New from Ruth J. Hartman: The Color of Deception

ColorofDeception 200x300When I was researching ideas for a new Regency series, I came across a story about toy panoramas from that era. Apparently, modeled after the sprawling panoramas on the ceilings of various buildings, artists began to make miniature versions of them. The intent was to make them available to children, as small toys they could carry around with them, but they quickly became popular with adults as well. Soon, women were buying the tiny pieces of art to carry around with them in their reticules. Each painting was only a few inches high and wide, and was rolled up on a thin wooden spool. The scenes could be anything the artist wanted to create, such as buildings, animals, nature, or even people. The possibilities were endless!

My story, “Color of Deception” is book one in a series of three. Each book focuses on a different Sullyard sister. Aside from being artists, each sister finds herself embroiled in her very own mystery. Books two and three will be out in the next couple of months.

Here’s the blurb for “Color of Deception”

When artist Kitty Sullyard draws a strange symbol in her toy panorama, she doesn’t expect it to be life threatening. Tossed into a situation she never asked for, she learns the hard way who not to trust.

After Kitty mysteriously disappears, Nathaniel Bexley has only a single clue with which to find her. It’s something only he would know. Will he be able to decipher the secret message she’s hidden in a drawing, or will Kitty be doomed to the hands of her kidnappers?

ruth hBeing an amateur artist myself, I loved discovering the process of how they went about creating their hand-painted panoramas. I can’t imagine creating something so tiny, or how many grueling hours it would have taken just to complete one!

I hope you enjoy book one of the Sullyard Sister Series!

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Welcome Best Selling Author Ruth Hartman!

Okay, so today this CRAZY DOG LADY (a/k/a/ me) is hosting my good friend, Ruth Hartman, a self proclaimed… well, how about we let her tell it!
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I am a crazy cat lady. I make no excuses for it and in fact wear the honor proudly. Three very spoiled cats, all named after some of my book characters, share a one-hundred-year-old farmhouse with my husband, Garry and me. Max, Roxy and Remmie rule the house, of course, expecting the humans to bow and scrape and see to their every whim.

Which of course, we do.

My very first published story was in “I Love Cats” magazine several years ago. I sent in a memory of the first cat Garry and I shared. His name was Arthur and he resembled a Russian Blue, though I’m sure he was a mutt, considering we got him from the animal shelter.

Arthur lived to be sixteen, but when he was twelve, one day he couldn’t decide if he wanted in the house or out on the patio. He raced back and forth while I held the door open. I thought he’d made up his mind at last and shut the door. But he must have had second thoughts and tried to race back into the kitchen at the last minute. When I saw the fur and blood from his tail all over the floor, I screamed. So did Arthur. Our adventures with the plastic lampshade he had to wear and how drunk he was from the pain meds made up the crux of my little story.

My excitement was so great when I received the magazine in the mail, I could hardly stand it. I was a published writer. Me! Next came a memoir about my struggles with severe OCD. Then a romance. And more romances. I was on a roll. About a year ago, I had my first historical romance published. Once that happened, I knew I’d discovered my niche. Something clicked and I felt I’d finally found my writer’s home.

And every single book I’ve ever written has touted at least one cat. Some contain several. To me, if one of my stories doesn’t have something that’s covered in fur and purrs, it’s not complete. Since my life would be lacking without cats, why should my story characters have to do without? Don’t they deserve to be happy?

A couple of my books even focus on cats. “Better than Catnip” a contemporary romance, takes place in a cat rescue shelter. And “Romance at the Royal Menagerie”, a historical romance, is about a girl whose father works at the Tower of London’s zoo. That story was really fun to write because the heroine gets to play with the BIG cats!

As you can see, my fondness for cats has a way of leaking out into my books. It can’t be helped. Once you reach the professional level of crazy cat lady, there’s no turning back.

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Francesca Hartwell adores cats of every kind. Lions, leopards, tigers. And they all love her. Good thing she gets to see them every day, since her father is their caregiver in the Tower of London’s Royal Menagerie. She’d love to find a man with whom she could share her love of animals, but so far, no one has stolen her heart. And there’s the added snag that whoever she marries must not have anything to do with nobility, as her mother had left her and her father for an earl.

John Fairgate has three rules given to him by his uncle. Inherit the title of baron upon his uncle’s death. Give up ornithology. And marry a childhood acquaintance. The first two, John will abide by, but won’t like. But the third, marrying a shrew who makes his skin crawl, he simply cannot do. Meeting Miss Francesca Hartwell at the zoo, however, has given him other ideas for a wife. But she’s not titled or wealthy. How will he be able to convince his uncle that she’s the woman of his heart?

AND JUST AS YOU THINK IT CAN’T GET ANY BETTER… SHE WRITES ANOTHER BOOK!

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Augustus Sinclair has a broken heart. His betrothed has dropped him for his best friend. Former best friend. When he meets Anne Balfour, though, he questions whether he’d ever really been in love with his fiancé. Some of Anne’s reactions to what he considers everyday activities are puzzling, but that doesn’t stop him from falling head over heels for the first time in his life.

Anne Balfour is amazed to be a guest at the Shrewsbury’s, one of Mayfair’s most well-to-do families — even if the circumstances are less than ideal. Still, she can’t help but get caught up in the excitement of society life. Especially when in the company of Augustus Sinclair. He makes her believe in love and romance, even if she is just the dustman’s daughter.

These and Ruth’s other wonderful adventures are available wherever e-books are sold, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble

 

In the Beginning, They Were Writers – Ruth Hartman

Words and Pictures
by Ruth Hartman

In elementary school, my love of writing seemed to form right along with my love of drawing pictures. Usually, I drew cats. But one day, tired of the same old thing, I grabbed a magazine my dad had tossed on the floor beside his recliner. I drew the picture, freehand, while looking at the cover. It was of a man, slouched in a church pew, with his shoes off. His eyes were half-closed, trying to stay awake while he listened to the service.

The caption referred to the “apathetic and bored church member”. I wrote down the words just as I saw them on the page, and positioned them above the drawing of the man. I studied the words and knew all of them but one.

“Daddy,” I asked. “What does a…pa…the…tic mean?”

He looked away from his newspaper and frowned. “What?” He leaned over to where I sat on the floor with my pencil, paper and the magazine. “Did you draw that?”

“Yes.”

“You traced it from the picture?”

“No. I just drew it. No tracing.”

“Hmmm. That’s really good.” He glanced down at the paper again. “Apathetic means you don’t really care. You’re not really interested.”

I studied the word and nodded. “Oh, okay.” But inside, my mind sprung to life. I’d just written a word I didn’t know, had found out its meaning, and now I knew that the next time I wrote it or read it, I’d remember what it meant! How exciting! I’d always loved to read, but writing that word and discovering something new brought that love to life.

After that, even though I was shy, I participated in our class’s spelling bees and did well. I loved to write stories for school and just for the fun of it. And I was that weird kid in high school who cheered when we had to do term papers.

Nothing has changed. The other day when my nephew, who’s in college, moaned because he had to take a literature class, I volunteered (jokingly) to write all of his papers for him.

My first experience with writing a book was in 2008. I’d gone through a very rough four years of living with debilitating OCD. I could hardly leave my house. When I started to feel better, I wrote down what I’d gone through. The finished product was the now re-released “Life in Mental Chains”. It wasn’t necessarily my plan to keep writing books, but one day while cleaning a patient’s teeth at the dental office where I work, I wondered what would happen if a hygienist fell in love with her patient. “Flossophy of Grace” was the result.

Ten books later, I’m still writing and loving it! My newest venture is Regency Romances. “Time for a Duke” was released in November 2012.

Guess I should thank that apathetic man in the church pew. He might have been bored, but his picture prepared my mind for a lifetime of the joy of writing.

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Thank you for stopping by, Ruth! Readers may find Ruth on Amazon and Barnes & Noble!