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Monthly Archives: March 2013

Byzantine Gold
Chris Karlsen, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. We’re excited
to interview your character, Charlotte
Dashiell from the book, Byzantine Gold.
Genre: Romantic Thriller
Publisher: Books to Go Now
Cover artist: Elaina Lee at For the Muse Design
Length: 72K words
Heat rating: 4
Tagline: A Turkish agent and an American archaeologist find themselves
in the crosshairs of dangerous enemies in this undersea thriller.
A sunken warship from the Byzantine Era carrying an unusual cargo
of gold has been found off the coast of Northern Cyprus. News of the valuable
cache has attracted the attention of a terrorist cell. They plan to attack the recovery
team’s campsite and steal the artifacts. On the Black Market, the sale of the relics
will buy them additional weapons.
Charlotte Dashiell, an American archaeologist, and her lover,
Atakan Vadim, a Turkish government agent, are scheduled to be part of the recovery
team that brings up the artifacts. While en route to Cyprus, they find themselves caught
in the crosshairs of Maksym Tischenko, a Ukrainian contract killer bent on revenge.
Charlotte, Atakan and Tischenko share a grim history. As a result, Tischenko is
a man who will stop at nothing to achieve his goal–seeing them both dead.
Buy links:
What are your main characters’ names, ages, and occupations?
Charlotte Dashiell, 30,
nautical archaeologist
Atakan Vadim, 38, Agent
for the Turkish Ministry of Culture
Maksym Tischenko, 40,
contract killer
Darav Binici, 27, PKK terrorist

Interview with Charlotte Dashiell

Tell us about yourself.
I’m a nautical archaeologist
who recently received my PHD in the subject. While working on my doctorate, I met
Atakan. We were dive partners last year on the recovery team of a Bronze Age ship
wrecked off the coast of Turkey.
I had a controversial theory regarding the Trojan War and hoped the ship carried
the proof of that theory.
I come from a family
of police officers. My father was a Chicago policeman,
my step mother was a policewoman in Chicago
and my brother is a SWAT team member for Chicago P.D. My mother is a housewife and
remarried to a wealthy businessman.
I currently live in Istanbul with Atakan. Our next
project is a Byzantine shipwreck off the coast of Cyprus.
When the dive season
ends, I’m employed at a lab in Istanbul
where I work on the preservation of artifacts, which includes cleaning, identifying,
tagging and cataloging.
Atakan and I share a
love of history, like to travel and enjoy skiing and water sports.
Tell us about Atakan Vadim.
He’s also an archaeologist
and is an agent for the government. He works in the Ministry of Culture. His job
is to oversee the legitimate archaeological sites and make sure the artifacts are
processed safely and correctly. Site preservation and safety is part of the job
in addition to proper handling of relics. When not in the field, he monitors smuggling
operations and persons or groups involved in the illegal sale of artifacts to the
Black Market.
He is 38, the consummate
professional in his job and very reserved. People tend to see him as always serious
and perhaps a bit cold, but to those who know him, we see his humorous side and
he does have a wicked sense of humor.
Although we live in Istanbul now, he grew up in the southwestern part of Turkey, in the Izmir area. His mother tends to orchards on their
land. His father is retired military. Like me, he’s close to his family but doesn’t
get to see them often due to his job and the fact they live several hours away as
does his married sister and her family.
He is one of the most
honorable men I’ve ever met with an unshakeable code of ethics.
He’s also a pretty darn
good cook.
What do you think is your strongest point?
My intelligence.
What would Atakan say is your strongest point?
I imagine he’s likely
to say my love for him. I’d agree with that, but I suspect, knowing how reserved
he is, he’ll say my determination.
What would Atakan say is your biggest weakness?
I’m too secretive at
What was it like where you grew up?
I grew up in Chicago on the northwest side.
I love that city. It has everything: great restaurants, theatre, fabulous museums,
fun to watch sports teams, friendly people, and the best skyline anywhere.
When my parents were
still married, we lived in a brick bungalow typical for Chicago in a lovely neighborhood with nice lawns
and good sidewalks for riding our bikes. We had a smallish fenced backyard with
a fancy BBQ because my dad liked to grill and a colorful flower bed for my mom.
We always had dogs adopted from the shelter. The smaller ones slept with me, the
bigger ones slept with my brother, Nick.
My parents divorced when
I was a teenager. Then, I split time between my dad’s house in the city and my mom
and step father’s in the suburbs.
What do you wish was different about your life?
I’m pretty happy but
if I had to change one thing, it would be for Atakan’s mother to like me.
If you were given your fondest wish, what would it be?
I think this is where
I should say world peace but I’m going to wish for an end to the extinction of animals
everywhere and an end to the slaughter of elephants and rhinos etc. for their ivory
and horns.
Describe a place of perfect refuge.
Home–our place in Istanbul. We have a covered,
half-moon shaped patio with a view of the Bosphorus. When the weather is warm, we
like to sit there with a glass of wine and watch the ferries cross the Strait. Some
of the private boats coming and going are stunning to see. They’re sleek and elegant
as they skim along the water. You’d think working wrecks I’d get my fill of looking
out over water but I don’t. I love the sea.

About the Author

Chris Karlsen

I was born and raised in Chicago. My father was a history professor and
my mother was, and is, a voracious reader. I grew up with a love of history and

My parents also love traveling, a passion they passed onto me.
I wanted to see the places I read about, see the land and monuments from the time
periods that fascinated me. I’ve had the good fortune to travel extensively throughout
Europe, the Near East, and North Africa.
I am a retired police detective. I spent twenty-five years in
law enforcement with two different agencies. My desire to write came in my early
teens. After I retired, I decided to pursue that dream.
I currently live in the Pacific Northwest
with my husband, four rescue dogs and a rescue horse.
I’m close to
finishing the first draft of book 3 in my Knights in Time series. After that, I
hope to start book 3 in my Dangerous Waters series, which the series Golden
Chariot and Byzantine Gold are from.


The history of what place intrigues you as a reader?

Answer this question for Chris, and win a download of Golden Chariot, the prequel to Byzantine Gold. You can email Chris directly at chriskarlsenwriterATgmailDOTcom or leave a comment and your email on the blog. She will contact the winner personally.

Previous Books

Heroes Live Forever (book 1 in Knights in Time series)
Journey in Time (book 2 in Knights in Time series)
Golden Chariot (book 1 in Dangerous Waters series)

Books Coming Soon

Knight Blindness (Knights in Time series)

Find Me Here

Together in Starlight

In a departure from our usual interview today, author Susan
Mac Nicol is sharing a written “newspaper” article with her character, Bennett Saville.

News Article from The Cambridge Chat:
Interview: Bennett Saville, star of Gabriel, bares it all!
I’m waiting for my guest for the evening,
Bennett Saville, to get ready for his interview. He arrived a few minutes ago and
is now busy being fitted for the mike and dusted with the powder that takes the
sweaty shine off our faces under the glaring lights. His curly auburn hair is being
styled and I see him grimacing as they try to tame it. It’s fairly long, apparently
in preparation for his latest appearance as the sexy, cavalier, and slightly sinful
professor turned wizard in his TV series Gabriel. He smiles at me as I watch him,
appreciating the figure he cuts in his tailored grey suit, looking for the entire
world as if he’s just stepped out of a fashion magazine. He certainly wears clothes
well, and it—dare I say—looks effortless. I suppose his stylist put it all together.
Very, “Darling, what? This old thing?”
God, I envy his tailor at being able
to have their hands all over that well-developed and what looks like a pretty muscular
body. I chide myself for sounding like some sort of middle-aged groupie, feeling
my face flush as he grins at me. He has the greenest eyes I’ve ever seen on a man,
like emerald chips—
Leslie MacIntyre, for God’s sake,
contain yourself, woman!
That is easier said than done. I’m
about to interview an up-and-coming film star, a young man who’s handsome, sexy,
rich, successful, has seen his fair share of trouble and trauma, and is engaged
to a woman ten years older than he is and seven years older than me. His fiancée,
Cassie Wallace, is a beautiful woman. I’ve seen pictures of her on his arm in the
tabloid magazines and the glossies, and she looks nowhere near her reputed age;
classy, refined, and always has a rather mischievous smile on her face, as if she’s
saying, “Ladies, he’s mine. Eat your heart out.”
I want to ask him about his relationship
with her, but this man has a definite no-fly policy on discussions about his personal
life and his fiancée in particular. I once saw him walk out of an interview when
the interviewer wouldn’t stop prying. He’d been extremely polite about it, but his
resolve was unwavering.
He’s finally sorted to the satisfaction
of Mona, the makeup artist. She grins and gives me the thumbs up. Bennett Saville
walks over to the stage, settles himself down very elegantly into the rather uncomfortable
tub chair. I notice his plain black socks leading down into a rather recently shined
pair of what look like Armani shoes. Nice. The man has big feet, and that sends
me wandering along a path I really shouldn’t travel at this precise moment.
He looks at me enquiringly.
“You have a fascination with my socks?”
he drawls in amusement, in that voice like melted chocolate. I shiver.
“Better than your underwear,” I say
without thinking. Then I blush crimson.
He laughs loudly, his eyes crinkling
at the corners as he leans back and settles comfortably into the chair. “Touché.
At least I’m wearing some tonight,” he murmurs. When my jaw drops open, he chuckles
and then adjusts the mike on his lapel. His eyes gaze at me in challenge, and for
the life of me I can think of no smart-mouthed rejoinder.

I see Henry wave at me from behind
the camera, and I know we’re ready to rock and roll. The lights in the small studio
dim, the chattering ceases and there’s an air of expectancy. I’m ready. The intro
music cues to introduce the programme, and a minute later I’m sitting with my notepad
on my lap, leaning in to address the camera that’s beaming my face and Bennett’s
out into the world beyond. I’m also trying not to think about the man in front of
me with no underwear on….

To see the rest of the Cambridge
interview, check out either:

Buy links

Together in Starlight – book two in the Starlight Trilogy

Previous Books

Cassandra by Starlight – book one in the Starlight Trilogy
Confounding Cupid
The Magick of Christmas

About the Author

Susan Mac Nicol
Susan Mac Nicol (Sue to most people) was born in Headingly, Leeds
in the United Kingdom.
When she was eight years old, her family emigrated to Johannesburg
in South Africa, where she remained
until her and her family¹s return, with husband and two children, to the UK in December 2000.
Sue¹s career as a professional business woman was mainly in the
operational side of the Financial Services and Vehicle Leasing markets. Currently
her responsibilities have evolved to being the Regulatory Compliance Officer at
a financial services company in Cambridge.
Having written all her life, since her first short story was
published in a local youth competition when she was just eleven, in between the
day job and daily life, the inspiration for the Starlight series of romance novels
was born. Her characters, Cassie and Bennett, finally made their debut on the flickering
screen of a laptop. The character of Bennett was inspired by someone very special
and perhaps one day, if you get the chance to ask her or meet her, over a cup of
good coffee, Sue might just explain who this was. She will probably smile wryly
and say, “Hopefully without sounding like a teenage groupie.”
Her first novel was submitted to various publishers and Boroughs
Publishing Group liked what they saw. Sue was offered a contract for her novels
and that, as they say in the classics, was that.
Sue is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Romantic
Novelists Association here in the UK. She lives in a town house in the
rural village of Bocking,
in Essex, with her husband, two children and a
mixed collie mongrel called Blu, so named because of his two different colour eyes
­blue and brown. Sue is a voracious e book reader and a self confessed geek and
Android phone fan. Her office is in her bag most days and without all her gadgets,
she confesses she could barely function.

Find Me Here

Lorna Peel, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let’s talk
about your book, Only You.

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Entranced Publishing
Cover artist: Suzannah Safi
Length: 52,000 words
Heat rating: Sweet Romance
Tagline: Only You follows divorced thirty-something, Jane
Hollinger, as she is shoved back into the dating world by family and friends,
and discovers that her fantasy love is more attainable than she ever imagined.
Blurb: Jane Hollinger is single, divorced, and the wrong
side of thirty – as she puts it. Her friends are pressuring her to dive back
into London’s
dating pool, but she’s content with her quiet life as a genealogy teacher.
Robert Armstrong is every woman’s fantasy: handsome,
charming, rich and famous. When he asks her to meet him, she convinces herself
it’s because he needs her help with a mystery in his family tree. Soon she
realizes he’s interested in more than her genealogical expertise. Now the
paparazzi want a piece of Jane too.
Can Jane handle living — and loving — in the spotlight?
Buy links:
What are your main characters’ names, ages, and occupations?
Jane Hollinger, aged 31, genealogy teacher
Robert Armstrong, aged 38, actor


How did you get your start in the industry?
I’ve always had quite an lively imagination. When I was
little I made up stories in my head for my dolls to act out. I’ve been writing
those stories down since I was nineteen.I had a contemporary short story
published in Woman’s Way (an Irish women’s magazine) back in 1996. A scan of it
is now up on my Facebook Page and blog. I was doing a writing course at the
time and had to submit a number of short stories to magazines and I was lucky
enough to get one published. The course was interesting but it made me realize
that I prefer to write longer prose and I decided to try and see if I could get
a novel published.
What websites do you visit daily?
My website and blog, Facebook, Twitter, and various news
websites as I’m a bit of a news junkie!
What do you enjoy most about writing?
Being able to create new characters and the worlds they
inhabit. And then being able to play God with them! *evil laugh*
What is your work ethic when it comes to writing?
Try and write something every day, even if it’s only random
notes or bits of dialogue in a notebook.
How do you cope with stress as an author?
As a new author, I haven’t really encountered author stress
yet, but I’d try and cope by taking regular breaks.
What kind of books do you read when taking a break from your
own writing?
Historical novels, crime novels, and historical crime
novels, like the Matthew Shardlake series by C.J. Sansom.
Imagine you get to go on a dream vacation, but you have only
one hour to pack and leave, and it starts as soon as you finish this interview.
What will you take with you and where will you go?
Either Canada
or Australia.
I have relatives in both countries and I’d love to visit some day, so I’d have
to buy summer clothes for Australia
(I live in Ireland and we
don’t get summers anymore!) and summer/winter clothes for Canada, depending on the time of
What good book have you read recently?
Lionheart by Sharon Kay Penman and The Secrets of Pain by
Phil Rickman.
What do you like to do when you’re bored?
If I’m not writing or surfing the internet, and if it
happens to be dry outside, then go for a long walk.
If you were a color, what color would you be?
Purple – I love it, it is such a vibrant colour.
Please underline which statement is more like you:
“I am a vacation spa because I am laid back and
“I am a ten-countries in ten-days tour vacation,
because I do things as fast as possible.”

Please complete the sentences

Lorna Peel
I love pizza with vegan cheese. Well, I don’t actually
love it, and I’m not a vegan either, but I can’t eat ordinary cheese so I make
do with the vegan stuff. It’s a bit like old window putty as it doesn’t melt
properly so it just looks like an orange blob but I can’t imagine pizza without
some kind of cheese on it!
I’m always ready for another mug of coffee!
When I’m alone, I either write, or plot, or both!
You’d never be able to tell, but I have a torn medial
ligament in my right knee. It flares up from time to time if I do too much
If I had a halo it would be a bit wonky! I played an angel
in a Nativity Play when I was small, but that was the end of my association
with angels!
If I could find the time I’d buy a camper van and
explore more of Ireland and
the UK.
I can never have too many books because I’m a bit
of a book hoarder!

Find Me Here

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