Review of Loving Lucianna with author Interview

LovingLucianna-coverJoyce DiPastena released the first novel in her new Hearts in Autumn Romance series – an ageless tender love story – Loving Lucianna. Serafino is a perfectly despicable villain, Sir Balduin is a wonderful hero and the reader will love Lucianna with all her charms and faults. Joyce DiPastena creates her novel with such authenticity it transports the reader into the Medieval era.

Sir Balduin de Soler gave up long ago on love. He never had the means to support a wife until an unexpected advancement in his fifties allows him to reassess his future just as the lovely Lucianna enters his life.

Lucianna Fabio harbors a secret, painful memory from her past that has kept her unwed, as well. Now in her forties, she thought herself too old to marry until she meets Sir Balduin. Now suddenly their lonely autumn lives feel very much like spring again . . . until Lucianna’s brother appears without warning and threatens to revive the secret that will destroy Lucianna’s second chance at love.

Margaret: Congratulations on delivering another brilliant medieval romance. The average age for heroines in historical romance novels I’ve read tends to be late teens through mid-twenties. Please discuss your reasons for creating older, more mature characters for your Autumn Romance series.


 Thank you for reviewing Loving Lucianna, Margaret. I’m so happy that you enjoyed it! Actually, I received the inspiration following a group promotional event I participated in in a Facebook group last spring. The group decided to plan a similar promo event for the fall of 2014 and challenged us all to write an autumn-themed story that we could publish and promote around that time. So I started thinking about what kind of story I could write that would have an autumn-theme, and the idea simply popped into my head to write a romance for an older couple “in the autumn of their years.” I wasn’t sure where to start at first, but then I remembered the character of Lucianna from my medieval romance, Illuminations of the Heart. I had described Lucianna in that book as being in her forties with hair that was beginning to turn gray, and had included a small subplot about her falling in love with a “gray haired knight” named Sir Balduin. They just seemed the perfect couple to write a full-fledged romance for! So that was the origin of Loving Lucianna. And I enjoyed the concept so much, that I decided to make it the first in a “Hearts in Autumn” romance series about older couples who fall in love.

I do want to stress that Loving Lucianna is a totally stand alone novel. It is absolutely not necessary to read Illuminations of the Heart first to enjoy that Loving Lucianna!

Margaret:  I agree that Loving Lucianna can be thoroughly enjoyed without reading Illuminations of the Heart. But having read Illuminations of the Heart some time ago, I am now looking forward to re-reading the story with a new perspective.  Are there any particular individuals in real life who served as models for your fiction?

Joyce: Not that I’m consciously aware of. It helps, of course, that I’m in my 50’s now, so writing about older couples feels compatible with where I am in my life. I can certainly write older couples with greater authenticity now than I could have if I’d thought the idea up in my 20’s or 30’s. 

Margaret: An older audience will appreciate your sensitivity to the sensibilities of those of us in the twilight of our lives. What will be the title of the next book in the Autumn Romance series and when do you anticipate it will be on the shelves?

Joyce: I don’t have a title yet. I do have a kernel of an idea for the hero and heroine and their plotline. I haven’t started writing it yet, so we’ll see if it pans out. My goal is to bring a new Hearts in Autumn romance out each fall. They will probably be somewhat shorter books, like Loving Lucianna, because I will still be working on my longer romances (with younger couples) and I’m a slow writer, so to do both, I’ll have to keep the Hearts in Autumn line shorter, at least for now.

Margaret: That is a very ambitious and brilliant plan. Will the rest of the Autumn Romance series also weave in characters from previous titles: Loyalties Webb, Illuminations of the Heart or Dangerous Favor, like Loving Lucianna did?

Joyce: It will probably vary from book to book. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. The character I’m thinking of for my next Hearts in Autumn romance (a troubadour named Foulcaut) is also a minor character in the next WIP on my agenda, which will be based on the character of Acelet from Illuminations of the Heart. (Acelet also has a small appearance in Loving Lucianna.) I’m not sure which story I’ll finish first, though, Acelet’s story or the next Hearts in Autumn romance, so Foulcaut’s story may appear slightly out of sequence if I finish and publish it first. But it will also be a stand alone and not dependent on Acelet’s story to fully enjoy!

Margaret: That’s wonderful! I am looking forward to reading all your excellent books in the future. Thank you for visiting with me today.


A Timeless Romance Anthology: Old West Collection

Old West Anthology RGBThe six great  award-winning authors featured in A Timeless Romance Anthology: Old West Collection include Carla Kelly, Sarah M. Eden, Liz Adair, Annette Lyon, Heather B. Moore and Marsha Ward. This western romance collection is available on Amazon today!

Break a Leg by two-time Rita Award winner Carla Kelly is a charming tale. Hospital steward Colm Callahan is ready to move away from army life at Fort Laramie. His only regret is leaving behind exotic Ozzie Washington, easily the prettiest woman on the post. As a maid to the lieutenant colonel’s wife, Ozzie is no wilting flower when it comes to hard work. When the post surgeon leaves for an extended week, Colm must handle several medical emergencies on his own. He pleads for Ozzie’s help at the hospital. While they spend long days and nights working together, Colm, a shy man, realizes he can’t hide the truth of his feelings for Ozzie.

The Soldier’s Heart by Sarah M. Eden enchants the reader as they follow Gregory Reeves who has fallen in love with a woman he’s never met. Her brother’s dying wish is that Gregory checks on his family, and after the war, Gregory is only too happy to meet the woman he’s been dreaming about. Helene mistakes him for a hired hand and sets him to work immediately. As time passes, Gregory finds it more and more difficult to reveal his true connection to her family, fearing that a woman who loathes liars will turn her disapproval on him.

Liz Adair   beguiles the reader with Hidden Spring, in which Susannah Brown is just getting her life back together after becoming a widow. She still misses Wesley with a fierce longing, but when she meets his half-brother, Douglas, she learns her heart is not completely dormant. Over the next several weeks, Douglas helps Susannah with repairs on her small ranch in exchange for supper. The exchange becomes more and more meaningful as Susannah realizes that Douglas might be the one to finally heal her heart.

In Annette Lyon’s delicious story, The Sweetest Taste, Della Stafford hates being a farm girl in the tiny town of Shelley, Idaho. She’ll do anything to live in a big city and experience real city life. Her only regret is that she’d have to leave Joseph behind, the young man who makes her heart flutter. But she’s convinced that moving away is for the best; her dreams and Joseph’s dreams are too dissimilar. Then Della takes a job as a maid in Los Angeles and must face the truth that what she thought would make her happy and what really will are totally different things.

Heather B. Moore, crafts a sweet romance between an unlikely pair in The Silver Mine Bachelor. Lydia Stone has a checklist for men who qualify as the eligible bachelors in the mining town of Leadville, Colorado. Her new boss, Mr. Erik Dawson, is about to be struck off the list when she sees him coming out of the town brothel. Lydia doesn’t know that Erik Dawson’s sister has been living the brothel lifestyle for years, and he’s set on redeeming her soul. When Lydia discovers Erik’s secrets, she learns that life is not as black and white as she thinks.

Mystery captivates the reader in Faith and the Foreman by Marsha Ward. Faith Bannister is forced to travel west to earn a living as a school mistress in Arizona Territory. Faith soon learns that living the frontier lifestyle of a single woman has many harsh challenges. But when she meets Slim McHenry, she discovers that life doesn’t have to be so lonely. Rance Hunter’s treacherous plots stand between her and Slim.  She must act with courage and ingenuity before everything is lost.

A Timeless Romance Anthology: Old West Collection can be purchased on Amazon starting today – Click HERE!

Longing for Home Series by Sarah M. Eden

LforHShelfSlideSarah M. Eden is a fantastic Regency Romance author who recently wrote a two book Historical Irish-American Western Romance series: Longing for Home. This week (March 10th – 16th) readers have the opportunity to participating in the 2014 RONE Awards decision making process.  The RONE Award is growing in significance throughout the Indie/Small Press publishing arena. Longing for Home has reached the semi-final round of the RONE awards. You can help Sarah reach the final round (6 finalists will be chosen from 23 semi-finalists) by voting HERE

Longing  for Home Book I:

Still haunted by the dark days of Ireland’s Great Famine, Katie Macauley has come to Hope Springs, Wyoming Territory, a town sharply divided between the Americans who have settled there, with their deep hatred of the Irish, and the Irish immigrants who have come searching for a place to call home. Two men vie for her heart, turning her thoughts for the first time toward a future away from Ireland. Katie must now make the hardest decision of her life: stay and give her heart a chance at love, or return home and give her soul the possibility of peace.

Longing for Home Book II: Hope Springs

Katie’s heart still remains sharply divided between playful Tavish and steady Joseph, though she feels ill-prepared to make a decision. Furthermore, the town is more divided than ever with both the Irish and the Reds stealing property, burning buildings, and endangering lives. In the midst of the growing unrest, tem­peratures drop quickly, too quickly, and Irish nightmares of famine and cold resurface as the little Wyoming town struggles to beat the harsh winter. Katie makes one sacrifice after another to keep the peace and help see her loved ones through the difficult days ahead, but will her efforts be enough? Can the town make amends before their hatred consumes them all? And will Katie find the love she has been searching for as well as a home to call her own?

Margaret:  Your other novels are Regency Romance.  What inspired you to change settings and why?

Sarah:  Many years ago while undertaking a little casual historical research just for fun (yes, I’m a bit strange) I began reading about the Irish immigrant experience in mid-19th Century America. I began to wonder how that  felt, what they would have seen and experienced. As I read more about the Great Famine in Ireland that led to the mass emigration of poor, destitute Irish, a story began forming in my mind of what that experience might have been like. The story simply grew from there.

Margaret:  Do you have family history stories that contributed to the ideas for this series?

Sarah:  I do have a very proud Irish heritage, which I harkened back to many times in this story. While none of the characters’ lives or experiences are drawn directly from my own family history, I did pepper the story with little details that paid homage to my ancestors. Katie, the heroine, comes from the same tiny town in County Donegal that my family lived in for centuries. Some family names appear amongst the cast of characters.

 Margaret:  The feud here is so intense and real. Have you experienced anything like this that inspired your writing. If not, tell us what research helped you the most to create these intense scenes.

Sarah:  I haven’t personally experienced that kind of hatred or  prejudice, but I think it is a problem that continues to plague society. We see discrimination and anger all around us. It wasn’t hard to imagine how that would feel and how easily it could lead to violence in an isolated and tense location like Hope Springs. In my study of 19th Century America and Ireland, I read about many instances of prejudice, segregation, and a determination to distrust and dislike others.

Margaret:  Are there more stories coming from you for A Proper Romance collection?

Sarah:  That hasn’t been determined at this point. I’m working hard on some new projects and am looking forward to seeing where they go.

Margaret:  What is your current WIP and when can we expect to  be able to read it.

Sarah:  I’m working on another  story set in the 1870s American West with a bit of an Irish flare, something my agent has dubbed “an Irish Western.” The wheels of publishing turn slowly, so it’s hard to say when this book will be on shelves. I do have a book due out in September of this year, however, another Regency romance.

Margaret: Thank you, Sarah, for taking the time from your very busy schedule to visit about Longing For Home.  I look forward to reading everything you write.

Regency Romance by Donna Hatch

APerfectSecret-new-coverA Perfect Secret is the third Regency Romance in The Rogue Hearts Series by Donna Hatch. Christian is the youngest Amesbury brother whose struggles melted my heart. I cheered him on as the perfect hero who rescues the damsel in distress while conquering his personal dragons. The third novel in this series weaves in the rest of the family introduced in previous stories and entices me to want to know more about the fourth and darkest brother. A Perfect Secret is a very satisfying read.

“Desperate to protect her father from trial and death, Genevieve breaks off her engagement with Christian Amesbury and marries a blackmailer. After a year of marriage, she flees her husband’s violent domination only to have fate bring her back to Christian. Just when she thinks she’s started a new life of safety and solitude, her husband tracks her down, stalks her, and threatens everyone she loves.

“Still brokenhearted over Genevieve’s betrayal a year ago, Christian can’t believe she’s come back into his life–and worse, that she’s done it on the anniversary of his brother’s death, a death that haunts him. Though tempted to throw her back into the river where he found her, he can’t leave her at the mercy of the terrifying man she married.

“When her husband torments Genevieve and puts the Amesbury family in danger, Christian will do anything to protect those he loves…anything except give Genevieve another chance to break his heart.”

Other novels in The Rogue Heart Series:  The Stranger She Married and The Guise of a Gentleman.

More Historical Romance by Donna Hatch: Regency Hearts: Three Short Tales of Love and Happily After, A Winter’s Knight (One of six short stories included in A Timeless Romance Anthology – Winter Collection), Troubled Hearts, and Mistletoe Magic.

Donna Hatch’s writing has won or been nominated as a finalist in many writing awards including the Golden Rose and the prestigious Golden Quill. In between caring for six children, (7 counting her husband), her day job, and her many volunteer positions, she manages to carve out time to indulge in her writing obsession, an obsession with writing which began at age 8 when she wrote her first short story. A native of Arizona, she writes Regency Romance and Fantasy. And yes, all of her heroes are patterned after her husband of over 20 years, who continues to prove that there really is a happily ever after.