Category Archives: Author Blog Post

Author Interview & An Excuse For Murder by Vanessa Westermann

Please help me welcome today’s guest, Vanessa Westermann…

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

I’m half-Canadian, half-German and was born in Germany. I moved to Canada two years ago and currently live in Ontario.

Why did you choose this genre?

I’ve always loved reading crime fiction, starting with Nancy Drew mysteries to Agatha Christie and Tana French. It’s not the violence of the crime, but the emotion that motivated it that intrigues me – the why, rather than the how.

I wanted to write a traditional village mystery, with its puzzles and quirky characters, but include the suspense of a thriller. In order to accomplish this, An Excuse For Murder is told from two points of view: from the perspective of Gary Fenris, a haunted former bodyguard who commits murder and then has to live with the consequences, and from the perspective of Kate Rowan, a bookstore owner who discovers the body. The characters are linked by danger and uncertain romance.

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

Besides being a writer, I’m an English teacher and have also taught creative writing to young adults. I love teaching. Having the chance to inspire students and make a difference in their lives is wonderful.  There’s never a dull moment. And I get to spend my day talking about books.

What was your first job?

My first job was in Karstadt Oberpollinger, a department store in Munich, Germany. I worked in the store’s pop-up Christmas market. Besides having to listen to two recently released pop albums being played over and over again at the MAC cosmetics counter, it was a lot of fun.

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

My favorite book of all time would have to be The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. Literary detective, Thursday Next, is on the trail of a criminal mastermind who is kidnapping characters from classic works of fiction. In this alternative version of 1985 London, people are obsessed with books – there are museums devoted to famous authors and “HyperBookworms”, i.e. Thesaurean maggots. The Eyre Affair is surreal, witty and gripping.

I was lucky enough to interview Jasper Fforde about his latest standalone, Early Riser, on my blog: https://www.vanessa-westermann.info/Fforde-interview

What’s your favorite childhood book?

My favorite childhood book is I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith and my favorite picture book is The Balloon Tree by Phoebe Gilman.

What do you want readers to come away with after they read An Excuse For Murder?

After they read An Excuse For Murder, I would like readers to come away with a sense of hope: that Gary will lay his ghosts to rest and that he will solve another crime with Kate. I would be thrilled if my characters linger on in readers’ minds after the last page has been read, and that Kate, Gary and Marcus feel like old friends.

Would you rather have a bad review or no review?

I would have to quote Oscar Wilde on that one: “There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about and that is not being talked about.” I would rather have a bad review than no review.

What is your favorite quote?

“The trouble with real life is that you don’t know whether you’re the hero or just some nice chap who gets bumped off in chapter five to show what a rotter the villain is without anyone minding too much.” ― Sarah Caudwell, The Sirens Sang of Murder

If you could spend time with a character from your book, whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?

I would love to have tea with Kate in The Old Fire-hall Café and then help her stock books in her bookstore, while discussing the mysterious behavior of the late Mr. Wendell.

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

The toughest criticism given to me as an author was by an editor who described an early version of An Excuse For Murder as a “woman-in-danger novel”. I was horrified that I had given the impression that my female protagonist needed saving. I revised the novel, making sure that Kate showed strength and courage in every decision she made and every action she took. The best compliment I received was from Barbara Fradkin, in her praise quote for An Excuse For Murder: “Kate Rowan is the perfect heroine for our times; wit, charm, and spirit balanced by impressive skills in self-defense and lock-picking.“ Taking the tough criticism to heart, and making those changes, led to the best compliment.

How did you come up with the title?

The book was originally titled The House of Silent Words. In that earlier version of the manuscript, the focus was on Kate and the other tenants living in the fairy-tale house, owned by Kate’s great-aunt. Gary Fenris was just a shadowy figure on the sidelines. During revisions, Gary became a protagonist in his own right and the title had to reflect that change. An Excuse For Murder stems from Gary’s storyline and emphasizes the theme of revenge.

Blurb:

As a former bodyguard, it should be easy for Gary Fenris to kill, especially when the motive is revenge. But Gary has made two mistakes in his life. The first was letting the woman he loved die on his watch. The second was thinking vengeance could bring him peace.

Local bookstore owner and amateur lock pick Kate Rowan loves nothing more than a good mystery. Her curiosity soon leads her down a trail of blackmail, obsession and death. Despite the risk – or maybe because of it – Gary finds himself drawn to Kate. When danger strikes, Gary is forced to face the fact that he used love as an excuse for murder. And he’s got one last score to settle.

 Excerpt:

The ghost of her laughter teased across his skin, raising the hairs on his arms.

There she was, vibrant as though she was in the room with him. “Don’t tell me you don’t like it.” She gave her new dress a twirl, barefoot and beautiful, all ready for a night out but for the heels she would wait to put on to the last. Her toe-nails were painted red. The arch of her foot flexed strong and graceful with the movement. Her blonde hair shone in the light of memory. She stopped short, the soft blue fabric swinging against her legs, and grinned at him.

It went straight through him. He raised the bottle of Scotch to his lips, holding on to the vision. It wavered beneath the intensity of his gaze.

Then there was nothing on the floor but scuff marks and the shimmer of dust. His trainers, mud-caked from that morning’s eight kilometer run, took up the space where her heels should have been. He had almost forgotten the way she used to toe her shoes off, always sliding the left one off first for some inexplicable reason.

The wall was cold and hard against his back, the Scotch smooth and warm.

There was no other choice. He’d made his decision two years ago. It was time.

Tomorrow, he would commit murder.

 Buy links:

Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | Kobo | Books-A-Million

 

Bio:

Vanessa Westermann is a former Arthur Ellis Awards judge, and has given a talk on the evolution of women’s crime writing, at the Toronto Chapter of Sisters in Crime.

Her book review column entitled “Vanessa’s Picks” was published in the monthly newsletter of a popular Toronto mystery-specialty bookstore, from 2012 to 2016. The column was developed into a blog, featuring literary reviews and author interviews.

While living in Munich, Germany, Vanessa attained an M.A. in English Literature and went on to teach creative writing.

Vanessa currently lives in Canada and is working on her next novel, while drinking copious amounts of tea.

Readers can find her blog at www.vanessa-westermann.info and follow her on Twitter @VanessasPicks.

Contact links:

Website & Blog | Twitter

 

Advertisements

9 Comments

Filed under Author Blog Post, New Release

Writing about PTSD in Romance by Kimberly Beckett


Please help me welcome Kimberly Beckett with a fascinating article and her latest release, Racing Toward Love.

Writing about PTSD in Romance

            In my day to day life, I work as an attorney for the United States Department of Defense, and have been doing so for a little over thirty years.  During that time, I have worked with colleagues that have been exposed to combat situations, and/or their spouses, and have seen the direct impact to the lives of military members who suffer from PTSD.  Therefore, when, as a writer, I decided to create a character that suffers from the effects of PTSD, I resolved to do as much research as I could to make the experience as authentic to my readers as possible.

            In Racing Toward Love, the second book in my Horses Heal Hearts series, I dive more deeply into the background of Ian Stafford, a former British SAS officer, who suffers PTSD. Ian was first introduced to my readers in Dressage Dreaming, book one of the series. Ian’s PTSD started when he watched his best friend die in his arms – felled by an enemy sniper.  Ian believes himself responsible for his friend’s death – after all, he was his commanding officer, and as such responsible for the lives of every man in his command.  That sense of responsibility, coupled with the fact that his friend relied on Ian for advice and support, triggered flashbacks, a quick temper, and nightmares that have haunted Ian ever since.

            In my research, I discovered a relatively new treatment for the men and women who suffer from PTSD, not just from combat, but from other traumatic experiences they’ve suffered in their lives. It was called Cognitive Processing Therapy, or CPT. If you’re a writer seeking to write an authentic character with PTSD, I recommend researching the therapy. It was extremely helpful for me. I also spent some time interviewing those military members I knew who suffered from the effects to find out more about how episodes were triggered, and what they and their loved ones could do to avoid the onset. Sometimes, I’m sorry to say, there really is nothing a family member or friend can do but stand by and let the patient know they’re there for them.  There are no easy solutions to PTSD, but with the love and devotion of their own special hero or heroine, those who suffer from PTSD have hope.

Learn more about Kimberly Beckett at her website:  www.kimberlybeckett.com.

Her books can be found on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/Dressage-Dreaming-Kimberly-Beckett/dp/1682916693

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07KTDLWQD

About Racing Toward Love

Ian Stafford is a former British Special Forces soldier and Afghanistan war veteran who still has nightmares after watching his best friend cut down by a sniper in a remote village in Afghanistan. When he sees a woman in a local pub begin harassed and threatened, he intervenes. During the ensuing brawl, the woman escapes, but Ian accidentally stabs one of his attackers who later dies.  Ian is charged with manslaughter, and the woman who can exonerate him has disappeared.

     Megan Brady and her father Daniel never imagined that the thoroughbred colt they raised from birth would grow up to be a contender for the British Triple Crown.  Seabiscuit II is the last horse you might imagine as a champion if judged by looks alone.  Like his namesake, Seabiscuit II is not much to look at, but has a heart as big as all outdoors, and refuses to be beaten.  Unfortunately, the Irish mob has also taken notice, and has approached Megan’s brother Stephen with an offer of a bribe to purposely lose the most important race of his career.  Stephen refused, and Megan has taken it upon herself to thwart the mob, but their brutal tactics nearly see her raped until Ian steps in to save her.  Megan knows she must come out of hiding to exonerate Ian, but knows if she does, the mob will be there too.  Meanwhile the date of the big race approaches.

     Can Megan’s example of courage in the face of overwhelming odds, and the will to prevail even when the going looks tough, help Ian come to grips with his grief, and give him the courage to forgive himself and allow himself to live and love again? Will Ian be able to trust Megan with his heart?

Chapter 1

Megan Brady’s stomach fluttered as she parked her car in front of the Rusty Nail Pub just outside of Woking and near Guildford. There were no other buildings nearby and very few cars in the lot. She had to admit that the location was ideal for a clandestine meeting, but the atmosphere clearly favored the men she was supposed to be meeting. The pub was practically deserted, so there wouldn’t be anyone to help her should the encounter go badly.

Megan gripped the steering wheel of her father’s car as she debated whether she should even go in. This wouldn’t be easy, primarily because the party she was there to meet was expecting her brother Stephen and would not be happy she had come in his place.

“OK, Megs,” she whispered under her breath. “You’re here now. There’s no going back. Let’s do this.”

She took a deep breath, squared her shoulders, and opened the car door.

Megan entered the pub and was immediately assailed with the stench of stale beer and cigarette smoke. Although smoking had been banned in bars in the U.K. for years, it appeared this establishment didn’t abide by government rules. Her eyes slowly adjusted to the dark, drab interior. Getting her bearings, she slowly walked to the bar. She was somewhat surprised to see she was the first to arrive. No one resembling the party she was supposed to be meeting was in the pub. There were only a couple of other patrons in the place, none of whom took any notice of her. She walked over to the bar and sat down.

The bartender looked at Megan curiously. Apparently, few people other than locals frequented the Rusty Nail. He approached cautiously and asked, “What can I get for you?”

Megan knew she needed all of her wits about her if she was going to survive a confrontation with the organization that was threatening her family, so she ordered a soda.

The bartender cast her an even more curious stare and dispensed the soda, placing the glass in front of her.

Just as the bartender served Megan her drink, the pub door opened, and Megan quickly turned. A tall, good-looking, well-built young man with sandy blond hair cut in a distinctive military style entered the pub. Megan watched with interest as his gaze scanned the interior of the pub as if to memorize every detail of the place and its inhabitants. Once he had completed his sweep of the room, he made his way to a table. The bartender walked over to take his order, and Megan overheard the man order a steak and potato pie and a beer. The bartender served him the beer right away.

She surreptitiously watched the man as he sipped his beer and waited for his food. This wasn’t the person she was there to meet. For one thing, he wasn’t looking for anyone; he just went about his business. It appeared he was reading a booklet of some sort, but he occasionally looked in her direction. Obviously, he was just as curious about her as she was about him. Did he live nearby? Or was he just passing through? She wasn’t very familiar with this area, but she was fairly certain there weren’t any military bases in the vicinity.

A door slammed in the back of the pub, drawing her attention. Four large, burly men emerged from the shadows. They scanned the room but quickly focused on her. As one, they moved toward her. The apparent leader, the largest of the four with a jagged scar down one side of his face, sauntered up to Megan and leered at her.

“Im surprised to see you here, Miss Brady,” the man said insolently. Megan noticed immediately that he spoke with a distinctly Irish accent. “We have business with your brother. Where might he be?”

Megan hoped the men couldn’t see how fast her heart was beating as she dug deep and found the courage to respond in a clear, firm voice. “Stephen sent me in his place.” She squared her shoulders and looked at the leader defiantly. “My father asked me to give you a message. Neither Stephen nor my father will accept your bribes. Seabiscuit II will run his race at the Epsom Derby. We will not agree to lose intentionally as your boss has requested. We ask that you accept our decision and leave us alone.”

Megan watched as the man’s expression slowly changed from lascivious to enraged. In truth, her father didn’t even know she was there, and he probably would have tied her up and locked her in her room if he had known she had talked Stephen into allowing her to take his place for this meeting. However, when Stephen had approached her and told her that members of the O’Reilly crime family had tried to bribe him to throw the Epsom Derby, one of the richest races in Britain and the second race in the British Triple Crown, she easily fell back into her familiar role of big sister and protector and persuaded him to allow her to take care of things.

She was now seriously regretting that rash decision. Feigning a bravado she didn’t feel, Megan looked toward the pub entrance. “Now that I have delivered my father’s message, if you will excuse me, gentlemen, I have to go.” Megan left some cash on the bar to pay for her drink and started toward the door.

The leader, who unbeknownst to Megan was the O’Reilly family patriarch’s nephew and chief enforcer, Colin Fitzpatrick, grabbed Megan’s arm and hauled her back toward him with enough strength that she lost her balance and fell into him. She shoved both arms against his massive chest, trying to push herself away from his brutal embrace, but he only laughed at her ineffective struggles.

“My friends and I came a long way to make a deal with your brother, darlin’,” he said with a sneer. “Now that you’ve taken that away, I think you owe us. Boys, let’s take her to the back of the pub and collect our payment before we go back to the boss. This way we’ll at least get something for our trouble.”

The other three men grinned their approval and raked her with their eyes, lingering on her breasts. She shuddered with revulsion, and her heart raced as the full implication of what she had gotten herself into hit her. She glanced at the bartender to see if he would help her, but he was purposely ignoring the situation. No help there. She scanned the pub to see if anyone else was paying attention and noticed that the blond military man was watching and appeared concerned. Would he help her? She had to try.

“No,” she said in a loud, clear voice. “I don’t want to go with you. Leave me alone, or I’ll call the police.”

Colin only chuckled. “No one here is going to help you, sweetheart. This pub is owned by the same people who pay my salary, and, as for the police, well, let’s just say I’m not too worried about them either. Come along quietly, now, and we’ll try to make this easy on you. If you fight us, you’ll only get hurt.” His gaze swept her body hungrily.

Regardless of the man’s assurances, Megan knew that if she surrendered to these men, she would suffer unbearably. Her only option was to resist. She refused to go quietly and allow these men to rape her without a fight. “Please just leave me alone,” she pleaded. When the man continued to drag her, she planted her feet, forcing Colin to stop. “Let me go!” she shouted. When the man didn’t respond, she lashed out with her open hand and slapped him. “I said, let me go!”

Megan was shocked at her own audacity and watched in horror as Colin drew his fist back to strike her. He could easily break her jaw.

Suddenly, a very strong and very large hand grabbed the man’s fist and held it. “You heard the woman. Let her go.” The resonant and commanding voice came from just behind Megan, and she turned around to see the man she had decided was a soldier standing right behind her, appearing big, strong, and determined. Megan noted with some relief that the man was over six feet tall, had a muscular, athletic build, and exuded strength and confidence.

Ian Stafford had been watching the scene unfold before him, and, seeing no one in the pub willing to help the woman who was clearly in danger, made the split-second decision to come to her defense.

“Mind your own business, laddie,” Colin replied. “This is none of your affair.” He loosened his fist, though, and Ian released his grip on the man’s wrist. Little did the thug know how close he had come to having his wrist broken.

“I’m making it my affair since the woman clearly doesn’t want to go with you. Do yourself and your friends a favor, and let her go.”

Colin snickered and glanced over at his friends, who were also laughing. He responded, “I don’t know how you’re going to stop us. You’re only one man against four.” He turned toward the back of the pub, dragging Megan with him. Megan realized there was nothing she could do to stop the inevitable, thankful that her rescuer had at least tried to help her. Then, before she realized what had happened, the thug was lying on his back on the pub floor with his nose broken and blood streaming down his face. The impact of the stranger’s fist to his face had caused him to let go of Megan, who moved out of harm’s way toward the pub entrance. Unfortunately, after she escaped his grasp, the man’s friends surrounded the stranger, who even Megan knew was no match for four trained mob enforcers.

Ian knew he was in trouble, but at least he had gotten the woman out of immediate danger. Now, he could deal with the four thugs who had tried to rape her. He’d broken the leader’s nose, but the brute wasn’t entirely out of commission, and Ian could tell that the other three were experienced brawlers. They wouldn’t be easy for one man, even one man with Special Forces training, to subdue.

To survive this fight, he would need his knife, tucked conveniently in his boot. It was the one habit he had brought home from Afghanistan that had been difficult to break. Since his last tour in country, he didn’t feel safe without a weapon of some kind on his person at all times. Ian reached down quickly and unsheathed the knife. With it, he was able to fend off the men for a time, but despite Ian’s best efforts, it wasn’t long before two of the thugs pinned his arms, and a third tried to wrest his knife out of his hand.

Ian knew from the nature of the men he was fighting that if he lost his knife, his life would be forfeited, so he dug deep and used all his remaining strength to wrest his right arm away from one of the thugs. The knife he still held went straight into the belly of the man directly in front of him. The man collapsed immediately, and Ian was shoved to the ground as two of the thugs carried their comrade away—presumably to a hospital.

Colin looked at the bartender and barked, “You, I know you work for my uncle, tie this man to a chair and call the police.”

At first, the man looked confused, but the leader spoke to him sharply. “Look, man, we know where you live, and we can reach your family easily. Do what you’re told, or they’ll pay the price.”

The man paled, and then rushed to comply. His hands trembled as he tied Ian to a chair.

The leader further instructed the bartender, “When the police come, you will tell them this man started the fight and attacked us without provocation. We acted in self-defense, but he stabbed our friend. Do you understand?”

The bartender nodded again, and, apparently satisfied with the response, the leader left the pub, presumably to join his friends at the hospital.

When the police arrived, the bartender did as he was told, and despite his protests, Ian was arrested for criminal assault with a deadly weapon. The woman he saved had disappeared.

 

About the Author

Ever since she can remember, Kimberly Beckett has loved horses. She wore out 4 rocking horses before she was 5 years old, and as she got older, she read every horse story in print, from Black Beauty to My Friend Flicka. It wasn’t until she got her first job as an attorney for the federal government, however, that could afford to buy her first horse, and she hasn’t been without at least one ever since. She has been riding dressage for several years and has earned her United States Dressage Federation Bronze Medal. When she wasn’t reading about horses, she was reading romance novels, and her favorites always involve an alpha male Hero riding a magnificent horse. Kimberly has now found a way to combine her love of horses with her love of romance by writing her own version of equine-facilitated happily ever afters. She truly believes that Horses Heal Hearts. She lives in southwest Ohio with her two adopted greyhounds, and two warmblood horses.

If you loved Racing Toward Love, please read the first book in Kimberly’s Horses Heal Hearts Series, Dressage Dreaming, where readers are first introduced to Ian Stafford, his brother, Michael, and Michael’s love, Jessica Warren. 

To find out more about Kimberly, and to keep up with her next release, please visit her website, www.kimberlybeckett.com and sign up for her periodic email updates. 

2 Comments

Filed under Author Blog Post, New Release

Author Interview with Charlene Namdhari ~ New Release: Undercover Affection

I am happy to host today’s guest, Charlene Namdhari, with an interesting interview and her latest release…

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

My name is Charlene and I’m glad to be here. I am a fairly new author and excited to announce the release of my second book yesterday. I’m from Sunny South Africa and live in the City of Gold, Johannesburg. I share a home with two kids, four dogs, a cat, two dragons, seven fish and um…oh the husband of course.

Where did you get the idea for Undercover Affection? Why did you choose this genre (is it something you’ve written in before)? Was there anything unusual, any anecdote about this book, the characters, title, process, etc, you’d like to share? What is the most difficult thing about writing a book? What was the most difficult thing about this one in particular?

The idea for Undercover Affection came from my love for cop series. I enjoy Criminal Minds, NCIS and Law & Order, so I wanted to write something with a Cop as the heroine. I’ve read a lot of erotic romance over time and I find while some of them are good, they lack plots which I thought would be nice. Ashni Scott Callahan, the heroine, is most woman’s dreams of an ideal woman. She’s smart, sassy, mischief and can kick ass. I think setting the romance in New York was a little difficult for me as I haven’t been there, so I hope I’ve done a good job depicting the city well. I enjoyed writing this story and now a second book seems to be churning in this head of mine about another character in this book, although a series was never the thought process to begin with. I believe our characters have a mind of their own and they will guide us as to where they want to go.

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

Silly as it sounds I like to write in front of the tv when watching one of my favorites. No idea why but it seems to work well when I want a story to come out. The idea that works best for me is to just write and sort out the junk later

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

Pet Semetary and IT. I love Stephen King

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

I am the Executive Assistant to the MD of a large international corporate and their events manager.

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

IT by Stephen King. Scared the hell out of me then and have hated clowns ever since. My favorite childhood books was Nancy Drew and the Perry Mason cases.

Would you rather have a bad review or no review?

An honest critical review would be appreciated.  Authors work hard to put a good book together and while you can’t please everyone being honest about what worked and didn’t work for you would be appreciated rather than making fun of the author. This way the author knows how to tackle their next book and not be demotivated.

What celebrity would you most like to be stranded on an island with?

Geez that’s a tough one. If I must choose then it would have to be Chris Hemsworth and if he’s busy then Dwayne Johnson

What do you want your tombstone to say?

Innocent by Nature, Naughty by Choice

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 🙂

Cody Bentley from Daredevil’s Mistress. Lock the door, throw away the key and make all my scenes in my novels come true

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

You can do better. Your writing style is similar to Nora Roberts

Who is the most famous person you have ever met?

The current president of our country.

Your favorite…

Movie Miss Congeniality

Music Madonna

Place you’ve visited Barcelona and Italy

Place you’d like to visit Greece

TV show from childhood MacGyver

TV show from adulthood CSI

Food Peppermint Tart

Which do you prefer: Board games/card games or television? Television

Great interview…I also LOVE Stephen King!! Thank you so much for joining me today. Please share more about your new release…

 

Blurb:

Ashni Scott Callahan is a tough as nails detective with no time for love. She’s taken down drug lords, human traffickers and diamond smugglers. So going undercover is as easy as eating a slice of pie. That is until she has to spy on sexy billionaire, Avinash Rai. Could a potential criminal be this delicious? One slice, she soon discovers is not enough, she wants to lick the whole damn plate.

Avinash Rai, hardworking billionaire, takes what he wants when he wants, but prides himself on honesty. He’s a man women don’t ignore, that is until a sexy stranger visits his usual hangouts without so much as a glance in his direction. Intrigued, he’s up for the challenge. Only, nothing prepares him for her spirited personality or their intense attraction.

Will Ashni surrender to the man’s charms and jeopardize her case? Will Avinash finally understand his father’s motto: in life, you win some, you lose some and then you fall in love? And will he be able to forgive Ashni’s lies?

Buy Links:

Amazon USA: https://amzn.to/30jIafA

Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/2Qo2M21

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2HHgwSL

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2VGQ2cz

Others: https://books2read.com/u/mBQddN

 

Bio:

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

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

Her love for writing stemmed from an avid interest in English at School, more so Literature and enjoyed writing short stories. She attempted her first full length novel fifteen years ago and although she loved the finish product decided she’d write mainly as a hobby and only recently sought publishing.

Believing writing is the wings to holistic escapism, she makes the time in her busy schedule giving life to her dreams of bringing together passion filled heroes and heroines in a happily ever after.

Contact Info:

Email: charlene@cybersolutions.co.za

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CNamdhari

Facebook: https://web.facebook.com/charlene.namdhari.7

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

Website: www.charlenenamdhari.co.za

21 Comments

Filed under Author Blog Post, New Release

Jenna Barwin New Release: Dark Wine at Dusk (A Hill Vampire Novel Book 3)

Please help me welcome Jenna Barwin with a fun interview and her brand new release…plus, a giveaway!!

Thank you, Alicia, for hosting me today. I’m so excited to be here. Dark Wine at Dusk, the third book in the Hill Vampire series, and it was released yesterday.

How was the Hill Vampire series born?

I’ve been fascinated by the vampire myth my entire life. I read Dracula as a young teen, and something in me wanted the vampire, the tragic hero, to get the girl. That was my starting point.

What is the Hill Vampire series about?

It’s an urban fantasy romance, and combines mystery and political intrigue with a continuing love story. It’s set in an exclusive winemaking community of vampires.

Here’s the elevator pitch for the first book in the series, Dark Wine at Midnight: A research scientist is forced by her people to spy on the vampires she’s trying to help. One of those vampires is an expert winemaker who’s hiding his own deep secrets. In the end, he learns to love again, and she learns to embrace her own decisions, which includes choosing him.

Who is your favorite character, and why?

The hero, Enrique “Henry” Bautista Vasquez. I enjoy writing him. He’s the first character I created in the Hill Vampire series, and I just loved the process of discovery—peeling back the layers to find out who he is.

He’s originally from Mexico. He came to California in the early 1800s, where he was turned vampire, and founded the town of Sierra Escondida. So he has a deep backstory, entwined with California’s history, and I like weaving the two together.

He’s also an expert winemaker, with bourbon-brown eyes and long, ebony hair, but he’s a bit moody. Because of a dark secret he carries, he’s been unsuccessful at relationships. He’s also very protective of the town he founded. So when Dr. Cerissa Patel arrives in town, he’s suspicious of her, but also attracted to her, and his suspicion is fighting with the feelings she’s stirred up in him.

In Dark Wine at Dusk, we finally get to learn his secret. In many ways, Dusk is Henry’s book.

Does he get his happily ever after?

No spoilers! But I can safely say it wouldn’t be a romance if he didn’t ultimately get his happily ever after with Cerissa, the heroine. Still, he has to work for it over the series’ arc.

To put it another way, the Hill Vampire novels are a “same couple series.” I’m an avowed fan of same couple series, so I wrote what I love.

Please explain to readers, for those who may not know, what do you mean by same couple series?

It’s a series of novels following the same couple from their first hot glimpse of each other, all the way through to their marriage and beyond. As a reader, once I’ve fallen in love with a couple, I want to read more about them.

Faye Kellerman did a great job reeling me in with the Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus mystery series. Peter Decker is a police detective and his Orthodox Jewish wife Rina assists him in solving crimes. They have their ups and downs, but I fell in love with them when they fell in love with each other. I happily followed them through their engagement, marriage, kids and ultimately, into retirement.

In the world of urban fantasy and paranormal romance, I swoon over Jeaniene Frost’s Cat and Bones books. She kept the sizzle going through seven books, along with writing very satisfying adventures for her pair. To keep me entertained, the adventure or mystery has to be as strong as the romance, and Jeaniene Frost delivers on both.

It’s what I hope to achieve with the Hill Vampire series.

Thank you for joining me today. Please tell us more about your book. 

Blurb for Dark Wine at Dusk:

A seductive spy. An alpha vampire. A hidden threat to their love…

When a rogue vampire group attacks again, Dr. Cerissa Patel’s happily ever after with the man of her dreams must take a back seat to her mission.

Her lover, vampire Henry Bautista, is quick to pick up the gauntlet. He’ll do anything to help his beautiful spy capture the conspirators who are determined to enslave mortals.

But as Henry’s secret past rears its ugly head, it not only threatens their mission, but risks their love–and their very lives.

“Passionate, breathtaking and beautifully written.” ~InD’tale Magazine

Excerpt:

Henry accepted the shiny silver pouch Cerissa handed him. Usually, she used a blue bag to package blood from her human clones and a red one when she drew a higher concentration of red blood cells. What did the silver bag contain?

“If you don’t mind being my guinea pig,” Cerissa added.

“Guinea pig?” He started a pan of water heating on the stove. The pouch wasn’t wrapped in a self-warming bag. “What is different about this blood?”

“While I was away, I figured out how to induce the clones to produce a higher concentration of stress hormones—adrenaline, as well as cortisol and norepinephrine, if you want to be technical—to create the blood Rolf craves.”

“You think this will satisfy him?”

“We’ll have to experiment to find out. I don’t know what the cause is. It could be a substance addiction he can be weaned off, with support. If his problem is akin to a deficiency, more like a diabetic who needs insulin to survive, then I’ll have to determine the proper dosage. Just because the blood produces a mental high doesn’t mean it’s bad for him.”

Henry turned off the flame under the pot and slid the bag into the warm water, swishing it around so the contents would heat evenly without cooking. Cooked blood was disgusting.

“There is an exhilaration that comes from drinking adrenaline-spiked blood—”

“I’m calling it ‘adrenaline-enhanced’ for now,” she said. “The other term has baggage.”

“You could be right.” He fished the bag out of the water, cut the corner with scissors, and poured it into an insulated coffee mug. A quick sniff told him it smelled like the blood of a victim who’d been hunted.

Is this a good idea?

He sniffed again, and a thread of apprehension brushed his skin. He took a sip and closed his eyes. The sudden rush pounded through his veins, followed by an ice-cold chill. He dropped the mug on the kitchen island. It toppled, and the blood spread across the granite counter.

Cerissa rushed to his side. “Henry, are you all right?”

He stumbled back, fighting the surge, the power, the desire for more.

“Y-you made it too s-strong,” he stammered, and clutched the edge of the island’s granite top. The spilled blood flowed between his fingers, invoking images he’d rather forget.

“I’m sorry,” she said, clinging to his arm.

Her scent beckoned to him. He gripped the counter harder and fought the driving desire to plunge his fangs into her. “Please, cariña, step back.”

“Henry—”

“Step back. I don’t need new sins to repent for.”

 

Dark Wine at Dusk is book three in the Hill Vampire series. It will enhance the reader’s experience to read Dark Wine at Midnight and Dark Wine at Sunrise, before reading Dusk.

And great news—Dark Wine at Midnight, the first eBook in the series, is on sale for $0.99 through May 31, 2019 on Amazon. Click on the image to be taken to the series purchase link.

Rafflecopter GIVEAWAY:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’m sponsoring a giveaway to celebrate the launch of Dark Wine at Dusk and to thank my blog tour readers (giveaway begins 5/29/2019 and ends 6/25/2019)

The four prizes being given away are:

  • $10 Amazon.com Gift card
  • eBook copy of Dark Wine at Midnight
  • eBook copy of Dark Wine at Sunrise
  • eBook copy of Dark Wine at Dusk

No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. One prize per entrant. See Giveaway page for full terms and conditions.

 

Bio & Social Media Links:

Jenna Barwin writes the Hill Vampire novels, which blend mystery, wine, and romantic spice into a heady (and steamy) combination.

When not writing, she enjoys underwater photography, and is known to occasionally attend a Victorian dance in full regalia right down to pantaloons and a hoop skirt.

If you’d like to stay up to date on her newest releases, join her VIP Readers: jennabarwin.com/jenna-barwins-newsletter/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JennaBarwin (@JennaBarwin)

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

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

BookBub Author Page: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jenna-barwin

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Jenna-Barwin/e/B06XV6TMG9/

Goodreads Author: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16632097.Jenna_Barwin

Website: https://jennabarwin.com

 

6 Comments

Filed under Author Blog Post, giveaway, New Release

Diana Rubino’s Bootleg Broadway

Please help me welcome Diana Rubino with a fun new release…

BOOTLEG BROADWAY
Booze, music, sex, murder, Prohibition New York. What a time to be alive!
Now on audio with the expressive voice of Nina Price.

After FROM HERE TO 14TH STREET, set in 1894, I needed to set this a generation later, which happened to be the 1930s-­with Prohibition and the Great Depression as the backdrop. This is the first book I ever wrote where I created the characters first, with nothing to do yet. The plot developed the way it did because of who they are. My goal was to get the protagonist Billy McGlory into one mess after another. This era couldn’t have been more suited to Billy’s adventures, a few of which he barely escaped with his life.

Fun Fact:
As in FROM HERE TO 14th STREET, a lot of characters have nicknames like Piggy Balls and Dirty Neck Bruiso. I sat around the table with my surviving aunts and uncles who were then in their 80s and 90s, and they rattled off these nicknames from ‘the old days’ in Jersey City like they made them up yesterday. That was a standard Italian neighborhood custom, everybody had a nickname. Some were more descriptive than others. But you didn’t just ’get’ a nickname. You had to earn it.   
 
Some more nicknames from the old neighborhood:
 
Bruno Chicken Body
Butta Jeans
Charlie Burp
Chick a la zoo
Dirty Dicky
Dirty Neck Bruiso
Floody
Frankie Butch Butch
Gravel Gertie
Hoo Hoo
Jazzy Lou
Jijji Balls
Jinji
Vigi-Leak

My fav passage from BOOTLEG BROADWAY (which made my aunt cringe):
 
Pru had kept closemouthed all day about what she was giving him for his birthday. He badgered and hounded her, but she wouldn’t give in.
As Ma began divvying up the rum cake, the doorbell rang, and Da came back with a long box. “This thing’s heavy. What’s in here, Pru? Billy’s tombstone?”
Billy cut the ribbon with the cake knife and slid the lid off. Wads of tissue paper filled the box. As he removed the last layer of covering and revealed what was inside, they all gasped­-a sculpture of a naked man, in all his masculine glory ­and fully aroused. He had one hand on his hip and one foot upon a pedestal on which was inscribed in bold letters,
BILLY.
“Oh, crap.” His face turned red hot.

About Me

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

Contact Links

My Website
www.dianarubino.com
 

My Blog
www.dianarubinoauthor.blogspot.com
 

Facebook 
https://www.facebook.com/DianaRubinoAuthor/?ref=hl

Twitter
https://twitter.com/DianaLRubino

Goodreads
http://bit.ly/1V3GCgt

Amazon Author Page
http://amzn.to/1EQWdfJ
 

Chat and Promote … Fans of Historical Fiction and Nonfiction
http://bit.ly/2HrCOEQ

Purchase BOOTLEG BROADWAY
getbook.at/NewYorkSagaBookTwo

16 Comments

Filed under Author Blog Post, New Release

Author Interview with Kayden Clarement & New Release: She Came First

I am happy to welcome author friend Kayden Claremont to my blog…

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

Hi everyone. I’m Kayden Claremont and I’m married to my high-school sweetheart. I have two married kids, love their spouses, so I usually tell everyone I have four kids and one grandson. I live in the greater Toronto area in Ontario, Canada. I’ve always lived in Ontario, but have traveled all over the US.

Right now, I’m between pets, but I usually have a dog and a cat, who I spoil rotten. From time to time I have my grand dog for a week. He helps me write by throwing his toys on my lap. I’ve shared he’s my employee of the week on several occasions.

Where did you get the idea for SHE CAME FIRST?

My Daughter bought the family tickets to the Charlotte Speedway. I love watching car races on the TV but this was the first time I’d been to a track. We had such a wonderful time checking everything out. Then we did the tour and I was amazed there were three types of tracks in one complex.

We all climbed into van and a woman climbed into the driver’s seat. She told us she’d come with the dirt then she drove us on the track. She’d driven a pace car, so she put her foot on the gas. I’m never had such a great time. I could imagine what it would be like in a car racing around the track and the idea for SHE CAME FIRST came to me.

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

I wanted to make the heroine a blue-collar person, so she became a mechanic. I had so much fun letting this woman dressed in coveralls reveal her sexy wild side when she has a second chance for love.

Do you collect anything?

I collect beads. Lots and lots of them. I love making jewelry. I don’t sell it, but I love to have a new necklace or earrings to wear. When I go to the bead shops in Toronto, I spend hours picking out each item. I have more beads than I’ll ever make into jewelry but that’s the fun.

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

I know most people expect me to say ‘my husband’ (grins) but he teaches at college and is busy. But I should get rid of my TV. I watch way too much, but I tell myself I’m watching story, so I’m doing research. Now if only I could say that with a straight face. I can watch the same movies over and over again, so I really should restrict myself to only watching them five times each.

What do you want readers to come away with after they read SHE CAME FIRST?

I want them to believe in love. I want them to experience falling with love with the hero and living a happy for now ending. Isn’t that why we all read romance?

Would you rather have a bad review or no review?

What I want is an honest review. If you loved the characters and their story, terrific. If you couldn’t relate to either the characters or their situation, terrific. I know not everyone will love each story I write and I will respect their honest opinion.

Have you written any other books that are not published?

Ha ha ha. I think most authors will say tones of them. Not all ideas will work up into a book. Sometimes a piece of an old manuscript will be a catalyst for a new manuscript, but the story goes in a different direction.

What do your friends and family think of your writing?

My friends think I can write a first draft worthy of publication, but this isn’t true. I struggle to the best story I can written for the readers. Believe it or not, sometimes the characters don’t like my ideas an won’t do what I think they should. (grins) This causes me to go through several drafts before I should the manuscript to my critique partners. Then I go through it a few more times before I send it to my editor. I love her and we go through the manuscript one more time. When I tell people this is my process they are amazed and shocked that writing isn’t as easy as reading is.

How did you come up with the title?

SHE CAME FIRST was an easy title to come up with. The story is about racing cars and is an erotic romance. Easy peasy.

Your favorite…

Music – smooth jazz for writing. If there are lyrics I tend to them as a sing along. I also listen to country, and pop when I’m not writing.

Place you’ve visited – Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories, Canada.

Place you’d like to visit- Hawaii is the top of my bucket list.

TV show from adulthood – there are too many to list. I really do have to cut back on my TV time.

Food – chocolate anything.

Which do you prefer: Board games/card games or television? Board games.

 

Thank you, I enjoyed getting to know you better. Now, please tell us about your book!

Blurb: As head mechanic for her family’s stock car team, Tracy Hyland is making sure her car is ready for tomorrow’s race. If the car comes in first, she can claim her rightful place in the business. She can’t afford distractions, especially an ex high school sweetheart, one who broke her heart but still makes her engine purr.

Racecar driver Delaney P. Jones comes home to drive the Hyland’s car and to win back the girl he left behind. To break the iciness between them, he tempts his sexy mechanic into a smoldering dance of passion. His ultimate goal might prove more difficult—getting her across a private finish line.

Excerpt: Tracy Hyland slipped into the garage of the family motorsport business and smiled as she glanced at her 1989 Camaro. Her baby’s new blue and white paint glistened in the overhead light. Tomorrow was the car’s first race. Her hopes of standing in the number one spot on the podium depended on their performance.

She walked to the radio and cranked her music. Music and racing—pure heaven.

While the male mechanics would be at their favorite watering hole, hoping to hook up with pit bunnies for a night, she planned a quiet evening ensuring her car was tuned perfectly. Who was she kidding? She was just tinkering. Better here alone than in a noisy bar with strangers.

Tracy had become the head mechanic only after her dad died in a fiery crash. Women belonged in the office, not the track, or so he thought. She should go home and get a good night’s sleep—alone. She liked a good fuck. Actually, a great night in the sack helped her relax before a race, but she’d make do with a hot shower and Dilly the dildo to relieve her tension. What more could she want?

Tracy let the music take hold of her and boogied toward the car, twirling around and shimmying her breasts.

The side door opened, and she froze mid-step and turned.

Delaney P. Jones leaned against the jamb, filling the doorway. Her pulse quickened at the sight of her high school sweetheart.

Buy links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Uk92YM

B&N, https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1131094833?ean=2940161234532

Bookstrand: https://www.bookstrand.com/she-came-first

 

Kayden Claremont’s Bio

Kayden’s sensuous writing style drives the characters in lustful romps. She loves reading stories of lust and love.  When she is not crafting erotic romantic stories, she loves to make jewelry and travel.

Kayden is a member of Romance Writers of America, Toronto Romance Writers, and Sisters in Crime.

She hopes you enjoy her other books, Hell’s Bounty, Heaven’s Watcher, Timeless Passion, Red Hot, and Tartan Temptation, all published by The Wild Rose Press.

Author Media Links:

Website: www.KaydenClaremont.com

Blog: https://kaydenclaremont.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kayden.claremont/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kaydenclaremont

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/9136748.Kayden_Claremont

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/search?search=Kayden+Claremont

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyTlCs84dLR5D3MJw25yrBQ

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Kayden-Claremont/e/B015BMVN4I

 

7 Comments

Filed under Author Blog Post, New Release

“Tainted” is #FREE!!

I’m happy to share a freebie from my dear friend, Tina Fausett. It’s only free for a limited time, so grab it while you can!!

Tainted – Part 1 (A Shift in the Universe) by Tina Fausett

The first installment in the ongoing saga of A Shift in the Universe is FREE for a limited time…

Amazon purchase link:

https://www.amazon.com/Tainted-Shift-Universe-Book-1-ebook/dp/B07FTCF2K8/

 

Part 1 – Tainted:

A jealous, malevolent wife hooked on prescription drugs, a husband caught between reality and carnal fantasies, and an angel cast from heaven, are all bound together by their hatred for one woman whose spells and manifestations catch them in a downward spiral towards hell…Gina Faulkner, thought to be a voodoo queen, owner of Swamp Witch Pickles in New Orleans, is the center of it all.

Bane Colton, dangerous and cocky, sees Gina at the French Market and the game is on. He makes up his mind he’s going to break the feisty redhead with the infamous kinky reputation, body and soul. And Gina’s ready to be a player, until Bane’s estranged and demented wife, Beverly, wants him back.

Enter enigmatic Darsh, known to many as the Angel of Death, who’s watched over Gina since she was fifteen and has loved her almost as much as he’s hated her. Now they would come face to face. He could save her from certain peril, but could never save her from herself. Would she destroy them all? At the very least, a shift in the universe was coming.

Excerpt:

“I had a love once that I never got over. I still dream about him, think of him, wonder if I’ll see him in heaven. No, it wasn’t your grandfather, Ian. I did love him. But sometimes there’s one person your soul meshes with so completely that you don’t care if you ever have sex because it’s worth a lifetime just to see them once in a while.” His grandmother looked off as if she were seeing someone in the distance. “Can you understand what I’m saying?” She turned back to him, her gaze penetrating.

“No,” he lied as tears stung the backs of his eyes.

“Sometimes, you love someone so much you almost hate them for it, for to hate someone you have to be capable of loving them. Who is it that you just lied about? Who is it that you hate?”

“No one, Grandmother…no one.”

“I’ve always felt sad for you, Ian, never having known what it’s like to be in love. But I see it in your eyes. You know what it’s like to be in hate.”

Darsh stood, walked to her, bent, and kissed her cheek. “No one is worthy of my hate,” he whispered.

“If you saw her today, the woman unworthy of your hate, what would you feel for her?” the old woman asked knowingly.

“Extreme dislike,” he answered, his eyes narrowing. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got work to do before dinner.”

Darsh turned down the hallway towards the library. My world’s crumbling…I can’t keep going like this.. He ran his hands through his hair. It’s all finally catching up to me and soon nothing will be the same. A shift in the universe is coming and Gina Faulkner’s bound to be at the heart of it.

Check out the other stories in the series…

Link to other installments:

https://www.amazon.com/Tina-Fausett/e/B07FQ24FZ6/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

 

About the author:

Tina Fausett was born and raised in Oklahoma City and attended both the University of Central Oklahoma and Oklahoma University, majoring in History and English. She’s a published poet and novelist, as well as an oil painter, historic home specialist. She’s owned an antique store and art gallery and currently runs a company called Red Hot Mamma’s Pickles in Oklahoma City where she lives in an historic neighborhood. She’s lived in the Garden District in New Orleans, the city she loves, and tries to spend her time between the two cities. Tina has a daughter, son and granddaughter that are her main focus.

 

Find Tina Here:

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/tina.fausett

Twitter: @TinaFausett

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under Author Blog Post, giveaway

Will Rise from Ashes by Jean Grant

I love hosting Wild Rose Press authors, and I’m pleased to introduce today’s guest, Jean Grant, with her new release, Will Rise from Ashes, a Contemporary Women’s Fiction novel.

The Writer’s Journey

Will Rise from Ashes was by far my hardest book to write. For many reasons, some personal, some technical. I’d been writing romances with HEAs for so long, shifting to women’s fiction with grittier topics took some getting used to. The romantic in me though, did toss in a romance subplot, and I am a sucker for a happ(ier) ending.

A few more facts about this book:

  1. I began writing it in 2015, 4 years ago. The first draft took a year (while working part-time and around kids’ busy schedules). Editing took a few more years…
  2. It underwent at least 8 full-length revisions before I submitted to my editor at The Wild Rose Press. I’ve also written/edited the entire manuscript at least 20 times (that is 400 pages x 20 = 8,000 pages. It’s no wonder authors can be a little nutty!)
  3. It’s my first book written in both first person (AJ, the mother) and third person (Will, the son).
  4. My villain is a volcano!
  5. The book spans over a month of time and over 2,000 miles.
  6. My theme of heartache, healing, and hope dominates this book.
  7. It is the 7th book I’ve written, but 4th published. (Yeah, that’s some funny math. Hint: 3 books are now shoved in drawers as “practice” novels).
  8. The story tackles topics of widowhood, anxiety, autism, and redemption.
  9. I threw everything but the kitchen sink at AJ. I love an emotional journey, but I do enjoy lots of external conflict and roadblocks (teehee, in this case, literal roadblocks).
  10. Its title was changed from the original. And nope, I won’t tell you the first one, but it took quite some convincing from my editor to change it!
  11. This book underwent the most “killing my darlings” (aka scene slicing!) of all my books. All for the better, or course!

Feel free to follow me on my BLOG TOUR, April 18-June 6. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

About the book:

Living is more than mere survival 

Blurb:

Young widow AJ Sinclair has persevered through much heartache. Has she met her match when the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, leaving her separated from her youngest son and her brother? Tens of thousands are dead or missing in a swath of massive destruction. She and her nine-year-old autistic son, Will, embark on a risky road trip from Maine to the epicenter to find her family. She can’t lose another loved one.

Along the way, they meet Reid Gregory, who travels his own road to perdition looking for his sister. Drawn together by AJ’s fear of driving and Reid’s military and local expertise, their journey to Colorado is fraught with the chaotic aftermath of the eruption. AJ’s anxiety and faith in humanity are put to the test as she heals her past, accepts her family’s present, and embraces uncertainty as Will and Reid show her a world she had almost forgotten.

Excerpt:

Even from far away, I recognized the man’s plaid long-sleeved shirt and the large backpack, but now he was walking alongside a bike on his approach.

“Hey, look! It’s that guy you drove past this morning!”

 I shuddered inwardly. Well, karma just bit me in the butt.

“How did he catch up with us?” Motherly instinct took over as I rose, my legs wobbly. “Will, stay there. Here, take this,” I said, handing him the tire iron.

 “We already tried that, Mom.”

“Not for that, Will.”

He scratched his brown hair, which was overdue for a cut, and looked at me, confusion wrinkling his brow.

“Be my wizard, Will. It’s your sword.”

“Wizards have wands.”

“Will…”

The circuit connected. “Oh…yes, Mom, I’ll protect you!”

I smiled faintly. “Thank you, honey.” I didn’t want to explain further that it was me protecting him. I didn’t want to say that if something happened, to run and hide in the woods. Because he would run and hide. Then what? Who would come help?

I shoved my hand into my front jeans pocket to nestle my fingertips around the pocket knife I had given Harrison for our wedding anniversary. The man slowed his bicycle as he drew nearer. He gave me an understated, yet significant, nod. The nod of understanding, of kindness. I didn’t buy it.

“Hello, again,” he said.

Ouch.

Buy links:

Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ iTunes ~ Kobo ~ GooglePlay

 

 

Bio:

Jean’s background is in science and she draws from her interests in history, nature, and her family for inspiration. She writes historical and contemporary romances and women’s fiction. She also writes articles for family-oriented travel magazines. When she’s not writing or chasing children, she enjoys tending to her flower gardens, hiking, and doing just about anything in the outdoors.

 Social Media links:

Website ~ Twitter  ~ FacebookGoodreads ~ Bookbub ~ Amazon Author PageThe Wild Rose Press

 

 

13 Comments

Filed under Author Blog Post, giveaway, New Release

Author Interview with Diane Burton ~ New Release: Rescuing Mara’s Father ~ Giveaway!!

I am thrilled to introduce today’s guest, fellow author and friend, Diane Burton. She is a fabulous writer, and I have had the honor of editing many of her stories, including her latest, which is awesome!

Welcome, Diane…

 

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

First, thanks for having me here today, Alicia. I’ve lived most of my life in Michigan, grew up in the Detroit area, now live near Lake Michigan. My husband and I have two children and five grandchildren who all live close enough to visit often. We’ve had three dogs but are dogless now. When we need a dog-fix, we visit our kids who have a total of three. I was an elementary teacher, an inventory clerk in a flute store, and a land technician for an oil and gas company. My favorite occupation—writer.

Where did you get the idea for Rescuing Mara’s Father?

My older grandchildren (ages 9 and almost-12) know I write novels, and that they can’t read them until they’re adults. Disappointing for them. That’s why I wrote Rescuing Mara’s Father, a book they can read. It’s the first time I’ve written in the children/young adult genre, and it was fun. I’m a pantser, write by the seat of my pants. When an idea hits, I just start writing. Around chapter 8, I need to stop and plot. Not an extensive plot but enough to know where the story is going. The hardest part of writing Rescuing Mara’s Father came near the end. I knew what I wanted for the climactic scene. Writing it was more difficult. I think I wrote five different scenes until I found what felt right.

Do you collect anything?

Nutcrackers. One Christmas, in the 1980s, my mother-in-law gave me one. I expressed delight. That meant I got nutcrackers for my birthday and Christmas every year after. And from her sister, too. Hubs got into it, and his idea was the more the better. I had to tell him only one a year. Please! Each year, the older grandchildren come over and, standing on the kitchen counter, put up the nutcrackers. Now Hubs says I have too many. Lol

Here are some of Diane’s nutcrackers…aren’t they so adorable? (and, to be fair to your husband, Diane, men are not likely going to have an affinity for something called a ‘nutcracker’ :))

What do you want readers to come away with after they read Rescuing Mara’s Father?

First, that they’ve enjoyed a good adventure. Underneath that, I want them to think that the feelings they’ve had are common. Other kids think/feel the same way.

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

Hallee Steinfeld (True Grit) as Mara; Jeremy Irvine (Mama Mia 2) as Lukus; Anthony Ursin (Chocolat) as Jako. With Hallee, it was the braids and her attitude in True Grit that made me think of Mara. Jeremy’s eyes in the picture—serious, old, like he had to grow up quickly. That’s why he’d make a good Lukus. Anthony’s attitude (and smile in the picture) makes me think of Jako.

Hallee Steinfeld

Jeremy Irvine

Anthony Ursin

What is your favorite quote?

“Never give up, never surrender.” (from Galaxy Quest)

Your most prized material possession? Why?

My grandmother’s ceramic nativity set. She made it for our family when I was young. It’s kind of gaudy with sequins and glitter, but she made it. And that’s what’s important.

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

Cruelty, especially to children. Violence begets violence. Same with cruelty.

Have you written any other books that are not published?

Oh, yes! And many will stay hidden away. They were for practice. Will they ever be published? Probably not. I’ve discovered (with two books) that it’s easier to start fresh than try to edit/revise an old story.

Who is the most famous person you have ever met?

Nora Roberts. What a sweet, considerate woman.

How much of the book is realistic?

Though Rescuing Mara’s Father takes place in a “galaxy far, far away” the relationship between a parent and daughter is quite real, especially her emotional highs and lows. I tapped into what I remembered from my own teen years and my daughter’s.

Your favorite…

Movie: The African Queen

Music:  Old-time Rock & Roll

Place you’ve visited:  Rocky Mountain National Park

Place you’d like to visit:  Alaska

TV show from childhood:  Maverick (with James Garner)

TV show from adulthoodMurdoch Mysteries & Father Brown

Food:  Pepperoni pizza

Sports team:  Detroit Tigers

Thank you, Diane, for sharing with us today. Now, Diane has a question for readers…

Since Rescuing Mara’s Father features an almost-fifteen year old girl, what do you remember about your teen angst?

RESCUING MARA’S FATHER

A Middle Grade Science Fiction Adventure

ebooks:  Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ Kobo ~ B&N ~ Smashwords

print:  Amazon

3 friends, a hidden starship, a quest

Blurb:

Her father is gone! Taken by the Queen of Compara’s agents. Mara has to rescue him before the Queen tortures and kills him.

Instead of the kind, loving father she’s always known, he’s become demanding, critical, with impossible expectations—not just as Father but also as the only teacher in their frontier outpost. Mara would rather scoop zircan poop than listen to another boring lecture about governments on Central Planets. Give her a starship engine to take apart or, better yet, fly, and she’s happy. Now, he’s gone.

Never mind, they’ve had a rocky road lately.

Never mind, Father promised she could go off planet to Tech Institute next month when she turns fifteen, where she’ll learn to fly starships.

Never mind, she ran away because she’s furious with him because he reneged on that promise. Father is her only parent. She has to save him.

Along with her best friend, eleven-year-old Jako, and his brother 15-year-old Lukus, Mara sets off to find her father. Her mentor, old spaceport mechanic, seems to know why the Queen captured Father. In fact, he seems to know her father well. But, does he tell her everything? Of course not. He dribbles out info like a mush-eating baby. Worse, he indicates he’ll be leaving them soon. And Lukus can’t wait to get off their planet. Mara’s afraid they will all leave, and she’ll be on her own. Despite her fears, Mara has to rescue her father.

Excerpt

“There you are!” Jako kneels next to me, his urgent voice and torchlight in my eyes wake me up.

I gasp, my heart racing. I must have fallen asleep. I was dreaming about being chased.

“I’ve been looking all over for you!” He lowers his torch and scoots back.

As I sit up, I shove my hair out of my eyes. My braid came undone while I was sleeping. Automatically, I reach up and use my fingers to comb through my long hair. Jako is breathing hard and heat rises off his small body.

“Why were you looking for me?” I ask as I rebraid my hair.

“I was afraid they got you, too.” He gasps for breath. “I didn’t see you when they took him on board, so I ran back to your house. The Dunpus brothers were laughing about how the goons hauled you away, screaming and crying. I knew they were lying. You wouldn’t cry.” His eyes grow wide. “You should’ve seen their ship, Mara. It was so cool. It was a—”

“Hold on. Took who?”

“Isn’t that why you came up here? To get away from them?”

“Them who?” I might be awake, but my mind is still muzzy. “Slow down. You aren’t making any sense.”

Jako grabs my arm. “Your father, Mara. Coalition goons arrested your father.”

 

About the Author:

The first time D.M. Burton saw Star Wars IV: A New Hope, she was hooked on science fiction and space travel. The Star Trek movies made her want to travel to other planets. Alas, she is still Earth-bound. D.M. and her husband live in Michigan, close to their two children and five grandchildren.

Join D.M. Burton’s readers’ group on Facebook.

For more info and excerpts, visit D.M.’s website: http://www.dmburton.com

She writes adult fiction as Diane Burton, where she combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides writing science fiction romance, she writes romantic suspense, and cozy mysteries.

For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website: http://www.dianeburton.com

Connect with Diane Burton online.

Blog:  http://dianeburton.blogspot.com/

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/dmburton72

Facebook:  http://facebook.com/dianeburtonauthor

Goodreads: Diane Burton Author

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/dmburton72/

Sign up for Diane’s new release alert: http://eepurl.com/bdHtYf

GIVEAWAY!!!

A $10 AMAZON e-GIFT CARD

Many chances to win.

a Rafflecopter giveawayhttps://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

 

12 Comments

Filed under Author Blog Post, giveaway, New Release

Author Interview with J.A. Kazimer / New Release ~ Cuffed: A Detective Goldilocks Mystery

Please help me welcome today’s guest, J.A. Kazimer…

Good morning, J.A. So happy to have you as my guest today. Please tell us a little about yourself, where are you from? Where do you live now? Family? Pets?

Thank you, Alicia. So excited to be here.

I’m originally from Cleveland, Ohio (home of the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame and the only river that’s ever caught on fire, more than once). I moved to Denver, CO so many years ago that I feel like a native. My family consists of a 14-year-old Weimaraner, a 7-year-old (thirty pound) Chihuahua, and a 6-month-old Minnie mutt. In case it’s not obvious, I am that friend on Facebook. The one who drives you nuts with puppy pictures. You’re welcome.

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

I’m a sucker for twisting the typical version of a fairytale characters. In this case, I focused my attention on Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

I asked myself, what would have happened if the last line in the fairytale (And she never returned to the home of the three bears), didn’t exist? How would that have changed it? Would the bears, acting as talking bears often do, have called the cops?

I also needed to know why one bowl of porridge too hot and the other too cold? Furthermore, what bear in its right mind would leave a perfectly good porridge sitting out for an interloping blond to eat?

As you can obviously see, this brought me to a grownup Goldie Locks and her adoptive bear family. She now a homicide detective happily dating the fairest man in all the land, until the one man who jumped over a candlestick and out of her life years before returns to win her back. Or to commit murder. I always forget which.

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

Anything by Susan Elizabeth Phillips or Julie Garwood’s historical romances. I love any romance with wit, and humor.

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

I used to work as a private investigator. It was both fun and humanity destroying. I since moved on to working at a university, which, oddly enough, is also fun and humanity destroying. Kids today…Get off my lawn…

What was your first job?

When a person goes to jail, they can buy things from the commissary. I was the 15-year-old kid filling those orders. It was much like being a file clerk. Good thing I was young and dumb enough not to realize that I don’t like to file.

What do you want readers to come away with after they read [your book]?

Honestly, I want readers to live happily ever after. If my novel makes someone happy, even if just until they finish it, then my role as an author is complete.

Would you rather have a bad review or no review?

I’m the author of over 15 books. Some received plenty of reviews. Others very few. Some bad. Most good. I can firmly attest to the fact that getting any review beats not getting one. Silence is far from golden for authors.

What is your favorite quote?

“The world is a stage and the play is badly cast.”
– Oscar Wilde 

What do you want your tombstone to say?

Roses are red,

I’m pretty sure I’m dead.

But would you mind checking?

How did your interest in writing originate?

I loved books since I picked up my very first Johanna Lindsey novel. I believe it was Heart’s Aflame. But being a writer? That was madness. I could barely spell.

Then one day a character’s voice came into my head.

So I had two choices. Either become a writer or face the possibility that I was crazy. Writer seemed easier, and included less electrical shock therapy.

 

Now, I’d like to turn the tables. What is your favorite fairytale? And why?

Hahaha, loved the interview, J.A. You’re so funny! Your book sounds fantastic. As for my answer to the question, I think mine might be Little Red Riding Hood because it has a creepier vibe than many of the others.

 

Detective Goldie Locks isn’t looking for just the right bed. Or any bed for that matter.

She’s on the hunt for a killer.

When she discovers the fingerprints of a once-upon-a-time lover, a man who jumped over a candlestick and out a window to leave her facing some serious trespassing trouble alone, at a crime scene, she vows to see him in handcuffs.

Jack B. Nimble has other ideas.

He threatens her adoptive family if Goldie doesn’t help him clear his villainous name, much to the chagrin of her current boyfriend and quite possibly the next mayor, Beau White, the fairest man in all the land.

Trying to prove his innocence turns out to be harder than she expected, especially when Jack refuses to aid in his defense, and instead, starts a campaign to ‘win’ her back. Goldie might be a blond, but she’s far from dumb enough to fall for his charms a second time.

Or so she tells herself every time his lips meet hers.

The deeper she plows into the rabbit hole and Jack’s soul, the more she learns about his motives for returning to the city—Destroying her perfectly crafted life.

Excerpt –

Chapter 1

“My, my, what big…,” my eyes slowly slid from his mouth downward, taking in every inch of his bulging physique, finally settling on his very large and furry fingers, “…hands you have.”

His lips curled into a lecherous grin as he lifted the chains around his wrists. “The better to…” He waggled his eyebrows.

I tilted my head, letting my hair brush my shoulders. “To what? Kill innocent women wearing red hoods?” Pushing from the hard metal chair, I rose to my full five-feet, eight-inch height to stare down at the guy accused of stalking and murdering a young woman who went missing on her way to her grandmother’s house. The brutality of the crime sharpened my tone. “We’ve got your DNA all over her goodies.”

He huffed in a harsh breath, a telling reaction.

I smiled. We had the right guy. Now I just needed to break him.

The best part of my job.

I drew in a breath, ready to pluck the truth from him like a plum from a pie. The interview room door opened halting my interrogation. Irritation churned inside me, but I suppressed it, barely, as Captain Jingleheimer Schmidt stuck his head through the doorway. “Detective Locks,” he said in a whey-soaked voice. “A word.”

I glowered at the big, bad-smelling wolf, following my captain out of the institutional grey-colored room. He crossed the bullpen bursting with villains and cops, heading to his office on the other side of the New Never City police station. An office as crammed with files and arrest reports as deep, and smelling just as bad, as an old lady and all of her numerous offspring who lived in a shoe.

Motioning for me to sit on the worn chair the captain dropped into his own seat behind a wobbly desk, clasping his fingers in front of him. I wrinkled my nose at the stench wafting around me, and then sat. Like a lady, and not of the night variety, I crossed my legs, waiting. Captain Jingleheimer Schmidt was a man of few words and most of those started with the letter F. I doubted the conversation would take long.

“Goldie,” he began.

My back arched at the use of my given name. Whatever he was about to say wasn’t good, likely for me. In fact, the last time the captain had called me Goldie I’d ended up losing my back right molar to a delusional fairy. The two dollars and seventy cents left under my pillow was of little consolation. I took a calming breath, waiting for the other glass slipper to drop.

 

Bio –

J.A. (Julie) Kazimer lives in Denver, CO. When she isn’t looking for a place to hide the bodies, she devotes her time to playing with a pup named Killer. Other hobbies include murdering houseplants. She spent a few years stalking people while working as a private investigator before transitioning to the moniker of WRITER and penning over 15 titles. Visit her website at jakazimer.com and sign up for her THIS LITTLE PIGGY WENT TO MURDER Readers’ Group.

 

10 Comments

Filed under Author Blog Post, New Release