’clock they were in Scotland, and the rain arrived shortly after. Josh groaned at the sudden splatter of big droplets across the windscreen. Matisse’s chuckle was soft by comparison, almost swallowed by the sound of the rain. “Welcoming me home, eh? Thank you most kindly.”

“Don’t tell me you’re liking this.”

“Nope. I lo-o-o-ove it,” Matisse singsonged. “Don’t look at me. I love rain. Watching it, smelling it, being out in it. Most of all, I love listening to it. And why not? This is Scotland. We have rain perfected.”

“You’re mad.”

“Just because I like to get wet?”

After the hours spent in close proximity with Matisse, breathing his scent, hearing him talk, and watching those expressive hands on the steering wheel, Josh choked on his reply. Visions of Matisse pinned to smooth tiles crowded his mind. Of moisture-slick hair, and rivulets of warm water running down his finely muscled back and dividing just above the swell of his arse. He shifted to make room in his suddenly extra-tight jeans, and Matisse burst out laughing as if he’d read his mind. Josh’s window wound down with a quiet whirr and drips of cold rain hit his left cheek and neck.

“Mind out of the gutter, Ingram.”

“You started it.”

“I started nothing. That was a totally innocent comment.”

“I’m sure it was.”

Matisse guided the car around Glasgow, over Erskine Bridge, and onto the A82 without looking at a map. The rain grew steadily heavier and the wind picked up as Matisse turned onto the Cardross Road towards Helensburgh. The last week in London had been warm and sunny, as befitted early May. Here, under a blanket of cloud, Josh felt almost winter-cold.

“Where in Helensburgh do we need to be?”

Josh rattled off the address. “It’s off the main road through the town. He dumped the car in the car park by the swimming pool.”

“On the seafront?”

“That’s the one.”

“I remember sitting in this car park in a fierce gale, eating pizza while the rain hammered down,” Matisse told him. The smile in his voice was impossible to miss. “The waves were a sight, but we contemplated taking a boat out.” He shrugged. “Reason prevailed, I’m sure you’re glad to hear.”

“Sounds like you enjoyed growing up here.”

“I did. At times, I miss it like crazy.” He passed the swimming pool and, two hundred yards farther, found a parking space by the side of the road, almost opposite the cul-de-sac Josh wanted to watch. “This good?”

“Pretty damned perfect. If he leaves his house we’re likely to spot him.”

“Does he have a reason to leave?”

“He may have a job.”

“Thieves have jobs?”

“Some of the high-end ones do. It’s excellent cover. One of the first guys Paul and I took down taught physics in secondary school. And I remember hearing about another thief—he took jewels from hotel safes, mostly—who was a long-distance lorry driver. Do you know how tricky it is to connect cases all over Europe, to even realise they all have the same MO?”

“What did the kids say when you arrested the teacher?”

“Trust you….” Josh shook his head. “And I have no idea. We arrested him on a job, not while he was in school.”

“That’s a shame.”

“Why am I getting the impression you’re finding this cool?”

 

Buy the Book!

iTunes   Books2Read – universal link   Barnes & Noble    Amazon US

It sounds like the stupidest idea in the history of stupid ideas. Detective Inspector Josh Ingram wants to find a deadly medieval locket and through it, a murderer. So why does his boss decide to team him up with Matisse Vervein, a pop idol many consider just a pretty face… and expect the two of them to hunt down an art thief?

Marissa Godwin, Matisse’s no-nonsense manager, isn’t stupid. Neither is her brother-in-law, Detective Superintendent Tim Montgomery. Each is looking out for a lonely man on the verge of quitting what he does best, and both believe that their charges would make a great team.

The attraction sizzling between Josh and Matisse is hard to miss, but there’s plenty of resentment, too. Focussed on pushing Josh and Matisse towards each other, Marissa and Tim haven’t imagined the kind of trouble a music star and a detective can find when they ditch their prejudices and accept that the attraction between them is mutual. Or how far each is prepared to go to prove it to the other.

A standalone, feel-good romance set in England and Scotland, featuring a reluctant pop star who’s not out, a detective trying his hand at being a bodyguard,  plenty of adventure, and a happy ending.

 

About the Author:

Jackie Keswick was born behind the Iron Curtain with itchy feet, a bent for rocks and a recurring dream of stepping off a bus in the middle of nowhere to go home. She’s worked in a hospital and as the only girl with 52 men on an oil rig, spent a winter in Moscow and a summer in Iceland and finally settled in the country of her dreams with her dream team: a husband, a cat, a tandem, a hammer and a laptop.

Jackie loves unexpected reunions and second chances, and men who don’t follow the rules when those rules are stupid. She blogs about English history and food, has a thing for green eyes, and is a great believer in making up soundtracks for everything, including her characters and the cat.

And she still hasn’t found the place where the bus stops.

For questions and comments, not restricted to green eyes, bus stops, or recipes for traditional English food, you can find Jackie Keswick in all the usual places:

Website: http://www.jackiekeswick.com

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/ctY9RD

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JackieKeswick

FB: https://www.facebook.com/JackieKeswick

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jackiekeswick/

  • Genre: Contemporary M/M Action Adventure Romance
  • Length: 41,000
  • Publisher: Self-published
  • Release Date: 22nd November 2017
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Holiday Weekend Tour: Love Bytes!

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Today I’m at Love Bytes talking about food! It’s the last stop on the tour, and since the Rafflecopter is ending soon I’m doing a special giveaway just for Love Bytes readers. See you in the comments!

Follow the Tour and enter the Rafflecopter (12/15-12/30):

Dec. 15: Aisling Mancy

Dec. 16: Dreamspinner Blog

Dec. 19: All Romance eBooks Featured Author; The Novel Approach

Dec. 20: Hearts on Fire

Dec. 22: Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews

Dec. 23: Joyfully Jay

Dec. 28: MM Good Book Reviews

Dec. 29: Love Bytes

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Holiday Weekend Tour: MM Good Book Reviews!

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Join me for the penultimate stop on my Holiday Weekend Tour. Today I’m visiting MM Good Book Reviews with a little backstory on Ryan and an excerpt from Glenn!

Follow the Tour and enter the Rafflecopter (12/15-12/30):

Dec. 15: Aisling Mancy

Dec. 16: Dreamspinner Blog

Dec. 19: All Romance eBooks Featured Author; The Novel Approach

Dec. 20: Hearts on Fire

Dec. 22: Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews

Dec. 23: Joyfully Jay

Dec. 28: MM Good Book Reviews

Dec. 29: Love Bytes

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Holiday Weekend Tour: Joyfully Jay!

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My last visit of the week is to Joyfully Jay’s! I’m breaking with tradition and not talking about cover art. I do love this cover~it’s perfect for the story, as always, because L.C. Chase is amazing~but my post at Jay’s is about locations. See you in the comments!

Follow the Tour and enter the Rafflecopter (12/15-12/30):

Dec. 15: Aisling Mancy

Dec. 16: Dreamspinner Blog

Dec. 19: All Romance eBooks Featured Author; The Novel Approach

Dec. 20: Hearts on Fire

Dec. 22: Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews

Dec. 23: Joyfully Jay

Dec. 27: MM Good Book Reviews

Dec. 29: Love Bytes

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Holiday Weekend Tour: Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews!

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Today at Sinfully I’m talking about supporting characters taking the lead, and introducing someone new!

Follow the Tour and enter the Rafflecopter (12/15-12/30):

Dec. 15: Aisling Mancy

Dec. 16: Dreamspinner Blog

Dec. 19: All Romance eBooks Featured Author; The Novel Approach

Dec. 20: Hearts on Fire

Dec. 22: Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews

Dec. 23: Joyfully Jay

Dec. 27: MM Good Book Reviews

Dec. 29: Love Bytes

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Holiday Weekend Tour: Hearts on Fire!

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Today at Hearts on Fire I shared an embarrassing moment and a long, exclusive excerpt!

Follow the Tour and enter the Rafflecopter (12/15-12/30):

Dec. 15: Aisling Mancy

Dec. 16: Dreamspinner Blog

Dec. 19: All Romance eBooks Featured Author; The Novel Approach

Dec. 20: Hearts on Fire

Dec. 22: Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews

Dec. 23: Joyfully Jay

Dec. 27: MM Good Book Reviews

Dec. 29: Love Bytes

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Holiday Weekend Tour: All Romance eBooks & The Novel Approach!

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Join me on one or both tour stops today~I’m a guest at The Novel Approach, and Featured Author at All Romance eBooks!

Follow the Tour and enter the Rafflecopter (12/15-12/30):

Dec. 15: Aisling Mancy

Dec. 16: Dreamspinner Blog

Dec. 19: All Romance eBooks Featured Author; The Novel Approach

Dec. 20: Hearts on Fire

Dec. 21: Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews

Dec. 23: Joyfully Jay

Dec. 27: MM Good Book Reviews

Dec. 29: Love Bytes

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Holiday Weekend Tour: Dreamspinner Blog Stop!

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Join me at the Dreamspinner blog for another stop on the Holiday Weekend tour! I’m talking about the dance music in Holiday Weekend, come and join the conversation!

Follow the Tour and enter the Rafflecopter (12/15-12/30):

Dec. 15: Aisling Mancy

Dec. 16: Dreamspinner Blog

Dec. 19: All Romance eBooks Featured Author; The Novel Approach

Dec. 20: Hearts on Fire

Dec. 21: Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews

Dec. 23: Joyfully Jay

Dec. 27: MM Good Book Reviews

Dec. 29: Love Bytes

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Holiday Weekend Blog Tour Underway!

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Today is the first stop on my blog tour for Holiday Weekend, Buchanan House: Book Five! I’m super excited to share this book, I hope you enjoy Ryan and Glenn’s story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Follow the Tour and enter the Rafflecopter (12/15-12/30):

Dec. 15: Aisling Mancy

Dec. 16: Dreamspinner Blog

Dec. 19: All Romance eBooks Featured Author; The Novel Approach

Dec. 20: Hearts on Fire

Dec. 21: Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews

Dec. 23: Joyfully Jay

Dec. 27: MM Good Book Reviews

Dec. 29: Love Bytes

 

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Book Blast: Casto, Gods of War by Xenia Melzer

SERIES BLURB 

All is fair in love and war. Or is it?

On the world called Ana-Darasa, the gods of war engage in a desperate search for their lost hearts while waging a battle against the Good Mother for supremacy. But theirs is not the only struggle as dominant men, powerful rulers, and demigods clash, fiery passion erupts, and destinies are shaped on the battlefield and in the bedroom. In a war between pride and love, no victory is ever simple.

 

BLURB 

All is fair in love and war. Renaldo has lived happily by that proverb his entire life. But he has finally met his match, and he’s about to discover how unfair love and war can be.

When demigod and warlord Lord Renaldo takes a beautiful stranger captive during an ambush, he is delighted to have found a distraction that will keep him entertained during the upcoming siege. Little does he know, Casto is keeping more than just one secret from him. Slowly, Renaldo gets sucked into a turbulent roller-coaster relationship with his mysterious prisoner, one that begins with hatred and soon spirals into a whirlwind of conflicting emotions. And when it seems that things can get no worse, an old enemy stirs right in the heart of his home.

Determined to keep Casto by his side, Renaldo has to find a balance between the capricious young man and his own destiny as a ruler and god to his people.

Excerpt

  1. Captive

“Renaldo, you won’t believe what we just found!”

The desert brothers, Kalad and Aegid, approached their god with broad smiles on their faces. He looked at them expectantly.

“If I won’t believe it, then you better hurry up and tell me before I run out of patience.”

“A caravan! And right now it’s taking a break at the oasis we discovered yesterday. You know, it’s not even an hour from here. We could go there, get the quarry, and be back before anybody misses us.”

Lost in thought, Renaldo observed their camp that was set up in a dip beneath the hill where he had waited for Kalad and Aegid. Renaldo’s brother, the powerful Wolf of War, had sent them on patrol to make sure the area was entirely safe. So far, they had not come across any danger, which meant that it was all right for them to have some fun. His brothers-in-arms looked at him eagerly.

“Well, there’s no harm in having a look, is there?”

Kalad’s lively brown eyes overflowed in happy anticipation. “No, definitely not. We’ll show you the way.”

The other members of the patrol led by Noran—like Aegid and Kalad, he was an Emeris, a chosen counselor of Renaldo and Canubis—were ten of the best and most experienced mercenaries in the service of the warrior gods, and they lined up behind the desert brothers. The group rode sharply toward the oasis that had quenched their thirst only a day ago.

Between the trees there was indeed a caravan with thirty camels, every beast burdened high with merchandise. It was not only the traders who delighted in the fresh water from the spring; the warriors also spied some heavily armored men patrolling the goods. Renaldo shot Kalad a slightly poisonous look. Kalad had obviously forgotten to mention this small detail, but the desert warrior just shrugged. There weren’t enough enemies to get them into any serious trouble.

At that moment the people at the waterhole stirred.

A man wearing a floor-length cloak led a pitch-black stallion to the spring. Although the stranger was clothed in white, as was sensible in the heat, he radiated an intimidating arrogance that surrounded him and the steed like a shield. The traders, as well as the mercenaries, hastened to make room for the exceptional pair. Renaldo’s eyes lit up. Never before in his long life had he seen a horse like that: its mane and tail sparkled in the sunlight like polished blackwood; the noble head with the big, intelligent eyes sat on a muscular, proudly held neck; the long, clean legs with hooves as hard as flint carried the powerful body with elegant, elastic movements despite its mass. The long silky tail trailed like a banner behind the proud beast. Then the stallion bent down to drink, and the man leading him followed his example.

Renaldo watched this scene in fascination, purposely ignoring his fighters’ imploring looks. He had to have that horse, no matter the cost.

The horse’s small ears were nervously flicking back and forth, and then suddenly the noble head reared up and snorted a warning.

The hooded man jumped into the saddle, drawing his sword in one strong, fluid movement while his eyes scanned the oasis, searching for intruders. “Danger!”

His voice echoed through the loosely scattered date trees like a melody, causing panic among the traders and priming the mercenaries to fight. Renaldo couldn’t suppress a satisfied nod. Those men were highly professional and definitely worthy opponents.

He turned to his men. “Let’s go!”

They left cover in a semicircle, each attacking their chosen mercenary. Renaldo had planned to go after the hooded man and his steed, but two of the enemy bore down on him from the sides. On his periphery he could see one of his men going against the stranger and being swept out of the saddle for his trouble. Then Renaldo lost sight of the man and the horse he so wanted.

 

Buy the Book: http://www.dsppublications.com/books/upcoming-releases-c

 

About the Author

Biography Xenia Melzer
Xenia Melzer was born and raised in a small village in the South of Bavaria. As one of nature’s true chocoholics, she’s always in search of the perfect chocolate experience. So far, she’s had about a dozen truly remarkable ones. Despite having been in close proximity to the mountains all her life, she has never understood why so many people think snow sports are fun. There are neither chocolate nor horses involved and it’s cold by definition, so where’s the sense? She does not like beer either and has never been to the Oktoberfest – no quality chocolate there.
Even though her mind is preoccupied with various stories most of the time, Xenia has managed to get through school and university with surprisingly good grades. Right after school she met her one true love who showed her that reality is capable of producing some truly amazing love stories itself.
While she was having her two children, she started writing down the most persistent stories in her head as a way of relieving mommy-related stress symptoms. As it turned out, the stress-relief has now become a source of the same, albeit a positive one.
When she’s not writing, she teaches English at school, enjoys riding and running, spending time with her kids, and dancing with her husband. If you want to contact her, please visit either her website, http://www.xeniamelzer.com or write her an email: info@xeniamelzer.com .