Monday, July 30, 2012

Larby Lodge by Gail & Paul Gallacher: Interview, Excerpt

2065 A.D.

It is 48 years since the change.

A time of great chaos and upheaval,
when millions of teenagers across the globe, developed magical powers.

Still, no-one knows why it happened.

For years a fragile peace has existed.

But now a divide is forming...

And 14 year old Eve Rivers is about to find herself caught up in the middle of the battle.

A battle fought between those who embrace the change, and those who will do
anything to stop it.

A battle that will forever alter the lives of everyone Eve holds dear.

Hi Gail and Paul! It's good to see you today and I'm excited to find out more about you both.  How did you start your writing career?       

GAIL:I loved English at school, but even though I got good grades in the subject I never felt entirely satisfied with anything I wrote. In my final year of school I became obsessed with Baz Luhrmann’s film version of Romeo and Juliet (we were studying the Shakespeare play at the time) and loved the fact that he had retold the story in such a contemporary and accessible way. This was the final motivation I needed to join an Audio Visual course at my local college.

So for three years I told stories by making films.

Once the three years was up though, I still didn’t feel satisfied. So after a few years of working full-time I decided it was time to get myself a degree. I had always loved Art at school too, and this was something I felt ready to dabble in again. So I enrolled on an Art course with what was then the University of Central England (UCE) in Birmingham and got to study in the wonderful Quaker village of Bourneville – home to a real life Chocolate Factory (it always smelt so good) owned by Cadbury. I specialised in Painting and Photography...but you guessed still wasn’t quite right. I liked what I was trying to express...but now words were the things that seemed to be missing.

It was only when I met Paul that everything clicked into place. He loved books and films too and he had written scripts as a hobby. We inspired each other and began to talk about writing our own series of Kid’s books.  

PAUL:I started by driving my parents mad with silly stories of adventures set in the wilderness that usually involved lots of monsters and bad guys. I had a thing for sharks too as Jaws really triggered my imagination when I saw it premiered on television. I tinkered throughout my youth but Larby Lodge is the first novel I have ever finished.

The third book in the series, Mitford Falls, is largely written but we decided to turn it into a sequel as it didn’t properly introduce the characters or the world. Also I finished a shark script but that was more for fun to be honest but in the future once we’ve finished the Sword and the Flame series then I might turn my attention to a horror or monster story. Maybe even try and turn my shark story into a novel but time will tell.

Tell us about your current Release!   

GAIL:Our current release is our first published book, but I wouldn’t say it is our first book. Our early ideas were so different to what Larby Lodge is now. Originally we had a complete story that was heavily influenced by Greek mythology, but by the time it was anywhere near ready we felt this sort of story had already done the rounds. So we went back to the drawing board and questioned exactly what sort of story we wanted to tell.  We wanted to write a story that would appeal to boys and girls, and would crossover between teens and adults. So we made our protagonist a strong-minded girl, who would be put through her paces with lots of action scenes. Eve is very shy and inexperienced but her family’s circumstances have meant invariably she has had to be the mature one. She uses this and her adult outlook on life to fight for what she believes in.

PAUL:Yeah I certainly wanted to push Eve through the mill from the start. The world she lives in is a spectacular one which will unfold with the sequels but also very volatile and dangerous as the Change has left many people desperately trying to make sense of what happened. This can lead to a positive outlook such as those embodied by the Paters and a negative one shared by members of the Sword and the Flame. This is one of the key themes of the series. A world left confused and without any answers.

Tell us about your next Release! 

GAIL:Our next book which should be available summer 2013, is ‘The Rise of The Youth League,’ and is part 2 in The Sword & The Flame series. For those of you that have already read Larby Lodge, you will remember the big surprise that came out about the Youth League. But how will the group fare now? This story follows Eve as she learns to deal with her new life and the ever-changing society that she is living in. There will be more from Iris and James, but for those that have commented about Irina...well let’s just say she has something up her sleeve for a later book in the series.

PAUL:Yeah many key new characters are introduced in the second story that will play a large role throughout the rest of the series. You can also expect plenty more twists and plenty of action which will be far more ambitious in scope. The battles in Larby Lodge are intentionally small so as to give us somewhere to go.

What do you think makes a good story?

GAIL:I think to tell a good story you really need to have realistic characters and an exciting plot. The reader needs to feel like they are rooting for the protagonist, they need to be able to imagine themselves in the story, and they need to be itching to find out what happens at the end of every chapter and even more so at the end of the book.

PAUL:I like a plot with drive and purpose; a sense of uncertainty which forces you to turn the pages. Many of my favourite stories are layered like a jigsaw puzzle which I find incredibly rewarding to fit together. I think J.K Rowling and Stephen King are great examples of authors who can catch you in a web of intrigue and even though it’s not a book I really admire Inception and Christopher Nolan’s sense of narrative drive and complexity.

What group did you hang out with in High School?

GAIL:I love this question. I think this speaks volumes about how your life will turn out. I hung around with the swots. Generally I got on with everyone except the popular kids, especially the popular boys who enjoyed bullying me, of course when they were on their own they wouldn’t say boo to a goose. I found that when I left school and followed my creative interests, all of my new friends had been bullied too. So there seems to be a pattern that if you’re different and motivated, you get a raw deal at school. All I can say is that it does get better when you get out into the real world and can choose who you spend time with on a daily basis. I love the group of kids in the film ‘The Faculty,’ that pretty much nails high school on the head for me. And we all felt like Aliens had taken over our school at some point.

PAUL:I hadn’t yet developed a strong sense of my own identity at school so flittered between many groups but never truly felt like I belonged in any of them. I think this is partly because my parents moved around a lot so I was only in some schools for a matter of months. When I was at college I enjoyed hanging out with the geeks and this was when my love of film, literature and role-play flourished. I have always been wary of shallowness, so making friends who were also creative was very rewarding.

Are character names important?

GAIL:They certainly are to me. I know a lot of authors use names and characteristics to thank people or at the opposite end of the scale to have a dig at people. J.K Rowling is well renowned for this. I find that we tend to use names that have a bearing on an idea. For example it is no coincidence that our main character is called Eve, or that our third book is called Mitford Falls, the Mitford name being a reference to the famous Mitford sisters, a very political and controversial family. Larby is my grandmother’s maiden name and she was a Quaker which forms part of the ethos of the Pater community in our story. I like unusual names too. I like using surnames as first names to add an air of mystery to a character; we were over the moon when we came up with the name Fenton Cardel (due to bob up in ‘Rise of the Youth League’).

PAUL:Yes they can give an insight into their psychology or purpose; sometimes though you just want a name that sounds cool. Neo in the Matrix is a great example of a name that achieves both.

Can you share a passage that captures the heart of your book?

Eve rested her towel on the riverbank and sat down. At five and a half foot tall, her feet stuck out over the edge. She was painfully aware of how much taller she was than every other fourteen year-old she knew and felt as a gangly as a bean pole, but no matter what she wore or how she styled her long auburn hair there was no disguising it. Her Mum had told her several times, that a day would come when the rest of her body would catch up, but it seemed an awful long way off.

   Bronwyn giggled and Eve made the mistake of seeking her out as she swooped towards the rippling water like a kingfisher seeking its lunch. The morning sun was blinding and Eve happily closed her eyes to it all, but her mind wouldn’t cease its torture and she daydreamed of what it would be like to see the river pass beneath; to lazily dip her toes in the warm water then soar upwards like a bird, majestic and carefree. 

   It was all so frustrating. Maybe it was time to give up and accept the fact that she was a Dud, doomed just to watch as those around her developed their skills and laughed at her behind her back. Even her best and only friend, Fran, had Awoken recently, which had put a lot more pressure on their relationship than she wanted to admit. It would certainly explain why Fran hadn’t asked to meet up during the holidays, like she normally did. She would have to make it up to her when she returned to Treglown. It wasn’t Fran’s fault.

   It seemed even her head-of-year was worried. Mrs Johnson tried to hide it under a veil of curiosity but Eve wasn’t fooled. Their Dad had made it quite clear at a recent parent evening that he was delighted with Bronwyn’s progress. “A right little Sky Lantern she’s turning out to be,” he had said. The very next day Eve had been called to the office. Mrs Johnson asked all sorts of questions that ultimately led back to the same thing; had Eve experienced any strange occurrences that could point to her Awakening?  

   After a long silence Eve shook her head. She had considered making something up but what was the point? She was managing to hold back the tears but it was obvious she was upset because Mrs Johnson told her not to worry herself. She began to spin off a story about being a late developer herself and how all the other children in her class had Awoken first. Apparently it had been far worse in those unenlightened days when the Awakening was still a new phenomenon.

   ‘Magic can take many forms,’ Mrs Johnson continued, leaning in sympathetically. ‘Your sister obviously takes after your father but what of your mother?’

   ‘She was telekinetic but her powers have worn off now. She was very powerful though.’

   ‘Oh she’s faded,’ Mrs Johnson chuckled. ‘Obviously singing takes it out of you.’ Eve wasn’t sure whether Mrs Johnson’s comment was meant to be patronising or just a simple joke. But either way it served to wind her up. ‘Why don’t you practice moving things? I’m sure it won’t be long before something happens. Don’t worry Eve your Awakening will come soon.’

   Eve nodded but she had already decided to ignore her advice. There was no point. Eve was going to fly like her sister and that was that.  

   ‘Come on,’ Bronwyn shouted from the water, breaking Eve’s reverie.

   ‘I’m working on my tan.’

   ‘You’re boring.’

   Yeah and so is swimming compared to flying, Eve thought before shouting out ‘you’re annoying,’ in reply.

   Bronwyn stuck her tongue out impishly and Eve gave her the finger. They both giggled.
   Eve gazed beyond the river. Old willow trees lined the far bank and on the other side of the wood, just visible between the dangling branches, stood a moss-covered wall which bordered their estate and cut it off completely from the main road. The run-down collection of bricks had once exerted a powerful hold over Eve’s imagination. Inspiring thoughts of magical borders, faraway lands and princesses in castles; always in distress of course, because that was how Eve felt most of the time. Her parents’ celebrity lifestyle ensuring she was denied the one thing she craved above all else: A normal life.

    A terrible scream interrupted Eve’s thoughts and sent her bolt upright just in time to see a large splash.
Laurie: Oh My Gosh!! Loved that excerpt!

PAUL:This is a passage from chapter two but it covers a lot of themes and issues which Eve has to come to terms with during the story. Her jealousy and concern around the Awakening, which is when a teenager’s magical abilities become apparent and, just as importantly, how those powers will manifest themselves, in her sister’s case flight, but it also touches on the tensions between Eve and her father. Without giving too much away there are many forces at play which affect the dynamics of the Rivers’ family, and these drive much of the narrative of Larby Lodge and beyond.

GAIL:Like Paul said this is a really pivotal point in the story, and definately where it switches into something more sinister. Family tensions are really bubbling to the surface at this point and this is something every child can relate to in some form or other. Jealousy and insecurity will always be defining emotions and this is why readers connect with Eve and the rocky road she has to navigate.

Do you have a website or a blog?

GAIL:Social networking is something we’re heavily working on at the moment. I know the importance of bloggers – they really do get independent books the profile that they need and deserve. I was lucky enough to do an event with Amanda Hocking and she was adamant that it was the bloggers that had got her where she is today. So I would just like to thank all of those people out there that do take the time to read these features, or write reviews for Amazon etc. Authors really do appreciate every single one of you. Just one little nice comment can give an author the encouragement they need when they’re having a tough day. If you would like to make our day, please:

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Gail and Paul Gallacher
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Giveaway ends August 18th 11:59PM CDT

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Hell In Heels by Layssa Hart: Sneak Peek, Interview & Excerpt


Jenni Bracken - a young woman with the courage to go after her dream

Twenty-four year old Jenni has made no bones about her intention of marrying Craig and no amount of advice from her older twin brothers has persuaded her from that goal. After seven years of failure she finds herself living in close quarters with Craig. Where can he run to now? When Craig leaves Australia with the American he's planning to marry, Jenni accepts that her dreams are dead in the water.

Craig Davenport - a man torn between loyalty to his friends and a need that defies reason

At 34 Craig Davenport is the Golden Boy of the film industry. A successful film director, he's been best friends with the Bracken twins since infants' school, and for years they've been threatening to tear him limb from limb if he ever gets ideas about their kid sister. When he finds himself closeted with Jenni in the New South Wales hinterland, Craig's resolve is tested to the limits. But he's holding on - just. Then he and Jenni dance the Argentine Tango...

This is the link the book’s page on Layssa's website: -

Note that the eTailer buy links will be added to the page at the end of August when book is released. The media player on the book’s page contains the tracks that are referenced in the story.

Readers can use the subscribe link on Layssa's website if they want advance info regarding the release date or other new releases.

JENNI spent Sunday morning tucked up in the window seat in the library.  She was trying to read a book.  Well, trying to divert her mind from its preoccupation with Craig.  Not that she was having any luck.  Snapping the book closed, she set it down on the padded seat.
After their tango last night he'd avoided her like the bloody plague.  The great lump had just taken her hand and walked her back to Mark - only he hadn't seemed at all willing to relinquish her hand; and she'd had to wriggle free of his vise-like grip while trying to appear like she wasn't trying to do just that!  When she'd finally freed her hand, the moron had just looked at her like he was looking right through her, then turned on his heel and walked off! 
Not that she'd been allowed to wallow in misery after his ill-mannered defection.  The only time she hadn't danced was when she'd pleaded the need to sit one dance out to give her feet a chance to rest.  No, she hadn't lacked for willing partners, but Craig hadn't come anywhere near her.  Nor had he taken to the dance floor again.  Just lurked in the crowd and whenever she glanced his way, saw his face – so hard and grim – and quailed.
She really and truly hoped his mood was vastly improved before she ran into him again. 
The door swung open making her jump like a scared rabbit, then her stricken gaze clashed with Craig's across the width of the room.  Crap!
"What are you doing in here?" he bit out.
Feeling every icy barb in his voice, Jenni lifted her chin.  "Minding my own business."  She unfurled her legs and slid off the seat.  "But I will go and mind it someplace else and leave you to whatever" she added and determined not to let him see her distress, crossed the room towards the door.  He was blocking the doorway.  And he seemed so god-awfully big!  Threatening somehow - which was silly because he wasn't scary at all.  Usually.  "You reckon you could just move aside, please?" she asked coolly.
"Don't take that tone with me" he snarled.
O-kay...  Jenni took a tiny backward step.  "It was a simple request, Craig" she pointed out, her voice flat.  The tension that had entered the room with him was so tangible she could have cut it with a knife and served it up on little cake plates complete with silver cake forks and-
"Well?  What are you waiting for?" Craig grated and saw her gaze jerk up to his.  Damn the woman – she could cut him down to size with just a glance!  Pity she couldn't shrivel his bloody libido while she was at it.
"If you would just get out of the way, I'll be more than happy to leave" she said.
Craig didn't miss the hint of anger that had crept into her voice.  "And where will you go next?" he fired back with a dark bark of laughter.  "Straight to Mark?  Or is Simon coming over?"  He heard the venom in his own voice but didn't give a damn.  "Or maybe you have someone else in mind?"  Bewilderment drenched her golden eyes.  He was too wound up to care.  "So how many potential boyfriends did you acquire last night?"
"That's none of your business" Jenni chided without heat.  Seeing no change in his expression, she tilted her chin.  Best to deal with the elephant in the room and just be done with it!  "You're angry about what happened in Brisbane" she stated.  "Well, I wasn't solely to blame for that-"
"Crap!" he exploded and in an instant, his rage seemed to crowd the room.  "You just couldn't leave things be!  You just had to keep pushing, didn't you?  And to hell with how others might feel about it!"
Jenni was stunned by the bitterness; the accusation in his voice.  "I never forced you to make love to me" she protested and saw something truly dark flare in his glittering gaze.
"Don't kid yourself" Craig snarled, lips peeled back from his teeth.  "It was sex!  Down and dirty sex- and it had nothing to do with your silly romantic notions of love or any other finer feelings, for that matter!"  He raked her with the closest thing to a sneer Jenni had ever seen.  "I would have had to have been bloody dead to turn down what you've been offering!"
Jenni recoiled, and feeling the sting of tears behind her eyes, darted backwards in an instinctive need to put some distance between them.  Craig was quicker.  The moment she moved he kicked the door shut; seized her arm and jerked her towards him.  As soon as her body collided with his, his hands snapped up to seize her head.
Lips mutinously clamped shut, Jenni pushed against his chest and tried to break away from the savage pressure of his mouth.  Scant seconds later his lips softened and gentled into a languid and deliberate assault on her senses, but with all the ugly things he'd just said still ringing in her ears, she kept telling herself that this was folly.  Clinging to that thought, she screwed her eyes up tight and wished rather desperately that he would release her head.   If he would just try to hold her properly, she thought while he continued his increasingly sensual assault along the seam of her mouth.  Oh please… She could give him the slip the moment he let go of her head…
Next thing she knew he'd caged her with one arm; plucked her off her feet and they were moving backwards across the room, then – oof! – her back was plastered to the wall, and as he pressed his full weight against her, the shocking hardness of him made her gasp.
And just like that – he was in; and like ice cream in the midday summer sun she melted; resistance evaporating like water on a sizzling hot griddle and any capacity for thought gone with it.  There was just the urgency; the scorching pleasure; the tormenting hands now exploring her; claiming her; branding her.  She dragged his shirt free of his denims but when he didn't move back to let her at the buttons of his shirt, slid her arms around his neck and arched closer. 
Without warning, he jerked himself free of her.  Stunned, Jenni forced her eyelids up - the stupid things seemed to weigh a bloody ton.  He was standing several feet away; his stance screaming an aura of alertness that baffled her.  Then she heard it: voices outside in the atrium.  Hastily restoring some order to her clothes, she dived for the window seat and was seated; her drawn-up legs crossed at the ankles when the study door opened and Cam peered into the room. 
"Either of you seen Meg?"
"No" said Craig.
"Uh uh" was all Jenni could manage.
The old man sighed.  "Okay."  He withdrew, closing the door behind him. 
Jenni's relief was so immense she slumped against the bay window.  Not that doing so helped her avoid the sexual tension vibrating in the room.  How had Cam missed it?  All at sixes and sevens, she risked a glance at Craig and found him watching her; the blistering intensity in that gaze curling her toes.
"I'm leaving in the morning." 
The announcement – and announcement it was – caught her broadside.  He was running away again...  "Are you?"  A hint of the sadness curled through her.  He looked dreadfully pale now; his eyes almost black; deep lines bracketing his mouth.  She summoned a smile.  "When will you be back?"
Craig balled his hands into tight fists at his sides.  "I won't be back" he said coldly.  "I'm moving to the States with Gaye.  I won't be back" he said again and abruptly walked out.

Welcome Layssa!  Thanks so much for taking time to let us find out a little about you and your books.  How did you start your writing career?

Sitting up in a hospital bed with oxygen tubes in my nose and three lots of antibiotics going into my veins.  It was right before Christmas 2011 and I was going bonkers in hospital (it had been five weeks by then).  I was reading a fantasy novel someone had given me, and not too far into the book I thought that even I could do better than that.  Next thing I knew I had coloring pencils and papers and was drawing up my fantasy world; the characters; the buildings/locations etc.  After getting all the visuals drawn up, I suddenly thought 'hang on... maybe I should see if I can write first...'

My brain was functioning on only 47% oxygen (I still haven't made it back to the 90% mark yet - but I'm trying).  So I wrote this story, edited it; proof read it; slapped a cover on it and published it.  Then I started on the next story, and suddenly the minor characters in that one led to the Bracken Series and the third book in that series is about to be released any day.

Does travel play in the writing of your books?

No, but travel has helped my writing.  I lived in the UK and Europe for 10 years, and those experiences gave me a rich resource to draw on when I am writing.

Tell us about your current release.

Hell In Heels is Jenni Bracken's story and it will be released in a couple of weeks.  She's had Craig - her big brothers' best friend - in her sights forever, but she's getting nowhere real fast.  The problem is her big brothers (identical twins) who've been warning Craig off for years; and Craig himself who's always believed he's nowhere near good enough for Jenni because he was born damaged goods.

Tell us about your next release.

Ahh - now that will be the first of a series of Regency romances.  At this stage, it looks like there will be seven stories in that series unless I get really tough and eliminate some of the characters sometime soon...  The first story will look at just how totally women were at the mercy of their menfolk; pawns to be used for whatever purpose was most expedient to the family at that particular point in time.  In this story, the heroine - who's due to marry for love three days hence - is forced into marriage with her betrothed's cousin.

The newlyweds are forced to flee to Europe.  When the man she was to marry learns of his betrothed's sudden marriage to his cousin, he becomes a thoroughly embittered man whose attitude towards women becomes cavalier at best; and whose good humor morphs into a sarcastic and cruel wit.

But when the heroine is widowed six years later, she finds herself a very wealthy woman with an inheritance that will always pass down the female line.  To ensure the wealth does not pass out of the dead man's line, our jilted hero finds himself forced into marriage with the heroine for the purpose of siring not only an heir, but female offspring.

The hero longer trusts the heroine and will never forgive her for her betrayal six years ago.  Our heroine, who knows telling the truth will condemn someone close to her to death, must endure in silence.

So the story is about far the hero will go to uncover the truth and what he will do with that knowledge.

This is a story of personal loss; of finding in the depths of despair and emotional devastation one's capacity for compassion; of learning to trust when the odds appear stacked against you.  More than that though, I think it's a story of the enduring quality of the human heart and its power to overcome even the most insurmountable of obstacles. 

Who is your favorite author?

I have so many favorite authors!  David Baldacci; Robert North Patterson; Dan Brown; Jane Austen;  Maria Snyder; Amanda Hocking; Nicholas Sparks;  Patrick Rothfuss;  Karen Brooks;  Georgette Heyer;  Jasper Fforde and on and on we could go.

When in the day/night do you write? How long per day?

I write during the night.  I'm unable to sleep at night, so I have plenty of time on my hands during the night.  I used to paint, but since my battle with pneumonia my lungs haven't been able to cope with the smell of pigments and solvents.  So it's a good thing I discovered writing!

What is the hardest part of writing your books?

Saying 'The End'!  I swear, I could spend the rest of my life editing each of the books I've written to date and I would never be entirely satisfied with them!  There would always be something I could do better!

Where do you research for your books?

At the National Library of Australia, or I go hunting down source material by trawling through the bibliographies at the bottom of related online articles.  And books - I have collected lots of books over the years - particularly on the Regency period.  Other than that, I have a varied work background which has given me lots of experience in diverse fields.

How do you describe your writing style?

I hope I'm a show, don't tell type - I'm certainly perverse enough to be inclined to show rather than tell.  I don't have the patience to waffle on for pages describing the intricate details of a room and its furnishings and what have you - I want to tell the stories of the people the story is about.  I want to get down to their thoughts; their feelings; their problems, hopes and fears.  I enjoy writing dialogue; and I enjoy writing from multiple POVs.  So I hope readers find my characters well rounded and 'real' too.

Do you have a favorite quote, quip, or saying? What is it?

You should never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.

Thanks so much.   I enjoyed talking to you and finding out a little more about you.

Layssa was born in a glass bottomed boat off Green Island on the Great Barrier Reef, and grew up as the black sheep of the family and the eldest of six kids in small towns in Queensland. 

So far she's been a nurse; teacher; international flight crew; artists' and repertoire co-ordinator for a record label; secretary; policy developer/writer; graphic designer; DJ at sea; project manager in the construction industry; and a judge in the equestrian world.  In a voluntary capacity she's convened eisteddfods; been a bushfire fighter; a Deceased Victim Identification officer; and senior team leader with the State Emergency Services who handle everything from storm damage; road rescue; search and rescue; forensic evidence searches; crowd control; flood rescue and the like. 

Layssa lives in Canberra with her beautiful daughter and two arrogant and demanding felines.

 Two years ago - after a health crisis - she discovered she could draw and paint; and seven months ago - after another health crisis - discovered she enjoyed writing.  Her work colleagues are now waiting to find out what new talent she'll discover with her next health crisis!

Bottom line - she never considered writing before last Christmas.   But her motto is "Better late than never!" 

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Scent of Triumph by Jan Moran: Character Interview, Author Interview, Excerpt

Scent of Triumph is the story of Danielle Bretancourt, a talented young French perfumer with a flair for fashion and a natural olfactory gift. In the language of perfumery, she is a Nose, with the rare ability to recognize thousands of essences by memory. The story opens on the day England declares war on Germany, and Danielle and her family are caught in the midst of a raging disaster sweeping across Europe.

Her life takes a tragic turn when her husband and son are lost behind enemy lines. She spies for the French resistance, determined to find them, but is forced to flee Europe with fragments of her family. Destitute, she mines her talents to create a magnificent perfume that captures the hearts of Hollywood's top stars, then gambles again to win wealth and success as a couturier. Her intelligence and flair attracts the adoration of Jonathan Newell-Grey, of England's top shipping conglomerate, and Cameron Murphy, Hollywood's most charismatic star.

Danielle charts her course through devastating wartime losses and revenge; lustful lovers and loveless marriages; and valiant struggles to reunite her family. Set between privileged lifestyles and gritty realities, here is one woman's story of courage, spirit, and resilience.

"Scent of Triumph will appeal to anyone who enjoys historical romance...filled with love, loss, struggle, triumph. Moran writes in such a way that you will feel as if you were transported back to the era. Her characters are well developed. Very unique, an enjoyable read." -- Rebecca's Reads Review

"Jan Moran is the new queen of the epic romance."- USA Today Bestselling Author Rebecca Forster, Author of Expert Witness

“Scent of Triumph is a rich tapestry that weaves fragrance into an already compelling story of love and perseverance during WWII. Jan's skillful writing, combined with her wealth of olfactory knowledge, makes this a great read for all, but especially the perfume enthusiast.” - Karen Adams, Sniffapalooza

"Jan Moran has created a resilient, talented character in Danielle. Her story will resonate with any woman who has faced the challenges of parenting, loving, and working to build a future for herself--and those who are looking for a good read, and a satisfying ending."
--Kelly James-Enger, author White Bikini Panties and The Honesty Index

"Jan is an exceedingly articulate and vivacious authority on her area of specialty: fragrance. She is also a charismatic and elegant presence who knows her business, lives it and loves it." --Stephanie Stephens, Host & Executive Producer:

From the Author: "Scent of Triumph was inspired by my love of perfume and its creative process. It was based in part on research I did in creating Scentsa, the touch screen fragrance finder now in all Sephora stores, and in creating my own perfumes. But I also drew upon my own family history and my mother's memories of World War II. I imagined a young entrepreneur whose talent, determination, and fearlessness catapult her to the pinnacle of success, despite mounting personal tragedies and the elusiveness of love."

 Kindle  |  Paperback  |   Goodreads 

From SCENT OF TRIUMPH – by Jan Moran 

Merci, Danielle,” the young woman said with a smile as Danielle placed an armload of fragrant white lilies next to the blush pink roses she had already chosen.  “You always chose my best flowers.”
Danielle winked at her friend, the owner of the Flower Pot in Beverly Hills.  “And you always have the best flowers in town, Mimi.  Especially this spring.”

  “Mais oui!  It’s a good season.  Are these for a special occasion or party?”

“These are just for me.  You know I can’t resist walking past your beautiful flowers.”  Danielle buried her nose in the bouquet of roses that Mimi had already wrapped in newspaper.  “I feel so much better when my home is full of flowers.  Their perfume always lifts my spirits.” 

“Mine, too.  That reminds me, my brother just sent some potted gardenias from the farm.  They’re full of buds and would be perfect for the windows in your boudoir.  Did you see them?  They’re in the front of the shop.”

“I’ll take a look.”  Danielle meandered through a brilliant maze of cut flowers, charming topiaries, and magnificent floral arrangements.  She loved the scents that swirled through the air, and they really did lift her spirits. 
After she had committed Cameron to the sanitarium for his alcohol and drug addictions, she tried to banish the turmoil that had been in their home.  Not only had his behavior affected her, but it had also disturbed Liliana, Jasmin, and Marie.  Once he was gone, she had asked a friend, who was an interior designer, to make subtle changes throughout their home using an ancient Chinese design theory called feng shui, which they all found calming and healing.  The sound of waterfalls and the aroma of flowers had helped restore balance and happiness to their home, and reminded her of her uncle’s flower fields in Grasse.  Since then, Danielle managed to find time in her busy schedule to shop for fresh bouquets every week, and she felt better than she had in years.
She drank in the heady aromas wafting through the air, closing her eyes from time to time as she leaned into an exotic flower or plant to breathe in its scent.  I could almost be in Grasse, she thought.
She loved her friend’s shop, in fact, she had helped Mimi and her brother start their business with a small investment.  They were from the Provence region of France, and while Mimi ran the retail shop, her brother oversaw their farm in a valley north of Los Angeles where they grew the flowers and plants.
The shop was busy this Saturday morning in May, bustling with people in their casual weekend clothes enjoying the warm spring weather.  Danielle folded up the long sleeves on her white cotton shirt, and as sunshine streamed through the front windows, she pulled her dark sunglasses from their casual perch atop her head, shielding her eyes against the bright glare.  She spied the gardenias and made her way to them. 
She rubbed the glossy green leaves, touched the moist earth in the pot, and let her fingers trail along a fresh white flower bursting from a tightly swirled bud.  Instinctively, she sniffed her fingers. 
Perhaps I’ll capture this aroma, she thought to herself, smiling.  Cool greens combined with sweet gardenia, the moist earth, the warmth of the sun—it would be perfect for this season.  Maybe a new line of garden-inspired perfumes—
She squeezed her eyes shut, her fingers still hovering beneath her nose.  Am I hearing things?  She heard someone call her name.  And not just anyone, but it sounded just like—  And that scent...the patchouli, the hint of was Spanish Leather and the scent of his warm skin...oh, mon Dieu!  She felt a hand on her shoulder, and felt a shiver of remembrance course through her.
Slowly she swung around.  The shop seemed to fall away, and she felt suspended in the moment.  She pushed her sunglasses up on her head and blinked, staring at the handsome man who stood before her.  Jon? 

“It must be kismet.”  A wondrous smile spread across his face.  “I stopped to buy flowers for Abigail, and I thought I saw you through the window.”  He ran his hand down her shoulder and caught her hand, drawing her to him, intensifying the delicious scent of him in her nose. 
“I can’t believe it, what brings you here?” She felt her heart beating wildly, and was certain he could see it beneath her blouse.

“We have a ship going out on the Pacific from Long Beach.  I didn’t have much notice, what with security and all.  So I thought I’d surprise Abigail.”

Danielle laughed nervously.  “Oh, you would have.  But she’s not here.  She’s in San Francisco with Lou.  He has a film shooting on location there.”

He ran a hand through his thick hair, releasing a faint scent of the sea.  “Ah, once again, I should have called ahead.”

He smiled wistfully at her, his warm eyes crinkling at the corners.  She noticed his face was leaner than before, but his chest was broad, and he looked more muscular.  He’s even more magnificent than I remembered. 

“Then our meeting really is kismet,” he murmured.  His voice sounded low and gentle, yet charged with emotion and strength.  “You look so different, Danielle, you’ve bloomed, just like these flowers.  How many years has it been since that day outside of your apartment?”
Danielle felt her face flush, and moistened her lips to speak, but at that moment, Mimi bustled toward them.
“Did you find the gardenias?”  Mimi paused and tilted her head.  “Ah, I see you’ve found a friend instead.  Who is this?” she asked with a curious smile.
“Jon is an old friend, and Abigail’s brother.”
“I am so very pleased to meet you,” she said, her eyes darting between Danielle and Jon.  “Danielle, I have your flowers ready.  Did you want the gardenias, too?”
“Oh yes, of course.  I’ll take two of these.”

“Let me help you,” Jon said.  “Which ones do you want?”

Reining in her emotions, Danielle pointed to two lush plants, and Jon swept them up in his arms.  “What else do you have?”
Mimi gestured to the counter.  “She has quite a few roses and lilies.”  She glanced at Danielle and added, “How nice that you ran into Jon.” 
“Yes, what luck,” Jon said with broad smile as they wound through the shop.

Danielle felt her pulse quicken, and yet, she marveled at how easily they fell into step together.  It had been three, no, almost four years since they’d seen one another.  Before Cameron, she thought with a jolt.

Jon paid for the flowers and scooped them into his arms.  Laughing, Danielle said, “Here, I can manage the lilies.”
“How far do we have to go with these?”
“I’m parked in the back, follow me.”  As he held the door for her, she glanced over her shoulder, and noticed his gaze lingering on her body, then he met her eyes. 
“Nice flowers,” he said with grin. 
She laughed nervously and shook her head.  “I’m in the Delahaye.”
Jon walked to the car and let out a low whistle.  “What a beauty—the car, too,” he added, looking appraisingly at Danielle.
“Jon, you’re being naughty.  And I’m supposed to be mad at you.”  She unlocked the doors.
“At me?  Why?” 
“Well, why shouldn’t I be?  You show up again, with no notice at all.”
“Danielle, let’s not waste time on the past.”  Taking the keys from her, he opened the trunk and placed the flowers inside.  He drew a deep breath.  “I didn’t call you, or anyone, because I didn’t know how much time I would have.  As it is, I only have a few hours, and I don’t know when I’ll return.”  A serious look shadowed his face for an instant.  He took her hands in his.  “But I’m here now, and it’s a beautiful day.  May we enjoy it together?”
She smiled up at him.  “Come with me to the house.  My mother and the girls are visiting friends in San Diego.  And you know where Cameron is.  I wrote to you about that.” 
He nodded.  “Is he any better?”

“He’s taking this opportunity to work on new songs, and is looking forward to coming home soon.”  She paused, then sighed deeply.  That had been her standard answer to the press for months.  Why should I lie to Jon?  “Actually, he was released from the sanitarium to work on his new album, but after just a month, he had a horrible relapse and returned.  But let’s not talk about Cameron.”  She flipped her sunglasses back on her nose.  “Want to drive?”

Hello Jan, Welcome!! Thanks so much for stopping by today!

How did you start your writing career?

My first volume of poetry: 4th grade. My first novel: 7th grade.  Both are, thankfully, forgotten!  The ULCA Writer’s Program in Los Angeles was my next stop along the writer’s route.  The RWA (Romance Writer’s of America) is also an excellent organization for learning and support.

Tell us about a favorite character from a book.

In Scent Of Triumph, French-born Danielle Bretancourt is an incredibly talented young woman; in the lexicon of perfumery, she is a “Nose.”  During the first half of the twentieth century, most perfumers were men, but Danielle has a special gift—an unparalleled olfactory sense—and the ability to breathe life into artistic ideas.  She’s an entrepreneur, but she’s also a realist, determined to do whatever she must to keep her family together despite the horrors of World War II.

Where do you dream of traveling to and why? 

As a young girl, books were my magic passport to faraway lands.  As an adult, so many of these travel dreams have come true, but I still dream of visiting Brazil, Argentina, Bora Bora, Russia, and Africa.  I just returned from France and Denmark, two countries that stole my heart.

Does travel play in the writing of your books?

Absolutely! I love to write about different countries and cultures, share experiences I’ve had, and introduce readers to new places and people.

Tell us about your current release. 

Scent Of Triumph is one woman’s journey, a journey filled with courage and creativity, with love and loss, and at the heart of it all, a relentless will to survive, to triumph on her own terms.

Who is your favorite author?

So many wonderful writers! Barbara Taylor Bradford writes with elegance and a designer’s eye for detail; Lisa See paints vivid portraits of time and place; Philippa Gregory enchants with historical details.  And all of them portray strong, accomplished women.

When in the day/night do you write? How long per day? 

My days are filled with business, so my writing time is limited to crazy late night spurts and weekend marathons.  But it’s also how I relax.

Tell us about the absolute BEST fan letter you have received.

They’re ALL the best!  I cherish (and save!) every letter I receive, and am so touched when people take time out their busy day to write to me.  I love it when people share memories or places they’ve visited, or stories of a perfume that touched their soul—perhaps one that a beloved family member once wore.  What an incredible honor to receive a letter—especially today!  Email?  Works for me, too!  And I love to send fan letters, too J. 

I'm excited for this opportunity to find out more about Danielle Bretancourt, the heroine of Scent of Triumph. Welcome Danielle!

Where do you dream of traveling to and why?

Since I’m from Europe, I’d love to see more of the United States, my adopted country.  I’d love to visit San Francisco and New York (I hear there are some excellent, authentic French restaurants there!), and ski the snowy mountains of Utah and Colorado.  Of course, I’ll always love France; it’s the heart of perfumery, which is my true passion.

Do you play any sports?

I love to dance! My mother took me to the ballet when I was a young girl in Paris, and I talked her into allowing me to take lessons.  But I love all forms of dance—jazz, tango, and all the new dances in America!

What are you passionate about these days?

Without giving away my story, my family and my creative work are my twin passions.

What do you do to unwind and relax?

I love to garden…I love the aromas of fresh spring blossoms and sun-warmed herbs, even moist black dirt! 

What one word best describes you?

Just one? How about two or three? Creative, determined, and tenacious.

You just won a huge lottery what is the first thing you'll buy?

All the original perfumes I can find!

Do you have a favorite quote, quip, or saying? What is it?

“Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.”  It’s a complicated French phrase, but it means that the more things change, the more they remain the same (literally), but it also means that even though we might change our lives, we might continue to struggle with the same problems.  Real change requires a fundamental shift.

Is there a piece of advice that you have received that has really stuck with you? If so, what was it? 

Winston Churchill once advised, “Never give up!”

Jan Moran is a writer and entrepreneur living in San Diego, California. She is the author of the new Scent of Triumph, a historical novel, and Fabulous Fragrances I and II, which earned spots on the Rizzoli Bookstore bestseller list.

As a fragrance expert, she has been featured in numerous publications and on television and radio, including CNN, Elle, Women's Wear Daily, Allure, and O Magazine. As an editor and writer, she has covered fragrance, beauty, and spa travel. She has spoken before Fashion Group International, The Fragrance Foundation, and The American Society of Perfumers. She is the founder and creator of Scentsa, a touch-screen software program for retailers such as Sephora, and brands. Her proprietary Scentsa® Content Program is a database of beauty descriptions and articles licensed to retailers in several languages.

Website  |  Twitter  |  Video  |  Goodreads  

Here's a link to a fun post for perfume lovers: 

Vintage Perfume Guide - from my Goodreads blog

Two Winners. First name drawn gets their choice of a Print or Kindle Formatted copy of
Scent of Triumph.
Second Place winner receives the format not chosen by the first place winner.
Print book may Ship Internationally!
Comment on this post for a bonus entry. Follow the author on Twitter for another bonus entry.
Giveaway ends August 25th 11:59 PM CDT