Guest Post- Sharon Marchisello #AuthorInterview #AuthorsCommunity @SLMarchisello


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Guest Post- Sharon Marchisello

I’m happy to introduce you to mystery writer Sharon Marchisello!

Bio:

Born in upstate New York, I moved to Tyler, Texas, when I was five years old. People called me “Yankee” until I was in high school, when I finally perfected my Southern accent. (The American Civil War, over for a century, had not been forgotten.) I earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Houston in French and English and then worked for the Texas Department of Human Resources. In my mid-twenties, I received a Rotary scholarship to study for a year in Tours, France, where I lost my Texas accent. About a year after my return, I moved to Los Angeles to pursue a Masters in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California, which I hoped would lead to a career as a bestselling author. When I graduated and fame and fortune didn’t happen, I got a job at Western Airlines which later merged with Delta Air Lines. I met my husband on the employee bus. In my 27-year airline career, I worked various customer service positions and even did some technical writing in the corporate office. Retired, I now live in Peachtree City, Georgia, writing what I want and doing volunteer work for the Fayette Humane Society. I’m a member of Sisters in Crime and the Atlanta Writers Club.

And if that interesting bio wasn’t enough, here’s an interview where we can get some insights into Sharon’s likes and dislikes…

What do you write?

I write novels and short stories. But I also blog about personal finance (http://sharonmarchisello.blogspot.com/) and I self-published Live Well, Grow Wealth, a primer on personal finance 101.

What genre do you favor?

Mystery / suspense, women’s fiction.

When did you realise you wanted to be a writer?

I have always been a writer. I was telling stories to myself and others before I learned my alphabet. When I was in school, I received lots of encouragement and validation from my teachers with good grades on essays and creative writing assignments.

Nevertheless, it took me a long time to get published. I was in my twenties when I sold my first travel article. I had completed four novels—and abandoned countless others before completion—before my “first” novel, Going Home, found a publisher. Going Home, actually the second mystery I completed, is a whodunnit inspired by my mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Her situation prompted me to wonder what it would be like to interview a witness or a suspect who could not rely on her memory.

Are you published?

Yes. Besides articles and short stories, I have two mysteries traditionally published by Sunbury Press—Going Home (2014) and Secrets of the Galapagos (2019) And my nonfiction book about personal finance, Live Well, Grow Wealth, was self-published in 2018.

Where can you be found on social media?

Website or blog: https://smarchisello.wordpress.com/

http://sharonmarchisello.blogspot.com/

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

https://www.facebook.com/Live-Well-Grow-Wealth-494073360780648/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SLMarchisello

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/slmarchisello/

Pinterest: N/A

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sharonmarchisello/

What do you think is the best way to publish these days?

I think the big publishers have the most reach for obtaining advertising, reviews, shelf space in bookstores, and consideration for prestigious awards. If you’re good at marketing and don’t mind doing a lot of non-writing legwork to get your books out, self-publishing is the way to go.

As an introvert who prefers writing to self-promotion, I plan to stick with the traditional route, which unfortunately can be a long, slow process. (And, I’ve found, even authors who are traditionally published have to do most of their own marketing.)

I chose to self-publish Live Well, Grow Wealth because the material was somewhat time-sensitive, and I don’t have a background in finance, which would have helped my credibility with a publisher. The book is based on my own experience of becoming financially independent by living frugally, saving, investing, and developing a healthy attitude toward money. I’m not trying to sell classes or generate business for a financial-planning service, like most authors in the personal finance genre; I just wrote the book and post the blog to share the tips that worked for me.

What are your favorite genres to read? Why?

I like reading for pleasure in the mystery/suspense/women’s fiction genres—the same genres I write. I also like to check out bestsellers to see what makes them so special. Research!

How do you approach starting a new book?

I start with an event, an inciting incident. With a mystery, that’s usually a murder. Then I put characters into the situation, giving each motive and opportunity, and watch how they react. I’m what you call a “pantser” as opposed to a “plotter.”

However, with my only nonfiction book, Live Well, Grow Wealth, I approached it like the training manuals I created for Delta, making a very detailed outline before I began writing. I wish I could outline my fiction as well, but so far it doesn’t work for me.

What are the best writing books or blogs you’ve ever read?

One of the best writing craft books I’ve read was Don’t Murder Your Mystery by Chris Roerden. She offers lots of wonderful tips to apply in the editing phase.

What are your non-writing hobbies, or what do you do to relax?

Besides reading, I love to travel and have visited more than 100 countries; working for an airline was a perfect career for me. My husband and I have taken over 65 cruises together. We’re also Master Gardeners for the Fayette County University of Georgia Extension Office, and we enjoy helping with their many community projects. I like being outdoors, working in the yard or taking walks along Peachtree City’s extensive network of golf cart paths.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Do you have any personal heroes/heroines?

Evelyn Marchisello, my mother-in-law, comes to mind. Unfortunately, we lost her in 2012 at age 97. She was a classy lady, always dressed to the nines, always poised and polite. She graciously allowed me to live with her for two and a half years while I commuted between my Delta job in Los Angeles and my new home in Seattle. I developed a closer relationship with her than with my own mother. (Probably because she met me as an adult and didn’t have to endure my teen years!)

Have you had any unusual or noteworthy occupations?

One of my more memorable jobs—not really in a good way—was in Cabin Service at Delta. My husband and I bought a house in Seattle and the only opening for me there required me to take a large pay cut and join the aircraft cleaning crew. One of my tasks was driving the “lavosine” and dumping the aircraft lavatories. I had just come off a career highpoint, setting up a new station in Amsterdam and training airport customer service agents, so the voluntary demotion just to move to Seattle was quite a blow to my ego.

What was your best date ever?

My week-long cruise around the Galapagos islands with my husband is certainly high on my list. The wildlife is spectacular. The setting inspired my second published mystery, Secrets of the Galapagos.

Tell us something you are really proud of.

I’m proud of the volunteer work I do for the Fayette Humane Society. I’ve been serving as Secretary on the Board of Directors for nine years. I’ve fostered dozens of cats, and while I get somewhat attached to each one, I’m always happy to find them forever homes. I use my verbal skills as the organization’s grant writer, and it’s rewarding when we receive a grant that I’ve applied for. I use my travel privileges to fly kittens from Georgia to rescue groups up north where they have a better chance of getting adopted, and to transport cats with special needs to facilities in other cities for medical care.

For the past four years, I have participated in the Alzheimer’s Walk, in honor of my mother and mother-in-law who both suffered from this awful disease. Because the mother character in Going Home was modeled after my own mother, I sell copies of Going Home at team fundraisers for the Walk and give all the proceeds to the Alzheimer’s Association. I’ve discovered I sell a lot more books when I’m giving all the money to charity than when I’m keeping it for myself!

Can you confide something you wish you were better at?

I wish I were better at public speaking. I’ve come a long way, but I only consider myself competent, not dynamic. I used to be terrified to speak in front of a group, which makes it hard to get ahead in the corporate world. Not to mention, being an author trying to promote her work. So, I joined Toastmasters, attended meetings religiously, and worked my way through the program—all the way to DTM (Distinguished Toastmaster), the highest award. But still, I’d never enter a speech contest or consider a career in public speaking.

Shattered by a broken engagement and a business venture derailed by Jerome Haddad, her unscrupulous partner, Giovanna Rogers goes on a luxury Galapagos cruise with her grandmother to decompress.

At least that’s what her grandmother thinks. Giovanna is determined to make Jerome pay for what he’s done, and she has a tip he’s headed for the Galapagos.

While snorkeling in Gardner Bay off the coast of Española Island, Giovanna and another cruise passenger, tortoise researcher Laurel Pardo, both become separated from the group and Laurel is left behind. No one on the ship will acknowledge Laurel is missing, and Giovanna suspects a cover-up.

When the police come on board to investigate a death, Giovanna is sure the victim is Laurel. She’s anxious to give her testimony to the attractive local detective assigned to the case. Instead, she learns someone else is dead, and she’s a person of interest.

Resolved to keep searching for Laurel and make sense of her disappearance, Giovanna finds that several people on board the cruise ship have reasons to want Laurel gone. One is a scam involving Tio Armando, the famous Galapagos giant tortoise and a major tourist attraction in the archipelago. And Jerome Haddad has a hand in it. Thinking she’s the cat in this game, Giovanna gets too involved and becomes the mouse, putting her life in jeopardy. But if she doesn’t stop him, Jerome will go on to ruin others.

Short excerpt: (Secrets of the Galapagos – 2019)

Chapter One:

Laurel tugged at my flipper and pointed. I pivoted through the stream of bubbles in time to see a six-foot hammerhead shark, its flat head barely rippling the water it displaced. I could have touched its coarse, gray skin had I dared. My heart pounded. In our dark wetsuits, did we look like seals? The guides said these Galapagos sharks were not dangerous unless provoked, but who knew when one might decide to add a little tourist delicacy to its diet of fish and crustaceans?

Her dark hair floating around her face, my new friend Laurel gave a thumbs-up. I returned the gesture. I sensed her radiant grin through her mask.

The shark glided away almost as quickly as it had appeared, replaced by a school of surgeonfish, their yellow tails and silvery bodies shimmering in the sunlight. I lost sight of Laurel as I floated among them like a mermaid.

I kicked my way to the surface and lifted my head to drain my snorkel tube. As I pushed a strand of wet hair out of my face, I glimpsed the band of white skin where my engagement ring had been—until last month. Don’t think about that jerk, I scolded myself. Focus on enjoying this incredible cruise. And the mission: justice. Our group had been snorkeling in the chilly waters of Gardner Bay for about an hour, and all I wanted to do now was get back on board the ship, dry off, and tell everyone over a tasty lunch of fresh seafood about our close encounter with the shark. Laurel surely had shot some great pictures.

I pulled off my fogged-up plastic mask and rinsed it in the ocean. The sea had grown rougher since we’d started snorkeling, and dark clouds gathered. A wave slapped my face, sending salty water into my nostrils. I held up my right hand, the symbol for, “I’m ready to come in.”

Where was everybody?

“Laurel?” She’d been swimming beside me moments ago, snapping photos of the vast display of marine life.

I scanned the water for my fellow snorkelers and the guides hovering in the inflatable black boats called Zodiacs. Laurel and I had not strayed that far from the group … had we?

I put my mask back on and ducked underwater to see if anyone was still swimming beneath the surface. Nothing but fish. I didn’t care about the fish anymore.

The sudden sensation of being alone in the cold ocean sucked my energy. I took off my mask again, struggling to hold my head upright and tread water while I regained my bearings.

The steep volcanic outcropping where we’d congregated was on my left. It had been on my right before. I must have drifted to the other side. Seabirds squawked at me as if I had plans to disturb their nests wedged into the jagged, guano-coated crevices.

“Laurel?” She must be wondering what had happened to me.

I dog-paddled around the volcanic rock and then sighted one of the Zodiacs—at least thirty yards away and headed back to the ship. A black speck in the distance was probably the other boat.

“What the—?” I propelled myself in their direction, but the current pushed me back. Instead of aiding my progress, my cumbersome flippers, life vest, and wetsuit—the gear that had kept me so buoyant underwater—now weighted me down. I stopped and waved my whole arm rapidly, the sign for, “Come get me now!”

No heads turned in my direction. The boats were moving farther away.

Damn that Fernando! That self-centered excuse-for-a-guide was too busy flirting and boasting about his exploits to notice two missing passengers.

Something bumped my leg. I couldn’t look.

“Hey!” I shouted at the top of my lungs. I kicked hard and sprang upward, spy-hopping like I’d seen whales do. “Hey!” I had visions of myself drowned in the Galapagos or devoured by a shark—a tragic end to this vacation of a lifetime, this attempt to escape the mess I’d made of my life back in Georgia. So much for ever doing any good in the world.

This sounds great! The Galapagos is on my bucket list. Can you imagine- Sharon and her husband have traveled to over 100 countries! How far have you gone?

Meet the Author- @jacqbiggar #Romance #Writer


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Meet the Author

You’ve probably heard it said that writing is a lonesome job, but I haven’t found it to be true. My head is filled with the characters I’m creating, the fictional places I’m traveling to and the adventures… ooh-la-la!

Here is part of an interview I recently did with book promoters Itsy Bitsy Book Bits:

Author Interview With Jacquie Biggar by Itsy Bitsy Book Bits

How Did You Get Into Writing?

  •  I’ve been a romance reader since my pre-teen years and developed a dream of writing my own novel then. I didn’t make the fantasy a reality until I was semi-retired and had time on my hands. Now I wish I’d started much sooner!

What’s Your Favorite Genre to Write?

  •  Romantic suspense- I like the action-adventure thrill of suspense novels.

Is there a genre you’ve always wanted to write in that you haven’t yet?

  •  Historical. I’m intimidated by the research it would take, though.

Who are some of your inspirations?

  •  My biggest inspiration is my daughter. She’s a single mother with a Type 1 Diabetic son who is making her way through a masters degree for biology. She’s hands down the strongest person I know.

Do any of your stories have personal experiences in them?

  • Most of them incorporate some part of my life, whether it’s a cafe (I owned and operated one for years), dealing with disabilities (my grandson’s T1D, dementia, cancer), or small town life.

Who are some of your favorite authors to read?

  •  Loreth Anne White, Emma Scott, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Jennifer Crusie, Jill Shalvis, Kristan Higgins.

What’s your writing process look like? (Outline or go with the flow of your character)

  • I’m what is termed a linear pantser; meaning I have a general idea for the story and a character in mind, after that it’s one line at a time 🙂

What are some of your hobbies?

  • Gardening tops the list, reading, bird watching, walking my cat (yes, you read that right!)

Have you attended any signings? If so, what was your favorite thing about it?

  •  I’ve been to one signing at our local library, and while the crowd was small, it was a good learning experience for this introvert.

When reading reviews, what is something you love to see written?

  • Someone who really gets my characters and has empathy for their story. It means I’ve connected with my reader, which is the ultimate thrill!

If you could spend the day with one of your characters, who would it be and what would you do?

  • Tough question: Jared Martin from The Rebel’s Redemption. He’s a tough guy with a heart of gold. I’d love to spend an afternoon fishing with him 🙂

What are you currently working on?

  • A romantic suspense set around a female stalker of a NHL hockey player.

What’s your writing routine?

  •  I do my blog and promo work through the morning and afternoon, then spend the evening writing- approx 4-6 hours a night.

Do you have any superstitions when it comes to writing? If so, what?

  • Does three circles around my chair before I start writing count? Jk! No, I don’t have any superstitions.

You can read more of this interview here: https://itsybitsybookbits.com/2020/01/the-sister-pact-home-is-where-the-heart-is-by-jacquie-biggar/

The Sister Pact

Two sisters lose sight of what’s most important- family bonds.

Holly Tremaine is living on borrowed time. A life-threatening illness ends her promising musical career and sends her home in the hope of making amends for the past.

Levi Anderson is on the fast track to a successful year within his profession- the last thing he has time for is his twin brother’s shenanigans. But when it includes the one woman Levi hasn’t been able to forget, his conscience won’t let him avoid the temptation to see her again.

Can remorse heal all wounds? Or will past betrayals continue to ruin family ties, one thread at a time?

Early Reviews:

 I seem to gravitate toward the deep family stories lately and the emotions that go with them, this was an amazingly written book and as I said above, not sure why this is my first read by this author, but I can guarantee I have already looked at what else is available and my tbr has grown and I’ll be watching for any and everything from this point on.

AMAZON REVIEWER

This is a story that had my emotions going up and down the entire time I was reading it. Holly and Levi are likable characters and I found myself wanting them to find happiness. There are moments that tug at your heart and others that had me wondering if the past could be overcome. I highly recommend reading this story.

AMAZON REVIEWER

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B081L4SWDB/

International: https://books2read.com/TheSisterPact

Add to TBR List: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48920512-the-sister-pact

Recommend on Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/the-sister-pact-home-is-where-the-heart-is-by-jacquie-biggar

Also Available



Everyone Has Secrets; Some More Devastating Than Others…

Everyone Has Secrets; Some More Devastating Than Others…

Presenting a brand new collection of page turning romance and suspense from NINE International USA Today Bestselling, Award-Winning Authors.

Nine stories, nine heart-wrenching soon to be revealed secrets. Can the truth really set them all free?

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B082GH6X62

International: https://books2read.com/InvincibleSecrets

TBR List: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49803837-invincible-secrets

Recommend us on Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/invincible-secrets-invincible-women-s-fiction-book-2-by-jen-talty-and-suzanne-jenkins

Meet the Author- #AuthorSpotlight #WritersHelpingWriters @JamesCudney4


Author Spotlight- James Cudney IV

I’m thrilled to have James Cudney on the blog today! He is as kind as he is handsome, and a darn good writer to boot. 🙂

I’ve followed his blog, This is My Truth Now, for some time and appreciate his generosity as much as the informative reviews he shares. If you need a good book to read, look no further than James Cudney IV!

About the Author

James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College. I spent fifteen years building a technology career in the retail, sports, media, and entertainment industries. I enjoyed my job, but a passion for books and stories had been missing for far too long. I’m a voracious reader in my favorite genres (thriller, suspense, contemporary, mystery, and historical fiction), as books transport me to a different world where I can immerse myself in so many fantastic cultures and places. I’m an avid genealogist who hopes to visit all the German, Scottish, Irish, and British villages my ancestors emigrated from in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, my mind, and my body. I decided to pursue my passion by dusting off the creativity inside my head and drafting outlines for several novels. I quickly realized I was back in my element growing happier and more excited with life each day. My goal in writing is to connect with readers who want to be part of great stories and who enjoy interacting with authors. To get a strong picture of who I am, check out my author website or my blog. It’s full of humor and eccentricity, sharing connections with everyone I follow—all in the hope of building a network of friends across the world.

When I completed the first book, Watching Glass Shatter, I knew I’d stumbled upon my passion again, suddenly dreaming up characters, plots, and settings all day long. I chose my second novel, Father Figure, through a poll on my blog where I let everyone vote for their favorite plot and character summaries. It is with my third book, Academic Curveball, the first in the Braxton Campus Mysteries, where I immersed myself in a college campus full of so much activity, I could hardly stop thinking about new murder scenes or character relationships to finish writing the current story. I can’t believe I’m already writing the sixth book in this series. Come join in the fun…

Websites & Blog

Website: https://jamesjcudney.com/

Blog: https://thisismytruthnow.com

Next Chapter Pub: https://www.nextchapter.pub/authors/james-j-cudney

Social Media Links

Amazon: http://bit.ly/JJCIVBooks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jamescudney4

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

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

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jamescudney4/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jamescudney4/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/jamescudney4

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamescudney4

Let’s Get to Know You

What do you write?

I have seven (7) published books. Two (2) are stand-alone family drama novels (Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure) and five (5) are part of the Braxton Campus Mysteries. Both the family drama novels include some amount of romance / relationship sub-plots. The mystery series follows all the cozy rules (no graphic sex, violence, vulgar language), but they are not very light anymore… they’ve gotten complex and push the envelope. I’d deem them murder mysteries with a twist. I’m working on three books for 2020, and there will be one from each of these two genres plus a third I will share more on early next year.

Ooh, I’m looking forward to that!

What genre do you favor?

At my core, I’m a mystery guy… but I intend to write a book in all major genres within the next ten years.

I can’t help but want to try all styles and angles to fully develop my writing skills and hone my areas of expertise. There will always be twists and cliffhangers (in my series) because that’s what I love doing.

When did you realise you wanted to be a writer?

I loved writing as a child, but it wouldn’t pay the bills, so it was only a hobby. After nearly 15 years in the workforce, I took a break to begin my writing career. Almost three years later, I will have 10 books published in 2020. Now, I think about finding a happy medium – both writing and part-time work in technology and corporate operations. I don’t know how to not be busy or multi-task.

You’re well on the road to success!

What do you think is the best way to publish these days?

That’s a tough question! Couldn’t you ask my favorite drink instead? Oh, wait… that’s coming up later. LOL Let’s see… finding an agent and securing a publisher rarely happens when you look across the wider industry. I think that’s often the best opportunity to get your work noticed by the bigger sites and marketing companies; however, given the amount of time you might have to wait to even get lucky, it’s probably not ideal anymore. I tried for six (6) months, then decided to just jump in the water and navigate it myself.

Becoming ‘famous’ is fine balance of networking, strong writing, unique personality, and luck.

Sometimes you’re in a writing group and a literary agent notices you. Other times you’re writing an article or short story and the right publisher stumbles upon it. For many of us in the digital age, we build our following though book reviewing, blogging, and social media interaction. Ultimately, I think that’s the future… publishing companies don’t want to pay for expensive marketing, and if you don’t have your own following somehow, they often won’t take a big risk on you. That said, I’d suggest a compromise in between the two spectrums. Don’t do all the work yourself; you have to pay someone to help with either editing, promoting, marketing, or sales management. Know your own skills and use those first; let others with stronger talent handle the other aspects.

Good advice- obviously it’s working for you.

What are your favorite genres to read? Why?

Cozy mystery, historical fiction, and thrillers. I like suspense a lot. I’ve read a few romance novels, and as long as they are about the relationship and the drama between the lovers, I enjoy them. (Hence why I like yours!!!) I was reading something lately where the term bodice-ripper was used (any idea where that came from? LOL). I’ve heard it before, and it’s kinda funny… under the right conditions, I could be caught reading one or two. But they would mess with my head too much, so I have to balance them with lighthearted fun and massive gore! 😊

I think bodice-ripper came from historicals featuring pirates ‘capturing’ fair maidens’ hearts 🙂 This from Urban Dictionary: An historical romance where the heroine has lots of non-consensual sex, which becomes consensual. 

How do you approach starting a new book?

Outline. Outline. Outline. Outline. Should I keep going? Phew, it’s exhausting, but I first dream about it. I lose sleep until the main plot is worked out. I write it out, then edit it until I love the story. Then I can write the book based on pre-determined scenes in my chapter by chapter breakdown. Within those scenes, it’s totally on the fly. I just know where it needs to start and where it needs to end up. Whether the characters laugh, cry, cheat, or kill… it’s all up to them at that point!

Sounds like you’re a plotser- part plotter, part pantser 🙂

What are the best writing books or blogs you’ve ever read?

Oh, you won’t like my answer. Ummmm… none? I don’t mean that how it sounds. I don’t learn from reading ‘how-to’ books. I learn from experience, conversation, and reading other people’s works. I see how they write, decide what works for me, incorporate pieces into my style, and end up with my own version of an approach. On the flip side, I’ve read some of the biggies and always find advice that makes perfect sense. I just struggle to read a ‘how-to’ book without actually doing the writing work while I’m reading.

That makes perfect sense to me- I’m the same way 🙂

What are your non-writing hobbies, or what do you do to relax?

Genealogy. Cooking. Gardening. Exercising. Playing with my dog. Theater. TV. Reading. I’m more of a homebody, but I do like to travel a lot too.

Do you have any personal heroes/heroines?

Oddly enough, not really. I admire something in everyone I meet. Even when I dislike someone, they do something I think is good / acceptable enough that I figure out what I can learn from them. As a kid, I adored JFK, but as an adult, when I learned more about him, there were things I found troublesome to accept. In the end, I like personality types rather than specific individuals. For instance, JFK was a strong communicator and had amazing ideas to change the future, but if he truly had affairs, I am disappointed in some ways. I choose to focus on a person’s most common traits and actions, then I can consider them someone to admire, a hero to some degree.

I like that idea.

Have you had any unusual or noteworthy occupations?

Nothing too atypical… but I did teach people how to bowl. I worked in a bowling alley for two years and learned the entire operation from 14 to 15. My favorite job was a grocery store clerk when I was 16 to 17.

What was your best date ever?

What’s a date? I think I remember those from a very long time ago. Is that when two people do something fun before they move in together or get married? Just kidding!!! I’m not sure I have a favorite one, but I do recall my second date with W (significant other) the most. We had our first date right before Christmas in 2011, but W left the next day to visit family and then travel to Europe for two weeks. The anticipation of having our second date was intense, and I always remember how nervous I was… I worked in Manhattan but lived in Long Island. It took 90 minutes by train each way, and I kept thinking… we’re not meeting for dinner until 8… I’m not getting home until well after midnight, then I have to come right back into the city for work the next morning. It helped me decide to sell my house in Long Island and buy a place in Manhattan. And the date lasted well past midnight, so I was a very tired guy the next morning after that ridiculous commute. (Keep those thoughts clean, friends… you didn’t think I stayed over in the city that night, did you?)

Sounds like you were already committed to the relationship- a romance in the making!

Tell us something you are really proud of.

For someone as shy and nervous around other people as me, and for someone who absolutely hates conflict and being judged, I wrote and published 7 books and deal with the negative feedback in a much healthier manner now. It’s simple. If you didn’t like my book, there’s something wrong with you, right? Ha! Just kidding… about that last statement. I get angry or upset when it happens on occasion, but it takes a day to feel better now. It used to take me weeks to recover.

Readers don’t realize how much courage it takes to put our precious book babies in their hands.

Can you confide something you wish you were better at?

Relaxing. I can’t stop my mind from working in overdrive. Ever. I try to do nothing, but it never works out. I have to drink a bunch, but then I feel bad the next morning, so it’s a vicious cycle.

Chocolate or chips?

Chocolate all the way. I am a sweet dessert guy, not a salty snack guy. Feed me chocolate and I am yours forever.

Good to know 😉

If you could have a superpower what would it be? Why?

Read people’s minds or move from place to place more quickly. I don’t like not knowing what someone’s thinking, so I’d rather hear it and deal with the consequences than let the worry eat me alive. Plus, if I moved quickly enough, no one could catch me!

Fancy restaurant or picnic?

Picnic, but I do go to my fair share of fancy restaurants. I enjoy it, but there’s something comforting and thrilling about a stunning picnic in nature.

Beer or wine?

Wine. I drank beer in college. I like the occasional one now at a picnic or BBQ, but I’d rather have a glass of wine with dinner. And Jack Daniels and ginger ale as a pre-dinner cocktail. Or seven. Whatever is appropriate for the evening.

Favorite author?

Agatha Christie. Kate Morton. Henry James. Ken Follett.

Smooth or hairy?

Oh! Hmm… are you asking if I am, or what I prefer? Now this is an interesting question… Based on reading your past interviews, a majority of your interviewed authors are female. Now I’ve got a spotlight on me and have to figure out how to respond appropriately. Can we jump back to the beer or wine question?

Lol- put you on the spot, did I?

I have a little bit of hair. If you follow my social media accounts, there was a recent shirtless picture (which I hemmed and hawed over for at least thirty minutes before posting), so you know it’s just a small amount. I HATE shaving my face too, so I tend to have 3-day growth all the time. I get too itchy after a week, so the sweet spot is twice per week to shave, often based on meetings or other events.

In others… I am an appreciator of all varieties. There are days when I think smooth is much cleaner to look at and ogle from a distance. On some occasions, the rugged and rough look can really be an intense picture to drool over, right? I think I’d settle on somewhere in the middle… then it’s up to the moment to decide what to do or how naughty to be.

I think I navigated that well unless you were actually talking about furry or non-furry throw pillows on couches and beds. Did I mess up this question? Let’s see what Jacquie actually prints. I think I need to go hide now… I say with a scarlet red complexion cascading from my ashamed forehead down to my shaking toes.

You did fine, though now I want to see the shirtless photo!

Books by the Author

147 4 star ratings!

Watching Glass Shatter (Contemporary Fiction / Family Drama)

The wealthy Glass family lost its patriarch, Benjamin Glass, sooner than expected. Benjamin’s widow, Olivia, and her 5 sons each react to his death in their own way while preparing for the reading of his will. Olivia receives a very unexpected confession from her late husband about one of their sons that could shatter the whole family. Prior to revealing the secret to her children, Olivia must figure out which boy Ben refers to in the confession he left her in his will. While the family attorney searches for the mysterious Rowena Hector whom Ben says holds the answers, Olivia asks her sons to each spend a week with her as she isn’t ready to let go of the past. When Olivia visits her sons, she quickly learns that each one has been keeping his own secret from her. Olivia never expected her remaining years would be so complex and life-altering, but she will not rest until her family is reunited after Ben’s untimely death. We all need family. We all want to fit in. We’re all a mix of quirky personalities. Will Olivia be able to fix them or will the whole family implode? What will she do when she discovers the son behind Ben’s secret? Check out this ensemble cast where each family member’s perspective is center stage, discovering along the way who might feel the biggest impact from all the secrets. Through various scenes and memories across a six-month period, you’ll get to know everyone, learning how and why they made certain decisions. Welcome to being an honorary member of the Glass family where the flair for over-the-top drama pushes everyone to their limits. https://amzn.to/2ol6IHe

Father Figure (Contemporary Fiction / Family Drama)

Between the fast-paced New York City, a rural Mississippi town and a charming Pennsylvania college campus filled with secrets, two young girls learn the consequences of growing up too quickly. Amalia Graeme, abused by her mother for most of her life, longs to escape her desolate hometown and fall in love. Contemplating her loss of innocence and conflicting feelings between her boyfriend and the dangerous attraction she’s developed for an older man, Amalia faces life-altering tragedies. Brianna Porter, a sassy, angst-ridden teenager raised in New York City, yearns to find her life’s true purpose, conquer her fear of abandonment, and interpret an intimidating desire for her best friend, Shanelle. Desperate to find the father whom her mother refuses to reveal, Brianna accidentally finds out a shocking truth about her missing parent. Set in alternating chapters two decades apart, the parallels between their lives and the unavoidable collision that is bound to happen is revealed. FATHER FIGURE is an emotional story filled with mystery, romance, and suspense. https://amzn.to/2NagJiD

BRAXTON CAMPUS MYSTERY SERIES

Academic Curveball: Death at the Sports Complex (#1)

When Kellan Ayrwick, a thirty-two-year-old single father, is forced to return home for his father’s retirement from Braxton College, he finds the dead body of a professor in Diamond Hall’s stairwell. Unfortunately, Kellan has a connection to the victim, and so do several members of his family. Could one of them be guilty of murder? Then he finds a second body after discovering mysterious donations to the college’s athletic program, a nasty blog denouncing his father, and a criminal attempting to change student grades so the star baseball pitcher isn’t expelled. Someone is playing games on campus, but none of the facts add up. With the help of his eccentric and trouble-making nana weeding through the clues, Kellan tries to stay out of the sheriff’s way. Fate has other plans. Kellan is close to discovering the killer’s identity just as someone he loves is put in grave danger of becoming victim number three. And if that’s not enough to wreak havoc on his family, everything comes crashing to a halt when his own past comes spiraling back to change his life forever. In this debut novel in the Braxton Campus Mystery Series, readers discover a cozy, secluded Pennsylvania village full of quirky, sarcastic, and nosy residents. Among the daily workings of Braxton College and the charming Ayrwick family, Kellan weighs his investigative talents against an opportunity to achieve a much sought-after dream. When this first book ends, the drama is set for the next adventure in Kellan’s future… and it’s one you won’t want to miss. https://amzn.to/2JlmHMw

Broken Heart Attack: Death at the Theater (#2)

When an extra ticket becomes available to attend the dress rehearsal of Braxton’s King Lear production, Kellan tags along with Nana D and her buddies, sisters-in-law Eustacia and Gwendolyn Paddington, to show support for the rest of the Paddington family. When one of them appears to have a heart attack in the middle of the second act, Nana D raises her suspicions and asks Kellan to investigate who killed her friend. Amidst family members suddenly in debt and a secret rendezvous between an unlikely pair, Kellan learns the Paddingtons might not be as clean-cut as everyone thinks. But did one of them commit murder for an inheritance? Kellan is back in his second adventure since returning home to Pennsylvania. With his personal life in upheaval and his new boss, Myriam, making life difficult, will he be able to find a killer or will he get caught up in his own version of stage fright? https://amzn.to/2qGofKB

Flower Power Trip: Death at the Masquerade Ball (#3)

Braxton College is throwing the Heroes & Villains Costume Extravaganza to raise money for renovations to the antiquated Memorial Library. While attending, Kellan stumbles upon a close family friend standing over a dead body that’s dressed as Dr. Evil. Did one of Maggie’s sisters kill an annoying guest at the Roarke and Daughters Inn or does the victim have a more intimate connection to someone else on campus? As Kellan helps the school’s president, Ursula, bury a scandalous secret from her past and unearth the identity of her stalker, he unexpectedly encounters a missing member of his own family who’s reappeared after a lengthy absence. When all the peculiar events around town trace back to the Stoddards, a new family who recently moved to Wharton County, the explosive discovery only offers more confusion. Between the special flower exhibit that’s made an unplanned stop on campus and strange postcards arriving each week from all around the world, Kellan can’t decide which mystery in his life should take priority. Unfortunately, the biggest one of all has yet to arrive at his doorstep. When it does, Kellan won’t know what hit him. https://amzn.to/2Jm7E5r

Mistaken Identity Crisis: Death on the Cable Car (#4)

A clever thief with a sinister calling card has invaded Braxton campus. A string of jewelry thefts continues to puzzle the sheriff given they’re remarkably similar to an unsolved eight-year-old case from shortly before Gabriel vanished one stormy night. When a missing ruby is discovered near an electrified dead body during the campus cable car redesign project, Kellan must investigate the real killer to protect his brother. Amidst sorority hazing practices and the victim’s connections to several prominent Wharton County citizens, a malicious motive becomes more obvious and trickier to prove. As if the latest murder isn’t enough to keep him busy, Kellan partners with April to end the Castigliano and Vargas crime family feud. What really happened to Francesca while all those postcards showed up in Braxton? The mafia world is more calculating than Kellan realized, and if he wants to move forward, he must make a few ruthless sacrifices. Election Day is over, and the new mayor takes office. Nana D celebrates her 75th birthday with an adventure. A double wedding occurs at Crilly Lake on Independence Day. And Kellan receives a few more surprises as the summer heat settles in Wharton County. https://amzn.to/2N67tw4

Haunted House Ghost: Death at the Fall Festival (#5)

It’s Halloween, and excitement is brewing in Braxton to carve jack-o’-lanterns, go on haunted hayrides, and race through the spooky corn maze at the Fall Festival. Despite the former occupant’s warnings, Kellan renovates and moves into a mysterious old house. When a ruthless ghost promises retribution, our fearless professor turns to the eccentric town historian and an eerie psychic to communicate with the apparition. Meanwhile, construction workers discover a fifty-year-old skeleton after breaking ground on the new Memorial Library wing. While Kellan and April dance around the chemistry sparking between them, a suspicious accident occurs at the Fall Festival. Soon, Kellan discovers the true history and dastardly connections of the Grey family. But can he capture the elusive killer – and placate the revenge-seeking ghost. https://amzn.to/2Pdc5TT

Coming Soon!

Frozen Ice Bank: Death at Danby Landing (#6) – Coming in 2020

A winter blizzard unlike any other descends upon Wharton County. Everyone’s so busy preparing for the four towns to shut down that they don’t realize Nana D has gone missing until it’s too late. Madam Zenya predicted the raging storm would change the course of Kellan’s life, but the famed psychic never could’ve prepared him for this level of massive damages. Once a dead body turns up beneath the snowbanks, Kellan must turn to April to face his worst fear of all. What tragedy has befallen his beloved grandmother? Meanwhile, Kellan’s brother Hampton learns essential life lessons the hard way after his father-in-law accuses him of embezzlement. While trying to prove his innocence, Hampton digs himself a deeper hole that might lead to prison. April wants to save him, but she receives the shock of her life as the past hurtles forward with an unremitting vengeance. Between helping Kellan locate Nana D and solving the scandalous murder of a prominent Braxton citizen, April’s world explodes with more turmoil than she can handle. Too bad neither one of them knows what to do about Madam Zenya’s latest premonition—the suspicious deaths happening around town aren’t ending anytime soon.

If you enjoyed this interview, show James some support by commenting and hitting those share buttons!

I love having guests on the blog. If you have a new release, a sale or just want to chat, send me an email via the contact page and we’ll set something up. Hope to see you soon!

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Meet the Author @SarahMallery1 #NewRelease #Writertips


Photo by Lum3n.com on Pexels.com

It is my pleasure to introduce a friend and fellow writer, Sarah Mallery, to the blog today! I met Sarah a couple of years ago when we participated in a box set together. She’s talented, kind, and hard-working.

Please welcome Sarah!

What do you write?

For the last ten years, I have mostly written historical fiction. BUT I have now dipped my toe into different waters. “Tea, Anyone? Book 1 Brooke & Abby Cozy Mystery” is a modern mystery––with a bit of time travel (Gotta get in some historical research, don’t I?)

What genre do you favor?

I am very eclectic in my tastes in music, movies/TV series. And books.  Although historical fiction has played a big part in my life, I really am open to any genre––if the characters and plots grab me.  In fact, it sometimes surprises me how much I end up liking a book that I thought I’d never get into, because of the author’s skill of reeling me in.

When did you realise you wanted to be a writer?

I actually have a little story about that. First off, you have to understand that I come from a family of writers. My dad was a television writer from the Golden Age of Television up into the 1970s, my grandfather and great uncle were both Pulitzer Prize winners, my grandmother, aunts and uncles were all editors. The result? I wasn’t going to touch writing with a ten-foot pole! But then something happened…at the age of fifty.

My very first short story was written just outside of a Macy’s Foundations department, where I waited for my then teenage daughter to select a few bras. She was taking her sweet time, so, as I sat on a leather couch nearby, I got out a little pad and pencil and started scribbling a short story. Forty-five minutes later, my daughter appeared, apologizing heartily for taking so long. I looked up at her, dazed, my mind exploding with inspired thoughts and images.

            “It’s okay, honey,” I told her. “Why don’t you go back and check out some panties?”      

Twenty years later, I feel the same way. Once I start writing, time stops for me.

Talk about having a legacy to live up to! But you managed just fine 🙂

Are you published?

Yes. Through Amazon Digital Services LLC.  Check out my Amazon page below.

Where can you be found on social media?

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/S.-R.-Mallery/e/B00CIUW3W8/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Website or blog:  https://www.srmallery.blog

Newsletter:  https://www.subscribepage.com/t6s5a7

BookBub – https://www.bookbub.com/authors/s-r-mallery

Twitter – @SarahMallery1

Facebook – https://bit.ly/2BTGs8H

Goodreads – https://bit.ly/2k9tefZ

Pinteresthttp://www.pinterest.com/sarahmallery1/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/mallerysarah/

Audible – https://adbl.co/2MsT23o

What do you think is the best way to publish these days?

Having had the experience of being published through a small press that didn’t do much for me promotion wise, and after talking to a few authors who were published through some pretty big houses then left to be an Indie, I realized I, too, was happy being an Indie.  I get to see exactly how much money I make every day, both from sales and pages read, I can easily set up sale prices, and I feel I have complete control over my book cover and manuscript. I was once told by a potential agent that my western romance, “The Dolan Girls,” could possibly be accepted by a big publishing house, and was I interested in signing up with them? I was just about to release it myself as an Indie, but after looking at the covers on the publisher’s site, I decided I didn’t want to change mine to look like so many of theirs. Besides that, I knew that if my book were actually taken, the book probably wouldn’t have come out for at least another year or two. Nah. That wasn’t going to work for me…

What are your favorite genres to read? Why?

Again, I like them all. I even read a couple of Zombie books and was amazed by how much I got into them. It was all because the author had made the characters very appealing and the story compelling. Bingo. A no brainer…

How do you approach starting a new book?

At first, I come up with an idea of what I want to write about. It can come from anywhere. From an article I’ve read, a quote I saw at some point, a picture that grabbed me, a book with plot suggestions. Then, I start thinking of scenes. I write them down on little pieces of paper or 3 x 5 cards and shove them into a large manila envelope. Every time I watch a movie or television show, look at a picture book, or just observe something in my life, I jot down my thoughts and throw them into that envelope. Maybe it’s a throwback to when I was a quilt designer and put together all these little pieces together to create blocks. Who knows? It’s just how my mind works.

What a unique idea!

I ALWAYS make sure I know pretty how much how I’m going to start the book…and how I’m going to end it. Once I’ve at least settled on that, I can relax and proceed. After I have amassed quite a lot of little tidbits, I take them all out, paper-clipped them into categories/characters/plot, and start thinking of where they’ll go in chapters. Basically, I’m a Planner with a Pantser Rising. In other words, generally, I want to know where I’m going, but I’m not opposed to changing my mind at a moment’s notice.

What are the best writing books or blogs you’ve ever read?

I use a lot of different books, but these are the three I consistently use:

“Master Lists for Writers” by Bryn Donovan

“The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression” by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi.

“The Writer’s Guide to Character Traits” by Linda N. Edelstein, Ph.D.

What are your non-writing hobbies, or what do you do to relax?

1) Sometimes, to de-stress, I just go onto my Youtube app and watch all kinds of videos. Puppies, kittens, parrots, toddlers dancing to music, funny Late Night opening monologues, scenes from comical movies––whatever does the trick. Or maybe watch a comedy with hubby where we both howl with glee. Forget meditation. For me, letting those laughing endorphins loose hits the spot!

2) I also like to water my plants because I listen to music while I’m doing it and I’m outside (negative ions, negative ions).

3) I enjoy having family and friends over (once I’ve cleaned up the house, that is!).

4) I like my Senior and Fit exercise class. Not only is it helping me physically––as someone who is past thirty (WAY past)––before class and after, it is like walking into a cocktail party, everyone is so chatty and friendly.

5) And lastly, I love to cuddle with my cat, Junebug. She’s actually featured in my “Tea, Anyone?” So now, I write notes on what cute things she does for future books in the series. Does she realize why I’m taking out a pad and pencil as I coo at her? Maybe. But chances are, she’s just wondering when I’m going to feed her next.

Do you have any personal heroes/heroines?

I’m going to just name some groups of people.

1) Fire fighters who continually deal with great danger all the time. We owe them so much!

2) People who stand up against injustices in the world, no matter their jobs or politics.

3) Scientists who work tirelessly to discover cures for horrendous diseases.

4) People with crippling conditions who fight every day just to survive.

5) People who quietly donate great sums of money to charities without any fanfare.

Have you had any unusual or noteworthy occupations?

Well, once at a job interview, the guy took one look at my resume and said, “You’re either amazing because of how many careers you’ve had… or you’re insane.”

Before entering the writing world, I’d been a singer (both classical and pop/disco), a calligrapher, a secretary, a waitress (a singing waitress to be exact), a production artist, a composer for educational films, a quilt designer, an English As a Second Language teacher, an accent reduction teacher, and a reading teacher.

Wow! When did you sleep? lol

What was your best date ever?

I know this sounds corny as all get out, but it was with my husband, some forty years ago. At the time, I was the female singer of a little band, playing in all kinds of small establishments. One of them looked like the set of the TV show, “Cheers.” Charming place. Anyway, my then non-hubby was in the crowd and came over to talk to me on each of my breaks. Finally, he asked me for my phone number, but being cautious, I took his number instead. When I did call him several days later he said he was happy to hear from me, and could I meet up with him on the commercial set where he was working? Turned out he designed and built props for commercials. And being a creative sort, I loved seeing what he had designed, and how clever his little village looked. After the shoot was over, we went out for dinner and drinks. Why was it the best date? Not because we did anything so special. No high-speed racetracks, no skydiving, no watching a fabulous Broadway show, no moonlight drive with the top down. It was just a simple date with a handsome, intelligent man who made me feel unbelievably comfortable––and safe.  

Sounds wonderful to me.

Tell us something you are really proud of.

I know I should be proud of having written ten books, with two of them receiving READERS’ FAVORITE gold medals. But if I really think about it, I think I’m most proud of staying involved with the wonderful world of authors online. People who not only are talented, but are also kind, sympathetic, and full of great stories. I’ve met men and women who have sometimes had to deal with unbelievable hardships in their lives, yet still soldier on, writing, and supporting other authors. It truly touches my heart.

Can you confide something you wish you were better at?

I wish I was better at promoting…but I’m learning, learning every day.

Chocolate or chips?

Chocolate chips, particularly in ice cream. Or chocolate chip bars. Yummmm.

If you could have a superpower what would it be? Why?

I would immediately change the basic personalities of all the nasty, greedy people in the world who only care about themselves and no one else. Don’t get me started…

Fancy restaurant or picnic?

Well, I’d start with a picnic. But at the first sign of ants, it’s off we go to a fancy restaurant!

Beer or wine?

Wine––preferably white.

Favorite author?

I have several, but if I had to narrow it down to one, it’d be Harper Lee. Love her simple yet lyrical words, her “show don’t tell” writing, and her amazingly touching characters.

Smooth or hairy?

We’re talking about men, right? LOL

Face, chest, or butt? All I can say is if it’s the bottom of their feet, that’s a real problem…

Lol, great answer 🙂

And now for some promo:

“Tea, Anyone? Book 1 Brooke & Abby Cozy Mystery Series”

http://BookShow.me/B07Z59QTMC

AMAZON BLURB :

How do two modern, quirky, twenty-something gals solve murders in a small, cozy USA town?

Easy. With a little time travel, some humor, and a lot of hard work. When the skeptical Brooke first meets the psychic Abby, she’s not impressed. But with the help of her comfort cat, her middle-aged roomie, her childhood friend, and a hunky detective hinting at a sweet romance, Brooke not only accepts that Abby has real gifts, it’s clear that these five people and one cat make up a crack team.

 
Got tea, anyone? In 1773, the Boston Tea Party sure did. Find out why going back in time helps break the case!
#Cozy mystery, #Time travel, #Paranormal, #Murder, #Cats #US History, #Humor

Excerpt

4)  It takes a small Village…the Gang of Five’s meeting

The pizza dinner that night was a free-for-all. Henry, Brooke, Larry, Tony, and Abby couldn’t shut up for one second as they each tried to tell everyone the facts they had unearthed. Brooke likened their words to the twelve-tone music Henry had once forced her to hear at New York City’s Lincoln Center. In both cases, there was a mix-master of chaotic noise.

Finally, Larry placed two fingers in his mouth and blasted out a high-pitched whistle.

Dead silence. Except for June’s questioning meow.

“Okay. One at a time,” Larry commanded. “And raise your hand if you want to be heard.”

“You’ve got to be kidding,” Brooke snapped.

“Especially you, Brooksy. Now, who wants to speak first?”

Everyone shot up his or her hand at the exact same nanosecond.

Sighing, Larry shook his head. Meanwhile, Abby ripped up little pieces of paper, wrote numbers on each one, crumbled them up, and mixed them together in an empty bowl.

“Let’s do it like they do in first grade.” Abby handed out one crumbled paper ball to each person. “Let’s see who has number one.”

Brooke held up her wrinkled paper, triumphantly. “I do, I do. I go first!” she called out.

“See? First grade,” Abby said.

Everyone laughed.

“Okay. Here’s what I found,” Brooke said. “I have a document from the Sheffield Company that includes a few names and initials of their customers. Also, we’ve got an old journal page that gives out names, possible events, and now I’ve got some possible DNA proof that evil can run in families.”

Larry raised his hand. “I’m number two. According to Henry, the Whitman family, who has a history of some pretty shady business practices, now has a lawyer––Ruth Novak’s ex-husband, by the way––who also practices some under-the-table dealings. Turns out, after Cathy and Wynnie were murdered, their dear brother, Michael, made out with millions. Almost instantly. To me, that smells.”

Tony slowly raised his hand. “I’m next. What about Collin? Have we forgotten about him? I know he passed a polygraph, but I found out from an interview with the Whitman maids that he used to be there at their mansion all the time, in his––” He pulled out a small note paid and read his notes out loud. “His fancy suits and expensive shoes. That’s a far cry from the groundskeeper position he has now. I say he had a definite motive for murder, even if he doesn’t come from a––” He added the next two words in air-quotes, ‘evil family.’”

Henry raised his hand halfway. “Since Larry took over my little speech…” He shot a fake dirty look at the detective. “I’m now going to add something about Michael Whitman. He not only got a large inheritance. He left their home years before. In fact, in his high school yearbook, when asked what his goal was in life, he actually wrote, ‘To leave home and my family as soon as possible.’ To me, he wasn’t so thrilled with any of them. And boy, one look at his photograph back then, and you could see the anger written all over his face.”

After some general mutterings, everyone turned to Abby.

“Okay, my turn,” she said. “I’ve been thinking about all of this. A lot. I keep coming back to one thing, besides the evil family, I mean. And that is, what’s the significance of the journal? How can we connect that with our modern life?”

As everyone sat still, even Junie paused during mid fur-washing lick to gaze up at the clairvoyant.

Brooke shot up her hand. “Ooooh-oooh! I know!”

“She’s definitely in first grade,” Larry said.

Jacquie, thank you so much for having me on your blog today. I so appreciate it!!

Sarah

I love having guests on the blog. If you have a new release, a sale or just want to chat, send me an email via the contact page and we’ll set something up. Hope to see you soon!

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January’s Featured Blogger: Jacquie Biggar




I’m thrilled to be interviewed on artist and friend, Rob Goldstein’s wonderful #blog!

Art by Rob Goldstein

Jacquie Biggar has a wonderful gift for writing hot and extremely likable military men!

Jacqui Nelson

This month’s featured blogger is Jacquie Biggar

. Jacquie is a writer of romantic suspense novels.  She writes tough, alpha males and strong, contemporary women.  Jacquie lives on Vancouver Island with her husband.

When did you start writing?

I wrote a few short stories in middle school that were well received by my teachers and fostered my dream of making it a career one day.

Unfortunately, I set it aside for many years while working and raising a family. I didn’t get serious about writing until 2012. I signed up to Romance Writers of America, took numerous classes to learn my craft and joined a couple of critique groups. One year later, I published my first suspense novel, Tidal Falls.

Did you always have a gift for writing hot guys?

Lol, I don’t know…

View original post 2,218 more words

Something a Little Personal #Goals #Inspiration #FamilyFirst


Time to Make a Change

Do you ever look back and wish there were things you could change? I’m sure we’ve all been there at one time or another.

2018 is a blur for me. I was caught up in the write more/ write faster hampster wheel and took the things that are the most important for granted. I wrote and published six books and participated in twelve box sets and book bites.

I’m so proud of these accomplishments, but they came at a steep cost.

Time.

Time to spend with those important in my life. My daughter and grandson, who moved across the country in August. My husband, who works nights and therefore has limited daylight hours awake. My mom, who lives next door. My cat and dog, who would appreciate a little one-on-one time. My overflowing Kindle, filled with stories I’ve yet to read. My garden, that got by mostly by luck and little care last year. My family back home, who I rarely call. My friends, whose lives I’ve lost touch with.

A couple of months ago, I lost a relationship with an online book promoter who I’d considered a friend. Her reasoning: I hadn’t remained in contact with her. This hurt more than probably warranted, but it also served as a wakeup call.

Time is a precious commodity for all of us. We can’t afford to waste it, even if we are chasing our dreams. The cost may be more than you want to pay. One of my critique partners lost her husband not long ago. A friend lost her husband and her father this year, while another had a stroke on Boxing Day. These are all signs telling me life is precious, don’t waste a single moment.

I’m making 2019 my year to slow down.

I’m going to spend less time worrying and more with enjoying life and what a true blessing it is.

Instead of a resolution, I’ve picked a word to live up to: BREATHE

Do you have a word to inspire change?

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The Next Best Thing by @Kristan_Higgins #Romance #BookReview


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Lucy Lang isn’t looking for fireworks…

She’s looking for a nice, decent man. Someone who’ll mow the lawn, flip chicken on the barbecue, teach their future children to play soccer. But most important: someone who won’t inspire the slightest stirring in her heart…or anywhere else. A young widow, Lucy can’t risk that kind of loss again. But sharing her life with a cat named Fat Mikey and the Black Widows at the family bakery isn’t enough either. So it’s goodbye to Ethan, her hot but entirely inappropriate “friend with privileges,” and hello to a man she can marry.

Too bad Ethan Mirabelli isn’t going anywhere. As far as he’s concerned, what she needs might be right under her nose. But can he convince her that the next best thing can really be forever?

 

 

Biography

Kristan

Kristan Higgins is the New York Times, USA TODAY, Wall Street Journal and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of 18 novels, which have been translated into more than two dozen languages and have sold millions of copies worldwide. Her books have received dozens of awards and accolades, including starred reviews from Kirkus, The New York Journal of Books, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and Booklist. She is a five-time nominee for The Kirkus Prize for Best Work of Fiction, and her books regularly appear on the lists for best novels of the year of many prestigious journals and review sites. If you want to keep up with Kristan’s new releases and get a free short story, sign up for her mailing list at http://www.kristanhiggins.com.

The proud descendant of a butcher and a laundress, Kristan lives in Connecticut with her heroic firefighter husband, two long-lashed children, a couple of frisky rescue dogs and an occasionally friendly cat.

 

 

bay blur boat boats
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

My Review

A second chance romance like no other!

Five years after the death of her husband, Lucy Lang is ready to date again; if only she can stop comparing every guy to her husband- and forget the illicit affair she’s been having with his brother.

Ethan Mirabelli has loved his best friend, Lucy, for years, but his older, attractive brother captured her heart. His death placed Ethan in the job of support and comfort. Now, he has a second chance- if he can convince her not to run the other way.

This story is filled with heart-wrenching moments, and yet, it’s also funny, poignant and romantic enough to make this reader’s heart flutter.

I can’t even imagine what I’d do without DH. I’d like to think I’d get signs from above like the dimes that show up for Lucy.

I give The Next Best Thing 5 lovely Kisses- This story hits all the right buttons!

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How do you feel about second chance romances? Have you read any Kristan Higgins books? Which one is your favorite?

 

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She wants a temporary fake romance… Coming Home to You by @MKStelmack #Romance #amreading @HarlequinBooks @PrismBookTours



On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Coming Home to You (A True North Hero #3)Coming Home to You
(A True North Hero #3)
By M. K. Stelmack
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
October 2nd 2018 by Harlequin Heartwarming

She wants a temporary fake romance

Can he make it real…and forever?

Driving across the country in an RV with her terminally ill godmother was not Daphne Merlotte’s idea. Nor was crashing the RV into a small-town coffee shop, nearly hitting local good guy Mel Greene. Now Daphne will do anything to keep her godmother from continuing the trip–even asking Mel to be her fake boyfriend. But there’s nothing fake about Mel’s intentions–he wants a real romance!

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Romance with All the Feels

 

COMING HOME TO YOU, is another story that delivers a huge emotional punch. So says my editor, and I trust her explicitly. It’s why romance readers choose this genre, right? Everyone thinks they are just love stories, but we know they are stories that plow through the entire field of emotions, unearthing the metaphorical dirt on our hero and heroine.

Along the way, I rake over your emotions too, dear reader. It’s a weird sort of masochistic-sadistic relationship in which you knowingly embark on an emotional rollercoaster designed by me to elicit as much fear, excitement, joy and triumph as possible so that when you glide to the finish, shaking with relief, you immediately shout out, “Again!”

I’ve decided that four emotions always arise in romances: whatever makes you cry, whatever makes you laugh, whatever makes you makes you want the story not to end, whatever makes you want it to end.

I’ll explain using COMING HOME TO YOU and my previous stories.

 

  1. Whatever Makes You Cry

 

I received the highest compliment from my editor about COMING HOME TO YOU, when she reported in a margin note: I’m BAWLING here. Then, in our next round of edits, she confided that she cried again in the exact same spot, even though she knew what was coming.

I won’t tell you where she grabbed for her box of tissues, but I can tell you that this scene was key to figuring out what made my hero, Mel, tick. Writers call it the wound—the childhood trauma or early horror that shapes their adult beliefs. Until they face up to how it has atrophied or destroyed their relationships, they can’t move forward.

I’ve written a few stories that have caused the words to suddenly blur for my readers. I’ve read a whole lot more that set off my waterworks.  Haven’t we all? Sometimes, you know why. It’s a story about a bully or the loss of a parent or a fire that destroys memories. You’re crying for your hero or heroine, but you’re also crying for yourself because on some level it speaks to your deepest fear, desire or sorrow.

 

  1. Whatever Makes You Laugh

 

Humor is tricky. One can burst into laughter, while another thinks it’s the height of cruelty. The safest kind of humor evokes a gentle smile and then sails on. I must admit that I’m no good at that. I love zingers, comebacks or the slow, self-deprecating boomerang remark that makes the reader laugh and then suck it back as they realize its impact on their poor hero or heroine. Back in my first book in the series, A ROOF OVER THEIR HEAD, a naked boy jumps into my hero’s truck. There is the usual comical fallout from that as he tries to simultaneously ignore and address the boy’s state, but underneath all that is the very real societal concern of a naked child alone with a strange male in this day and age of ‘blame now, justify later’.

My favorite kind of humor unrolls over an entire scene, the ever-complicating scenario that drags in more characters and plays out natural consequences to their hilarious end. I had loads of fun writing a scene in COMING HOME TO YOU where Mel tries to teach Daphne how to drive.

 

  1. Whatever Makes You Want to Read More

 

Yes, that’s the suspenseful, exciting, ‘will-they-or-won’t they’ range of emotions. It could be the car chase, the meet-up, the clash between hero and villain, the race to find the missing child, the full-on argument between two characters who’ve been dying to lay a tongue-lashing on each other. BUILDING A FAMILY, the second in my series, has all of the above with the biggest rise from my readers coming from scenes where it’s a regular mud-slinging fest of words.

 

  1. Whatever Makes You Want it to End

 

Hopefully it’s not bad writing! I mean here that cringe-y set of emotions: shame, embarrassment, acute anxiety. You know the feeling when your favorite character is about to do something incredibly stupid because they feel compelled to do it, something you know will have an undesirable outcome. How many of you out there are like me, have had to physically leave a room during a movie at those excruciating moments? What, only me? I admit that my daughter has had to order me back into the room to watch the scene play out. If I’m watching alone, then I desensitize myself by watching just a few seconds at a time or pacing while I look away and listen to the audio. Yes, I know. I need therapy. In COMING HOME TO YOU, Daphne first meets Mel, while in a diaphanous, over-the-top nightgown. Sorry, Daphne.

 

Can you relate to these feelings? What other emotions would you suggest? Do you have go-to books that evoke these emotions for you?

 

 

Other Books in the Series

 

About the Author

M. K. Stelmack writes contemporary romances set in Spirit Lake which is closely based on the small town in Alberta, Canada, where she lives with pets who outnumber the humans three to one, and where dust bunnies run unchecked. She aims to tell stories that don’t shy away from the tough questions but still leave readers feeling uplifted. She is the author of two previous Harlequin Heartwarming titles, A Roof Over Their Heads and Building a Family. She loves hearing from readers. Find her at her website or on Facebook

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Tour Schedule

October 1st:
Launch
Katie’s Clean Book Collection
Nicole’s Book Musings
Book by Book
October 2nd:
Reading Is My SuperPower
underneath the covers
Rockin’ Book Reviews
October 3rd:
E-Romance News
My Devotional Thoughts
Heidi Reads…
October 4th:
Handcrafted Reviews
Remembrancy
It’s All About the Romance
October 5th:
Hearts & Scribbles
Christy’s Cozy Corners
Teatime and Books
Book Lover in Florida
October 6th:
Grand Finale

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Gone by Elizabeth Naughton #Suspense #read #BookReview


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Three years ago, Alec McClane and Raegan Devereaux lived every parent’s worst nightmare: their one-year-old daughter, Emma, was abducted from a park when Alec turned his back for just a moment. Emma was never found, and presumed dead. The crushing trauma, plus Alec’s unbearable guilt, ended the couple’s marriage.

Now a four-year-old girl matching Emma’s profile is found wandering a local park. Alec and Raegan are heartbroken to discover she’s not their daughter but are newly motivated to find closure…and each secretly feels desperate to be in the other’s presence again.

Alec suspects his vengeful biological father is behind Emma’s disappearance. But as Raegan investigates other abductions in the area, she sees a pattern—and begins to wonder if Emma’s kidnapping is actually linked to something more sinister.

As Alec and Raegan race to uncover the truth, a long-burning spark rekindles into smoldering passion, and they realize they need each other now more than ever.

 

 

 

Before topping multiple bestseller lists—including those of the New York Times, USA Today, and the Wall Street Journal—award winning author Elisabeth Naughton taught middle school science. A voracious reader, she soon discovered she had a knack for creating stories with a chemistry of their own. The spark turned into a flame, and Elisabeth now writes full-time.

Though primarily known for her romantic suspense work, Elisabeth has penned over thirty novels and continues to write in multiple genres, including paranormal romance and contemporary romance. Her books have been translated into numerous languages and have earned several award nominations, including three prestigious RITA® nominations from Romance Writers of America. In 2017, REPRESSED, the first book in her Deadly Secrets series, won the RITA® for best romantic suspense.

Elisabeth’s work has been praised by the Chicago Tribune as being filled with “deadly intrigue, high adrenaline action, and scorchingly hot passion.” Kirkus calls her “a writer talented enough at weaving a yarn to get her readers ensnared in it.” When not dreaming up new stories, Elisabeth can be found spending time with her husband and three children in their western Oregon home, wrangling two cats, or chasing after one very rambunctious Dalmatian.

Learn more about Elisabeth and her books at http://www.ElisabethNaughton.com.

 

girl in black and white overall skirt holding basket with petaled flowers
Photo by Kha Ruxury on Pexels.com

My Review

This book broke my heart, and yet was so well written I couldn’t set it down.

A parent’s worst nightmare comes true when young Emma disappears during a father-daughter excursion to the park. Alec and Raegan’s marriage buckles under the stress and they go their separate ways.

Three years later, another missing child suddenly appears at a nearby park, and though it’s not their daughter, Alec and Raegan are drawn to the case. Using their connections as reporters they chase a series of leads, desperate to believe Emma might be found.

I was chilled by the realism of this story, and could easily imagine the heartbreak this couple had to live with every single minute their baby was gone.

A couple of my favorite lines:

hope was a dangerous thing. It was a mirage in the distance, flickering in the fading light and dragging a person forward like water draws a parched man. Only, when you got there, all you found was sand. Dry, grainy, throat-clogging sand that could kill you if you gave it the chance.

Naughton, Elisabeth. Gone (Deadly Secrets Book 2) (p. 6). Montlake Romance. Kindle Edition.

He’d been wrong. He did still have a heart. A shadow of one that twisted so hard in the center of his chest it felt as if it were ripping in two.

Naughton, Elisabeth. Gone (Deadly Secrets Book 2) (p. 88). Montlake Romance. Kindle Edition.

I give Gone 5+ lovely kisses- This is a must read!

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Finding Your Voice #Writertips #amwriting


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When I first began my writing career I took a LOT of online classes on craft, editing, revision, grammar, technique, and the one thing that kept coming up was the need to discover your voice. The unique something that distinguishes your work and keeps your readers coming back for more.

But how?

What do the experts mean by voice anyway?

Do you have a favorite author? One whose pages you could read without seeing the cover and you’d STILL be able to say without a doubt, yes, that is definitely their book?

I thought so 🙂

That’s voice!

 

It’s a distinctive style that sets the writer’s work apart from anyone else. Some use setting, such as bestselling and award-winning author Louise Penny. Her books are set in and around the scenic mountain town of Three Pines, Quebec. If a fan were to read a brief passage from any of her books they would know who wrote the novel.

Other writers have a certain way with characterization that’s a dead giveaway, such as Jill Shalvis. Her writing style is part sass, part angst, and a whole lot of heat!

 

 

One of the best styles of voice comes with deep POV (point of view).

Military romantic suspense author Suzanne Brockmann does this better than most. Deep point of view is when the character acts, thinks, or talks and there is no need to add a name tag because we know this character. He/she is as real as if we were watching them on our favorite television series. Suzanne does this by creating distinct mannerisms that we immediately associate with that person. She does this so well, she can write entire passages without a name/ and frequently does, and yet it’s easy to know who is talking at any given moment.

Voice is something a writer gains with time. It can’t be forced, but for readers it’s that magic thing that will make them your fans. If you have a backlist take another look, you might be pleasantly surprised 🙂

I’m currently working on a summer romance set on an island in the Pacific Northwest. A theme that runs through my stories is the value of family, and this one is no different.

Here’s the blurb for Sweetheart Cove:

Josie Sparks is looking for escape after a disastrous relationship. A summer job on a small Pacific Northwest island seems perfect. That is, until she meets her irascible new boss. She thinks she can help his sweet little girl–he’s another story.

Jacob Samuels needs someone reliable to care for his special needs daughter, but is sorry he trusted his sister with the task when help arrives in the shape of a too-young, too-tempting therapist with pain-filled eyes he can’t ignore.

Sand, surf, and soft island breezes bring two lonely hearts together in this heartwarming tale of second chance romance and a love that lasts forever.

 

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Exclusive excerpt

Josie wasn’t sure how she got through the next few days. She must have acted reasonably normal because no one questioned her absentmindedness, even when she set the puppy’s food in the refrigerator instead of the pantry where it belonged. Jacob’s kiss lived front and center in her thoughts, and his hard, masculine body encompassed her dreams. A moody, short-tempered grump who made her pulse skyrocket.

How could she feel this way about him when she’d been hours from marrying another man a month ago? She added fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies to the picnic basket she’d prepared and glanced down at the pup sitting quietly at her feet. “If you’re looking for handouts, you’ll just have to wait. No offence, but I don’t trust your stomach in the car.”

“Is it time yet?” Jane wheeled into the kitchen, her face expectant. The dog, thinking it was playtime, crouched, nose on his front paws, butt in the air and tail wagging a mile a minute. He let out a couple of excited yips, then raced around the room and jumped against Jane’s short-clad legs. “Ow, Mischief, that hurts,” she cried, then stopped in shock and stared at the red marks already fading from her skin. “It hurt,” she whispered.

Josie pushed the dog out of the way and crouched at the little girl’s side. “Honey, this is great. I’m so happy for you. We better tell your father, so he can get you into the specialist for a checkup.”

Jane shook her head and gripped Josie’s wrist. “No. Can we keep it a secret? Please, Josie? Just for a while. I want to get better and surprise Daddy by walking. Please?”

Her pleading eyes undid Josie. How was she supposed to say no to that? She nodded. “Okay, but if you have any pains at all, you tell me, understand?” She patted Mischief’s silky head. “Guess your dad knew what he was doing, getting you a dog. Maybe we should name him Miracle instead of Mischief.”

Jane giggled. “It’s not Mischief, Josie. It’s you. You’re the miracle.”

 

 

I’d like to think I’m gaining a voice, but you the reader are the only ones who can tell me whether I’m right. What do you think? 🙂

The closer she gets to unearthing the truth, the closer she comes to a hidden world of twisted secrets, insanity, and evil that refuses to die . . . Cusp of Night by @MaeClair1 #NewRelease #Suspense


I’m super excited to have Mae Clair on the blog today celebrating the release of her new novel, Cusp of Night!

Thanks for hosting me on your blog today, Jacquie! I’ve been making the rounds with my newest release, Cusp of Night, a mystery / suspense novel with paranormal elements. Cusp of Night features two timelines—one set at the end of the 19th Century, with another in present day.

My main character in the past is a Spiritualist who becomes the toast of Philadelphia society. Her séances are well attended and she’s lauded in the newspapers as being genuine. “Sitters” who attend her sessions are treated to ghostly music, rapping sounds, table tilting, “spirit hands,” ectoplasm, and more. These were all typical elements of mediumistic practices at the time. While researching these and more, I found “automatic writings” to be particularly interesting.

 

Hand writing a letter with a goose feather

 

A medium performs automatic writing—without conscious thought—when under the control of a spirit or guide. Rather than speaking, the medium would convey messages from a sitter’s departed loved one by writing longhand. This could be a few short sentences or pages upon pages of discourse. During the period of writing, the medium is usually unaware of what is happening, his or her hand flying rapidly across the page as the spirit takes control. Occasionally, the words produced might be in another language, or crammed so minute in scale, a magnifying glass would be needed to read them.

In Cusp of Night, Lucinda Glass, performs automatic writings for one of her regular customers—the same way Arthur Conan Doyle’s wife, Lady Jean, would perform an automatic writing for Harry Houdini (said to be from his mother) twenty-odd years later. And like the magicians and showmen of Houdini’s day, mediums of the nineteenth century were not above a bit of flim-flam. Just how much, comes to light in my novel when Lucinda’s world blends with that of Maya Sinclair.

 

Here’s the blurb:

Banner ad for cusp of Night, a mystery/suspense novel by author, Mae Cllair

 

Recently settled in Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania, Maya Sinclair is enthralled by the town’s folklore, especially the legend about a centuries-old monster. A devil-like creature with uncanny abilities responsible for several horrific murders, the Fiend has evolved into the stuff of urban myth. But the past lives again when Maya witnesses an assault during the annual “Fiend Fest.” The victim is developer Leland Hode, patriarch of the town’s most powerful family, and he was attacked by someone dressed like the Fiend.

Compelled to discover who is behind the attack and why, Maya uncovers a shortlist of enemies of the Hode clan. The mystery deepens when she finds the journal of a late nineteenth-century spiritualist who once lived in Maya’s house–a woman whose ghost may still linger.

Known as the Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill due to a genetic condition, Lucinda Glass vanished without a trace and was believed to be one of the Fiend’s tragic victims. The disappearance of a young couple, combined with more sightings of the monster, trigger Maya to join forces with Leland’s son Collin. But the closer she gets to unearthing the truth, the closer she comes to a hidden world of twisted secrets, insanity, and evil that refuses to die . . .

PURCHASE HERE

You can find Mae Clair at the following haunts:
Website | Blog | Twitter | Newsletter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon | Other Social Links

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Help, my secondary character is taking over the book! #amwriting #Romance #mgtab


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Have you ever started to write a book and had a secondary character try to take over the story? It doesn’t matter how hard you work at putting them on the sidelines, they keep popping up at the most inopportune times.

I’ve found it’s better to go with the flow and see where it takes me– usually into another book and thereby creating a series I hadn’t actually planned on writing!

When I was working on The Rebel’s Redemption, book two in the Wounded Hearts series, the hero’s best friend stepped up and insisted I do his story at the same time! I had a lot of fun with those two and the side benefit was interlocking stories that practically wrote themselves. I wish it was always that easy, but truthfully, most books take a lot of blood, sweat and lots of CHOCOLATE before they begin to take shape.

 

Maybe it’s because I’m a pantser. I never know what’s going to happen until it does, and then I say, “That’s brilliant!” lol. Sometimes, it’s a great first line. One of my favorites is from The Beast WithinHer skin was tender as the belly of a kitten. And just as fragile.
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And other times, it comes from a picture I’ve seen:

 

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Like this one I used as inspiration for Missing: TheLady Said No, a mystery set around the Kentucky Derby.

 

And then there’s the ones that emerge from a cover you fall in love with. This one was made by Michele Hauf.

 

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This is Sophia Shaughnessy’s book. She first showed up as the cute sister of Matthew Shaughnessy in Hold ‘Em, but her character became important to the story and readers connected with the young woman desperate to prove herself in a man’s world.

Here’s a short excerpt:

Sophia lightly flirted with Rico—as they’d done all their lives—and pretended not to watch every move Tony made. She absolutely didn’t notice his tough farm hands closing into fists when Rico grasped her waist, or sense the tension emanating from his powerful body as he watched the two of them acting like frisky colts. She’d feel guilty, except the big jerk should know there hadn’t been anyone but him for her since she’d reached puberty.

Damn him.

“I thought I’d take Cleopatra out for a ride,” she said to Rico, making a conscious effort to ignore Tony’s glower. “Do you have time to join me?”

“Sure.” Rico nodded. “Just give me a few minutes to finish these stalls, bueno?”

“Weren’t you supposed to exercise the yearlings today?” Tony growled. “Just because the princess deigned to visit, doesn’t mean the ranch is on holiday. Get to work, Juarez.”

Rico bristled. “I can do that later, they aren’t going anywhere.”

Tony took an aggressive step forward and Sophia hurried to step between the two men. “Stop it,” she hissed. “It’s my fault, I wasn’t thinking.”

She turned and forced a smile for Rico. “I’ll meet you later and we’ll catch up. It’s been too long.” She squeezed his arm in reassurance. “See you at dinner?”

Rico glared at his boss, then gave a slow shrug and dragged his attention back to her. “Yeah, sure. It’ll be like old times, ?”

Sophia saw his intentions in the mischievous glint of his eyes. She braced herself for the fallout as he leaned in and gave her a big, smacking kiss on the lips before jauntily wandering away with a tip of his hat. She’d get even with him, the tease.

She glanced up at Tony and cleared her throat, subduing the instinct to rub suddenly sweaty palms on her pants. “I didn’t mean to create problems, I know this is a working ranch.” That much was true, anyway. She’d tried so many times to insert herself into the business, to be a valued member of the team, but her ideas were brushed aside as the dreams of a young idealist. After a while, she’d given up trying.

Tony met her gaze and sighed. “I probably overreacted. I tend to do that a lot around you,” he admitted. Sophia didn’t have time to enjoy the warm glow his words wrought, before he added, “But you should know better than to come down to the barns dressed like that. You’re distracting my men.”

She wasn’t sure which rose faster, outrage or pleasure. She went with outrage, it was safer. “I’m wearing blue jeans, they’re hardly haute couture. And most of your men have known me since I was knee-high to a grasshopper, you’re exaggerating my appeal. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to see my horse. At least she doesn’t judge me.”

She’d stomped past three stalls, the horses within staring at her with inquisitive eyes, before Tony caught up to her. “It’s been a long time since you’ve been on much of a ride, I don’t like the idea of you going out alone.”

Sophia huffed out a strangled laugh. “I was born on this ranch, I’m pretty sure I know my way around it. Besides, it’s your own fault I don’t have a companion, you got rid of him, remember?”

Tony grabbed a couple of bridles on their way past the tack room. “That idiot would be too damn busy showing off to protect you,” he snapped. “And I wasn’t worried about you getting lost so much as getting bucked off and, if you were lucky, landing on that delectable keister. I’ll go with you.”

“No.” She swung around to face him. “I want a fun, relaxing ride. You’ll just mess with my Zen.”

“You want to go, princess, then I go too. End of story.” He opened the stall for his bay and entered, mumbling sweet nothings to the horse while he swung the bridle over the gelding’s head.

Oh, yay.

 

 

I have a secret; I love secondary characters. They have a sense of mystery about them. You need to find out their story and they leave all sorts of possibilities open for future books. 🙂

Crazy Little Thing About Love releases Tuesday, May 15th. I hope you’ll buy a copy and see if you can pick out the next character who needs his/her story told.

What about you? Do you have a thing for secondary characters? It’s okay, I won’t tell 🙂

The Soldier’s Homecoming by @PatriciaPotter @HarlequinBooks #Romance #Reading @PrismBookTours



On Tour with Prism Book Tours

The Soldier’s Homecoming
(Home to Covenant Falls #5)
by Patricia Potter
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
April 1st 2018 by Harlequin Superromance

He’s looking for roots. She won’t be tied down.

Army ranger Travis Hammond needs to heal physical and emotional wounds. A job in Covenant Falls checking out equine therapy programs for veterans is a start, but it’s only temporary. And he doesn’t need a partner, especially some reporter with the persistence of a terrier and irresistible green eyes. Like Travis, Jenny Talbot’s just passing through town. Unlike Travis, Jenny knows exactly where she’s going next—back to the Middle East, as soon as she recovers from her own war injury. But there’s a bend in the road for both of them.

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Interview with Patricia Potter

 

 

I have a tendency to fall in love with all my heroes and heroines, but Jenny Talbot in my new SuperRomance, “The Soldier’s Homecoming,” shoots up to the top.

 

When I start a book, I spend weeks thinking about the hero and heroine before even considering a plot.  When they become real to me, they write the book themselves.   They do things I never considered.

 

Although I love strong heroines, the hero is usually the catalyst in my stories, especially in a series like Covenant Falls which is based on the return of veterans to civilian life in a small welcoming town in Colorado.  But Jenny would have none of that.   She truly marches to her own drummer and has since she was a child.   She chooses books over play, a college lecture in lieu of the senior prom, jeans and a denim jacket over fashion, life in a hostile and dangerous country over comfort.

 

She was easy to bring to life because she’s a reporter and I was once a reporter on a metropolitan paper and my uncle was a war correspondent.    I understand only too well how a good story can blind a reporter to everything else.   I know the intense curiosity that drives them.  Like Jenny, I want to know everything about people I meet, even if it’s just in passing.   I want to know what they are reading, about their family, what they like and why.   I can be embarrassingly nosy.   So I understand Jenny and what motivates her.   She loves learning for the sake of learning, and absolutely nothing is boring to her, including a hat cemetery.

 

She’s prepared for everything but marriage.   She regards it as a trap.  Her own parents’ marriage is bad, as is her sister’s.   After getting her journalism degree, she worked on a small paper until she had a small stake and headed overseas where she made a reputation writing about out- of- way places for travel magazines.   When she saved enough, she headed for war zones, her true destination.   She went from one dangerous place to another until she was wounded and forced back to the states.  Her goal: to return as soon as possible.  Someone needs to tell those stories.

 

Her curiosity and hunger for a good story isn’t deterred by an injured shoulder.  Until she can go back overseas, she’s looking for a story locally and thinks she finds it in an equine therapy program for veterans in Covenant Falls.    Problem is the providers do not want publicity.   They enlist their newest member, Major Travis Hammond, to get her out of their hair.   Burned by another woman journalist, he’s not happy about it, especially when they end up on a road trip to explore other equine therapy programs in the southwest.

 

Their adventures together are just starting and neither are prepared for falling in love.

 

― Patricia

 

Other Books in the Series


 

About the Author

Patricia Potter is the USA Today Bestselling Author of more than fifty books. She has received numerous writing awards, including RT Storyteller of the Year, its Career Achievement Award for Western Historical Romance and its Best Hero of the Year Award. She is a seven-time RITA finalist and three-time Maggie Award winner. She has served as president of Romance Writers of America.The Soldier’s Homecoming is her fifteenth book for Harlequin.

Prior to writing fiction, she was a reporter for the Atlanta Journal and president of a public relations firm.

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Tour Schedule

April 9th:
Launch
It’s All About the Romance
Simply Kelina
underneath the covers
April 10th:
Colorimetry
Deal Sharing Aunt
Locks, Hooks and Books
Harlequin Junkie
April 11th:
Mello & June, It’s a Book Thang!
Nicole’s Book Musings
Inside The Mind of an Avid Reader
E-Romance News
April 12th:
Wishful Endings
Two Points of Interest
Hearts & Scribbles
April 13th:
SilverWoodSketches
Thoughts of a Blonde
Teatime and Books
April 14th: Grand Finale

 

Tour Giveaway


– 1 winner will receive a $25 Amazon eGift Card (open internationally
– 1 winner will receive signed print copies of of THE SOLDIER’S PROMISE, TEMPTED BY THE SOLDIER, A SOLDIER’S JOURNEY, and THE SEAL’S RETURN (US only)
– Ends April 18th

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On The Edge by Dani Collins #Romance #Read @ExpressoBookTours @TulePublishing @DaniCollinsBooks


On the Edge
Dani Collins
(Blue Spruce Lodge, #1)
Published by: Tule Publishing
Publication date: January 16th 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

When Glory Cormer’s father introduces her to ‘their’ new business partner, she’s appalled. Viking-like Rolf Johansson exudes the same alpha-intimidation that jocks used to torment her through high school. After nursing her mother the last several years, she’s trying to break out of her shell and secretly pursue a writing career, but Rolf insists she go through with the rotten deal her father struck with his brother to renovate an old chalet.

Rolf envisions this mountain as a world-class resort for elite athletes and other jet setters. As a downhill champion and owner of a world-renowned sports equipment empire, he knows what it takes to get what he wants. Nothing will stop him, especially not a hotheaded wallflower who turns the ice in his veins to lava.

Bonus Story! This book contains Glory’s novella Blessed Winter, a no-room-at-the-inn Christmas romance.

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EXCERPT:

“I’m saying I don’t know how to deal with it. I’m not a sensitive man. I don’t want to hurt you again.” His fingers crept all the way around her upper arm, thumb stroking her skin as he gently clasped her in his warm grip.

“So don’t,” she suggested with a flash of irritation.

“Okay.” How did he make one word sound so dangerous? Like a dare. “You tell me what hurts more. Resisting or giving in?”

And now she was falling into an eclipse, staring into eyes that were golden and black at the same time, pulling her right out of herself and twisting her around so her body was in a sensual agony, tied up and yearning.

“Should we see?” he murmured, hands touching her with light sorcery, caressing her arm, caressing her throat, tilting up her chin.

She shouldn’t be this stupid, but she did hurt. All the time. With want…

His head lowered, slanted. His mouth hovered so she could feel the magnetic buzz of ions bouncing between their lips. When he nudged, made that first contact, her mouth stung, so hot and sensitized with anticipation she gasped.

He settled his lips over hers, hot and thorough. Confident. He kissed her in a way she had never been kissed before. This man held himself back with monumental discipline, she realized, because when he went for something, he went for it, and he was a force to be reckoned with. He claimed her with irresistible precision, mouth pressing hers open so the connection went from sweet suggestion to overwhelming passion in a single heartbeat.

She opened her mouth and let him in. Kissed him back with more offering than skill, not even hesitating. Compelled. If he was screwing with her—

Whatever she had consciously been thinking sizzled into nothing. She forgot how to form thoughts. All she knew was the feel of his lips against hers, smooth and firm, pulling just enough to make her follow him, then pressing to keep her sealed inside their world.

His hand slid through her hair to cup the back of her skull. His other arm went around her, broad hand slipping beneath her loose shirt to sit against the skin of her lower back, leaving a starfish of heat imprinted there. A shudder went through her, all of her muscles checking out and giving her body over to his strength. All she could do was lift her arms and cling around his neck, plastering herself to him while they devoured each other. Tongues came into play. His. Hers. She moaned, loving the swirling textures. Reveling in their blatant consumption of each other.

He was hard. She felt him against her abdomen and pulses of reaction hit her loins, making her want to grind against him. She wanted to do it already. Now.

As she realized how caught up she was, she yanked back, gasping.

He let her put some space between them, but kept his arm around her. His cheekbones were flushed above his beard, his eyes like liquid gold.

She hadn’t minded that beard, she realized, and wanted to stroke it with her fingers. She touched instead where the soft hairs had scraped against her chin, wondering how that rough-soft abrasion would feel against her stomach. Her thighs.

Her body reacted with a rush of heat and another pulse. She was very aware of the bed right there, while his eyes were halos of light around pupils the size of the moon.

“And that,” he said, accent thick. “Is why it is my business who spends time in this room.”

 

 

Can Glory live up to her illustrious name?

 

When I started plotting the book that eventually became On The Edge, my husband and I were redoing our will. My writing career was established with a backlist of twenty-plus books. I had to appoint someone to look after that side of things if I were hit by a bus.

 

That started me thinking that maybe my heroine, Glory, administers her mom’s literary estate. I decided her mother was an iconic romance author like Nora Roberts, beloved by millions. She left Glory’s father such a fortune, he’s able to sink it into the run-down Blue Spruce Lodge.

 

Glory’s mom had a long battle with cancer, so Glory has had to step up with increasing skills over the years. It started as stuffing bookmarks in envelopes, but by the end, she’s heavily editing books from her mother’s backlist.

 

Glory always wanted to write. In fact, by Grade Nine, she was so inspired by her mom, she scribbled scenes into a note book. Love scenes. Ones that starred a boy she had a crush on.

 

That was when that jock-pig, Garrett Waters, grabbed it and read it to the class. It was beyond humiliating.

 

Glory continued to dream up stories, but they didn’t make it onto paper. She couldn’t risk it. She didn’t write again until she began editing her mom’s books. Then her mom died and writer’s block hit, but before that, she was writing lengthy passages, sometimes whole chapters.

 

She never takes credit, though. Too scary.

 

Now her father is renovating Blue Spruce Lodge. He needs the cash that would come with a new release, but Glory’s mom is gone. Glory starts writing with the intention of publishing the book as an ‘undiscovered’ title of her mother’s.

 

I won’t spoil how that turns out, but I will tell you that the hero, Rolf—a serious jock who is a gold-medal alpine champion—is her inspiration for her own hero. And Rolf finds out what she’s doing.

 

Fun Fact: The book Glory writes, Blessed Winter, is a book-within-a-book. You get to read it as Glory writes it while she’s fighting with/falling for Rolf in On The Edge.

 

Author Bio:

Award-winning, USA Today Bestselling author Dani Collins thrives on giving readers emotional, compelling, heart-soaring romance with laughter and heat thrown in, just like real life. Mostly she writes contemporary romance for Harlequin Presents and Tule’s Montana Born, but her backlist of forty books also includes self-published erotic romance, romantic comedy, and even an epic medieval fantasy. When she’s not writing—just kidding, she’s always writing. She lives in Christina Lake, BC, Canada with her husband of thirty years who occasionally coaxes her out of her attic office to visit their grown children.

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Boneseeker by Brynn Chapman #RomSuspense #amreading @PrismBookTours @rrsmythe



On tour with Prism Book Tours

Boneseeker
(The Boneseeker Chronicles #1)
by Brynn Chapman
Romantic Suspense
Paperback & ebook, 213 pages
January 10th 2018 by The Wild Rose Press, Inc.

Aspiring scientist Arabella Holmes doesn’t fit the role of a 1900s lady. Her father, Sherlock, landed her a position at the Mütter Museum to pursue her dream of becoming a purveyor of abnormal science, or what her father calls a “Boneseeker.”

Henry Watson’s two-fold mission at the Mütter Museum is to join their team of forensic anthropologists in unearthing unusual antiquities and to watch over Arabella. If only he could get her to speak to him, instead of hurling knives in his general direction. Assigned to a most secret expedition to investigate a mysterious skeletal hand discovered in upstate New York, Arabella and Henry are soon caught in a scientific debate, and the search for the truth may have deadly consequences for those involved.

Are the bones from a Neanderthal? Or are they living proof of fallen angels known as Nephilim?

Watson and Holmes must put aside their differences, trust their instincts, and rely on one another to survive to uncover the truth.

*This is a new version of a previously published edition

 

Praise for BONESEEKER:

Winner of the New Jersey Romance Writers Golden Leaf Contest

“Creative, meticulously researched, and terrific fun!”  ~Grace Burrowes, NY Times Best Selling Author

“The characters, the setting, the descriptions and the mysteries and relationships all work together seamlessly to create a truly wonderful story that I completely adored.” ~Best Books Ever Blog

“The settings are intriguing and the way they are described make you feel as if you are immersed in the story. I could feel the gloom and damp. That is rare in so many books! Boneseeker is a book I highly recommend, and I give it 5 stars!” ~Christy’s Cozy Corners Blog

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Holmes and Watson, Like Father, like son…and daughter

For the record, I have, to date, read 90 percent of the Sherlock Holmes canon—and his predecessors, Wilkie Collins et al.

The new Sherlock Holmes characters in the recent films, however, ignited a fire in my brain.  The following is from my author’s notes in the Book, BONESEEKER

 

John Watson

If one has read the original Sherlock Holmes stories, one quickly realizes Watson was not the bumbling, plump counterpart portrayed in many films. Indeed, Watson was an ex-solider, a crack shot, an excellent physician and surgeon, and able to deduce minor mysteries on his own. I stand by the screenwriter’s version of the American film remakes, which portray him as a necessary catalyst for Holmes to interact with society, and while not the genius-deductive mastermind of Holmes, a force to be reckoned with in his own right.

 

Holmes and Asperger’s

I also contend that Sherlock Holmes had Asperger’s Syndrome. One familiar with this genetic phenotype could quickly recognize his difficulty relating to people, his extreme, all-consuming passions, and obsessive behavior and routines.

Holmes and Watson’s relationship was symbiotic, which is consequently the case with many with Asperger’s, despite their oft-great talents, they often rely on a loved one to assist them with deciphering societal cues and navigating the world of relationships.

Precisely like Watson and Holmes.

Case closed.


So rather than seeing John Watson as a bumbling straight man to Holmes, I rather see him as such.

 

 

And from this relationship—their children were born. How wonderful to imagine the horror of both, when their children fall in love, despite their most valiant efforts to sabotage the attraction.

Here is an excerpt of Henry, arguing with his father over the very subject. Like father, like son.

Henry’s cottage

Henry

I glance out the window at the dimming light, fading to pink streaks on the horizon.

It’s almost dark; we’re almost late for the fund-raising ball.

I stride to my chest of drawers and whip out a tie.

“Father, I thought we agreed I’d meet Priscilla, not pledge my immediate, undying love on first sight.” I rip the black tie off and begin again, eyeing him in the mirror.

One dark eyebrow arches. “Really, Henry? Pray tell, what is not to like? She is utterly gorgeous and well-connected to the museum. She is the perfect prospect.”

“You court her, then.” I wrestle with my tie, roughly slipping the knot up to my neck. I sigh, and spin to face him. “What’re you up to, then? The truth?”

Father’s chest and eyebrows rise simultaneously as he sucks in a breath and then exhales dramatically between his gritted teeth. “You are…”

“Difficult?”

“Yes, but not relevant to this part of the conversation.”

“Brilliant?” I interject.

He half-smiles, as he does when I infuriate him. “Yes, also not relevant. Might I find my own word?”

I turn back to the mirror. “I’m growing old waiting for it.”

“Unsettled. Unfocused. A rogue. Have too many interests—”

“I’m nothing like James, you mean.”

His eyes flare at the mention of my older brother. “I said nothing of the sort, Henry.”

“But you were thinking it.”

“No, I wasn’t.”

“And so marrying would cure me of my many shortcomings?” I turn back to him and give my lapels a rough tug to busy my hands. So I don’t poke him in the chest.

“The right woman, yes.”

“And Priscilla is that woman?”

He bends, picking up his hat and cane. “You’ve only just met her, give the girl a bloody chance. Henry—” He stops dead, revelation lighting his features. “You’ve already someone in mind, don’t you?”

I will my hands to stay still.

His gaze immediately snaps down. “Your hands are limp as dead fish. That is as much a giveaway as if they were fidgeting.”

“You are impossible.” I give up and permit my fingers free rein and crack my knuckles.

“Likewise.” Father’s lips purse as he considers. Comprehension and horror dawn as his mouth twitches beneath the mustache. He jams his eyes shut, shaking his head once. “Not Arabella? I thought we were past all that.”

They fly open, waiting.

I shrug, and slide my hands over my already slicked hair. I walk toward the door.

Escape. Flee. Freedom.

“For the love of all that’s holy, Henry. That’s almost like being married to Holmes.” He gives a little shudder.

“I daresay you’re one to talk. For years, you chose a life with Holmes over matrimony, so that argument is full of holes. Do as I say, not as I do?”

Father’s face softens, and he lifts a placating hand. “I love Arabella too, you know that. But, be reasonable. She doesn’t fit into polite society.”

“Neither does Holmes and he’s almost legendary now.”

“She is unruly, headstrong, and will never, ever listen.”

“I know. She fascinates me.”

He thrusts both his hands palm-up into the air, then quickly covers his mouth in a prayer pose.

I capitalize on his frustration to make my escape, walking swiftly to the door. “We are going to be late for the gathering. Don’t want to keep your pet, Priscilla, waiting. Really, Father, Violet might be jealous at your obvious attachment.”

“Love is too young to know what conscience is…”

It’s a game from my childhood, started by my mother. A perpetual contest between James and me—the most Shakespearean quotes meant the most sweets. His stare burns a hole in my back. I whirl, and glare back and grind my teeth. I always won. “Let every eye negotiate for itself, and trust no agent.”

Father’s mouth pops open. I shut the door before he closes it.

 

Picture1

 

In addition to the giveaway of a kindle book of BONESEEKER, and a 10 dollar amazon gift card—if you forward a copy of a paid ebook to publicity.brynnchapman@gmail.com you will be entered to win a free audiobook and a related necklace, as well.

 

About the Author

Born and raised in western Pennsylvania, Brynn Chapman is the daughter of two teachers. Her writing reflects her passions: science, history and love–not necessarily in that order. In real life, the geek gene runs strong in her family, as does the Asperger’s syndrome. Her writing reflects her experience as a pediatric therapist and her interactions with society’s downtrodden. In fiction, she’s a strong believer in underdogs and happily-ever-afters. Her ancestry tree claims she’s a descendant of the House of Stuart.

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Other Books by the Author

The Requiem Red

Tour Schedule

January 15th:
Launch
Singing Librarian Books
Reading Is My SuperPower
January 16th:
Wishful Endings
Biblio Virgo Blogs
YA/NA Book Divas
January 17th:
It’s All About the Romance
Colorimetry
Rockin’ Book Reviews
January 18th:
Hearts & Scribbles
Locks, Hooks and Books
Lukten av trykksverte
January 19th:
SilverWoodSketches
A Night’s Dream of Books
Bookworm Lisa
January 20th: Grand Finale

Be sure to watch for Promo videos from Brynn’s PR guy—pictured above. Here’s a sample of the insanity on Facebook.

 

Tour Giveaway

 

GIVEAWAY #1: To enter to win a BONESEEKER audiobook and the pictured charm necklace (“And though she be but little, she is fierce.” – Shakespeare), send a copy of your kindle purchase of BONESEEKER to publicity.brynnchapman@gmail.com. US only.

GIVEAWAY #2: To enter to win a BONESEEKER ebook and a $10 Amazon Gift Card, enter via the Rafflecopter below. Open internationally. Ends January 24th.

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How Characters Take on a Life of Their Own #amwriting #writertips #mgtab


girl-2884664_640

When I first started Tidal Falls back in two thousand fourteen I never dreamed it would be more than a two or three book series, yet here I am releasing number six on Tuesday and am in the middle of writing book seven now.

Where do the ideas come from?

The original cast of characters I created in Tidal Falls all insisted on stories of their own. No, really! They’re very strong-willed and refused to go to bed without their stories being told.

Each book brought new friends and family, conflicts, and yes, resolutions, but through it all the underlying plotline continued to feed the storyline and allowed it to grow and flourish.

Some authors like to leave their secondary characters as supporting actors, so to speak. I find most of mine tend to want to take over even though it’s not their turn!

This is good. The further into the Wounded Hearts series I get, the easier it is to write. I’ve already created a world for them, one filled with trials and tribulations they must overcome in order to find their happy-ever-afters.

Because after all, it’s all about the romance 🙂

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Maggie’s Revenge is the culmination of DEA agent Maggie Holt’s journey. Each book in the series reads easily as a standalone, or you can start out with Tidal Falls, on sale now for just 0.99 pennies!

Undercover DEA Agent, Magdalena Holt, has experienced the seedy underbelly of human trafficking. Sent to capture a drug king she finds more than she bargained for and is held captive for months before she escapes.

Now, Maggie is after one thing, revenge.

Read the exciting continuation of the Wounded Hearts saga today!

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International Link: books2read.com/MaggiesRevenge

Add to TBR List: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36604203-maggie-s-revenge

 

 

JacquieBiggar_MaggiesRevenge_800

 

Excerpt

Maggie stared out at the midnight sky and took her first easy breath since their precipitous escape that morning. She could hardly believe she was free; it didn’t seem possible. She’d already made peace with her conscience, knowing sooner or later she would be sold—most likely overseas—and would have to take her own life. It went against her upbringing to consider suicide, but it was either that or… she shuddered at the thought.

It was hard enough wondering about the women she’d already seen peddled away to the highest bidders. Her heart ached, not only for them, but for families left to hope and pray for miracles from a God who seemed to have forsaken them.

How do you like those Christian thoughts, Daddy?

She blinked rapidly until the big dipper came into view. She remembered the story her Iroquois mother told of the Great Bear who wandered freely through the sky. His massive paws helped him to hunt and fish the many rivers throughout the spring until his belly was full. He didn’t know three young braves had discovered him feeding and sought to kill him for his pelt and meat to feed their families during the long winter months.

The three braves chased the bear, trying to kill him, but he always escaped. All summer he ran, however the braves were strong and cunning. They caught up to him in the autumn, their arrows piercing his flesh until the Great Bear died.

His blood spilled from the sky, staining the foliage red and orange. The trees mourned, dropping all their leaves for their friend, the Great Bear.

As is the way of bears, the next spring Great Bear was reborn, and the three braves set out after him again.

“Look to the horizon, my child, and you will see this each year with the coming of spring; the cycle of life is never-ending. Remember this, Magdalena.” Her mother’s voice echoed in Maggie’s heart. Sometimes it felt like she was still that little girl listening with wide-eyed wonder to the stories of her heritage. Then reality would intrude and the innocence with which she’d once viewed the world evaporated.

Her mother believed in the reincarnation of her people. “We are strong,” she said, tucking a young Magdalena into her bed. “Our blood lives in the souls of the eagles; whose eyes can see into the future. The wolves; fast and cunning. And the bear; our eternal spirit brother.” She leaned over and kissed her daughter’s brow. “Remember your heritage, little one, and it will guide your steps.”

For the most part, her mother was right. When her father insisted on teaching her the ways of pick-pocketing and petty theft, her nimble fingers and swift feet had kept her out of the hands of the law. Too bad he never taught her how to fight. Maybe she could have protected her younger sister when… no, there was nothing she could have done as a twelve-year-old.

But, she could now.

She’d made a pledge on her sister’s deathbed. And for the next twenty years it had ruled her every thought and action. She’d been angry and bitter and could have followed her father’s thieving ways, if not for the man who took her under his wing after she was caught stealing cough syrup for her sick mother. He’d turned her life around, proved not all men were alike, and introduced her to martial arts. He’d also taught her sex could be for pleasure, not pain. When their relationship ended she’d come away heart-sore, but healthier for the experience.

Now this.

It seemed her fate in life to fight.

“What are you doing?” Olga said as she slid down beside her and leaned against the rock.

Maggie shrugged. “Thinking. Enjoying the fresh desert air.”

Olga chuckled. “I still cannot believe we got away. It’s a good thing those soldiers are dead, Chenglei would have carved them up for being idiots, anyway.”

Yes, he would have made their last breaths torture. As he would theirs, if he caught up to them. It was her job to make sure that didn’t happen.

 

Reviews are the lifeblood of any successful author. Without you, we can’t be heard.

If you enjoy the story, please consider sharing on your favorite social media sites, as well as GoodReads and from wherever you’ve bought the book.

Thank you,

Jacquie Biggar

Jacqbiggar.com

The Happiness Pact by @LizFlaherty1 #Harlequin #Romance @PrismBookTours



On Tour with Prism Book Tours

The Happiness Pact
by Liz Flaherty
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
December 1st 2017 by Harlequin Heartwarming

The fine line between BFF and happily-ever-after…

Tucker Llewellyn and Libby Worth—strictly platonic!—realize they’re each at a crossroads. Tucker is successful, but he wants a wife and kids: the whole package. Libby knows that small-town life has her set in her ways; the tearoom owner needs to get out more.

So they form a pact: Libby will play matchmaker and Tucker will lead her on the adventure she desperately needs. But the electricity Libby feels when they shake on it should be a warning sign. Soon the matchmaking mishaps pile up, and a personal crisis tests Libby’s limits. Will Tucker be there for her as a best friend…or something more?

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About the Author

Liz Flaherty was a little nervous about retiring from her day job, but making quilts, more family time, traveling at the mere mention of “why don’t we go…” and becoming a Harlequin Heartwarming author have made the past years more fun and exciting than she could ever have imagined.

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Thank you for having me here today!

When Tucker and Libby go looking for happiness in The Happiness Pact, they find it in unexpected places, such as helping a calf be born in a barn during a blizzard.

Although that wouldn’t be my first choice for how to spend a romantic evening, I do have a soft spot for the unexpected. For instance, I grew up on a small farm in the middle of the cornfields of Central Indiana. All I wanted was to move to a city and write books. Marriage and kids? Yeah, eventually, but no hurry.

Well. I moved exactly five miles from the house where I grew up. Still in the cornfields. The marriage and kids I wasn’t in a hurry for? The third and final child was born when I was 23, and Duane and I are talking about how we’re going to spend our 47th anniversary come May.

It’s been a grand adventure—I’m so glad I didn’t get what I intended or expected.

How about you? Share some of your unexpected pleasures and be entered to win a Christmas stocking with a book in it. US only, although if the name drawn is from outside the country, I’ll be happy to send a download.

—Liz

 

Tour Schedule

December 4th:
Launch
Hearts & Scribbles
Rockin’ Book Reviews
Paulette’s Papers
Book Lover in Florida
December 5th:
Book Reviews & More by Kathy
Deal Sharing Aunt
Heidi Reads…
Remembrancy
December 6th:
The Bookworm Chronicles 
Reading Is My SuperPower
I Am A Reader
Teatime and Books
December 7th:
Nicole’s Book Musings
Christian Chick’s Thoughts
It’s All About the Romance
Getting Your Read On
December 8th:
underneath the covers
Inside the Mind of an Avid Reader
Mello & June, It’s a Book Thang!
December 9th: Grand Finale

Tour Giveaway

1 winner will receive a signed copy of EVERY TIME WE SAY GOODBYE and a Christmas stocking
US only
Ends December 13th

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His Baby Dilemma by Catherine Lanigan #Harlequin #HeartwarmingRomance @Cathlanigan @PrismBookTours


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On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

His Baby Dilemma
(Shores of Indian Lake #9)
Catherine Lanigan
Adult Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
December 1st 2017 by Harlequin Heartwarming

Must they always be continents apart?

Nobody expects Paris fashion designer Grace Railton to settle down in her Indiana town, least of all Mica Barzonni. Fifteen months ago, he turned to her for comfort and compassion following a farming accident that left him permanently injured. Then she returned to France and went silent on him.

Until, suddenly, Grace shows up on his doorstep with life-altering news. Mica, a father? He’s barely learned to navigate his postaccident life. But this could be his chance to become the man he’s always wanted to be—the husband and father Grace and their baby son need. Now Mica just has to convince her to stay.

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Other Books in the Series


 

About the Author

Catherine Lanigan is the international bestselling and award-winning author of forty published titles in both fiction and non-fiction, including the novelizations of Romancing the Stone and The Jewel of the Nile, as well as over half a dozen anthologies, including “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Living your Dream”, “Chicken Soup for the Writer’s Soul”, and more. Ms. Lanigan’s novels have been translated into dozens of languages including German, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Chinese, and Japanese. Ms. Lanigan’s novels are also available in E-books on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com, Apple Store, Mobi and Kobo. Several of her titles have been chosen for The Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Clubs. Her Vietnam war-based novel, The Christmas Star, won the Gold Medal Award Top Pick from Romantic Times Magazine and has also won Book of the Year Romance Gold Award from ForeWord Magazine as well as Book of the Year Romance from Reader’s Preference.

Lanigan is the author of a trilogy of non- fiction books regarding angelic intervention in human life: Angel Watch, Divine Nudges and Angel Tales published by HCI and Cedar Fort. Skyhorse published Lanigan’s “how-to” book on writing: Writing the Great American Romance Novel. Lanigan was tasked by the NotMYkid Foundation to write a non-fiction book addressing teen addictions. Ms. Lanigan’s first Young Adult adventure novel, The Adventures of Lillie and Zane: The Golden Flute, was published by Cedar Fort.

Currently, she has published eight novels in the Shores of Indian Lake series for Harlequin Heartwarming: Love ShadowsHeart’s DesireA Fine Year for LoveKatia’s Promise, Fear of Falling, Sophie’s Path and Protecting the Single Mom. Family of His Own pubs July, 2016. She has recently contracted for one more in the series: His Baby Dilemma.

As a cancer survivor, Ms. Lanigan is a frequent speaker at literary functions and book conventions as well as inspiring audiences with her real stories of angelic intervention from her Angel Tales series of books. She is an outspoken advocate for domestic violence and abuse and was honored by The National Domestic Violence Hotline in Washington, D.C. (THE EVOLVING WOMAN). She has been a guest on numerous radio programs including “Coast to Coast” and on television interview and talk show programs as well as blogs, podcasts and online radio interview programs.

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CHRISTMAS IN INDIAN LAKE OR CHRISTMAS IN PARIS?

I’m amazed that a lot of our American traditions that we cling to so tightly and we think are original to us, are actually hybrids of traditions that have been around for centuries.

Take the Christmas Flower.  Poinsettia? Right? It’s a tropical plant. The story must be from a warm country, you’d think.

Well, it’s from France.

The Etoile de Noel is the Poinsettia. Euphorbia pulcherrima grown largely in Central America got its use in Christmas floral displays in Alsace.  (I keep wondering if one of my ancestors from Alsace Lorraine  was a florist since flower arranging, gardening and anything remotely related to flowers is an obsession with me).

The Poinsettia actually originated in Mexico and was known as The Flower of the Holy Night. It was first brought to America by Joel Poinsett in 1829 and named after him. It’s known in France as the “etoile de Noel”. Etoile means “star” and the star shaped petals of the flower symbolize the Star of Bethlehem to the French. The red color is for the blood Jesus sacrificed at his crucifixion.

These days the Poinsettia has been hybred to  all kinds of colors from white to pink, to my favorite the “candy cane” striped flower. And then there’s the “Jingle Bells” version.

 

Guest Post - It's All About the Romance[1]

 

Guest Post - It's All About the Romance 2[1]

 

I don’t know about you, but I can’t make it through Christmas without Poinsettias. I love them all. White ones, Pink ones, glittered ones and luscious red ones. I give them as gifts and mail them to friends. In the dead of winter, they are reminders that the spring WILL come. That life will be renewed and that there is always hope when one believes.

Tour Schedule

November 27th:
Launch
Busy Bumble Bee Book Reviews
underneath the covers
Thoughts of a Blonde
November 28th:
Mello & June, It’s a Book Thang!
Remembrancy
November 29th:
Hearts & Scribbles
November 30th:
Reading Is My SuperPower
Wishful Endings
December 1st:
It’s all About the Romance
Cafinated Reads
December 4th:
Heidi Reads…
Janices Book Reviews
December 5th:
Deal Sharing Aunt
Inside the Mind of an Avid Reader
December 6th:
I Am A Reader
Jorie Loves A Story
December 7th:
Book Lover in Florida
Rockin’ Book Reviews
Harlie’s Books
December 8th:
Colorimetry
Nicole’s Book Musings
December 9th: Grand Finale

Tour Giveaway

– 1 winner will receive a $50 Amazon eGift Card and a Prize Pack that includes: autographed copies of Family of His Own and Katia’s Promise, a gold edged Paris latte mug, and hand soap in a pretty pump bottle (prize pack to US only, if international winner then gift card only)

– 1 winner will receive an ebook of  Family of His Own (open internationally)
– Ends December 13th

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#Crimefiction about an undercover cop written by a former undercover cop! Who The F*ck Am I? by @StephenBentley8 #Suspense


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Link – https://www.amazon.com/Who-Steve-Regan-Undercover-Book-ebook/dp/B075N3158G/

Blurb

This surely has to be a first! Crime fiction about an undercover cop written by a former undercover cop!

From Amazon UK bestselling author, Stephen Bentley, comes a fictional undercover cop, Steve Regan, following on the success of his true crime undercover cop memoir ‘Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story.’

Steve Regan, undercover detective, is tempted by the riches of drug smuggling so he can be free of debt, police bureaucracy, and help a loved one. He wonders whether he can go ‘rogue’ and cross the line.

Regan gets involved in one deal with a Miami-based drug lord. But is everyone who they say they are?

Short, fast-paced, high-impact entertainment, from a bestselling author who knows how to suck you into a story.

Excerpt:

“Boss, I need a passport and need it double quick.”

“What for? Where are you going?” asked Green.

“Miami, Florida, the United States of A!”

“Over my dead body!”

“Bang! Bang! You’re dead,” Regan pointed a make-believe gun and pulled the make-believe trigger twice.

Three days later Regan held his new passport in his hand. “Hey boss, I don’t know how you do it but that was rapid.”

Rick Green fired back, “You don’t want to know. Come in my office, Steve.”

As Regan eased into the leather high-backed chair and stretched out his long legs, Green closed the door behind them.

“Uh uh! I’ve seen that look before. I could be in for a bollocking.”

“No bollocking, but I do want a serious chat.”

“That’s even worse. A bollocking I can take, but seriousness …”

“Steve, shut the fuck up … please. And take off those sunglasses. I bet you sleep with them on.”

Regan removed the Aviators and said, “Sorry boss. Go ahead.”

“I’m concerned about this trip …”

Regan’s mouth started to move … “Shut the fuck up.” Green cut off Regan before he could utter a word.

“These guys are serious players. Fucking Colombians ….”

“Bolivians actually, boss.”

“Same fucking thing. They don’t fuck about. This isn’t our guys making acid here. These are the real deal. Nasty fuckers. What really worries me is you are going in alone now that Red is off the scene.”

“In some ways that’s better.”

“How so?”

“These guys are gonna be wary of a twosome. It’s kinda like classic Starsky & Hutch stuff, don’t you think? Besides less chance of cock-ups if I go alone.”

“Yes, there is that to be said for it but how are you going to keep in touch?”

“I’m not. Too risky.”

“Take a wire with you,” Green said.

“No fucking way, boss. Those things are the size of house bricks. I’m dead if they pat me down and find that thing and the wires. Besides you need half a ton of sticky tape to stop it falling and hitting the floor with an almighty bang. ‘Oh fuck me!’ says I – ‘where did that come from?’ No way!”

“I have to agree with you on that one. Promise me this – as soon as you land back at Heathrow, call me.”

“Promise.”

“And don’t do anything stupid.”

“Such as?”

“Just behave, is all.”

“You sound like my dad,” laughed Regan.

“Fuck off, Steve. Who would want you as a son?”

“My mother?”

Green laughed and said, “You have always got an answer.”

“Let’s hope that is always the case. It may just keep me alive.”

“Bon Voyage, Steve, bonne chance.”

“Ca Va! Et au revoir.”

 

Bio:

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Former UK Detective Sergeant, undercover cop, barrister (trial counsel). Now a writer, author, blogs at HuffPost UK.

Author of ‘Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story’ – an Amazon UK bestselling book about his undercover days on one of the world’s largest drug busts.

Lives in the Philippines, enjoys the beaches and a cold beer and follows “his team”, Liverpool Football Club from afar.

 

A portion of all my book sales royalties are to be donated to the Jamie Bulger Memorial Trust, a UK Registered Charity. Please consider donating even if you never buy my books.

 

How do you approach starting a new book?

It depends on genre. If it is non-fiction, I first research if necessary. Next step is to organize the flow of the book in Word then I write.

For fiction, I now use beat cards to beat out the structure of the book. I am a plotter not a pantster!

Beat cards sound interesting. I’m a pantser, but one day I might change, lol. What are the best writing books or blogs you’ve ever read?

I am a fan of Katie Weiland (K.M. Weiland) and the Creative Penn by Johanna Penn. I have also bought several of Katie’s books.

Those are great sites, I visit them often. What are your non-writing hobbies, or what do you do to relax?

I am a Brit expat living in the Philippines so I relax on beaches with a cold beer and a book. English football (soccer) is a love of mine and I watch that on the TV here.

Jealous! That sounds like Heaven to me 🙂 Do you have any personal heroes/heroines?

Nelson Mandela for his humility and achievements. Mahatama Gandhi and Mother Theresa for their purity of heart and spirituality.

Great choices, we could all use some of their sweetness of spirit. Have you had any unusual or noteworthy occupations?

Yes, yes, and yes! Undercover cop for one. The others I guess are unusual because of the variety involved – barrister (trial attorney), hospital porter, motorcycle delivery rider, truck driver, industrial plant operator (payloader etc.).

You’ve done a bit of everything! What was your best date ever?

Ha! First time I ever met my wife. We met in Manila and I fell in love with her wit, intellect, vivacity and her looks of course.

Aw! Are you sure you’re not a romance author in the making? Tell us something you are really proud of.

Qualifying as a barrister in London at the famous Inns of Court School of Law. It was a tough post graduate course and even tougher to establish a law practice as a criminal trial advocate. I did it!

That’s awesome. Can you confide something you wish you were better at?

Writing. Seriously, wouldn’t it be wonderful if future generations knew my work? It would be a great legacy but unlikely to happen, but who knows? I may just have one book in me that does the trick.

Thank you!
Stephen

 

Vengeance rules her life… Maggie’s Revenge by Jacquie Biggar #NewRelease #Suspense #Kindle


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DEA Special Agent Maggie Holt is fierce, smart, beautiful– and in over her head.

Maggie has been working undercover 15 months when she is taken by Chinese-Mexican cartel leader, Chenglei. She tries to escape with 8 other women and is captured and brutally punished.

Adam O’Connor is angry and frustrated. It’s his fault his partner, and one-time lover, is missing and no matter how many leads he chases, they don’t bring Maggie home.

An unexpected break in the case sends Adam south to Texas. His old SEAL Team Chief, Frank Stein, offers his home and his help in the search effort.

Will these two strong men find Maggie? And will their decades old friendship be destroyed by their love for the same woman?

Read the exciting continuation of the Wounded Hearts Saga this December!

Pre-order Your Copy Today!

she scared him. Magdalena Holt had the power to rip his safe, secure world apart and Frank wasn't sure he could handle the fallout.

Excerpt

Maggie wiped the sweat dripping into her eyes and scowled at the still-too-damn-hot sun taking its sweet time to dip behind the hills. She looked at the other women hunkered under the Humvee to grab what shade they could, and sighed. They were bruised and bloody, but alive. That’s all she could ask for right now.

Well, that and a tank of gas would be nice.

And a cool shower.

A steak dinner.

Her own bed.

Maybe she was hallucinating.

She laid the rifle across her thighs and leaned against the massive tire of the truck, one of the only spots she could touch without getting burnt. Someone with a sense of humor must have a plan for her, otherwise how could she have escaped a Mexican prison after months of captivity, get shot and survive it, then outgun a truckload of banditos and still be able to sit here boiling to death?

“You should join us,” Olga called, her voice raspy. “It’s safer under here. You don’t look so good, my friend.”

Maggie tried to make her smile reassuring, though the pain in her side was getting progressively worse. She’d glanced at it a few minutes ago and been dismayed by the redness surrounding the wound. “Soon. I need to do a reconnaissance of our friends over there first. I’m just getting up the energy.”

She hated how weak and dizzy she felt. They had neither the time for her to fight through an infection—and unless one of the ladies knew some desert secret—nor antibiotics to help the healing process.

Thank goodness, the men had not been trained troops. It took only moments for the firefight to end, with no injuries to the women. Maggie hated to kill them, but there was no choice. It was them or her. The grenade blast had done a good job of creating chaos among the men. They’d jumped from the truck, fearing another blast, and then it was a simple matter to pick them off from there.

She used the butt of the rifle to climb awkwardly to her feet and trudged through the sand toward the carnage, stiffening at the sound of steps behind her. She turned and frowned. The women trailed her, Olga in the lead brandishing a piece of lead piping that had been lying on the floor of the Humvee.

“Go back,” Maggie cried. “It’s too dangerous. At least until I make sure they’re…”

Olga reached her side and clasped a hand around her waist, careful to avoid the wound. “You can barely stand,” she whispered, for Maggie’s ears alone. “Do not be so brave, you’re stupid. We need you to get out of here. I need you,” she added.

Maggie gulped tears of gratitude. They may be in the middle of a war, but she’d made a friend for life.

She nodded. “Okay, let’s do this.”

***

Chenglei poured his tea and ignored the foot soldier sweating in his doorway. The child he’d been training lay sobbing quietly on the floor at his feet. Her leg was red and angry-looking where the hot liquid had spilled. She’d been warned on the proper etiquette; he never repeated himself.

It was a sign of weakness.

And Chenglei refused to fail.

“Tell me, how is it your militia cannot manage to capture five scrawny women? This is beyond my understanding.” He glared at the soldier. “Did I not make myself clear? I want them,

dead or alive. Why could your fools not accomplish this one small matter?”

The man wiped a shaky hand over his brow, then resumed Parade Rest position. “I am sorry, señor. I lost good soldiers today. The woman, she has training. My men were not expecting a firefight. They did their best under the circumstances.”

Under the…

Chenglei sipped his tea and tried to calm his nerves. The girl’s sniveling wasn’t helping matters. He gave her a shove with his toe. “Go to your room. I do not wish to see you again this night.”

She hiccupped and lifted her head, eyes red, cheeks flushed. She would be a beauty one day; if he didn’t kill her first.

“Go,” he snarled, some of the fury churning within escaping despite his control. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly.

Once.

Twice.

There, see. The monster who beat at the doors of his mind did not rule him, he was its master. Just as he was the ruler of his fate. And one stupid American woman was not going to change that fact. He waited until the child slipped out of the room before addressing the captain.

“You are right. The woman—the one with dark hair—she is a spy.” The soldier stiffened. Chenglei hid his satisfaction. “She is here to destroy the cartel. We must do whatever is necessary to stop her. Do you understand?”

The man gave a sharp nod, the light of retribution shining out of his dark eyes. “. I will round up another team, and this time, she will not get away.”

Bueno,” Chenglei murmured. “Bring her back alive, if you can. I do not care about the rest; your men may do as they wish with them. But Señorita Holt and I have business to finish; I want her returned to me.”

The captain bowed and backed out of the room, closing the heavy brass-plated door behind him. Chenglei had a love of beauty and was careful to surround himself with only the very best of everything. The wall-hangings dated from the sixteenth century, as did the Aubusson rug he sat upon, legs crossed. The rich greens and golds pleased his eye and the silkiness of his robes gratified his skin.

Success.

He’d made something of his life; he wasn’t about to let some gringa federal agent take that away from him.

I’m so excited to share Maggie’s book with you. Her story began way back in #2 of the Wounded Hearts series, The Rebel’s Redemption (soon to be available in Audible format), and quickly became a fan favorite. It’s taken me a while to give her journey the attention it deserves. Her voice has haunted me for long enough, it’s time to tell the tale!

When writer’s say they work in solitary, that’s not strictly true. At least, it isn’t for me. My characters live in my mind. They argue, dream, demand, ask for advice, rule my heart and my pen.

While I’ve written a few standalone novels, I have to admit I favor writing in a series. I like building a world and filling it with strong, interesting people readers can connect with, have empathy for, fall in love with.

If I can do that, I’ve done my job 🙂