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…
It has been a difficult few months on the job but I have finally found my bearings at Bergan Pharma. Despite my multiple FDA filings for innovative drug products and tireless hours working for pennies, nothing prepared me for the unique (dare I say supernatural) challenges as their Director of Regulatory Affairs. My new coworkers have worked their magic to take the world stage as the leader in biologics despite choosing to have their headquarters in the middle of nowhere: Strawberry, Kentucky. I have three new biologic drug products to bring to market in the coming months and if we work around the clock, the company will make more money then we can spend in a lifetime. It is these leadership qualities they wanted when they hired me. No one can drive a pharma company like me.
It was a hard sell to my wife and son, but eventually, they saw the benefits of living over an hour’s drive from the nearest school or town center. I am so excited they are moving into our new home tomorrow. I can hardly stay away even though I relocated to Strawberry Kentucky alone months ago. Gifting my wife a giant plantation home with acres of gardens was a stroke of genius on my part. No more sensory overload from her job at the garden center. She can manage her sensory processing disorder in isolation. I assume it is what she wants but our truce right now is shaky at best. It is my hope that a new town and a fresh start will bring us back from the brink of divorce.
Perhaps she will be happier with no more meetings with the principal about our son’s disciplinary problems. He will be homeschooled by her. I am grateful to Brad and the Board of Directors of Bergan Pharma for their generous signing bonus, so I could make this happen, including my new BMW. They simply made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. If only I had known the unwritten job duties and how they would turn my world upside-down, when I signed on. How did I score such a deal? I explain it on my drive home through the hills of Kentucky in Strawberry Shifters Book 1: Bear with Me:
“It had been an early Christmas present when the head-hunter called me about Bergan Pharma. They needed someone to get their products approved by the FDA, which is my specialty. You could say I possess a certain set of skills coveted by the industry, but less James Bond and more Bob Cratchit. Up until that call, I hopped from one slave driver to the next. Every company promised innovations but really, they were all the same.
First, a trust-fund kid parties through undergrad who uses a nerdy “friend” to barely slide through with a degree in something dumb like underwater basket weaving. Next, they build a start-up pharma company and the nerdy friend drives a group of employees into the ground for the success of “their” invention. Finally, the partners have a happily ever after of saving a little slice of the world while making the big bucks.
They marry and have kids to start the cycle over. It’s my job to make all the bar napkins, lab books, scrap paper musings, and alcohol-fueled business models into a cohesive professional package. Sometimes I am assigned a minion to help me, like a blue-haired neighbor or barely legal “friend” of the boss to manage the dozen boulder-sized binders.
I have over forty New Drug Applications— miracle-working piles of binders otherwise known as NDAs—somewhere in the FDA pipeline. They have been filed with five different companies. My name is all over their site as a name for inquiries only, never profit share. My bosses have always obliged with a signature for that part.”
My wife asked that I learn to listen to her in our months apart. When she arrives in Strawberry tomorrow, she will see I’m a changed man. No more struggling to get by, no more putting work before her, and no more tuning her out. I have it all: the dream job, the flashy car, the plantation home, and a fresh start for my family. What could possibly go wrong? Follow my family on their adventure in the wilds of rural Kentucky in Strawberry Shifters Book 1: Bear with Me.
Marilyn Barr currently resides in the wilds of Kentucky with her husband, son, and rescue cats. When engaging with the real world, she is collecting characters, empty coffee cups, and unused homeschool curricula.
She has a diverse background containing experiences as a child prodigy turned medical school reject, biodefense microbiologist, high school science teacher, homeschool mother of a savant, and advocate for the autistic community.
Fellow AHA Author Tena Stetler is sharing about her Paranormal Romance, A Demon’s Witch
Best selling author, Tena Stetler, uses her over-active imagination to spin tales of paranormal romance/suspense and cozy mysteries. Her spicy romances spin the adventures of magical kick-ass women and mystical alpha males that dare to love them. From demons to faeries and witches to vampires her intriguing characters take roads less traveled to draw you into exciting tales that engage the imagination and warm the heart.
Tena’s Inspiration for A Demon’s Witch:
A Demon’s Witch was my debut novel and has remained close to my heart. A Demon’s Witch hit the market and garnered best seller status. It earned The Romantic Reviews Readers Choice 2016 Nominee in the paranormal romance category. I love talking about this story.
The ideas begin to percolate as I sat in a beauty salon listening to the chatter from other customers. One woman swore she’d been approached by a vampire want-to-be.
This got me to thinking, which is scary in and of itself. What if the hairdresser was an alpha male, Demon Overlord of the Western Hemisphere that owned a multi-species salon in Washington DC? Enter a powerful witch, whose beauty caught the eye of the demon on a rainy day when she rushed into his salon. Now, unbeknownst to him, she is not any ordinary witch, but the little sister of the demon’s enforcer. Now you have a romance with unbelievable complications.
The story became a series, but the other planned books in the series took a strange turn when the majority of readers and reviewers clamored for the enforcer, Tristian’s story to be next in line. I’d never considered writing a book on the witch’s brother, the demon’s enforcer. But after mulling it over for several months and publishing three unrelated books,
I am excited to announce A Warlock’s Secrets (Tristian’s story) is awaiting cover art and will be published spring 2017. So please watch for it!
I hope you enjoy my blurb and peek into A Demon’s Witch:
Keeping a lid on all the paranormal beings inhabiting Washington D.C., is a daunting job. Bruce, a six hundred year old demon and the Territory Overlord of the Western Hemisphere, keeps his finger on the pulse of DC’s power players through the activities at his highly successful Wycked Hair Salon. His movie star good looks and body builder physique keeps his dance card full and the rumor mills running. Within these walls, his anonymity is safe, mostly.
Bruce’s world spins out of control when Angelique, a pint size, gorgeous witch, with an attitude breezes through the doors of his salon. She is the younger sister of Tristian, Bruce’s long time trusted enforcer, whose professional skills are second to none. Tristian is furious at the relationship between Bruce and Angelique, a dangerous situation, but something darker threatens them all. Will undeniable attraction between demon and witch tear their worlds apart?
At two in the morning he awoke feeling her restlessness, listening he heard her soft sobs. He pulled on his black silk lounge pants and grabbed the robe from the foot of his bed. Padding silently in his bare feet down the hall, he paused at her bedroom door just as her anguished scream filled the room. He was at the side of her bed a second later. Gathering her onto his lap, he held her unyielding body to his until her flailing limbs quieted and her troubled violet eyes opened. Cognizant of where she was now and with whom, she flung her arms around his neck and clung tight as shivers racked her slight frame.
Megan came running from the other wing of the house where the staff lived during the week. “Is everything all right?” She peeked inside Angie’s bedroom door.
“Just a nightmare, nothing to worry about. She’s awake now.
“Oh no my Lord,” Megan said in a low frantic whisper.
“Don’t call me that,” he growled, his amber eyes tinged with orange glowed in the dark room.
“Sorry. There’s something dark and dangerous chasing that one.” She nodded in Angie’s direction. “It’s not of this world.”
He lowered his voice and spoke kindly. “Go back to bed, I’ve got this handled.” He paused for a beat exhaling slowly. “For now.”
Please help me welcome Tena Stetler and her new release from The Wild Rose Press ~ A Demon’s Witch
Tena is offering a free ebook copy of A Demon’s Witch. To enter, sign up for her newsletter. You can find the sign up here:www.tenastetler.com
Blurb – Keeping a lid on all the paranormal beings inhabiting Washington D.C., is a daunting job. Bruce, a six hundred year old demon and the Territory Overlord of the Western Hemisphere, keeps his finger on the pulse of DC’s power players through the activities at his highly successful Wycked Hair Salon. His movie star good looks and body builder physique keeps his dance card full and the rumor mills running. Within these walls, his anonymity is safe, mostly.
Bruce’s world spins out of control when Angelique, a pint size, gorgeous witch, with an attitude breezes through the doors of his salon. She is the younger sister of Tristian, Bruce’s long time trusted enforcer, whose professional skills are second to none. Tristian is furious at the relationship between Bruce and Angelique, a dangerous situation. The undeniable attraction between demon and witch promises to tear apart both their professional and personal worlds.
Suddenly, he felt the magic aura shirt and switched his attention to the front door. She breezed in, hair like spun gold flowing to her waist, with a seductive yet regal body and a sway to her hips that should be illegal even in DC. She wore a snug rose and cream colored sweater, cut low enough he could see the swells of her rounded breasts, tailored black slacks that fit her cute ass like a glove and four-inch spike heels. She paused in the center of the salon, wet from the sudden spring storm, and lowered the briefcase she’d used as an umbrella. Her sparkling violet eyes glanced up to the mezzanine where Bruce stood watching. Blatantly her gaze wandered over his well-muscled body, undressing him piece by piece, until he felt naked. He shook his head slightly and smoothed his shirt and slacks with his hand, just to make sure he was still wearing them.
And now, let’s get to know Tena…
Where did you get the idea for A Demon’s Witch?
My hair dresser, Jen, and I were discussing the strange things that happened in a hair salon. Then my husband and I were talking about the music industry, we’re both former DJ’s. A 1969 summer hit about a male hairdresser came up in conversation and I mused, “What if the hairdresser was an alpha male, Demon Overlord of the Western Hemisphere that owned a salon in Washington DC?” That’s how A Demon’s Witch was born.
Why did you choose this genre?
Because I think people read to be entertained and escape the real world for just a little while. I like creating a world with magic and paranormal creatures that will do and use anything to overcome all obstacles for their happily ever after.
Was there anything unusual, any anecdote about this book, the characters, title, process, etc, you’d like to share?
This book was National Novel Writing Contest project. The title, A Demon’s Witch, came to me in the middle of the night and when I woke up my husband to tell him I’d finally decided on a title, he was less than impressed.
What is the most difficult thing about writing a book?
Getting the characters to do what I want. Finally, I’ve learned to just tell their story and all is well.
What was the most difficult thing about this one in particular?
Not necessarily the most difficult, but most frustrating. Keeping Willow from stealing the spotlight. She is the heroine, Angie’s best friend. For some reason, she was a very strong secondary character. Maybe she wants her own book. LOL I truly enjoyed writing this book and was sad to see it end. I can’t wait to share it with everyone.
What’s the main thing that you could get rid of in your life that would give you more writing time?
Cleaning House. I love a clean house, but I hate doing it. It’s a time sink if you ask me.
What is one word you would use to describe yourself? Outgoing What is one word you think others might use to describe you?Headstrong
What’s your favorite book of all time and why?
Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone. Because it is a tale of anything is possible. First Harry’s journey from mistreated boy to talented wizard and JK Rowling’s journey from rags to riches both bring home the point anything is possible.
What’s your favorite childhood book?
Trixie Beldon – The Red Trailer Mystery. I had all the Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon Books growing up. Loved them all.
What do you want readers to come away with after they read A Demon’s Witch?
A feeling that anything is possible with love, family and friends.
What is your favorite quote?
“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, WOW what a ride!”
Movie– Dirty Dancing
Music– Rock and Roll
Place you’ve visited– Monterey Bay Aquarium
Place you’d like to visit– Northeast in the Fall around Halloween. I absolutely love Halloween.
TV show from childhood– Dark Shadows
TV show from adulthood– Scorpion
Food – Pizza
Sports team– Denver Broncos
Now, I’d like to ask readers…What are you looking for when you pick up a book to read? What makes you decide to buy a certain book? How does it effect you, if you really enjoy it?
Thank you for joining me, Tena. I also LOVE Halloween. This is the perfect book to kick off the holiday season. Best of luck!
Author Bio – Tena Stetler is a paranormal romance author with an over-active imagination. She wrote her first vampire romance at the age of eleven, to the chagrin of her mother and the delight of her friends. Tena finds stories in the strangest places, while camping, kayaking, or hiking in the mountains. So far, she’s only found one dead body (imagined not real) during a camping trip, turned it into an exciting paranormal romantic suspense that’s nearly complete.
For many years Tena worked as a paralegal for a criminal law firm. You won’t believe the tales she can tell!
Colorado is her home; shared with her husband, a brilliant Chow Chow, a spoiled parrot and a forty-year-old box turtle. She loves the adventure of a road trip. Together with her husband and their companion animals, they have logged thousands of miles in their RV visiting over 3/4 of the United States. The great northwest is still on the bucket list.
Any winter evening, you can find her curled up in front of a crackling fire with a good book, a mug of hot chocolate and a big bowl of popcorn.
A new Halloween Series from The Wild Rose Press – Hauntings in the Garden – Fun Facts, Brief Excerpts from Nine Short Stories and a cool giveaway!
Lara Parker, The House, Paranormal
All is not as it seems…
Halloween has always been my favorite holiday even though I do not enjoy horror movies, strange huh? I love fall and dressing up in costumes and jack o’ lanterns…pretty much everything having to do with Halloween. So the idea for this book came pretty naturally and excited me.
A Brief Snippet:
A faint sound reached me. It sounded like wind blowing through treetops. I listened closely and heard an almost imperceptible word. Leave. My heart rate increased, and I started to hyperventilate. I felt tingles in my limbs as my hands shook uncontrollably.
Stacy Dawn with Love her Like the Devil, a contemporary western romance
Kick up your heels in the local honky tonk for Halloween…but beware the devil in red cowboy boots…
The idea for the story actually came to me from an old country/western song by Charlie Pride–“Kiss an Angel Good Morning”….the lyrics being “Kiss an angel good morning and love her like the devil when you get back home.” My father had taught himself to play the guitar over the last couple years, and during a camping trip this past summer, he played a lot of older country songs that I remembered from my childhood, which is why the song must have just popped in my head one day. Once I had the phrase in my head, it all just unfolded like *snap*
He adjusted his Stetson and sidled up to the bar, tossing a leg over the stool next to the buxom beauty. A heady breeze of cheap perfume plumed around him as she turned and graced him with a perfectly wicked smile.
Looks like my lucky nigh—
“I wouldn’t if I were you.”
Luke glanced over his shoulder to find a pair of deep brown eyes laughing at him beneath a smooth raised brow.
“You’re the sixth guy she’s hit on since I’ve been sitting here.”
He frowned and turned back to the blonde he’d had his sights on…except her sights were now on a Captain Jack Sparrow wannabe.
“Thanks a lot,” he grumbled, swiveling to face the bar.
Eliza March with Witch’s Tattoo, a paranormal romance
Pride or power, lust or love, life or death.
A young witch must find her soul mate and unite with him in order to defeat the dark forces gathering around her.
While I was attending a workshop with WRP Publisher, Rhonda Penders, she mentioned needing a few Halloween short stories, I came up with Witch’s Tattoo and pitched the concept off the top of my head, growing more enthusiastic as I spoke. Thankfully, she liked the idea, too.
A Brief Snippet:
The skirt she wore barely covered her sexy ass—like a black leather napkin filled with wicked delights. Damn, the witch looked hot enough to melt ice-forged steel. He tortured himself with the image of her wearing just the pendant and the boots—thigh high, black leather cut in lacy patterns, exposing her creamy skin…
The tips of her long black hair brushed her narrow waist the way it had the night he watched her in the scrying mirror. His fingers twitched with the desire to trace her plunging neckline. A neckline that bared her deep cleavage and the pendant. Buy Here:
Cecilia Farrell with Crimson Summer, a Paranormal romance
Keeping secrets is as dangerous as finding them out.
In “Crimson Summer”, heroine Ranalt Fitzgerald notes that her name is unusual. While doing research on my own family name of Farrell, I found “Ranalt, daughter of Awley O’Farrell, King of Conmacne, who married Hugh O’Connor, the last king of Connacht.” The 12th century Ranalt and Hugh came to unhappy ends. He was betrayed and murdered; she drowned—accidentally or not—in her bathtub. When I was hunting for an Irish name for my protagonist that was a little different, I remembered “Ranalt”. Ranalt’s sister Lacey is named after the main character of “Beatrice Lacey” from one of my favourite novels – Wideacre – by Philippa Gregory. “Colin” is a nod to a favourite actor: Colin Farrell. The only other name of significance is ”Joe”, Ranalt and Lacey’s father. He’s named for one of my brothers because the real Joe thinks paranormal stories and shows are “idiotic”. But he likes those movies about Chucky the homicidal doll so go figure!
A Brief Snippet:
“Ranalt, did you not close the front door when you came in?” my mother asked.
“Of course I did.”
She paled and the blood drained out of my face too.
“Junie,” I breathed and ran to the verandah, praying she hadn’t gone far.
She stood on the top step, her back to me. The moonbeams bleached her cornsilk hair and aquamarine nightshirt, giving her a ghostly look.
“Junie, it’s me,” I called softly, not wanting to scare her. Then I saw what held her attention and my heart nearly stopped. It was a big black wolf, sitting on its haunches. In the moonlight the animal looked like a sculpture of antiqued silver.
Juniper glanced over her shoulder at me. “Hi Ranalt. I saw him from the window. That’s the doggie who came to my house last night. Isn’t he beautiful? Do you think he’s hungry?”
Dayana Knight with Witch Familiar, Paranormal romance
Breanna McShae finds more in her newly acquired familiar then extra storage for her recently attained powers. She has discovered an unexpected addition to her very soul–something she will do anything to keep close to her heart.
This book came to be in a dare to myself–to write on demand. I never thought I could do that. I always stayed away from Nano writing and any sort of write-on-demand projects. This time I figured I am gonna toss the negative to the wind. With three little words in my mind (witch, wolf and raven) this story was born.
A Brief Snippet
“Sooo…” Brea looked everywhere but at Nadyia. She played with a small besom display on the counter. “Who was the guy? I haven’t seen him around before, though you seem to know him well enough, so I figure he must live around here somewhere.” She gave Nadyia a shy half smile.
Nadyia returned the smile. “That, my dear, is Hunter Colhen. He lives off Dante’s Ridge, north of your place. He’s got a cabin out there—one of those modern rustic places.” She completed packaging Brea’s purchases and totaled the transaction. “That’s $56.96 today, dearie.” She accepted the cash and grinned a devilish little smile. “If I weren’t so ancient… But, of course, I tease. I think of him as a grandson and somehow think he reciprocates the sentiment. He is a solitary sort, keeps mostly to himself.”
Brea bent closer and said in a conspiratorial whisper, “Well, the dude is totally hot. So you, my friend, have very good taste in adopted grandchildren.”
Linda Carroll-Bradd, with Unlocked Treasure, contemporary romance
Will a prophecy keep a lonely woman from accepting the promise of adventure?
The heroine has started the genealogy of the maternal side of her heritage because family stories hinted toward witches and special abilities. Genealogy turns out to be a shared interest with the hero whose study of his ancestors has proved a link to a pirate who grew up on nearby Block Island, which was a pirate stronghold in the late 1690s and early 1700s. In the Newport-Providence area, caches of pirate booty have been discovered throughout the years.
“Aleen—hey, that’s pretty, like the direction alee.”
Her own smile dimmed. Like I’ve never heard that before. “Thanks.” This guy was not charming his way around the rules. “Sorry, but you’ll need to come back when the gardens are open for visitors. That’s Wednesdays through—”
“Yeah, I read the sign.” He gave a dismissive wave then turned to gaze back at the main house. “But I just needed five minutes to check out some dimensions and the lot layout.”
“So, you woke up this morning and just decided to start out your week by trespassing?”
It’s hard to fit in when you’re suspected of murder. It’s even harder to lay past ghosts to rest.
The Isle of Wight is said to be one of the most haunted counties in England. Ghost stories and ghost walks lie around every corner. So it is a tailor-made Halloween setting for the fictional Creektown and its characters. The heroine of the novella, Maggie Ballater, takes her surname from a town situated near Balmoral Castle, the Scottish home of the Royal Family since it was purchased for Queen Victoria by Prince Albert in 1852.
The original plot idea came from the report of a car accident in the local paper which stuck in my head far longer than it should have and would not go away. I applied the magic “what if” formula, and the story gradually emerged.
The characters added themselves and their relationships developed in unexpected ways. They all have stories to tell in the future novellas which will make up the Creektown Chronicles.
I’ve wanted to be an author for as long as I can remember. It’s taken fifty years to get there so I’m not giving up now. Follow your dream. I recommend it.
A Brief Snippet
She felt rather than saw someone watching her.
Breath caught in her throat, but there was nothing to be frightened of. Bram leant propped on the door jamb, his right ankle crossed slackly over the left.
“Sorry I’m late finishing.” She hated how teenage she sounded. “Are you waiting to set up class in here?”
“Just came to see you.” He wandered in, picked up worksheets and laid them down again, stopped at the dominoes and started matching the words to the pictures.
She had to apologize. She had rehearsed what she was going to say often enough. She cleared her throat, suddenly thick with nerves. “I wanted to say sorry about last night. I didn’t mean—”
He waved a hand dismissively. “No worries. Forgotten.” But his eyes when she looked were shuttered and told a different story.
Veronica Lynch with Caper Magic, a paranormal romance
This attraction: Complete madness or—sheer magic?
Interesting tidbit about the heroine Annunciata [Nunie] Doyle: Known as the Black Mamba because of the 4 [four] men she married, then buried shortly after the “I-do’s”, was raised in one of the Magdalene laundries [made infamous by the movie, starring Dame Judi Dench, based on a true story, “Philomena”].
After her parents were murdered in an IRA bombing of a Belfast pub which served Catholic patrons, Nunie was sent to a convent school in Tuam Ireland. This same place recently made the news after the remains of more than 100 young women and infants and small children were discovered in a common grave. The causes of death varied, some of which likely occurred during childbirth as the pain and torture of labor and delivery was considered the girls’ penance for lifting their skirts outside the banns of marriage. Never occurred to some of those demons in black that some of the girls might have been raped or abused by family members. Must be incest does not occur inside the Emerald Isle. Must be no one ever read Angela’s Ashes.
Nunie, as well as the real life Philomena, have forgiven the sisters for their abusive treatment and neglect. As a [lapsed] Catholic woman of a certain age, I find their generosity completely amazing.
But, as we say in the game, what goes around comes around. Those penguins will get theirs eventually.
A Brief Snippet:
Five years had evoked more than a few changes in Annunciata Doyle. Much thinner, he noted, but as far as he was concerned she’d always been a bit on the hippy side. Back then her weight was something she’d thrown around with ease—or when the mood suited. When it came to cops, it suited her often. The hair was another matter. Who knew when she freed the ruthlessly tight bun she’d always sported, her hair would fall past her waist in a curtain of black velvet curls?
In the costume of a Witchy Poo—and wasn’t that appropriate considering what she’d done to several of his fellow officers—her current manner of dress was looser, certainly more feminine than the severe straight-jacket type suits she wore back when reporters hung on her every word and judges clamored for her to speak as an expert during the sentencing portion of criminal trials. Counselors and advocates proclaimed her the patron saint of victims and survivors.
Alicia Dean with Caster’s Unfriendly Ghost, a paranormal romance
He just thought nothing was more frightening than marriage
I’ve written a few paranormal stories, but this was my first ghost story. My original idea was that the hero’s mother would come back to haunt the heroine and try to drive them apart. That idea didn’t seem to come together very well, so it occurred to me that maybe the heroine’s husband should come back from the dead, with the intention of stopping her from hooking up with another guy, but inadvertently pushing her and the hero together. Thus, Caster’s Unfriendly Ghost was born.
A Brief Snippet:
“Emily!” Pennywise the psycho clown—aka Bob Ferrell—rushed up to her. “Have you seen Megan? She’s not here and now, Destiny is saying she’ll be Michael’s victim instead of mine. I need a victim, asap.”
Emily rolled her eyes. No doubt the curvy, young blonde would love to trade out horror monsters—Michael aka Caster had it all over Pennywise aka Bob. “Destiny will be your victim, just like we rehearsed, if she wants to be a part of this at all.” Destiny was a switchboard operator at the hospital who was bucking for a promotion, so she’d likely do whatever the administrative assistant asked of her. “I’ll call Megan, and if she doesn’t show—”
“Then maybe you can be my victim?”
Emily turned at the sound of Caster’s voice. He wore the Michael Myers jumpsuit, but was holding the creepy mask beneath his arm, making it look even creepier.