Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Top 10 Must Haves for a Page Turning Read- Near The Wild by Maureen Willett

My list of favorite novels is a revolving door, but they all have certain elements. This list is not necessarily in order of preference, because that can change, too.

1) A sexy bad boy character with a secret heart of gold. I prefer him to be a bit flawed, too. So, maybe a scar down his cheek, or recovering alcoholic, something to make him more real.

2) A strong female character who sets out to tame the bad boy, only to find herself changed for the better because of him.  She shouldn’t be too pretty, though. Again, I like my characters real. 

3) An element of magic.

4) Something new, unique, or different. A story I haven’t read a million times before. 

5) A bit of mystery.  Whether it’s the plot, a character, I don’t care, but I don’t want everything to be too obvious or predictable. Surprise me!

6) Humor. I love characters who keep their sense of humor, even in the darkest, most stressful situations. 

7) Even if it’s paranormal fiction or sci-fy, make it believable. I want to close that book thinking whatever those characters went through could happen to me. 

8) Not just steamy sex, but also romance. It’s far more compelling and memorable.

9) A great setting. Take me somewhere I’ve never been before!

10) A satisfying ending. I hate feeling like I wasted my time because the ending is meaningless or trite. There really must be a happy ending. 

I endeavor to write novels that include all of the above elements. I believe I’ve succeeded with my latest novel, Near The Wild. 

Near The Wild
Maureen Willett

Genre: paranormal romance/historical fantasy

Publisher: independent

Date of Publication: June 27, 2015

ISBN: 9781524209926

Number of pages: 229
Word Count: 82,500

Book Description:

Cowboys and leprechauns both occupy Maeve MacKeighry's world in 1870, and she must decide which will win her heart. Leprechauns are feared, even in Ireland, but that doesn't prevent Maeve from striking up a friendship with one who lives near her village. But once Maeve becomes a young woman, the local villagers start to gossip, especially since the MacKeighrys are known to practice magic in their home. It's just for entertainment, but the town folk don't see it that way. Rather than be outcasts, the MacKeighrys set off to America to homestead in Kansas, vowing to leave their magical ways and friends behind. Little do they know that Maeve's friend follows and protects them on their journey.

The MacKeighrys encounter many adventures along the way to Kansas, only to find a simple sod house on their new farm at the end of the journey. The untamed land offers a fresh start for the family, as well as two very interesting men who both compete for Maeve’s attention. Pretty young women in a wild western town are a rarity. But can she forget her magical friend, and turn her attention to two of the most interesting men she has ever met? Perhaps cowboys and outlaws have a certain charm that a leprechaun doesn't, after all.

Most of the novel takes place in Kansas in 1870 and is based on the author’s family history. The idea of the MacKeighry’s sod house came from the home of Willett’s great grandfather. She was lucky enough to visit it as a teenager before the house was destroyed. One of the characters, Nikki Fuerst, is based on an ancestor, a prince from Austria who was disinherited for marrying a commoner and sent off to America. Stories Willett has been told her entire life about her family’s history and traditions, such as levitating tables, are included in Near The Wild.

I didn’t notice much about his face at first.  It was his hair that caught my eye.  It hung just below his jawline and was beautifully cut, as was fitting for a man of his wealth.  The thick, raven-colored ringlets framed his angular face in an almost angelic fashion.  He gracefully moved his tall frame toward me on the narrow, wooden walk in front of the store.
Normally, this stretch of sidewalk in Colton was quite busy in mid-day.  I would nod and greet just about everyone, feeling obliged to make it apparent that my mother raised her children to have manners, but it just happened to be an odd day, so he and I were the only ones passing by each other.  Because the sidewalk was so narrow, he stopped, made a slight bow with his head, and let me pass, keeping his eyes downward in a polite manner.  The silver grey of his tailored suit and well-turned silk cravat glistened in the sunlight.  He carried a top hat in his gloved hands.  His fingers looked long and slender through the kid leather.
Grateful for his polite gesture and thinking his eyes were still averted, I glanced at his face to get a better look at this polished, dapper young man, only to be surprised by the flawless white complexion.  His high cheekbones, straight nose, and perfect, creamy skin must be the envy of every woman in Colton, especially those who had grown up plowing fields in the sunlight and now had faces resembling tough leather.
Believing I’d seen an angel come down from heaven, or at least one of those men who would never marry and spend his life seeking the company of other men, I looked into his eyes.  It was then I realized my mistake.  There, in the blue-green depths, was a lustful intent that unnerved me to my core.  I almost stepped back in surprise.  His dark, arched brows went up in mock politeness.
But it was his indecently shaped mouth that would be a girl’s undoing.  His upper lip was an arched bow and naturally ruby colored, reminding me of the blood-red painted lips of that fancy woman on the train.  And his lower lip looked swollen with untethered desire.  Oh, to have that mouth touching my body!  The thought entered my head before I could shake it loose and made my knees weak.  Those lips were a sensuous beast all their own.
With a beautiful smile, he made his desire to see me without my petticoat quite clear.  I gulped and almost lost my footing as I walked away, quickening my step to hasten my retreat from the depths of his alluring blue-green eyes and harlot’s mouth.  My heart pounded and my face heated as I ran toward the safety of my brothers, away from the unconventionally handsome Mr. Fuerst.

It was a common fact in Colton that he was the only heir of a royal fortune.  It seemed his father had been a prince in Germany but was banished to America for marrying a commoner.  Mr. Fuerst was here to build a mansion across from the new train station, because his father was one of the investors in the transcontinental railroad that would one day connect Kansas to California.  Apparently, he built the largest mansion in the area of Colton that was now burgeoning with homes for the emerging upper class, Bell Street.  Colton was the end of the railroad line on the western side—at least for now—and the young Mr. Fuerst would be our resident patriarch.  The next time I’d run into him would be under quite different circumstances.

About the Author:

Maureen Willett is a writer of fiction that pushes the boundaries of established genres.  Her stories mostly come from her own family legends that have been passed down through generations, but then she tops them off with a twist of faery dust and angel wings. 

But at the core of each story are great characters in very human conflicts that anyone will find compelling.  Each novel is crafted as an experience that will take readers beyond their day-to-day lives, incorporating themes of time travel, reincarnation, and magic.   

She lives in Hawaii and finds its ethereal beauty a source of inspiration for her writing.  She is a former journalist, public relations professional, and media marketing specialist.  Writing fiction has been her passion since grade school.

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