Category Archives: Author Blog Post

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?

******************************************

 

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.

******************************************

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.

******************************************

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.

******************************************

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.

******************************************

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?

******************************************

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?
******************************************
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.
******************************************
Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Author Blog Post, Ebook Deal

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

22 Comments

Filed under Author Blog Post

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

3 Comments

Filed under Author Blog Post

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

 

7 Comments

Filed under Author Blog Post, New Release

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/

22 Comments

Filed under Author Blog Post, New Release

Mail Order Bride: The Breakaway by Kathy L Wheeler

And here is the follow up to Kathy L Wheeler’s Mail Order Bride: The Counterfeit. Check out Mail Order Bride: The Breakaway

Tragedy sent Sherman Elias McHuay west twelve years ago. But his troubled past barrels in like a runaway train or—more appropriately—smacks him over the head in the form of a violet-eyed miss without a lick of common sense to her name. If one could actually determine her name.

Amaris Johnston’s carefully laid plans to head west as a mail order bride ratchet up when an announcement for her impending nuptials to the son of a prominent US Senator are set to go public. Not that she’d agreed to marry in the first place. A forced engagement and her family—a conniving slew of ambitious and power-hungry tyrants—send her running for the Colorado hills.

Can a slow talking sheriff and a headstrong girl bent on recklessness outwit her powerful family?

Excerpt:  

“Who are you, Mari Jones?”

She didn’t disappoint, leaning into him and whispering, “Aw, Sheriff, you don’t really want to know.”  He couldn’t tell if she was teasing him as an interminable silence blanketed them before she seemed to come to her senses. She squared her shoulders and stepped back, clinging to his damn cat. She turned her back to him, clearing her throat. “The truth is, Sheriff. I’m a mail order bride. Already bought and paid for,” she said primly.

The words didn’t penetrate until she was halfway down the path. An unexplained fury roared through him and he was on her, grasping her upper arms spinning her around. “The hell you are,” he bit out before he crashed his mouth over hers with an unleashed violence he hadn’t experienced since Johnston held his hand over fire coercing his promise to leave town.

The desire to invade this beauty’s mouth threatened his ability in remaining upright. Her shock softened into the sweetest response. It was life-changing, life-saving. How was it possible?

Comprehension ricocheted seeped through a veil of fog. A single searing bullet that imploded his chest. Innocent. She was an innocent and he was in the worst danger of violating her. He tore his mouth away with a sharpness that left him gasping for breath, his lungs burning with need. His scarred hand throbbed.

The only sound in the still night was the harsh intake of their breathing. Relief flooded him. He was not the only one affected. Her large purple eyes glowed like ice in the slivered moonlight.

Kathy L Wheeler (a.k.a. Kae Elle Wheeler for her Cinderella Series) has a BA in Management Information Systems from the University of Central Oklahoma that includes over forty credit hours of vocal music. She was a computer programmer for the Hertz Corporation for over fifteen years and utilizes karaoke for her vocal music talents. Other passions include the NFL, the NBA, travel, musical theatre, painting, reading, and writing.

She is a member of several Romance Writers of America chapters: Greater Seattle, Olympia and Eastside chapters, The Beau Monde and Hearts Through History.

Her main sources of inspiration come from a mostly an over-active imagination. She currently resides in the Seattle area with her musically talented husband, Al, and their bossy cat, Carly, and sweet dog, Angel.

 

Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram ~ Bookbub ~ Amazon

 

https://kathylwheeler.com

https://twitter.com/kathylwheeler

https://facebook.com/kathylwheeler

https://pinterest.com/kathylwheeler

https://instagram.com/kathylwheeler

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/kathy-l-wheeler

 

1 Comment

Filed under Author Blog Post, New Release

Peggy Jaeger’s DIRTY DAMSELS ( DotComGirls Series Book 1)

Please help me welcome the talented Peggy Jaeger with her intriguing new release!

DIRTY DAMSELS ( DotComGirls Series Book 1)

This isn’t your childhood version of Cinderella, folks, but a 2019 retelling of the fairy tale with a few modern twists.

Ella Jones is the CEO of an exclusive cleaning company titled DIRTY DAMSELS. With a $150,00 business loan and a sound business plan, Ella’s company has grown in leaps and bounds since she first started it in college. You know you’ve made it in the business world when someone wants to acquire what you’ve built, and now Ella’s fighting a corporate takeover. As she fights for her company, she also fighting not to lose her heart to the one person who could take everything she’s worked for away.

Blurb:

When I first saw Cynderella all covered in soot in that sexy maid uniform, I knew I wanted to be her Prince.

She’s a small and savvy businesswoman who’s built her cleaning company from the ground up. But now that Dirty Damsels is booming, I’ve been hired to arrange a hostile takeover.

But the temptation of having her was too much to ignore… We ended up spending one night together—a night neither of will forget. Now, I want more. I need more. I want to spend every night, skin-on-skin, with my beautiful Ella.

Problem is, when she finds out who I really am, she’ll never forgive me.

Excerpt:

The bathroom door opened.

In his tailored suit he’d been impressive and striking. With a white bulky towel wrapped around his waist, and the humidity in the bathroom sluicing off his damp torso, he was downright magnificent. Those wide and solid shoulders tapered down into biceps I could tell regularly attended a gym with him, and then into forearms corded with strong sinew and veins.

“I-I’m sorry,” I stammered. “I’m almost done. I’m sorry.” I blushed again and I cursed my fair skin. But really, how could I not blush and stutter when faced with this unbelievable specimen of hotness standing five feet away from me, all wet and hard muscled and gorgeous?

He moved like a panther across the rug, soundlessly stalking, as if playing with his prey, until he came to the opposite side of the bed.

He took one corner of the sheet in his hand and yanked it. “Do you have enough on your side?”

Speech was impossible because I knew I’d start blabbering again, so I nodded and tucked the sheet under the mattress.

“Hospital corners.” He nodded and then mimicked my motions. “I love a tight sheet.”

I couldn’t help but stare at the way his biceps swelled when he lifted the mattress as if it weighed nothing, and shot the sheet under it. Nor could I forgo glancing at the thick mat of black hair crisscrossing from one side of his pecs to the other and then down, disappearing below the towel. And I’d have to have been struck blind and stupid – which I’m neither – not to notice and admire the trim, tight waist and abdomen the towel was securely wrapped around.

At least I prayed it was securely wrapped.

I grabbed the comforter, shook it out and he helped me place it over the bed.

“Toss me one of those,” he commanded when I grabbed a pillow and began tugging the case on.

He caught both in midair.

The bed made, I turned to tell him about the platter of food, but stopped before the words could leave my throat. He’d moved without a sound again, coming to stand so close to me I could smell the citrus scent of the soap he’d used wafting off his body.

He placed a hand on my shoulder and gave it a little squeeze. I swear my body temperature went up ten degrees. I figured by now I resembled one of those cartoons where the character’s head turns beet red and then explodes upward.

“Thanks, Cinderella.” A devilish grin tripped across his tired face. “But I need to crash now, so…”

I truly could have stood there for the rest of the afternoon basking in his hotness, but I got the hint.

I nodded and made one last visual sweep of the room.

“Do you want me to close the blinds?” I asked, turning back just in time to see him drop the towel and slide – gloriously naked – into the freshly made bed.

Holy Mother of God. The man had a butt made for grabbing. Two perfect, round, and tight cheeks dipped from that narrow waist, leading downward to two thick and powerful thighs. Since his back was to me he didn’t notice my jaw hanging open  to my knees while he burrowed under the comforter.

“Mmm…sure. Thanks, Cinderella.”

Even half asleep his voice made my heart skip a few beats and my girlie parts go zing.

 

Buy links:

Amazon: Exclusive to KU readers for free

Kindle version: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07TBBPHM8

Print Version: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1640348409

Bio

Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance writer who writes Romantic Comedies about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them. If she can make you cry on one page and bring you out of tears rolling with laughter the next, she’s done her job as a writer!

Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, she brings all topics of daily life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she’s created the families she wanted as that lonely child.

When she’s not writing Peggy is usually painting, crafting, scrapbooking or decoupaging old steamer trunks she finds at rummage stores and garage sales.

A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, Peggy is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.

As a lifelong diarist, she caught the blogging bug early on, and you can visit her at peggyjaeger.com where she blogs daily about life, writing, and stuff that makes her go “What??!”

Social Media links:

Website/Blog: http://peggyjaeger.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/peggy_jaeger

Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00T8E5LN0

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Peggy-Jaeger-Author/825914814095072?ref=bookmarks

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13478796.Peggy_Jaeger

Instagram: https://instagram.com/mmj122687/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/peggy-jaeger

You-Tube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDR8RRIlssIyS0FYZWeGqsg/videos?view_as=subscriber

 

11 Comments

Filed under Author Blog Post, New Release

Mail Order Bride: The Counterfeit & Author Interview with Kathy L Wheeler

I’m happy/sad to introduce today’s guest. I’m happy because she has a new release and I’m thrilled to have her on my blog. I’m sad because she’s a dear friend who moved away from me a few years ago and I miss her terribly! Please help me welcome my friend, Kathy L Wheeler…

 

Hi. I’m Kathy L Wheeler. I recently migrated from Oklahoma City to the Seattle area. When I say recent, it’s been within the last two years. We love the weather—not too hot, not too cold, no tornadoes, rarely straight-lined winds…. Do I sound like a weather mogul? I’m not. It’s just that in tornado alley, you have to be “weather aware.” I live with my musically talented husband, Al. We brought sweet, neurotic dog, and our “finicky” cat, Carly.

Where did you get the idea for Mail Order Bride: The Counterfeit & Mail Order Bride: The Breakaway?

I tend to be a bit wayward and adventurous, meaning, I stray from the norm. I love history and the different time periods. I can’t remember where my idea came from exactly for this 2 book series. It might have been just a flash. “What if the mother of the heroine was a saloon madame and decided it was time for her daughter to join the family business? What kind of mother does this! She’s a horrible mother, right? But…is she? There are definitely some psychological issues going on here. The second books takes another twist that bring the East and West together. Soooo fun!

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

Charming the Prince by Teresa Medeiros. I love this author. However, she lost her mother a few years ago and has not written anything new. So, I’m left with re-reading everything she’s written over and over and over and over…. (Please Ms. Medeiros, save me by writing something new….)

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

Well. Currently, I am an Aflac agent, but, well, my husband is insisting that I concentrate on my writing. Yay, me! I have friends whose husbands are not nearly as supportive as mine is. That makes him an excellent hero, don’t you think?

What do you dislike that most people wouldn’t understand?

All of my reading is fiction. That bugs a lot of people. The variety of the stories I read are pretty narrow. I’m picky, picky, picky. I don’t like shallow, telling, head-hopping…blah, blah, blah. When I can’t find something that suits my mood, I re-read. Yes, re-read books because I know they will put me in the right frame of mind.

What was your first job?

I worked at the movie theater in Longmont, Colorado in 1976! One incident, in particular, I remember: I had to work Christmas night (December 25). I had a crush on a guy (all the girls had the same crush). The release of the movie? The Longest Yard with Burt Reynolds. So half the football team showed up at the theater. Well, I had to wait on my crush and could hardly breath. That crush was a huge source of entertainment for my parents, two sisters and two brothers. I was such a dork.

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

“Aflac”

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

I have too many favorite books to list only one. I go by authors: Jayne Ann Krentz, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Linda Howard, Teresa Medeiros, etc…etc… My favorite childhood books: age 10, Betsy and Tacey series; Age 13, Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew; Age 14, Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, Phillip Carr (I could go on forever)

What do you want readers to come away with after they read Mail Order Bride series?

I hope they find a sense of adventure and surprise. I hope they connect to the heroines in both books and I hope they sense the difference in the two heroines personalities. That’s what I hope.

Would you rather have a bad review or no review?

As difficult as it to read a bad review, at least you know someone completed the book. Reading is so subjective, so it’s imperative that the author not take offense to a bad review. So I would rather have a bad review than no review.

What genre have you never written that you’d like to write?

Ha! If you look at my backlist, you would realize how ridiculous a question this is. From contemporary to historical fairy tale, to 1920s, Regency, Civil War, and now Western Historical. The good news is all but one has a happy ending. (What can I say, Cinderella’s stepmother was evil, but at least you learn why!)

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

I don’t care who, just so long as it’s a he and he can hunt and cook. I’ll take care of the rest.

My turn! I’m a huge sports fan. Are you? Who’s your team? Let’s be friendly rivals or excellent cohorts – go Dallas Cowboys and Oklahoma City Thunder!

Alicia Dean, Thanks so much for having me.

It’s my pleasure! Fun interview. Ha, “Aflac” made me laugh.

Readers, tune in next week for a look at Book 2 in the series!

Mail Order Bride: The Counterfeit:

After a disastrous first marriage, Will Jeffers hasn’t the stomach for another emotionally entailed union. All he needs is a wife to cook, nurse his mother, and look after the homestead. But good women are few and far between in Colorado mining country. A mail order bride is the perfect solution.

Amelia Johannasen is running for her life. Her mother has decided it’s time her daughter joined the family business, shattering Amy’s dreams of marrying for love. Imagine her surprise when she is mistaken for Will Jeffers mail order bride. She’ll take it

With a head for numbers and talent for spinning tall-tales but no notion of how to cook or nurse a manipulative old woman how can she reach the heart of a man once burned so badly, he’s sworn off love?

Excerpt: Mail Order Bride: The Counterfeit

“I’m happy to see you made it safe, ma’am. I apologize for being late, but as I mentioned in my letters, my ma, well, with her sick and all. I figured we oughta to start back right after the ceremony.”

She froze still as a statue. “Ceremony?”

“Our nuptials. I’m afraid I can’t leave Ma alone for long. No tellin’ what kind of—” He chuckled, but even to his own ears it sounded forced. “We can, uh, talk about that later. Your nursin’ skills and all.”

Those lovely eyes blinked up at him. And once again, he found himself drowning in bewitching sensations.

She heaved in a deep breath and let it out slow. “We’re to be … m-married? Now?

He hardened his tone. “Yes’m.” He had no time for cold feet or feminine hysterics. “It’s what we agreed on, ma’am.” He bit out the words, tamping down the surge of irritation…and something he couldn’t define. Panic, that she wouldn’t follow through? It was ridiculous, an outrageous thought. He shook it off and pressed on, determined to see his plans fulfilled. “Er, I don’t get to the Springs all that often. And there ain’t no preacher within twenty miles of Cripple Creek.”

Her plump lips turned down. The sight coiled his insides tighter than a rattler ready to strike. “Cripple Creek? That’s a long way, right?”

Was she trying to renege? He steeled his spine. He’d done wasted enough time and money getting’ her here. More than anything he wanted, no needed, to secure this marriage.

Something banded his chest, squeezing out every square inch of air, at the same time, softened him inside. Desire rippled through him. “I’m working the mines near there,” he said gently. “The homestead isn’t quite that far out.”

The small breath and small nod she gave, released his own held breath.

He cleared his throat. “Yeah, it’s a long way.”

Kathy L Wheeler (a.k.a. Kae Elle Wheeler for her Cinderella Series) has a BA in Management Information Systems from the University of Central Oklahoma that includes over forty credit hours of vocal music. She was a computer programmer for the Hertz Corporation for over fifteen years and utilizes karaoke for her vocal music talents. Other passions include the NFL, the NBA, travel, musical theatre, painting, reading, and writing.

She is a member of several Romance Writers of America chapters: Greater Seattle, Olympia and Eastside chapters, The Beau Monde and Hearts Through History.

Her main sources of inspiration come from a mostly an over-active imagination. She currently resides in the Seattle area with her musically talented husband, Al, and their bossy cat, Carly, and sweet dog, Angel.

 

Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram ~ Bookbub ~ Amazon

 

https://kathylwheeler.com

https://twitter.com/kathylwheeler

https://facebook.com/kathylwheeler

https://pinterest.com/kathylwheeler

https://instagram.com/kathylwheeler

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/kathy-l-wheeler

 

8 Comments

Filed under Author Blog Post, New Release

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

 

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