Friday, January 2, 2015

Straight Chatting from the Library: Winter Fire by Kathy Fischer-Brown

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Kathy will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Welcome to the blog, Kathy!

Thank you for hosting me today.

What is your reading comfort zone?

I enjoy historical fiction. It can be straight historical or historical romance. I love medieval and renaissance settings, as well as Georgian and particularly colonial/Revolutionary War Era America. Since the designation for “historical” is changing, as time speeds ever-onward, I will occasionally pick up a book set during turn-of-the-19th later than that, I begin to see myself as a relic of the past...which takes me right out of my comfort zone I also like fantasy.

How often do you read out of your comfort zone? See above. I rarely read out of my comfort zone. When I read, I want to be transported from our world with its depressing daily newscasts to another time (even if depressing) and live vicariously through characters in a bygone era. Yes, time travel is possible, through books.

Can you read in the car?

Only when I’m not driving Actually, I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately in the car since we’ve been traveling at least once a month up to Massachusetts to visit our son, his wife, and our 2-year old grandson. There’s always lots of traffic (which thrills my husband no end), so I get in about 8 hours of uninterrupted reading per trip...and that’s just in the car.

What makes you love a book?

So many things must be at work. The characters must be compelling, believable, and—while not always loveable—at least sympathetic. Conflict must be complex and not easily resolved. I’ve read too many books in which the conflict is based on some kind of misunderstanding or something said in anger...which can be quickly straightened out by having those in conflict sit down and talk it through. The setting must be alive for me. Details that draw me into the characters’ world should be woven in with subtlety, through action, reaction and character. I want all my senses involved. The plot should be character-driven, generated by character strengths and foibles. When I’m loving a book, I don’t want it to end, and when I’ve finished such a book, it stays with me long after I’ve finished reading.

Favorite reading snack?

Nothing too messy; I don’t want to smear the Kindle screen. Generally, I don’t eat anything when reading. But my choice in snacks would have to be nuts (most any kind) and some sort of fruit...fresh or dried.

Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.

I try not to let hype influence my likes and dislikes or what I read.

How often do you agree with critics about a book?

It all depends on what you mean by “critics.” Most books today are not reviewed or critiqued on media sites by people trained in literary criticism. They are liked or disliked by readers, century or a WWI era book. Anything many times for very personal reasons. While I can understand people wanting to express their subjective views, I don’t consider them to be reviews per se. To me they’re not much different from someone commenting on a sweater they’ve bought not being the color they expected. Of course, when someone likes one of my books and gives it four or five stars, I’m very happy and grateful.

How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?

Simply put, I don’t do them. It takes time and energy—not to mention a goodly supply of words—to write pretty much anything. Unless I’m blown away by a novel, and even, I seldom write any sort of reviews. I’m curious to know how others feel about this. What inspires readers to “pan” a book?

If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?

French...or Russian. I’ve ready many books in translation and often wondered how different/ better they would be in their original language.

The longest I’ve gone without reading.

Probably a year. When I’m totally immersed in my own work, I find it distracting to read, especially fiction. Then, when I’m done and need to unwind, I often go on a reading binge, made much simpler these days with so many books already waiting patiently on my Kindle.

Favorite film adaptation of a novel?

Last of the Mohicans by a long shot. The film is actually better than the book, which is rather dull in comparison.

Name a book that you could/would not finish.

There are too many and I’d rather not name names. I really can’t abide police procedurals or any book that takes a sensationalist approach to the degradation of women and children (and animals, for that matter). So, any book that starts with a serial killer stalking or otherwise abusing someone for his/her sadistic pleasure is a complete turn-off.

Your favorite fictional hero/heroine/villain/etc.

After much thought, I would have to pick Jane Eyre as a favorite heroine. Her arc is quite amazing, from unwanted orphan child, to the horrors she experiences at Lowood, which shape her character, endowing her with the strength to accept Mr. Rochester and in the end love him. Favorite villain would have to be Javert from Les Miserables. For a man just doing his duty, he becomes obsessed with Jean Valjean to the point of losing his humanity.


When Ethan Caine pulled the unconscious woman from the half-frozen creek, he had no idea that his world was about to explode. Dressed in quilled doeskin of Iroquois design, she stirred up dark secrets from his past. At the same time, she was everything he desired. But she was more Indian than white, and on the run for murder. He needed to know the truth. He needed to find it within himself to trust her.

Banished by the Seneca Indians who had adopted and raised her, ostracized by the whites in the settlement, Zara Grey wanted only to be accepted. “Ethancaine” treated her with kindness and concern. It was easy to trust him. But her Indian ways disturbed him, and in her heart she would always be Seneca.


Silently admonishing himself for setting traps in so secluded a place, Ethan edged down the snow-slick slope into the ravine. He lowered himself cautiously, positioning each step with care, clinging to the scrub peeking out through the snow.

He was halfway down when something moved in the periphery of his vision. Anticipating a deer come to water, he quickly dug a foothold in the snow and, bracing himself, raised his rifle. Immediately, he lowered the weapon and expelled an impatient breath. Just his luck! Not a deer at all. A woman.

And a foolish woman to boot! She had wandered out onto the thin ice, and now stood stock still—as if in fear or uncertainty—her faded brown wool cloak seeming to tremble all around her.

“Get back!” he shouted. “The ice won't hold you!”

She whirled around in alarm.

And in that split second, he saw her eyes. Those startled doe's eyes. Zara Grey!

In the next instant, a crack—like a musket shot—echoed through the ravine. She reeled as the ice heaved up beneath her amid an angry surge of black water. And then, her face frozen in a look of surprise, her mouth open in a semblance of a silent scream, she disappeared through the widening breach.

His gaze fixed on the roiling chasm, Ethan hurled himself down the slope. She surfaced--flailing arms and legs, and gasping desperately for air—churning up the black water into an icy froth. She grasped at the splinters of ice.

“Keep your head up!”

Racing along the bank, he ripped off his deerskin jacket and hurled it, along with his rifle and belt into the snow. If she went under again, she’d be trapped. Already the current had taken her, sweeping her like a bobbing cork toward the opposite bank where the ice was thicker.

“Keep your head up!”

But the frenzied movement of her arms had slowed. She gasped at the water along with the air. She could barely keep herself afloat. As if she had made a conscious choice to surrender herself to a stronger power, he saw the spirit drain out of her. An eerie calm settled over her eyes as her gaze met his, then she slipped under again without a struggle.

Without stopping to think, Ethan tore off his shirt and moccasins, and dove through the opening. The frigid water jolted him, but he swam with determined strokes for the spot where she had disappeared. He stayed under until his lungs were ready to burst, then surfaced just long enough for a gulp of air.

This time, a ceiling of ice loomed above him. He ignored the danger, for something just ahead seized his attention.

Billowing like water-feathers, her hair brushed his face. She, too, appeared to undulate to a silent rhythm, her clothes swirling around her slender body in a strange and seductive dance.

But she didn’t move under her own power. Like a marionette, she danced to the will of the current. His blood quickened, hammering with exertion and something bordering on fear.

She was trapped just beneath the surface, her cloak snagged on the submerged roots of one of the trees along the bank. He tugged once to release her, but the fabric of her cloak was hopelessly twisted around a snarl of root. He tore at it. Still, it wouldn’t budge. If only he hadn't tossed away his knife! Once more, his lungs burning, he yanked. The cloak gave, a little at first, then a little more. Then it ripped away, launching them both toward the ice.
He grabbed her hair as she drifted by. Wrapping his arm around her shoulders, he broke for the surface with the last of his strength.


As a child Kathy wanted to be a writer when she grew up. She also wanted to act on the stage. After receiving an MFA in Acting from the Mason Gross School of the Arts and playing the part of starving young artist in New York, she taught theater classes at a small college in the Mid- West before returning home to the East Coast, where over the years, she and her husband raised two kids and an assortment of dogs.

During stints in advertising, children’s media publishing, and education reform in the former Soviet Unions, she wrote whenever she could. Her love of early American history has its roots in family vacations up and down the East Coast visiting old forts and battlefields and places such as Williamsburg, Mystic Sea Port, and Sturbridge Village. During this time, she daydreamed in high school history classes, imagining the everyday people behind all the dates and conflicts and how they lived.

Claiming her best ideas are born of dreams, Kathy has written a number of stories over the years. Her first published novel, Winter Fire, a 1998 Golden Heart finalist in historical romance, was reissued in 2010 by Books We Love, Ltd., which also released Lord Esterleigh’s Daughter, Courting the Devil, and The Partisan’s Wife.

When not writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, photography, playing “ball” with the dogs, and rooting on her favorite sports teams.

LINKS: Website:
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Blog: BooksWeLove
Video Trailer

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  1. Thanks for hosting me today...and Happy New Year.

  2. Replies
    1. Rita, It was great of you to stop by. I'm glad you enjoyed the interview.

  3. I like the excerpt. Thanks for the giveaway!

    1. Thanks, Cali. The scene is a turning point in the book. It's one of my favorites. Wishing you the best of luck in the give-away.

  4. Replies
    1. Hi Teresa, Thank you for stopping by.If you read Winter Fire, I'd be very happy to hear what you think.

  5. Replies
    1. It was a fun and interesting interview to do.

  6. I so agree about not writing negative reviews. There are much more positive things I'd rather do with my time.

  7. Great excerpt, sounds really good. Entering under the name of Virginia

  8. Thanks for visiting. Wishing you luck in the give-away.

  9. I liked the excerpt best. This book sounds like an interesting read. I will totally have to add this book to my "to-read" list.

    1. I appreciate that, Ally. I hope you like the book.

  10. Replies
    1. Thanks, Erin. I did the trailer myself. I'm so glad you liked it :-)

  11. Replies
    1. Thanks for contributing, Nikolina (what a lovely name, BTW).

    2. I'm blushing... :) Thank you! :) :)