Tag Archives: New York City


I am delighted to host today’s guest. Not only has she become one of my treasured author friends, her writing is fabulous!! Her romances are cute, passionate, and emotional, and this is one of my favorites. (And how yummy is the cover? I think girls DO make passes at guys who wear glasses… :))

Welcome, Darcy!


I had so much fun linking Jillian Jeffrey, a character from my first book, Keeper of My Heart, with the second book in my Like No Other Series. My readers wanted Jill’s story told and I’m happy they insisted.


Could one little mistake derail everything she’s worked for?

Undercover journalist, Cameron Phillips, is known for his forthright exposé articles uncovering scandals of New York City’s rich and famous. Using the pseudonym Eagle Eye to hide his identity, he is free to wield his finger pointing, no-holds-barred articles at leisure.

Jillian Jeffrey, teen fashion industry’s latest darling, has a heart for the less fortunate. Her goal is to raise enough money for fashion icon Anna Delany’s, Like No Other charity foundation. The donation will not only keep the charity afloat, but will place Jill in the running for a coveted position on LNO’s board of directors.

In a moment of weakness, at the charity gala, Jill reluctantly accepts a bet from her ex-boyfriend and uses a homeless man to raise twenty thousand dollars. Unknown to Jill, the homeless guy is the cynical, undercover journalist, and Jill has just become his latest exposé target.

In a twist of fate, Cameron is soon hired to shadow Jill as she volunteers with the charity. Shorthaired and clean-shaven, he looks nothing like the bearded, disheveled man Jill had encountered the night of the gala. During their time together, he not only discovers the noble reason behind the bet, but witnesses first hand his article’s negative impact on her business. Faced with the prospect of losing her, will Cameron come up with an antidote for Eagle Eye’s toxic exposé before Jill loses everything she’s worked for?


“Okay. I admit it. I was having coffee in the bistro near the park when I spotted you. So, I followed you here.”

An incredulous expression crossed his face. “You do see the weirdness in this don’t you?”

“I felt badly for what Sandra said last week.”

“It was the truth, wasn’t it?”

“To a point, but—”

“Look. An abandoned subway is no place for a spoiled socialite. This place is dangerous.”

“You think I’m spoiled?”

“Yes and twenty thousand dollars richer.”

“The twenty thousand was for charity.”

“I guess that made what you did to me okay?”

“No. Of course not.” She sighed. “Look, I admit that I’ve done fairly well for myself. But it hasn’t always been that way.”

 “You’re a Jeffrey. It’s always been that way, sweetheart.”

She pulled her hands away from the flame and clasped them to her chest. “What do you mean?”

“Wealthy, wrapped up in yourself, and according to the society pages, One of New York City’s wealthiest families back in town,” he mocked. “Everyone who’s anyone in this city knows about the Jeffrey girls of Scarsdale.”


“Your sisters.”

“Oh, of course, them.” First Mark and now him. No wonder he had ill feelings toward her. He thought she was one of those Jeffreys.

“So, you think because of that you know me?”

“Not you personally, but…” He shrugged.

“When you’ve met one high society dame, you’ve met them all. Is that it?”

“Dame? Now there’s a word.” The corners of his mouth lifted. “First hobo and now dame. You and your friends should get out more.”

For one second, all she saw was his to-die-for half-smile. That along with his disheveled appearance was quite a package.

“Well, according to your earlier comment, my friends and I get out plenty.”

He gazed down at her. His crooked smile still played around his lips and his eyes held a sudden twinkle that disarmed her. But she couldn’t help notice the note of disdain behind that charming twinkle. She’d used him, coaxed him into a glamorous environment, then humiliated him. It probably wouldn’t make any difference as to what he thought of her, so let him think what he wanted.


Purchase at Amazon: http://a.co/acPSbpy

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Website/Blog: http://www.darcyflynnromances.com

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About the Author

Darcy Flynn is known for her heartwarming, sweet contemporary romances. Her refreshing storylines, irritatingly handsome heroes and feisty heroines will delight and entertain you from the first page to the last. Miss Flynn’s heroes and heroines have a tangible chemistry that is entertaining, humorous and competitive.

Darcy lives with her husband and a menagerie of other living creatures on her horse farm in Franklin, Tennessee. She raises rare breed chickens, stargazes on warm summer nights and indulges daily in afternoon tea.

Although, published in the Christian non-fiction market under her real name, Joy Griffin Dent, it was the empty nest that turned her to writing romantic fiction. Proving that it’s never too late to follow your dreams.



Filed under Author Blog Post, New Release

Who wants to play ‘Guess the Martini’ and win prizes????

And the winners are…

First prize: Leah St. James! She guessed each of the martinis correctly: Krysta is drinking an Appletini, Amanda a Blue Hypnotiq, Kathy a Raspberry Flirtini, and me a Lemon Drop…congrats, Leah!

The first three who attempted to guess will receive their choice of any of the MC4 stories. They are: Calisa Rhose, Lynn Crain, and MJ Schiller. Congrats to all!

I’m excited to share some fun stuff about a new series coming soon. BUT, before we get to that, let’s play a game! 

Check out the above photo and see if you can guess what kind of Martini each of us are holding.

The first three commenters to attempt to guess will win their choice of any of the four stories, on Kindle or PDF. (If you’ve already pre-ordered the stories, you can choose any of my books – Find them here: Alicia Dean Books

The first person to guess all four martinis correctly will win: 

  • An ebook copy of all four stories
  • A $10 Amazon Gift Card
  • This lovely exclusive Martini Club 4 Martini glass. (Only those in the United States are eligible for the Martini glass)

MC4 Glass mc4 glass 2

If no one gets all four correct, I will draw a name from all the commenters and that person will win. Doesn’t that sound like a blast??? 

The winner will be drawn and announced here on the blog next Sunday, February 22nd.

(Hint, in case the color doesn’t come through that well in the pic, we each are drinking a martini that matches the color of our covers, although my martini is more yellow, and my cover is more gold 🙂 – For a little extra help, click on this link: http://boulevardsteakhouse.com/ – Choose ‘Martini Lounge’ and then ‘Cocktail List’ and you will see a list of hand-crafted martinis. All of the ones we’re drinking are listed there :))

Now, my friends and I would like to share a little about our Martini Club 4 stories and answer some questions:

*** The four stories are all stand alone, but related and can be purchased separately for 99¢ each through the end of February (available for pre-order now, releasing February 26). Regular price beginning in March will be $2.99 each. Find all four stories here:

Amazon Page for Martini Club 4

Tidbit from Amanda McCabe…

I had a kind of strange inspiration for my heroine—Nancy Drew!  These were my favorite books when I was a kid, I loved how brave and bold she was.  Jessica is a lot like her.

What do you like most about your MC4 story, Rebellious?

The clothes!!!  I spent hours looking at old photos of 1920s fashions, and they are gorgeous.  Beads and feathers, fabulous hats, t-strap shoes—all perfect for our heroines to kick some ass in, of course

What was it like working on a series where you had to coordinate with other writers?

Fun, and challenging!  I was scared of not doing justice to someone else’s character, of doing something that didn’t fit in with their own vision, but it was wonderful to see the stories dovetail into each other and create a whole new world

Was there any part of your story that was taken from real life? 

Well, the cocktails, of course 🙂  I do love a good pomegranate martini!

Besides the main characters, who is your favorite character in the story and why?

I loved Frank Markov’s aunt, the Countess Romanova, and would love to explore her backstory a bit more.  Imperial Russia is such a fascinating time period to me.

What do you love that most people would find odd?

I admit it—I kinda like those terrible, marshmallow-y circus peanuts (though I haven’t eaten one in years)

What do you dislike that most people would find odd?  

Red shoes and purses.  I don’t know why.  I have nothing against the color red in general 🙂 


RebelliousCover2 (1)

Blurb: Can an aristocratic lady melt the cold heart of a Russian gangster? 

Lady Jessica Hatton fled her high-society London debutante life for one of investigative journalism in New York—only to be relegated to the fashion pages. Searching for a juicy story leads her to Club 501, the city’s most glamorous speakeasy—and its handsome, mysterious owner, Frank Markov. But his past of war and revolution puts their hearts—and their lives—in danger…  


Back again, are you, miss?” the tall bartender said with a grin as Jessica pushed her way between the massed crowds at the bar.  Club 501 had obviously lost none of its popularity in the two nights since she had been there.  “We must be doing something right.”

Jessica laughed and gestured to the room around her, the scads of glittering dancers, the jostling packs clamoring for a drink.  “I’d say you are.  Surely no place in the city could be more popular.”

“That’s because of all the pretty girls that come here.”

“I know!  You have two of my friends working here now.”  She nodded toward Meggie, singing in the spotlight in a purple beaded gown, and Charlotte making her way between the tables in a smart new black silk dress, a tray of drinks balancing in her hands.

“We’ll have you working here next.  I need an apprentice bartender,” he teased.

Jessica laughed.  “Tempting, but I’m afraid I already have a job.”  If you could call it that, with all those endless descriptions of flower arrangements and lace trim on gowns, and Mrs. Mortimer chasing her out of the archives.  “So, what’s your name, bartender?”

“Ira,” he answered.  “Pleased to meet you, miss.”

“Pleased to meet you.”  She glanced at the hidden door behind the bar, barely visible now in the dark paneling and the faint lighting.  Maybe her garden party days would be behind her soon. 


Tidbit from Alicia Dean…

This was my first attempt to write a story in this time period, and I had to do a lot of research, which isn’t my strong suit. Although, I’ll confess, part of my research was done by watching the Tom Hardy movie,  Lawless. While it was set in the thirties, I still felt it had the right ‘feel’  I needed to immerse myself in the twenties. Besides, it was an awesome movie, and Tom Hardy is pretty easy on the eyes, so maybe it was more for pleasure than research…

What do you like most about your MC4 story, Ruined?

I love that my heroine is a hooker. I’ve never written a heroine with that kind of occupation, and it was fun, challenging, and kind of freeing all at the same time.

What was it like working on a series where you had to coordinate with other writers?

A blast! Especially since it was with women that I love so dearly. It was a little tricky making sure the cross over scenes with other characters didn’t contradict with the other books, but hopefully, we managed.

Was there any part of your story that was taken from real life?

Yes, I’m a prostitue. HA! Not really. (Had you going, didn’t I?)  I don’t really think any part of it was taken from real life, other than, as Amanda mentioned, the cocktails. 🙂

Besides the main characters, who is your favorite character in the story and why?

I really like Maud, although she didn’t have much ‘on screen’ time. She is the head housekeeper of the manor from which Eliza flees, and has been like a mother to Eliza since Eliza’s own ‘mum’ passed. Maud encourages Eliza to run in order to escape the advances of the Lord of the manor, even though Maud knows she’ll never see her again.  I like that she sacrifices her own wishes for Eliza’s safety.  (Like Kathy, I wouldn’t want to choose from the other girls in the story, because I couldn’t pick just one!)

What do you love that most people would find odd?  

I love dark, cold, snowy, rainy weather.

What do you dislike that most people would find odd?   

I really, really dislike Muppets. I don’t find them the least bit amusing,  and I am baffled at their popularity. It was one thing when kids liked them because, well, they’re puppets. But adults??? And they have their own movies??? Sorry. I just  don’t get the appeal.



She vowed she’d be no man’s doxy, but fate had other plans… 

After the Earl of Goodwin attempts to force himself on her, housemaid Eliza Gilbert flees England for New York, hoping to build a better life. But the land of opportunity proves as harsh as the London docks, and she finds herself in a situation more dreadful than the one she escaped. 
When Vince Taggart ’s childhood friend disappears, he heads to New York in search of her and meets Eliza, a woman with a less than honorable reputation. Inexplicably captivated, Vince can’t force himself to stay away, especially when he learns Eliza may be the key to finding his missing friend.  

Excerpt: The ballroom was magnificent. Sparkling chandeliers hung from the ceiling like diamonds dripping from the sky. Grecian columns with golden draperies strung between them bordered the entire room. Paul Whiteman’s orchestra was performing on a platform stage set within a rectangular alcove at the western end of the room. Meggie would be joining them soon. What a fabulous opportunity for her. All her dreams were coming true.

Why her, and not me? Why can’t my dreams come true?

She nearly gasped in horror at the unbidden thought. Her cheeks warmed with shame. How could she be envious of Meggie? She deserved every happiness in the world. Just because Eliza had made poor decisions and ruined her life, it didn’t mean she couldn’t be happy for her friends. She blinked back tears. She was happy for her friends. Really, she was.

She clutched a champagne flute in her damp palms, praying she could get through the evening without being forced on a ‘date.’ Across the enormous dance floor, Oscar stood conversing with two men. Please don’t let either of them choose me… 


Tidbit from Kathy L Wheeler…

Harry Dempsey in Reckless started out as a undercover detective out to stop the rumrunners. I ran into several issues. 1) We already had a detective in one story (Runaway), 2) It didn’t make sense for Harry to be out for revenge against a gangster, if he was a copy. It would be his job. It made much more sense as a business owner who’s Pa refused to pay protection money for Harry to be out for revenge. After all, the gangster murdered his family.

What do you like most about your MC4 story, Reckless?

I love Meggie’s loyalty. She dives in head first to help out her friends. But such “reckless’ behavior is bound to get her into trouble. 

What was it like working on a series where you had to coordinate with other writers?

I think it must depend on your relationship with others. Sort of like singing a duet in karaoke. If one person demands all the attention, it just doesn’t flow. In this particular group, we are good friends (big surprise, when you have martinis in the mix, hahahah) so we are able to be honest without fear of hurt feelings and such. We had at least three retreats! So that was fun. I love working with my MC4 buds!

Was there any part of your story that was taken from real life? 

 Hahahaha. Yessssss. Meggie is a singer, and I sing! ‘Nuf said. 

Besides the main characters, who is your favorite character in the story and why?

I love my fellow runaway-ees, of course. But outside of them (because I would not dare choose one over the other), I think I was cracking myself up with Paul Whiteman. He was a big time band leader at the time. So most of the information regarding him in my story is true. I’m just not sure if I conveyed his personality accurately, but it is certainly how I envision him as behaving. He was a very busy man with a 35 piece orchestra and practically discovered George Gershwin (who, incidentally, also makes an appearance). 

What do you love that most people would find odd?

The hustle and bustle of downtown city life. I could totally see myself living in Manhattan, downtown Seattle, San Diego, San Francisco, even Denver and Dallas.

What do you dislike that most people would find odd?

 I don’t like people who are tooooooo nice. I find them suspicious. And I don’t like “telling” in books. And most of all, I hate it when someone comes along and decides to change Phantom of the Opera to “modernize” it! You know? Like not have the chandelier on the stage during the opening crescendo and rising to the ceiling. The absolute worst!



Lady Margaret turned Lady Bootlegger… 

Singer Margaret (Meggie) Montley needs money…fast. Her friend is in a dire situation with nowhere to turn. While Meggie is on the brink of stardom, it’s not soon enough to save her friend. 

Harry Dempsey is out to avenge the deaths of his father and brother at the hands of a ruthless gangster. But trouble spirals out of control when Meggie Montley shows up the night he meets his nemesis to settle the score. Saving the impetuous woman from a crime lord might be easier than saving her from her own reckless behavior. 


Fear stopped Meggie’s heart, the breath caught in her throat. Why did she always have to open her mouth at the wrong time?

“Put the gun away, Marco. This here’s Lady Margaret Montley.”

Meggie lifted her chin. “I sing with the Bernie-Edison Orchestra.”

Marco chuckled, the gun never wavering in his hand. “Who’s ta stop me from killing you, cap’n, and makin’ a bit of a profit off yer Lady Margaret Munt…Munt…whatever her name is? Why, I could sell her off and make double what I should’a took ta’night.”

Terrified, Meggie slipped a trembling hand in the pocket of her jacket and wrapped her fingers around the gun Harry slipped to her earlier.

“No one, I venture to say, cap’n. Now, drop yer piece over the side. Real nice an’ slow like.” Harry hesitated and Marco raised the gun.

Fingers shaking uncontrollably, Meggie raised her gun in his direction. “No.” Her voice cracked. She forced an impossible calm. “No,” she said again.

“I said, drop it, cap’n.”

“I’ll shoot. I-I will.” But she feared her trembling endangered Harry’s life. The man whose head rested in her lap stirred. His hand slipped over hers. His finger pressed against hers and squeezed. The gun went off, jolting her whole arm, ringing her ears. She screamed dropping the hot metal and slumped back.


Tidbit from Krysta Scott:

I don’t normally write historical fiction. Setting Runaway in the 1920’s was a bit of a challenge. Discovering how people lived and worked in 1924 was eye opening. Baking scones, which is not easy now, was much more difficult then. The plastic bags that the police use to store evidence today were not in use back then. Nor was it as difficult to immigrate from Europe to the United States. Kind of makes me wonder how people in the future will view our way of living.

What do you like most about your MC4 story?

I really like Lady Charlotte Leighton and her desire to be something more than what society expects of her. In the beginning she looks like a coward but as the story unfolds her courageous nature emerges. Although her job in New York City isn’t what she’d hoped for, she continues to pursue her chosen career. Although she encounters many obstacles on the way, she never loses sight of her desire to be a baker.

What was it like working on a series where you had to coordinate with other writers?

It was a blast working with Alicia Dean, Amanda McCabe and Kathy L Wheeler. Their enthusiasm for this project helped propel me, a novice historical author, forward.  In a story of four friends who travel from England to the US, there is bound to be some overlap between the stories. Those scenes were certainly the most challenging remembering what each character was doing and where they were when the overlap events were taking place. Mostly, it was fun to see how each of these Englishwomen tackled the problem of creating a new life for themselves in New York. For some of the girls it is a lark. For others, the adventure takes a darker turn.

Was there any part of your story that was taken from real life? 

Yes. In Runaway, Charlotte wants to be a baker just like my eldest daughter. Both of them are passionate about preparing food. That makes a different for the diner. My eldest and I can make something from the same recipe. Hers always turns out better. She just smiles and shrugs like there’s no reason either item should taste differently. But I assure you they do. I tell everyone you can taste the love. At that, she just rolls her eyes.

Besides the main characters, who is your favorite character in the story and why?

I am quite partial to Slick. He’s always up to no good but I can understand his point of view. Everyone else is luckier than he is. If he had that kind of luck, he’d be better off too. So he wheels and deals trying to make it look like he is more fortunate than he is. Of course, no one is fooled. Kind of feel sorry for the guy.

What do you love that most people would find odd?

I’m crazy about science fiction. When I tell people I’ve been to Star Trek conventions, they look at me a little oddly. They’d never place me as a science fiction geek. I also think Die Hard is the best Christmas movie. Maybe that’s a little strange.

What do you dislike that most people would find odd?

I dislike nuts in brownies and cookies. Crunchy and soft things do not go together.



Can she prove her innocence before more than her dreams are destroyed? 

After escaping an arranged marriage, Charli Daniels lands on a new shore. But things go from bad to worse when her fiancé follows her to New York. Now, instead of realizing her dream of opening her own bakery, she finds herself in a fight for her freedom.

Haunted by a string of failures, Detective Felix Noble is determined to solve his latest case. But his effort to find a murderer is jeopardized by a forbidden attraction to his number one suspect.

When a new threat surfaces, Felix wonders if he is once again on the wrong track. Can Charli convince him of her innocence before more than her dreams are destroyed?


His eyes narrowed to slits. Funny. She’d never seen him as menacing before last night. Now, no matter what he did, she quivered. “And what did you say?”

“Nothing. I told him I didn’t know anything.” Panic surged at his proximity.

“How’d they find out who the stiff was so fast?”

“I-I don’t know.” She focused on her hands. That was more comfortable than looking into the eyes of a cold-blooded killer.

“They suspect anything?”

Words flew from her mouth in a torrent. “He had an announcement of my engagement. Somehow he found me. What am I going to do?”

“Huh. Dig out those charms you have hiding. There’s plenty a dame like you can use to your advantage.”

The burn of a blush crept across Charlotte’s cheeks. Thank goodness the speakeasy was dimly lit so no one would see her shame.

“Whatever you do.” Slick leaned in closer. “Keep your mouth shut.” He glared down at her, then stumbled away.

Charlotte’s stomach lurched. She’d gotten herself into a pickle with no clear way out. Her legs wobbled. She forced deep breaths. In, out. In, out. Once steadier on her feet, she picked up her tray and darted to the bar. Ira was back, wiping it down. He didn’t scold her. He didn’t say anything at all. His silence unnerved her. Her life had turned upside down. Things would never be normal again.





Filed under Entertainment, For Writers

Dances of the Heart – Andrea Downing

**** Winner of the FREE ecopy of Dances of the Heart is Teressa Mirault. Congratulations, Teressa!

I am pleased to welcome Andrea Downing and her latest, a Wild Rose Press romance. Looks like a great one! Take it away, Andrea…

Hi Alicia, thanks so much for having me here today and helping me share the release of my new book, Dances of the Heart.

Where did you get the idea for your story?  

Strangely enough, the idea for Dances of the Heart came from the Texas Two-step; Texas Two-Step was its original title until I discovered there were numerous books with that title so opted to change it.  It just made me think of writing a story about two couples, mother and daughter/father and son, which took place in Texas.  Quite honestly, I have no idea how it evolved from that.

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

I’ve never written a contemporary book before; all my work has been historical, and this effort was really rather frightening.  I have no idea why I’m so much more comfortable in the 1800s, but I was once told I was born in the wrong century!  Obviously, in some ways, contemporary’s easier—you don’t have to think that much about language and the way they lived and how they would be dressed and so on, although I did have to have a Texan check my dialog to make sure it sounded right.

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

As I just mentioned, getting the language correct, making the Texas characters sound ‘Texan.’  I’m from the northeast and have lived most of my life in Britain so, for instance, I never say “I’m fixin’” to do anything!

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

PROMOTION  It is such a time-suck, it isn’t even funny any more.  The book world is swamped now, and it’s difficult to know what to do, what works and so on, to sell books.  I hate it.  I would also like to get rid of waiting time in doctor’s offices.  For some reason, doctors seem to think their time is more valuable than ours.  To give you an example, I had a 3 pm appointment last week and was called to please come in for 1.30 pm because the doctor had a meeting in the afternoon.  So, what happened?  I still wasn’t seen until 3pm…  I have a couple of medical issues at the moment and the amount of time I lose in doctor’s offices doesn’t bear thinking about, although it’s good reading time.

Would you rather have a bad review or no review?    

If push comes to shove, I’d rather have a bad review than none at all although, having said that, I, myself, have opted out of reviewing a book I didn’t like rather than give it a bad review.   For me, I’d like to know why people don’t like my work, what annoyed them—I want feedback from readers basically.  If you don’t receive a review at all, you’re left wondering whether the reader just gave up or what the heck happened.  But, for goodness sake, you want a sensible, intelligent review, good or bad.

If you could change something about one of your books that’s already released, what would it be?  

Oh, I’d love to re-write Loveland and fill it out into a saga.  There is a lot that happens ‘off stage’ in that book, particularly when Lady Alex and Jesse are separated and she is in England, I would love to fill out.  And I would like to finish their story and tell a bit more of it.

What is your favorite quote?    

It comes from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows by John Koenig, and readers can find more of his amazing made-up words online.  Here’s my favorite:  Sonder:

“Realize that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own – populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries, and inherited craziness – an epic story that continues invisibly around like an anthill, sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.”    John Koenig

What is your most prized material possession? Why?   

I’m really not attached to material possessions.  I mean, I like having a computer to write and I like to look at photos in our old albums, but if you ask me what I’d grab in a blazing fire, I’m not sure.  If pushed, I guess I’d have to say it’s a portrait I had done for my daughter’s 18th birthday; it’s the two of us sitting by the piano, which is a big part of my daughter’s life.  When I had it done, the young artist, Alastair Adams, was virtually unknown; he has since gone on to become President of The Royal Society of Portrait Painters and paint such notables as Tony Blair, whose portrait by Alastair now hangs in The National Portrait Gallery.  I doubt I could afford his work now!  But anyway, the painting captures the two of us and our relationship so well.  I hope it remains in the family for generations.

So I’d like to know from readers here what their most valued possession is, and why; I think I’m going to ask to discount photo albums because so many people say that.  And I’ll choose one person to receive a free digital copy of Dances of the Heart.  Thanks so much for having me, Alicia.  It’s been great to discuss these things with you.

It’s been a pleasure having you, Andrea. I enjoyed the interview…congratulations on the new release!


Blurb:  Successful, workaholic author Carrie Bennett lives through her writing, but can’t succeed at writing a man into her life. Furthermore, her equally successful but cynical daughter, Paige, proves inconsolable after the death of her fiancé.

Hard-drinking rancher Ray Ryder can find humor in just about anything—except the loss of his oldest son. His younger son, Jake, recently returned from Iraq, now keeps a secret that could shatter his deceased brother’s good name.

On one sultry night in Texas, relationships blossom when the four meet, starting a series of events that move from the dancehalls of Hill Country to the beach parties of East Hampton, and from the penthouses of New York to the backstreets of a Mexican border town. But the hurts of the past are hard to leave behind, especially when old adversaries threaten the fragile ties that bind family to family…and lover to lover.  


Excerpt: Ray pointed to his pickup, smirking slightly with the knowledge of what her reaction would probably be.

“You must be joking.”

He could hardly hear the mumbled comment, but it was exactly what he’d been expecting.

She glowered, a brow definitively arched in query.  “What year is this thing?”

He attempted to wipe the amusement away from his face with a hand that rubbed his stubble in a satisfying scrape. “Sorry, I left the Cadillac at home this time.” A raised brow questioned if she took him seriously. “It’s an ’89, and still runs as smooth as the day I got it.”

“Which was, what? Last year?”

Ray shook his head and proceeded to the passenger door. “You have the key, sweetheart,” he said, patiently standing and waiting.

“Listen!” Carrie put her hands out as if to stop any further conversation. “First off, I am not your sweetheart. And second, if by any chance you think you just may have gotten lucky tonight–”

“Whoa, whoa now.” Ray was truly mystified at the turn events were taking. “Not that I wouldn’t be honored and damn well pleased, but I sure as heck wasn’t thinkin’ along those lines…and truth be told, you know, I’m hardly up to it.” He considered this for a second, a fog clearing for a moment’s view of the road. “And I don’t mean I need Viagra either.” He noted her staring at the key as if it might turn into something else. “No, it doesn’t open automatically,” he informed her at last.

She shoved the key into the handle and got the door open, climbed up into the cab and reached across to unlock the door for him. Her gaze ran over the dashboard, uncertainty scrunching her face like a bitter fruit.

Ray folded himself into the passenger seat and slouched back, tipping his hat over his eyes. “Just let me know when you give up. I’ll be right here, darl…” Yeah, better not. He could almost feel her indignation, listening as she squirmed around and adjusted the seat.

“It’ll be a cold day in hell, mister, before I give up!” The key turned and the truck sputtered to life, then died again.

“You ever drive manual before?” he mumbled from under his Stetson, and sensed Carrie eyeing him. “That’s what I thought,” he answered to her lack of response. “Put your foot on the clutch, move her into first, release the brake, and get goin’, slowly releasing the clutch.”

“Who the hell drives stick shift anymore?” she muttered as she followed his terse instructions. The truck lurched forward as she spun it off the grass toward the road.

“Right,” Ray directed, feeling suddenly nauseous with the pitch of the car. Bile rising, he opened the door and spat before yanking it shut again. “Can you get the damn thing into second? Foot on the clutch, move the shift and let’s go if we’re going.”

“Fine! You don’t have to yell at me.”

Ray sat up, shoved his hat back from his eyes and glared at her, reining in his frustration and anger. “I was not yelling at you, but you know dang well we’d be far safer with me drivin’. As it is, I’m gonna need a new transmission.”

The truck staggered again. “I know no such thing.” She bent forward to swipe at the windscreen to clear it. “We haven’t got seatbelts on,” she murmured.

“We’re not going fast enough to need them.”

Carrie ignored his last remark and appeared to concentrate on keeping the truck moving. It sputtered again, and Ray let out a sigh of resignation just as flashing blue lights appeared in the side mirror. She pulled over, and the motor unceremoniously died.

“Damn!” she cursed, reaching down for her bag at Ray’s feet. “Let me get my license.”

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Bio:  Andrea Downing likes to say that when she decided to do a Masters Degree, she made the mistake of turning left out of New York, where she was born, instead of right to the west, and ended up in the UK.   She eventually married there, raising a beautiful daughter and staying for longer than she cares to admit.  Teaching, editing a poetry magazine, writing travel articles, and a short stint in Nigeria filled those years until in 2008 she returned to NYC.  She now divides her time between the city and the shore, and often trades the canyons of New York for the wide open spaces of Wyoming.  Family vacations are often out west and, to date, she and her daughter have been to some 20 ranches throughout the west.  Loveland, her first book, was a finalist for Best American Historical at the 2013 RONE Awards.  Lawless Love, a short story, part of The Wild Rose Press ‘Lawmen and Outlaws’ series, was a finalist for Best Historical Novella at the RONE Awards and placed in the 2014 International Digital Awards Historical Short contest.   Dearest Darling, a novella, is part of The Wild Rose Press Love Letters series, and came out Oct. 8th, 2014, and Dances of the Heart, her first contemporary novel, comes out in February, 2015.


Links to Social Media:  WEBSITE AND BLOG:  http://andreadowning.com

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AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE:  http://www.amazon.com/Andrea-Downing/e/B008MQ0NXS/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0


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The Wild Rose Press: http://www.wildrosepub: http://www.amazon.com/Dances-Heart-Andrea-Downing-ebook/dp/B00S46BGY6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1421510959&sr=8-2&keywords=Dances+of+the+Heartlishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=195&products_id=6060




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