Hot History Facts and Hot Fiction

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Author Spotlight - Gina Gissendaner - Unmasking the Wolf

It is my pleasure to welcome Gina Gissendaner to my blog today. And she brought the hero from her recent romance release Unmasking the Wolf with her. Luke Mason was kind enough to agree to a quick interview.

Character Interview – Luke Mason – Unmasking the Wolf

1. It must be nice living the life of luxury in Boston. How did you make your fortune?
It’s certainly different than my early life in Mississippi. After we left home, I made a few savvy investments, mostly small real estate and such, until I’d amassed quite a bit of money. After that, I branched into medical research.

2. Is there something you don’t like about being a millionaire?
It’s a lonely life actually. I can’t really be sure who wants me for me. But I would be a fool to say the money isn’t nice, especially when I experienced such poverty growing up in Jackson.

3. What was the first thing that attracted you to Gina?
I know at first glance that Gina was my mate, so I would guess science first attracted me to her. Beyond that, it was her big blue eyes and lovely red hair.

4. I see that you’re a wolf shifter. Where is your pack from?
Originally I’m from Jackson, MS. Most of my family lives there.

5. Where do you rank in your pack? And how did you gain that rank?
We’re not very “political” as most of my family is only lunar wolves, which means they can only shift during a full moon. Luckily I can shift at will. We don’t have rankings, but I would be one of the more powerful wolves for sure.

6. What is like being a wolf shifter in a big city?
It’s hard. At home in Mississippi, it was easy to shift and run about undetected. With so many people around in Boston, I can’t do that. Sometimes I miss the freedom I had back home.

7. What do you do for fun?
For fun…hmm…that’s a hard one. I’ve stayed so busy with my business after my sister’s murder that I’ve nearly forgotten what it’s like to have fun. It is nice to ride in my private helicopter though. I’m still getting used to the luxury toys.

8. Thank you for coming to today, Luke. Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?
Thanks so much for having me! It’s always a pleasure to chat. And I think that would about sum it up, but if you’re curious about me, you can find out my story in Unmasking the Wolf, now available from Taliesin Publishing. And psst…don’t tell Christy Gissendaner I said this…but I think she has a crush on me!  ; )

Unmasking the Wolf Blurb:

Gina Moretti is determined to escape her rural home of Clinton, Indiana, a place where wolves have met, married, and mated for generations. As the only daughter of the alpha, she’s lived her entire life under her father’s rule. No way is she ready to find a mate until she’s experienced more of the world. Against her family’s wishes, she goes to Boston where her scientist cousin, Dominic, has offered to give her a place to stay. She stumbles, quite literally, into her cousin’s gorgeous boss.

Short Excerpt

“Ahhh,” she cried out as she tumbled toward the floor. A pair of strong arms clamped around her and jerked her back to her feet. Embarrassed beyond belief, her cheeks flamed with the knowledge she’d just made a fool of herself. In front of Dominic’s boss, no less. It didn’t take a brain scientist to realize the handsome, make that extremely handsome, man before her was Luke Mason.

He was sex-on-a-platter hot. Chiseled cheekbones, firm jaw, unbelievably straight nose, and a teensy weensy dimple in the center of his chin. This man was a living, breathing Greek god.

“Are you okay?” Piercing green eyes locked with hers as Luke’s grip on her arms slowly loosened.

Gina felt a jolt in the pit of her stomach. Despite Dominic’s warning to blend in, she sniffed the air. She had to. Something about this man called to her animal nature. But there was nothing. Not a trace of the wolf scent. Despite his unbelievable height and incredible physique, only the scent of sandalwood and spice came to her. Disappointment swamped her. He was human.

Luke continued to watch her. Gina knew he waited for her to speak, but her tongue refused to budge. She’d known he would be good-looking, but the newspaper article hadn’t done him full justice. Instead of a suit, he wore casual jeans and a dark blazer. He had the sort of hair that would curl in the rain. She didn’t know how she knew it. She just did. The golden-brown waves were delightfully rumpled in the middle of his head, as if he’d just risen from bed.

Gina gave a tiny moan at the thought of him rising naked from the sheets. He would be gloriously golden, with a tight belly and even tighter buttocks. Physical need rocked her to the core. What was up with lusting after a human? Was it merely the fact he was every woman’s wet dream, or something more?

His sensual lips curved into a sexy smile as he scrubbed a hand over his belly. “Hell of sharp elbow you have there.”

“Oh God, I’m so sorry.” Gina wanted to sink through the floor. Why was she always such a klutz?

“Don’t worry about it.” He drawled in a soft, slow tone.

She’d read he was originally from Jackson, Mississippi. The Southern accent was unbelievably sexy, but not nearly as sexy as the man himself. His face was a mixture of Hollywood leading man and mixed martial arts fighter. He was gorgeous, yet hard. She could easily visualize him serenading a woman one moment, and then fighting to protect her next.

About the Author:

Christy Gissendaner is a romantic comedy author and believes that laughter and love should go hand in hand.

Christy lives in Alabama with her husband and three sons. She’s always hard at work on her next novel, but in her spare time she loves blackjack, karaoke, and anything resembling a vacation!

To find out more, please visit

Friday, January 17, 2014

Author Spotlight - Jo Thomas - The Oyster Catcher

It is my pleasure to welcome Jo Thomas to my blog today. She is on tour for her book The Oyster Catcher and what better way than to celebrate with oysters! I'm sure you'll enjoy these recipes.

Eating and cooking oysters.

On this blog tour I have talked about eating my first oyster, opening oysters, finding out if oysters really are the food of love and telling you about the festivals and competitions that celebrate the oyster.
Whilst I was living in Galway I was lucky enough to be invited to a charity gala dinner in a pop restaurant. It was an old church in Galway. It was to raise money for Galway Simon Community helping homeless people in the west of Ireland. It was a wonderful night. The room was decorated with white painted branches and candles, choirs sang and we ate a nine course meal created by some of the best chefs in Galway, including smoked Clarenbridge oyster mousette, a trio of beetroot, Connemara abalone, braised beef cheeks, alder and gooseberry sorbet, and rhubarb tartlet with wild burren hazelnut ice cream.  You’re getting the picture aren’t you? It was a meal that stayed with me.

When we arrived I was introduced to a wonderful red headed lady, Mairin Ui Chomain, born and brought up in Connemara. She was a broadcaster and food writer with a special love for seafood, in particular oysters. Mairin had written a book Irish Oyster Cuisine. Well, we got on like a house on fire and have stayed in touch ever since. Her book combines the history of the oyster and its farming communities across the west of Ireland and gives wonderful recipes too. Not only does the book give you a flavour of the area, the history, the importance of oyster farming in the region but you get a flavour for the Irish language as well. In The Oyster Catcher my heroine Fi makes a mushroom and oyster soup. This is Mairin’s recipe;
12-18 oysters , shells removed, juices strained and reserved.

25g/1oz butter

225g/8oz onions, grated

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into small pieces

225g/8oz button mushrooms, chopped

225 ml/8fl oz milk

225 ml/8 fl oz cream

Dash of Tabasco

Salt, freshly ground black pepper

Paprika to garnish and fingers of hot buttered toast.

Melt the butter in the saucepan. Saute the onions over a moderate heat. Add potatoes and mushrooms until tender. Pour in the milk and mix well. Add the cream and carefully bring to the boil, mixing gently.
Reduce the heat. Add the oysters, juices, Tabasco, and seasoning and heat for 4-5 minutes.
Serve in warm bowls, sprinkle with paprika and serve with toast.
(Mairin says you can add a little white wine if the soup is too thick).

Or how about trying Kevin’s oyster pie (oyster and Guinness beef pie)

12 oysters, shells removed, juices strained and reserved.

2 tablespoons plain flour

Salt and freshly ground pepper

700g/1 ½ lb rib beef, cubed

2 tablespoons sunflower oil

1-2 onions, finely chopped

225g/8oz mushrooms, chopped

423 ml/15 fl oz Guinness

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

200g/7oz ready-made puff pastry

Serve with green salad or baked potatoes

Season the flour and toss the beef in it. Heat the oil and when hot, add the beef to seal it. Remove the beef and fry the onions and mushrooms and then return the beef to the pan. Add the Guinness, Worcestershire sauce and oyster juices and season. Cover and simmer for about 1 ½ hours and then remove and allow to cool. Add the oysters.

Preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F/gas mark 6. Grease a deep pie dish. Pour in the mixture and cover with pastry. Crimp the edges and cut an air vent in the centre.
Bake for 15 minutes in centre of oven and then reduce heat to 180 C/350 F/gas mark 4 and bake for a further 30 minutes until the meat is heated through.
Or how about an oyster shot to get the party started;

1 oyster

1 ½ teaspoons vodka

4 tablespoons tomato juice

1 tablespoon of lime juice

3 drops Worcestershire sauce

1 drop of Tabasco

Mix the ingredients except the oyster in a shot glass. Then drop in a fresh, raw oyster before serving.

Or you could just enjoy your oysters, on ice, with a squeeze of lemon and some good brown bread and a glass of something very cold.

However you like them, enjoy! And don’t forget to chew!
(Ref: Irish Oyster Cuisine by Mairin Ui Chomain published by A&A Farmar)

Excerpt from The Oyster Catcher
Chapter One
The sea air hits me like mouthwash for the head. It’s clean, fresh, and smells of salt. I’m standing on the steps of the Garda station; or Portakabin really. The wind blows my hair and I hold my face up to it, letting any tears that may have escaped mingle with the damp air. With my eyes shut and my face held up to the wind I realise two things. One, I’m in a place called Dooleybridge and two; I am absolutely stranded wearing the only dress I have – the one I’d got married in.
I open my eyes, shiver and walk back towards the harbour wall where the camper van had been. There are some scuff marks on the wall and a headlight that had fallen off, but other than that there’s no real trace that it was ever there at all. I bend down and pick up the light. Oh, that’s the other thing I realised while being cautioned. There’s absolutely no way I can go home, no way at all.
I turn round and walk back towards the road; when I say walk, it’s more a hobble. My shoes are killing me and are splashing water up the back of my feet and calves. But then it isn’t really gold mule weather. It’s cold and wet and I couldn’t feel any more miserable than I already do. I head back up the hill and cross the road just below the Garda station and step down into a tiled doorway. I take a deep breath that hurts my chest and makes me cough. I have no other choice. I put my head down. I touch the cold brass panel on the door and with all the determination I can muster, push it open.
The door crashes against the wall as I fall in, making me and everyone else jump. As I land I realise it’s not so much the throng I was expecting but a handful of people. All eyes are on me. A hot rash travels up my chest and into my cheeks making them burn and inside I cringe. I feel like I’ve walked on to the set of a spaghetti western and the piano player has stopped playing. ‘Sorry,’ I mouth and shut the door very gently behind me. My stomach’s churning like a washing machine on spin cycle. I look round the open-plan pub. At one end is a small fireplace and despite it supposedly being summer there’s a fire in the grate giving out a brave, cheery, orange glow against the chilly atmosphere. There’s an unfamiliar smell in the air, earthy yet sweet. In the grate there are lumps of what look like earth burning on the fire. Back home I’d just flick on the central heating but home is a very long way away right now. There’s wood panelling all across the front of the bar, above it, below it and round the walls. When I say wood panelling, it’s tongue and groove pine that’s been stained dark. It’s the sort of place you’d expect to be full of cigarette smoke but isn’t. In the corner by the fire there’s a small group of people, all of them as old as Betty from Betty’s Buns. Or as it’s now known The Coffee House. Betty’s my employer, or should that be ex-employer?
Betty refuses to take retirement and sits on a stall at the end of the counter, looking like Buddha. She’s never been able to give up the reins on the till. She did once ask me to take over as manager but I turned it down. I’m not one for the limelight. I’m happy back in the kitchen. Kimberly, who works the counter, tried for the job but Sandra from TGI Friday’s got it and Kimberly took up jogging and eating fruit. The group by the fire is still staring at me, just like Betty keeping her beady eye on her till.
There are two drinkers at the bar, one in an old tweed cap and jacket with holes in the elbows, the other in a thin zip-up shell suit and a baseball cap. They’ve turned to stare at me too. With burning cheeks and the rash still creeping up my chest, I take a step forward and then another. It feels like a game of grandmother’s footsteps as their eyes follow me too. The barmaid’s wiping glasses and smiles at me. I feel ridiculously grateful to see a friendly face. It’s not her short dyed white hair that makes her stand out or the large white daisy tucked behind one ear. It’s the fact she’s probably in her early twenties I’d say, not like any of her customers.
A couple of dogs come barking at me from behind the bar. I step back. One is black with stubby legs, a long body and a white stripe down its front. The other is fat and looks a bit like a husky crossed with a pot-bellied pig.
I’m not what you’d call brave really. I’ve always thought it was better to try and skirt conflict rather than face it head on. I look for someone or something to hide behind but the barmaid steps in.
‘Hey, settle down,’ she snaps. She might be small but she’s got a mighty bark. Unsurprisingly the dogs return behind the bar, tails between their legs. I think I’d’ve done the same if she told me to.
‘Now then, what can I get you?’ she wipes her hands on a tea towel and smiles again.
‘Um …’ I go to speak but nothing comes out. I clear my dry throat and try again.
‘I’m looking for …’ I look down at the piece of paper in my hand, the back of a parking ticket. ‘Sean Thornton?’ I look back at the barmaid.

Blurb for The Oyster Catcher by Jo Thomas
According to a champion shell shucker, when trying to open an oyster you first have to understand what’s keeping it closed.
When runaway bride Fiona Clutterbuck crashes the honeymoon camper van, she doesn’t know what to do or where to go.
Embarrassed and humiliated Fiona knows one thing for sure, she can’t go home. Being thrown a life line, a job on an oyster farm seems to be the answer to her prayers.  But nothing could prepare her for the choppy ride ahead or her new boss the wild and unpredictable Sean Thornton.
Will Fiona ever be able to come out of her shell?
As the oyster season approaches, will there be love amongst the oyster beds of Galway bay? Or will the circling sharks finally close in?

Buying links:

Bio for Jo Thomas – The Oyster Catcher.
Jo Thomas started her broadcasting career as a reporter and co-presenter with Rob Brydon on BBC Radio 5, reported for BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and went on to produce at BBC Radio 2 working on The Steve Wright Show.  She now lives in the Vale of Glamorgan with her writer and producer husband, three children, three cats and a black lab Murray.  She writes light hearted romances about food, family, friendships and love; and believes every story should have a happy ending.
Twitter: @jo_thomas01

Monday, January 13, 2014

Tara Quan Guest Blog: The Modern Sheikh

Guest Blog: The Modern Sheikh
by Tara Quan

I’d like to thank Shiloh for hosting me today. I recently interviewed her about Saltwater Lover (here), and now she’s invited me over to promote my new release. Delicious Delay is a contemporary multicultural romance that takes place entirely in a Middle Eastern airport. If I’ve managed to pique your interest, the blurb, excerpt and buy links are at the end of this post (or here).

I wrote Delicious Delay on a lark—I was stuck in an airport in Abu Dhabi, it was the height of summer, and I had an endless a view of the desert. As I sat there staring at a plane that wasn’t about to take off any time soon, I couldn’t help but wonder what a modern-day Sheikh romance would be like. I’d never tried writing an Arab hero before (living in the UAE for two years might have something to do with it), and giving it a whirl seemed like a fun challenge.

Many of us grew up seeing covers of Sheikh romances line drugstore shelves. Harlequin once (and might still) have an entire line dedicated to modern retellings of Arabian Nights. There’s something intrinsically romantic about rolling sand dunes and a quasi-royal billionaire with long dark eyelashes and midnight eyes. Even though I have come to associate flowing white robes with reckless driving, I must admit to still having a soft spot for them.

As I started writing Delicious Delay, I discovered the line between privileged royal and alpha-hole (yes, romance readers utilize such a term) can be surprisingly thin. While I take certain liberties when writing in the fantasy subgenre, I wouldn’t dream of making my modern-day heroine put up with behavior I would personally deem unacceptable.

Since my hero sees the world through an entirely different filter than a typical American, he’s arrogant, overprotective, accustomed to getting his way. The more I developed his character, the less charming my Sheikh turned out to be. Instead of fighting the inevitable, I embraced his flaws and had my heroine give him hell.

Delicious Delay

Stranded in a Middle Eastern airport, Michelle Day finds herself the object of interest for an abrasive, but all-too-sexy stranger—a stranger who tempts her with the forbidden in a land where indecency could get her killed. But how does one say no to such a deliciously, relentless pursuit?

Khalid Al Dehri takes one look at the red-headed spitfire in the business class lounge and knew he’d either been transported to heaven—or hell. Her tart response to his surliness intrigues him beyond all propriety and the longer he spends in her company, the more he can’t deny his forbidden attraction. But will she explore the sensuality between them or will society’s rules keep them apart?


He grinned. “So I have a proposal.”

She tried to get her breathing under control, without much success. “Why am I sure it’s an indecent one?”

He motioned his head toward the far end of the lounge. Latticed wooden screens gave that particular section more privacy. In an L-shaped room, the tucked-away location prevented a direct line of sight from the dining or reception areas.

He got up and offered her his hand. She hesitated for a long moment before taking it. With faltering footsteps, she followed him. More private or not, limits on how far this could go existed due to them being in an airport lounge. Since her self-control had chosen today to take a vacation, she appreciated the imposed constraint.

He lowered himself onto a plush leather sofa deep inside the cordoned area. With walls on either side and screens strategically angled, the space seemed to have been designed as a spot for people to nap.

On the brink of crossing a dangerous line, she hesitated. “What exactly do you have in mind?”

“I’m just giving you the opportunity to have your way with me,” he offered, his face the picture of innocence.

She hadn’t expected that answer. “I don’t quite follow.”

He kicked one of his legs out and tangled it with hers. She stumbled and instinctively moved her hands forward to brace herself. Her palms flattened over his hard muscled chest when she landed.

She traced the shape of his pectorals. “What do you do all day? Work out?”

He chuckled, the low rumble all male. “I have access to the best personal trainers money can buy. They help keep me honest.”

She shook her head in disbelief as the man preened. “Have you heard of a concept called humility?”

“It’s not one of my virtues,” he admitted. “I’ve never understood the point.”

She sighed. “It’s the polite thing to do.”

He placed his forefinger under her chin and tipped her head up, his expression playful. “So what is a sweet, polite, goody two shoes doing on top of me?”

About Tara

Globetrotter, lover of languages, and romance author, Tara Quan has an addiction for crafting tales with a pinch of spice and a smidgen of kink. Inspired by her travels, Tara enjoys tossing her kick-ass heroines and alpha males into exotic contemporary locales, fantasy worlds, and post-apocalyptic futures. Armed with magical powers or conventional weapons, her characters are guaranteed a suspenseful and sensual ride, as well as their own happily ever after. Learn more at

Thursday, January 2, 2014

And the Winner Is...

The Winner of the Midnight Kiss Blog Hop Giveaway is...

Lindy Tefteller

Congratulations! I will be emailing you shortly.

Happy reading!