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Reads From Regan Taylor

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Meet Sue Roebuck! My Next Guest On Our Awe-struck Author Tour!

Hi Regan and thank you so much for having me today on Regan Taylor’s World. It’s great that we’re fellow Awe-Struck authors and I’m so enjoying this blog tour.

You gave me the chance to go back in time and meet one person and then asked who I’d like to meet and what I’d ask him or her about my latest work in progress.

I thought about this for ages because there are just so many people I’d like to speak to who are from the past. I can’t say I need to talk to anyone about my novel “Perfect Score” because although it’s set in the 1960’s and 70’s I was alive then and feel I got information pretty straight (excuse the pun). I currently have two works in progress – one a Novella called Hewhay Hall that will soon be on the market, but that’s a dark thriller. My full-length novel, When the Moon Fails, is set mostly in Portugal and harks back to an era before the Revolution (1974). I wouldn’t mind talking to a revolutionary – especially one who was imprisoned by the Secret Police (PIDE) during the difficult times. But no I won’t go there just yet.

Who I’d really really like to talk to is my Dad.

When I was a kid, my Dad was omniscient, infallible. Just there. Then when I was a hormone-fueled teenager, full of angst, thoughts of boys, and negatives, I didn’t think too much about him at all. Oh dear, that sounds terrible and makes me teary.

Since his death I’ve found out so much about him, yet – at the same time - have so little information. And that’s why I’d love to speak to him now. I want to know just who my father was.

He was only sixteen when the WWII broke out, and – probably by lying about his age – joined the Royal Air Force. Throughout the War, right to the end, he flew on the Lancaster bombers and a Dutch friend of mine who is a Navy officer and who saw my father’s log-books was astounded that he survived so many flying missions.

I do know my father had some hairy times. His Lancaster was caught in enemy fire one night and the wing caught fire. The crew carried knives in their socks because they’d rather kill themselves than be caught. But the pilot had two options – to try and limp to Sweden or to put the plane into a steep dive. He chose the latter and succeeded in extinguishing the fire so they managed to get back to England.

That’s my Dad I’m talking about – I’m so amazed because he was such a quiet, gentle man who never spoke about his experiences. I’ve seen photographs of him in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) – where he went on a troop ship on which conditions were abysmal and which was constantly under threat of being torpedoed. In the sunny photos he looks so happy and relaxed, posing with other officers, leaning against a Jeep and holding a mongoose.

How I’d love to know more about this wonderful man. Perhaps one day I’ll find a way of discovering something and then I’ll write a book about it.

A huge coincidence is that I work with two British women whose fathers were also in Ceylon with the RAF at exactly the same time as my father. But, like me, they’ve lost their fathers and their stories with them.

A friend who is an RAF Wing Commander at the moment with NATO saw my father’s portrait photo taken during the War and in which he’s wearing his uniform. After studying the photo for some time, my friend said, “Those were the boys who really knew how to go through it.”

Now onto literary matters!

“Perfect Score” ( was published first as an e-book in Sept 2010 and then as a trade paperback in May 2010 and has been receiving great reviews.

Here’s a short excerpt:

Spring 1968

The wind blew straight off the frozen prairie and rattled the ill-fitting window panes in his hut. Sam opened one eye. Five am. Don't ask him how he knew. It wasn't the owl hoot, or the coyote yip, or the creek ice splitting, or even the cattle coughing that gave it away because these noises were constant throughout the night. He just knew it was time to get up.

He rolled out from under the warmth of an old moth-eaten wolf pelt and, without bothering to light his paraffin lamp, pulled on jeans and a stiff-with-wear plaid work-shirt. He laced up scruffy, ancient leather boots before finishing it all off with a green wool jacket.

I'll block those holes with creek mud, he thought as the wind whistled through the gaps in the raw-wood plank walls. He put his shoulder to the door. Oil for that too -- maybe Josh Pike had some in the barn.

He'd hardly put his left foot outside when snow seeped through a hole in the boot sole. Standing on one leg, he broke the ice in his ceramic sink, splashed the small amount of water pooled there on his face and drank a handful.

Six hours of shoveling hay and muck, he thought as his boots rang on the iced-up alkali path leading to the main yard. A Canadian goose hooted a teasing honk. Laugh all you want, birdie, Sam stuffed his hands in his pockets and hunched his shoulders. At least I'm not up to my butt in freezing water. Just my left foot. His hair blown horizontal, he bent into the biting wind and squinted through stinging hail as three yellow cow dogs rushed up the path, their tails whirling, breath white and freezing on their whiskers.  

"Can't find a darn cow dog when I want one," he'd heard Josh Pike complain the previous day.

"That's because they're always with the boy," Mrs. Pike responded. "Sam."

"But I feed 'em."

"Animals love Sam because he has such a kind face and everyone knows amber eyes make the animals feel lucky."

"Never heard such a load of horse poop in all my life," Josh Pike muttered, his eyes skimming his land.

The Pike place had pretensions to be a ranch but Sam didn't think it quite made it. Divided into three sections: a creek, steep terrain and some disordered pastures lying in a flood plain, the property bordered the much larger Raw Pines ranch next door. Josh Pike told Sam he'd worked the land for twenty years but, as far as Sam could see, with little to show for it except the old man's love for the place which was as rigid as the winter weather: driving stinging snowstorms that stank of rusty nails. And a wind that could blow a calf over.

Three hours later, the range in the distance just visible across the frozen prairie, Sam removed his jacket, hung it on a gate post and pondered his next task.

He took a closer look at the steer lying on its side, kicking its legs and bellowing as if Sam was about to knife it. Can't have been easy forcing your darned head through the rails in the fence, he mentally told it. He rolled his sleeves up, picked up an axe and got to work on the fence rail with several powerful swings, taking care not to jolt the animal's head.

"Cain't you smell that good air?" Josh Pike had clambered onto a section of the fence, unaware or uncaring that he was tossed up a few inches every time the axe hit the rail. He raised his weathered face to the watery sun with all the pleasure and leisure of a sunbather on a distant beach. "Have to punch the bastard to get him in the chute." He nodded at the struggling steer, his words jarring with each blow of the axe. "Yet he done puts his head through the fence happy as a flea. Takes some beatin' huh?"

Sam had no breath for words but Pike continued undeterred. "HBetcha we could show them folks you worked with in Silver Creek a thing or two, eh boy? On how to run a cattle ranch. Betcha learned more up here in this month than you did in the three years you were down there. Eh?" He leaned closer to Sam, his face alight as he waited for Sam's affirmative. "Eh?"

"Near…nearly," Sam gasped, referring to the fence.

With one final massive blow, the axe-head wobbled as it finally split the fence rail. Sam kicked at the steer's rump to encourage it up and watched it skitter back to the herd, still bellowing its woes.

"You reckon you could slaughter beef?"

"If…if I have to."

The old man nodded as if satisfied with the answer. "Make some people weep. So pretty."

Sam rubbed his hand over his face. Like so many conversations in his life, this one made no sense at all. Why was the old man leaping from subject to subject like a demented grasshopper? And what was pretty? The back end of the rapidly retreating steer or a slaughtered cow?

"The view," Josh Pike explained although Sam hadn't voiced his question. The old man nodded at the distant range where the peaks were shining pink like his bald pate. "And you know little guys like us can."

Sam raised his eyes to the gun-metal grey sky above them. Can what? Sam was the first to admit that even on a good day his own mind was at best in total disarray but it wasn't in the chaos Josh Pike's evidently was.

"Cry. Cry at the view." Josh spoke as if explaining to a first grader. "Little guys get away with it. Betcha bawled when you left your family in Silver Creek. Eh?"

Bawled? Cry? Sam stared at the farm owner in disbelief. Sure he'd been sorry to leave -- Silver Creek held all he loved. But cry? Sam couldn't remember the last time he'd cried. When did he last cry? He wracked his brains.

Twitter: @suemonte

Facebook: sueroebuck

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Introducing Ann Tracy Marr

Our blog tour continues with my guest this week Ann Tracy Marr.  She writes about one of my absolute favorites -- Merlin! But with a very unique twist. Come and learn a bit more about my friend.

A longtime fan of Regency romance novels, Ann Tracy Marr spends her time dreaming of the perfect world--England's Regency era interwoven with the best of King Arthur's Camelot and Merlin's magic. Ann is a wife, mother, and computer consultant, fixing the stubborn beasts and teaching people how to tame them. Her background includes a college major in English and secretarial work, which she thankfully escaped.

To His Mistress, the third novel in Marr’s Banshee series, will appear in paperback October 25th.

Ann and I talked recently and she greeted me with -- Welcome to another week of kids back in school. Hip hip hooray for freedom. Kick back and relax; the grocery store can wait. You have earned a day of peace and quiet. 

I am Ann Tracy Marr, writer of a paranormal Regency romance series, and guest blogger for Regan Taylor today. I hope Regan is taking a break, but I bet she has her fingers tied to the keyboard. Regan has tremendous drive and the talent to back her up… she is a writer to keep track of. This week she is writing Sharon Poppen's blog:
The kids will come home eventually, so let’s get down to business. Regan asked me to answer a question: You have the chance to go back in time and meet one person. Who do you go to meet and what do you ask him or her about your latest work in progress? 

One person? Only one? Gee, let me think. I could track down Jesus, check if his beard is the way artists portray it, and ask… No, not Jesus. I don’t have the courage to ask him about a Regency romance. If I had written The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I could ask about life, the universe and everything, but the only thing I can ask Jesus is if I deserve to be on the New York Times Bestseller list. He probably wouldn’t answer.

So let’s go with the obvious. Picking any one person to consult about my Regency WIP, I would find Jane Austen and ask her if my plots ring true in Regency reality. Did I make any mistakes? If anyone knows about the Regency, it’s Jane Austen. She wrote Pride and Prejudice; she wore those fantastic long dresses and ate syllabub.

Unfortunately, I have a nagging suspicion that Jane would object vociferously to the paranormal aspect of my Regency romances. You see, in my Regencies, King Arthur is history. Arthur lived, built Camelot, and argued with Merlin. Then he died, Merlin disappeared, and life kept on living. Eventually, life got to the Regency era and while it’s mostly the way Jane Austen lived, there are a few differences in my books.

First, I have a lot more knights roaming around London; they have to sit at the Round Table and do all the things Parliament did for Jane Austen’s Britain because the Round Table rules the Isles. Then again, Jane might not care about knights or the government. She didn’t have anything to do with all those dukes and earls that populate most Regency romances. She mingled with plain Misters and Misses.

Do you suppose Jane would object to men saying “Bloody crystal cave” when they get mad, instead of “Bloody hell”? Because in my paranormal Regency world, people would rather swear to Arthur than to God. For some reason, that is the most obvious manifestation of a change in history. Thinking about it, it would be a waste of a question. Jane would object to any kind of swearing. 

I know Jane would approve of Sarah Frampton, the heroine of my next book, Keeper of the Grail. Sarah and Jane have quite a bit in common. Neither is a raving beauty and both do what needs doing to keep their families on an even keel. Of course, Jane’s family is a lot more stable than Sarah’s. Jane’s father isn’t an opium user, her sister isn’t a spoiled brat, and her brother didn’t steal the family’s valuable Fra Angelico painting. And proper Regency Jane would leave finding the painting to the menfolk, rather than looking for it herself, as Sarah does. 

Jane would like my hero, Sir Sloane Johnstone, knight or no knight. I can’t imagine anyone disliking Sloane. He’s that kind of guy. And underneath the easy-to-get-along-with exterior, Sloane hides a swashbuckling streak that would give any woman a thrill, Jane included.

You know what? If I could ask Jane Austen a question, I wouldn’t ask her about my WIP. What I really want to know is: 

Is it true that people kept a chamber pot in the dining room? Did anyone use it during dinner? Why? 

Jane would slam the door in my face.

Ann Tracy Marr writes award-winning paranormal Regency romances. Her books include: Thwarting Magic, Round Table Magician, and To His Mistress. Her latest, Keeper of the Grail, is in the works. A computer consultant in the Midwest, Marr lives with her husband, two cats, and plots that bounce off the wall. 

Visit her at
Buy her books at

Sunday, September 11, 2011

My Blog Tour Guest This Week is Jennifer Cloud!

Jennifer and I are co-authors of Her Eyes, due out this fall with Awe-struck. More important she is one of my closest friends and some-time critic partner.

I asked her if she could go back in time to meet someone, anyone, and ask them about her current work in progress who would she go see, what would she ask them and what did she think they would say. Here's what she had to say:

I supposed with that sort of question I should come up with someone cool. Perhaps some long ago writer. Maybe I could talk to Hemingway or Fitzgerald. Catch an early Stephen King for his opinions on my work. Maybe I could talk to Lovecraft or Edgar Allan Poe.

I guess I could get religious and find out exactly what Jesus would do.

None of those came to mind when I first considered your question.I know this sounds incredibly dorky. The first person who came to mind was my grandmother. She died before ever reading a thing I've written. She was an avid reader too. I remember the wall behind her
bed being filled with books. They were stacked on the floor and went halfway up the wall like some bizarre decor. She read some horror but I seem to remember the old styled romance covers. You know the ones.

They were not so lovingly referred to as bodice rippers. She would fold back the pages and doze off with a book in one hand a a Kool cigarette in the other. She could be frightening when she had that cigarette. The ashes would get horribly long and usually fall before
ever getting close to an ashtray.

My grandmother was awesome. I always wanted to impress her although she never acted like I had to try. She would rent bad B horror VHS tapes for my cousins and myself to watch. She would order pizzas and sit right there with us no matter how bad the movie was.

I would love for her to read some of my work and give me her opinion. I'm sure it wouldn't be an honest one. She was biased when it came to her grandchildren. I would still love to know what she thought. I know she would've told me to go after my dreams.
You can learn more about Jennifer at!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Welcome to Jana Richards!

I recently had a chance to chat with my friend Jana and one of the things I was curious about was if she had the chance to go back in time and meet one person. Who would she want to meet and what would you ask about your latest work in progress?

Here's what she had to say to me:

That’s a good question, Regan! Mostly I write contemporary, but lately I’ve delved into history and discovered a passion for the World War Two era. I find this time period ripe with stories, both on the battlefront and on the home front.

One of my works in progress is called “Twice in a Lifetime”. In this story, Frank Brennan is given a second chance at love. An angel shows up in his nursing home room claiming to be able to take him back in time, to 1944 in Plymouth, England. It was here Frank experienced, and lost, the love of his life.  Even after all these years he is still bitter over Claire’s betrayal. And he still mourns the death of his best friend Cal, who died in a training accident just before D-Day.  He accepts the angel’s offer, hoping he can save Cal this time around. Can Frank change history or is his attitude the only thing he can truly change? As he relives the events of 1944, Frank discovers new insights into old tragedies. He also discovers a love for Claire even stronger than he remembers. But unless he learns to trust that love, Frank is doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.

If I could go back in time to Plymouth, England in 1944, there wouldn’t be just one person I’d want to meet, there would be many. I’d want to soak up the atmosphere of the time. I’d want to experience the fear and worry, as well as the excitement. It’s obvious why there would be fear and worry; there was a war on after all, and Plymouth experienced its own blitz in the early days of the war. Everyone was worried about family or friends fighting in the conflict. But there was excitement because everyone was pulling together for a common goal; to win the war.

There was also excitement created by the arrival of thousands of Allied soldiers onto English soil. Many English girls were swept off their feet by dashing American soldiers. I would love to go to a dance with a group of young English girls like Claire, and dance the night away with a handsome soldier like Frank. What would that dance hall look like? What kind of music was played? I’d want to know what Claire’s life was like during the war. Was she scared? How did she manage with all the shortages? What did she think of having her city taken over by American troops? I’d want to know details about how life carried on during a time of war.

And then I’d want to ask Frank about his training with the First Battalion of the 116th Infantry of the 29th Division. Why did he sign up? What did their camp outside of Plymouth look like? Was he afraid of the upcoming invasion or did he believe it was part of his duty? Did he think he was going to die?

I’d want to immerse myself in Frank and Claire’s world so I could understand the things they faced. By understanding that, I’d have a better insight into their motivations. I’d know what made them tick.

Thanks for having me with you today, Regan! I’m looking forward to hosting you on my blog in the near future.

If you are curious about Jana, here she is in her own words:

Jana Richards has tried her hand at many writing projects over the years, from magazine articles and short stories to full-length paranormal suspense and romantic comedy.  She loves to create characters with a sense of humor, but also a serious side.  She believes there’s nothing more interesting then peeling back the layers of a character to see what makes them tick.

When not writing up a storm, working at her day job as an Office Administrator, or dealing with ever present mountains of laundry, Jana can be found on the local golf course pursuing her newest hobby.

Jana lives in Western Canada with her husband Warren, along with two university aged daughters and a highly spoiled Pug/Terrier cross named Lou. You can reach her through her website at
You can find me on the web at  I blog weekly at on topics of writing and the writer’s life. 

And for a fun sample of her writing:
For the first time since her husband’s death, Hannah Kramer can imagine herself with another man.  But then she discovers the truth about Quinn Anderson’s reason for staying at the bed and breakfast at her farm.  He’s there to buy farmland from her cash-strapped friends and neighbors and resell it to foreign buyers.  How can she love a man bent on destroying the way of life she loves?  Will Quinn convince her that he wants to build her community, not destroy it?  Can he make her believe he loves her before time runs out in September?