Tag Archives: the wild rose press

Author Jill Piscitello ~ New Release: Tinsel and Tea Cakes, a sweet holiday romance ~ #WRPbks #AHAgrp

Please help me welcome today’s guest, Jill Piscitello…

Book blurb:  

Hair stylist Scarlett Kerrigan lost her job and her apartment. To alleviate a touch of self-pity, she succumbs to her stepmom’s pressure to attend a wedding in the New Hampshire White Mountains. Unfortunately, she runs into the vacation fling who promised the moon but disappeared without an explanation. Months have passed, but she is not ready to forgive and forget.

After a chaotic year, executive Wes Harley settles into his family’s event venue, The Timeless Manor. His carefully structured world is shaken to its core when Scarlett arrives for the Victorian Christmas wedding weekend. The feelings he never quite erased flood to the surface.

When secrets are revealed, will a magical chateau and a sprinkle of tinsel be enough to charm Scarlett?

Purchase Links:

Amazon           Nook

About the Author:

Jill Piscitello is a teacher, author, and an avid fan of multiple literary genres. Although she divides her reading hours among several books at a time, a lighthearted story offering an escape from the real world can always be found on her nightstand.

A native of New England, Jill lives with her family and three well-loved cats. When not planning lessons or reading and writing, she can be found spending time with her family, trying out new restaurants, traveling, and going on light hikes.

 Social media links:

Website ~ Twitter  ~ Facebook Instagram

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#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

Author Interview with Wendy Rich Stetson ~ New Release: Hometown ~ #AHAgrp #WRPbks

Please help me welcome today’s guest, Wendy Rich Stetson…

Good morning, Wendy, thank you for joining me. Please tell us a little about yourself, where are you from? Where do you live now? Family? Pets?

I’m a city girl with a hometown heart.  I grew up in Central Pennsylvania, the setting of my Hearts of the Ridge series, but I’ve lived in New York City for over 25 years.  Although I’m a wee bit scared of heights, I live on the 16th floor of a high-rise in Upper Manhattan with my husband, teenage daughter, and very naughty Maine Coon kitty. 

 Where did you get the idea for Hometown?

I guess you could say Oprah made me do it!  Just out of acting school and twiddling my thumbs while I waited for the phone to ring, I saw an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show featuring romance writers.  “I could do that,” I thought, every bit as naïve as I was to think a starring role on Broadway would land on my doorstep, wrapped in shiny paper and tied up with a satin bow.  Still, inspired by those Oprah writers with the often-heard advice to “write what I knew” I came up with a simple premise: what would happen if a girl moved back to her hometown in Pennsylvania and fell in love with an Amish guy.  Twenty years and endless edits later, Hometown is now in the hands of readers.

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

I’m a professional actress, audiobook narrator, and theater teaching artist.  I’ve played saucy maids, longsuffering spinsters, and quirky leading ladies on and off-Broadway and at regional theaters around the country. I’ve worn no makeup onscreen with some of Hollywood’s most gorgeous stars, and Rick Sordelet (Broadway’s premier fight director) once told me I drove a cop car as well as any stunt woman.  I love what I do, and I’m so excited about the reopening of theaters around the country. 

Do you collect anything?

Like many redheads, I’m a huge fan of the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery.  I collect early editions of her books and display them in my office for inspiration. 

What was your first job?

As an actor, I’ve had a lot of odd jobs to make ends meet.  When I moved to New York, one of my first jobs was helping legendary children’s book author R.L. Stine answer his fan mail just as the Goosebumps series was taking the world by storm.  It was extremely important to Mr. Stine that all the fans who took time to write to him got letters in response.  Though I write in a completely different genre, he remains a big inspiration.

What do you want readers to come away with after they read Hometown? 

Through Tessa’s journey in Hometown, the reader grapples with how two people from vastly different backgrounds can create a life together.  Each book in my Hearts of the Ridge Series is a love story between an Amish and a non-Amish character and explores what happens when differing cultures mingle, clash, and ultimately merge.  Themes of forgiveness, self-acceptance, and the healing power of love run through all three stories.  When she turns that final page, I want my reader to feel all those things…and that along with Tessa, she’s finally come home. 

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

Oh, this one’s easy!  Debra Messing would play Tessa Meadows, Patrick Dempsey would play Dr. Richard Bruce, and Sam Heughan would play Jonas Rishel.  Dream team!

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

I’m dying to write a middle grade ghost story with just the right amount of creep factor.  I’ve just started playing with some ideas, and I’m super excited to give it a whirl.

What is your favorite quote?

I love the JRR Tolkein quote, “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.”  It just fills me with hope.  And he and I share the same birthday.

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

As a tall, curly-haired redhead, I see some of myself in Tessa, but she is braver and ultimately more generous than I am.  Her best friend Jenn is definitely inspired by my spunky college roommate of the same name.  All the rest of the characters are entirely made up. 

What do your friends and family think of your writing?

I was so lucky that my parents were incredibly supportive of all my artistic endeavors.  They always told me to do what I loved and to do my very best.  These days, my daughter is my biggest fan.

 

Wonderful interview, Wendy. You’ve led a very interesting life.  Thanks again for joining me!

 

When Tessa’s big-city plans take the A Train to disaster, she lands in her sleepy hometown, smack in the middle of the most unlikely love triangle ever to hit Pennsylvania’s Amish Country.

Hot-shot Dr. Richard Bruce is bound to Green Ridge by loyalty that runs deep. Deeper still is Jonas Rishel’s tie to the land and his family’s Amish community. Behind the wheel of a 1979 camper van, Tessa idles at a fork in the road. Will she cruise the superhighway to the future? Or take a slow trot to the past and a mysterious society she never dreamed she’d glimpse from the inside?

 Excerpt:

The girl entwined her fingers in her skirt and tugged the fabric tight. “Your hair is the same color as my cat, and she’s the best cat in the world.” In a heartbeat, she fled and buried her face in the man’s lap.

“My goodness.  What a compliment.  Thank you.” She fumbled with the clasp of her wallet, discovering only then she smooshed her thumb deep into the whoopie pie.

The elfin child giggled and bounced on bare toes.

Standing, the man swept her into his arms and smiled down at Tessa. “Rebecca has not seen many women with ginger hair.”

Ginger hair. For years, she was tormented by boneheaded boys shouting, “Carrot Top” and “Flame.” No one ever called her mane ginger. Beneath his candid gaze, her curls heated like embers, warming her from top to toe. Who was this man?

The girl wriggled, knocking askew his straw hat.

He tossed her under one arm like a sack of flour and righted it, loosening a tawny curl that escaped the wide brim and fell over one brow. His gaze passed over Tessa’s face.  

Her unruly hair and short shorts tweaked at her consciousness. What did the Amish call outsiders? English? She was definitely dressed like an English woman. And not one from a Jane Austen novel.

He deposited the giggling girl right-side up on the floor and approached the table. “I’ve rarely seen hair that color myself. Like a copper penny.”

She stared at the mangled whoopie pie and blushed even deeper. For a brief moment, she felt his gaze trail down her body like a caress. Or did she?

 Buy links:

Amazon  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B097NVNFDF/

Barnes and Noble

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hometown-wendy-rich-stetson/1139719240

Apple

https://books.apple.com/us/book/hometown/id1573329404

Kobo

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/hometown-11

Google Play

https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Wendy_Rich_Stetson_Hometown?id=JSo7EAAAQBAJ&hl=en_US&gl=US

About Wendy:

Wendy Rich Stetson is a New York City girl who still considers the Central Pennsylvania countryside to be her home.  She grew up road tripping in a 1979 VW camper van, and she keeps a running list of favorite roadside attractions from coast to coast.  Now an author of sweet, small-town romance, Wendy is no stranger to storytelling.  She’s a Broadway and television actress, an audiobook narrator, and a mom who likes nothing more than collaborating on children’s books with her teenage artist daughter.  Wendy lives in Upper Manhattan with her family of three and rambunctious Maine Coon kitty.  Follow Wendy’s journey at www.wendyrichstetson.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/StetsonRiches

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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wendyrichstetson_author/?hl=en

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58504083-hometown?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=Svcjev2iMD&rank=1

 

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Author Randy Overbeck: Halloween or All Hallowed Eve ~ #WRPbks #AHAgrp

It’s that time of year….Halloween month! I’m pleased to share an interesting article from Randy Overbeck…

Halloween or All Hallowed Eve

            Halloween, the great America tradition, when everyone, young and old, enjoys getting at least a little scared and revels in a little mystery. The night when beggars prowl the streets seeking candy and perhaps a little fright. It’s the only time of year when teens and adults will pay good money to have their pants scared off them at a thousand haunted houses around the country.

            An argument can be made that the greatest scares on this night arise from chainsaw killers and raving monsters, blood sucking vampires and howling werewolves or even terrifying aliens. While I admit each and every one of these can set the blood curdling, I’d submit that’s not what Halloween is about, not really.

 

            What we celebrate as Halloween was originally know as All Hallowed Eve. (Well, okay, it actually dates back to an ancient Celtic celebration called Samhain and a Roman holiday, Feralia, both of which were incorporated over the centuries into the Christian All Hallowed Eve.) All Hallowed Eve, later Halloween, was the day Christians honored those who have passed and, on this day, they acknowledged sometimes the dead are still with us. While the traditions of these celebrations differed from culture to culture—for example, the Romans brought offerings to graves and the Celts were required to sacrifice some of their children (yikes!)—the one thread that runs through all three celebrations is the steadfast belief in ghosts. The Celts, the Romans and the early Christians understood there is but a thin veil that separates this world from the next. This autumnal feast, halfway between the end of harvest and the winter solstice, was the day spirits from the other side chose to cross this veil and visit the living.

            According to legends, some of these ghosts were friendly, if sometimes michievious, while others were angry, malevolent and even violent. But those humans celebrating Samhain or Feralia or All Hallowed Eve/Halloween knew that they ignored these visiting spirits at their peril and knew they needed to honor the ghosts. 

            So while Dracula or Freddie or Ironman might make better costumes for this year’s Halloween celebration—I mean, how do you dress like a ghost anyway—you would do well not to ignore the spirits roaming among us. They require us to honor them and the dead who have gone, because all too soon we will join them.

Oh, by the way, I thought I saw something shimmering behind you. Don’t look.

 Happy Halloween! You might want to celebrate the holiday by learning about ghosts reading my Haunted Shores Mysteries, #1 BLOOD ON THE CHESAPEAKE (which is also a #1 Amazon Best Seller) #2 CRIMSON AT CAPE MAY and #3 SCARLET AT CRYSTAL RIVER.

 

Blurb

All Darrell Henshaw wanted was to enjoy his honeymoon with his beautiful wife, Erin, in the charming town of Crystal River on the sunny Gulf Coast of Florida. Only a pair of ghosts decide to intrude on their celebration. And not just any ghosts, the spirits of two young Latino children. Unwilling at first to derail the honeymoon for yet another ghost hunt, Darrell finally concedes when a painting of the kids comes alive, weeping and pleading for his help.

When he and Erin track down the artist, they discover the children’s family were migrant workers the next county over. But when they travel there, their questions about the kids gets their car shot up and Erin hospitalized. Torn between fear and rage, Darrell must decide how far he will go to get justice for two young children he never even knew.

Review Blurbs

Scarlet at Crystal River is an eerie paranormal mystery I couldn’t stop reading. Randy Overbeck is a masterful writer of the paranormal, drawing the reader in before instilling shivers down the spine. 5+ stars.” –N. N. Light’s Book Heaven

“A rollercoaster of a mystery, hurtling up and down hills and sharp corners until the very end, when the reader is left slightly breathless, waiting for their hearts to beat back to a normal rhythm. ★★★★★—ReadersView

Scarlet at Crystal River is a suspenseful paranormal novel with compelling characters and an enigmatic mystery that drives the story to a riveting conclusion. Overbeck is a master at building tension–-this is easily a one-sitting read.” ★★★★★—Literary Titan

Purchase Links

https://www.amazon.com/Scarlet-Crystal-Haunted-Shores-Mysteries/dp/1509237879/ref=sr_1_

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/scarlet-at-crystal-river-randy-overbeck/1139873947?ean=9781509237876

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57841458-scarlet-at-crystal-river?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=RTpsYLU6mO&rank=3

Bio

Dr. Randy Overbeck is an award-winning educator, author and speaker. As an educator, he served children for four decades in a range of roles captured in his novels, from teacher and coach to principal and superintendent. His thriller, Leave No Child Behind (2012) and his recent mysteries, the Amazon No. 1 Best Seller, Blood on the Chesapeake, Crimson at Cape May and Scarlet at Crystal River have earned five star reviews and garnered national awards including “Thriller of the Year–ReadersFavorite.com, “Gold Award”—Literary Titan, “Mystery of the Year”—ReadersView.com and “Crowned Heart of Excellence”—InD’Tale Magazine. As a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Dr. Overbeck is an active member of the literary community, contributing to a writers’ critique group, serving as a mentor to emerging writers and participating in writing conferences such as Sleuthfest, Killer Nashville and the Midwest Writers Workshop. When he’s not writing or researching his next exciting novel or sharing his presentation, “Things Still Go Bump in the Night,” he’s spending time with his incredible family of wife, three children (and their spouses) and seven wonderful grandchildren.

Social Media Handles

https://twitter.com/OverbeckRandy/media

https://www.facebook.com/authorrandyoverbeck

https://www.instagram.com/authorrandyoverbeck/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-KOC0LH2GQRSAjwxOFr5rg

Tik Tok @authorrandyo

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The Spotlight is on… Karen Guzman ~ #WRPbks #AHAgrp #Blog

Please help me welcome today’s guest, Karen Guzman, with her latest release, Arborview….

When the recipe for a new life is bittersweet…

Ellen Cahill’s financial future rides on the success of her new pastry shop. A bruising divorce has drained her bank account, along with her spirit. A man enters her life promising love, but Ellen, haunted by the past, questions whether she can pull off this new beginning.

College student Rosa Escamilla has her own culinary dreams—and a difficult mother who’s dead set against them. Rosa won’t be deterred. She scrapes up the money to enroll at a prestigious culinary school, setting out to prove everyone wrong.

When hidden betrayals by the people they love most surface for both Ellen and Rosa, can they overcome the blows they never saw coming on the road to where they want to go?

Excerpt:

The light was dying in Arborview. Ellen had to get going, but she wasn’t ready. Descending the ladder meant reentering her life. The time she spent here, suspended among the branches, did not banish the uncertainty that crept back when her feet hit the ground, but it did give her reprieve.

The stillness, the silence, slowed her mind. Be still and know that I am God. She used to love that old Psalm. This must have been what it meant. Her thoughts unraveled in Arborview, exposed in a cool, piercing light, a calm glow giving her hope.

It had been a week since she’d heard from Alice, and the memory of her guilty laundry-room face lingered. Perhaps Ellen had been too harsh, too judgmental. That was a big thing today, wasn’t it? Judging. Nothing was supposed to be off limits, nothing truly wrong, or shameful. Ellen had broken down and left a voicemail, but Alice had not returned the call.

The warm impression William had left in her bed, the faint whiff of his cologne on the pillows, had stayed with Ellen, too. He was coming to take her to dinner in an hour.

William had struck a chord with his pastry shop idea. It had taken root and grown all week within Ellen, its tendrils reaching into her heart. She could see it: a little storefront place, a jingling bell on the door, cakes and pies in the window, a soft wash of light on the gleaming display cases inside.

Buy link(s):

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/arborview-karen-guzman/1140053868

https://www.thewildrosepress.com/book-post/arborview

https://www.amazon.com/Arborview-Karen-Guzman-ebook/dp/B09DNQH267/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&qid=1632415749&refinements=p_27%3AKaren+Guzman&s=books&sr=1-4

https://books.google.com/books?id=nOBDEAAAQBAJ&pg=PT172&lpg=PT172&dq=apple+books+karen+guzman+arborview&source=bl&ots=pgp5N-onJb&sig=ACfU3U2sP91yID2ykuadkBCEudy-765-GQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjAxceBx5XzAhXdF1kFHdKnAt8Q6AF6BAgOEAM#v=onepage&q=apple%20books%20karen%20guzman%20arborview&f=false

Bio:

Karen Guzman is a fiction writer and essayist. Her new novel, Arborview, will be published on September 29 by The Wild Rose Press. Her debut, Homing Instincts, was published by Fiction Attic Press in 2014. Karen’s short fiction has appeared in a number of literary magazines, and her story collection, Pilgrims, was a finalist for the St. Lawrence Book Award.

Karen is a regular contributor to the Collegeville Institute’s Bearings Online magazine. She is the recipient of a 2021 writing fellowship at the Collegeville Institute.

You can find Karen’s books on Amazon, and learn more about her work at www.karenguzman.com

Social media links

www.karenguzman.com

https://www.instagram.com/kagauthor/

https://twitter.com/kguzman_author

https://www.facebook.com/kgwriter/?ref=py_c

www.amazon.com/author/karenguzman7

www.writedespite.org

 

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Author Interview with Ana Diamond & New Release ~ Body Conscious #WRPbk #AHAgrp #Blog

Please help me welcome today’s guest, Ana Diamond….

Please tell us a little about yourself, where are you from? Where do you live now? Family? Pets? I grew up in the suburbs of New York just outside of New York City. I also lived in New York City for 15 years. Now I’m back in the suburbs rasing two kids. I have 2 rescue cats who are also sisters.

Why did you choose this genre? I’ve always been drawn to mystery. I like intrigue and romance always keeps me reading.

Do you have another occupation, other than writer? If so, what is it and do you like it? I work in the medical field in a large hospital in NYC. It is the complete opposite of  writing and creating but I find that it keeps me grounded and pays the bills. 

Do you collect anything? I collect candles, dolls, Disney animated production cells and makeup.

What was your first job? Medical Assistant. 

Have you written any other books that are not published? Yes, many. I have dabbled in different genres to figure out where I might fit in the best. 

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

How did you come up with the title?

It’s a play on words. It has a much more literal meaning since the story is set in a funeral home where there are lots of bodies and the story centers around a body that is found but doesn’t belong.

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

Your favorite…

Place you’ve visited:  Bora Bora

Place you’d like to visit  Egypt

TV show from childhood Sesame Street

Food  A fresh salad 

 

In a small town, gossip can get you killed

Blurb:

Mortician, Lily Reynolds is used to seeing bodies, but not the type murdered in her own funeral home. As Detective James Rivers zeroes in on her as the town’s number one suspect she must rise above the accusations and rumors to solve the case herself while keeping her attraction to the troubled detective at bay.

James has a past. The last time he let someone into his life she wound up dead. Vowing never to let that happen again he has sworn off dating for good. Until he meets Lily. In his gut he knows she’s not the murderer but pressure to solve the case puts him on the wrong trail while he struggles to keep Lily off the case.

Can she solve the case on her own or will their scandalous romance get in the way of proving her innocence?

Excerpt:

“That’s Detective James Rivers,” Abrams said. “He came all the way up from New York City to our little town in the scenic Hudson Valley. He’ll be the lead investigator on this case since I know you ladies will be frequent callers.”

“Let’s be clear, I’ve never called you,” Lily said. “It’s always been Shanna.”

Abrams gave her a coy smile. He seemed flattered by the idea.

“Nice to meet you, Detective Rivers,” Lily said, finally turning toward the man who approached them.

Her breath caught in her throat. She didn’t know what she had been expecting, but not this—the angelic face with large sky-blue eyes, pronounced cheekbones and silken black hair. The only part of him that matched her ideas of what detectives looked like were his tattooed arms. She should know; her dad had been a cop.

May he rest in peace.

But James’s tattoos weren’t subtle. Snakes slid up his arms, past his rolled-up shirtsleeves, coiling around his thick forearms and biceps. One corner of his mouth lifted as he caught her staring.

Buy Here:  https://books2read.com/anadiamondauthor

Bio:

When Ana Diamond isn’t writing about tough gals finding love in unexpected places, she’s at work by day in the medical field. She writes romantic cozy mystery novels with feisty strong women and alluring men who can’t resist them. Her books are fast paced, entertaining and heartfelt all at once.

Ana is a 2020 Tara Contest Finalist for Body Conscious and 2015 Melody of Love contest finalist. She lives in New York with her husband, two children and two needy but wildly entertaining kitty cats.

https://twitter.com/AuthorDiamond

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Email: Ana@anadiamondauthor.com

 

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Free Range Killers & Murder Unrehearsed by Roxanne Dunn

Please help me welcome today’s guest, Roxanne Dunne…..

Free Range Killers

Bad things—sometimes very bad things—happen to good people. And killers do go free.

I once worked with an intelligent, fun-loving woman who was putting herself through grad school. She finished her degree and went to work for a large, well-known organization where she discovered what she believed to be an illegal diversion of funds into someone’s private pocket. Believing in justice with all her heart, she began to gather evidence. After receiving warnings to leave it alone, she contacted some of us, her old colleagues, to tell us what was going on. She wanted us to know in case something happened to her.

Someone broke into her home and stole the evidence she had amassed, and shortly afterward, she was murdered. Her killer has never been found.

This story simmers in the back of my mind. So far, I haven’t found the courage to write it.

The fact is, a lot of people get away with murder. To get an idea of how many, I searched the web, and on the DC.gov website, found closure rates for the Metropolitan Police Department. (https://mpdc.dc.gov/page/homicide-closure-rates) They posted a chart showing that in fourteen of sixteen years (2003 through 2018), somewhere between 20 and 40 percent of murderers got away. Their closure rate was above 80 percent in only two years.

How do they define closure? A suspect must have been arrested, charged, and turned over to the court for prosecution. Or, alternatively, a suspect must be identified, located, and with enough evidence to support prosecution, but unable to be prosecuted due to circumstances beyond the control of the law, such as death.

So, murderers who were tried and not convicted or who were unable to be prosecuted should be added to the 20 to 40 percent who got away. That’s a lot.

I think about the victims’ friends and families; how sad, impotent, and frustrated they feel.

So, why do I enjoy reading and writing murder mysteries?

In fiction, as writers, when we make bad things happen to our characters, we give them allies, resources, and strengths they never knew they had. We grant them endurance and courage to get up every morning and face whatever must be faced and not cave. Because of their goodness, justice triumphs. The bad guys get their what they deserve. Finally, when their tribulations are over, we give them happy endings.

And I go to bed at night believing that justice will prevail; knowing that most of the time, good things happen to good people.

*******

Wow, Roxanne. Fascinating. I heard a little while back that nearly 40% of murders go unsolved, and I was shocked, but it’s true. So sorry about the woman who was murdered. Tragic. Thanks for being my guest today!

Heather Shelton has man problems: an unfaithful lover, a mysterious stranger, and a psychopathic killer.

Matt stopped. His mouth hung open for a few beats. “What are you doing here?”

The darkest parts of me, those that I kept stuffed way down inside surged to the surface. My face burned with indignation. I was Kate the Shrew at her best. “How dare you! You and your pretty little Live Like King Tut fable. You kiss me and tell me you liked it. You say you are my biggest fan. You pretend to bare your soul. You think I can’t figure out what’s going on? All you want is for me to believe that you’re a good guy, so you can leave me hanging out for a pack of wolves. So I can end up as dead as Mariella. Well, damn you all to hell!”

Slick as spit, Matt reached out and took my hands. “It’s not like that.”

I wrenched away. “Keep away from me, you – you Judas!”

 Kindle:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08DHJ6TG7/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

Barnes and Noble:
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/murder-unrehearsed-roxanne-dunn/1137387167?ean=2940162985846 

Kobo:

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/murder-unrehearsed 

https://seaportbooks.com/

https://www.thewildrosepress.com/books/murder-unrehearsed 

and via my website: www.roxannedunn.com

Roxanne Dunn has studied writing in Paris and Seattle, and writes the galley column for Pacific Yachting magazine. Murder Unrehearsed is her first novel.

She is a physical therapist, a foodie, a fanatic about good chocolate, and a private pilot. She lived aboard an old wood motor yacht for seventeen years, and in her dreams, is a famous author, a pianist of renown, an acceptable water-color artist, and a globe-trotting yogini.

Contacts:

www.roxannedunn.com

https://www.facebook.com/roxanne.dunn.127

https://twitter.com/roxanne_dunn

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#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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#HobbyCareerPassion: “Dance to a Wylder Beat” ~ Author Marilyn Barr ~ Leather Tanning #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, Marilyn Barr…

Leather Tanning

Nartan Sagebrush has the most revolting job in Wylder, Wyoming Territory but in 1878, his prospects were limited when he chose to join the setters instead of head to the reservation. As an Arapaho Shamanic apprentice, Nartan grew up enjoying his vision quests in the forest and the freedom to follow the bison as they migrated around the US. However, in 1874, this all changed. The US Government placed his tribe on reservations and banned the teaching of all Shamanic practices. Nartan and his brother, Ikshu, claimed a piece of Wylder and struggled their way to a thriving leather tanning business, sheep flock, and homestead.

Nartan Sagebrush lacked the chemicals used for commercial leather tanning (invented around 1902), so he relied on cow brains and urine to soften the skins. He’s ahead of his time in that he creates a system of vats and frames so three skins are ready for shipping every day even though only two men are working. Every day six skins, staggered three and three, are rotated through vats of urine. When they are pliable the skins are stretched on frames to dry in the sun. This is the worst smelling part. Three skins are dry each morning and ready for tufting (hair removal) and fleshing. Nartan describes the way his new bride, Olive, fleshes leather in Dance to a Wylder Beat:

“The steer’s horn handle of the flesher looks longer than her forearm. I always thought I made the tool too small, but maybe I serendipitously made it for her. Her tiny hand almost fits around it. She kneels before the hide and begins to hammer the center with deft strokes. She has the perfect corner angle to release the fats and flesh from the skin. It rolls into a neat coil using the same gravity that pulls my jaw to the ground.”

 Just when the smell of urine threatens to burn off her nose, Nartan introduces her to the next step in tanning. Braining. Nartan doesn’t have the land for a cattle herd, so he barters lamb chops and steaks to the butcher for cow brains. From the brain, he makes the conditioning liquid which changes rawhide to leather.

“Olive, to her credit, doesn’t flinch when I scoop the sheep’s brain from its skull and add it to the boiling fat. She even holds the scalp back so I can use two hands. It isn’t until we added the half-pound of soap shavings and cedar oil the smell subsided.”

The braining fluid must be massaged into the leather before fluffing which breaking up any hardening parts of the skins. If tanning leather is gross, how does the leather itself smell so good? The secret is in the final step where the leather is smoked. Nartan uses a mixture of spruce and hemlock wood chips in a smoking teepee. Nartan is proud of the finished product and the business he has built around it. However, it will take a special type of woman to appreciate his efforts. Will Olive live in the stench for him? Find out in Dance to a Wylder Beat.

He was uncomfortable in his skin before she crawled under it. Now he burns…

Blurb:

Nartan Sagebrush’s name may mean “to dance” in Arapaho, but he dances in secret. Forced to abandon his Shamanic apprenticeship, he is overwhelmed with homesteader life, and even his spirit guides are at their wit’s end. Nartan takes fate into his own hands. Instead of divine intervention, a wife will help with his responsibilities and in assimilating into the Wylder community. 

Olive Muegge answers Nartan’s “wife wanted” advertisement. Fiercely independent, she has secretly dreamed of a family to call her own. The secret she carries inside makes her an outcast and her wild ways don’t fit the quiet wife Nartan thinks he desires.  

Despite their differences, they are drawn to each other but a mistake may drive them apart.  Will Nartan embrace his Shamanic past to save them both or will he choose to rid himself of Olive forever? 

Excerpt:

When I turn back, the men are wrestling in a cloud of dust. Dead Eyes’ friends hoot like owls while a small crowd gathers around the scene. Being half-drunk, Dead Eyes is two steps slower than Nartan, who is landing punches on both sides. When Dead Eyes slams his gun on the ground in surrender, the dust settles, and I can study my future husband.

Nartan’s muscular body straddles the smaller man while his broad chest billows. His hat has blown off in the scuffle, revealing two thick black braids adorned with feathers. Tendrils of raven-black hair wave around his head. “Quiet wife for a quiet life” my bloomin’ butt. This man is a sweet lick of passion wrapped in a delicious exterior. I think I’m gonna like being Mrs. Sagebrush just fine. I can handle an odd stick as long as he has the countenance of Nartan because I’m not as normal as I appear myself.

Author Bio:

Marilyn Barr currently resides in the wilds of Kentucky with her husband, son, and rescue cats. She has a diverse background containing experiences as a child prodigy turned medical school reject, published microbiologist, special education/inclusion science teacher, homeschool mother of a savant, certified spiritual & energy healer, and advocate for the autistic community. This puts her in the position to bring tales containing heroes who are regular people with different ability levels and body types, in a light where they are powerful, lovable, and appreciated.

When engaging with the real world, she is collecting characters, empty coffee cups, and unused homeschool curricula. She is a sucker (haha) for cheesy horror movies, Italian food, punk music, black cats, bad puns, and all things witchy.

Social Media Links:

website

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Amazon author profile

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Eleven Days—The Life Expectancy of a World War One Pilot & New Release ~ Heart of Ash by Kathy Otten #AHAgrp #WRPbks #blog

Please help me welcome Kathy Otten with her new release,  HEART OF ASH, a  M/M Historical Romance Short Story…

 

Eleven Days—The Life Expectancy of a World War One Pilot

Captain Elliot Bainbridge and Lieutenant Harry March, the characters in my new, historical romance short story Heart of Ash, are British pilots in the Royal Flying Corps, fighting during World War I.

While the notion of becoming a pilot at the forefront of aviation, these eager, young pilots, many of whom were in their late teens and early twenties, were only given an average of seventeen hours of instruction (expanded to fifty hours later in the war), with as little as five hours of flying time in planes they would not fly in combat. Approximately 8,000 pilots died during training between 1914 and 1918. If they survived, they were sent to France to fight Germans who had better planes and better training.

Once stationed in France, pilots engaged in dogfights in machines made of canvas, wire, and wood. They had few instruments and would have to flip the engine off and on to slow down for landing. They flew without parachutes. Averaged together, this gave a pilot in the early part of the war a life expectancy of eleven days.

Over confidence was usually fatal, while self-doubt could give a pilot the edge he needed to stay alive. Eventually, the more flight and combat experience a pilot gained, the better his chances of survival.

While these men played football, drank, and sang together, they seldom allowed themselves to grow close. Sometimes they never knew each other’s full name. Men were there and then they were gone. Speaking about death aloud was avoided at all cost. Instead, when a pilot was killed, they spoke of it in obscure terms, such as, “So and So has gone west.” They believed each man had predetermined amount of luck and worried about the day that luck would run out. Nightmares were common. Nothing was more terrifying to these young men, than the possibility of burning to death. Some men kept a loaded pistol in the cockpit, and a few chose to jump to their death rather than burn.

The plane Elliot, the hero in my story, flew was a French plane, the Nieuport 11, which had been designed to counter the Fokker Scourge in 1916, the summer my story takes place. The biggest disadvantage the Nieuport had was that it didn’t have an interrupter gear, which the Germans had developed for their planes, allowing the machine gun to fire through the propellor. The Nieuport had its Lewis machine gun mounted on the top wing. A cable ran from the trigger to the pilot enabling him to fire the weapon. The gun used a Foster mount system which allowed the pilot to drop the gun down to change the drum, rather than forcing him to stand in order to reload.

Another problem was that sometimes during high-speed dives, the lower wing would stagger and the fabric could rip off.

Despite the level of danger a pilot faced, to the men confined in the mud of the trenches and the terror of no-mans-land, looking up to see a plane soar through the sky was a life to envy. The newspapers glorified that notion by creating heroic Aces to encourage the people at home about the war rather than putting the focus on depressingly high statistics of infantry death rates. Thus, the myth of the heroic pilot was born.

But while the life of a pilot was easier than living in a trench, it was no less dangerous, and for the two heroes in my story, they each had to decide whether or not it was worth risking their hearts.

Blurb:

In the skies over France during the Great War, the life expectancy of a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps is measured in days. Captain Elliot “Ash” Bainbridge is certain he’ll be the next pilot sent spinning to earth in a ball of fire. Not because the Germans will shoot him down, but because God will punish him for daring to love another man. When Ash met Lieutenant Harry March, their attraction was instant. But Harry hates Ash’s fatalistic attitude. He believes in capturing the moment. Can Ash set aside his fear of death and take a chance on love? Or should he try to keep his heart safe from hurt forever?

Excerpt:

“You can’t…we can’t clutter our minds with lust or friendship, whatever this is. You can’t face the Huns if your perceptions are dulled thinking of me, or I you. Up there we must keep clear minded.”

March shook his head. The gold of early morning light reflected a glimmer of sadness in his eyes. “I can’t do that. Every time we go up, I watch your tail. I can’t think of you in the same way as the rest of this lot.”

“You must, because whether it’s a Fokker or another Albatros, it won’t matter after today.”

Buy link(s):

https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Ash-Kathy-Otten-ebook/dp/B08P7VW9TM

Heart of Ash by Kathy Otten | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble® (barnesandnoble.com)

Heart of Ash eBook by Kathy Otten – 9781509234844 | Rakuten Kobo United States

 

Bio:

Published author, book coach, and developmental editor, Kathy lives in the rolling farmland of Western New York.  Her novels and short stories are filled with wounded heroes and feisty heroines. Her Civil War novel, A Place in Your Heart was a Northwest Houston RWA Lone Star winner, and her historical western Lost Hearts, a Utah/Salt Lake RWA Hearts of the West finalist. An active member of Pennwriters, Inc., and leads an area critique group. Kathy teaches fiction writing at the local adult education center and presents workshops on-line as well as at conferences and author events. When she’s not writing, Kathy can be found walking her German Shepherd, Henry, through the woods and fields near her home, or curling up with her cat and a good book.

You may contact Kathy through her web site  https://www.kathyottenauthor.com or at kathy@kathyotten.com

 

 

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