Tag Archives: Award Winning Author

Author Interview with Patricia McAlexander ~ The Student in Classroom 6 #RomanticSuspense

Please help me welcome today’s guest, Patricia McAlexander… 

 

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

I grew up in Johnstown, New York, a town of about 11,000 in the foothills of the Adirondacks. I lived for a time in New York City and Madison, Wisconsin, attending graduate schools, and in Denver, Colorado, where I taught at an extension of the University of Colorado. I now live in Athens, Georgia, where I moved with my husband when he took a position in the University of Georgia’s English Department—and soon I taught there myself. Our grown-up son lives and works in Atlanta. I’ve had various much loved pets throughout my life—a turtle, a guinea pig, a cat. And there were the dogs. I grew up with a cocker spaniel named Rusty (one of my first words was ‘Russ,”) and later a beagle named George. Here in Athens there was Daisy, a poodle, and Peanut, a dachshund. Right now, however, I’m “between pets.”

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

The genre of The Student in Classroom 6, like that of my first two published novels,  is romantic suspense. I chose romance because love is something most of us need and hope for in our lives—look at the themes of songs, movies, literature.  Now, in these difficult times, we need such themes more than ever. Also, romance can involve personal growth, something I’m interested in as a teacher. In my fiction, I portray individuals further developing their own values and identities as they discover love. I included the suspense (in this novel, a murder mystery) to add extra drama to the romance. 

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

A specific event inspired this novel. I live on an historic street in Athens, Georgia, lined with old houses and huge, old trees. One night my husband and I came out of our house to find the road and sidewalk in front of it completely blocked by gigantic magnolia limbs. Part of the ancient tree across the street had split off and fallen. The city cleaned up the road, but a private tree service had to come and take down the dangerous remaining portion of the tree. From our porch we had a front row seat, watching the drama of the tree removal and the skilled men up in the bucket and at its base taking it down. That event inspired me to create one of the main characters in The Student in Classroom 6—Tyler McHenry, the young arborist taking Katherine Holiday’s continuing education course. 

What is the most difficult thing about writing a book? What was the most difficult thing about this one in particular?

Fort me, the most difficult thing about writing a book is accurately portraying situations and actions I’m not familiar with. I do a lot of research, a lot of Googling, to find answers to questions that arise. For example, for The Student in Classroom 6, I researched the arborist profession—I even read an instruction manual on operating bucket trucks—and interviewed the owner of a local business, New Urban Forestry, who answered my questions and let me come with his team to one of their work sites.

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

I’m now retired, but I taught literature and writing at the college level—first as an instructor at the University of Colorado, then as teaching assistant at the University of Wisconsin, and finally as a professor going through the tenure and promotion process at The University of Georgia. In all these places, one thing stayed the same: I loved working with students.

What was your first job?

In the nineteenth and much of the twentieth century, my hometown, Johnstown, New York, was a center of the glove-making industry.  I worked in a glove factory for two summers while I was a college undergraduate. Maybe someday I’ll write a novel  about those experiences. It would be an historical novel—according to some sources, these novels are about a time period at least 25 years before the book was written.”(It’s hard to believe, but novels set in 1987 would thus be considered historical.) The glove factories have all closed now. 

Have you written any other books that are not published? 

I’ve written Second Wives, an historical novel based on my ancestors who emigrated from Baden (now part of modern Germany) to New York in 1850. It is about my widowed great-great-grandfather, Martin Kornmeyer, who sold all his belongings and, with his seven children and a servant, Rosa, sailed from Rotterdam on the Jane E. Williams, arriving in the New York harbor on October 7. He married Rosa, bought land in Boonville, New York, and farmed, as did his oldest son. The novel goes on to describe the life of Martin’s granddaughter, my grandmother, who was twice married. I’ve visited the cemeteries where Martin and Rosa and my grandmother’s two husbands are buried and the farm where my grandmother grew up. I’ve just returned from a cruise on the Rhine—tracing the route the original family surely traveled by barge to reach Rotterdam. Second Wives has not yet been published. I say “not yet,” as I hope someday it will be, and in the meantime,  I continue to learn more about these ancestors and revise it.

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

Many of the characters in my novels are at least in part based on real people. In The Student in Classroom 6, Tyler’s mother, a strong woman who home-schooled Tyler, is inspired by my own mother. Also woman with a strong personality, Mom was my high school Latin teacher, and before that she homeschooled a physically handicapped girl who at that time could not attend the high school in person. Just as Tyler’s mother was a contrast to his arborist father, my intellectual mother was a contrast to my more pragmatic father, a coach and teacher of what was then called “industrial arts.”  Of course, my English teacher protagonist, Katherine Holiday. is based in part on myself.

What do your friends and family think of your writing? 

They are some of my biggest fans, and I appreciate them greatly. 

How did you come up with the title? 

I thought the title “The Student in Classroom 6” reflected both the suspense and the romance of the novel. There has been a murder on the campus of The University of Georgia, and for all anyone knows, the murderer might be a student—even one of the students in protagonist Katherine Holiday’s continuing education class, which meets in Classroom 6. And in the back of that classroom there is that the sexy, intelligent young man to whom she is strongly attracted.

How much of the book is realistic?  

Much of The Student in Classroom 6 is grounded in reality, drawing on my experiences teaching at the University of Georgia and living in Athens. At the same time, of course, I tweaked that reality to advance my plot. For example, Katherine teaches adult continuing education classes, but by 2009, the year most of this novel takes place, such classes for UGA credit were no longer offered—and even when they had been, they were not part of faculty members’ regular assignments.  The campus murder takes place near an outside elevator with a glass through which the killer apparently saw his victim descending. An outside elevator does exist at UGA’s Psychology-Journalism building, but it has no window.

Blurb:

Although a faculty member has been killed on campus and the murderer is still at large, English instructor Katherine Holiday never suspects the criminal might be one of her students. In fact, there’s a man in her adult evening class she wishes she could know better.

Seeing no need for a college degree, Tyler McHenry, a partner in his father’s successful tree service, writes fiction for his own pleasure. No one at the University needs to know his personal reasons for enrolling in a first-year composition course. Still, he finds himself fascinated by the pretty teacher, who believes his writing should be published.

Excerpt:

“You know, Ms. Holiday,” Tyler said as he walked with her back to her porch, “it was against regulations to bring you up in the bucket. Only accredited personnel are supposed to go up.” He paused. “Just like it’s probably against regulations for University instructors to get too friendly with students in their class.”

“It is,” she said, feeling somehow bold. “But if you can break a rule, I can. Would you like to come in for a beer?”

“That may not be so wise. I am an owner of this tree business and an owner of the bucket truck. I was not worried about breaking that rule tonight. I knew it was safe for you when I brought you up in the bucket. That is not the way it is with you and the University.  And you don’t know—” he hesitated.

“Know what?”

He smiled a little, as if joking. “Whether you’d be safe alone in your house with me.”

Buy links: 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Student-Classroom-6-Patricia-McAlexander-ebook/dp/B09THQ2FDT/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1648132789&sr=1-1

Barnes and Noble (includes Nook):  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-student-in-classroom-6-patricia-mcalexander/1141068087?ean=9781509241750

i-books: http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/isbn9781509241767

About the Author: 

Patricia McAlexander is from upstate New York. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of New York at Albany, a master’s from Columbia University, and a doctorate from The University of Wisconsin, Madison, all in English She is now living in Athens, Georgia, with her Southerner husband, whom she met as a graduate student in Wisconsin. As a teenager, Pat wrote fiction for her friends, but she turned to academic writing with her career. Now retired from the University of Georgia, she has renewed her interests in photography, travel, and history—and in writing fiction.

Website: https://patriciamcalexander.weebly.com

Email: mcalexanderpatricia@gmail.com

Facebook: facebook.com/patriciamcalexanderwriter/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/PatMcAlexWriter

Instagram: www.instagram.com/patriciamcalexander/

 

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Filed under Author Blog Post, New Release

KISS OF THE ASSASSIN Political Thriller by Joylene Nowell Butler #Giveaway #WRPBks #Blog

Please help me welcome today’s guest, Joylene Nowell Butler…

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

I am Canadian/Métis, the author of the suspense novels Dead Witness, Maski: Broken But Not Dead, Break Time, and Matowak. Dead Witness was a finalist in the 2012 Global eBook Awards, and Broken But Not Dead won a silver medal in the 2012 IPPY Awards in New York.

Born in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, I am the youngest of three children of Charles (Charlie) Murray Nowell, veteran, farmer and truck driver, and Gabrielle Frances, a member of the wartime singing trio The Desjardins Sisters. When my father was discharged from the Navy, he moved us from Victoria to Haney (Maple Ridge) B.C.

I grew up with horses, cows, pigs, chickens, cats and dogs. A die-hard tomboy, I received a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Philosophy from Douglas College and attended Simon Fraser University.

In 1979, my husband and I moved our five sons to Prince George, BC. In 1992 we built a log/stick home on Cluculz Lake, 36 km east of Vanderhoof. Twenty-five years later, we sold our house and today split our time between Bucerias, Nayarit and Cluculz Lake, B.C.

Where did you get the idea for KISS OF THE ASSASSIN? 

I wrote the first half of Kiss of the Assassin, my second manuscript, in 1991 and finished it in early 1993. I think it began with the question: Can a child survive the most unspeakable tragedy?

This is me guessing that it began with that question because it was 30 years ago and, honestly, I don’t remember. While writing my third novel I noticed that all my novels begin with a question, and they all exhibit the same theme: the parent/child relationship. The nice thing is that despite having written Kiss of the Assassin so long ago, every time I pulled it out and reread it, I was amazed that I’d written such an intense and riveting story so early in my career. 

Q: Would you rather have a bad review or no review?

It’s painful to receive a negative review but better than no review at all. That’s another reason I advise authors not to read their reviews. You’ll never satisfy every reader every time. It’s impossible. Bad reviews create controversy. Controversy stimulates book sales. If you receive 100 bad reviews and 100 good ones, buyers notice. They’re curious about what side of the spectrum they’ll fall on. One hundred readers took the time to read your book and leave a negative review. But one hundred also took time to leave a positive review. Which begs the question: How many enjoyed the book but kept their thoughts to themselves?

Statistics have proven that reviews are essential. It’s about word-of-mouth. More reviews, more visibility. Good or bad. I don’t concern myself about bad reviews because I know I wrote the best novel I could write.

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

I once had a beta reader tell me that if she had a hard copy of my book, she would have thrown it across the room. She said my protagonist was a wimp. That was tough to hear, but it made me want to be a better writer. The book in question eventually became a finalist in the Global e-Book Awards.

The best compliment I ever received was when a Vietnam Veteran read a draft of Kiss of the Assassin and asked me when had I been in-country. Meaning: Was I a Vietnam Vet? When I told him I wasn’t, he was stunned.

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

Thank you, Alicia, for asking that question. I think there are two messages in Kiss of the Assassin.

Firstly, I hope anyone reading this novel comes away believing that no matter how traumatic a childhood, you are a miracle, a miracle that deserves to be happy. Don’t let the past beat you down. And if it has—get back up!

Secondly, even in a harsh and cruel world, lost and broken souls can find each other.

Q: How much of the book is realistic?  

Another good question. I write suspense thrillers, so I hope my novel seems realistic. If it doesn’t, I’ve failed. My job is to pull you into the story and make these events and characters seem real. That’s what I, as a reader, want in a novel.

Q: Your favorite… 

Movie – The Jason Bourne movies and The Polar Express.

Music –  Rock, Jazz, Classical, and Reiki Music. 

Place you’ve visited  – United States, Mexico, Jamaica, Indonesia, U.K., and Bali. I love Canada so much, I’ve driven across it four times, once by myself.

 

Thank you, Joylene…I’ve enjoyed getting to know you! 

Readers, Joylene is offering a Giveaway!!! One winner will receive an ePub version of Kiss of the Assassin. To enter, comment and share the post on Twitter. (You can use the Twitter button under ‘Share This” found at the bottom of the post).

Blurb: 

Marina Antonovna, a Soviet spy, and Mateo Arcusa, an American homicide lieutenant, first meet in Cambodia during the Vietnam War as enemies. Fearful that the most powerful man in the Soviet Union, KGB Chairman Vladimir Kurenkov, has ordered her death, Marina risks everything to defect to the United States. She promises Mateo that her days as an assassin are over. Vladimir is determined to do whatever it takes to bring her back and, by threatening Mateo’s life, forces Marina to break her promise.

Excerpt: 

“Maybe you do value life,” he [Mateo]said as if she hadn’t spoken. “You spared mine. Why?”

For the first time since childhood, Marina could not focus. Memories of Cambodia were clear enough, but her thoughts weren’t. Too many unresolved sentiments. How could she answer? She looked away from his intense mien and pressed the back of her hand to her moist forehead. A chill swept across her arms and she shivered. She had spared him because…?

Whatever the reason, a drunk didn’t deserve an answer.

He waited.

Her head tilted, looking up at the stars. True, he wasn’t just any drunk. But what good would the answer serve? It would bring back no one.

“Your V.C. buddy wanted to kill me,” he said. “You stopped him. Look, I don’t want to know your secrets. I just want to know why me? Why did you risk getting me back over the border? To imply I was a traitor? The CIA had a lot of questions I couldn’t answer. Mostly ’cause I couldn’t remember. Lucky for you, my memory was one gigantic fog until tonight.”

“Are you threatening me, Sergeant?”

“No. I told you I wouldn’t tell anyone and I won’t.”

“Why should I believe you?”

“Because I’d have told the CIA about you when I had the chance. I didn’t.”

“And now? They suspect you of treason. Point the finger at me and problem solved.”

“And have your death on my conscience? No thanks. Look, as I said before, I’m not asking for state secrets; I just want to know why you stopped him from putting a bullet in my brain. Tell me, and I’ll be out of your life forever.”

Again, Marina reiterated in her mind that she owed him nothing. “I have to go. My guardian will be wondering where I’ve gone.” She jumped down and brushed off her backside, moving past him. His fingertips skimmed across her arm and her skin tingled.

“I’m haunted—can’t you see that? My brothers are dead. Please, I need to know why I’m alive. Is there a reason? What reason? Is it my second…third chance or just a fluke?”

Marina kept walking. “I’m sorry, sergeant. I can’t help you.”

Buy links: 

Amazon.com – Kiss of the Assassin

Amazon.ca  – Kiss of the Assassin 

Bio: 

Joylene Butler lives with her husband in the tiny village of Cluculz Lake in central BC, Canada in the summers and Bucerias, Nayarit in the winters. She is the author of three suspense novels and a contributor to one anthology.

Blog: https://joylenebutler.com

Email:  cluculzwriter@yahoo.ca

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Filed under Author Blog Post

Katie’s Gamble: #HistoricalRomance by Kara O’Neal ~ #AHAgrp

Please help me welcome my prolific and sweet author friend, Kara O’Neal…

 

Hello, Kara…please tell us a little about yourself.  

Hello! My name is Kara O’Neal, and I am from a small town northeast of Houston. And I still live there! I’ve been married for almost twenty-four years. My husband and I have three children – two are in college and one is a freshman in high school. I asked them to stop growing up, but they didn’t listen. (Kids, right?) We also have a sheltie named Stormy, and she is the princess of the house! 

Where did you get the idea for Katie’s Gamble? 

In my Texas Brides series, I met Rowdy Denton. He was a secondary character in another book. A villain, truthfully. But as I wrote him, I felt like he had a good heart that was covered up by bad circumstances. I couldn’t get his backstory out of my head. I had to see if he could be redeemed or saved. 

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

I am the Special Education Campus Specialist for a middle school. I like this job most of the time. It is very demanding, but for good reasons. I adore the people I work with. I can’t do life without them. And let me tell you, they are heroes. What they do every day is inspiring. 

Do you collect anything? 

Yes! I collect castles, crosses, Christmas ornaments, and things with the number seven on them. 

What do you want readers to come away with after they read Katie’s Gamble? 

I hope that they will feel happy that someone like Rowdy Denton can be saved. I also hope that they will find Katie’s dedication and loyalty inspiring. 

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

Because their chemistry is fantastic, I would hope that Jennifer Morrison and Colin O’Donoghue would take the roles! 

What is your favorite quote? 

Fear not. 

Your most prized material possession? Why? 

I have the Texas flag that was flying over the capital of Texas the day I graduated from high school. It’s gorgeous. It’s home. 

Your favorite…

Movie – Pride and Prejudice

Music – Texas Country/Red Dirt

Place you’ve visited – Marfa, Texas and Vatican City

Place you’d like to visit – Ireland!

TV show from childhood – Golden Girls

TV show from adulthood – The Closer

Food – Brisket, Cheeseburgers, Tacos, Tamales, Blue Bell Ice Cream

Sports team – Houston Astros

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

 

 

She’s trying to keep her family together and will do whatever’s necessary. He’s a gambler and gunslinger who will do anything to protect her.

Excerpt:

“Miss McCord?” the gambler asked, his voice hard and gruff.

“Y-Yes. I’m Katie McCord.”

He jerked his head at the doors. “You need to go.”

She gulped and curled her hands into fists. “I need to speak with my brother.”

The fellow shook his head. “No. And this is not a place for a lady like you. You need to go before it’s too late.”

Was he concerned about her safety? If so, then the best thing would be for him to let her see Johnny. “I would like nothing more than to leave, sir, but I can’t until I talk with my brother.”

A muscle twitched in his jaw. “That’s not gonna happen. Best to give up.”

The thought of what she might lose if she left here without Johnny’s half of the confectionery drew her up. She lifted her chin. “I can’t afford to. Do you know where he is?”

He didn’t reply, only watched her with a hard glint.

“Please, take me to him. I can’t stress the importance enough.”

That muscle jumped again. “I’m sure you have your reasons, but McCord won’t see you.”

His flat statement punched her in the stomach, and she felt panic rising within her. “He can’t ignore me. Please.”

Something flashed behind the rigid light in his eyes, but it disappeared so quickly that she had no time to determine what it was. “Miss McCord, I suggest you leave before the evening crowd arrives. Find yourself a safer hotel or return to your home.”

Anger flared. “My home is in Texas. It was once Johnny’s, and he has been neglectful. I’m here to discuss personal matters with him so that I can continue providing for myself and our siblings.”

The gambler, and probably gunslinger, rolled his tongue against the inside of his cheek as he studied her in silence.

After a few, quiet moments, during which she refused to fidget, he finally said, “He won’t listen, won’t care. It’s best that you just go and find an alternate way to take care of your kin.” His gaze swept over her once more. “Get married. That ought to do it.”

She let out a frustrated exhale. “You have no idea what you’re talking about, and I demand that you take me to my brother or send him out here to me.”

One corner of his mouth quirked. “Finding your backbone, huh?”

She set her jaw, sensing if she said more, she’d only end up giving him a laugh.

He shook his head. “The McCord temper might run in your veins, but this is no place for a woman like you. Heed me and go home.” With that, he turned around and strode toward the hall on the opposite side of the lobby.

 

Buy link: https://amzn.to/3txYACc

 

Bio:

Award-winning author, Kara O’Neal is a teacher and lives in Texas with her husband and three children She write stories with strong family ties, lots of romance and guaranteed happy endings! Please visit her at www.karaoneal.com.

Website –  http://www.karaoneal.com

Bookbub –  https://www.bookbub.com/profile/kara-o-neal

Amazon –  http://www.amazon.com/Kara-ONeal/e/B00FL19TH8/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1465007993&sr=8-1

Barnes and Noble –  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/kara+o’neal?_requestid=845025

Facebook –  https://www.facebook.com/KaraONeal84/

Twitter –  https://twitter.com/KaraONealAuthor

Pinterest –  https://www.pinterest.com/karaoneal7/

Goodreads –  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7278350.Kara_O_Neal

Blog — http://www.karaoneal.com/blog

Blog – The Story Continues — http://www.karaoneal.com/the-story-continues

 

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Filed under Author Blog Post, New Release

Delicious Heat: Bangers Tavern Romance 3  by Sadira Stone ~ Steamy Contemporary Romance ~ #AHAgrp #Blog

Please help me welcome today’s guest, Sadira Stone….

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

I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area (the fog belt), joined the Army right after high school, went to Germany, then to Georgia & Alabama where I earned my teaching degree, then back to Germany where I taught on U.S. military bases until 2014 when I took early retirement & moved to Tacoma, Washington. After seven years in the Pacific Northwest, we recently moved to Las Vegas, where I live with my darling Hubs. No pets at the moment. One gorgeous daughter, one charming stepson who, with his lovely wife, will soon furnish us our first grandchild!

Where did you get the idea for Delicious Heat?

 Anna and Diego’s Meet Cute scene happens in Bangers Tavern Romance 1, Christmas Rekindled, and readers asked for their story.

Why did you choose this genre?

My stories are always realistic contemporary romance centering around small businesses and the found family who gather there. I love the way a shared enterprise can forge close relationships.

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

The story starts out with Anna’s discovery that her weasel of a husband is cheating on her. She tosses him out, then the very next day discovers she’s pregnant. Tough choice—stay in a crappy marriage for the baby’s sake, or divorce him and become a single mom? Diego’s arrival in her life further complicates her choices, of course.

What is the most difficult thing about writing a book? What was the most difficult thing about this one in particular?

I always struggle with the middle of the first draft. I started writing this book last spring, then my husband fell ill. I wrote through his surgery, recovery, and our move to Las Vegas, not to mention the pandemic. It was sloooow going.

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

I’m a kinesthetic learner, so I always start out by jotting scene ideas on index cards. These get arranged into a rough outline. It gives me such satisfaction to crumple and toss each card as I work that idea into the story.

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

Diego’s appearance is based on actor/musician Alfonso Herrera. He’s a hottie! Anna is half Lebanese-American on her father’s side. Lebanese actress/singer Maya Asmar would be make a perfect movie Anna.

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

I recently attended a panel discussion on reverse harem romance, and now I’m noodling out plans for a reverse harem series. This one will have supernatural elements, something I’ve never dabbled in before. Can’t wait to get started!

What is your favorite quote?

Life may not be the party we hoped for; but while we’re here, we might as well dance.

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

Whichever one had the best boat-building skills.

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

BDSM. No shade on the kinksters—I believe that whatever consenting adults do behind closed doors is none of my business. But I don’t get the appeal of that kind of sexual expression, so I’d do a lousy job writing it.

What do you want your tombstone to say?

She touched lives and had a blast.

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 love to help Diego in his food truck for a day. I’m a wannabe chef at heart.

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

Absolutely! This story (and my life) rejects the old-fashioned notion that in order to be a good mother, a woman must put her own needs last. Anna chooses to leave her cheating, neglectful husband, and she gets tons of push-back for that choice.

Your favorite…

Movie: French Kiss

Music: Blues

Place you’ve visited: The Loire Valley in France

Place you’d like to visit: Tahiti!

TV show from childhood: The Partridge Family (Yup, I’m old.)

TV show from adulthood: Any hospital drama, like Chicago Med

Food: Cheese!

Sports team: Meh. I’ll watch whatever Hubs is watching.

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

Thank you, Sadira. What a fun interview. I’m old too, LOL, and I also loved The Partridge Family. 🙂

Please tell us about your book…

 Blurb:

Cupid has lousy timing.

After kicking her cheating husband to the curb, nurse Anna Khoury discovers she’s pregnant. When Bangers Tavern’s hunky chef makes heart eyes at her, she dismisses that delicious thrill as the last thing she needs. Single motherhood will take all her strength and focus. Anna’s battered heart can’t take another blow.

Chef Diego Vargas is aiming higher than burgers and tater tots. His dream—his own food truck, the Empanada Angel, but he’ll need his family’s support to pull it off. Meeting Anna leaves him thunderstruck, even though his attraction to her threatens all his plans. Call it fate, call him crazy, but he’s determined to prove he’s in it for keeps.

With a belligerent ex-husband and two overprotective families set on breaking them up, Anna and Diego will need more than red-hot passion to pull them through. His career and her baby’s future are on the line.

Come back to Bangers Tavern for a spicy tale of forbidden love that will warm your heart…and other parts…and make you hungry for empanadas!

Excerpt:

He dipped a spoon in his olive and sun-dried tomato tapenade and held it to her lips. She held his gaze as her soft pink lips closed delicately around the morsel. Then her eyes closed, and her fingers fluttered to the delicate V where her collar bones met. Her soft moan brought his dick to full attention.

Note to self—cook for Anna as often as possible.

A devilish smile bloomed across Anna’s lovely face. “What Olive doesn’t know won’t hurt her.”

“Smart mom.” He slathered her feta-studded burger with tapenade, topped it with a dollop of tzatziki, and filled the rest of the plate with garlic tots.

Watching Anna eat was his new favorite thing. Perched on her stool at the center island, she attacked her dinner with enthusiasm bordering on feral. Each groan of pleasure echoed between his thighs.

She licked tzatziki from her thumb, then glanced up and caught him gawking. “Oh, jeez, I must look like a pig.”

He shook his head. “A pig could never be so pretty.” Or tempting. Or bewitching. Or fascinating…

She ducked her chin and giggled. “You’re trying to seduce me and Olive with your cooking superpowers, aren’t you?”

“Drat.” He smacked the counter. “You’ve discovered my evil plan.”

Buy link(s): https://books2read.com/deliciousheat

Bio:

Award-winning contemporary romance author Sadira Stone spins steamy, smoochy tales set in small businesses—a quirky bookstore, a neighborhood bar, a vintage boutique… Her stories highlight found family, friendship, and the sizzling chemistry that pulls unlikely partners together. When she emerges from her writing cave in Las Vegas, Nevada (which she seldom does), she can be found in belly dance class, or strumming her ukulele, perhaps exploring the West with her charming husband, or cooking up a storm, and always gobbling all the romance books. For a guaranteed HEA (and no cliffhangers!) visit Sadira at http://www.sadirastone.com.

I’d love to hear from you! Please visit me on all the socials.

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Filed under Author Blog Post, New Release

#HobbyCareerPassion: Maria Imbalzano ~ Baking May Not Be My Forte, But I Love It! & New Release: Red Velvet Crinkles and Christmas Sprinkles #WRPgrp #Blog #AHAgrp

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

I’m pleased to introduce today’s guest, Maria Imbalzano…

Baking May Not Be My Forte, But I Love It!

 

I’ve always hated to cook, but I love to bake. The reason is simple: I have a sweet-tooth and licking the bowl, beaters, spoon or spatula is far superior than tasting some sauce or chicken and veggie concoction.

Every year during the holidays, my mom, daughters and I bake Christmas cookies. When my mom was in charge, they all came out perfectly. We made butter balls, chocolate walnut, chocolate chip and kiefle (a square of thin pastry dough stuffed with a nut mixture, lekvar or apricot jam). While my mom, who is now 94, still supervises, she doesn’t jump in and help. Unfortunately, my cookies never come out as good as hers did, and after a few years I gave up on the kiefle. My dough was never thin enough and I didn’t have the patience to keep rolling it out after it stuck to the rolling pin or cutting board.

The problem with my baking in general is that I’m a little casual with quantities. My mother, daughters and husband have all commented on my methods of measuring water, flour, sugar etc. and my response to anything that doesn’t come out quite right is “oh well.”

My heroine, Bella, in “Red Velvet Crinkles and Christmas Sprinkles” has a little bit of me in her. She’s a lawyer who lost her job in Manhattan and returns home to Princeton over the holidays to regroup. She learns that her parents’ gift shop in town is failing and she comes up with the idea to turn it into a cookie cottage.

Her parents bristle at the idea at first, but realize they may not have a business if they don’t change. In an effort to bolster the new cookie cottage during the holidays, Bella suggests that her father video her and her mom baking—with Bella making all kinds of mistakes. These videos will be posted on TikTok in an effort to reach a broader audience.

In order to write this scene, I researched common mistakes in baking – most of which I make. Who knew there was a proper technique for measuring flour? Apparently, you spoon it into the measuring cup instead of dipping the measuring cup into the flour bag, because no one wants excess flour causing a crumbly cookie. And too much sugar makes cookies brittle. You wouldn’t want others to break their teeth on over-sweetened treats. Not thoroughly creaming the butter and sugar results in flat, dense cookies instead of the more appealing light and fluffy ones. Not chilling the dough when called for means the batter will spread quickly and aggressively once in the oven. Presumably no one wants an aggressive cookie.

And the mortal sin of baking—using liquid measuring cups to measure dry ingredients. Or vice versa. So much to learn. Perhaps Bella and I will take heed. Perhaps not.

But one thing is for sure. “Red Velvet Crinkles and Christmas Sprinkles” is a heartwarming holiday romance that will squeeze your heart and make you smile. And it might even make you head to the kitchen to make Christmas cookies.

Maria’s cookies in Santa Plate

Find the recipe here:

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/231745/red-velvet-crinkle-cookies/ 

 

Blurb:

Competitive, work-obsessed Bella Simonetti has just been fired from her high-paying job at a Manhattan law firm. At an all-time low, she returns home and helps her parents at their small-town gift shop, but the business is failing and may not make it past the Christmas holidays.

Successful landscape architect Dean Jackson is like a son to Bella’s parents. But he’s a persistent annoyance to her—he seems to have forgotten his unforgivable blunder thirteen years earlier.

When Bella transforms her parents’ gift shop into a cookie cottage, Dean’s generosity and magnetic smile are hard to resist, and those feelings of unrequited adolescent love come rushing back. But can Bella let go of the past and accept Dean for the man he is today?

 Excerpt:

 “I agree with Dean. Barb’s Gift Cottage has been in Princeton for thirty years. You don’t decide one day to revamp the entire business. Get rid of the old, make way for the new. It doesn’t make any sense to me.”

Bella bit her tongue before responding, reminding herself to stay cool. “Okay. I’m open to anything. Let’s talk about your ideas to stay afloat.” She sat, poised with her pad in front of her, pen in hand.

Silence.

She looked directly at her dad first, eyebrow arched. “I’m listening.” Then she scanned over to Dean.

Her gaze moved up to his eyes—sea green in the harsh kitchen light but beautiful just the same.

His gaze locked with hers and held her hostage— an unwilling prisoner to his warden. All ire morphed into a swirling eddy of primal lust, and she felt herself disappearing into his aura. She needed to save herself as well as her ego. Fighting the pull, she surfaced, blinking to clear her eyes, inhaling to bring her back to the present.

She disconnected and glanced at her parents. Had they noticed she’d been missing?

The smallest smile quirked Dean’s lips—surely acknowledging her lapse into Dean-land. She reached for the annoyance she’d let slip from her grasp and pulled it back into her arsenal.

Buy links: 

Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09FYVGDWR

Barnes and Noble

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/red-velvet-crinkles-and-christmas-sprinkles-maria-imbalzano/1140147130?ean=2940162321644

Apple

https://books.apple.com/us/book/red-velvet-crinkles-and-christmas-sprinkles/id1585527197

 

About Maria:

Maria Imbalzano is a retired matrimonial lawyer who now writes full time. Instead of drafting motions, legal memoranda, and briefs, although fascinating, she now spends her days creating memorable characters and taking them on their emotional journeys through her contemporary romance novels.

Her novel, “Unchained Memories,” won the Wisconsin Romance Writers Write Touch Readers’ Award and the ACRA Readers’ Choice Heart of Excellence Award. “Sworn to Forget,” the first of the four-book Sworn Sisters Series was a finalist for the illustrious RONE award as well as the Book Buyers Best Award. Two of her novellas, “The Blueberry Swirl Waltz” and “A Song For Another Day” won first place awards in their categories in the NEST (National Excellence in Story Telling) contest. Both of these novellas were also finalists for the Beverley Award.

Visit Maria at http://www.mariaimbalzano.com

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/mariaimbalzanoauthor

Twitter

http://www.twitter.com/mariaimbalzano

@mariaimbalzano

Instagram: Mariaimbalzano_author

Blog Link

http://www.mariaimbalzano.com/category/blog/

Website Link

http://www.mariaimbalzano.com

Goodreads Author Page

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7276749.Maria_Imbalzano

Book Bub Profile page

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/maria-imbalzano

Mailing List Sign Up form

https://mariaimbalzano.com/sign-up-for-my-newsletter/

Amazon Author Page

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00FG9RI5K

 

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Filed under Author Blog Post, For Writers, Hobbies...Careers...Passions, New Release

#HobbyCareerPassion: Debby Grahl ~ Sundae My Love ~ at Sand Lake, Where Ghosts Bring Two Lovers Back Together ~ #WRPgrp #Blog #AHAgrp

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

I’m pleased to introduce today’s guest, Debby Grahl…

Sundae My Love – at Sand Lake,

Where Ghosts Bring  Two Lovers Back Together 

 Hi, I’m Samantha Murray, and Sundae My Love is the story of my family’s ice cream business. The Murrays have called Sand Lake, in the Irish Hills of Michigan, home since the nineteen fifties.

After my grandparents retired, I took over the running of the Dairy Delight. Lake-goers have enjoyed our Neapolitan Nectar milk shake for generations, but now Zack Hunter, the love of my life and the man who broke my heart, is back in town and threatens my business.

Hey there, I’m Zack Hunter, and I also grew up on Sand Lake. I left to go to college out west and have returned with a degree in architecture. You see, my grandparents built Frontier Town, a tourist attraction near the lake. The buildings have stood empty for years, and it’s been my dream to restore them and add an old-fashioned ice cream shop. The problem is the land I need to use adjoins the Dairy Delight. I have to confess I messed up pretty badly and hurt Samantha when I left. But I’ve realized my mistake, and I’m home and plan on winning back the woman I love.

When Wild Rose Press requested stories for their Two Scoops or One anthology, I knew my family’s home on Sand Lake was the perfect setting. Even though I’ve changed the characters’ names, the people actually exist. The house, built in the late nineteenth century, is as I describe, including the ghosts. I haven’t seen them, but, along with my cousins, we’ve heard them. Doors slam, floorboards creak, and footsteps go up and down the stairs.

Across the lake on US 12, there’s a drive-up ice cream shop, and down the road the empty buildings of a frontier town still stand. When I was young, my cousins and I would sit in the saloon wearing our western shirts and moccasins drinking root beer. We’d hop on the stagecoach which was always held up by outlaws. 

The Irish Hills is a rural area in southeast Michigan. There’s farm land, a number of lakes, woods of maples and oaks and dogwoods. I now live on Hilton Head Island, SC, but each summer I go home to the lake where I enjoy spending time with all my cousins, going out for ice cream, and reminiscing about growing up in such a beautiful place.

Can ancestral ghosts bring Samantha and Zack back together to fulfill all their dreams?

Sundae My Love Blurb

As manager of the Dairy Delight, Samantha Murray is dismayed to discover her past love is back and plans on building a rival business next door.

Zack Hunter returns to Sand Lake to win back Samantha and fulfill his grandfather’s dreams by restoring Frontier Town, a tourist attraction once owned by his grandparents, and adding an old-fashioned ice cream parlor.

Samantha is heartbroken over Zack’s past betrayal and struggles, conflicted over the love she can’t deny, but resolved to stop his building plans.

Zack is torn between his love for Samantha and his determination to follow through with his grandfather’s legacy.

Convinced the two are desperately in need of help, the family ghosts intervene to bring them together and solve their differences.

Sundae My Love excerpt

In the living room, a female shape materialized. Her     long dress swirled around her ankles, and the heels of  her high button shoes tapped across the hardwood floor. “Good grief, Angus, I wanted you to make them meet on  the lake, not have Zack run Samantha down,” Patricia Murray said with exasperation.

In a Queen Anne style chair, a male form appeared. “Patricia, it wasn’t my fault. Thaddeus was sitting next  to Zack and took control of the wheel.” He removed his pipe from his shirt pocket. Puffs of translucent smoke soon filled the room. “But it worked out.”

Hands on her hips, Patricia glowered. “Worked out! Are you kidding? What should have been a romantic reunion has made Samantha even more upset.” Patricia shook her head. “Samantha and Zack are perfect for  each other. It’s beyond me why that boy broke her heart and now is making matters worse by threatening the  Dairy Delight.” She narrowed her eyes. “You don’t seem too surprised over Zack’s plans. Did you already know about this?”

Angus squirmed in his seat. “Ah, well.”

“You did. Angus Murray, I can see it in your eyes. You’ve known all about this and didn’t tell me. This is why you’ve been gone so much lately. I’ll bet you and Thaddeus have been over there watching every move he’s made.”

“The boy is doing a top-rate job restoring the buildings. I can’t tell you how pleased Thaddeus is. You  know how much that place meant to him.”

“What about Zack’s disregard for Samantha and the  Dairy Delight?”

“Patricia, we’ve watched over our family for three generations. And no matter what problem occurs, they manage to work it out.”

Patricia threw up her arms in exasperation. “Sometimes situations need to be helped along. Samantha is on her way to confront Zack. Go over there and see what happens.”

“You want me to spy on my great-great-granddaughter?”

“Yes. It’s for her own good.”

 “Why don’t you go?”

“Because Thaddeus is your friend, not mine.      Besides, I promised Virginia Bradly I’d visit this afternoon. You know how lonely she gets when her  family is gone.”

Angus sighed, then stood. He placed his pipe in his pocket, adjusted his suspenders, straightened his bow tie, kissed his wife’s cheek, and vanished.

  Amazon Author Page — https://www.amazon.com/Debby-Grahl/e/B00B34HM26

 

Bio:

Debby 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.

Sundae My Love, in the Two Scoops or One anthology from The Wild Rose Press, will be  released June 30. Her other books  are Mountain Blaze, His Magic Touch, Decorated to Death, Rue Toulouse, and The Silver Crescent.

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

 

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Filed under Author Blog Post, For Writers, Hobbies...Careers...Passions, New Release

Shadows of Doubt: Patricia McAlexander’s New Thriller-Romance & Author Interview ~ #AHAgrp #Blog #WRPbks

Please help me welcome today’s guest, author Patricia McAlexander…

 

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

I’m from Johnstown, New York, a town of about 11,000 in the foothills of the Adirondacks, where Sir William Johnson, British Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the northern colonies, built a home in 1763. In the nineteenth- and much of the twentieth century, it was a center of the glove-making industry; I worked in a glove factory myself for two summers during college. I now live in Athens, Georgia, where I went with my husband when he took a position in the University of Georgia’s English Department. I also taught English there, in UGA’s Division of Academic Enhancement. I have one grown-up son who lives and works in Atlanta.

Why did you choose thriller/suspense-romance (is it something you’ve written in before)?

I like romance but also like to spice it up with external conflict or drama. My first Wild Rose novel, Stranger in the Storm, was in this genre. This second novel was at first more straight romance, but my editor suggested adding more “thrill,” and my sister then suggested doing so by making its male protagonist a former student drug dealer threatened by his old supplier. That’s how it, too, turned also into a thriller.

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

What directly inspired me was an early version of this novel, written in the 1980s when I’d taken a year off from teaching. I meant it to be a YA and so the main characters were in high school. But I went back to teaching, and not until I retired did I pull out the old, yellowed, literally cut-and-pasted-on typescript. I reread it and thought it had possibilities. I rewrote the novel, making the main characters college students and, as I said, adding the drug dealer elements for stronger drama.

What is the most difficult thing about writing a book? What was the most difficult thing about this one in particular?

I find the most difficult thing about writing a book is being sure you are accurate in what you portray. For this one, I had to do research about the youth drug culture—reading books, googling, clipping newspaper articles, interviewing people.

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

I’m now retired, but I taught literature and writing at the college level—first as an instructor at the University of Colorado, then as teaching assistant at the University of Wisconsin, and finally as a professor going through the tenure and promotion process at The University of Georgia. In all these places, one thing stayed the same: I loved working with the students.

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

As an English PhD and as an undergraduate Latin minor, I love good grammar and mechanics in writing. Some people might think a focus on good grammar hampers free expression. But bad grammar can hamper communication. An ambiguous pronoun can be confusing. (“Bob told Tom he had great talent.” Who has the talent—Bob or Tom?). A misplaced or missing comma can result in something you don’t mean (“Rachel Ray finds inspiration in cooking her family and her dog”). Unless used in dialogue to reveal character, the wrong pronoun case (“Me and my husband live in Texas”) or verb form (he laid on the bed) can be like—as someone on a Facebook writers’ page said—fingernails scraping on a blackboard.

What was your first job?

My first full-time job was in one of Johnstown’s glove factories during the first two summers that I was in college. I did what was called “blackedging.” I sat at a table with several other women, and with small brushes we painted the white seams along the edges of black leather gloves black. While we did this, we talked—and I learned a lot about life from my wise older co-workers.

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

After reading the first draft of Shadows of Doubt, my Wild Rose editor said that although it had promise, it did not have a strong enough conflict.  This was tough criticism, and at first I couldn’t think of what to do other than set the novel aside, but then (thanks to my sister’s suggestion) I added the plot element of Jeff, the romantic hero, being a reformed drug dealer threatened by his old colleagues unless he rejoined the ring. This added more drama and conflict to the plot, and the novel was accepted. 

A favorite compliment was in an Amazon review of my first novel, Stranger in the Storm: “The novel takes on the qualities of a Hitchcockian psychological thriller [with] its intensity, its intricate plot, and its ominous, compelling style.” 

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

My characters are in part based on real people—including myself. Sandy, the protagonist of Shadows of Doubt, has some of my traits: I like photography and an alternate career for me would have been as a journalist. I admired a family who owned an upstate New York dairy farm near my parents’ lake house—an intelligent, strong, practical father and his sons. I am sure I based Jeff and his uncle at least in part on them. And Sandy’s mother is based in part on my teacher mother, who turned for support to my sister and me when our father died—and who sometimes did not approve of our boyfriends. 

What do your friends and family think of your writing?

I have to say they are my fans. My sister has always been always one of the first readers of my fiction—and likes it even as she gives me helpful suggestions. My husband, now retired, was a tough American lit professor. He says he is not afraid to be “mean” and would only tell the truth about my writing. He has, too, given good, constructive criticism. But I loved it when I walked in on him while he was reading the final scenes of Shadows and he didn’t even look up he was so engrossed.

How did your interest in writing originate? 

I think writing was in my genes. It began as soon as I could literally hold a pencil. After reading the Dick and Jane books in first grade, I wrote my own series, Jean and Jerry. In later grades my father let me use his typewriter to write stories on—and he never got it back. In high school my friends and my sister’s friends would read my “novels” (one-spaced typed pages stapled together). I wrote two endings to one and had them vote on the one they preferred. Sometimes artistic readers would create illustrations for the novel.

Despite warnings, should she take a chance on him?

 Blurb

 

Former grade school bully and, later, amateur drug dealer Jeff Hudson turns his life around and is pursuing a degree in agriculture. His future, as well as a budding relationship with fellow student Sandy Harris, is threatened when a former dealer threatens to expose Jeff’s past to university authorities if he doesn’t rejoin the ring.

Realizing that Jeff is no longer an angry, misunderstood boy, Sandy must take a stand against her family and friends who swear he is no good and will only cause her unhappiness. Together, can they escape the past in order to forge a future?

Excerpt

“Sandy—I need to tell you something about him.”

“I don’t want to hear it. You’d better take me home.”

Bill abruptly turned around in a parking lot he was passing and headed back toward her house. His expression was grim, almost angry. “I’d be better for you, Sandy. Your mother thinks so, too.”

Anger replaced her anxiety. “How do you know what my mother thinks? I hope you and she didn’t discuss this!”

“Just a little, last night before you came downstairs. She didn’t say much, but I could tell how she felt.” He pulled up in front of her house. “We both worry about you with Jeff. It’s not just that we think this won’t last…”

“Why else should you worry?”

Bill hesitated. “For one thing, he has a temper. He may physically hurt you. Remember how he was even as a kid.”

Her anger notched up higher. He was sounding just like her mother, expressing unfounded, outdated fears. “It was years ago that he got in those fights. He’s not like that now. I’m sorry, Bill, but I think it would be better if you and I don’t see each other for a while.” She got out of the car and slammed the door.

Bill started to pull away, then stopped, lowered the window, and called out to her. “Just remember, if you ever need me, I’ll be here.”

 Buy link(s):

Amazon kindle:  

Amazon: paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Shadows-Doubt-Patricia-McAlexander/dp/1509235426/ref

Nook:https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/shadows-of-doubt-patricia-mcalexander/

Barnes and Noble paperback:https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/shadows-of-doubt-patricia-mcalexander/1138919956 

i-books: http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/isbn9781509235438

Bio:

Patricia McAlexander earned a bachelor’s degree from The University of New York at Albany, a master’s from Columbia University, and a doctorate from The University of Wisconsin, Madison, all in English. After moving with her husband to Athens, Georgia, she taught composition and literature at The University of Georgia. Now retired, she has edited local newsletters and enjoys hiking, travel (when possible), and photography. But most of all she enjoys writing novels. Her first thriller-romance, Stranger in the Storm, was released by Wild Rose in June 2020. Shadows of Doubt was released on April 5, 2021.

Website: https://patriciamcalexander.weebly.com 

Email: mcalexanderpatricia@gmail.com

Facebook: facebook.com/patriciamcalexanderwriter/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/PatMcAlexWriter

Instagram: www.instagram.com/patriciamcalexander/

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Filed under Author Blog Post, New Release

Author Spotlight: Claire Marti – SUNSET IN LAGUNA

Please help me welcome Claire Marti with a new release and a fabulous giveaway!! Enter for your chance to win a $15 gift card, just for liking her Facebook page!! – https://www.facebook.com/ClaireMartiAuthor/  (Winner chosen in approximately 1 week)

 

Blurb

Returning to Laguna Beach after four tours in the Middle East, Christian Wolfe leaves the military behind and buys a wine bar, vowing to keep his life simple. He fights to keep his devastating PTSD a secret and refuses to burden anyone else with his baggage. When stunning Kelly Prescott and her red stilettos saunter into town, she drives him past the bonds of his self-control.

Successful in her father’s stuffy law firm, Kelly’s too compassionate to survive in the cutthroat world of corporate litigation. Leaving behind both family and courtroom drama, she moves to Laguna to become general counsel for a nonprofit veterans’ organization.

She didn’t bargain on a gorgeous modern-day Heathcliff, and in Christian, she sees another kind of challenge—one she can’t resist.

Excerpt

She’d restrain her natural tendency to fill the silence with words. Cool, calm, and collected. She leaned forward and selected a heavy-metal-rock station. Metallica barked out it was time for the sandman to enter.

“Nice choice.” He aimed a sidelong glance at her but still hadn’t smiled.

She grinned. Someone who could appreciate her eclectic taste in music. “Thank you. It’s my ‘get fired up to kick ass in court’ music. The courthouse parking attendant used to crack up when I rolled in dressed in a navy suit and pearls, blasting rock and roll.”

“Nice. So why did you move up here?” He kept his gaze on the road, his long tanned fingers gripping the steering wheel.

“Oh, it’s a long story. I don’t want to bore you.” Or reveal too much about my soap-opera family.

“We’ve got time.” He glanced at her again and smiled a crooked smile.

Had she noticed he had a dimple in his right cheek? “Okay, Reader’s Digest version. My father’s kind of a shark.” Actually, he’d make the shark in Jaws look like a tadpole.

He nodded and gestured with one strong hand for her to continue.

She sighed and glanced out the window. Savored the brisk breeze on her face cooling her now warm cheeks. Here goes nothing.

“I was expected to work for the family firm and take it over when my father retires. Let’s just say the clients and the cases began to wear on me.” She rolled her now tense shoulders back and kept her gaze fastened on the passing scenery. “Everything is about making money or destroying and dismantling what others created. I hit my breaking point last month.”

“A particular client or case? Or just in general?” His quiet voice encouraged her.

“In general—for years, actually. I realized I just didn’t care about those battles. They seem so meaningless, all about money. I’d always hoped to use my law degree for justice, to help people, to create, to rebuild.” She braved a glance at him. He hadn’t stopped the car and run for the hills yet. She took a deep breath. She didn’t want to divulge too much.

“So you were too idealistic for corporate law, right?” He smiled again.

“Well, in a nutshell, yes. And recently the corruption of some of the clients became too much. I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror.” She’d had “idealistic woman” tossed at her by her father on countless occasions. He’d used it as an insult, though. Christian made it sound like a strength.

Buy link(s)

AMAZON: https://amzn.to/2uaYvEm

B&N https://bit.ly/2NAsbmu:

iBooks: https://apple.co/2O5XDtL

TWRP: https://bit.ly/2KENE0i

Bio:

Claire Marti started writing stories as soon as she was old enough to pick up pencil and paper. After graduating from the University of Virginia with a BA in English Literature, Claire was sidetracked by other careers, including practicing law, selling software for legal publishers, and managing a non-profit animal rescue for a Hollywood actress.

Finally, Claire followed her heart and now focuses on two of her true passions: writing romance and teaching yoga. At Last in Laguna is the second book in her Finding Forever in Laguna series from The Wild Rose Press.

Contact Links

Website:  www.clairemarti.com

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

Twitter:  @clairepmarti

Instagram: @clairepmarti

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8203678.Claire_Marti

 

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Filed under Author Blog Post, giveaway, New Release

Author Interview with Marie Tuhart ~ New Release: Her Desert Prince

I’m very pleased to host today’s guest. Marie and I have been online friends for a while, but I finally had the pleasure of meeting her face to face this past March at an author event in Nashville, and we totally hit it off. She’s a kind, fun, caring and generous person, not to mention, a talented author. Please help me welcome Marie and her new release!

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

This book was different as I was building my own world, while it is contemporary, the country is fictitious and I had to figure out how everything worked. Research for the book was fun as well.

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

Cooking. I hate to cook, but I’ve been working at only doing it about once a month. I do a week of cooking, freeze the extras and then all I have to do is take out of the freezer and reheat.

What do you want readers to come away with after they read Her Desert Prince?

I really hope readers come away with a smile on their face and enjoy the magic of the romance.

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

Paranormal – I have some ideas but haven’t been able to figure it all out yet.

Your favorite…

Movie – The Mummy

Place you’ve visited – London

Place you’d like to visit – Australia

Food – Pizza

Sports team – Football – SF Forty-Niners

Blurb: 

Catherine Taylor is no stranger to life’s school of hard knocks. At the tender age of 18, she left her dysfunctional family behind and struck out on her own, finally free to embrace her passion for creating art. After years of hard work, she has achieved some degree of acclaim. When she is offered the opportunity to work in the small middle eastern country of Bashir to create the defining mural for the new children’s critical care ward, Catherine embraces the chance to meld her love of children and her love of art. What she doesn’t think she is ready for is the blatant and instant passion she feels the moment she meets the successful country’s crown prince, Malik.

Malik al-Hakim has been raised with the sole purpose of someday becoming the king of his beloved country of Bashir. Years of careful preparation by his loving family has him ready to take the yoke from his father one day, but nothing could prepare him for the instant lust he feels the moment he sees Catherine. Never one to let an opportunity slip by, Malik pursues Catherine convincing her to explore their desire. But when political intrigue places Catherine in danger, Malik soon realizes lust has evolved to love and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep the woman of his dreams safely by his side, no matter how hard she tries to fight their fate.

 Excerpt:

She stepped outside, the scent of jasmine filled her senses and her muscles instantly relaxed. The quiet snick of the door closing spurred her into action. She took the first path until she found a nice grassy area beneath a palm tree. She sat down and opened her sketchpad.

Her fingers flew over the pages as she captured the scenes flittering through her mind. She lost all track of time until a husky male voice said, “Hello, beautiful.”

Her head snapped up to see the stranger from the airport.

“What are you doing here?” she asked, pulling the sketchbook to her chest.

“I was about to ask you the same thing.” He slipped closer. “What are you drawing?” He craned his neck but couldn’t see anything.

“Nothing.” She closed the book with a snap, but her cheeks turned pink, making him even more curious about what she’d been drawing.

Then a memory nudged his brain. “You’re the artist commissioned to do the mural at the hospital.” He shook his head, trying to reconcile her with the woman at the airport.

“Yes.” Her chin came up, and he couldn’t help but grin. She was defensive about her work for some reason. No worries; he thought it was great. But part of him wanted to haul her into his arms and kiss her again. Instead, he followed a saner choice and sat down on the grass across from her.

She wiggled an inch or two away, then her gaze met his. She was wary of him, but he caught a hint of curiosity in her gaze.

“I’m Catherine Taylor.” She held a hand out to him.

“Malik.” He grasped her hand, lowered his head, and caressed her knuckles with his lips. A slight shiver moved through her body and transferred to him. So she was affected by him. Good. He squeezed her fingers.

 

Her Desert Prince  is available at:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DNTDLFY

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/her-desert-prince-7

Universal link: books2read.com/HerDesertPrince

 

Bio:

Marie Tuhart lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her muse, Penny, a four pound toy poodle. Marie loves to read and write, when she’s not writing, she spends time with family, traveling and enjoying life.

Marie is a multi-published author with The Wild Rose Press, Trifecta Publishing and does some self-publishing. To be alerted on new releases on Amazon or  Book Bub. Also you can join Marie’s newsletter where she gives her group advance information on her books, runs contests and does giveaways just for newsletter readers. Marie can also be found on GoodreadsPinterestTwitter, and Facebook.

 

Find Marie on the Web:

Website: http://www.marietuhart.com

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

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4190063.Marie_Tuhart

Twitter @marietuhart

Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/marietuhart

Book Bub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/marie-tuhart

Amazon author page: http://amazon.com/author/marietuhart

 

Sign up for Marie’s newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/bmWUZH

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Spirits of the Heart by Claire Gem

Please help me welcome Claire Gem with a spooky sounding Romantic Suspense…

Tortured spirits haunt Talcott Hall, an abandoned mental asylum. Can Laura & Miller free them without risking their love – or lives – in the process?

Excerpt:

“Hey. Little girl. Let me help you,” Miller tried again, and the child finally lowered her hands. She was younger than he’d first thought—ten, maybe. Tears streaked her reddened cheeks, glistening in the beam of his headlights. Her pale, golden hair was baby fine and wispy, but tousled and disheveled. As though it hadn’t seen a brush in good long time.

She met his gaze with eyes like the man’s, clear and blue and strangely luminescent. The sadness Miller saw behind them made his chest ache.

“Where did your friend go, sweetheart? The man who came out with you. Where did he go?”

She stared at him with lips quivering before her face crumpled again. “I don’t know. I don’t know where Daddy is. I’ve been looking and looking for him. Every time I think I’ve found him, he goes away.”

Miller swallowed. Yeah, that’s one way to describe the mysterious vanishing act.

He drew in a breath and tried again. “What’s your name, sweetie? Was that your daddy with you?”

Head bobbing, the tears flowed freely now, and she wouldn’t take her eyes off Miller’s face. He felt a lump growing in his own throat, as though she was somehow transferring her pain to him. His hands, clasped in front of him, began to shake.

When she spoke again, her voice took on an echoed quality, as though she were receding into an empty culvert. “I’m Greta. And I’m looking for my daddy. He used to live here. But I keep coming back to find him, and nobody knows where he is.” She dropped her chin to her chest and ground her knuckles against her eyes.

“Greta,” he repeated, a stab of pity piercing his gut. So freaking pathetic. A forlorn little girl . . .his own memories rose up like foul-smelling steam. Swallowing hard, he pressed on. “Greta, honey, what’s your last name?”

When she looked up, Miller gasped. Behind her, against the fence, a bright red McDonald’s French fry box clung to the base of the chain link. Directly behind her, yet he could see it clearly. That’s when he realized he could see .  . .right . . .through her.

 

Claim your free first chapter here by signing up for Claire’s Author-Reader group.
https://dl.bookfunnel.com/ep56jprme8

 

Claire Gem Bio:

 Strong Women, Starting Over

   ~Redefining Romance~

Claire is a multi-published, award winning author of five titles in the genres of contemporary romance, supernatural suspense, and women’s fiction. She also writes Author Resource guide books, and presents seminars on writing craft and marketing.

Her supernatural suspense, Hearts Unloched, won the 2016 New York Book Festival. Her women’s fiction, The Phoenix Syndrome, was a finalist in the National Reader’s Choice Awards, and her contemporary romance, A Taming Season, was a Literary Award of Merit finalist in the HOLT Medallion Awards. Spirits of the Heart was a finalist in the 2017 “I Heart Indie Awards.”

Creating cross-genre fiction she calls “supernatural suspense,” Claire loves exploring the paranormal and the unexplained, and holds a certificate in Parapsychology from the Rhine Research Center of Duke University.

A New York native, Claire has lived in five of the United States and held a variety of jobs, from waitress to bridal designer to research technician—but loves being an author best. She and her happily-ever-after hero, her husband of 39 years, now live in central Massachusetts.

Media Links 

Website:                      http://www.clairegem.com

Blogs:                          http://www.clairegem.wordpress.com

                                    http://www.hauntedpathways.wordpress.com

Facebook:                    http://www.facebook.com/clairegem.author

Twitter:                       http://www.twitter.com/gemwriter

Goodreads:                  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8284235.Claire_Gem

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2nabvbm

Youtube Channel:        https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCO-vB7WDZhEQ8U4YpC937ng

 

Spirits of the Heart

 

Createspace:               https://www.createspace.com/6899776

Amazon:                      https://www.amazon.com/Spirits-Heart-Haunted-Voices-Book-ebook/dp/B01N7VIZU2/

Amazon Bitly:              http://amzn.to/2sjTCKx

Youtube:                      https://youtu.be/YUa2RALSEm8

Youtube Bitly:              http://bit.ly/1QreCAY                        

 

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