Spotlight on Diane Scott Lewis ~ Outcast Artist in Bretagne ~ #HistoricalFiction #blog #Giveaway

Please help me welcome today’s guest, Diane Scott Lewis…

SPOTLIGHT Unwed and pregnant, Norah Cooper flees England to hide with her cousin in Brittany before Germany’s 1940 invasion. After her baby is stillborn, she’s trapped under the Occupation. Norah consoles herself by sketching wildlife. When she’s caught near the coast, she comes under scrutiny of the German commandant, Major August von Gottlieb.

August loathes what Hitler is doing to his country and France but is duty-bound to control the people in his jurisdiction. The young Englishwoman piques his interest. Is she a spy? He asks her to sketch his portrait so he might uncover the truth.

Soon, their relationship evolves into a passion neither can deny. He plans to sabotage a major war machine of the Reich, while she secretly helps the Resistance. Will their love ruin her and end in heartbreak? Or will they overcome the odds and survive the surging threats.

Can a damaged Englishwoman find love with her worst enemy, or will the brutality of war rip them apart?


Norah sighed and blinked quickly. “I have feelings I shouldn’t have.”

Ja. As do I.” Two lonely people, or something more? Silence followed, punctuated by rain and the whistle of wind around the building. Her eyes looked huge, and startled, even in the shadows. A woodland creature; but was he a savior or a predator?

Finally, August said, desperate to say something, “May I see what you’ve done so far on the portrait?”

She smiled, looking relieved by the change in subject. “No, not yet. I want it to be completed first.”

He moved toward her, playfully. “Just a peek won’t hurt.”

She spread her arms as if protecting her masterpiece. “Mais non. I’ll tell you when.”

August took a long step toward her. Fräulein Cooper came forward at the same time. They bumped into one another, her breasts right below his chest. He clasped her upper arms. She stared up at him, lips parted, inviting, yet wary. Past helping himself, he lowered his head and brushed his lips against hers. A tightening started low in his body.

She quivered beneath his hands, but didn’t move away, her breath warm on him.

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**GIVEAWAY: Diane is giving a copy of her book to one lucky commenter!

About Diane:

Diane Parkinson (Diane Scott Lewis) grew up near San Francisco, joined the Navy at nineteen, married in Greece and raised two sons in Puerto Rico, California, and Guam. She’s a member of the Historical Novel Society and wrote book reviews for their magazine. She’s always loved travel and history and has had several historical novels published.

Diane lives with her husband and one naughty dachshund in western Pennsylvania.




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Author Spotlight: Linda Griffin ~ Reluctant Hearts: #ContemporaryRomance #Blog

Even reluctant hearts can be captured by love.

Four couples, four stories: Darien Francis and Richard Li meet during a bank robbery, but she’s afraid to love again. Shane Kenniston and Beth Parker are reacquainted years after she had a crush on him, but she is a recent widow, and Shane’s life was upended by a false accusation. David Early and Kate Howard meet in the Laundromat, but her life is consumed by the needs of her disabled child, and David isn’t ready for the responsibility. Realtor Frank Ellison meets Kayla Barnes at an open house, but a mistaken first impression derails any chance of romance. Can they all overcome the obstacles to love?


When she finally stopped crying, he asked, “Do you want to tell me about him?”

“No.” She backed away from him and searched her pockets for a tissue, but of course at this moment, of all times, she didn’t have one. He did, though—a whole box stood on the coffee table— and he gave her one, and she blew her nose. Her mascara was running, and her face must be blotchy and red. “This is so humiliating,” she said. “I never do this. I feel like such an idiot.”

“Why? It’s perfectly natural. I’m glad to know you’re not so tough.”

“It’s unprofessional, and it makes me feel ugly. It’s a good thing you’re not attracted to me.”


She peered at him, sniffling, and dabbed at her eyes. “You’re not, are you?”

“Which answer will get me in the least trouble?” he asked.

She laughed shakily. She felt a lot better. “If you were before, you wouldn’t be now.” He gave her another tissue, and she managed to get most of the mascara off. He rubbed away a stray smudge with his thumb, and his fingers brushed her cheek. The soft touch was even more comforting than being held in his arms. She closed her eyes.

He kissed her. It was the briefest pressure of his lips against hers, gentle and sweet, but she felt it deep inside. She opened her eyes. His were wide with surprise. “I think we just went off the clock,” she said.

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About Linda:

Linda Griffin is a native of San Diego and has a BA in English from San Diego State University and an MLS from UCLA. As soon as she learned to read, she knew she wanted to be a “bookmaker” and wrote her first story, “Judy and the Fairies” at the age of six. She retired as fiction librarian for the San Diego Public Library to spend more time on her writing, and her stories have been published in numerous journals. Reluctant Hearts is her sixth book from the Wild Rose Press.

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Have You Entered the Hooked on a Book Contest?

Two Categories – Published or Unpublished – Separate prizes for each – The first 500 words of your Fiction Short or Novel (For published, the publication date must be between January 1, 2018 and June 30, 2023)

  • Entry Fee: $10
  • Entries capped at 100
  • All fiction genres accepted
  • Prizes: (All monetary awards are in U.S. Dollars)
    First place: $125, a certificate and additional prizes.
    Second Place: $100 and a certificate
    Third Place: $75 and a certificate
    Fourth Place: $50 and a certificate
    Fifth Place: $25 and a certificate
  • Entry deadline: June 30, 2023
  • Winners announced: August 31, 2023

FMI and to enter:

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Revamped, A Vampire Comedy by Shirley Goldberg #99Cents!! ~ Part of the Mortar & Pestle series of 7 books by 7 authors

Please help me welcome today’s guest, Shirley Goldberg with a fun new series…

Revamped, a Vampire Comedy

An energy vampire hungry for love meets the wisecracking woman of his parents’ nightmares.


Vampire Dante Allegretti hates his sucky life. Born into a family of energy siphoners, he’s desperate to reinvent himself as a fun-loving normal guy rather than a crowdsourcing parasite. To stop the draining urges, Dante resorts to grinding alternative meds in an ancient Mortar & Pestle, not knowing it contains magical properties.

Enter wisecracking thirty-year-old Sophie Arley, who lives with her clingy parents. Working three jobs and craving independence, she’s come back strong after a breakdown crashed her cozy world. So when the weird, hot guy she just met-cute asks Sophie to the movies, she agrees.

Sophie won’t spoil their magical connection by mentioning her heartbreak. And Dante dreads telling Sophie about his dark side. Will the power from the Mortar & Pestle guide them to their happily ever after despite the secrets and lies?

An excerpt/Teaser From Revamped

I marveled that since I first met Sophie, she hadn’t once lost her energy in my company. My meds were working and as long as I took them, I’d fool everyone, pass for a Foodish guy, normal as everyone else.

I wrapped an arm around her and pulled her against me. She lifted her head and I kissed her, little smooches around her mouth. She put a hand on my jaw and tilted toward me, her mouth on mine tasting faintly of cranberries and wine.

“I’ve wanted to kiss you since––”

“Since the last time you kissed me?” she teased and stepped back. “I want to be kissed and kissed well. From now on.”

“Is that a line from a movie?”

“Not sure. It could be Scarlet O’Hara. It’s something she’d say.” She peered closely at me. “You do know who Scarlet O’Hara is, don’t you?”

“Of course.” I was pretty sure I knew.

A fun fact about the story is we have a FREE Prequel for readers. Grab it here:

A fun fact about me is this is my first paranormal romance. I’d never read paranormal until I started writing books and met fellow authors who wrote paranormal, fantasy, monster romance and shape shifters—all manner of romance. I also got out of my comfy reading box and began to read across genres.  

What was the most difficult thing about writing with the other authors?

Feeling afraid I wouldn’t measure up or meet my deadlines. I put pressure on myself. It was comparisonitis.

What was the best thing about writing with other authors?

The support I got from my fellow authors, concrete and emotional. Everyone shares and we all benefit. Plus, we enjoyed a tubful of laughs. And adopted pirate lingo.

Author Bio:

Shirley Goldberg is a novelist and former ESL and French teacher who’s lived in Paris, Crete, and Casablanca. She often writes about men and women of a certain age dating. Middle Ageish, Eat Your Heart Out, and A Little Bit of Lust are part of her Starting Over trilogy. Revamped, her new vampire comedy, has a younger hero who’s also starting over. Revamped is part of the Mortar & Pestle series by seven authors coming in March. 

Shirley’s characters all believe you should never leave home without your sense of humor and she agrees. Her website offers a humorous look at dating in mid-life, and her friends like to guess which stories are true. 

To grab the FREE Prequel to the Mortar & Pestle series, see the link below.

LINK to Revamped, on special sale ($0.99)for a limited time:

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Brenda Whiteside ~ Southwest of Love and Murder, Wild Horse Peaks book 2 #RomanticSuspense #Blog

Please help me welcome today’s guest, my friend and fellow author, Brenda Whiteside…

Writing murder mysteries is all in a day’s work until an obsessed fan brings Phoebe’s stories to life.


Mystery writer, Phoebe Anderson, owes her success to killing her first husband on paper seventeen years earlier. Now, someone has actually done it. Taking a few days to re-group on an isolated ranch, she doesn’t expect romance…or murder…to find her.

Mason Meadowlark is happy with his wild cowboy ways, avoiding love since the death of his baby and the end of his marriage twenty years before. When Phoebe shakes up his routine, he fights to control his emotions, fearing the pain of opening his heart again.

With an obsessed fan close on her heels, Phoebe is thrown into her own murder mystery…and the next target on the psychopath’s list is Mason.


Phoebe shuddered and stilled.

Like the aftershocks of an earthquake, trembling overtook her body. Her knees wobbled, but Mason caught her before she collapsed.

“What’s wrong?” He hugged her briefly then brought his face even with hers. “Phoebe, tell me. Why are you shaking? What’s happened?”

“Oh my God, Mason.” She spread her hands on his chest and glanced back at the bathroom. “Tell someone to call an ambulance. Hurry!”

He took a step toward the ladies’ room, but she grabbed his shirtfront. “No!” She peered around him and shouted. “Someone call nine one one.”

Mason touched his pocket. “My cell’s in the truck.” He grabbed the shoulder of a male customer, the closest person to them. “You got a cell on you?”

The man nodded and pulled a phone from his pocket.

“Call nine one one right now. There’s been…” His face questioned her.

“Someone’s badly hurt in the bathroom. Oh hell, hurry!” She thumped her palms against his chest.

The man punched buttons on his cell as he raced into the ladies’ room.

Phoebe wrapped her arms around Mason, tipped her chin upward, and found the words. “It’s that waitress, Mason. Carla.”

His expression went blank, from concern for her to no comprehension.

“There’s so much blood.” She stifled a gag, the sweet, copper penny reek still heavy in her nostrils. “Her throat.” A shudder rippled the length of her body. “I think she’s dead.”

“What? How?”

“Christ Almighty.” The man staggered from the bathroom. “There’s a knife in her.” He stumbled past them, gained his footing, and stopped several feet into the dining room. His voice boomed above the slow chords coming from the stage. “There’s been a murder!”

The band stilled, and for an instant, so did the diners. A woman’s voice gasped, “Did he say murder?” Chairs scraped the floor, followed by the pitch of voices increasing. People left their chairs, and the room took on a chaotic motion.

A man near the stage stood and bolted toward the door. The sounds of sirens could already be heard in the distance. The man didn’t leave, but instead, blocked the doorway, raised his hands, and shouted, “Everyone stay right where you are.” He scanned the crowd. “Jake. Yeah, you. Go make sure the back entrance stays closed. No one is to leave.”

A gentle pat on her back released the tension between her shoulder blades. She moved with Mason as he shuffled her to the side of the hall leading into the ladies’ room.

His lips, soft against her earlobe, whispered, “He’s a cop.”

She folded into his tightened hug.

“Are you okay?”

“I’m nauseous.” The trembling lessened, but the effects of the ghastly scene still resonated through her. Carla’s head had lolled back, blood flowed from the gaping slash across her throat, and a knife protruded from her chest. Phoebe shivered. The scene was familiar. The residual odor of urine, blood, and pine air freshener clogged her head as if they’d combined to form a caustic cloud she’d inhaled.


Red lights could be seen through the curtained windows.

“There’s more, Mason. The way she is…how she looks.” She shook her head and shut her eyes tight. A shiver traveled the length of her body as she huddled so close against him an onlooker might not know where one body stopped and the other began.

Several uniformed policemen entered the front door, and after speaking to the off-duty policeman guarding the entrance, fanned out. One headed for the back of the restaurant, one took his position at the front door, and two hurried past them and into the ladies’ room.

“I can’t believe this.”

“I know, baby. Neither can I.”

A second later, paramedics rushed in and entered the restroom.

Her fisted hands on his back opened and caught his shirt in her fingers. “No, you don’t understand.” Her head was dizzy with the scene, a scene she’d created. How could this happen again? “It’s my book—”

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About the Author:

Brenda Whiteside is the award-winning author of romantic suspense, romance, and cozy mystery. After living in six states and two countries—so far—she and her husband have settled in Central Arizona. They admit to being gypsies at heart and won’t discount the possibility of another move. They share their home with a rescue dog named Amigo. While FDW fishes, Brenda writes.

Visit Brenda at or

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#HobbyCareerPassion: Jennifer Wilck with ‘Food Is My Love Language’ & New Release: A Heart Restrained~ #Contemporary Romance #AHAgrp #Blog

Welcome to my weekly feature where authors share about the hobbies, careers, or passions of their characters.

I’m pleased to introduce today’s guest, Jennifer Wilck…

Food Is My Love Language

The one comment I frequently get about my books, and that always makes me laugh, is, “Wow, you have a lot of food in your books.” I laugh because it’s true. My characters are always eating or cooking. Alright, maybe not always, but quite frequently.

There’s a reason for that. In my mind, food is about more than nutrition, it’s emotion, too. I don’t mean downing an entire gallon of ice cream after a bad breakup, although if it helps, you do you. Food is part of so many emotional rituals—milestone events like birthdays and anniversaries, weddings, funerals, reunions, and holidays. When I think about anything I’ve done with people I love, it always involves some sort of food.

When I cook for my family, I feel love and joy in being able to do something so basic yet necessary for them. Nothing makes me happier than cooking a favorite meal for one of my kids when they come home from school after being away for months. I enjoy preparing birthday treats probably more than my family does choosing them. And the surest way to know you’re a good friend is if I cook you dinner. Yes, even large holiday meals—time consuming and stressful—are ways that I show my feelings for my family and friends alike.

So, it makes perfect sense to me that my characters eat. Whether it’s going clamming on a first date and watching the sunset (A Heart Restrained), enjoying dessert at the best bakery in New York City (Five Minutes to Love) or enjoying a Fourth of July BBQ with good friends (In the Moment), my characters demonstrate their feelings with food.

As for me, if I have spare time, I cook or bake, much to the delight of my husband. My favorite things to bake are challah every Friday and chocolate chip cookies. I’m always looking for new recipes to try for meals, and I’ll eat almost anything once. I love trying to improve on things, whether it learning to bake a better bread or coming up with a new way to make chicken. In addition to feeding others and showing them how much I love them, it makes me feel good, too. And that’s the best part, isn’t it?

She refuses to sell him her company; will she give him her heart?


Caleb Zeno, a wealthy and successful media mogul, refuses to allow emotions into any aspect of his life, especially his entertainment corporation. When his company’s lifestyle website runs into competition from a small boutique company, the most logical solution is to buy out his rival. 

Fiona Hamilton’s lifestyle website succeeds due to her loving and caring treatment of her clients, who have become like family to her. She has no desire to sell to anyone, much less a tattooed, muscled, automaton. 

At odds professionally, Caleb and Fiona come together as a favor for Caleb’s sister. Sparks fly and sexual chemistry abounds. But Caleb can’t let go of his abusive past and be the man Fiona needs, and she is unwilling to risk independence and financial security for anything less than a perfect happily ever after. Can they put their differences aside to find a viral kind of love?


“Wouldn’t you enjoy this more if it were in English?”

She paused and shifted so she faced him, one leg bent under her, the other dangling off the edge. “Absolutely not! Telenovelas are so much more emotional than American TV.”

“Why don’t you at least research online to find a plot summary?”

“I’m happy with the way things are,” she said. “I don’t need to hear the words to feel the story.”

“But…you’re crying.”

She smiled through her tears and wiped her cheeks. “I know.”

Staring at her, his heart rate increased, and he tamped the panic her tears caused. At first, he thought pain caused her tears, but her rapt attention to the screen made him realize otherwise.

Why would she want to do this to herself? And how could she enjoy a show she couldn’t understand?

He should leave, before she recognized his complete lack of comprehension. But her rapt attention to the screen fascinated him. She was smart—his business dealings with her had proven it. Yet she focused as if she understood her show.

She stared at the TV screen, but he couldn’t take his gaze off her. Her skin, despite its bruising, was luminous. Her lips were parted, and she gripped the edges of the sofa cushions until her knuckles turned white. This close to her, heat radiated from her body. He could hear a faint sigh.

If she were this passionate about a television show, how passionate would she be if he kissed her?

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Jennifer started telling herself stories as a little girl when she couldn’t fall asleep at night. Pretty soon, her head was filled with these stories and the characters that populated them. Even as an adult, she thinks about the characters and stories at night before she falls asleep or walking the dog. Eventually, she started writing them down. Her favorite stories to write are those with smart, sassy, independent heroines; handsome, strong and slightly vulnerable heroes; and her stories always end with happily ever after.

In the real world, she’s the mother of two amazing daughters and wife of one of the smartest men she knows. She believes humor is the only way to get through the day and does not believe in sharing her chocolate.

Jennifer Wilck is an award-winning contemporary romance author for readers who are passionate about love, laughter, and happily ever after. Known for writing both Jewish and non-Jewish romances, her books feature damaged heroes, sassy and independent heroines, witty banter and hot chemistry. Jennifer’s ability to transport the reader into the scene, create characters the reader will fall in love with, and evoke a roller coaster of emotions, will hook you from the first page. You can find her books at all major online retailers in a variety of formats.

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Author Interview with Stella Grae ~ New Release: Just Call Me Confidence #eroticromance #wrpbks #blog

Please help me welcome today’s guest, Stella Grae…

Please tell us a little about yourself, where are you from? Where do you live now? Family? Pets?

I’m an English professor living in Lexington, Kentucky, but grew up in Tennessee. I’m a bibliophile and absolutely love teaching literature. I’m not married, but have a great partner who is very supportive of my writing. While I don’t have any pets, I do have books—shelves and shelves of books in my house. I’m thinking of getting a cat, but we’ll see. I’m still on the fence about that one. Cooking and trying new bourbons are my creature comforts right now, and I’m convinced that there’s nothing that cheese grits can’t make better!

Is there anything in particular you want to share about Just Call Me Confidence?

So, this will be an interesting answer because most authors pull some part of themselves into a work, even if it’s just their own personal fantasies. Just Call Me Confidence and its sequel, which I’m working on right now, were both born of a failed relationship. I was lonely in the relationship, but didn’t want to do anything stupid, so I created characters and situations that were based a little on reality, but twisted them to create the kind of relationship that I actually had wished I had had. Instead of doing the wrong thing I wrote it. The relationship fizzled, but fortunately, the plot sizzled.

What is the most difficult thing about writing a book?

For me, I think the most difficult part of writing any book is allowing the character to evolve organically, which is why I’m not a writer who outlines. I open a vein and let it pour out; I’m a pantser all the way! With erotica, the challenge is writing the love scenes. Not only do you have to find different words for different “things” or acts, but you endeavor to have some variety—just like in real life. I experiment a lot to make sure I’m getting it right—wink, wink.

What book have you read that you wish you had written?

I love, love, love Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. That is a hell of a piece of art. I’ve read it multiple times and every time I’m floored with jealousy. It’s a great example of how an author can completely intertwine all the points of view into one crazy, beautiful, creepy narrative. Adore Flynn as a writer!

What do you want readers to come away with after they read Just Call Me Confidence?

I’d really like for my readers to come away with the idea that you can rebrand and refine your confidence at any point in your life, especially if you’ve endured a rough patch. Sex appeal (like beauty) is in the eye of the beholder, so don’t get caught up in looking young; get caught up in being confident with who you are. It’s never too late to go after what you want!

What is your favorite quote?

My favorite quote, by far, is when Fielding, Jenna’s BFF, is comforting her after an unusual break up. Jenna is worried how Fielding and other people will see her. Fielding says, “I’ll never stoop to calling you a whore because you’re simply acting like a woman with a man’s morals.” That’s a perfect quote to me because even in 2023, sometimes women are held to different standards. Jenna and Fielding aren’t having any of that nonsense!

If you could spend time with a character from your book, whom would it be? And what would you do during that day? (PG-13 please 🙂

Hands down I would hang with Jenna’s BFF Fielding. She’s fun, flirty, dirty-minded, smart as hell, compassionate, and kind. She’s the kind of woman I’d like to be, and the kind who would take you to the adult bookstore for a toy if you didn’t have one—no shame in her game. Of course, she’d also hold you and feed you pizza and beer if that’s what you needed. I can imagine that if we spent the day together we’d hit a bar with great food for lunch (and dinner!), then spend time hiking, and try to go to a concert. It would be an epic adventure!

What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

I think the toughest criticism has always been any rejection—for any reason. As an author, you spend so much time preparing your book for the world and you dream big, then…rejection. One of the worst rejections came from an editor who said I should stick to writing what I know, which I think is awful advice because think of all the books that would never have come to be! The absolute best compliment came from an acquisitions editor for a very well known publisher (she’s acquired books that have sold millions of copies—squeal!) and she loved Just Call Me Confidence. She read it all, told me she loved the story and the characters, and said it reminded her of Sex and the City, but it was too spicy for the publisher’s line. It was a great compliment though! I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

Oh, they definitely are based on real people, but my characters usually end up being an amalgam of different people—reality mixed with fantasy to fill in the gaps. Of course, you don’t want to be sued, so you do have to take what you create and mold it enough so that doesn’t happen. I’m not sure I could entirely create a character without a real-life inspiration.

Who is the most famous person you have ever met?

I’m not really into celebrities, but I could totally be a stalker when it comes to famous authors. I once met Silas House at a book fair and was on cloud nine for like two weeks. He was very cordial and accommodating. He spoke to me a little bit about writing and signed my book.

How did you come up with the title?

Just Call Me Confidence originally had another title that was pretty naughty, so my editor said, “Look, the book will be thrown into the dungeons of Amazon if we don’t change the title.” So, I read and re-read the first couple of chapters and sketched out title after title until I honed in on that idea: confidence. I liked that the protagonist was kind of sassy and it just all came together. I penned the new title on a piece of scrap paper and I knew it was the one!

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

The most important message is just to be confident in who you are and don’t look back. Don’t have regrets, don’t yearn for a past time, just live in the now, in the moment, and love where you are.

How much of the book is realistic?

There are definitely some love scenes that I derived from experience, shall we say, but the relationships are totally fantasy, not to say it couldn’t happen. The most realistic parts are the scenes between Jenna and Fielding. That is best friend love at its finest. There’s a lot of comedy, too—laughing at the pains in life, which for me, is very realistic, and something I highly recommend.

With two men vying for her heart, Jenna Craig is ready to reclaim her confidence, but is she ready for Mr. Right or Mr. Right Now?


I hold my breath and walk into the club. My skin swells with goose bumps and I hear the catch in my own nervous voice.

Inside these four walls I could meet my fantasy, my desire, and maybe even my destiny. Or, maybe just a really good time–just for tonight. I can do whatever I want to do because tonight, I’m free–in so many ways.

The bass pumps through my body while I scan the men and women, grinding in slow motion waves. A fever breaks out all over my body with a sudden mist of sweat collecting in the small of my back and between my breasts. I want that to be me.

My mind suddenly takes a Debbie-Downer side trip: Am I still young enough, hot enough, and savvy enough to start over? I know I’m not the prettiest woman out there, but that’s not what entices a man and keeps him coming back for more. It’s strength and substance, and those can only come from confidence, which is derived from experience. I have interesting sports stories. I can intelligently discuss, and have an opinion about politics, economics, and social issues. I’m educated; I have a real job. I’ve traveled, and I can cook. I’ve had a wide variety of experiences, which makes me interesting, and sexy-as-hell confident.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that I can screw without hang-ups, unlike many of my younger sisters-in-arms. And apparently, that makes me hot, especially to the under-thirty-and-male crowd.

The guys here are too young to understand the difference, though, but I think, that’s kinda liberating…no explaining my past, no worry about the future. It’s all about the here and now. YOLO…

I laugh and smile, getting a secret thrill out of the college-aged guys sitting behind my friends and me, rubbernecking on us. The brown-haired clown in the group hijacks me with his hazel eyes and mouthes, “Call me.” Keep the drinks coming fellas, maybe you’ll get lucky, and you’ll definitely go broke trying.

My face aches from smiling so much. I think tonight proved something I’ve forgotten about myself. When I get a whistle or a double-take, or even a lingering look, I know I cannot deny it: For better or worse, I still have it. Just call you, huh, baby? Just call me confidence.

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About the Author:

Stella Grae is an unassuming English professor, copyeditor, and copywriter living in Lexington, Kentucky. She’s the author of the short story “Power Play” that was originally published in the website erotica journal Oysters and Chocolate. In her spare time she enjoys sipping on bourbon, nibbling cheesy grits, and philosophizing about love and sex in her blog, “Bone Up,” which can be found on her website along with other sexy tidbits.  This is her first erotica novel.







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#HobbyCareerPassion: Brenda Whiteside with A Passion to Solve Crime & New Release: Candy, Cigarettes, and Murder ~ #CozyMystery #AHAgrp #Blog

Welcome to my weekly feature where authors share about the hobbies, careers, or passions of their characters.

I’m pleased to introduce today’s guest, Nicole Earp…

A Passion to Solve Crime

Brenda Whiteside having chocolate martinis with her sister

Hi, my name is Nicole Earp, but everyone calls me Nic. I’m half of the Chocolate Martini Sisters. Thank you, Alicia, for having me on your blog today to talk about my hobby or career passion. I love the word passion, don’t you? It implies such deep feelings about whatever spins your top.

I’m a freelance travel author. My articles appear in travel magazines and on various online sites. I love to visit out of the way places around the western United States and write about my experiences. Most recently, I was lucky enough to do a series of articles about train travel. Riding the rail was great fun.

I dabble in candle making too, but most recently I’ve discovered a new passion—sleuthing with my sister Em. Solving murder mysteries that seem to fall in our laps is great fun. Oh, please don’t take that wrong. The poor souls who meet their demise at the hands of others is a sad state of affairs. Em and I both love seeing justice done for them. And we’re quite good at following the clues to do just that. Chief Homicide Detective Ben Guthrie isn’t fully appreciative of our talents. But honestly, I think the crimes are solved so much quicker with the Chocolate Martini Sisters on the caper.

I hope you’ll join us in Wyatt, Arizona at the historical Dulce Inn and Azul Saloon to follow the clues and the fun. At the end, we’ll toast with a chocolate martini.

It’s a birthday weekend with the gift of murder.

Recently widowed, Emma Banefield looks forward to a getaway birthday weekend with her free-wheeling sister, Nicole Earp, sipping chocolate martinis at the peaceful, historic Dulce Inn. When a rude stranger, a nasty food critic, and a madhouse of temperamental artists greet them, all hope for a tranquil weekend evaporates faster than dew on a hot desert morning.

Overlooking the riotous atmosphere is doubly hard after Em discovers the body of a hotel guest, and a second murder affects Nic personally. Now, entrenched in a caper that pits them against a surly detective, they cozy up to a hotel staff hiding dangerous secrets to uncover clues to the killer.

Using their smarts and love of all-things mystery, will the Chocolate Martini Sisters solve the crime ahead of the obstinate Chief Detective or find themselves trapped in the middle of a third murder?


“I was thinking, Em, if Shaw is a nasty food critic, and I have no doubt he is, we could do an Internet search. Check out who he’s trashed.” She plucked her phone from her bag.

Her sister frowned. “Or we could relax and enjoy what’s left of our sister holiday, at least for a few hours.” She stood. “Let’s walk across to the art fair in the park. I could use a break from murder and mayhem.”

“Great idea. Maybe I could find something for Chloe for her birthday.” The mention of her daughter brought Liam to mind. She wanted to ask Em if she’d heard from her son, but supposed that if she had, she would’ve mentioned it. Best leave it alone or her sister would start worrying again. She glanced out the window. “I need to get a hat before we go. I don’t see a cloud in the sky.” She slung her purse over her shoulder and stood. “I’ll make a quick run upstairs. You want to go, or can I get you anything?”

“No. I’ll stroll around the lobby while you run upstairs.”

“Ha. You’re still sleuthing in spite of being tired of the drama. Or is it Chief Homicide Detective Guthrie you hope to run into?” She elbowed her sister as they left the restaurant and entered the lobby.

“Get your stupid hat and meet me out front.” Em’s lighthearted gleam downplayed her feigned grousing. “And hurry or I’ll leave without you.”

She chuckled and hurried through the lobby, dodging guests ambling amongst the exhibition pieces. While waiting for the elevator, she surveyed the activity. A brittle air had settled over the stately room and charged the lobby with a tense ambiance. News of the murder must have already spread like a brush fire over the Bradshaw Mountains. Guests whispered furtively to one another, the gist of which appeared to have nothing to do with the art they perused.

Penelope was nowhere to be seen. Another employee and Stonewell, heads together, manned the front desk. An office door opened. Ramirez stuck his head out, glanced about, then ducked back inside. Who or what did he seek? Jillian’s office door was closed. Detective Guthrie could very likely have commandeered her space for interviewing guests and employees. Would he have a docket of suspects by the end of the day? The elevator dinged. Nic smiled. Would his list match the Chocolate Martini Sisters’ litany of suspects?

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About the authors:

Joyce Proell is the award-winning author of Amaryllis, Eliza and the Cady Delafield mysteries: A Deadly Truth, A Burning Truth and A Wicked Truth. Along with her husband and little dog, Nellie, she lives in Minnesota in her very own little house on the prairie. She loves to hear from readers.

Visit her website at or

Brenda Whiteside is the award-winning author of romantic suspense, romance, and cozy mystery. After living in six states and two countries—so far—she and her husband have settled in Central Arizona. They admit to being gypsies at heart and won’t discount the possibility of another move. They share their home with a rescue dog named Amigo. While FDW fishes, Brenda writes.

Visit Brenda at or


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Author Interview with Everlyn C Thompson ~ New Release: A Flock of Vampires #ParanormalRomance

Please help me welcome today’s guest, Everlyn C Thompson…

Please tell us a little about yourself, where are you from?

I was born and raised in Alberta. I love to spend time outdoors, but when it’s cold out you can find me inside writing, knitting, baking and talking to my houseplants.

This is where I do my best thinking

Why did you choose this genre (is it something you’ve written in before)?

I write paranormal romance and urban fantasy because thats what I love to read. I want to give my readers the same feeling I get when I read books by my favorite authors.

Was there anything unusual, any anecdote about this book, the characters, title, process, etc, you’d like to share?

I wrote this book during the covid lockdown because I maxed out all of the digital downloads on all three of my library cards for the month and I had nothing to read.

What is the most difficult thing about writing a book?

Finding time. Life keeps getting in the way.

What was the most difficult thing about this one in particular?

It was my first attempt at writing, so I wasn’t sure if I could do it – and once it was finished, I wasn’t sure if it was any good.

What do you love that most people don’t like and wouldn’t understand why you do?

Mustard on everything. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

Do you collect anything?

Rubber ducks. It started as a small hobby when I was 16, and somehow snowballed into hundreds of ducks taking over my basement.

What’s the main thing that you could get rid of in your life that would give you more writing time?

Responsibilities. If I didn’t have to bother with all the tasks that come with being a human being, then I’d have so much more time to write. Showering, brushing my hair, getting dressed, eating, sweeping the floors—it all takes so much time that would be better spent writing.

What do you want readers to come away with after they read A Flock of Vampires?

The overwhelming need to leave a positive review. Seriously, the more stars the better.

What is your favorite quote?

Anna: Okay, can I just say something crazy? Hans: I love crazy!

If you could be a character in any of your books, who would you be?

Keltti (from A Flock of Vampires) or Theo (from my Grave Reaper Series) because they both end up finding happily ever after.

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

My characters are 100% fictional. If I was lucky enough to know any super hot vampires or fae, I wouldn’t be sitting at my laptop writing about them because I’d be too busy hanging out with them.


As an elite Vampire Warrior, Stu’s only goal is helping his race survive the war-until a Witch stumbles into the crosshairs, and he realizes he’s found his true mate.


The Vampire looked down at her. His eyes glinted harshly in the moonlight, a warning that he was even more dangerous than the Vampire’s that had attacked them. And didn’t that just make her want to…

Yeah, she wanted to kiss him. Not a friendly kiss, but a passionate one, full of the life that she was grateful for. Would he meet her halfway? Judging by his feral expression, he was more interested in killing something with his bare hands than humoring a lonely Witch.

Buy link(s):


Barnes & Noble:

About Everlyn:

Born and raised on the beautiful Canadian prairies, Everlyn prefers to spend her time outdoors with her family kayaking, skating, fishing, and hunting. She loves reading and writing about vampires, witches, fae and zombies that get to find their own version of happily ever after.



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Author Interview with D. V. Stone ~ New Release: Sea Hunter ~ #Historical #paranormal #romance #Blog

Please help me welcome author D.V. Stone with an interview and her new release…

Hi, I’m D. V. Stone. Currently, I’m in Northern Florida living the life of a Snowbird in my 5th Wheel Camper with my husband of twenty-eight years, Pete, Hali, my doggo, and an almost twenty-year-old camp cat, Baby, who loves traveling and camping. We’ll be home in Northern New Jersey in April.

Sea Hunter is book four of The Mortar & Pestle Series. This is my first cooperative writing with six other amazing authors. It was a pleasure working with them. We are made up of international authors of different genres and vast backgrounds who came together and are offering this exciting, often humorous series. From world travelers, teachers, bloggers, magazine editors, and award winners, there’s something for everyone in this series. Paranormal to contemporary and various heat-levels, but we made it work.


~Do you collect anything?
I have a parliament of owls. Yes, a flock of owls is a parliament. At home, in my camper, the décor is owlish. When choosing one to add to my collection, it’s all about the eyes. Sometimes they are just weird. My most recent addition is a mercury-glass owl who stands about a foot high. Small figurines that stand on a pile of books are my favorite. I’m always on the lookout.

~What was your first job?
I’ve worked at least one, if not two, paying jobs since I was sixteen. But I’m going to count before that. I lived on a dairy farm and milked cows and goats. Mucking out the barns. Feeding all the livestock. In the summer, we plowed, planted, harvested, mowed, baled, etc. Farming is hard work, and even little kids pitched in by feeding chickens and collecting eggs.

~ What do you want readers to come away with after they read [your book]?
I want readers to find hope and happiness in my work. Life is tough. If we can escape for a little while and enjoy a great story with a happy ending, I’ve done my job.

~ What is your favorite quote?
Your thoughts of God are too human. Martin Luther

~What celebrity would you most like to be stranded on an island with?
Lassie. She’d snuggle and help me out of bad situations.

~What do you want your tombstone to say?
Even when it was scary, she did it.
Or— She made a difference.

~How much of the book is realistic?
Sea Hunter is my first book set in historical reality. Post WWII. I did so much research and even traveled to Maine and Cape Cod to visit naval museums. I spent time on the computer reading about underwater archeology, diving, sea life, and the dangers of diving off the east coast due to mines. My favorite part was learning the vernacular popular in the post-war era.

I’m giving away a free sample of all the books in the Mortar & Pestle Series via Bookfunnel at no requirements

Sea Hunter in the series picture

On the turbulent high seas, an archeologist must protect a historic shipwreck from treasure hunters—not fall for one.

Series Blurb
A wisp of smoke, a swirl of promise, a breath of destiny…a message within the Mortar & Pestle for those who want to believe. Throughout time people have sought their heart’s desire. But true love is often elusive. Carved with ancient Norse runes, the Mortar & Pestle shows paths to happily-ever-afters. Once you capture the Mortar & Pestle’s scent of magic, you’ll want to read all seven individual romances.

Sea Hunter: Blurb
Zahra Corbyn.
I’m a Sea Hunter. As an underwater archeologist and professor of antiquities, it is my duty to stop treasure hunters and looters from raiding Sea Wraith. But fate is a funny thing. Now I find myself working with Jack Alexander, a treasure hunter, to protect history from a known looter. Did my heart’s desire change?
Captain Jack Alexander.
I’ve been told women on a ship are unlucky, but this one has the two pieces of the map I need to finally claim Sea Wraith. Now I find myself in a deal that makes me one-third partner with her and a known scoundrel.
Can the two unlikely allies work together while safeguarding their hearts against the power of the Mortar and Pestle?
If you like Lara Croft and Indiana Jones, you’ll love Zahra Corbyn and Jack Alexander.


Zahra flailed when he pitched her over the rail of the steamer.
The sneering smile got smaller, and he saluted before the frigid Atlantic water closed over her.
Splashing into the rough water, she suppressed her initial gasp. As an experienced diver, she understood the peril of aspirating saltwater. However, her heartbeat was out of control. When the disorienting shock of hitting the cold ocean in the darkness dissipated, she kicked toward the surface, following the bubbles up. Gasping and sputtering, she stared at the disappearing ship while treading water in its wake.
The fall hurt, but it hadn’t killed her, not like the cold water would. Already her arms and legs were becoming uncoordinated. Tingling along the nerves turned into stabs of pain. Her muscles contracted. Thinking became muddled.
In the distance, a lighthouse flashed a beacon before another wave swamped her.
Zahra kicked her way back to the surface, but a current dragged at her legs like a sea monster’s tendrils.
So close to home, and she would die out here. Alone. Killed by the elements she loved and researched. Maybe another underwater archaeologist would find and study pieces of her clothes and jewelry.
She’d survived two ocean crossings, a world war, and a stint working for the Office of Strategic Services.
Boston was only about fifty nautical miles away.
She’d read most deadly accidents happened close to home.
Stop and focus, Zahra.
Surfacing once more, she coughed and turned three hundred sixty degrees, looking for anything to help her. A buoy, a plank, floating garbage.
She wasn’t shivering anymore. Uh-oh, this was it. Her body was shutting down. Slowly, she descended below the surface. A flicker of light caught her attention. Was that a ship? Or rather the wreck of one? She must be hallucinating.
The depth of the water here wasn’t bad, considering. Only about twenty to thirty feet. Could it be Sea Wraith? Archeologists and fortune hunters had been searching for her for years. The figurehead poking from the sand and silt resembled a specter with its gaping maw and tendrils like an octopus. Spots developed in her vision. The last thing she saw was the shape of a man standing on the ship’s figurehead.

Buy link(s):
Purchase link Sea Hunter
Link to series


D. V. Stone is an award-winning, multi-genre, traditionally and independently published author. She writes books people want to read. Whether romance or fantasy, contemporary or mid-grade, her stories are about the importance of friends and family. About overcoming obstacles while often with humor.
Around the Fire is a popular weekly blog where she introduces both established and new authors giving an insider’s look into their lives and books as well as tidbits about her own life.
Now retired, she is a full-time author and incorporates her life experiences into her books.
A former Emergency Medical Technician, she volunteered in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. At the same time, she worked as a professional EMT in a women’s state prison. She was the proprietor of a coffee shop, and a small restaurant/ice cream stand in the years that followed. The years following were as a manager in an animal emergency hospital, while her last position was in a human medical office.
When not behind the wheel of 2Hoots—a 41-foot long 13.2 feet high 5th Wheel camper, she rambles around town in Northern New Jersey in a white Camaro. She also loves travel and history.
D.V. is a wife to an amazing husband, mother to one son, and not your average grandma to three beautiful grands. A woman of faith, she believes and trusts in God.
“My greatest pleasures are spending time outside with friends and family, cooking over the open fire, sipping a glass of wine, and reading.”
Hali, her rescue dog, always reminds her to let readers know, “Woof, woof.” Which is loosely translated as support your local animal rescue.”


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