About Me

My photo
Welcome to Heartstrings.Thanks for stopping by. I am a mother, a grandmother, and an author of historical western romance and contemporary romantic fiction. Ethan's Heart, book one of The Blackwood Brothers' series won the 2017 Maggie Award for Excellence. Book two, Escorting Darby Bloom, features Blackwood brother Isaac and will be released in December 2017. Stay tuned for more books in this series. If contemporaries are more your thing, check out Carly's Rule and Dusty's Fate. They are both Amazon Best-Sellers.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Can you believe it's already September? Fall is just around the corner. It is also the time of the Harvest Moon. What a beautiful sight. Harvest Moon 

Something else happened this month. My long awaited debut novel, Carly's Rule, became available at Amazon in Kindle and in paperback, as well as at Barnes & Noble in paperback. Soon it will be available for Nook, at ibook, Sony, and Kobo. It will also be available to order anywhere books are sold.

I feel like I've been waiting all my life for this one event, and it is absolutely all that I expected. I've received encouragement through the years, but the support I have been given since the book released has been unbelievable. Thank you all.

Carly's Rule by Vickie King

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Interview with author Karen Hudgins

Includes an excerpt from her 2013 release 
When Hearts Speak

Vickie: What inspired you to write your first book?

Karen: Inspiration rose out of discovering that I really liked fiction writing, and this particular kind of creativity to the max. I so enjoyed slipping into the zone, creating something from nothing, and coming out on the other side with story pages that made me feel good and pleased others. I had started out small (with many rewrites), one page about a woman in an estate garden waiting for someone. It took all day with a yellow pad and me still in my pajamas when my husband came home from work. By then, I was completely hooked on fiction writing and wanted to do so much more, which led to novel writing and learning as much as I could about the craft and the business. As a result, my first completed manuscript, Next Year's Promise, mostly set in Australia, was published in 2001. My sixth novel, When Hearts Speak, was published July 2013.

Vickie: What or who has been the biggest influence in your writing career and why?

Karen:  Reader appreciation. The personal satisfaction of creating stories always calls me back to write another one.

Karen won 3rd place in 2012 The Heart of Excellence Readers' Choice Award for her book, Best Man. 

Vickie: What is the most difficult part of the writing process for you, and how do you get through it?

Karen: I've found different challenges along the way. In the beginning, I had enrolled in Novel Writing at Rice University Continuing Education program. Reading my work before a group was difficult for me. Also, learning the element of dialogue. I just persisted with both of them and eventually prevailed.

Now, I think my biggest challenge is coming up with romantic conflicts that are credible enough for readers to buy into for the length of a 90K word book with related subplots. Another difficulty, which felt painful, was having to shut down the total immersion process to go to my day job when all my writing doors were open, my imagination was ripe, and content was flowing full blast. Knowing I could write again in the evening helped me cope. Book promotion, which comes with the territory, is still a bit of a challenge. I'm trying different methods.

Vickie: What advice or tips would you like to give, one writer to another?

Karen: For new writers I suggest: Accept and learn how to use constructive criticism. Practice will help you with this. Write as much as you can, every day, if possible. Make an honest effort to learn from others and seek out learning resources. Pick a genre and read, read, read. Spend time with other writers. Set up your own writing space that you come back to every time you write. Keep your chin up. Know what you're doing is NOT easy. Persevere. Finish writing a book, then celebrate big time. Learn the craft first, then the business aspects. Both are changing and immense. Expect to devote serious time to this, years, in fact. Finally, love writing for all that it is, and what it is not--or leave it . . . but keep reading.

Thanks, Vickie, for inviting me to share some of my writing life with you and others. Making writer friends is the best side effect of doing what we do. So good to know you, and best of luck to you with your new first book!

Vickie: Karen, thank you so much for allowing me to pick your brain on writing and for sharing this with others.

Karen Hudgins began writing in the early nineties, and the first novel she wrote was published in 2001. She writes romantic, character-driven stories laced with mystery or suspense, history, humor, often a touch of magic, and always finishes with a happy ending. Researching places, history, and lines of work through talking with people is always fascinating to her.

Northeast Florida is now Karen's home region where she and her husband explore the abundant natural, cultural, and historical features that feed her writer's spirit and imagination. She's a mom and grandmother. Her degree in Behavioral Science helps her create story people and their conflicts. She's a dog owner, beach-goer, reader, and movie-watcher. She likes rock, country music, and the Symphony.

Karen is a member of Romance Writers of America and National Association of Professional Women. She has worked on staff for private universities; the most recent, Washington University in St. Louis. She also enjoys digital photography. People with vision forever impress her, as do moms and dads who read to their young children.

Karen's time with writers, aspiring authors, readers, and other industry folk never proves dull. She's thankful for her writing life and especially for people who enjoy her stories. She wishes her inkwell never goes dry.

Visit Karen's website at  http://www.karenhudgins.com/
Website update in progress. Please come visit again soon for current info and Pics.

When Hearts Speak

Sarah Grace Mayhew, a southern widow, avoids new love. When enigmatic Wyatt Harper lifts her from a fountain, he gets under her wet skin. Yet, how can she love the man whose phantom enemy also targets her? And why should Wyattt cherish a woman tied to his family's worst nightmare? Only their hearts can say.  


          Shortly after sunset Sarah Grace marveled that the tent was up, and Wyatt had hung lanterns in the low pine branches. She was eating a plate of barbecue beef brisket, corn bread, and quartered potatoes that Wyatt had carried in with him. She drank country fruit wine from a faded blue porcelain metal cup.  
          A long time had passed since Sarah Grace sat on a blanket spread on a log in her jeans, girly plaid shirt, Nikes®, and a light jacket. This almost seemed surreal.
          “What a difference eighteen miles makes,” Sarah Grace said quietly, taking it all in.  
          “I thought you’d like it here,” he said. “These are the backwoods to my home away from home. It’s a little cabin along Sandy Creek.”
          “Nice natural landscaping,” Sarah Grace remarked and licked stickiness from her fingers.
          “It’s about as natural as it gets.”
          “I like natural.”
          “I remember.” He moved closer to her and touched her leg with his. 
          “Is there a special reason why we’re here?” Sarah Grace asked thoughtfully. “Seriously.”
          Wyatt blew the flame off two more marshmallows and gave her one.
          “Seriously, yes. I wanted for us to have some time away,” he said. “Away from work problems, public parties, and family pressures. Let’s just be us and watch the sunrise together up here on the only decent hill in this whole county.” 
          Sarah Grace smiled around her marshmallow. He made them perfectly--charred. Also, he was right. Being away with each other was the best filter she’d seen in a long time. “I wouldn’t have thought of this,” she said. She stretched out her legs and crossed her ankles. She and Wyatt weren’t that far out of town. Yet, she was already feeling a difference. 
          “You make a good fire,” she added. “Were you a Boy Scout?”
          “Nope, Grandpa Joel taught me. He was Grandma Bunny’s husband,” he said, propping the long fork against a rock. “The secret’s in the stacking and dry wood. I keep some under a tarp by the big oak tree.” He hiked his thumb over his shoulder. “There’s a cave up here too. Fearless Alan checked it out once and got a bat scratch.”
          Sarah Grace cringed and rolled her eyes. “Boys.”
          “What? You don’t like boys?” Wyatt teased.
          Looking up at the moon, she flung back, “I do, but it’s a little vampire in the making that gets me going.”
          Wyatt laughed and touched her hair. “I’ve been missing you.”
          Sarah Grace squeezed his hand. Keeping things very loose for a while helped her. Now being close to him like this reminded her why it was worth the effort. Wyatt made her feel chosen and cherished. He moved his fingers to her cheek and stopped at the corners of her mouth.
          “C’mon, let’s go see the owls.” He got up and took her hand, grabbed a lantern from a branch, and led her onto a narrow path of chipped wood. He urged her to be quiet, and soon enough they stopped at a small stone bridge over the creek. She held the lantern while he drew a flashlight from his jacket pocket and shone the beam upward into the tallest pine tree. Large, beautiful golden eyes radiated down at them. “There’s a family up there. Chicks every spring,” he said.
          “Their camouflaging is amazing,” she said.
          He embraced her with his free arm, and she again was transported into his world. The more he revealed of himself the more she liked him. He was respectful of her and nature. He took things a little at a time, not at a reckless pace. He fed her spirit with gentleness. He fueled her desires with roguishness. With his eyes he read her needs, with his spirit he met them. She was feeling blessed tonight to be in his company.
          On the way back to the campsite, he flashed the light into the trees. Bright, silvery eyes popped into view.  “Deer,” she said in awe, counting three. “This is awesome.”
          Wyatt swiveled the light beam onto the path. “I should come more often. Last time the whole family was here for my dad’s birthday campout a couple of years ago. A little black bear visited us at the cabin. Mother dropped the strawberry basket on the porch. So the bear stuck around for a while.” He pushed aside a long branch for her to pass by. “Say, are you ready for a warm-up? The coffee pot has about two cups in it yet.”
         As the night grew darker Wyatt pulled her in for warmth and comfort beside him. They shared more stories, including a ghost story for good measure. Ruby had its share of them. The coffee was finished. The breeze around them whooshed through the pine tops, and the lanterns were not as bright. But who needed them for kissing?
          Wyatt turned and held her chin with his fingers and fired a sound kiss on her lips. Her need for love soared higher and deeper by the second. Cupping the back of her head with his hand, he let his passion take over.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Here is my cover for my September release, Carly's Rule, a contemporary romance.

When the book is released, I'll post a link.