September Featured Books – Find New & Amazing Authors!!!

Looking for something new and fabulous to read? Try these…

Eleven-year-old Jillie Ross escapes the vicious relatives threatening to flush away her beloved sister’s ashes if she doesn’t lead them to her dead father’s rumored treasure.
Determined to find her sibling’s ashes and honor them along with their parents’ remains, the feisty orphan must endure harsh weather, escape a stalker, and hide from the police. But how long can she survive when at least one family member wants her dead?

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A visionary is someone who sees into the future Taylor Forrestier sees into the past but only as it pertains to her work. Hailed by her peers as “a visionary with an instinct for beauty and an eye for the unique” Taylor is undoubtedly a brilliant architect and gifted designer. But she and twin brother Trevor, share more than a successful business. The two share a childhood wrought with lies and deceit and the kind of abuse that’s disgustingly prevalent in today’s society.

Can the love of God and the awesome healing power of His grace and mercy free the twins from their past and open their hearts to the good plan and the future He has for their lives?

Find out in…The Visionary ~ Where the awesome power of God’s love heals the most wounded of souls.

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Seven-year-old Sigrit’s happy and structured life in Germany ends suddenly one afternoon in 1944. With her parents dead, she is forced to travel with a woman who hates children while being taken to live with strangers. Even her fourteen-year-old brother is yanked away from her side. When the war ends, Sigrit is once again separated from those she loves. With so much tragedy in her young life already, how will she find the courage to face what her future brings?

Sigrit is the poignant tale of war, tyranny, cruelty, love, hope, and kindness. Follow Sigrit and her family as they struggle to survive in war-torn Germany.

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Wilshire, Maryland, a quaint shore town on the Chesapeake, promises Darrell Henshaw a new start in life and a second chance at love. That is, until he learns the town hides an ugly secret. A thirty-year-old murder in the high school. And a frightening ghost stalking his new office. Burned by an earlier encounter with the spirit world, Darrell doesn’t want to get involved, but when the desperate ghost hounds him, he concedes. Assisted by his new love, he follows a trail that leads to the civil rights movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and even the Klu Klux Klan. Then, when two locals who try to help are murdered, Darrell is forced to decide if he’s willing to risk his life—and the life of the woman he loves—to expose the killers of a young man he never knew.

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Aubrey Rae is happy on her own, running an antique toy store in Lawton, Oklahoma, until her world is upended. Jim Tanner walks into her store and she falls in love for the first time. How can she tell the man she loves the truth, that she has only months to live?

Following the death of his mother, Jim Tanner returns to Oklahoma to help his father. A chance encounter with a cursed scrimshaw doll brings him to an antique store where he meets Aubrey Rae and falls for her, hard. He knows she feels something for him too, but she’s hiding something from him. He won’t give up until he unlocks her secret, and her heart.

Aubrey Rae and Jim must battle illness, a jealous ex-lover, an obnoxious parrot, and an ancient gypsy curse if they are to have a life together.

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She can manage six months, but he wants forever…

Never trust a man–Ryley Kennedy’s motto for years. She has worked too long building her own career under the umbrella of her mentor.

Now, the new CEO—a too-sexy, arrogant artiste—has made her a stunning offer…marry him, stay married for six months, and inherit The Art Company, a thriving, growing world-renowned acquisitions business that she helped build from the ground up. But how can she keep their arrangement all business, when the moment he kisses her, she loses all reason and goes stupid like an inexperienced schoolgirl?

For five years Todd Jarlssen has curbed his craving, at his uncle’s command, for the sizzling firebrand who is now his personal assistant. He plays the field with women all over the world, but no one quenches his desire for the redhead who scalds his thoughts daily. He vows to have her. And keep her.

A high-stakes marriage to an electrifyingly sexy Adonis. She wants her own company, but at what price?

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A Three Book Anthology
A twenty-year high school reunion changes the lives of former classmates and leads to unexpected futures.
Three Strikes Thursday
Barry Carlson, a pro baseball success, could have any woman he wanted. Except one. Twenty years before, Barry won Amanda Marsh’s love, only to crush her heart. He’s returned to Serendipity, determined to win her back. Recently divorced, Amanda is happy—until Barry slides back into her life. Can they put aside old wounds and new misunderstandings to find a forever love?
Two On Tuesday
Blane Weston’s construction company needs the venture capital Matt Durand has. With his reputation for hostile takeovers, she wants no part of him. Mixing business with pleasure, she’s off to Serendipity to hook up with a former flame. Not used to being denied, Matt follows. How can Blane enjoy a journey to her past when Matt is determined to dictate her future?
One Fateful Friday
His high school reunion in Serendipity over, hospital CEO Jake Holbrook regrets his single state. When a special woman from his past tumbles back into his life—and his bed—he’s determined to keep her there. Family practitioner Bethany Thomas avoids an entanglement with her new boss, but unknowingly betrays him. As the holidays approach, can they overcome a lack of trust to find their Christmas miracle?
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Not every love story begins or ends with the passion of a bodice-ripper. Some develop slowly – an occasional look or a choice word the only spark they ever know. Some endure adversity – lies, infidelity, or opposition creating flames of distrust instead of the warm thaw of a hesitant heart. And some are so unlikely, so unexpected – no one sees the connection coming, not even the lovers themselves. “Mine to Tell” is a gentle story of adversity and forgiveness, a tale of mystery you won’t forget.
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Author Interview & The Keys: Voice of the Turtle by Karen Hulene Bartell

Please help me welcome Wild Rose Press Author Karen Hulene Bartell…

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

Thank you for inviting me to your blog, Alicia! I was born in Jersey City, NJ, to rolling-stone parents who moved annually. My earliest playmates were fictional friends in books. Paperbacks were my portable pals. Ghost stories kept me up at night—reading feverishly. The paranormal was my passion. Wanderlust inherent, I enjoyed traveling, although I loathed changing schools—seven schools by the time I entered ninth grade.

Novels offered an imaginative escape. An only child, I began my first novel at nine, but stopped after several days. (Said I needed to learn more first.) Professor emeritus of the University of Texas at Austin, I live in the Texas Hill Country with my husband Peter and my mews—three rescued cats and a rescued *Cat*ahoula Leopard dog.

Where did you get the idea for THE KEYS: VOICE OF THE TURTLE?

The idea for THE KEYS: VOICE OF THE TURTLE came to me as my husband and I drove Highway 1 through the Keys all the way to Key West. (Something about travel always spurs my imagination.) Key West itself is so chock-full of history and ghosts, the two apparitions almost wrote themselves into this Mainstream Fantasy. Even Key West’s original name evokes mystery. The Spaniards called it Cayo Hueso, meaning Island of Bones, because they found human bones scattered across the island’s white beaches when they first arrived. Since I love turtles, the underlying  message of this novel is saving one of the few remaining sea-turtle nesting beaches from being developed into a hotel and lost forever to the turtles.

Why did you choose the Mainstream Fantasy genre?

I like to read stories that include mystery, romance, nature, and the supernatural.  As a result, I write stories that include those four elements. Although a romance develops between Keya and a dashing sailor, this is not a “Romance,” even though a budding love develops between a thirty-something man and woman.

A body washes up on the beach and begins a whodunnit mystery, but two other mysteries also crop up. Though Keya finds buried treasure and love, can she save the beach? Can Ruth find the body’s murderer or help Bart solve his 400-year-old mystery? Despite all these mysteries to solve and resolve, this is not a “Mystery.”

I chose the Mainstream Fantasy genre because where else can readers join the characters’ adventures as they fall in love, mingle with ghosts, and talk with turtles?

Was there any anecdote about THE KEYS: VOICE OF THE TURTLE you’d like to share?

Yes, finding the name Keya for one of the main characters—who is Native American and a turtle aficionado—was kismet.

In the Lakota Sioux language, Keya means Turtle. The setting of the Mainstream Fantasy novel is the Florida Keys, and the premise is protecting sea turtles and their nesting beaches. The title is The Keys: Voice of the Turtle.

Are there any tricks, habits or superstitions you have when creating a story?

The only writing “tricks” I have are these two:

  1. I can only write in the morning when I’m fresh—which often means getting up at 3:30, so I can write before my day begins, and
  2. I write every day, which keeps the story going. Even afternoons, when I’m busy with other obligations, my mind continues thinking about what the characters will do next.

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

I love researching my books and going on “Tory n’ Mom” trips with my dog—for instance, going on Louisiana’s Creole Nature Trail and getting cornered by a bobcat or walking through the Wetland Walkway and meeting an alligator. I love nature and enjoy going on rock hunts near the Rio Grande in Terlingua’s mountains, or walking barefoot through White Sands, New Mexico, or climbing the Franklin Mountains, or sitting in an open cattle trailer at dawn, waiting for Nebraska’s Prairie Chickens to begin their “dance.”

Have you written any other books that are not published?

I have. My Master’s Thesis was my first unpublished book—although, I plan to rewrite it at some later time. I also began a book and could not find enough material or inspiration to finish it. However, I “cannibalized” what I wrote, reusing bits of it in several other books 😉

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

Completely, yet not at all. Let me explain 😉 I take pieces of people—facial or other physical features, mannerisms, unusual speech inflections, or temperaments. Then, I combines these qualities into a wholly new character. Once in Taipei, Taiwan, I followed a man into a bookstore because he absolutely looked like the mental picture I carried of one of my characters.

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

Yes, in THE KEYS: VOICE OF THE TURTLE, the underlying message is to save one of the Keys’ few remaining sea-turtle nesting beaches from being developed into a hotel complex and lost forever to the turtles.

How much of the book is realistic?

All of it, yet none of it. Let me explain 😉 Like I “piece together” characters, I merge real places (and sometimes events) with total fiction. Hopefully the result is a seamlessly “realistic” amalgamation that is plausible and could happen yet is rooted from my imagination.

How did your interest in writing originate?

Characters in books were my earliest playmates. Paperbacks were my portable pals. Ghost stories kept me up at night—reading feverishly. My mother didn’t care how late I stayed up—if I read. The result? Writing—it’s the natural extension of reading. Besides, what reader can resist creating her own ending?

Your favorite…

Movie ~ Gone With the Wind

Music ~ Classic oldies

Place you’d like to visit ~ Ireland

Food  ~ Any new ethnic dish

Thank you, Karen. Great interview. Gone with the Wind is my favorite movie too!

Now, Karen has a question for you…

Question for readers ~ If you could write a book, what would be its theme?

THE KEYS: VOICE OF THE TURTLE Blurb:

Finding buried treasure and love, Keya moves forward, but can she save the beach? Can Ruth find Maita’s murderer or help Bart solve his 400-year-old mystery? Join their adventures as they mingle with ghosts and talk with turtles.

THE KEYS: VOICE OF THE TURTLE Excerpt:

“These nesting grounds are the reason I’ve fought to keep this property intact. If this beach is developed, the impact will destroy it, but fighting the lawsuit is expensive. I’d hate to sell this place to pay court costs.”

“But you said keeping the nesting grounds intact is only part of the reason you stay.” Ruth gave her a sympathetic smile. “What’s the rest of it?”

“Call it my legacy.” Keya stood up straight. “When I’m gone, I’d like this beach to remain as nature intended it…for the turtles. Since I’ve never had children—”

Earnestine meowed.

Keya grinned. “That is, except for my furry, four-legged kids, I’ve never had children. I have no one to leave it to other than who or what will make the best use of it. Conveying this land to the turtles would be my way of leaving the world a better place.” She turned toward Ruth. “Does that make sense?”

Ruth nodded. Her cousin’s intentions were clear. “But legally, how can you will the property to the turtles?”

“Easy. I leave it to the Turtle Refuge.” Keya chuckled as they meandered along the beach. “And this is where you come in. When you’re writing the brochure, add a few paragraphs about planned giving and charitable bequests…” Keya stared as if in a trance.

“What’s wrong?”

Her hand shaking, Keya pointed to a shady patch of beach half hidden by sand dunes. A lifeless hand lay tangled in seaweed, its fingernails broken and bloodied.

THE KEYS: VOICE OF THE TURTLE Buy Links:

Kindle: https://amzn.to/2XV2wO1

Paperback: https://amzn.to/316xbWM

KEEP IN TOUCH WITH KAREN HULENE BARTELL:

Newsletter: info@karenhulenebartell.com

Web Page: http://www.karenhulenebartell.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KarenHuleneBartell

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KarenHuleneBart

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#TuesdayTestDay with Alicia Dean ~ Win a $5 Amazon Gift Card!!

 

Welcome to Tuesday Test Day! Each Tuesday, I share a snippet from one of my stories, along with three options. To enter, guess which of the three options the snippet is from.

Post your answer in the comments before Sunday evening at 5 p.m. CT. (You may respond here or on my Facebook page). Each Monday, I will randomly draw a name from all the correct answers and that person will win a $5 Amazon Gift Card. Winners will be announced in the next Tuesday Test Day post.

Last week’s winner is…

Peggy J. Twigg

Congrats!! Please email me and I will send your $5 gift card. Thank you for playing!

(The correct answer was “Truly Madly”)

Which of the below stories is this snippet from?

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She pulled from his touch and pressed her fingers to his lips. “Don’t. Please, don’t.” Hearing him say the words tore her apart, even though they were the words she wanted to hear. “It doesn’t matter anymore. I can’t be with you.” Regret ripped through her heart “Not ever.”

He gripped her fingers and placed a soft kiss on the tips. She shuddered and tried to draw in a breath.

“Don’t say that.” His words were a tormented whisper. “Please don’t say that. I can’t lose you forever. I won’t.”

She squeezed her eyes shut. “I can’t, don’t you see? Every time I think of you…with her. I get sick to my stomach. And every time I see you, I think of that night.” She opened her eyes and stared directly into his. “Looking at you makes me sick.”

He flinched. “You can’t mean that.”

“I do. Don’t you understand? My mother has tainted you…tainted us. She taints everything she touches, and I’ll never be free of her.”

He compressed his lips, his voice harsh when he spoke. “That’s your choice. You can’t define yourself by your mother’s actions. We’re responsible for our own lives, our own destiny.”

She snorted a laugh. “That sounds awful nice, but I haven’t ever had control of my destiny, my life. I’m tethered to my mother as long as she’s alive.”

She turned away from his scrutiny—afraid he could see her darkest thoughts. See that sometimes, she wished for her mother’s death. Would he still think she was the girl of his dreams if he knew that?

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Have fun!

11 Comments

Filed under Alicia Stuff, giveaway

#TuesdayTestDay with Alicia Dean ~ Win a $5 Amazon Gift Card!!

 

Each Tuesday, I share a snippet from one of my stories, along with three options. To enter, guess which of the three options the snippet is from.

Post your answer in the comments before Sunday evening at 5 p.m. CT. (You may respond here or on my Facebook page). Each Monday, I will randomly draw a name from all the correct answers and that person will win a $5 Amazon Gift Card. Winners will be announced in the next Tuesday Test Day post.

Last week’s winner is…

Sharon Buchbinder

Congrats!! Please email me and I will send your $5 gift card. Thank you for playing!

(The correct answer was “Without Mercy”)

Which of the below stories is this snippet from?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Good. Have you talked to Patrick?”

“No. I went by, but he’s sleeping off a humdinger of a drunk. I couldn’t get one coherent word out of him. I’ll keep trying, though.”

I bet you will, I thought, and immediately felt bad. Maybe he really was trying to find out who’d broken into my studio. Even if it was Patrick.

“Okay, well, just let me know.”

He nodded. “I was thinking, how about if I buy you dinner this evening? We haven’t seen much of each other since you came home. I wanted to wait a while, you know, with what happened to your parents. But,  I’ve missed you. I’d like to take you out.”

“You mean, like a date?”

“If you want to call it that.” He smiled.

I shook my head. “I’m sorry, Hutch. I can’t. I mean…I don’t think…” I couldn’t tell him that the very thought of socializing with anyone, especially a man, especially a man from Jessup, terrified me. That this town, and everyone in it, represented the fear and tragedy that my life had become. I had no room, no enthusiasm, for  a social life. And, even though it had been years ago, I hadn’t forgotten what it felt like to be hurt by Rick Hutchings. “I’m not going to be here much longer, and—”

“No need to explain. It was just a thought.” He gave me another smile, but his eyes looked wounded. “I’ll let you know what I find out about your break-in. See you around.”

He walked away, not looking back, and I sighed, somehow feeling even more dejected than I had earlier, when Deanna skewered me in front of the whole town.

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Have fun!

19 Comments

Filed under Alicia Stuff, giveaway

#TuesdayTestDay with Alicia Dean ~ Win a $5 Amazon Gift Card!!

 

Each Tuesday, I share a snippet from one of my stories, along with three options. To enter, guess which of the three options the snippet is from.

Post your answer in the comments before Sunday evening at 5 p.m. CT. (You may respond here or on my Facebook page). Each Monday, I will randomly draw a name from all the correct answers and that person will win a $5 Amazon Gift Card. Winners will be announced in the next Tuesday Test Day post.

Last week’s winner is…

Maureen Bonatch

Congrats!! Please email me and I will send your $5 gift card. Thank you for playing!

(The correct answer was “Love Breaks”)

Which of the below stories is this snippet from?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Rain clouds hid the sun, making the glass wall of the coffee shop a grayish color, rendering it nearly opaque.

The rain had held off throughout Sophie’s funeral, although China had expected the heavens to let loose during the graveside service. She couldn’t recall a funeral she’d attended where it hadn’t rained. Thankfully, the list of funerals she’d attended was short.

“It was lovely.” Angela’s hands were wrapped tightly around the cup in front of her as if letting go would precipitate another tragedy.

“Yeah,” Vanessa agreed. “A lot of people there. She had a big family. Tons of friends.”

China didn’t weigh in on the awesomeness of the funeral. Nor did she point out that much of the crowd had been media and curious strangers. She wasn’t sure how a funeral could be ‘lovely.’ People seemed to say that about all funerals.

“I’m just glad it’s over with.” China lifted the mug to her lips and test-sipped the coffee. Strong and hot. Just what she needed to counteract the chill inside her.

“We’ll have Abel’s funeral next week,” Stacy added glumly.

The bank had closed early for Sophie’s funeral. China wondered if customers would start to complain about all the hours they’d been closed. So far, the people she’d dealt with had been sympathetic, patient, but how much longer would that last in the hustle bustle convenience-conscious world?

“Have the arrangements been made for Abel’s service yet?” Vanessa asked.

Angela shook her head. “They’re waiting for the coroner to release the body.”

They lapsed into silence. China doubted that any of the coffee shop patrons had to wonder where they’d been. Four women wearing black clothing and morose expressions, talking about death.

She turned her attention to the scene outside the window. The dreary view was preferable to seeing her own pain reflected in the eyes of her friends. Lightning flashed across the gray sky, and the clouds opened up, dropping buckets of rain onto pedestrians who now hurried along the sidewalk.

“Can you believe what’s happened with all the robberies and deaths?” Vanessa asked. “Miles said he’s never seen anything like it, and he’s been a cop for nearly twenty years.”

China started to turn back to respond, but caught sight of a motorcycle in the corner of the strip mall parking lot and kept her gaze focused there. A man sat astride the bike, seemingly oblivious to the rain drenching his clothing. It was too far to make out his features, but there was something familiar about his posture, his demeanor, the set of his shoulders…

“Oh, God,” she whispered. “Aiden.”

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Have fun!

6 Comments

Filed under Alicia Stuff, giveaway

Author Interview & His Magic Touch by Debby Grahl

Please help me welcome Wild Rose Press Author Debby Grahl…

Hello Debby…so happy to host you today. Please tell us a little about yourself, where are you from?  Where do you live now?

I’m originally from Lincoln Park Michigan. This is a little south of Detroit. Now I live on Hilton Head Island, SC. My husband and I decided we were tired of cold weather, so after living in Dayton, Ohio, for twenty years, we headed south when he retired.

I have a disease of the retina called Retinitis Pigmentosa which causes gradual vision loss. I lost the ability to read in my early twenties, but even when I had sight, seeing the printed word was always difficult for me. Reading a book would take me twice as long as  a person with normal sight. I became frustrated with this and began to make up my own stories. It wasn’t until the invention of screen reading software that I was able to put my stories into print.

Family? Pets? 

I have family spread all over the US, but most of them are in Michigan.

I lost my cat Tigger last year. We took him in as a stray and had him for ten years. I still miss him.

Where did you get the idea for your book?

His Magic Touch is a paranormal romance set in new Orleans which is one of my favorite cities to visit and write about. From my first visit, I was intrigued by the magic, mystery, and legends that surround you. All you have to do is walk the streets of the French Quarter to feel the history of the city. People claim witches and ghosts also walk the streets, and I have to admit I believe it might be true. It was while touring St. Louis #1, the oldest above ground cemetery in the city, standing in front of the tomb of the Voodoo  queen Marie Laveau, that the idea for His Magic Touch began. I swear she zapped me because I started feeling faint and had to leave the tour. Now, my husband will tell you it was due to the heat, but I felt fine until we approached  her tomb. I think my version is more interesting, and  I began my research into local witchcraft and hauntings.

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

I’ve always enjoyed reading books with ghost and witches.  I like using them in my writing because they’re so versatile. You can have a nice or a mean ghost.  You can have  ghosts that are visible and those that aren’t. I also enjoy using ghosts of historical characters. My witches are normal people with different stages of power.

Do you collect anything?

I love cranberry glass. I have some ruby flash glass lamps which are from the twenties and what is known as thumbprint glasses. I also have have a number of pieces from the Avon Cape Cod collection.

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

This would be everyday distractions. I wish I could close myself up in a room and ignore laundry, cleaning the house, answering the phone, and doing errands.

The other would be marketing my books. I understand this is necessary, but the time I have to spend on social media makes me crazy.

What’s your favorite book of all time and why? What’s your favorite childhood book?

My favorite childhood books are the Pippi Longstockings series.

Would you rather have a bad review or no review?

I love reviews! Although I hold my breath each time there’s a new one. Being an author, you have to learn quickly not to take bad reviews to heart. Even though  your book is your baby, and you want to challenge anyone who doesn’t love it as much as you do, you have to ignore those that are nasty and move on.

What is your favorite quote?

Murder is always a mistake. One should never do anything that one cannot talk about after dinner. ATTRIBUTION: Oscar Wilde (1854–1900),

What do you want your tombstone to say?

She never gave up.

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

This would be Caterine Doucette  from my contemporary  romance Rue Toulouse. When Caterine meets sexy  x-cop Remi Michaud, her life of pampered privilege turns into one of hot sex and danger.

Have you written any other books that are not published?

I’m working on a series which takes place in the Carolinas. Mountain Blaze is the first and is under consideration by The Wild Rose Press.

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

My first mistake in writing was thinking that you just write the book, send it to a publisher or agent, and away you go. Not! I sent the first twenty-five pages to a publisher who was offering a free critique. She wrote back and said I had a good idea for a story if I could write it. She said she marked all my writing mistakes in red. Well, most of the page was in red.

The biggest thrill in my life is when a reader tells me how much they enjoyed my books. The thought that what I write brings someone a little pleasure, still amazes me.

 

Thank you, Debby. I enjoyed the interview. I was a huge Pippi fan when I was a child. Loved to read those book! Now, please tell us about your book.

New Orleans, known as the Crescent City or the Big Easy, just celebrated its three-hundredth anniversary. It was first settled by the French, then taken over by the Spanish, sold back to the French, who then sold it to the United States.

The city’s historic past includes such characters as the famous pirate, Jean Lafitte, and the infamous Delphine LaLaurie who in 1834 was run out of New Orleans when her mansion caught fire and tortured slaves were discovered. And such locales as the notorious Storyville red light district, the iconic riverboat gamblers, and everyone’s favorite party, Mardi Gras.

My husband David and I first visited New Orleans in 1989 and fell in love with the city. I’m a history buff by heart so I found the old Spanish architecture with its wrought iron balconies enchanting. All you have to do is walk the streets of the French Quarter to feel the magic.

There’s a saying, “Only in New Orleans.” And this is so true. As I sat on our hotel balcony sipping a glass of wine and munching on a bag of voodoo chips, I could  see a musician setting up on the corner. Soon the clear sounds of his saxophone filled the night. The smell of spicy gumbo from the restaurant across the street wafted through the air.  The clip clop of a horse- drawn carriage passed beneath me, its driver thrilling his passengers with tales of the ghosts who haunt the city. A man, painted silver, walked along juggling oranges, while a bicycle cab pedaled by. On Bourbon Street, a second line band marched past. A group of laughing tourists carrying red go cups went into a bar, and the long low whistle of a paddle wheeler on the river could be heard.

As I sat there taking it all in, I thought what a wonderful place to set a story. From its diverse people and cultures to its incredible food, such as hot sugary beignets, po boy sandwiches, and crawfish etouffee; every kind of music from funky blues to jazz, rock ‘n roll to country; and Voodoo shops, haunted houses, and above-ground cemeteries.

People claim witches and ghosts walk the streets, and I have to admit sometimes I believe it’s true. It was while touring St. Louis #1, the oldest above-ground cemetery in the city, standing in front of the tomb of the Voodoo queen, Marie Laveau, that the idea for His Magic Touch began. I swear she zapped me. I started feeling faint and had to leave the tour. Now, my husband will tell you it was because of the heat, but I felt fine until we approached her tomb. I think my version is more interesting. I began my research into local witchcraft and hauntings.

The Hotel Monteleone, on Royal Street, is one of the settings I use in the book. Not only known for its Carousel Bar, it’s also one of the most haunted hotels in the city.

I hope His Magic Touch brings a little of New Orleans to life for you, and you’ll get a chance to visit this unique city on the Mississippi.

The night before Jared Dupre’s wedding, a specter warns him the demonic witch, Adam Montief, has kidnapped his brother in a centuries-old vendetta unknown to Jared. A powerful witch himself, Jared tracks Adam from New Orleans to a remote island off the coast of Connecticut where he’s given no choice. He must rescue his brother and break his engagement to Kendra O’Connell, or they both die. After complying, Jared engages in a sword fight and believes he has vanquished his foe, but when he returns to New Orleans, he finds evil still threatens all he loves. Kendra, not knowing why Jared broke their engagement, devastated, finds solace in another’s arms. With help from an ancestor’s spirit, can Jared defeat the dark magic descending over the Big Easy while winning back the woman he loves?

Excerpt:

In the stifling heat, Angelique Montief flicked her wrist and set the bamboo ceiling fan spinning. Kneeling on a woven mat with sweat coating her body, she lifted a small wooden brass-bound casket from the bottom of a large trunk, inserted a gold key, and opened the lid. Inside two objects lay wrapped in thick cloth. She carefully unwrapped the smaller bundle to reveal a pentagonal mirror, a gift handed down to her by her grandmother, its ancient oak frame carved with tiny pentacles. She glanced over her shoulder at her locked bedroom door, then stared into the mirror and whispered, “Show him to me.”

When the glass remained blank, fear clutched at her chest. Again, she said the words, and the image of a plantation house engulfed in flames appeared. “No, please, he can’t be dead.” Tears blurred her vision. The fiery image changed to reveal a human form lying beneath flowering bougainvillea.

Hope rising, Angelique peered closer.

“Show me his face.”

She saw his indigo blue eyes blink open.

“I’m coming, my love.”

He couldn’t hear her, but she hoped in his heart that he knew she would find a way to get to him.

As the smoke in the room thickened, she knew her time was running out. She rewrapped the mirror and placed it into the smaller casket among cloth bags of herbs and potion-filled vials. Relocking the lid, she hung the key on a chain around her neck, dropped a jeweled dagger into her pocket, and tucked the casket under her arm.

Crouched beneath the smoke, she considered the quickest way to reach her son and escape.

Augustus had locked her in, placing what he thought would be an impenetrable shield across both doors. Angelique coughed, choked by the smoke. Her husband’s biggest mistake was underestimating her power.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Debby Grahl lives on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, with her husband, David. Besides writing, she enjoys biking, walking on the beach and a glass of wine at sunset. Her favorite places to visit are New Orleans, New York City, Captiva Island in Florida, the Cotswolds of England, and her home state of Michigan. She is a history buff who also enjoys reading murder mysteries, time travel, and, of course, romance. Visually impaired since childhood by Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), she uses screen-reading software to research and write her books.

Her first published book, The Silver Crescent, won the Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewers’ Choice award. Her second book, Rue Toulouse, a contemporary romance set in New Orleans, was a finalist in the National Excellence in Romantic Fiction Award and was selected as a May, 2016, ‘local read’ by Hilton Head Monthly.

Decorated to Death is a holiday mystery cozy. She also has stories in three anthologies, The Haunted West, Never Fear/Christmas Terrors; and Ebb and Flow from the local Island Writers’ Network.

Debby was featured in the January, 2016, Hilton Head Monthly article ‘Intriguing People of the Lowcountry’. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Florida Romance Writers, and First Coast Romance Writers.

Her latest book, His Magic Touch, was released December 5, 2018, by Wild Rose Press.

 

Amazon / Kindle Author Page

https://www.amazon.com/Debby-Grahl/e/B00B34HM26/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1539281994&sr=8-1

Barnes and Noble / Nook

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/debby+grahl?_requestid=8071309

Bookbub

https://www.bookbub.com/search/authors?search=debby%20grahl

Kobo

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/his-magic-touch-5

author website

www.debbygrahl.com

author Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/debbygrahlauthor?ref=br_rs

https://twitter.com/DebbyGrahl

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6862089.Debby_Grahl

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Author Interview & New Release: If Wishes Were Horses by Jayne York

Please help me welcome today’s guest, Jayne York…

So glad to have you here, Jayne!

 

  1. Do you have another occupation, other than writer? If so, what is it and do you like it?

I’m a professional jeweler specializing in custom design and manufacturing. Writing is my second career, and just like my first, it fills all those gaping holes yearning for productive creativity.

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

Distraction, I’m easily led astray.

  1. What do you want readers to come away with after they read “If Wishes Were Horses”?

This is a story of lessons learned and the strength they bring. My main characters are both at turning points in their lives. How they handle the changes and the challenges is the crux of the story.

  1. What actors would you like in the main roles if your book were made into a movie?

Debra Messing and Hugh Jackman.

  1. Have you written any other books that are not published?

My WIP is a fast-paced heist enmeshed in a love story. Tentatively titled, “Midnight Acquisition”, I hope it will be out this time next year. After that, maybe a sequel to “If Wishes Were Horses.”

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

I was advised to put the MS under the bed and move on. But I believed in the story and kept at it until I had it the way I wanted it. The message there—trust your gut and listen to people with experience and a keen eye. The flip side compliment—another author called me a “Unicorn” because not only is this my first book, but my first pitch and was picked up by the first publisher I queried. Incredible luck all around, I know. Hope it holds going forward.

  1. How did you come up with the title?

It was something my mother used to say to me all the time. Usually when I was whining about not having what I wanted.

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

If I had to put a finger on the message; Remember to forgive yourself for doing the best you could when you fail. Life is a long road, and it’s full of potholes. So try to stay out of the weedy ditches.

 

 

BLURB:

Emily Converse never expected to return to Tamarack, Colorado. But she’s determined to rescue her drug-addicted brother and start a new life. Standing in her way, she finds her stepfather, a powerful US senator, looming over her future like the ever-present monster he’d been during their childhood. Meeting wounded retired Navy SEAL, Michael McCandlis, is a steamy surprise in her homecoming, though he’s adrift in civilian life. Together can they find a way to transform from victims to survivors?

 

EXCERPT:

Once upon a time, she’d run away from Tamarack like her heels were on fire, and now here she was volunteering to step back into the furnace. What was the definition of insanity? Doing the same things over and over, expecting a different outcome. Like if she managed to change, be stronger, be smarter, things would turn out better—different. It wouldn’t be that simple. She downshifted the Jeep to slow for the last of the S-shaped turns on the narrow ribbon of asphalt. The road led her past the pretentious granite columns that marked her stepfather’s compound. She wasn’t consciously holding her breath, but a trickle of fear dribbled down her spine just the same. Her molars ground together in determination. The past wouldn’t decide her present, not ever again. In spite of herself, images of her last day on his estate flashed through her mind like the herky-jerky frames of a child’s flip deck animation. Fear sharpened every visual, clarified every word, enhanced every touch. She’d run down the steps, racing for her car. He’d charged after her, smelling of alcohol and fury when he tried to stop her headlong rush toward an unknown future. They’d screamed out their mutual hatred, all the bitter dregs of their time together. She smirked when she remembered getting in the lucky shove that had landed him in a heap on the ground. It had been her first glimpse that Senator Ray Domenico was not the invincible, all-powerful monster she’d known him to be.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

I’ve been an avid reader and sometime writer all of my life. I’ve never been able to resist the draw of a good story, and that has been true in my professional life as well. I was raised as the third of three children in the Colorado high country. Early on I discovered the joy of creating handcrafted jewelry, which led to a forty-five-year career as a professional jeweler. Every customer, every piece has its own story. I’ve collected them like pearls in a strand, and I often use them as a jumping-off point for the tales I tell. If you’re looking for me, you’ll find me on the shores of a northern lake, hammering away on my latest story of love and life in the modern world. ~*~ Find Jayne online at: http://www.JayneYork.com

Website: JayneYork.com

Blog: JayneYork.com/What’sOnMyMind/

Email: Jayne@JayneYork.com

Twitter: @JayneYorkAuthor

Facebook: JayneYorkAuthor

 

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#TuesdayTestDay with Alicia Dean ~ Win a $5 Amazon Gift Card!!

 

Each Tuesday, I will share a snippet from one of my stories, along with three options. To enter, guess which of the three options the snippet is from.

Post your answer in the comments before Sunday evening at 5 p.m. CT. (You may respond here or on my Facebook page). Each Monday, I will randomly draw a name from all the correct answers and that person will win a $5 Amazon Gift Card. Winners will be announced in the next Tuesday Test Day post.

Last week’s winner is…

Alina K. Fields

Congrats!! Please email me and I will send your $5 gift card. Thank you for playing!

(The correct answer was “Soul Seducer”)

Which of the below stories is this snippet from?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“You’re crying again. Another movie?”

She jumped, whirling to see Chase standing behind her. Had he heard her phone call with Greg? There was nothing in his expression, or his words, to indicate he had.

She turned her back to him and shook her head. “Please just go. I want to be alone.”

“Must be a doozy. Let me guess. It’s a Wonderful Life?”

With rage bubbling just beneath the surface and no one else to expend it on, she vaulted from her chair and advanced on him. “I’m not watching a movie. You were right, okay? Christmas sucks. The movies, the stupid trees, the music, it all sucks. And, by the way, you’re fired.”

His eyes widened, and he lifted his hands in surrender. “Chill out, okay? You didn’t hire me, so you can’t fire me. I stay on until Greg tells me the job is over.”

She stood directly in front of him, hands on hips. Her chest rose and fell with the intensity of her anger, although why she was angry at him, she had no idea. “Well, Greg’s a two-timing piece of shit, and I’m no longer in danger since I’m no longer his fiancée, so trust me, your job is over.”

His expression softened. “I’m sorry. How did you find out?”

Her eyes flew to his. “You’re not surprised. You knew?”

He rubbed a hand over his jaw. “I worked on his security detail before he sent me here. I knew.”

“And you didn’t bother to tell me? To save me the humiliation?”

He smiled with sympathy. How dare he smile at her with sympathy.

“Would it have been less humiliating if a total stranger had told you your fiancé was cheating?”

No, it wouldn’t have been, but that was beside the point. “I expect you to be gone as soon as you can make arrangements. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a bottle of wine that needs my attention.” She went to brush past him, and he took hold of her arm, stopping her.

“Drowning your sorrows?”

She looked down at his hand, then back up at him, shaking off his touch. “No, celebrating. After all, it’s the holiday season, right?”

~*~*~*~*~*~*

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*

Short story “BLUE CHRISTMAS” from:

~*~*~*~*~*~*

Have fun!

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Author Interview with Linda Griffin ~ New Release: The Rebound Effect

Please help me welcome today’s guest, Wild Rose Press author, Linda Griffin.

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

I was born and raised in San Diego, California, and although I love to travel, San Diego is still home. I have a B.A. in English from San Diego State University and an MLS from UCLA. I’m single and share a house with my sister. I’ve had numerous short stories published in literary journals, and I’m a member of RWA and the Authors Guikd. I’m definitely a cat person, but don’t have any pets now, unless you count my lizard muse Sparkle, and my sometime collaborator, Huxley, a writer mouse from Starbucks. Huxley co-authored my novella, “Starbucks,” (Eclectica, April/May 2015), but his specialty is bedroom scenes!

Where did you get the idea for The Rebound Effect?

The original trigger was a response that wasn’t made to an apology. Teresa responded instead and although it’s now in Chapter Two, it was the first line I wrote.

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

I never choose a genre. I write the story that wants to be told, and then try to figure out what genre it belongs to. I had written other romances, but some were a better fit for the traditional genre than others.

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

Some of the notes for the story were written while I was traveling, and Frank and Teresa’s first visit to the coast is based on a real one. The fictional places are versions of spots on the Oregon coast, and I had a lot of fun renaming them. The city of Florence became Genoa, but the rest were less obvious.

Do you have another occupation, other than writer? If so, what is it and do you like it?

I loved my career as reference and fiction collection development librarian, but the job changed so much in recent years that I was glad to retire to spend more time on my writing.

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

Probably a lot of things, but the two that are most often remarked on are riding the bus and washing dishes by hand (although I prefer to be read to while I do it). I also enjoy editing, which most writers dislike.

What was your first job?

I had my first babysitting job when I was four years old. A new mother paid me a dime to watch the baby while she hung her laundry on the clothesline. My first real job was as a library aide in a branch library, where I discovered my dream job—reference librarian. I’d always loved looking things up, but didn’t know it could be a career.

Is there one subject you would never write about? What is it?

Probably politics. I did once begin a romance between a librarian and a campaign manager, but I generally find the subject distasteful and boring.

Have you written any other books that are not published?

Several that are definitely not publishable, and a couple I hope will be. The decision on Guilty Knowledge, a police procedural/interracial romance is pending. The other still needs work before being submitted.

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 🙂

I’d like to spend a day with Sasha English. She’s one of my favorite characters, and it would entertain me just to listen to her talk. We would go to the zoo or the beach or shopping and out to lunch at a restaurant that serves ravioli. It would definitely be G-rated  since she’s only seven.

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

None of the major characters in The Rebound Effect is based on a real person, but I gave Teresa a lot of my own quirks, from her pet peeves and T-shirts to her religious philosophy. The bipolar cook that Alix describes was based on someone I worked with.

How did you come up with the title?

It wasn’t the original title. The Wild Rose Press already had one called Whirlwind, and my wonderful editor Nan Swanson and I had a lively back and forth on the subject before settling on the current one. The rebound effect refers to symptoms recurring and even worsening when treatment is stopped, and love is a dangerous illness. A rebound romance can be the cure for a broken heart or a prescription for trouble.

How did your interest in writing originate?

I learned to read. As soon as I grasped the concept that somebody had to produce those words, I knew that was what I wanted to do when I grew up. I didn’t wait though; I wrote my first story at the age of six.

Thank you, Linda. I enjoyed getting to know you. I also do not want to write about politics, good call. 🙂

And now, check out Linda’s book…

Blurb:

In the small town of Cougar, struggling single mother and veterinary assistant Teresa Lansing is still bruised from a failed relationship when Frank McAllister sweeps her off her feet.

Frank is a big-city SWAT officer who moved to Cougar only four months ago. He’s handsome, charming, forceful, very sexy, and a bit mysterious. He had his eye on Teresa even before they met and is pushing for a serious relationship right away.

Teresa finds his intense courtship flattering, and the sex is fabulous, but she doesn’t want her deaf six-year-old son to be hurt again. Her former fiancé cheated on her when he got drunk after being unjustly fired, but he loves her and her son, and the whirlwind romance is complicated by his efforts to win Teresa back. And then there’s the matter of the bodies buried at Big Devil Creek…

Excerpt:

She reached inside the robe to rub his shoulders. She was feeling something new now, something tender, loving, intimate, possessive. She kissed him. She wanted to give in to this sense of well-being, of the inevitability of a future together, of love, but wasn’t it too soon?

“Teresa,” he said, again as if her name was a special endearment. “I want to sleep with you. I want to hold you all night.”

“It sounds very romantic,” she said, “but what if I snore? What if I need you to let me breathe a little?”

“Breathing is overrated. I never want to let go of you again.” He kissed her, and then he lifted her in his arms. It had never happened to her before—Gene hadn’t even carried her across the threshold on their wedding night.

“Frank!” she cried, laughing, but a little scared—what if he dropped her? He was strong, but she wasn’t very light. He didn’t drop her—or he did, but deliberately, from about an inch above the cool, clean sheets of his bed. They were both laughing, and he started kissing her randomly, here and there. This can be a lot of fun, she told herself. Enjoy it while it lasts. “Remember when you asked if it was too soon for me to date?” she asked.

“Yeah, and you said it depended on the definition.”

“It turns out it was too soon,” she said, “and now it’s too late.”

~*~

The Rebound Effect can be purchased from:

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07SS8SGT1/

Barnes & Noble  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-rebound-effect-linda-griffin/1131957492

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-rebound-effect-2

~*~

I can be found at:

Website:  http://www.lindagriffinauthor.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lindagriffin.author/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LindaGriffinA

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lindagriffinauthor/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/lgriffin08392487/

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#TuesdayTestDay with Alicia Dean ~ Win a $5 Amazon Gift Card!!

 

Each Tuesday, I will share a snippet from one of my stories, along with three options. To enter, guess which of the three options the snippet is from.

Post your answer in the comments before Sunday evening at 5 p.m. CT. (You may respond here or on my Facebook page). Each Monday, I will randomly draw a name from all the correct answers and that person will win a $5 Amazon Gift Card. Winners will be announced in the next Tuesday Test Day post.

Last week’s winner is…

Leah St. James

Congrats!! Please email me and I will send your $5 gift card. Thank you for playing!

(The correct answer was “Death Notice” – Sorry, I know it was a tough one since they are in the same series. :))

Which of the below stories is this snippet from?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

A grin played over his full lips. “I can’t say I’m fond of that adjective. Grim. Sounds sort of…repugnant. I’m just a reaper. Plain and simple.”

“Plain and simple? A reaper is plain and simple?” She shook her head, stalking away from him, then back. “You’re telling me you’re death? You take people’s souls? You’re a killer?”

He scowled. “A killer? Absolutely not. I’m not a killer.”

“Well, pardon me. Then why don’t you tell me how the hell this works.”

“It’s very complicated. There are rules and procedures—”

“Oh, so it’s like a job? You mean your job is to reap?” A bubble of hysteria worked its way up to her throat.

Was she really having this conversation? Had this guy actually just told her he was a reaper? Then again, would a ghost or a demon or whatever else she’d imagined be any easier to believe? Could this really be happening?

Wait. Maybe it wasn’t happening. Maybe she’d died the night of the beating, and she couldn’t move on because she hadn’t accepted it yet. Maybe nothing that happened since then had been real. Her body sagged with the realization.

He reached out as if to grab her, but let his hands fall.

“Am I dead?” she choked.

He shook his head. “No. No, you’re not dead.”

“I didn’t die the night of the beating?”

“No. You survived.”

A chill went over her flesh that was only partly due to the bite of the frigid air. She pulled her jacket more tightly around her. “Then why can I see you? What has happened to me?”

~*~*~*~*~*~*

 

Have fun

 

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