Mike Houtz releases debut novel, Dark Spiral Down

Welcome, Mike!

Tell us about what you write.

I write full-length action and medical thrillers.

When did your writing journey begin?

I believe I was born a storyteller. The process of writing has always been a way for me to express my imagination. I’ve written with the intent to entertain as far back as junior high school. I put those thoughts aside for a career in medicine, but that desire never left me. When I decided to stay at home for my kids, I revisited my earlier life goals and writing reached out to me once again. When I see someone’s face light up after reading my work, I feel this deep satisfaction from entertaining them. I’ve had that inner feeling as far back as I can remember.

What was your inspiration for DARK SPIRAL DOWN?

I’ve been involved in children’s concerns—professionally and personally—for most of my adult life. My series shines a light on a little-known issue with the kidnapping of American children by one parent and taken to a foreign country against the will of the other parent. In 1983, a small consortium of countries adopted the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child abduction. Only about half of countries worldwide recognize the status quo child custody arrangement existing before an unlawful removal of a child from their home country. I wanted a hero that brought justice to this real-world problem. When the court system fails a child’s return, Cole delivers his brand of justice.

Do you find inspiration in your own life for your writing?

I do. I have two boys at the breech of their teenage years. I’m hoping that they see their father pursuing his passion with gusto and determination. Just like writing, I want to show them what it’s like to pursue a dream and not just tell them they should live their lives in that fashion. We adults might not think our kids are paying any attention, but I’m convinced they see it all.

Tell us about DARK SPIRAL DOWN.

Cole Haufner is a rising superstar in the professional mixed martial arts world. At the peak of his success, Cole suffers a horrible personal tragedy. His grief grows further when his brother, Butch, a Delta Force team leader, goes missing during a mission. Desperate to find Butch, Cole’s search for his brother takes him back to his childhood home in southeastern China and the Shaolin Temple where he was raised by his uncle, Master Li.

When Cole meets his brother’s Delta teammate, code name Hammer, Cole’s fame and personal agenda collide with the Delta unit’s recovery mission of a stolen twenty-year-old invention that could transform the human race; one that could also see its downfall, if the pursuing North Korean agents can find it first. Cole’s personal spiral downward approaches madness as a family secret is revealed to him, one that could force him to choose between his brother and one of the most important, and potentially deadliest, discoveries in modern human history.

PRAISE FOR DARK SPIRAL DOWN:

“If you’re in the market for a fast paced, action filled, page-turning thriller, Mike Houtz delivers a must-read novel. I highly recommend this emotional rollercoaster of a book for every die-hard thriller reader…Get it ASAP!”

 - Lima Charlie Review

Dark Spiral Down is a phenomenal debut novel by Mike Houtz! This book has everything readers of the genre love: a great plot, memorable characters, and a powerful voice. It’s a must-read!” 

  - Ammar Habib, Bestselling & Award-Winning Author, Editor-in-Chief of Thriller Magazine 

Tell us about your experience with the publishing process.   

I’d just finished what was truly a rough draft of my novel when I came across a writing contest offering feedback from the judges. I needed some professional eyes looking things over, and I really wanted to know what I needed to work on both in the story as well as my own writing knowledge. I honestly forgot about my submission and months later, I received a call one evening announcing I’d won the Zebulon Award for the suspense/thriller category. I’m fairly certain my lower jaw bounced off the floor. A few months after that, I pitched my newly awarded manuscript to The Wild Rose Press, a smaller traditional publisher out of New York, at the Colorado Gold conference. After a request for a full, I was quickly put in touch with a senior editor who pushed the book through their committee at light speed. The communication along the way was outstanding, and I had that gut feeling I was in good hands. Because of how they’d treated me along the way, I had zero qualms of accepting the contract they offered. Working with my wonderful editor, Leanne Morgena, I’ve learned a ton this past year, and my writing has improved immensely. A great start to my career.

Any new projects on the horizon?

I have two in the hopper. I also just submitted a short story for an anthology set to release in 2020. Short stories are hard work! I’m working on book #2 in the Cole Haufner series. I’m also back at my original WIP, a medical thriller. When Tess Gerritsen says she can’t wait to see it, you better believe I’m going to finish that ASAP.

Words of advice for fellow writers in the trenches:

It’s a marathon. The winners are those that stay the course and don’t let outside influences drive their own narrative. Write your own ending.

What was the hardest/most unusual/interesting part of the story to write/research?

The most difficult part was the North Korean characters. As you can imagine, there’s not a lot of available research because of their closed society. It was also fascinating to imagine their mindsets and motivations. Their way of thinking is so different than our own, and I had some mental fun crawling into their heads.

Find Mike:

Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads ~ Bookbub

Now for an excerpt…

Anger born of helplessness rose in his chest. In contrast to Master Li's placating tone, Cole straightened to his full height and stared into the man's face. "Let me guess, more 14K cowards?"
Another man stepped forward and cocked his pistol's hammer. "I show you coward." 
As at the Crowne Plaza earlier, Cole refused to back off, even in the face of impending conflict. "The coward is the man who needs a gun." 
The other with the shotgun pointing at Cole's chest stood only some seven or eight feet away. "You will come with us now!"
"Please. Violence is forbidden here," Master Li spoke again. "The Temple is sacred. We cannot have this type of behavior."
"Maybe you don't hear so good," the leader sneered. "He comes with us whether you approve or not."
"He is a famous American! If you take him, the government will arrest anyone involved. They will have no choice but hold immediate trials and executions." Master Li cupped his hands together and held them against his chest.
"Famous American," the man chuckled. "If you are so famous, what are you doing here then, huh?"
Cole stared straight into the man's eyes. He took several steps toward the shotgun-wielding thug. "How about I show you?" 

Speed-dating round:

What does your desk look like? Ten squirrels fighting over one nut

In an alternate reality, what would be your dream job (besides author)? Lead singer for KISS

Where is your favorite place you've visited (or wish to visit)? So far, London. So far…

You have a time travel machine: past or future? Where/when? 2 weeks into the future and grab the Lotto numbers.

Above, Mike atop Mount Gray, a 14+er in Colorado, and his dog, Saber.

If you could meet one famous person, living or dead, who would it be? DaVinci

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why? Milky brown color called Backstory Barf. No one wants to see that.

What are you known for? Original member of Zydeco band Mojo and the Bayou Gypsies

Morning rooster, night owl, or midday lark? Night owl

Favorite book of all time? Tom Clancy’s Red Storm Rising

Where can you find Mike?   Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Goodreads  ~  Bookbub

Where can you find Mike?

Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads ~ Bookbub

 

 

Mystic Maples by Tena Stetler makes its Deerbourne Inn series premiere!

Welcome, Tena!

From Tena: “Mystic Maples is my contribution to the multi-author series The Deerbourne Inn. If you haven’t read any of the series, I highly recommend them. Each story is written by a different author and share scenes within Willow Springs, Vermont centering on The Deerbourne Inn and its cast of quirky characters.”

(Jean here…I second the above! What a great series so far!)

What inspired this (specific) story? 

After reading all the original information set out for the multi-author series The Deerbourne Inn, Mercy and Sil began chattering in my mind. They claimed the setting was perfect for their story. Once I did the character worksheets I always do before starting a story, I discovered they were right.   I love writing small town stories and putting a paranormal twist on them.  

Any interesting discovery or tidbit of info while researching/writing this book?

I had to research the process of making Sugar Maple sap into Maple syrup, so I would know the equipment used, the buildings used and the time of year. My hero took over Mystic Maples the family maple business in Willow Springs, Vermont. Did you know sugaring season for maple syrup is from early February through late March?

Fun Facts:

  • It takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of pure maple syrup.

  • Pure maple syrup contains antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and amino acids – making it good for your health and a great alternative to refined sugar (in moderation of course). 

  • REAL maple syrup is 100% fat free and contains no preservatives.

  • Buy extra! You can keep maple syrup in the freezer for a very very long time (like forever)! It will never freeze solid. Always keep your open bottle of syrup in the refrigerator. 

  • There is actually a law in Vermont making it illegal to label a product on a restaurant menu or food package as “maple” if it is not pure maple syrup. Vermonters take this stuff seriously!

Tell us one unique thing about you many might not know.

I was a radio DJ for two years on a Classic Rock Station KKFM. It was a fun job, the perks of attending the rock concerts and meeting the bands rocked, but the pay sucked! It was an experience I enjoyed.

Mystic Maples…  Earth/Fire witch Mercy Rose's insatiable curiosity always gets her in trouble. After a break-in at her Colorado flower shop, and a court battle that comes to a screeching halt in her favor, she arrives at Deerbourne Inn for a much-needed getaway. Looking for peace and quiet, she finds just the opposite in a startling handsome but mysterious man and his dog.  Silvanus Forrest's gypsy/fae heritage is a double-edged sword. The land he inherited from his parents is rumored to be enchanted. But when Mercy discovers the truth, his well-ordered life unravels, and they're catapulted into the past to right a wrong. Along the way their lives intertwine, and they discover the true meaning of family and love. Will they change the past in time to save their future?

Mystic Maples…

Earth/Fire witch Mercy Rose's insatiable curiosity always gets her in trouble. After a break-in at her Colorado flower shop, and a court battle that comes to a screeching halt in her favor, she arrives at Deerbourne Inn for a much-needed getaway. Looking for peace and quiet, she finds just the opposite in a startling handsome but mysterious man and his dog.

Silvanus Forrest's gypsy/fae heritage is a double-edged sword. The land he inherited from his parents is rumored to be enchanted. But when Mercy discovers the truth, his well-ordered life unravels, and they're catapulted into the past to right a wrong. Along the way their lives intertwine, and they discover the true meaning of family and love. Will they change the past in time to save their future?

Find Mystic Maples: Amazon, AmazonUK, AmazonAU, AmazonCA Barnes&Noble and itunes

Speed-dating round:

Oxford comma, yes or no?  Yes, but not willingly.

Ice cream (favorite flavor)? Chocolate

Tena’s work cave

Tena’s work cave

Coffee or tea or wine? French Vanilla Tea

In an alternate reality, what would be your dream job (besides author)? Well paid DJ.

Where is your favorite place you've visited (or wish to visit)? I’d love to visit Scotland and Ireland.But  I love Monterey Bay, California.

Beach, lake, or mountains? Mountains

If you could meet one famous person, living or dead, who would it be? Steve Jobs

Morning rooster, night owl, or midday lark? Night Owl

What comes first, character or plot (or other)? Character

Now for an excerpt…

Once again her insatiable curiosity overwhelmed her good sense.

He reached out. It all happened like slow motion, he grabbed her arm pulling her out of her thoughts. Reflex action on her part caused a jolt of magic spark to snap from her palm. A direct hit to his solar plexus. Uh-oh—there goes the offer of his cottage. “I’m so sorry,” she blurted.

Doubling over, he gasped for air. She had to admire him. He stayed on his feet.

Adrenalin surged through her veins, the fight or flight response alive and well. A final glance at him to make sure he was recovering, then she snapped her fingers and disappeared.

Back in her room at Deerbourne Inn, she paced around, stopped and stomped her foot. “Damn it!” Then she returned to pacing. Grabbing her phone, she scrolled to her sister’s number, turned it off silent, then froze. Her sense of self-preservation and good sense kicked in.

She could just see her sister, arms crossed over her chest, lips pursed, and shaking her head. Then in that condescending tone Hope would say, “Again.” She tossed the phone on the bed. Fell backward onto the handmade quilt and stared at the ceiling.

A whoosh of cool air washed over her. She shifted her gaze toward the window. It was closed. A woman’s filmy outline floated across the floor, taking a familiar shape. As the apparition settled onto the bed a slight indentation on the covers appeared. She sat up.

The ghost touched her hand. “My, my, what has you so upset?”

The specter’s touch was cool, sending shivers down her spine. She opened her mouth, but no sound came out. At her second attempt to speak only a squeak was audible.

“Come, come now, girl, spit it out.” The ghost’s smile was reassuring.

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About Tena…

Tena Stetler is a best-selling author of award winning paranormal romance novels. She has an over-active imagination, which led to writing her first vampire romance as a tween to the chagrin of her mother and delight of her friends.

With the Rocky Mountains outside her window, she sits at her computer surrounded by a wide array of paranormal creatures, with a Navy SEAL or two mixed in telling their tales. Her books tell stories of magical kick-ass women and strong mystical males that dare to love them. Travel, adventure and a bit of mystery flourish in her books along with a few companion animals to round out the tales.

The wait is over! L. Ryan Storms's new release!

A Thousand Years to Wait …  Prophecies are meant to unfold on their own—they can’t be forced into fruition. Or can they? When a war-torn kingdom is on the cusp of falling to a usurping general, a young healer who doesn't believe in magic is called upon to help a prophecy transpire. She must embrace the magic...or lose everything.

A Thousand Years to Wait

Prophecies are meant to unfold on their own—they can’t be forced into fruition. Or can they? When a war-torn kingdom is on the cusp of falling to a usurping general, a young healer who doesn't believe in magic is called upon to help a prophecy transpire. She must embrace the magic...or lose everything.

 Welcome, L. Ryan Storms! Your bio is pretty diverse. How did you end up writing?

I guess it took me longer than most to realize storytelling was my true calling. While I’ve always loved it, it never seemed like a viable path for me. As someone who has so many interests, it always made sense to follow a more “solid” career path, like science. As a result, I worked in pharmaceutical microbiology for years. I loved it! (I am a huge science nerd.) But I found I still needed to fill that creative void and writing was the perfect outlet.

In fact, I have to give some credit to the pharmaceutical industry for steering me towards writing. At one point, I left the laboratory and started as a technical writer in the R&D department. It was the first time I really learned how to piece together large documents on a regular basis and realize that I could jump around to fill in pieces as I gathered them. It didn’t quite feed the creative in me (Boy, is technical writing dry!), but it gave me a basic understanding of how I could delve into my own writing and not just start, but also finish novels. (Which is kind of important if you’re going to be an author.) As the years went on, I started to feel more at home with my writing and finally decided to take the plunge into indie-authorhood this year.

What’s your favorite kind of character to write?

That’s a tough one. One of the best parts about being an author is bringing to life so many different kinds of characters. I love the diversity of it. All in all, I’d have to say intelligent characters with just a little bit of attitude rank high on my list. I really enjoy the challenge of writing a character who has the brains to figure out how to take on the problems around them. That said, one of the most difficult things to write is a character who is a whole lot smarter than you are. I wrote a story about a time-traveling prodigy once and I had the most difficult time writing it because I just couldn’t process how someone that smart would think.

Quinn was probably one of my favorite characters in A Thousand Years to Wait because of the way his mind works. Because the story is told from Reina’s point-of-view, we don’t really get to see how Quinn thinks up front, which makes for a lot of speculation. It was lots of fun. If things go right, you might see more of Quinn’s thoughts in the future.

A Thousand Years to Wait is labeled as being Book 1 of The Tarrowburn Prophecies. Does this mean there’s more to come?

Maaaaaaybe. It was always my intention to make A Thousand Years to Wait the first of a trilogy. In fact, early versions of the book alluded to more prophecies and additional troubles. I am a huge fan of trilogies, but I love a first book that can stand alone. That’s what I aimed for with A Thousand Years to Wait.

I hope to write the second book this year. I’m in the middle of another project, though, and need to wrap that one up first. I’m not the kind of writer who can work on multiple books at once. I get too muddled and lose my way. Authors who can hop back and forth between projects with no problem are my heroes.

Speaking of A Thousand Years to Wait…let’s learn a bit more about it:

At eighteen, Moreina di Bianco is a young healer who believes in medicine, not magic, even while possessing a second sight she can’t fully explain. So when the Faranzine Talisman chooses Reina to reawaken an ancient magic and end a war, she must reconcile her beliefs, unlock the talisman’s secrets, and harness the magic within.

Reluctant to accept help, Reina agrees to allow two determined escorts to accompany her on her journey for truth, but each comes with a mysterious past of his own. Her estranged childhood friend, Quinn D’Arturio, left their village years ago and only recently returned, harboring dark secrets behind a solemn exterior. And despite his status as a perfect stranger, a dashing captain by the name of Niles Ingram is quick to fight by Reina’s side at whatever the cost. That someone she’s only just met would give his life for hers is a sobering realization of the ever-present danger Reina has jumped into.

There’s just one problem with Reina’s two companions. They, too, are featured in the talisman’s prophecy—as potential suitors. But what woman wants a suitor, let alone two, when she’s tasked with defeating a usurping general, ending a war, finding the true king, and rightfully seating him on the throne?

Book & talisman necklace.jpg

Where can we get our hands on A Thousand Years to Wait?

Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ iTunes ~ Kobo ~ Book Depository

My goal is to have the second book of The Tarrowburn Prophecies released sometime in late 2020.

Why did you go the self-published route?

I think there comes a point in your life where you have to be comfortable in your own skin and with your own skills. Publishing is extremely competitive and a lot of writers call it quits long before getting to publication. After all, it’s really difficult to keep going when you’re faced with 90% or higher rate of rejection. (Seriously, 90% is being generous.) You can’t rely on others to reassure you of the worth of your work. You have to know, deep down, that what you’re writing is worth putting out there.

That said, beta-readers and critique partners are gold, and I would never, ever, ever publish without having multiple eyes and edits on my work. Self-publishing has a bad reputation because “anyone can do it.” This is true. It’s also why there’s a lot of sub-par writing when it comes to self-publishing.

On the flip side, there are a ton of self-published authors whose work is better than many traditionally published authors. I read Andy Weir’s The Martian not too long ago and it had me laughing out loud so often that my husband actually began to side-eye me from across the room. The Martian was self-published. Still Alice by Lisa Genova is another self-published success story that made it not only onto the NYT bestseller list, but also onto the big screen. There’s a lot to be said for self-publishing and it’s as legitimate a publishing path as any other.

There was a time when I pursued traditional publishing methods and queried a whole lot of agents. (I’ll leave the number to your imagination.) It was actually the responses of several agents that ultimately made me comfortable with the prospect of self-publishing. When agents compliment your world-building, your writing, and the story, and tell you to touch base with them for future projects? It’s eye-opening in a way that a friend’s “This is great!” isn’t. (Not that my friends aren’t positively amazing and cherished for their encouragement. They are. But when an agent compliments your writing? It’s a. Big. Deal.) That encouragement gave me the courage to take the leap.

How did you get into writing Young Adult Fantasy? And why Young Adult over Adult?

I love the young adult age category. I have always loved it. I wish it had existed when I was in middle school and high school, but back then there was a giant void between middle grade and adult fiction. I’ve really enjoyed seeing book stores labeling entire shelves as young adult over the last few years because, whether it’s contemporary young adult or young adult fantasy, it’s really important for teenagers to see themselves represented in stories as more than just a sullen side character with raging hormones.

Teens face a lot of unique problems that really only happen at that time in our lives. The “newness” of adulthood, the first love that you go through in your teen years, and the learning how to interact with others on a deeper, more personal level than “What’s your favorite food?” or “What’s your favorite animal?” is what makes writing young adult really interesting for me. (Don’t get me wrong. It’s still important that you know I love pizza, chocolate, and horses but who doesn’t?) Teens are in a really unique place in life where they can act like kids or act like adults, where they can process information in a way adults might not, see solutions adults might miss, and embrace change in a way adults might vehemently refuse to do.

Young adults deserve to see themselves as heroes, as strong characters who are capable of changing the world because that’s just who they are. The sooner they learn and accept that, the sooner they can get on with being amazing individuals and making an impact in the world.

Where can we get our hands on A Thousand Years to Wait?

Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ iTunes ~ Kobo ~ Book Depository


SPEED ROUND TIME!

Oxford comma, yes or no?  Always (Seriously, say it in a Snape voice. *Always.*)

Coffee or tea or wine? Peach tea. Or water. Lots and lots of water.

What does your desk look like? What desk? My lap is my desk. Sometimes the dining room table if I’m feeling fancy.

What is your writing vice or must-haves? My laptop. Sounds silly, but I can’t write by hand. My handwriting is atrocious and my brain works far faster than my hands can keep up. Typing is the only way I can write.

Describe a perfect writing day. Wait. There’s a perfect writing day?

What are some of your go-to methods for writing? It’s like Nike always said. Just do it. I like to outline, but I don’t always *follow* the outline. One way or another, I sit my butt in the chair and write the words.

In an alternate reality, what would be your dream job (besides author)? Outdoor photographer

PSSST! She is an amazing photographer!! Check out some of her work here: http://www.thisartisticearth.com/ or here: https://www.facebook.com/artisticearthphotography/ and a few below:

Where is your favorite place you've visited (or wish to visit)? Bryce Canyon is high on my list. It’s magical in a way I can’t even begin to explain.

Beach, lake, or mountains? This is tough. Mountains and lakes are synonymous for me and they’re relaxing in a cozy, wear-your-sweater-and-drink-hot-tea kind of way. Beaches are relaxing in a let-your-muscles-unclench-and-sip-a-tropical-drink kind of way. So…both? All?

Morning rooster, night owl, or midday lark? Night owl, possibly midday lark at times. Definitely, definitely not a morning rooster.

What comes first, character or plot (or other)? Character and setting.

L. Ryan Storms is a writer, photographer, traveler, and dreamer. She's a member of the Eastern Pennsylvania chapter of SCBWI who enjoys working PR & Marketing for her local library. She has written articles featured on the front page of local newspapers, but mostly she writes novels near and dear to her heart. She holds a B.S. in Marine Science from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania and a Master's in Business Administration from Marist College, but writing young adult fantasy has always been her true passion.

Storms lives in Pennsylvania with her cancer-survivor husband, two children, and a "rescue zoo" featuring two dogs, two cats, and an ex-racehorse. When she's not writing, reading, or keeping her kids in line, she enjoys hiking, photography, and planning the next big adventure.

Find out what L. Ryan Storms is working on & visit her blog at www.lryanstorms.com. You can also find her frequently tweeting about writing (and parenting) on Twitter (@LRyan_Storms).

Witches' Cliff (Deerbourne Inn) by Peggy Chambers

Peggy Chambers is visiting today to share about her latest release, Witches’ Cliff, the next book in the Deerbourne Inn series by The Wild Rose Press.

Welcome, Peggy!

What do you write?

I write adult suspense novels, YA fantasy and Pulp Fiction.  Someday I’ll decide what my genre is, but for now, I love to write different things.

What drew you to writing?

Like most writers, I’ve loved literature my whole life.  When I was getting to the end of my career, I wondered what I would like to do with my spare time when I retired.  I tried photography but it was not my calling.  I started writing and joined a local writing club and then a state-wide club.  After that I never looked back.  I love to make up stories.

 What was your inspiration for Witches’ Cliff?

When The Wild Rose Press came up with the Deerbourne Inn series we were to write our stories around a holiday.  I chose Halloween because I thought most writers would choose Christmas.  With Halloween, I could add a little fantasy to my writing.  I found Halloween mixed well with the setting.

 Do you find inspiration in your own life for your writing?

I love to travel, and I want to write about the places I visit.  I love the water and it normally shows up in my manuscripts.

 

Tell us about Witches’ Cliff:

Find  Witches’ Cliff now on Amazon  and with other online retailers.

Find Witches’ Cliff now on Amazon and with other online retailers.

Penny Winters flees to her birthplace in Vermont to consider the marriage proposal she left behind in Salem. Complicating her already difficult decision, she is smitten when she encounters handyman Liam on the porch of the quaint Deerbourne Inn. A modern-day wiccan, Penny intends to contact her distant great-grandmother, who died on the cliffs when Willow Springs held witch trials. Penny needs advice, and the best time to connect to her ancestors is on Halloween. But she is not the only witch in Willow Springs, and they both have their eye on the same man. And who is the old woman who keeps appearing, telling her to go home? Penny comes to the cliff to seek Grandma's advice. But Halloween is an important holiday for a witch, and she is not alone on the cliffs that night. Penny will have to battle not only for Liam's attention, but for her life.

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 Tell us about your experience with the publishing process.

I’ve tried the traditional route of agent/publisher but failed.  I am a hybrid author with two self-published YA titles and three adult suspense novels published by The Wild Rose Press plus the one novella, Witches’ Cliff.  I am published by one independent press, Airship 27, who publishes my pulp fiction.  I currently have one novel with them and another on their desk awaiting publication.

 Any new projects on the horizon?

I have written two Sandhill Island novels for The Wild Rose Press and there is another on the way.  I also wrote my first Keystone Lake novel published by The Wild Rose Press and I am currently working on the second.

Words of advice for fellow writers in the trenches:

Don’t quit (everyone says that) and give yourself plenty of me-time to write.  The world tells you what to do all the time.  Don’t let it tell you not to write.  It opens up the soul.

What was the hardest/most unusual/interesting part of the story to write/research?

I looked up the Salem Witch Trials and it was frightening just how far people will go because of fear. 


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Peggy Chambers calls Enid, Oklahoma home.  She has been writing for several years and is an award winning, published author, always working on another.  There aren’t enough hours in the day. Blooming Justice is her sixth book. She has two children, five grandchildren and lives with her husband and dog.  She adores travel and the great outdoors, even if it is just taking the dog for a walk and once ate wart hog pizza for lunch when she followed her husband across deepest, darkest Africa. She even climbed the pyramids at Chichen Itza.

She attended Phillips University, the University of Central Oklahoma and is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma.   She is a member of the Enid Writers’ Club and Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, Inc.  There is always another story weaving itself around in her brain trying to come out.

You can find her on her website  where she writes a weekly blog, like her on Facebook, connect with her on Twitter, or on Instagram at champeggy.

 SPEED ROUND:

Oxford comma, yes or no? yes

Ice cream (favorite flavor)? chocolate

Coffee or tea or wine? All of them

What does your desk look like? A mess

What is your writing vice or must-haves (e.g. for me it's post-its, red pen, and coffee)? A few hours of quiet, I write directly into the laptop and seldom print out my work.

What are some of your go-to methods for writing? Getting involved with a critique group is a must.

Where is your favorite place you've visited (or wish to visit)? I love the ocean

What do you like to do when not writing? Garden and travel

Beach, lake, or mountains? beach

If you could meet one famous person, living or dead, who would it be? Stephen King

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why? Caribbean Blue – I love the water

What comes first, character or plot (or other)? Character

You find a $100 bill in your purse/bag, what would you spend it on? clothes

Favorite childhood book? Nancy Drew mysteries

Favorite book of all time? To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee or Islands in the Stream, Ernest Hemmingway

You’re on a desert island, besides essentials, what do you bring? Classic novels

Not for Me by Kat de Falla, her latest Chick Lit

Kat de Falla is with me today talking about her latest Chick Lit book, Not for Me.

Available:  Amazon  ~  Barnes and Noble  Also Available on Audible in the Romance Package on  Audible   Manda Wolfgram is a struggling literary agent who is looking for the perfect manuscript to land in her lap and the perfect man to land in her bed. When the sixth-floor hottie finally asks her out, she gets more than she bargained for. How can a girl wrap her brain around a Shakespearean actor who writes erotica?   Harry Sackes leads a double life: making a career as an author by day and dipping into the dark underworld of criminals at night. The moment he sees Manda in his twin brother's arms, his whole life becomes his personal Shakespearean trag-comedy of mistaken identity and unrequited love in this fast-paced chick lit romance.

Available: Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble Also Available on Audible in the Romance Package on Audible

Manda Wolfgram is a struggling literary agent who is looking for the perfect manuscript to land in her lap and the perfect man to land in her bed. When the sixth-floor hottie finally asks her out, she gets more than she bargained for. How can a girl wrap her brain around a Shakespearean actor who writes erotica?

Harry Sackes leads a double life: making a career as an author by day and dipping into the dark underworld of criminals at night. The moment he sees Manda in his twin brother's arms, his whole life becomes his personal Shakespearean trag-comedy of mistaken identity and unrequited love in this fast-paced chick lit romance.

How we crazy authors interject our real life in our books.

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We all do it. Don’t let us lie to you. Authors insert our own lives into our books. From little conversations we had that day that slip into that night’s chapters, to a person we meet on the street who has a name that fits with a character we’re working on. Things we love. Food we hate. Life experiences. People who irritate us. Trips we’ve savored. It works its way through words into our novels. And for me…it’s my dog. I’ve had one of my animals in all my books. My RIP dog Stogey made an appearance in The Seer’s Lover as a wild dog of Costa Rica. My cat, Max is the star of my middle grade book, Flying Mutant Zombie Rats. (And he even talks!) And in Not for Me, my cute-as-anything Bullador, or as we affectionately refer to him, Da Beef makes an appearance. Here’s a picture of the big lug and next, read an excerpt (down below) with my lovable goofball written into the story…enjoy!

She fell for the 6th floor hottie, but he’s a hot mess!

A bit about Manda…

And now for a teaser with Harry:

Excerpt:

Women should meet men at balls, not bars.

The doors opened, jolting me from my British Renaissance daydream enough to step inside the claustrophobia-inducing metal box. The doors started to close when a series of rapid clicks and heavy footsteps pounded toward the elevator. A deep voice yelled, “Hi ya, George! Hey, can you hold the elevator?”

I knew that voice. Oh no!

With a jerk forward, I managed to hit the little button with two outward pointing arrows. A hand appeared in between the doors to stop them from shutting. The doors reopened. My throat seized shut, and time froze.

The sixth-floor hottie!

Every time we passed, I couldn’t form a coherent sentence. My brain cells deserted me when his male perfection entered my personal space. The last time we passed in the lobby, it was summer and Beefer sniffed his golden’s butt to my utter mortification. I think I mumbled “I’m sorry” and fled in horror.

Today I will form words!

Emboldened, I stood taller and began to formulate a witty question. My cheeks burned while I resisted the urge to gawk. He was bundled up in a winter coat and heavy boots, holding a bag of groceries and wearing an ushanka winter hat that covered most of his face. But it was him. I knew for sure because of the dog.

Instructing myself to take deep breaths, I vowed I’d say something funny and interesting. I was a literary agent for crying out loud! I lived in a world of words. But then I caught a whiff of him: masculine and heavy, like black pepper and tangerines with a splash of the fresh cool, Lake Michigan wind. After that, all words eluded me. Blank. I had nothing.

“Thanks for holding the door.” He spoke. To me. And in the most polite manner, his hint of a smile melting my insides like hot chocolate after a winter snowball fight.

The elevator slid shut. I stole a sideways glance, and his gray-green eyes locked on mine for a fraction of a second too long.

I jerked my head toward the front of the elevator again, swallowing copious amounts of saliva. Great, I’m about to drool over this guy for real!

He reached across and hit the buttons for the sixth and eighth floors. He raised one eyebrow. “Eight, right?”

I nodded like an idiot from my stupor, wishing I could channel chameleon superpowers and melt into the wall.

Hold up! He knows what floor I live on?

Trying to focus on something else, I watched his waggy-tailed golden retriever, who had pranced into the confined space and planted its furry backside right next to its owner.

He pulled a flask from his jacket and unscrewed the cap. After taking a swig, he held the bottle out to me.

I couldn’t do anything but give him a confused expression. The elevator stopped at four, but the hall was empty. I risked a look inside his paper bag. A stalk of celery was sticking out next to a nudie magazine. My precious sixth-floor hottie was hot all right…a hot mess.

“So no?” He calmly covered his flask and put it away. “Oh, Desdemona, if only she knew ‘I have very poor and unhappy brains for drinking.’” He mumbled the whole thing while patting his dog on the head.

Who the heck was this guy? Quietly quoting Shakespeare but drinking from a flask in an elevator with a girlie magazine in his grocery bag? I mean, where was the guy I saw this summer out for a run? The guy whose T-shirt was sticking to him in all the right places? The guy with the defined shoulders and rippled abs that made me want to ski up and down their slopes?

“What’s your name, big guy?”

Beefer puffed out his chest to be macho and sat up nice and tall while the sixth-floor hottie scratched his chin.

“His name is Beefer,” I answered, realizing how uncool his name was compared to Othello’s Venetian debutante. “Desdemona?” I said it out loud because I still couldn’t believe it.

“Nobody gets the reference. No worries.”

The elevator opened on the sixth floor, and he stepped out.

“Shakespeare’s Othello,” I said without a moment’s hesitation. “I’m…I’m a literary agent.”

He turned quickly and stuck his hand in the other pocket of his coat. His eyes brightened, and one corner of his mouth lifted in a half smile as the door began to close. He stuck his arm inside, risking bodily injury, and the door shut on his outstretched hand.

He dropped something.

The door opened all the way back up as a safety precaution, and I bent down to pick up the piece of paper. Now it was my turn to force the elevator into an indecisive pattern. I stuck my head out into the hallway and followed the direction of Desdemona’s wagging tail. “Hey, you dropped this.”

“It’s for you. If you really like Shakespeare, come see me,” he stopped walking and looked over his shoulder.

I looked down to find a ticket for Romeo and Juliet at Navy Pier for today!

 

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Also by Kat de Falla:

Dark Fantasy: THE 7 ARCHANGELS SERIES The Seer's Lover Darkwalker

Middle Grade: MOTO MADDIE BMX PORTAL SERIES Flying Mutant Zombie Rats, Slime Spewing Vampire Velociraptors

Paranormal Suspense: HAUNTS FOR SALE SERIES writing as Kat Green, First Contact, Second Sight

Forever in a Moment, the latest Deerbourne Inn book, by Charlotte O'Shay

Thanks for the invitation to appear on your gorgeous blog to talk about my new release Forever in a Moment, my addition to the Wild Rose Press Deerbourne Inn series.

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A Stormy Encounter…

Samantha DeMartino’s Christmas wedding is two weeks away when her fiancé calls the whole thing off. Word on the street: his cold feet are being warmed by an old flame.

With her well-ordered world in complete disarray, Sam’s friends convince her to go on her honeymoon—alone. A week away from the city and her demanding corporate career at a charming Vermont inn, could be just what she needs to figure out next steps.

Between his twenty-four seven work schedule on his family’s farm and teaching tourists to ski, Jed Armstrong’s too busy to think about how lonely he is...until Sam sings her way into his life during a Christmas blizzard. Now he has to figure out a way to convince her to stay.

Can a vivacious city girl find forever with a reclusive farmer?

Will her secret keep her from trying?

Why did you write this particular book?

Some ideas cook up fast and some simmer in the back of one’s mind till the time is right.

Forever in a Moment was born with no epidural, I barely made it to the hospital in time! As soon as the publisher’s call went out for submissions, I pictured my heroine, Samantha and since I love to put my characters in a crisis at a pivot point in their lives, it was vital I send this urban professional used to being so focused and driven up to rural Vermont to a strange place with people she didn’t know. Sam is forced out of her comfort zone.

[I love this comparison to pregnancy and birth…I use the same analogy with book writing and publication! And once that baby’s in the world we still don’t know how everything will turn out!]

One of the first things Sam discovers is though she was left practically at the altar, she isn’t heartbroken. She’s embarrassed to know she put her emotional life on auto-pilot and she resolves to change. She’s an energetic, driven woman so even though the stuffing’s been knocked out of her, she’s determined to recover her buoyant spirit.

In Willow Springs she slows down, regroups and gives herself a chance to think about the direction of her life. How rare is it after college that we get that time to reflect? Most of us, like Sam, have to have introspection forced upon us.

I loved watching Sam meet Jed, a soft-spoken farmer who is all wrong for her but yeah you guessed it, oh so right. There are some rom-com moments and some angsty emotional ones too. Sam is reminded people are the same everywhere. We’re all human, fallible beings. And life is short.

Do you ever put any part of yourself in your characters?

There’s a tiny bit of me in all my characters and a little more of me in Sam— at least the bare outlines. Urban woman, lawyer (former). I made her braver than me though and she’s seldom at a loss for words. I’ve been to Vermont a bunch of times to ski and I will never forget my first time seeing all the snow and trees and just quiet as far as my eye could see. Quite a memorable experience for a city kid.

Find Forever in a Moment: Amazon, Kobo, Google Play

Let’s get to know Charlotte more! Speed Round!

Coffee or Tea or Wine:

Coffee! I can get up as early as the next person but I need lots of coffee if I have any hope of forming a sentence. Tea only when sick with honey, turmeric, ginger, cayenne & lemon.

And yes wine. Always.

Manuscript Playlist?

In addition to the karaoke Glory Days by Springsteen and Carole King’s You make me Feel like a Natural Woman in this story one song that I couldn’t get out of my head was Home by Phillip Phillips https://youtu.be/97yHtjVyzi4

Beach, Lake, or Mountains?

 Beach, beach, beach any time of year.

What are you known for?

What an interesting question. I would say that I am known for my roasted chicken, my green salad, my icebox cake and for giving great hugs



            Thanks again for the opportunity to appear on you blog, Jean.

- Charlotte

Twitter ~ Instagram ~ Bookbub ~ Website ~ Pinterest ~ Facebook

Time for an excerpt!

“Samantha.”

If his voice were angry or commanding I’d have kept going. But his voice is low and there’s an anguished, guttural quality to the way he says my name. And I won’t have it. I can’t have him thinking anything negative about me after I go.

When I turn, he takes a step toward me and I raise a hand. “Stop…I can’t think when you get too close.” My face heats as those damning words spill out and he chuckles, a genuine laugh and it’s the only one between us today.

“Glad I still amuse you.” I fold my arms across my chest.

“I feel the same way, Sam.”

“Jed, don’t make this tougher,” I say but he keeps speaking in that same harsh voice.

“When I’m near you everything fades away except the need to be closer. Close enough to watch your eyes cloud up when I’m about to kiss you, close enough to hear your breathing get ragged when my hands are on you.”

“Jed, we agreed…”

He shakes his head. “No, I gave in. Because you asked me to. If I had my way, I’d see you all day, every day and… sleep with you every night. I…”

“Stop,” I say. “This, us, whatever this is—can’t happen. I go back to New York in a couple of days.” “Sam, I…”

“No.” I slash my hand through the air. “I don’t know what’s happening to me.” I’m on edge, close to tears at the way I can’t control my response to him. And all my precious logic is eluding me.

He plows a hand through his hair then captures my gaze with his and I can’t look away.

“What’s happening is us. We’re happening. This is our beginning. You and me together. I’d started to think it would never happen. But it did. When I saw you that first night…I knew. And you did too.”

“No.” My denial is swift. “No. I didn’t. It’s not that simple. We hardly know each other…” I lift my chin in spite of the flush I know covers my cheeks. But it’s true, isn’t it? We don’t know each other. I surprise myself when a tear trickles down my cheek and I swipe it fast.

For the Love of Hawthorne by Diana Rubino

About FOR THE LOVE OF HAWTHORNE

In 19th century Salem, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s clairvoyant bride rescued her beloved husband from a perceived curse that spanned generations.

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Nathaniel Hawthorne's courtship of Sophia Peabody lasted over three years because he insisted on keeping it secret. He had his reasons, none of which Sophia agreed with. But she knew they were destined for each other and he was worth the wait. When they married in 1842 "we became Adam and Eve alone in our Garden of Even" she wrote in her journal. But not all was paradise in their Eden--Nathaniel bore a burden that plagued his family since 1692. His ancestor Judge Hathorne condemned nineteen innocent victims to death during the Salem witch trials. His heinous deeds brought shame and guilt upon the family through the centuries. In her last moments on earth, Sarah Good cursed the judge and his descendants from the hanging tree. Nathaniel's belief in this curse haunted and tormented him until Sophia made it her quest to save him. A story of love, compassion, and forgiveness, For the Love of Hawthorne portrays the lives of two kindred souls whose legacy endures through the ages.

Salem, Massachusetts witnessed horrific and shameful events in 1692 that haunted the town for three centuries. Accused as witches, nineteen innocent people were hanged and one was pressed to death. Judge John Hathorne and Reverend Nicholas Noyes handed down the sentences. One victim, Sarah Good, cursed Noyes from the hanging tree: “If you take away my life, God will give you blood to drink!” She then set her eyes on Judge Hathorne. “I curse you and your acknowledged heirs for all time on this wicked earth!” Hathorne was not only Sarah Good’s merciless judge; he also fathered her son Peter and refused to acknowledge him.

In 1717, Nicholas Noyes choked on his own blood and died. Every generation after the judge continued to lose Hathorne land and money, prompting the rumor of a family curse. By the time his great great grandson Nathaniel was born, they faced poverty.

Ashamed of his ancestor, Nathaniel added the ‘w’ to his last name. His novels and stories explore his beliefs and fears of sin and evil, and he based many of his characters on overbearing Puritan rulers such as Judge Hathorne.

Sophia Peabody’s home next to Charter Street Burying Ground, resting place of Judge Hathorne, Salem, MA

Sophia Peabody’s home next to Charter Street Burying Ground, resting place of Judge Hathorne, Salem, MA

When Nathaniel first met Sophia Peabody, they experienced instantaneous mutual attraction. Sparks flew. He rose upon my eyes and soul a king among men by divine right, she wrote in her journal.

But to Sophia’s frustration, Nathaniel insisted they keep their romance secret for three years. He had his reasons, none of which made sense to Sophia. But knowing that he believed Sarah Good’s curse inflicted so much tragedy on his family over the centuries, she made it her mission to save him. Sarah was an ancestor of Sophia’s, making her and Nathaniel distant cousins—but she kept that to herself for the time being.

Sophia suffered severe headaches as a result of childhood mercury treatments. She underwent routine mesmerizing sessions, a popular cure for many ailments. Spirits sometimes came to her when mesmerized, and as a spiritualist and medium, she was able to contact and communicate with spirits. She knew if she could reach Sarah and persuade her to forgive Judge Hathorne, Nathaniel would be free of his lifelong burden.

The Old Manse, the Hawthornes' first home as newlyweds.

The Old Manse, the Hawthornes' first home as newlyweds.

Sarah Good’s son Peter had kept a journal the family passed down to the Peabodys. Sophia sensed his presence every time she turned the brittle pages and read his words. John Hathorne’s legitimate son John also kept a journal, now in the Hawthorne family’s possession. Living on opposite sides of Salem in 1692, Peter and John wrote in vivid detail about how the Salem trials tormented them throughout their lives.

Nathaniel finally agreed to announce their engagement, and married Sophia on July 9, 1842. They moved into their first home, The Old Manse in Concord, Massachusetts. Wanting nothing else but to spend the summer enjoying each other, we became Adam and Eve, alone in our Garden of Eden, Sophia wrote in her journal.

The House of the Seven Gables, Salem, MA, built in 1668.

The House of the Seven Gables, Salem, MA, built in 1668.

As success eluded Nathaniel, they lived on the verge of poverty. After being dismissed from his day job at the Salem Custom House, he wrote The Scarlet Letter, which finally gained him the recognition he deserved. But the curse he believed Sarah cast on his family still haunted him. In the book he asks for the curse to be lifted.

Sophia urged Nathaniel to write a novel about the house, knowing it would be cathartic for him. While they lived in Lenox, Nathaniel finished writing The House of the Seven Gables. The Gothic novel explored all his fears and trepidations about the curse. He told Sophia, “Writing it, and especially reading it aloud to you lifted a tremendous burden off my shoulders. I felt it physically leave me. I carried this inside me since my youth and couldn’t bring it out to face it. And I have you, and only you, to thank.”

But he did not believe the curse could be lifted.

Sophia invited renowned spiritualist John Spear to The Gables. She explained that she needed to complete one final step to convince Nathaniel the curse was lifted.

 

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Why I wrote

For the Love of Hawthorne:

I live near Salem and have been to all the Hawthorne landmarks there, and in Concord. The House of the Seven Gables has been my favorite house in the world since I'm a kid. I've always felt a strong spiritual connection to Salem, and always wanted to write one of my books set there, including the witch trials.

I read several of his books and stories, to get a better background on him. Nathaniel wrote from the heart, about his true beliefs, and his loathing of how the witch victims were treated. He did consider it disgraceful, and it certainly was. He added the 'w' to his last name to distance himself from the judge. That tormented him and his family all his life. It must have been cathartic to him to have his writing as his outlet.

For the Love of Hawthorne, now available on AMAZON.

My Website ~ My Blog ~ Facebook ~ Twitter

About Diana:

My passion for history and travel has taken me to every locale of my books and short stories, set in Medieval and Renaissance England, Paris, Egypt, the Mediterranean, colonial Virginia, New England, Washington D.C. and New York. My urban fantasy romance, FAKIN’ IT, won a Top Pick award from Romantic Times. I’m a member of Romance Writers of America, the Richard III Society and the Aaron Burr Association. My husband Chris and I own CostPro, an engineering firm based in Boston. In my spare time, I bicycle, golf, play my piano, devour books of any genre, and spend as much time as possible living the dream on my beloved Cape Cod.

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John Spear urged Nathaniel to forgive Judge Hathorne. “You don’t have to say it out loud,” John said. “Just forgive him in your heart.”

Nathaniel whispered his forgiveness.

John, Nathaniel and Sophia went to Judge Hathorne’s gravesite to give the journals proper burial.

Grave of Judge Hathorne, Charter Street Burial Ground, Salem, MA

The Wayside, the only home the Hawthornes ever owned, in Concord, MA. Nathaniel added that room at the top for his writing studio.

The Wayside, the only home the Hawthornes ever owned, in Concord, MA. Nathaniel added that room at the top for his writing studio.

Visit Salem

www.salem.org

I was fortunate to get a private tour of the House of the Seven Gables when I was writing the book; two of the guides, Ryan Conary and David Moffat, showed me around, and it was fabulous.

Click here to see their book about the house.

 

What a fascinating story (both the historical one of Nathaniel and his ancestors, and of Sophia and his romance)! How about we end with an excerpt?

FIND the book on AMAZON.

(Sophia and Nathaniel’s visit to his cousin Susan Ingersoll at The House of the Seven Gables)

I went over to a curio cabinet and swept my eyes over the items on the shelves—a china doll wearing a calico dress, a stack of gold cups and saucers, a red and blue glass checkerboard propped up to display its surface…and a wooden hammer on the top shelf. Upon closer inspection, I saw it was a gavel that judges use in trials. Out of curiosity I picked it up and a shock ran through me as if electrified. Dear God, was it that gavel?

I dropped it to the rug. It landed with a thump. I bent to retrieve it. Somehow I knew it wouldn’t shock me this time—that was only an initial warning. “Something about it made me want to touch it, to pick it up and hold it.”

Nathaniel approached me. He stared at the gavel in my hand, horror darkening his eyes. His lips parted but no words emerged. I knew what he was thinking—the curse. He turned to his cousin, pointing at the gavel, his arm trembling.

Susan hurried over to us, took it from me and placed it back on the shelf. “Yes, it’s Judge Hathorne’s. What happened, Sophie? Are you all right?”

I looked down at my open hands, palms up. They burned as if I’d touched a hot poker. “That gavel—it carries something evil. Has anything happened to you with this, Susie?”

Nathaniel backed away and before Susan could answer me, he grasped her arm. “I begged you to get rid of that accursed thing! You know it shouldn’t be here!”

She looked from him to me, heaving a deep sigh. “I’m not inclined to dispose of it, Natty. It’s a family heirloom, notwithstanding its past.”

He gripped the chair, his face drained of color. “It’s downright evil. You know what he used that thing for.”

She held her hands up in surrender. “Very well, I’ll conceal it.” She took it off the shelf and slid it behind the checkerboard.

“That should not be in this house!” He stood his ground, his eyes fixed on the checkerboard as if it would melt in such close proximity to that horrid object.

“It’s fine there, Natty. It’s concealed from sight now.” She looked at me and gestured for me to sit again. I sat and gulped my sherry.

“Nathaniel’s always overcome with distress at the witch trials.” Susan explained what I already knew.

“And so should you be,” he cut in.

“If I must speak for Judge Hathorne, I heard stories of him from my grandfather.” Susan looked from Nathaniel to me. “The whole hysteria that caught up the judge was started by unscrupulous men to further their own riches. But spectral evidence was still admissible. No sane person could believe that blithery.” 


The Incongruity of Beauty: A "glimpse" into Stephen B. King's 2nd book in the series

The Incongruity of Beauty 

We use the word beauty in many different scenarios and situations, but could we ever use it to describe death? In Glimpse, the Beautiful Deaths, criminal psychologist Patricia Holmes, attached to the Major Crime Squad of the Western Australian Police Department, certainly does.

That’s a beautiful dress, we might say, or what a beautiful day, those flowers are beautiful, that child has a beautiful personality, she has a beauty spot  on her cheek……….You get the idea for how often we can use the adjective. I’ve even heard sports commentators say what a beautiful shot, he’s swimming beautifully and once, in a heavy weight boxing match, what a beautiful knock out punch.

It seems to me to be over-used, and in some cases is completely opposite from what the word actually means. Patricia Holmes asks us to consider beauty in its purest from. She describes a man who has an obsession to own and possess beautiful things so badly it leads to six cases of murder.

The second book in the Glimpse series  releases April 10th .

The second book in the Glimpse series releases April 10th.

During a meeting with homicide detectives where she delivers the profile of the man they are hunting, she nicknames him Gordon. She urges the men to think of him that way: an ordinary man, not a master criminal or Serial Killer. She believes he doesn’t even consider what he has done to be murder and she poses the riddle to the men:

When is a serial killer not a murderer?

The bodies of six young girls, each of them the epitome of beauty when they were alive, have been found in a cave system in the South of the State. Malnourished, dehydrated, and showing no signs of violence, they appear to have wasted away until death overtook them. Then, they were interred in the caves, each with flowers left with them, at an average of once every year or so.

The caves are hard to get to, and located near a breathtakingly beautiful place called The Blue Lake, and Pat thinks it’s the beauty of the place which led him to bring the bodies there. She describes how she believes Gordon had a hideous life since childhood; that he was born a gentle, caring, artistic child who was treated abysmally by one or both parents.

She says they would have said things to him like: “You’re bloody useless, Gordon! Why can’t you ever do anything right, Gordon? You’re not trying hard enough, Gordon!”

She further thinks he wanted to follow his artistic ideals but received nothing but criticism and ridicule from the two people who should have encouraged it.  They stifle him, yet he is too downtrodden to resist or even speak up for himself. Instead he develops his passion for beauty in things like gardening and collecting things which to him signify true beauty. Pat predicts he has a secret room where he can indulge himself and enjoy all the beautiful things he isn’t permitted outside his secret world. He will collect things like African Butterflies, postage stamps, or porcelain dolls, paintings – anything which allows him to forget how ugly his real life is. He lives in a fantasy world, far removed from his real life.

She goes further, by saying Gordon tried to escape when he married, but being so meek and mild he would have attracted a dominant woman, and for him, it would have been a case of out of the frying pan, into the fire. She will be even worse, she predicts, than his parents were, and she forbids the beauty he craves which is denied him.

And so, Sgt. Rick McCoy, with Patricia Holmes and the rest of the task force hunt a man addicted to beauty. They believe when he came across each stunningly beautiful young girl, he had to own and possess them, to capture the very essence of them, to idolize them. But when they were imprisoned, they were no longer free, and they ceased to be what they were before he took them. They slowly lost the one thing that he craved from them: their beauty.

Meanwhile Rick and Pat are each fighting their own cravings. They are married, yet the more they work together, the more they are attracted to each other, and the more they want to take the irrevocable step, from friendly, flirting work colleagues, to lovers. But if they do, what will the effect be on their relationship, and their marriages?

There are many dark clouds on Rick and Pat’s horizon; a storm is coming. Solving the beautiful deaths will be the least of their problems. The storm has a name: PPP; the serial killer locked away by them in a mental hospital. He is plotting his escape, and revenge.

Glimpse, The Beautiful Deaths is released on April 10th, available on Amazon and other online vendors.

Find Stephen online along with his other books

in print, e-book, and audio:

Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

Devil Forget Me, the final book of the Demon Huntress series

Karilyn Bentley is with us today to share about her fifth and final book, Devil Forget Me, in her Demon Huntress series.

Karilyn writes paranormal romance and urban fantasy and her writing journey began young:

I started writing in elementary school, mash-ups between Nancy Drew and Little House on the Prairie. You know, mysteries featuring an elementary school kid. Or a day in the life of an elementary school kid. But making up stories was forgotten as I grew older and it wasn't until I was married and working in a cube farm that I decided to start writing. While the ideas were (somewhat) good, my actual writing was horrific. So I joined RWA (Romance Writers of America) and DARA (Dallas Area Romance Authors) and started learning the art of writing. And here I am!

Tell us about Devil Forget Me.

I'd love to! My latest book is Devil Forget Me, the 5th and final book of the Demon Huntress series.

Here's the blurb:

What appears to be a simple crime, unmasks a chilling deception...

Gin Crawford, the world's newest demon huntress, kills two minions who are breaking into a financial adviser's office. But what she thinks of as another night in the life of a demon huntress leads to a cover-up of epic proportions. A demon haunts her employer, the Agency, and only she can stop it.

Aidan Smythe, her guardian mage and lover, along with her brother T, and the healer Eloise, join her search in discovering the demon's identity. A search thwarted by a powerful spell.

Breaking the spell requires her to join forces with Zagan, the demon of deceit, the demon who marked her as his. But working together comes with a price. One Gin is not sure she can pay.

 

Tell us about your experience with the publishing process.

I am published with a small press. I got my start by entering a contest The Wild Rose Press put out a call for about ten years ago. They chose six novellas to go into an anthology and mine was one of them. I've been with them every since.

 Any new projects on the horizon?

I do have a new project! Unfortunately I'm not allowed to talk about it yet. Stay tuned!

 ((ohh secretive! I love it!))

Words of advice for fellow writers in the trenches:

It's a quote from Galaxy Quest. Never give up, never surrender.

((and I love that quotation!))

EXCERPT:

    She chuckles as I sip my beer. “Not nothing. I am trying to discover the identity of the demon at theAgency.” She frowns. “It’s not going well. I know I know who the demon is, but every time I think of its identity”—her hands move in a poof motion—“it

vanishes.”

     “Yeah, I have the same problem.”

     A memory pops into my mind. Two memories, actually. The first was of last night’s fight with Rahab. How the demon said he only had one demon left to kill in order to rule Hell. Mammon, the demon of greed. The second memory was from last week when Smythe and I went to the Agency. We ran into Chuck Tweedy, the Big Boss of the Agency, and my justitia couldn’t stop chanting “greedy.” I assumed the bracelet got its

words mixed up, exchanging Tweedy for greedy. But what if there was a connection?

     A dull pain hammers my head. I rub my brow. What was I thinking? We were talking about the Agency demon. Who could it be?

     “You do have the same problem.” Eloise touches my leg, and the headache disappears. “That’s what happened to me.”

     “How did you know?” Eloise was blind, although I swear at times she sees fine. “I could feel your pain.” Her brow furrows. “Like a spell had been thrown at you that caused the headache. I wonder if the same thing happens when I get a headache from thinking on the demon’s identity.”

     “Wait. You mean whenever I think about who the demon is, my thoughts trigger a spell? What does the spell do?”

Where to find Karilyn:   Website  ~  Newsletter  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Goodreads  ~  Pinterest  ~  BookBub

Where to find Karilyn:

Website ~ Newsletter ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads ~ Pinterest ~ BookBub

Speed round with Karilyn:

Ice cream? Butter PecanCoffee or tea or wine? Tea

Where is your favorite place you've visited (or wish to visit)? I loved Sweden and wouldn't mind going back

What do you like to do when not writing? Read, take hikes with my dogs, and learn a different language

Beach, lake, or mountains? Mountains!

Morning rooster, night owl, or midday lark? Mid-morning rooster. Definitely NOT a night owl!

You find a $100 bill in your purse/bag, what would you spend it on? First I'd want to know how it got in there. Then I'd go have fun buying clothes and books.

Favorite childhood book? Nancy Drew and Little House on the Prairie series. Yes, I  know, that's more than one.

Karilyn Bentley's love of reading stories and preference of sitting in front of a computer at home instead of in a cube, drove her to pen her own works, blending fantasy and romance mixed with a touch of funny.

Her paranormal romance novella, Werewolves in London, placed in the Got Wolf contest and started her writing career as an author of sexy heroes and lush fantasy worlds.

Karilyn lives in Colorado with her own hunky hero, two crazy dogs, aka The Kraken and Sir Barks-A-Lot, and a handful of colorful saltwater fish.

Lion Dancing for Love: the latest in the Deerbourne Inn series

What inspired Lion Dancing for Love?

I wanted to write a story that reflected the multi-cultural world we live in, and how, as human beings, we have far more in common than we have differences. I have a number of Chinese friends and I have always been intrigued by their culture, and the process whereby immigrants are absorbed into the mainstream culture and what they retain and what they lose from their culture of origin. My heroine Caitlin’s family is typical of many immigrant families in that her granny, who was born in America to Chinese immigrants, is still very Chinese. However, her mother married an Anglo American, so Caitlin has a foot in both worlds. My hero Corey, however, is a born and bred Vermonter several generations back.

As a city dweller my whole life, I am also always intrigued by the differences between large and small towns and how individuals used to the hustle and bustle of large cities adapt (or don’t) to the intimacy of smaller towns.

Licking her wounds after a bad relationship, San Diego accountant Caitlyn Summers travels to Willow Springs to help her friend gear up for the annual Maple Sugar Ball. She isn't planning on staying long, but one encounter with the delicious Corey Duncan has her re-evaluating her plans. 

Corey swore off love when his wife Annie died from breast cancer. Caitlyn is too young, too citified, and vibrates with a passion and energy that will upend the safe, comfortable rhythm of his life. Corey has to choose between playing it safe and taking a risk on love. Caitlyn needs to find the patience to let Corey lead. If not, the Maple Sugar Ball might end in a sticky mess, instead of a slow dance with the man who has captured her heart. 

Will their fire burn hot enough to erase doubts and past hurts?

Did you learn any interesting discovery or tidbit of info while researching/writing this book?

Lion Dancing costume similar to Caitlyn and Corey’s in the book

Lion Dancing costume similar to Caitlyn and Corey’s in the book

So many! However, the ones tied to the lion dance were most interesting. I’m familiar with the color and pageantry of Chinese New Year celebrations, but it wasn’t until I started researching the topic that I found out that a Lion Dance is performed to usher in good luck and fortune. It is usually performed during the Chinese New Year and other Chinese traditional, cultural and religious festivals – including the opening of new businesses. That’s the link that allowed me to tie a Lion Dance to the Maple Sugar Ball held in Willow Springs.

I also discovered that 1.5% of Vermont’s population is Asian in origin, of which at least some are Chinese, so I felt comfortable introducing Chinese characters despite its French colonial history and association with maple sugar, maple syrup and skiing.

Tell us one unique thing about you we might not know.

I’ve always been a bit of a nerd and a bookworm, so many people are surprised to find out that I paid for my university education with a tennis scholarship.

How about an excerpt?

Caitlin gulped in a cooling draught of fresh morning air. She didn’t want to get off to a bad start with Annette’s friends and neighbors, but she would not, could not, say anything good about that show.

“So not a fan of reality TV, huh?” Corey sounded amused.

She bristled. “No.”

“Up to people what they want to do with their time, isn’t it? Popular entertainment has been around since the Romans fed gladiators to the lions. I’m sure some Romans found other entertainment, plays and suchlike.”

“It’s the biggest con job, on both participants and audiences. The only people who get rich are the producers who dream up the rubbish.” She gave him a sidelong glance. “I suppose I’ve offended you.”

Corey shook his head. “Not me. I’m hard to offend. Besides, I like to watch sports. Also reality TV, but not scripted.” He winked at her.

“So they say,” she muttered, but her tension eased.

“Don’t tell me you’re one of those conspiracy theorists who thinks every match is fixed?” He clutched at his heart. “And I thought we were developing a beautiful friendship.”

“We can’t be friends if I don’t like sports?”

He shrugged, but his lips tilted up, and his eyes twinkled. Built and a sense of humor. Why couldn’t he live in San Diego?

 

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Laura Boon stole her first romance from her father’s bookshelves as a teenager, The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss, and was immediately captivated. After holding a variety of positions in publishing, from bookseller to sales rep and publicist, she eventually found the courage to write her own stories. She was born in Zambia, grew up in South Africa, and went to university in America. She now lives in Australia with her husband and their fur babies Beau and Arro. When she is not reading or writing, she enjoys sleuthing for artisan chocolate and beautiful stationery, watching tennis, and walking alongside Sydney’s beautiful harbor. Laura was name 2018 Australian Romance Readers of Australia Debut Romance Author of the year (The Millionaire Mountain Climber).

You can find Laura on her blog or Facebook page and on Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads, Bookbub and Amazon.

 

Catch the other Deerbourne Inn stories on Amazon

and other e-book vendors. 

 

Glimpse, Memoir of a Serial Killer, Book 1, now on AUDIO!

If I can be still living my dream at age sixty-three, so can anyone.

The journey of living my dream continues…

I’ve told anyone who wanted to listen, and some who didn’t, that for all of my life I had a dream of being a published author. Now I know lots of people share that dream; and anyone who has signed a publishing contract knows what it feels like when that is achieved. In my case I reached that wonderful milestone at age 58 when my first book, Forever Night, was contracted to The Totally Entwined Group (Bonnier UK). So, you could say it took 58 years to become an overnight success. I’m 63 now, and who knows how many books are left in me before the grim reaper comes calling – lots I hope, but really, who knows? A good friend of mine said recently at a poker game that men between the ages of 55 and 65 are in the sniper’s telescopic sight, a sobering thought indeed. My tenth book is now in the editing stages with my wonderful publisher The Wild Rose Press (NY) and I have to keep pinching myself to make sure I’m awake. Yes, I know that’s a cliché and authors should never use them, but in this case, it’s true.

Very recently Book 1 of The Deadly Glimpses trilogy, Glimpse, Memoir of a Serial Killer, was released on audio, and while this is my second audio book, it was much more involved in production than my first (Thirty-Three Days) due to the subject matter. The point is, that it is another example of me being lucky to be ‘living the dream’ I’ve had all my life. It’s important to me that I don’t trivialize any of the rungs on the ladder I’ve climbed, or bucket list things I’ve ticked off, so please believe that this book coming to audio is one of those, OMG moments in time for me.

To try to put this into context, from writing the first line of this book [“I was five years old when I first saw someone bleed out”] to the audio release took over a year. In that time I performed rewrites galore, worked with two editors, which meant six editing rounds. So, safe to say I know every word off my heart. We were very fortunate to snap up the wonderful narrator Geoffrey Boyes who did Thirty-Three Days for us; he read the book and volunteered to do the whole trilogy, because he loved it so much. So then I worked with him, listening to his work, and offering edits and suggestions. An example of his dedication to his craft was that he was concerned he had to get the Serial Killer just right and he did three different characterizations and sent them to me for my approval.

Slowly the project came together.

When it was released, I bought a copy from Audible.com. I didn’t have to, I had the files, but I did, and then spent the next few days listening to it on my long drives to and from work. I don’t want to sound in any way conceited, but……….. It gave me goosebumps. Geoffrey’s portrayal of all the characters, but of PPP, the murderer, in particularly, still makes the hairs on the back of my arms raise up. I wrote the story, I knew what was coming next, but can I say in all truthfulness, listening to it was fantastic? Because so much of the book is in memoir form, Geoffrey had to distinguish between what the killer thought (and wrote) and what he said in dialogue, and he nailed it. There were a few occasions I arrived at my destination, but had to keep listening because it was exciting.

Sure, I get that for many people, this story isn’t their cup of tea. A romance lover may not want to read about a serial killer, even though there is a very distinct love story across the three books. I don’t know how many people will read, or listen to the book, but for me, this blog post isn’t about that. I’ve brought up five children, and for all their lives I’ve tried to teach them to dream high, never give up, never stop trying and never listen to the people who would try to stop them reaching their goals. If I can be still living my dream at age sixty-three, so can anyone. My kids are proud of me, and I can take that to my grave with a smile on my face.

Available on  Amazon .

Available on Amazon.

Find Stephen online: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

What are people saying about Glimpse?

5.0 out of 5 stars edge of your seat thriller

REVIEWED BY: LINDA TONIS
MEMBER OF THE PARANORMAL ROMANCE REVIEW TEAM

Detective Sergeant Richard “Rick” McCoy of the Australian Police Department is struggling to deal with the fact that his wife discovered he cheated and threw him out leaving him missing both his wife and five year old daughter Amy. Rick knew that he was to blame for his marriage falling apart but when he is assigned to a murder of a woman found in pieces in a suitcase in the rubbish dump he has no idea how his life will change.

This is not the typical story of who done it but it is a story told in detail by the serial killer himself. The killer’s dad was a butcher whose wife left him and her son when he was just five. As a young boy he would watch as his father butchered meat and found himself fascinated by the sight of blood but just before his twelfth birthday he discovered his mother didn’t leave but was lying dead inside his dad’s freezer and his dad was lying in a pool of blood after killing himself. In spite of the fact that his dad beat him, he loved him but now he was put into an orphanage where his dad’s beatings were nothing compared to what he suffered there.

When his uncle finally took guardianship of him he learned what real abuse was because his uncle was a pervert and a homosexual who used him till he was eighteen. Instead of trying to go back to the orphanage he chose to stay with the monster he knew and not risk finding himself with a worse one.

Rick is trying to find the killer but there are no clues, no fingerprints, nothing to lead them to him. The only good thing that happened for him was he was reunited with his wife and child and this time was determined to change and be the husband his wife deserved. As time went by the case was cold but the killer was far from done and a finger is sent to Rick at the station with a note threatening to remove a body part every two days if Rick didn’t catch him, the note is signed PPP. The note was addressed to Rick personally and in time his connection with the killer would be revealed, but not by me.

Patricia Holmes a forensic psychologist is enlisted to help and she seems to have an uncanny insight into the killer but more are dead and they are no closer to catching him. This story is not for the weak of heart because some of the very explicit violence can be disturbing to say the least. The hunt for the killer is done so well that I could not put the book down. Although this is fiction it is scary in the fact that we know that monsters such as this exist and we have had our fair share in the United States.

I was hooked from the first page and watched as the killer was tormented his entire life and although I found myself feeling sorry for him at times I don’t believe that how you grew up is a cause for what you become when you are an adult. I can’t wait for the next book in the series and hopefully the wait won’t be too long.

The Night House by J.C. McKenzie

She’ll kill for him, bleed for him, even die for him,

but she refuses to fall in love.


What would you pay for your freedom?

Caught by a powerful lord from the alternate realm of Arkavia, Taya’s offered the chance to avenge the dead, save her home world, and win her freedom.

Her days of stealing supplies and surviving among the remnants of Earth are over, but can she afford the price of Lord Thane’s deal?

~~~~~~~SCROLL DOWN FOR A GIVEAWAY!~~~~~~~

Now for an enticing EXCERPT from The Night House by JC McKenzie:

The Tarka held perfectly still, gray gaze flashing, white-blond hair shining under the setting sun. He looked like a warrior angel sent to Earth to smite the pest-like humans.

She clutched her staff and brought it up with numb fingers.

He raised a dark eyebrow. “You plan to fight me with a stick?”

“I can hand it over and tell you what to do with it, if you promise to follow directions.” She moved the stick slowly. Not fast enough to give away her skill, but enough to warm her wrists and get blood flowing back into her limbs.

“I’ll take option number one, thank you,” he said.

“Fine with me. I’d prefer anything to becoming your next sacrifice.” They’d never confirmed the Arkavians were responsible for the bloody sacrifice they’d stumbled on, but no crazy magical beasts had roamed the forest since the portal opened, so they made an assumption. She glanced behind her at the trees and George’s exposed foot. What the hell had the Tarka done to him?

“He’s incapacitated. You won’t find any help from him.”

Taya snarled while her mind raced. The man hadn’t used any magic yet. Maybe he didn’t have any. Maybe only some of the blondes had power. Could she outrun him? She wasn’t fast, but he was bulky with muscle, and wore lightweight armour and a heavy cloak to stave off the damp cold.

Where would she run to? She couldn’t lead him to the others, and she couldn’t survive long in the woods without supplies.

The man cocked his head, studying her and probably reading every thought screaming through her head. “Sacrifice? Exactly what kind of fantasies have your kind concocted about us?”

“I would hardly call them fantasies.”

“What would you call them, then?”

“Nightmares.” Duh.

He nodded. “Is this where you tell me my evil ways are done?”

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“I’m not sure. Is this where you make some grand speech about ridding the world of my kind or do you plan to preach about the superiority of your race and how you deserve to leach off our planet?”

“I’m waiting for you to finish warming up so we can get on with it.”

She fumbled and almost dropped the staff.

J.C. McKenzie’s Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | Newsletter

Inspiration for her book.

Inspiration for her book.

Having trouble viewing the contest? Go here or here.

J. C. McKenzie is a book-loving, gumboot-wearing, unapologetic science geek. She's the author of the Carus Series, an urban fantasy five-book saga published by the Wild Rose Press. Born and raised on the West Coast, J. C. sets the majority of her books in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada. She writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance with sassy heroines and brutish, alpha-type men.

 

C. Becker's Finding Euphoria

Welcome to Visiting Authors! Let’s start with some get to know you questions.

What do you write?

So far I’ve written seven children’s stories and this romance suspense. Finding Euphoria is my first adult novel. The story is the first segment of a trilogy; I’m currently writing book 2—Losing Euphoria.

When did your writing journey begin?

I never grew up dreaming of being an author. I began writing children’s stories about nine years ago after I was sick in bed on Christmas day. After I wrote a few children’s stories, I decided to try writing a novel, the idea seemed like a logical step. I’ve always liked reading; I just never thought about writing stories until my children were older and I had a little (wee little) free time.

What was your inspiration for Find Euphoria?

I’ve always heard people say write what you know. When I decided to write a novel, a major part of my background was working in a clinical laboratory. I thought it would be cool to incorporate my experience in the lab with the plot. Since drugs are a huge problem in our society, I decided to focus on drugs of abuse, but to present it in a way that wasn’t preaching.

Do you find inspiration in your own life for your writing?

For some of the characters, sure. My daughter told me she couldn’t read Finding Euphoria without thinking the main character talked like I do. That is something I’ve worked on to correct. Each character has his/her own voice. In my free time I substitute teach; I like to listen how teens talk, studying how they interact with each other in the classroom. When I hear new words I usually ask my older kids what the words mean. Usually the speech I hear from kids are temporary fads. The latest word was “yeet.” Kids say “That’s yeet.” My sons told me not to use the word because the expression is a fad.

Finding Euphoria Cover.jpg

Hailey Langley refuses to be a victim and has moved on from her traumatic past. But her marriage problems worsen when a deadly illicit drug threatens to draw her into the life she left behind.

Mark Langley has allowed his job to interfere with his marriage, but he never suspected the secrets in Hailey's past might hold the key to solving both of his current investigations.

Together, they must unravel the mystery of the drug called Euphoria and find a way to save not only their marriage, but countless lives, before it's too late.

Find it online: ~ Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~

Did you go the traditional route (agent/publisher), small press, or self-pub?

My novel is published by The Wild Rose Press, a small press from New York. Tell us about your experience with the publishing process. I’m impressed by the professionalism at TWRP. The publisher, marketing director, editor, and staff maintained very good communication throughout the editing and publishing process.

Any new projects on the horizon?

I’m in the midst of book two of the Euphoria Trilogy. This story is set six years after the first book finishes and Hailey once again has suffered her share of trauma.

Words of advice for fellow writers in the trenches:

Keep marching along. Hone your skills, join a writer’s group so others can help objectively critique your work. Don’t let rejection get you down. (There will be some rejection. Okay. A lot of rejection.) But remember you are in control of your life so if you want your book published badly enough, work at editing/rewriting it until you get your words in print.

What was the hardest part of the story to write/research?

Researching how drugs cause addiction in the brain by stimulating neurotransmitters, fashioning chemicals for the drug Euphoria, and then creating a way Euphoria would chemically link with dopamine to form a super drug. The hardest part after the initial research was to explain all these concepts in an easy to understand explanation.

The author and some travels that inspire her: 1) Myrtle Beach, SC and 2) Niagara Falls, NY/Canada

Find C Becker online:

website/blog ~ Facebook ~ Twitter  ~ Amazon Author Page

Now the grand finale…one of my favorite parts….Speed round!

Ice cream (favorite flavor)? Chocolate

What does your desk look like? A cluttered mess!

What is your writing vice or must-haves? Post-its and folders

Describe a perfect writing day. No interruptions

In an alternate reality, what would be your dream job (besides author)? Teaching kids who struggle to read

Where is your favorite place you've visited (or wish to visit)? Switzerland

What do you like to do when not writing? Playing piano, having family time

Beach, lake, or mountains? Beach

Morning rooster, night owl, or midday lark? Night owl

What comes first, character or plot (or other)?  Plot

Misty Simon Talks Liv & Breathe

Misty Simon always wanted to be a storyteller…preferably behind a Muppet. Animal was number one, followed closely by Sherlock Hemlock… Since that dream didn’t come true, she began writing stories to share her world with readers, one laugh at a time. She knows how to hula, was classically trained to sing opera, co-wrote her high school Alma Mater, and can’t touch raw wood. Never hand her a Dixie cup with that wooden spoon/paddle thing. It’s not pretty.

Touching people’s hearts and funny bones are two of her favorite things, and she hopes everyone at least snickers in the right places when reading her books. She lives with her husband, daughter, and two insane dogs in Central Pennsylvania where she is hard at work on her next novel or three. She loves to hear from readers so drop her a line at misty@mistysimon.com.

Tell us about Liv and Breathe:

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Olivia Jameson runs a summer camp called Breathe, giving inner-city kids a chance to see a different life. When the man who owned the camp died, leaving his dream to his son, Liv took charge, and the work means the world to her.


As far as Alex Campbell is concerned, the camp is a hands-off tax write-off. But when Liv calls because her boys are accused of property damage, Alex returns to the place he hasn't called home since age twelve…and to a girl he barely remembers, now a woman who stirs him like no city sophisticates ever have.


This is Liv's livelihood, her mission, her dream. Sharing it with a man who doesn't understand the impact is frustrating. But as he begins learning truths that were hidden from him, both Liv and Alex may have a change of heart. Can Liv open up her life one more time to love?

What do you write?

I write short stories, novellas and novels in cozy mystery, paranormal and romance.

When did your writing journey begin?

It’s 1999 – I’ve been married for two years and my husband and I work opposite shifts. I’m in the grocery store and see a book called Tender Triumph by Dianna Devlin. I’m home by myself most nights with not a whole lot to do, so I pick it up, thinking it’s better than watching more Lifetime than is strictly healthy for one person. And I’m hooked on the romance…

That was the beginning for me. I devoured books after that, haunting used books stores and the local independent book sellers. I’d always been a reader, but ran more toward High Fantasy and Suspense. But now, my romance collection grew and so did my appetite for that Happily Ever After. I read them all – historicals, Harlequins, contemporary, romantic suspense. You name it, it was on my bulging shelves. I wanted to write for Harlequin so badly, I could taste it in the back of my throat. I had no idea what I was doing when we got a computer for Christmas one year and my husband cranked it up. I opened a word document and began a truly ridiculous novel called The Teacher’s Lesson…

Drums sounded, fireworks went off. I never got past the first three chapters. But it began a love affair that hasn’t yet ended. 

Tell us about your experience with the publishing process.

I’ve done it all. I have self-pubbed, small press and now published with Kensington. They all have their wonderful aspects and the things that you wish you could change but I love it all!

Words of advice for fellow writers in the trenches:

Know what you want and then go get it! If you want to be traditionally published then know what is selling and see if you can fit your stories into that frame. If you want to self-publish then know the ins and outs of what you’re getting yourself into. But always stay true to what calls to you to write it. Huge numbers of readers are awesome but if you are writing something that just doesn’t speak to you then I think it comes across to the reader and cheats both of you of what could have been an amazing story.

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Speed Round!

Oxford comma, yes or no? If I remember!

Ice cream? Chocolate peanut butter ripple

Coffee or tea or wine? Tea all the way

What does your desk look like? It’s a huge breakfast bar with bookshelves on the end

Beach, lake, or mountains? Lake

What are you known for? My laugh, inspirational quotes and telling stories that might make you snort tea out of your nose.

Find Misty on her website or on Facebook and The Wild Rose Press.

How about an excerpt from Liv and Breathe?

The clink and clatter of silverware in the busy diner did nothing to block out the thoughts churning through Olivia Jameson’s head. She had made the call earlier this morning, and now she would have to live with the consequences. Hoping she’d survive the experience, she had her doubts it would be easy.

“What can I get you, hon?” Betty, the owner of Petri’s Dish, asked with pad and pencil in hand.

“Just coffee.” At the thought of the storm she may have created, Liv’s shoulders drooped.

Betty’s eyes narrowed behind her thick glasses. “Tell me what’s wrong. You never just order coffee, especially when I have my pineapple salsa pancakes on the Specials board.” Her hand went to her hip, while her expression became mutinous. “So you’re not still worrying about that little ruckus over at the Beckham farm, are you? I told you it would all blow over.”

Unfortunately, it wasn’t blowing over. In fact, it had just gotten a whole lot bigger. “They’re pressing charges.” It was as simple and as complicated as that.

“What?” Bustling around the counter, Betty plopped down on the stool next to Liv. A crowd began to gather the second she did. She never sat down for anything, not even when she wasn’t working. “You better tell me what in the world is going on, right now.”

No matter what she said or did at this point, Liv knew the entire story was going to come out soon enough. Such was life in a community their size. Sometimes she wished she lived in Kissinger, the next town over, where everyone seemed to mind their own business.

She might as well take a chance and tell her side before Mr. High and Mighty came rolling into town—if he could unglue himself from his society life long enough to take any interest.

“Some boys in town say they saw my boys over in Beckham’s pastures trying to tip over cows. When these town kids came along, they said they spooked the camp boys, who took off running. According to the accusers, that’s how the fence was broken and how the alpacas got out and ran away. Beckham still hasn’t found two of them.”

By this time, there was a solid crowd of about twenty people hemming Liv and Betty in at the counter. As much as Liv appreciated the looks of outrage for her camp boys, and for the situation in general, she didn’t blame the Beckhams for pressing charges. Especially with the graffiti Mr. Beckham had told her was spray-painted on the side of his barn.

She just couldn’t wrap her head around the idea that her boys would do something so destructive when they knew the consequences and the punishment for not toeing the line.

“I don’t believe it,” Betty declared, and had the majority of the other people agreeing with her both verbally and by nodding their heads. “There’s no way the boys at Breathe would jeopardize their time here by doing something so stupid.”

Liv would have said the same thing to her boss, Alex Campbell, this morning if he’d picked up his phone. Instead she’d left him a message asking him to please come to the farm, and she’d explain when he got here. It would be far better to handle this face to face. That way she could plead the case for her boys and make him understand more easily than she could convey over email. She didn’t want him here, but she wasn’t able to figure out a way to avoid it.

“I agree,” Liv said to the diner at large, but worry still pulled her eyebrows together. “The problem is how do I prove it? I don’t want to accuse anyone else, and I can’t prove without a shadow of a doubt that the boys were all in their beds last night. Not even David. This is a huge mess, just in time for the annual cook-off.”

“Don’t you worry about the cook-off,” Tim from the mechanic’s shop said. “That’s all taken care of, except for a few details. We’ll figure something out with the boys, too. I’m coming there today to work on that car with them. I’ll ask some questions that maybe you can’t ask.”

There was a chorus of agreement while people all went their separate ways. She really appreciated the support, but who was going to be there when Mr. Campbell came riding in to shut down the camp because she wasn’t doing a good job as the director? She couldn’t—and wouldn’t—lose Breathe, a camp that had been around for almost eighty years. It housed underprivileged boys from major cities over the summer, giving them a chance to see real grass and real cows, to ride horses and learn skills and self-worth that would hopefully keep them out of gangs and make them productive members of society.

One of Misty’s favorite photos from a book signing.

One of Misty’s favorite photos from a book signing.


Swept away in time by CJ Fosdick in the "Accidental" series...

Today, my special guest is CJ Fosdick, author of romantic and historical suspense novels. I just finished reading The Accidental Wife and wowza, CJ really swept me away with her words and into a new world. I had read her novella for the Candy Heart series, Hot Stuff (it’s a sweet romance novella), and what struck me most was her polished style and vivid voice…and I read that story in one sitting. I knew I had to read more. Her writing styles reminds me of one of my favorites, Diana Gabaldon. I’ve become a pickier reader these days, but I give her stories 5 stars, hands down. I’m now on the second book in the Accidental series, The Accidental Stranger, eager to find out more about Jess and Mitch.

Self-determined Jessica Brewster is wary of any emotional relationship, after being betrayed in a bet. When the beloved grandmother who raised her dies, she inherits a mysterious teacup which when rubbed transports her back to 1886 in Old Fort Laramie, switching places with her look-alike great-great-grandmother—wife to her ancestor’s magnetic first husband and mother to his charming nine-year-old daughter. 
Can she pull off the charade and find a way back, or will conscience and her twenty-first century “slips” expose her identity? As true love—and a gypsy—derail her plans, her ancestor’s brother shows up with his own dark secret. Is her future in the past? Her decision could save her life...and her legacy.

Jessica Brewster is being watched...and things go missing from the remote Wyoming home she shares with her toddler. In a freak accident, she shoots the bearded thief stalking her before she recognizes the mesmerizing green eyes that belong to the only man she ever loved. Has Mitch bridged time to find her? In a race to save his life and change hers forever, she takes him into her home and heart. But his memory loss and puzzling clues curry doubt and expose mystery and danger. Is he truly her son’s father or an irresistible stranger in her arms?


I invited CJ for a chat!

When did you know you were destined to be a writer?

I won a writing contest at age 12 and loved the brief “celebrity” status it brought me after blowing the $5 prize on candy dots to share with friends. As an only child, I read a lot and often made up imaginary scenarios. By the time I was feature editor of my H.S. newspaper and a teen columnist for small presses in Milwaukee, my avocation was set in stone.

What’s your favorite time management tip?

My new Amazon Echo is helping out with quick research questions. “When were chocolate chips invented?” When the answer was needed for scenes in The Accidental Wife, it took more time to check with Google and Wikipedia than simply asking Alexa--who also plays my favorite  Celtic music while I write.    

Please tell us something unique about you we can’t learn from your bio.

A few come to mind: I hate eggs. Never eat them. Fear of heights once gave me second thoughts about riding on a ferris wheel, so I jumped off as it rose 8 feet. Trying to control this fear, I once climbed a waterfall in Jamaica and bent over backwards in a tower to kiss the Blarney Stone in Ireland.I may also be a magnet to animals—wild and domestic. Dogs and cats seem to show up to be adopted or fed. With two of our four adopted children, we also adopted & trained two wild horses from the BLM, and with domestic horses we gave riding lessons for 15 summers. Horseless now, I currently feed a small herd of deer, their wild turkey friends, birds, and critters that lurk in the woods surrounding our hilltop home. 

What’s your favorite part of writing?

I love to write dialogue and dialect when necessary. My characters sometimes write their own smack, even waking me from a sound sleep to force me to write down what they say. I love the input!

Do you make up settings or use real places and why?

So far, I’ve had boots on the ground at every setting in my books. Research was my favorite excuse to explore Ireland and Wyoming for The Accidentals and several other states and historic sites for other books. Sponging up senses and photographing sites always creates a descriptive flow that hopefully pulls readers into the story SETTING-- which is a character by itself.

If you could live in one of your stories, which one would you choose and why?

Since my series heroine is the redheaded image of me, I live in her shoes. Her slip in time to 1886 Wyoming in The Accidental Wife was truly virtual time travel for me. Besides learning to live with less and depend on nature, Jessica the transformer-- who challenged diversity-- was transformed herself by the power of love and simplicity in one hot Wyoming summer. Forced by necessity to cook on a woodstove and bathe in a creek, she used her wit and knowledge of the present to “invent” things that weren’t science fiction to her. In 1886, chocolate chips were still 50 years shy of being invented, so she added broken bits of a chocolate bar to cookie dough. (Each book features a historic recipe shared in my newsletters or given away on recipe-card swag. For my own “Meet the Author power-point presentations,” I offer tea and fresh-baked “Accidental recipes.”  

What stories do you have in the works right now?

In book three of the Accidental Series, Jessica and Robbie—her gorgeous time traveler husband—find their contemporary Irish honeymoon begins in peril. After Robbie realizes their historic B & B is actually his boyhood home still operated by his family, the couple uncover secrets and scandals set in motion when he emigrated to America in 1883. With a foot in two worlds, can Robbie right wrongs and alter history at the expense of his honor and Jessica, the soulmate he bridged time to find?  Look for The Accidental Heiress in 2019 and perhaps another anthology, including some of my favorite award-winning stories wrapped around a holiday theme.

What motivates you to write? 

Beyond oxygen, I'd say it is emotion and social diversity. A good story that NEEDS to be told is always within discovery...filed in memory with a NEED to share. 

What makes your stories unique?

In the first three Accidental books, a strong but conflicted red-haired heroine and a green-eyed hero with a past may not seem terribly unique, but throw in some time travel, rugged settings and social diversity and you have  more organic conflict and suspense. Animals are always included in an unconventional character line-up, along with plot twists, buckets of emotion and unimpeachable research.

If you met one of your heroines in person, what would be the first question you ask her? 

Do you agree well-behaved redheads rarely make history?

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?

Winning--and sometimes losing--writing contests and awards always inspire me to learn, create and take the novel journey to a higher level. Family sagas, stories from history, a movie or series with characters that move me emotionally also have greatly influenced me. I was starstruck and very inspired after meeting Diana Gabaldon twice at Writer Conferences years ago. Reading her wonderful 1000+ page Outlander books is an entertaining writing course in itself. Boots on the ground at all my settings also inspire me to the details I need to bring a story to life because I do believe setting is character, too. 

What advice would you give an author new to the publishing world?

Learning what you didn’t know that you NEED to know can be daunting. Find a good editor, create a platform and website, and learn everything you can about navigating social media. Once you learn that marketing is key to success, learning to navigate with insight and speed  will eventually give you more time to write! Curry relationships with other authors and  reading groups. For me, attending Writer Conferences at the beginning of my journey was like getting a degree in Publishing 101. I learned about the changing winds of the Industry, found confidence to pitch my work, traded stories with newbies and was inspired by best selling authors. New authors are swimming in an ocean of minnows, hoping to avoid being devoured by bigger fish. PERSISTENCE and PATIENCE  is key to discovery and survival which can lead to success.  

What is your secret guilty pleasure? 

So many! Turtle Sundaes, back rubs, and watching a great movie with a score that inspires and transports. Of course with kleenex and plenty of buttered popcorn!




Sandra Dailey's new release: The Co-Parent Project

Parenting style won't matter if they don't all survive.

The Co-Parent Project is Sandra Dailey’s latest romantic suspense release. Today she joins us to share a bit about the book. Check it out!

Out now!

Out now!

Luca Wolff and Joy Sullivan are competing for guardianship of their estranged, teenage nephew, Eric, after his parents are killed in a plane crash. Evidence shows the crash wasn't an accident. Neither was a recent explosion that destroyed Luca's house. When a fire is intentionally set in Joy's home, suspicion points to Eric--and that's not the end of their trouble. Eric has been in his share of mischief, but now he has a chance to clean up his reputation. That's hard to do when the only people who believe in you are the ones you're accused of targeting. Just as Luca and Joy give in to romance, new information comes to light that could tear them apart along with Eric's dream for a happy family. The three have to set aside their grief, personal issues, and disagreements to figure out who is out to kill them…and why.

Find The Co-Parent Project with these vendors:

Wild Rose Press ~ Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble

 

Excerpt:

As soon as he walked through the door the smell of chemicals nearly drove him back outside. The odor was so strong it made his eyes water. He couldn’t take it anymore. “How can you live with the constant stench in this house?” “I’m sorry. Mrs. Erving needed a perm today.” Joy walked in through the kitchen door carrying a squeeze bottle of mustard. “I was just making lunch. Would you like a ham and cheese sandwich?” “No thanks,” he snarled. “All I’d be able to taste is that nasty smell.” “How can you taste a smell?” “You’d know if your olfactory receptors weren’t burned away. That stuff has got to cause brain damage.” “Do you plan to claim it as a way to get Eric away from me? I wouldn’t put anything past a Wolff.”

 

Author Bio:

From childhood I've moved from place to place, from Indiana to Florida, stopping in several places in between. I also moved from job to job; as a waitress, soldier, retail manager, dental assistant, etc… The one thing I never had to leave behind was my imagination. Storytelling has always been my favorite way to pass time. I've often been told I should write a book. Finally, I did. It was so much fun: I felt I must write more, so I have. I've been a student of Long Ridge Writers Group and once won a short story contest with Harlequin. I currently live in North Florida with my husband, whom I torture with crazy story lines and half written manuscripts.

 

Find Sandra online:

Website/Blog ~ Amazon ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads

 


Kim Turner Talks Family Sagas, Cowboys, and Romance

Hi! Thanks for having me. I am Kim Turner and I write Western Historical and Contemporary romance. My first Story Sawyer’s Rose was released in March of 2016 and was a Golden Heart and Maggie Finalist. The series is called The McCades of Cheyenne and book two is Wyatt’s Bounty which was released in April of 2017 and was a Maggie Finalist in 2018. I just submitted the third story in this series Dawson’s Haven which I expect to be out in late summer of this year. (2019) And I am presently working on the fourth brother Evan’s Ransom.

I like to say I write family saga, Love, & Suspense as the McCade brothers fight to settle an untamed West and also at times an untamed woman!

When did your writing journey begin? I have always wanted to be an author. I wrote short stories and poems but one day wanted to write novels. It just took me thirty years to take it seriously.

What was your inspiration for series? I think you are asking here about where I decided to go cowboy? I grew up watching Little House on the Prairie and any western that hit the screens. And then later on as an adult fell in love with Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman—probably because I have been a registered nurse for almost thirty years.

Do you find inspiration in your own life for your writing? I pull a few things from life to add to my stories but most often I create the characters and situations in my head as a total panster.  

Tell us about your experience with the publishing process. I work as a full time RN Quality Analyst and I have two kids so when I started writing in 2011, my goal was the traditional path as I didn’t figure I would have time to look into self publishing. I kept pitching at events for several years and finally got a contract offer from The Wild Rose Press in 2014 and my first story was released in 2015. (The McCades of Cheyenne Series began.)

Any new projects on the horizon? I just turned in the 3rd story in The McCade’s of Cheyenne, Dawson’s Haven—so look for it this summer some time.

Words of advice for fellow writers in the trenches: Just keep writing, contesting and meeting other authors in the business. If it were easy, everyone would do it.

The McCades of Cheyenne keeps me on my toes as this series will have stories on all four brothers and possibly a few spin offs. When writing historical, you gotta make sure your history is correct or readers will call you on it.

Find Kim’s books on Amazon:

Sawyer’s Rose, Wyatt’s Bounty, and All But the Fall.

Sawyer’s Rose:

Will a sheriff set on avenging his father rescue the mail order bride with secrets of her own?

As if he doesn't have enough to handle between running outlaws out of Cheyenne, keeping his brother's out of trouble and avenging his father's death, sheriff Sawyer McCade's meddling mother just dumped a mysterious mail-order-bride on his doorstep. One woman can be more trouble than a band of renegades and while this one has him all stirred up, he'd rather get to the bottom of the story she isn't telling. Rose Parker had it all. Until she discovers a web of danger and deceit that sends her running to Cheyenne, posing as a mail-order-bride. Escaping the evils of New York seems sensible until she meets the unsuspecting sheriff who didn't ask for her, has no intention of marrying her and won't rest until he uncovers her secret and sends her back home.

Wyatt’s Bounty:

Will a bounty hunter set on revenge risk it all to rescue the woman who walked away? 

Bounty hunter Wyatt McCade is recklessly taking down one outlaw at a time. Hard work is one way to forget Tess Sullivan’s womanly curves. But when he learns that she never left Cheyenne, he rides home and right into a trap. Left for dead, he recovers in the capable hands of the lady doctor and even if she can’t forgive herself, loving her is the easy part. But when McCade lands are threatened and he uncovers the truth, it is Tess who is caught in the balance. Finding himself on the bounty hunt of his life, he’ll risk it all to rescue the woman he loves.              

Doctor Tess Sullivan shattered her own heart by turning down Wyatt McCade’s proposal. Worse than the hurt in his eyes was watching him ride out of Cheyenne, knowing she’d made the biggest mistake of her life. Pining for his return, she blames herself when he is brought to Cheyenne beaten and near death. Forgiveness comes quickly in the arms of the bounty hunter she has always loved, but she soon finds herself the pawn in a deadly game of revenge, praying Wyatt will find her before it’s too late.

All But the Fall:

She’s running from the past…He’s running to her…

Stunt man Aaron Decker has his hands full raising his daughter, running his ranch and jumping horses for on a western television series. The job pays well enough for to purchase land to build a working ranch for older kids lost in the foster care system—much like he once was. What he doesn’t expect is to fall hard for beautiful nurse consultant, Jenna Wilder.

Putting a violent marriage behind her, Jenna Wilder has taken a job on the set of a western television series. With an infant son to raise on her own, she has no plans to ever trust a man again. So why can’t she get her mind off the soft spoken stuntman with a passion for horses? With Aaron, she begins to dream of a life she thought she would never have. But her past returns with a vengeance.

In a race against time, Aaron must convince Jenna to trust him in—and he will stop at nothing to save the woman who holds his heart.

Speed-dating round:

Ice cream? Vanilla.

Coffee or tea or wine? Coffee with half and half and splenda.

What does your desk look like? Have laptop, will travel. I don’t have a desk or office just laptops.

What is your writing vice or must-haves? I have my cowboy book which is a journal of notes about all my stories. It logs hair color, eye color, weapon used, quirks etc.

Describe a perfect writing day. I work full time. Only a writing retreat gives me a perfect writing day.

What are some of your go-to methods for writing? I do not outline as I am a total punster, but I use a story board to keep me on track.

In an alternate reality, what would be your dream job (besides author)? Cowboy’s wife. Ha

Where is your favorite place you've visited (or wish to visit)? I hope to venture out west sometime. I would also like to go to Alaska.

You have a time travel machine: past of future? Where/when? I suppose The old West.

What do you like to do when not writing? Hang out with my girls.

Beach, lake, or mountains? My husband and I hope to retire to the mountains but take vacations to the beach.

If you could meet one famous person, living or dead, who would it be? Dead maybe Abe Lincoln, living, still want to meet Garth Brooks.

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why? A new teal green---and do not put me beside red. I don’t like her.

What are you known for? These stories I write I hope, but before that as a nurse.

Morning rooster, night owl, or midday lark? I enjoy mornings and I am ready for bed at night.

What comes first, character or plot (or other)? Character and idea, never hardly plot, just let the characters lead.

You find a $100 bill in your purse/bag, what would you spend it on? Books and Mexican food.

How many hours a day (or week) do you write? About 2 hours a night and weekends a little more when time allows.

Favorite childhood book? Little House Series.

Favorite book of all time? I have enjoyed The Outlander series…took me 16 months listening on Audible while driving to and from work.

(I love Outlander and listened to half of them on Audible, too, while driving!)

You’re on a desert island, besides essentials, what do you bring? Duct tape and a cow---Love milk! Ha

Website ~ Blog ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Google

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About Kim…

Kim Turner writes western historical romance, and discovered her passion of writing at the age of eight by writing poems, short stories and journals. Kim graduated from Clayton State University with a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing and holds a Master's Degree in Adult Education from Central Michigan University. Working as a registered nurse educator for over twenty-seven years, she enjoys studying the medical treatments of the old west as well as keeping up with the latest western movies and television series. While she loves reading anything from highlanders to pirates, she claims to have an unquenchable thirst for the American Cowboy when choosing her reads. Kim lives south of Atlanta with her husband and calls her greatest accomplishment the birth of one daughter and the adoption of another from China-neither of which came easy. Kim is a member of Romance Writers of America and Georgia Romance Writers. Kim's Motto: It's All About A Cowboy and the Woman He Loves.

Katie O'Sullivan's Hot Hunks Steamy Romance Collection

Thanks so much for hosting me and my new release on your blog today, Jean!

I’ve been writing fiction “seriously” for about ten years now, and have about a dozen book published – YA and contemporary romance and romantic suspense and paranormal romance… all the genres I also like to read, so it works out pretty well. My YA books are all in a series, and in the past I’ve participated in a Valentine series for The Wild Rose Press (the Candy Heart series) and an indie anthology entitled “Hunks to the Rescue” where all the heroes were in some sort of rescue profession (mine was an undercover cop.)

Last year I was invited to join another series, this one with a different kind of twist. Eight authors writing standalone stories, eight strangers who were affected by the same natural disaster, and how each of them dealt with and came to terms with their grief.

The idea intrigued me, and I jumped at the chance. I’m really excited about my release today – it’s Book 5 of the series, with a new story releasing every two week since New Year’s Day. My hero is a rock star, who lost the rest of his band in the hurricane that ties the series together.

As a writer, how do you get to be part of a series, and what are the advantages?

Well, the first path is to write the whole series yourself. (Obviously.) I do that with my young adult series about the mermaids who summer off the coast of my Cape Cod hometown. It’s a commitment, but it can be totally worth it. The downside is that like a standalone, you’re the only author doing the promotion. The upside? If readers like the first book, it’s almost a given that they’ll buy the second. And the third.

The second way is to send in a query when a publisher, like The Wild Rose Press, is announcing a series and looking for authors. Some are limited (like Candy Hearts) and some are more ongoing (like The Deerbourne Inn series)…the opportunities are there if you read the materials and send in your idea for a story. You need to keep your eye out for the calls for submissions, and then the important part is to thoroughly read the guidelines. The upsides? If it’s a publisher who you’ve already worked with, you may not have to turn in a complete manuscript to get the initial nod – and you also have a team of authors you may already be familiar with writing in the same series to work with for promotions and parties. The downside? Readers know it’s not a “real” series and love of one story may not translate into sales of others. This kind of hinges on the marketing, both from the publisher and the authors as a group.

Another path is being invited by another author you’ve befriended previously. Author loops, RWA local groups, online communities, Facebook pages… the opportunities to connect are endless if you think about it. Make friends. Write reviews for other authors. Get to know them. First, however, you need to prove you can write a good story. And that you can help promote for others.

The upside to this indie-type box-set or series? Each author is committed to the promotion, and shares access to their newsletters, their graphic abilities, and more. Most of the indie authors I know online first got their “best selling author” credentials by being part of a box set or anthology.

The bottom line? Start by writing the best story that you can. Whether it’s inspired by a series theme or not, if it’s not a good story to start with, why bother?

About the Book   :   Eight Strangers. Eight Unique Stories. All Stand-alone Novels.  On November 30, 2016, Hurricane Nina hit Bali, Indonesia. In the aftermath of death and destruction, eight strong sexy men will realize it’s time for a change in their lives. A resolution of sorts. A contractor, a personal trainer, a millionaire, a stuntman, a rock star, a thrill-seeker, an army veteran, and a trust fund prodigal will all find a way to conquer their loss and learn to love.   This is Quinn’s story. Resolution: To find his way back to the music.   Quinn MacDonald had it made. With a record label deal and their first single skyrocketing up the charts, his indie punk band is finally getting a taste of rock and roll fame. Bikini-clad women and bottomless bottles of booze fill endless days… until their hotel collapses during a hurricane. He’s still under contract but as far as he’s concerned, the music died along with the rest of his band.  Life has never been easy for Phoebe Snow. Working three minimum wage jobs barely keeps a roof over her head while she and her band struggle to get noticed. But on stage, nothing matters but the music in her heart.  When her band plays a cover of one of his hits, Quinn is blown away. Can Phoebe be the inspiration he needs for more than just writing songs?  Find it on  Amazon .

About the Book:

Eight Strangers. Eight Unique Stories. All Stand-alone Novels.

On November 30, 2016, Hurricane Nina hit Bali, Indonesia. In the aftermath of death and destruction, eight strong sexy men will realize it’s time for a change in their lives. A resolution of sorts. A contractor, a personal trainer, a millionaire, a stuntman, a rock star, a thrill-seeker, an army veteran, and a trust fund prodigal will all find a way to conquer their loss and learn to love.

This is Quinn’s story. Resolution: To find his way back to the music.

Quinn MacDonald had it made. With a record label deal and their first single skyrocketing up the charts, his indie punk band is finally getting a taste of rock and roll fame. Bikini-clad women and bottomless bottles of booze fill endless days… until their hotel collapses during a hurricane. He’s still under contract but as far as he’s concerned, the music died along with the rest of his band.

Life has never been easy for Phoebe Snow. Working three minimum wage jobs barely keeps a roof over her head while she and her band struggle to get noticed. But on stage, nothing matters but the music in her heart.

When her band plays a cover of one of his hits, Quinn is blown away. Can Phoebe be the inspiration he needs for more than just writing songs?

Find it on Amazon.

About the Katie:   Katie O’Sullivan is an award winning writer with a dozen books to her credit, including  My Kind of Crazy, Ghosts Don’t Lie, Breaking the Rules , and the  Son of a Mermaid  series for young teen readers:  Descent, Defiance, Deception , and the yet to be released  Destiny  (Coming soon.) (Hopefully.)  A recovering English major, she earned her degree at Colgate University and now lives on Cape Cod with her family and big dogs, drinking way too much coffee and finding new uses for all the sea glass she obsessively collects from the beach. She writes YA and romantic suspense novels, as well as working full time for a high tech company. Which explains all the coffee.

About the Katie:

Katie O’Sullivan is an award winning writer with a dozen books to her credit, including My Kind of Crazy, Ghosts Don’t Lie, Breaking the Rules, and the Son of a Mermaid series for young teen readers: Descent, Defiance, Deception, and the yet to be released Destiny (Coming soon.) (Hopefully.)

A recovering English major, she earned her degree at Colgate University and now lives on Cape Cod with her family and big dogs, drinking way too much coffee and finding new uses for all the sea glass she obsessively collects from the beach. She writes YA and romantic suspense novels, as well as working full time for a high tech company. Which explains all the coffee.

 Website ~ Blog ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads ~ Amazon Author Page

Short Excerpt from QUINN’S RESOLUTION:

On the open-air stage in Times Square, Quinn MacDonald was making a very different resolution for the fast-approaching new year. As he stood there with a fake smile plastered on his face, listening to Wiz Khalifa spout on about some after-party, Quinn vowed he would never sing on stage in public again. No matter what the fucking studio executives said, they couldn’t make him do this. Rock stars don’t cry on national television, for fuck’s sake.

He felt raw. Exposed. Alone.

And the duet with Demi Lovato? Someone had to have planned that ahead of time without telling him a thing. There’s no such thing as spontaneous singing for television cameras. Certainly not on New Year’s Eve in Times Square. So let’s add feeling “used” into the mix.

He didn’t like it. It was… wrong.

Sure, he’d promote the album. It was part of the contract he signed. He owed that much to the memory of his friends, and to their families. But as far as Quinn was concerned, the music died in the hurricane along with the rest of his band.

 

Child of Mine – Book 1 of The Masonville Series by Jana Richards

Welcome, Jana!

Tell me a bit about Child of Mine which releases today!

Lauren didn't intend to sleep with her brother-in-law Cole on the day of her husband's funeral. But now that she is pregnant, she's not sorry. Cole's given her a baby, a long-wished-for miracle. He's been her friend forever, though she never told him or anyone else how unhappy her marriage to his cheating brother was. And she's afraid to tell the small town that considered her husband a hero that the baby isn't his.

Cole's been in love with Lauren since he was sixteen. It kills him that everyone believes the baby is his dead brother's. All he wants is to claim the baby, and Lauren, as his own. Though she marries him, will Lauren's heart ever be his?

Lauren must tell the truth or risk losing Cole. Is her newly-discovered love for him greater than her fear of scandal in her hometown?

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Is Lauren’s love for Cole stronger than her fear of scandal in her hometown?

The Wild Rose Press ~ Amazon US ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Ibooks

How about an excerpt?

Cole wrapped her in his arms. He held her securely, whispering reassurances. “It’s all right, Lauren. Don’t cry. It’s going to be okay, sweetheart.”

She clung to him, her face buried against his neck. How wonderful to be held, to be touched. It had been so long—

What was she doing? This was Cole, her friend. She pulled away from him. “I’m sorry.”

“You don’t have anything to apologize for.”

She turned away and tried to wipe the tears from her face. After she got her tears under control, she made herself smile at him. “Do you remember the homecoming dance? The time I tripped in my new high heels and sprained my ankle?”

“Of course I do. You couldn’t walk, so I carried you from the school gym to Billy’s car, and he drove you home. I remember you were a lot heavier than you looked.”

She swatted his shoulder, hiccuping laughter mixing with her tears. “Very funny. I was trying to

make a point.”

He wiped the tears from her cheek with the pad of his thumb, his dark eyes full of tenderness. “So what was your point?”

“You’re a good friend. You’ve always been there every time I’ve needed you, and here you are again. Thank you.” He stared into her eyes, but said nothing. She couldn’t look away. He continued to stroke her cheek with his thumb, the tiny caress acting like a balm to her battered heart. She placed her hand on his cheek.

 “Cole.”

They reached for each other in mutual need. He pulled her against his chest, his mouth descending on hers in a hungry, urgent kiss. She sighed against his mouth, and he brought her closer. He wants me. It had been so long since someone had wanted her. Only her.

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When Jana Richards read her first romance novel, she immediately knew two things: she had to commit the stories running through her head to paper, and they had to end with a happily ever after. She also knew she’d found what she was meant to do. Since then she’s never met a romance genre she didn’t like. She writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and historical romance set in World War Two, in lengths ranging from short story to full length novel. Just for fun, she throws in generous helpings of humor, and the occasional dash of the paranormal. Her paranormal romantic suspense “Seeing Things” was a 2008 EPPIE finalist.

In her life away from writing, Jana is an accountant/admin assistant, a mother to two grown daughters, and a wife to her husband Warren. She enjoys golf, yoga, movies, concerts, travel and reading, not necessarily in that order. She and her husband live in Winnipeg, Canada with an elderly Pug/Terrier named cross Lou. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at www.janarichards.com

Find Jana:

Website * Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Amazon Author Page

Amazon UK Author Page * Newsletter Signup * Goodreads * Bookbub

Charlene Namdhari's new release: Daredevil's Mistress

Welcome, Charlene!

Tell us a bit about what you write:

So far every attempt ends in a novel. Just when I think the end is around the corner I decide to add something else which eventually leads to a full length novel.

When did your writing journey begin?

Started in school where I enjoyed English especially the creative and essay writing portions. I attempted a few short stories then but mainly for school competitions. Wrote my first full length novel fourteen years ago. But chose to keep it merely as a hobby and only sought publishing recently.

What was your inspiration for (name of work/book)?

Daredevil’s belongs to Cody and plays an integral part in bringing Cody and Samantha together. If I say anymore then I’d spoil the story for my readers.

Do you find inspiration in your own life for your writing?

I do actually. Some of Daredevil’s Mistress stems from a facet of my life when you didn’t question your elders and respect was important. I doubt I would’ve had the nerve to portray Samantha’s character with my uncles. I would’ve loved to have met my own Cody though.

Any new projects on the horizon?

Currently working on book two which is based on Cody’s younger brother, Reece and his relationship

Words of advice for fellow writers in the trenches:

Just do it. Nope, I didn’t steal this from Nike. Thinking about writing that book and procrastinating helps no one just prolongs the query and publishing if it turns out to be a book publishers want. Believe in yourself and just write, editing comes later.

What was the hardest/most unusual/interesting part of the story to write/research?

Cody is pure alpha. Arrogant and downright rude. I think the hardest part to write was the development of Cody’s character from arrogant to lovable without readers hating him from the get go.

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Fire and Ice…

Twenty-four-year-old virgin Samantha Harman longs to escape her boring life and overbearing father in South Africa. She gains temporary freedom when she visits a friend's ranch in Arizona. Her father's price for letting her go? Return to an arranged marriage. But an unexpected attraction to a sexy cowboy is hard to fight and soon she's in bed with the devil.

Cody Bentley, a hardworking no-nonsense rancher, has been hurt before. To him, women are wanton troublemakers out for gold. Then his sister's feisty friend comes for a visit and ensnares him in a white-hot passion that threatens to melt the icy wall around his heart.

Will Samantha dare to defy her father's demands and convince Cody to take a chance on love?

Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ Barnes & Noble ~ The Wild Rose Press

Speed-dating round:

Oxford comma, yes or no? Yes

Ice cream? Haagen Das Strawberry Cheesecake

Coffee or tea or wine? Tea

What does your desk look like? Currently – like a hurricane hit, I call it WIP

What is your writing vice or must-haves? Strangely, the TV

Describe a perfect writing day. Cold and rainy and no housework

What are some of your go-to methods for writing? When it hits, jot it down

In an alternate reality, what would be your dream job (besides author)? I married a billionaire – lazing by the pool

Where is your favorite place you've visited (or wish to visit)? Cannes, France

You have a time travel machine: past of future? Where/when? Past, Durban, SA, just turned 17, accept that modeling contract

What do you like to do when not writing? Read or watch a good horror

Beach, lake, or mountains? Lake with a mountainous backdrop

If you could meet one famous person, living or dead, who would it be? JK Rowling

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why? Blue – Cody’s sexy eye color

What are you known for? Being mischief

Morning rooster, night owl, or midday lark? Night Owl

What comes first, character or plot (or other)? Plot

You find a $100 bill in your purse/bag, what would you spend it on? That’s a lot in rands so a full day spa treatment

How many hours a day (or week) do you write? I try to do it every day

Favorite childhood book? Nancy Drew

Favorite book of all time? IT – I hate clowns

You’re on a desert island, besides essentials, what do you bring? A hot sexy man – desert could get lonely

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Born and raised in the coastal city of Durban, South Africa, she now lives in the City of Gold, Johannesburg. Charlene’s days are an energetic mixture of a full time job, a wife and mom to two beautiful teenagers and four dogs. She holds a law degree and is a passionate events manager.

Charlene enjoys travelling, a Mediterranean cruise being her most recent venture. She hopes to retire to a beautiful seaside cottage where she can spend lazy days on the beach drinking cocktails and focus all her energy on writing. She is of the firm opinion that one should not give up on a dream but rather make every attempt to get there no matter how long it takes.

Her love for writing stemmed from an avid interest in English at School, more so Literature and enjoyed writing short stories. She attempted her first full length novel fifteen years ago and although she loved the finish product decided she’d write mainly as a hobby and only recently sought publishing. Believing writing is the wings to holistic escapism, she makes the time in her busy schedule giving life to her dreams of bringing together passion filled heroes and heroines in a happily ever after.

A picture from one of the events Charlene coordinated the decor for as an event planner.

A picture from one of the events Charlene coordinated the decor for as an event planner.

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