We’re already closing in on the end of June and it’s time for another round of What to Read Wednesday! Today we have a returning author and also a good friend who just happens to be one of my critique partners. Callie Hutton is visiting and sharing a bit about her writing journey as well as a blurb and excerpt from her latest historical release AN ANGEL IN THE MAIL.
So without further ado…let’s get started!
Thanks for joining us on What to Read Wednesday Callie! Tell us about yourself in 30 words or less.
I write both Historical and Contemporary Romance. My first love is my family, second my writing. I live in the great state of Oklahoma, but I’m originally from New Jersey.
What is your favorite food to eat for breakfast?
Rice cake with peanut butter and sliced banana.
Name something readers would be surprised to learn about you.
I gave the commencement address at my college graduation.
I’m impressed…that’s a great accomplishment Callie! Tell us your favorite type of book to read.
What genre (s) do you write?
Contemporary and Historical Romance
Share the first sentence of your book?
Angel Hardwick checked her image in the elaborate gilded mirror hanging over her dresser, and smoothed a few stray hairs out of place.
“Papa, Luke just threw up!”
Great last line! I love how the children you add into your stories always add a lot of realism and humor. Share a blurb about your latest release.
An Angel in the Mail, set in 1861, unites newly penniless society belle Angel Hardwick and Nathan Hale, father of five, who is desperate for a wife to straighten his life out. Nate’s looking for someone who loves children and can easily take over the cooking, cleaning and laundry. Instead, he is getting Angel, whose culinary knowledge consists of weekly meetings with Cook to decide the family’s menu.
Angel is a strong-minded young woman, resigned to her fate, and determined to make the best of her situation. But will her new husband allow for mistakes? Or will he send her packing when she burns meals and misplaces children?
Nate just wants a peaceful, well run household, without the distraction of an attractive wife. However, his beautiful wife with a very distractible body is not giving him peace. Somebody lied, because despite what he was told by the Bride Agency, this beauty knows nothing about running a home, but she sure sets him on fire at night.
Nate and Angel have to come to a working arrangement, overcoming problems between them. But will they be able to find a happily ever after with someone desperately working behind the scenes to destroy their relationship?
What excites you the most about writing?
I love the feeling of falling in love. When you create two characters, and decide how/when they’re going to develop a relationship, it’s exciting. The first faltering steps, the awareness, then the admission to yourself that this is someone you can’t live without. I just love all the emotions it brings out in me.
There’s nothing like it for sure! Now before you share an excerpt from AN ANGEL IN THE MAIL…let me just comment again on how much I love your cover! You are truly blessed by the cover Gods! Okay, enough of my chatter and oohing & aaahhing…let’s get to the excerpt:
Sylvia took a deep breath, and picked up a piece of paper lying alongside her teacup. “You are to travel to Oregon City to be a mail order bride.”
The silence in the room had a roar of its own. Wide-eyed, Angel gaped at her stepmother. A loud buzzing echoed in her ears and black dots swam in front of her eyes. With a soft sigh, she slid to the floor.
In her semi-conscious state, Angel fought coming fully awake. She flinched when the smelling salts were waved under her nose. Her eyes fluttered opened, and she coughed at the pungent odor. The concerned eyes of Walker, the family butler, met hers.
“Is she all right?” Her stepmother’s voice grated as Sylvia leaned over the butler’s shoulder. Angel moaned. It all came back in a rush. This was no nightmare to awaken from. Sylvia had arranged for her to be sent off into the wilds to marry a complete stranger.
Walker, who’d been with the family since before her birth, put his arm around Angel’s back and slowly eased her into a sitting position. Angel glared at her stepmother. Sylvia stood in front of the fireplace, wringing her hands. The butler helped her to her feet and deposited her back on the chair. He bowed to both of them and left the room, silently closing the door behind him.
After a few minutes of silence, while Angel gathered her thoughts, she addressed her stepmother. “Sylvia, whatever possessed you to arrange for me to be a mail order bride?” Her voice was barely a whisper.
“There was no choice,” the woman snapped, flicking her skirt behind her as she continued to pace. “No respectable match could be made with our circumstances. Remember, even though he was on his death bed when the deposits went missing, your father is being blamed for the debacle at the bank. We are all disgraced.”
Angel stood and paced along with Sylvia. “Why can’t I be a shop girl, or a maid, or whatever else young ladies do to make a living?” Angel waved her hand in the air. “I could take a small room somewhere and stay in New York.”
Sylvia sank in her chair and sighed. “Think, Angelina. Would you want to serve your friends in the fine shops you frequent? Would you care to be the upstairs maid in another friend’s house? Or how about if a young man in one of those houses, who at one time begged you for a dance, takes advantage of your vulnerable position under his roof? Demands for unwanted attentions happen all the time, you know. You could end up ruined, with no future.”
“And you call traveling across country to marry a stranger a future? Of course I’m ruined.” Angel closed her eyes.
I wish I could get Sylvia to share that lavender sprinkled handkerchief.
The headache she’d awoken with on the floor had become a monster.
Unable to deal with anymore, Angel headed for the door, then stopped abruptly, and turned. “Who is this man you’ve sold me to?”
“Angelina, I have not sold you.” Sylvia frowned. “He seems like a nice gentleman. I contacted an agency that does these placements, and they assured me every applicant is thoroughly investigated. They even examine the background of potential wives as well.”
“And have I been deemed worthy?”
Sylvia glared as she unfolded the letter. “Sit, Angelina. It hurts my neck to look up at you.” She scanned the paper briefly. “His name is Nathan Hale. He lives in Oregon City. He’s a gunsmith.”
“A gunsmith.” Angel whispered and dropped her head in her hands.
Should I laugh or cry?
At the Harman’s ball last week she’d danced and flirted with a university professor, an attorney, an industrialist, and a young, handsome Duke from England. “Go on.” She gulped to keep an hysterical giggle from escaping.
“Well, he has a lovely little house, so that’s promising, and he has children.” The last part came out a whisper.
Angel’s head snapped up. “Children?”
Sylvia drew herself up. “Yes, you’ve always wanted to be a mother, so this should please you.”
Angel slowly stood, walked to Sylvia and took the letter out of her hands. Her eyes flicked back and forth as she read, and then widened. She crushed the paper to her chest.
“Five!” She croaked. “He has five children!”
Love that excerpt…and especially that last line! Tell us about your hero in 1 sentence.
Nate is a nice guy, sexy and caring, who loves his children, and is willing to marry a mail order bride to bring order to their home.
Now your heroine.
Although she’s led a somewhat pampered wife, Angel is strong, and willing to roll up her sleeves and make the best of what her step-mother has gotten her into.
And from your descriptions and the excerpt I can already tell there will be a lot of fun scenes because they are so different. Do you prefer to write dialogue or narrative?
Name one thing you learned on your journey to publication that surprised you.
How much work is required AFTER your book is published.
That’s the truth! Lol What’s your current WIP?
I’m re-writing a Regency I started last year. It’s called The Elusive Wife, and it’s about a Earl who is required to marry a woman his deceased father selected, but shows up so drunk for his wedding, he doesn’t remember what she looks like. When he decides to ask her for an annulment because he wants to pursue another woman, he has a hard time tracking her down. Too bad he doesn’t realize the woman he wants to pursue is his wife.
Now that is going to be a fun read too! If you could give a newbie writer 3 pieces of advice, what would they be?
Write every day, no matter how little. Read books on your craft, and books in the genre you’re writing in. Do not give up, no matter how dismal things look.
Great advice! And finally, where can we find you and your book(s)?
Thanks for joining us today. It’s always fun to chat with you!
Thanks for having me Christine. It’s been fun.