Nice of you to join us here today for yet another author presentation. An interesting thing about being able to host authors, is that each one is different. Yes, yes, they are all authors...but they are moms, and doctors, teachers and carpenters...they have different backgrounds, and different life paths, filled with unique experiences that come together in the person that they are. This uniqueness brilliantly shines through their writing, to us. How awesome is that?
Today, we are fortunate enough to have author Carol Ann Kauffman join us.
Carol Ann Kauffman is an author from Ohio. She is a retired teacher from a local school district, where she taught first grade for most of her thirty-five year career, but also second and third grade and was a reading specialist for her last three years. She has worked at a print shop as a printer, managed a department store office, and worked for an insurance agency. She loves to travel; her favorite places being Italy, and Aruba, which show up in her novels quite a bit. She loves to play Bridge and to garden. She grows African violets and orchids. She is the author of the Time After Time series, which follows a pair of lovers through their many lifetimes together. Her novels, classified as romantic action adventures with a sci-fi/ fantasy twist, are about life, love, loss, and lunacy.
Could you share a little about yourself and what led you to become a writer?
I am a retired schoolteacher. I taught first through third grades, was the reading teacher, and taught composition and creative writing. My first award-winning essay was in sixth grade. But life and career and family interrupted the creative flow, so I didn’t get back to writing as an obsession until I retired.
Do you write full time? How much of your life is set aside for writing?
Yes, I write eight hours a day. If I am not writing, I’m thinking about writing. There is always a notebook in my pocket. I use a travel journal when I travel, much of which finds its way into my work. I wrote the first chapter of my WIP Charming Deception while on vacation in Florida.
Could you tell us a little about your novel?
Quintessential lovers find each other, time and time again, at different times, in different places, at different ages, and sometimes, on different planets. I based these two people on a couple from literature and our culture. I won’t reveal their identity until the final Time After Time book, but I DO leave clues.
Would you take us on a brief tour of your novel and the world you’ve created?
LORD OF BLAKELEY begins on a primitive future planet, where a very important young lady needs to wed because she has turned 20, or her guardian will chose for her. She sees her future husband in her mind, and travels to farm country to find him. She finds him, and they wed, but a very jealous man plots to separate them. They find themselves years and planets away from each other. In one section, they are thrown into present-day Chicago and work in a restaurant. One day she disappears into thin air and he is charged with her murder and must stand trial.
Where does the inspiration for you main character and story come from?
I write about what affects our lives: life, love, loss, and lunacy. I used to say what affects women’s lives, but these same things affect men, too. They just don’t want to admit it.
What is the message behind the story?
If at first you don’t succeed …
Do you work from an outline or just go with the flow? If you use an outline, how detailed is it?
I figure out who the characters are in the story and I make a detailed character analysis, what she looks like, personality traits, place in the family, place in the community, age, education, likes, dislikes, food preferences, etc. Then I wind them up and let then go. It’s fun to see what they do.
I began outlining, when I wrote a few children’s books. There was no spark, too predictable. Writer Emilia Julian, of God’s Prey fame, told me outlines are for wimps. LOL, I will keep that in mind.
What is the time span in your novel, weeks, months, years? How much research went into it?
Well, it’s a time travel story, so the span is roughly a thousand years, but the story emcompasses about five years of their lives.
Could you tell us how you go about your research, how you ‘catalogue’ information to make it all work?
Normally I do not write about places I haven’t visited. (Off-worlds not included.) But Aruba, Italy, New Mexico, Utah, Ohio, each of these places has their own special flavor. I need to touch the walls and smell the air in order to write about it adequately. I like that, and I agree. There is something unique in each place that cannot be adequately described if you haven't been there to experience it.
How does this book differ from what you have written in the past?
It is a continuation of the thread that everything we do, everyone who is important to us in this life, will find its way into the next life. The good or evil that you do will revisit you. A lost love will find you.
How have the changes in present day publishing impacted your schedule as a writer?
When I first started writing, the drill was: Send your manuscript to the first big publishing house on the list. Wait 6 weeks to two months. Get a rejection letter. Cross that publisher off the list. Go down to the next one. Start over. Some letters were very nice; some were insulting, like spice it up, throw some f-words in, make it rough. I refused.
Then one day, the sumpump broke, and all of the children’s books I wrote got ruined. (There weren’t that good. No tears.) It was then I researched Kindle Direct Publishing and all of my Time After Time novels are exclusively on the kindle. They are great to work with. They do not care how many times you want to re-edit, re-format, get a new cover. I think they are ideal for someone starting out in the business.
I also have books published through Books To Go Now from Poulsbo, Washington. They are lovely people to work with and are a creative storehouse.
How do you handle marketing? Do you have a plan, a publicist or just take one day at a time?
I just like to write them, that’s all. I wrote four novels the first year, and four the second. Then I took a year off to attempt to market them. Writing is fun. Marketing is hard work and I am not one to push myself on people. So I listened to what others said. Then I reformatted, re-edited, hired an editor, a cover artist, and re-launched my novels, one by one.
I use social media. I do book signings. I do giveaways. Some months I do well. December was horrible. I try to get my book into the hands of a person I think will enjoy it. It’s more one book at a time than one day at a time. In the courses I have taken on marketing, I have met people who do a minimum of 20 hours per week marketing. It can be quite overwhelming.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Write. Write and write. You can write one truly terrible book. But if you keep writing, and write ten books, one of them HAS to be pretty good. No seriously, do not let others discourage you. If you have the urge, the desire, the fire to write, then write. Don’t give up. I firmly believe everyone has a novel inside them. Now, whether you can get someone to BUY it, that’s another ball of aggravation.
Could you tell us what you’re working on now?
I always have four or five works in progress. I am writing the sequel to my bestselling Christmas story, Madison’s Christmas. It’s called Silver Maple Heartbreak. I have another Time After Time novel coming out later this year called MacKalvey House. And I have the first of a new series involving portals to another dimension, Charming Deception. That’s the one I started on vacation last year. And there are a few short stories that I have started.
You certainly have a lot going on at one time.
The series, TIME AFTER TIME, follows a pair of quintessential lovers, Richard and Nicole, through their lives together, in different places, in different times, with
Books in the TIME AFTER TIME series are: BLUE LAKE, BELTERRA,
The BASLICATO, BENTLEY SQUARE, WAITING FOR RICHARD, and LORD OF BLAKELEY. They do not need to be read in order.
Lord of Blakeley is the story of Andrew of Blakeley, a simple farm boy who lives on a primitive future planet. He is chosen by the lovely Lady Aleese to be her mate and rises to become the most powerful man on the planet. But a jealous man with access to mobile transport devices wreaks havoc on the young couple’s happiness, separating them, her on an alien rock planet and he, aboard a slave ship, and then dumping them in present-day Chicago. One day Aleese vanishes into thin air and Andrew is arrested for her murder and must stand trial. It is a story of devotion and jealousy, of loss and lunacy. And, in true Time After Time fashion, a story of love.
“Lord Andrew! Come quick! We’re being attacked! There is a regiment of Bishopites on Blakeley soil. Up on the hill! They’re burning our crops. They’re chopping down our fruit trees,” Jacob cried out at the bedroom door.
“Aleese, listen to me very carefully. Go to the wine cellar and lock yourself in. You’ll be safe there. I’ll be back as soon as possible. Stay in there and do not come out until I personally come down and get you. This is very important. Do you understand me?”
Aleese nodded and Andrew ran out and mounted the waiting horse, riding out in front of his army to find and do battle with the Bishopites.
“Carmine!” called Andrew, “Are you sure they are the Bishopites? How the hell did they get here? We dismantled and buried the transport dock. They have no way to get back here! They cannot possibly be the Bishopites.”
“One in uniform came down and announced to us that he was a Bishopite and they were here to steal our food, chop down our trees, and burn the rest of our farmlands. That’s all we know.”
“Men, fall back. Something’s not right here.” The men stopped and Andrew rode ahead to the hilltop facing the Bishopite army alone, behind them the fruit trees and the farmlands of Blakeley safe and unharmed.
“Bishopites,” he shouted, “we are not your enemy. We will not take part in this war of brother against brother. Take your fight elsewhere and leave the peaceful province of Blakeley at once!”
Just then a man jumped on Andrew out of nowhere and they both were blown up in a cloud of dust and flame with a thunderous crash. Debris flew in the air. Immediately all of the Bishopite army at the top of the hill disappeared.
The stunned Blakeley army was in shock over the loss of their beloved leader. They searched the area for any sign of Lord Andrew, but found nothing. Sad and dejected, they returned to the village center in silence.
“He blew them all up! Our Andrew, our Lord of Blakeley, managed to somehow blow up all the Bishopites. To save our land. To save our food, our crops, our trees. To save us. He is a hero. The bravest man in all of Blakeley, the bravest man I have ever known,” said Carmine crying. “And who among us had more to lose than Andrew? No one.”
“Jared, somebody has to tell her. I don’t want to do it.”
“Carmine, you have to do it. She likes you. You’re closer to her than any of the rest of us.”
“Yes, I am. And that’s why I don’t want to be the one to tell her. She’ll hate me for the rest of my life if I bring her the news of his death.”
“No. She won’t. She’ll be broken-hearted because she truly loves him. She’ll sob and cry. And then, she’ll probably go back to Havenhill. She only stayed here with us because of Andrew, to be with him.”
Carmine dismounted and walked into the Manor House.
“Lord Andrew has been killed in battle,” he announced to the staff waiting at the door. “He died saving the rest of us. He… He was the bravest man we have ever seen in all our lives. Where is Lady Aleese?”
“She has locked herself in the wine cellar, as Lord Andrew instructed her to do,” said Ruth.
Carmine turned and went down to the cellar. He knocked on the door.
“Lady Aleese, it’s Carmine. Come out.”
“Where is Drew?”
“Lady Aleese? Please, come out,” he begged. “I need to talk to you. It’s about Andrew. He… he’s been…”
She unlocked the door and looked at him. She saw the look on his sad tear-stained face. He didn’t have to say another word. She knew.
“NO! NO!” she cried, falling on the floor. “NO! Do not tell me he is dead! NO!”
“I’m so sorry, Lady Aleese. He died saving all of us, our land, our crops, and our food. Oh, he was so incredibly brave, My Lady! He was majestic, even. He managed to blow them all up. Unfortunately he was in the middle of that explosion.”
“NO!” She pulled herself up. “I feel in my heart that my beloved Drew is not dead.”
“I saw it with my own eyes. I saw him… get blown up.”
“No. It cannot be. Go away, Carmine. I wish to be alone.”
“I understand you want to be alone. But, please, let me help you up to your room. Your ladies can take care of you upstairs. You don’t want to stay down here in this cold, dark cellar by yourself.”
“Drew told me to stay here and wait for him to come and get me. And I’m staying right here. I’m waiting for him to come and get me. Go away.”
“But Lady Aleese…”
“GO THE HELL AWAY!!!” She threw a wine bottle at him. It crashed to the floor and broke into pieces.
Carmine nodded and backed away from her. She slumped back against the wall, slowly sinking to the floor, screaming and sobbing.
“Come for me, Drew! Please, My Love, come for me. I don’t want to go on without you. You told me to stay here and wait until you came for me. I’ll wait for you, Drew. I’ll wait right here. Come for me, My Love. Please, come for me.” She cried some more and soon cried herself to asleep on the cold, damp cellar floor.
She heard something, someone walking on the broken glass from the wine bottle on the floor. A shadowy figure approached her.
“Drew? Drew, My Darling, I knew you would come for me. I knew you wouldn’t desert me. Drew!” She reached for him. The shadowy figure reached out and grabbed her tightly. The light caught a silvery glint from his wristband. They both disappeared.
Location: The Dungeon in Havenhill Prison
“Well, look who’s awake? Hello, Andrew,” said Grant Havenhill, smirking at Andrew, who was securely tied to a chair.
“Where am I?” demanded a dazed and stunned Andrew.
“Dead. You’re dead. At least, to the rest of the world, you are. Aleese has been informed that her beloved Andrew has died a noble and heroic death in battle. She is now free of you.”
“I will let you figure that out for yourself. All you need to know is you will never see Aleese again. You will never hold her in your arms, never kiss her, or make love to her ever again because you are going on a very long and painful sea cruise, one from which you will never return. By the way, your new name is Ando and your life expectance is less than a year. But do not worry about your… widow. I shall take excellent care of her.”
Andrew felt a blast of searing pain to his chest. He passed out.
Location: Aboard the Bedelia, A Clotus Cargo Freighter in a Faraway Galaxy
Andrew woke up in a dark, dank room with incredible pain in the center of his chest. He gathered he was at sea from the pitch and toss around him. As his eyes became accustomed to the darkened space, he realized he was not alone. Filthy, unkempt men lined the walls of the cargo hold.
“Where are we?” he whispered to no one in particular.
“At sea. Aboard the Bedelia, with Captain Pslotneck at the helm,” answered someone he did not know. Andrew nodded, remembering the conversation with Grant Havenhill.
A sailor opened the door and pointed to Andrew.
“You! Ando! Come!” he growled. Andrew struggled to get up. He was sore and aching, and in pain. He hit his head on the low ceiling as he followed the sailor out the door.
“The captain wants to see you. And you watch your mouth,” he threatened. Andrew nodded and the sailor opened the cabin door. Andrew stepped inside to face the captain seated at his desk.
“Well, Ando,” the captain said, shuffling through the papers in his hand, “you certainly managed to piss off a man of great wealth and importance. What in the hell did you do, diddle his wife?” laughed Captain Pslotneck.
“No, Sir,” said Andrew seriously. “That wealthy man is Grant Havenhill. His father is Lord Havenhill of Nord. They are not all that great, nor that important. And it is he who has committed the transgression, not I. He faked my death, flung me far out into space, and has stolen my wife, my Aleese, the love of my life. And he knows I will cross hell on my hands and knees to get back to her.”
“Well, he went out of his way to make sure you are as far away from civilization as possible. And this contract? It’s criminal! And he had you surgically fitted with a control device, claiming you’re a violent psychopath.”
“This?” Andrew pointed to device attached to his chest.
“Yes, and he also paid handsomely to have you mistreated. Luckily for you, I plan on simply pocketing that sum. I can’t afford to have you lying around, whimpering, licking your wounds, not working. I don’t have time to beat the shit out of you on a daily basis. I’m a busy man! As far as the control device, I have no means to remove it aboard ship, so you’re stuck with it until we get to a port that has a qualified surgeon. But then, you have to worry about infection until it heals. The hull is a filthy, stinking hole. My advice? Ignore it. I won’t use. Keep a shirt on so nobody sees it. Do your year. Get it removed when you’re free and in a clean environment. Work hard, do as you are told, and you will be treated just like the rest of the crew. The Havenhill name carries no weight aboard my ship. And Ando, I hope you find her.”
“Thank you, Captain. I will.”
Purchase Link: http://tinyurl.com/lt56gbe
Reviews from Amazon.com:
5.0 out of 5 stars
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Lord of Blakeley is Carol ann Kauffman's latest book in the Time after Time series, and it's just as wonderful as all the rest! This series keeps getting better and better!
No, these books are not "romance novels" There's no naked men, with nice abs, or page after page of sex scenes, these books weave tales of true romance, of love that is stronger then time. They embrace that love really means and don't cheapen it!
This story has all the wonderful elements of fantasy and sci-fi that Carol weaves into her classic love story. The character meet on their futuristic planet and fall in love dispite their classes, and then are horrible seperated by a jealous man. They each go through their own struggles, and fight for their love. It's heartbreaking and wonderful, and draws you in and keeps you reading. You need to know what happens in this cycle of the Time After Time series because you won't regret it!
4.0 out of 5 stars
By Joanne Boyd
I imagine it's not too easy to write a book heavy on intensity and dramatics that doesn't sound over the top but this author manages it very well. This book has romance and action and time travel and doesn't get boring at any point. The lost star was because there are a few typos (not too many but they are there) and because sometimes the book gets a bit confusing but I would still recommend it for anyone looking for romance without smut.
5.0 out of 5 stars
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Lord of Blakeley is a passionate love story that takes the reader on a journey to several dimensions, planets, and styles of behavior...
Lord Andrew and Lady Aleese share an unbreakable bond of love that is tested repeatedly. This couple will face anything to be together, including surviving difficult circumstances on other planets.
Andrew is a humble and honest man. His gentle nature is put to the test after his wife is kidnapped repeatedly by an enemy from another land. Enduring and surviving intense suffering during their separations, Andrew and Aleese both realize that they need to change the way they play this dreadful game. With the help of family and friends, Andrew and Aleese defeat the people and issues that threaten to ruin their marriage.
I especially enjoyed the sassy and slightly stubborn personality of Lady Aleese. Lord Andrew was a perfect mate for her. I am looking forward to reading another book by Carol Ann Kauffman. Her writing style was very enjoyable.
Author of Connected Hearts
5.0 out of 5 stars
"Everything Changes but Love Remains the same."
And so begins the romance of Andrew and Aleese, Lord and Lady of Blakely. What I enjoyed most about the story was the fantasy of love at first sight. Andrew sees and worships her from afar, never knowing that although he cannot speak to her, Aleese's soul has responded to his from a distance. Aleese has a dream vision that she'll love a man from the backward province of Blakelely and will know him by his voice. She meets him and realizes this is the man she dreamt of.
Even with such a smooth beginning, we are reminded of an evil person who seeks to break up their union. They go through many trials over the course of the book, but through it all, their love is strong. Although this is science fiction, in many ways it reads like an historical as far as dialogue and societal norms.
If you love a good romance, this is a book for you!
5.0 out of 5 stars
Carol Ann Kauffman captures a character and draws you in to her story with every word. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Its articulate matter and humor, with the ability to make me want to join in the fun. I would recommend this clean book to anyone.