Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Guest Author Kemberlee Shortland

Today I’d like to welcome guest author Kemberlee Shortland. She’s going to tell us a bit about her book, RHYTHM OF MY HEART. Also, she will give away a free copy of A PIECE OF MY HEART, the first in the Irish Pride series, to one lucky commenter.

Kem, glad to have you here! Tell us a little about yourself, and what inspired you to become a writer.

Kem: I’m originally from the Monterey Peninsula in Northern California, but I’m currently celebrating my 15th year in Ireland. Came over on a long vacation, stayed for a man ;-)

I can’t remember how long I’ve enjoyed writing, but I do remember the moment when I thought seriously about it. I’d already started reading romances (from about the age of 12), and one night I was listening to the radio and heard the Beatles’ song ‘Paperback Writer.’ I listened to the lyrics and thought, “I can do that!”

Kem ShortlandK-Rhythm-of-My-Heart - 200

Liz: Tell us what RHYTHM OF MY HEART is about.

Kem: RHYTHM OF MY HEART is about Kieran Vaughan, a down-on-his-luck blues guitarists looking for his big break, and Elish Kennedy, who is an artist’s representative looking for a big break of her own. Her boss, Fergus Manley, fancies himself a lady’s man, and since Eilis is the only woman to tell him ‘no’, he’s even more insistent in getting her into bed. Eilis has discovered some good talent, but she need to find that one great talent to get her promoted out from under Fergus’s thumb. He’s dangerous and she knows it. When Eilis discovers Kieran, she knows he’s that break she’s looking for. He could be the Garth Brooks of the blues, if only he’d believe in himself.

But it’s not that simple. It never is. On first meeting, Eilis puts her foot in her mouth, really embarrassing herself. But when Keiran tells her he wants to kiss her, her emotions go every which way. Could there be something more between them than a contract? Not if Fergus has anything to say about it! Her constant refusal to sleep with him only infuriates him, driving his libido into overdrive. He vows he’ll have Eilis on her back, no matter the cost.

Liz: It sounds fascinating! Tell me, if you were casting the movie version of Rhythm of My Heart, who would you choose for the leading roles?

Kem jason-momoa

Kem: Well, despite the hunkalicious guy already on the cover, I’ve kind of envisioned Jason Momoa who played Khal Drogo in Game of Thrones, season one, as my Kieran. Woof!! Would have loved a photo of him on the cover. Your typical Irishman isn’t so brown, but Kieran has Jason’s hair and eyes, his strong chin . . . and that mouth . . . {swoon}

Kem mia-tyler

For Eilis, model Mia Taylor, but with coppery red hair. Mia is one of Mick Jagger’s daughters (actress sister is Liv Tyler). Mia is a very wholesome, full-figured woman, but very sexy like Eilis. Mia has the look of a very strong business woman, yet at the same time, a certain innocence that shines through her sensuality. And I think she’d look great on Jason’s arm ;-)

Liz: Great casting. Now, let’s get a little personal. Tell us about a hidden talent you have that most people don’t know about.

Kem: I don’t think I have any hidden talents, and anything I do, most people know about already, like knitting. When I was younger, though, I could backbend far enough to pick things up in front of my toes. I could do that up until I was about 35.

Liz: Pretty flexible! What’s your favorite season and why?

Kem: I like them all for various reasons. Growing up in Northern California, we kind of only had one season. Living in Ireland, we usually get all four. Sometimes in one day! ;-) I think, though, I really love the summer, particularly around the end of June and into July, as those are the longest days of the year. When we have good summers, those long, hot days are really lovely. It stays light until after 11pm and starts lightning around 4am. If there’s a full moon, it can be dusk-like from 11pm to 4am.

Having said that, I think it’s a novelty in December for the shortest days of the year. Something odd about it not getting light until after 9am and being dark at 4pm. Not really very nice when there’s bad weather, or the cloud cover is so heavy it’s like dusk all day, but novel at the same time.

Liz: Tell us about anyone famous you’ve met.

Kem: I’ve met loads of famous people. It was part and parcel of my family’s business when I was growing up. Probably the most famous person I’ve met was Clint Eastwood. He was always a customer in our business because his famous Hog’s Breath Inn (a restaurant and bar) was directly across the street from us. And I eventually went on to work for him. He’s really a super person. I liked him a lot on many levels . . . of course as an actor, but also as a person. He’s a great philanthropist, loves his family, and he’s funnier ‘en hell, as they say.

Liz: Ooh, Clint Eastwood! Lucky girl. So, what’s your favorite comfort food?

Kem: The question should be ‘what isn’t my comfort food’! I’m a real foodie, and it depends why I’m in a particular mood that dictates what I’ll grab for comfort. When I’m homesick, it’s usually tacos, of all things (that’s usually when the family all gathered around the dinner table for a meal). If I’m feeling nostalgic, it’s pecan cinnamon rolls (when we went camping, we used to strap a big foil wrapped package to the exhaust manifold on dad’s old van so they’d cook on the way. About an hour into the trip, we’d stop for cold milk and break out the piping hot and fully cooked rolls!) If it’s winter and I’m getting the blues from the lack of daylight and not being home for the holidays, I’ll make big pots of beef stew in wine. Really, I can very easily pick a food and a mood and put them together.

Liz: LOL! Okay, now let’s talk about writing. Are you an outliner or do you write by the seat of your pants?

Kem: I do a little of both, actually. I start with a basic outline. Like a car journey, I need a starting off point and a destination. There are things I want to see along the way so I’ll mark those between points A and B then see where they take me. Sometimes the writing veers off to see something really interesting, and sometimes what seems really interesting isn’t and I have to back up to the last junction and find something else interesting. Most of the time, once I get into the journey, the characters put ME in the backseat and do the driving themselves. That can be very interesting!

Liz: If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?

Kem: Probably back working with animals. I have a diploma in pet nutrition and studied pet behavior for a while. And when I worked in the pet business, I also ran obedience courses. I really enjoyed that line of work and would probably still be in it if I hadn’t been injured on the job. Of course, I was also writing back then, so while I might not be published while still in the pet business, I’d still be writing. I’ve always written first and foremost for myself. It’s just a bonus that others want to read my work too.

Liz: And finally, what’s your favorite non-writing-related website?

Kem: That’s a tricky one. Just about everything I do these days is about writing in some form. Even the hours I spend on Facebook (not a favorite but a necessary evil in many ways). Of the few sites I do visit from time to time, I guess Ravelry has to be the favorite non-writer one. It’s an international online niche venue for people with addiction . . . to yarn and other creative fibers! I’m an avid knitter and Ravelry is a great place to look up yarns and patters, and they have a place one can display their work. I used to be very active on the message boards, but I haven’t had time for them in the last year or so. Still love the pattern section though.

Other than that, I love any site with great historical info. I’m a closet archaeological enthusiast.

Liz: It’s been great to have you here today. Anything else you’d like to share?

Kem: Thanks so much for asking me to be here today. For more information on my books, here are a few links.

Kemberlee’s website –

Facebook -

Twitter -

Tirgearr Publishing -

I love hearing from readers, so drop me some messages below! One lucky commenter today will win a copy of the first book in the Irish Pride series, A Piece of My Heart.

Blurb —

Artist Representative, Eilis Kennedy, gave up a singing career so that other women could have a fair chance at having their music heard. Having suffered rejection from callous men in the industry, she thought she would get away from ‘casting couch’ mentality. But when she finds herself in the office of Fergus Manley, all bets are off. Disgusted by his continual come-ons and lewd invitations, Eilis is looking for ‘the one’ who will take her career to the next level, getting out from under Fergus’s controlling thumb.

Aspiring blues guitarist, Kieran Vaughan, is looking for his big break. But after suffering near bankruptcy at the hands of an unscrupulous business partner, Kieran is left picking up the pieces. He’s unsure if the debts will ever be paid or if he’ll ever have a chance to do something with his music. At his whit’s end, he’s about ready to throw in the towel and find a full-time job with real hours.

When Eilis discovers Kieran playing in a seedy pub in Dublin’s Northside, she knows he’s the one rare talent she’s been searching for. With her know-how and his talent, Eilis will finally get everything she’s been waiting for. Neither of them count on the powerful attraction from first meeting. Eilis is so rocked by Keiran’s forthright words that it sends her running. Kieran risks being arrested as he chases Eilis across Ireland.

Seeing what’s happening between Eilis and Kieran, anger wells inside Fergus and he steps up his pursuit of Eilis. Refusing to let Kieran get in his way, Fergus vows to add Eilis’s notch to his bedpost, whatever it takes.

Will Kieran be able to protect her?

Excerpt —

She swallowed hard, then entered the pub.

Her eyes slowly adjusted to the dark room. The few men sitting around the bar turned their gazes in her direction. Understandably. A well-groomed businesswoman in the pub was surely a novelty. These men were long since retired, or long since employed. Their stubbled faces meant they hadn’t shaved in several days, or possibly weeks. The dim light hid the worst of their unkempt appearances, but nothing could disguise their unwashed clothes. A pong in the room wafted into her nostrils, causing her stomach to lurch again.

Shoulders back, she strode to the bar.

The same man from last night stood behind the counter. He was short and pudgy with missing front teeth. His disheveled appearance made him look like his patrons. Had he not been behind the counter she wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference.

His striped brown and white shirt had frayed cuffs and was open to mid-chest, showing a sweat-stained t-shirt underneath. His brown trousers had seen much better days and were held together not with a button or belt, but with a bit of twine looping between his belt loops, his round belly spilling over. The only thing holding up the trousers was his equally round bum. It seemed to push the waistband up in the back as his belly pushed it down in the front. The sight would have been funny if her stomach hadn’t been flip-flopping.

Her voice cracked when she first spoke, but it picked up strength in her determination to make something of this horrid trek. “A-are you the proprietor?”

A broad gap-toothed grin creased the man’s face and, loud enough for his patrons to hear, he said, “I’ll be who ever ye want me to be, luv.”

His friends burst into laughter. Eilis felt the flush rise in her cheeks. Not because she was embarrassed, but from frustration. She just wanted to get this meeting over with and she wasn’t in the mood to spar.

She stood her ground. “I’m looking for the man who played guitar here last night. Kieran Vaughan. We have business. Will you please tell me where I can find him?” She looked the man in the eye, much as she could, considering she stood a good half-foot taller than him, even without her heels.

“No, miss, I doubt you have any business with himself. ‘Speshly a fine lass such as yerself. Now, if ye were to come home with a real man like meself, well . . .” He left the rest unsaid, the insinuation hanging in the air.

Her gaze never wavered as she stared the little man in the eye.

“Sir,” she smiled sweetly, honey dripping from her words. She leaned over the bar just enough to give him a glimpse of the swell of her breast through the opening of her blouse. “I doubt you have anything I would be interested in. Besides, you don’t really want me to find out why this place is called The Little Man, do you?”

This earned the publican long oohs and sniggers from the patrons, who were now on the edges of their seats waiting to hear the disagreeable little man's response.

Obviously taken aback by such a brazen retort, the man stood gaping red-faced at her for a moment before he got his wits about him. He winked at the men around the bar. “Oy does like me birds feisty!” That only encouraged more laughter.

Eilis could have enjoyed the banter if only the man wasn’t so repulsive. All she wanted to do was meet Kieran Vaughan and get out of Finglas as quickly as possible.

When the laughing stopped, Eilis’s gaze never wavered as she said, “Well?”

“Well what, loov?” he asked, wiping the tears from his eyes with a dirty bar towel.

“Are you going to tell me where to find Kieran Vaughan?” He was trying her patience, but she did her best to keep the frustration out of her voice.

Then she sensed someone step up behind her and straightened instantly. Somehow she knew it was Kieran. The feral scent of him permeated her senses and quickened her pulse. Butterflies replaced the strange ache in her stomach that had been there just moments before.

She turned slowly and looked up at the most handsome man she’d ever seen in her life. She found herself instantly speechless.

She'd seen him on stage the night before and knew he was handsome. But this close up . . . Never before had she seen such blue eyes. And as she gazed into them, they changed from the light steel blue to the color of storm clouds heavily ringed with gunmetal. That he had dark brows and thick lashes only made his gaze seem more intense.

“Ye’ve found him, loov,” said the little man, taunting her. “Now what are ye goin’ ta do with him?”

The hammering of her heart and the pulsing blood in her temples blocked out the noise in the room as she looked into Kieran Vaughan’s eyes. To her dismay, her knees actually quivered.

Something in the pit of her belly ached. No, something else. It was like warm melting honey running through her marrow. In that moment she longed to touch him, to brush the unruly wave of his dark hair away from his face, to feel his lips against the pads of her fingers, to . . .

When he spoke she almost didn’t hear him.

“Like the man said, now that you’ve found me, what are you going to do with me?” His eyes sparkled with unabashed mischief.

“Anything you want me to,” she heard herself whisper.

Kem ShortlandKemberlee

Bio —

Kemberlee Shortland grew up in Carmel-by-the-Sea as Kemberlee Lugo. When she had the opportunity to see Ireland on an extended trip, she jumped on it. She has just celebrated 15 years living in Ireland and about ready to celebrate her 13th wedding anniversary to her very own Irishman.

Over the years, Kemberlee has traveled extensively around Ireland, which gives her a distinct perspective on using Ireland as a setting for her books. After publishing several short stories, set in both Carmel and Ireland, Kemberlee’s first Irish set novel, A Piece of My Heart, became an instant hit and established her as a foremost author of Irish Romances.

Her current release, Rhythm of My Heart, was just published on 16 July to great appreciation by her readers. Also set in Ireland, this story promises readers another exceptional Irish romance.

Kemberlee is not just celebrating the release of Rhythm of My Heart, she is also celebrating her first six months as a publisher. She and husband Peter launched Tirgearr Publishing in February this year and have attracted many established authors, including a well known and titled British thriller writer.

Additionally, Kemberlee is not just an author and publisher; she is also an avid blogger who publishes articles on writing, book reviews, travel, crafts and anything else striking her fancy. When she’s not found sat in front of her computer, she can be found traveling with her husband, spending time with her two Border Collies, Daisie and Poppy, knitting or watching reruns of Castle.