Love Calls You Home (Deerbourne Inn) by Donna Simonetta

It’s June and with it comes two more new Deerbourne Inn releases! First up, Love Calls You Home by Donna Simonetta. I just finished reading this delightful novella. It drew me in right away: a woman who left her sleepy, cold New England town (hey, I live in New England and can relate!) for a blooming sunny career and life in Miami...but work calls her back home. Psst…a new love interest does, too!

Welcome, Donna!

What inspired this (specific) story?

When the Wild Rose Press put out the call for stories for their Deerbourne Inn series, the idea for Love Calls You Home came to me right away. When I began to write it, the story just flowed, and it was the fastest writing experience I’ve ever had.

(Jean side note: Me, too! Fastest story I’ve written, and it slammed it to me so quickly like a train! What a ride the Deerbourne series has been [in a good way]!)

What did you discover while researching/writing this book?

Since this is a series being written by lots of different authors, the publisher has a “bible” for the fictional town and some local characters. My original idea involved a woman who was the town librarian and her male childhood best friend, who is now a real estate developer. However, when I saw the series bible, the librarian was a man. I decided to go with my original story premise, but flip the genders, and I think it actually made for a more interesting story.

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

Writing is actually my third career; before this I worked as an Account Executive for many years in the business world, and was a school librarian for even longer. Here’s the part that is more unique…my husband was my client when I was an Account Executive, and I actually got to know him over the phone before we met in person. He lived in Georgia at the time, and I lived in Connecticut. If one of my friends told me they met someone that way, I would think they were crazy! But we’ve been married for almost twenty-two years now, and together for a few before that, so it worked out for us!

Anything else you'd like to add?

This has been my first experience writing a story in a shared world, and it’s been great to get to work with so many fabulous authors on the Deerbourne Inn project!

(Jean again: I ditto that!)

LoveCallsYouHome_w13375_750.jpg

Stephanie Williams left skid marks on the road out of Willow Springs, Vermont after she finished high school. She didn't return until her company sent her to evaluate the town for a massive development project. Back then she thought the town was way too small and too cold. Now the cold isn't as much of an issue since she's reconnected with her childhood friend, Donald Flanagan. Stephanie doesn't remember his eyes being quite so green, or his body quite so built. He's smart and funny as he ever was, and a forest-fire sized attraction burns between them.

Donald never understood his old friend's driving need to leave Willow Springs. He loves everything about it. When he learns the truth about Stephanie's project, and how it will turn his hometown into a theme-park version of itself, will it extinguish the flame that has sparked between them?

Find the book online:

Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Apple iBooks

What do you usually write?

I mainly write novels, although Love Calls You Home is a novella. It is part of the Wild Rose Press Deerbourne Inn series, and is the first novella I’ve written. It was a fun challenge to fit everything in the shorter length, but I think I’ll stick to mostly novels.

Tell us about your experience with the publishing process. 

I tried to find an agent with the first book I wrote. I sent out five queries and thought, “Let the bidding war begin!” Instead, I received my first rejection within half an hour. I didn’t let it discourage me (for too long, at least!) and continued writing and querying. That book, or the one that followed it, have never seen the light of day. With my third novel, Angels Fly, I still didn’t have any agent interest, so I decided to submit it directly to publishers, and was thrilled to have it picked up by the Wild Rose Press. Seriously. Thrilled. One of the best moments of my life!

(Jean: I agree! I also went down a similar path!)

What lies ahead for you?

I’m currently actively working on three projects. Love Calls You Home was on June 12, 2019, the third book in my Rivers Bend trilogy, What Was I Thinking?, is with my editor for the first round of revisions/edits, and I am also writing the first draft of another book. The last is tentatively titled Spirits Desire, and is a contemporary romance set in Richmond, Virginia, with a ghostly aspect to it. I’m really proud and excited about it! Fingers crossed that a publisher will want it, and y’all will get to read it some day!

Speed-dating round!

Ice cream (favorite flavor)? Coffee

Coffee or tea or wine? All three, just not at the same time!

What is your writing vice or must-haves?  I love colored pens, notebooks, and my laptop.

Where is your favorite place you've visited (or wish to visit)? My happy place is the Don CeSar Hotel on St. Pete Beach.

What do you like to do when not writing?  Reading, watching TV (I’m addicted to ghost-hunting reality shows), and chilling on the beach is my all-time favorite thing to do, when I can.

Beach, lake, or mountains?  Beach all the way!

Morning rooster, night owl, or midday lark? Morning rooster. As the day fades, so do I.

What comes first, character or plot (or other)?  I start with detailed character profiles, although I have a general idea about the direction of the plot.

Favorite childhood book?  Nancy Drew!

Now for an Excerpt!

It was much darker on this side of the building, without the bright, neon lights around the entrance, and even though they could hear the muffled music through the wall, it felt as though they were all alone in the world. Donald stopped and turned to face her, which placed her between him and the building. He cupped her face in his hands, and Stephanie marveled that she’d never noticed how big his hands were before. He leaned down a little and studied her face. His eyes seemed to be searching for a clue as to what she wanted. There were complications aplenty––putting their lifelong friendship at risk, and her work here in town, which Donald still didn’t know the extent of, being two major hurdles, but Stephanie knew what she wanted right now. She knew it from the bottom of her toes to the top of her head, with a certainty she’d never experienced before. Her blood pounded in her veins, and she felt a little breathless with excitement about the step they were about to take.

“Hurry up and kiss me, Flanagan, before I spontaneously combust.”

One side of the mouth she longed to be kissing quirked up in a sexy half-grin. “There’s no turning back if we take this step, Williams. Are you sure?”

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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?

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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).

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.

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!