Tag Archives: debut novel

Author interview with SUSIE BLACK, author of DEATH BY SAMPLE SIZE

You all know by now I Iove my Wild Rose Press sistahs and I love introducing you all to new writers I think you’ll enjoy. Today is no exception to that premise.

Meet Susie Black. Susie is new to the Rose Garden and her debut cozy humorous mystery, DEATH BY SAMPLE SIZE is out now and getting fab reviews. Susie was kind enough to stop by recently, answer my grilling questions, and then we discussed her beloved grandmother and a forgotten art: letter writing. She also gave me a little excerpt to share from her book and I think you’ll agree that once you read it, you’ll want to get this book!

First, here’s our interview:

Susie Black: The Writer Questions

What drives you to write?

Coming from a sales background, I am a student of human nature, a people watcher, and a born storyteller. During the course of my ladies’ apparel sales career, I have kept a daily journal that chronicles the quirky, interesting, and sometimes challenging characters I come in contact with, as well as the crazy situations I’ve gotten myself into and out of. My journal is the foundation of all I write.

What genre(s) of Romance do your write, and why?

 I actually write in the humorous cozy mystery genre, but unrequited or ill-fated romance is usually one of the motives for the murder in my plots.

What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why?

I read romantic mysteries. I lean towards whodunits, but like them spiced up with some romance that usually drives the plot.

What’s your writing schedule? Do you write every day?

Honestly, I do not have a writing schedule. If I had only specific days and hours when I could write, then I would. I set my own schedules and find that writing when the urge to write hits instead of checking the calendar or clock to see if it is writing time, makes for a writing atmosphere that is much more creative for me.

Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table?

Most of the time I write in my office at my computer adjacent to a window that overlooks a golf course. I have also been known to write on my laptop while sitting on the deck of my houseboat.

6. Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnel-vision?

 I am used to white noise around the house, so I am able to filter out the typical sounds of the day. Also, I have a hearing problem, so in this case, it is a benefit as I simply do not hear a lot of noise.

Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not?

It depends. If I am working on a chapter that I have a good idea of how to write, then I listen to either cool jazz or oldies in the background.  If I am working on a new section or one that is challenging, then no, I prefer as few distractions as possible, so no music for me to sing along to.

How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP?

The plotline/idea for my current WIP came from an incident I had with an unscrupulous buyer that I used poetic license to take to a much more dramatic level.

 Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why?

I am a people person, so for me, the characters always come first. My characters always drive the plot, never the reverse.

What 3 words describe you, the writer?

 Funny. Honest. Passionate.

Susie, the Gal…

Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing!

I eat each item on the plate separately and completely before I go to the next item and I eat my least favorite item on the plate first.

Who was your first love and what age were you?

My first love was Dean Schneider. We were five years old.

If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and….

My Wedding Day

What’s one thing you love about your significant other?

He makes me laugh every, single day.

If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it item, what would it be?

My car

What three words describe you, the person? Honorable, Trustworthy, Sassy

If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be?

“I won’t grow up” from Peter Pan

If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it by, why, and what would you do together?

Nancy Drew because she got me interested in mysteries. We would solve a mystery together.

Bonus round

I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:

  1. Favorite sound: Waves breaking on the seashore
  2. Least favorite sound: Fingernail scratches across a chalkboard
  3. Best song every written: People, by Barbra Streisand
  4. Worst song ever written: Woolly Bully by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs
  5. Favorite actor and actress: Favorite actor: Jack Lemon Favorite Actress: Meryl Streep
  6. Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead): Fearless Golda Meir because she was one of the first female heads of state in a major country and did what was necessary to defend Israel. 
  7. What turns you on? Love
  8. What turns you off? Narrow minds
  9. Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”): “I’m sorry, but I’ve got to be at work really early tomorrow.”
  10. What’s your version of a perfect day? My husband, son, and I are together enjoying one another’s company.

And now, A little on that forgotten letter-writing art form:

In this modern time of smart phones that do almost everything including talking for you, it is hard to believe, but back in the early days, telephones were difficult to use, often unreliable, and expensive to own. Not every family, including mine, could afford the luxury of having one.

Like many families, once my Nana’s siblings grew up and left home, they scattered across the country. Nana knew the importance of keeping her family together no matter how many miles separated them. Since a phone was not an option, as the oldest child, Nana was chosen to write letters to family members living far from home. With the same level of dedication as the postman; come rain, sleet, or snow, war or peace, prosperous times or the depths of a national depression, my blind-as-a bat without her coke bottle-thick glasses Nana sat every Monday night at her dining room table and wrote a letter to each of her siblings. Her letters sewed the thread that kept our close-knit tribe connected.

When I was in my sophomore year of college my family moved from Los Angeles to Miami. Despite their valiant attempts to persuade me to join them, I wasn’t interested in relocating to “God’s waiting room,” and remained out west. The good news was that Nana added me to her list of weekly letter-writing recipients. Lonesome for my family, Nana’s weekly letter was an eagerly-anticipated lifeline to my family’s heart and soul. For all of us, that letter was the glue that kept our family bound together no matter how far from home one of us wandered.

The designated town crier, Nana’s letters were more like a newsletter. A date with her friends at the movies? After reading her letter, I was in the seat next to her. She reported who went, what they wore, if they were late or early; where they sat, if they had a snack, what the snack was, editorials on how much the snacks and the movie tickets cost, and every detail of the movie that was so complete, the recipient of her letter could write a decent review based on Nana’s commentary.  If she described what an attendee was wearing, I could close my eyes and picture the outfit perfectly. Her descriptions were so detailed and rich, that if she was describing a meal, I could smell the wafting aroma and taste the food.

Out of sentimentality or maybe a sixth sense that someday I’d need them, I kept every one of those letters. Like Nana, they were strong-willed and hearty; surviving dogs, a child, countless moves,  several major earthquakes and a devastating house fire. I had no formal creative writing training when I decided to write my first manuscript. I had a story to tell, but no clue how to tell it. I instinctively pulled the carefully wrapped packets of letters out of the storage box and re-read every one of them. I could picture Nana at the dining room table writing the letters. I  heard her voice inside my head speaking to me. My long-gone, full-service Nana had given me all the tools I needed. I re-packed the letters, started to write, and thanks to Nana, I never stopped.

In a detached society that values cheaper and faster, we are insulated from direct contact with one another more each day. E-mail and texting replaced a phone call, and Zoom is the new version of a face to face meeting. We don’t need brick and mortar to build walls anymore. Modern technology has certainly had an impact on society mores and improved many aspects of our lives. Regrettably, technology was also a death knell for several means of personalized communication. Nana would have been horrified that a quaint, old fashioned skill like letter-writing disappeared. My debut humorous cozy mystery Death by Sample Size is out now. Thanks to Nana, my story has been told in a distinctive voice that comes through loud and clear.

Peggy here: I lovelovelove writing letters – and receiving them!!

Everyone wanted her dead…but who actually killed her?

The last thing swimwear sales exec Holly Schlivnik expected was to discover ruthless buying office big wig Bunny Frank’s corpse trussed up like a Thanksgiving turkey with a bikini stuffed down her throat. When Holly’s colleague is arrested for Bunny’s murder, the wise-cracking, irreverent amateur sleuth jumps into action to find the real killer.  Nothing turns out the way Holly thinks it will as she matches wits with a wily killer hellbent on revenge.

When the elevator doors opened, I had to stop myself short not to step on her. There was Bunny Frank-the buying office big shot-lying diagonally across the car. Her legs were splayed out and her back was propped against the corner. Her sightless eyes were wide open and her arms reached out in a come-to-me baby pose. She was trussed up with shipping tape like a dressed Thanksgiving turkey ready for the oven with a bikini stuffed in her mouth. A Gotham Swimwear hangtag drooped off her lower lip like a toe tag gone lost. Naturally, I burst out laughing.

Before you label me incredibly weird or stone-cold, let me say genetics aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. If you’re lucky you inherit your Aunt Bertha’s sexy long legs or your father’s ability to add a bazillion dollar order in his head and get the total correct to the last penny. Without even breaking into a sweat, it’s easy to spout at least a million fabulous traits inheritable by the luck of the draw. Did I get those sexy long legs or the ability to add more than two plus two without a calculator? Noooooooooo. Lucky me. I inherited my Nana’s fear of death we overcompensated for with the nervous habit of laughing. A hysterical reaction? Think Bozo the clown eulogizing your favorite aunt.

I craned my neck like a tortoise and checked around. Then I clamped a fist over my mouth. Cripes, how could I possibly explain my guffaws with Bunny lying there? The disappointment was simultaneously mixed with relief when there was no one else in the parking lot. Where was security when you needed them?

I toed the elevator door open and bent over Bunny. I’d seen enough CSI episodes to know not to touch her. She was stiff as a board and I attributed the bluish tinge of her skin to the bikini crammed down her throat. I was no doctor, but I didn’t need an MD after my name to make this diagnosis. Bunny Frank was dead as the proverbial doorknob.

It was no surprise Bunny Frank had finally pushed someone beyond their limits. The only surprise was it had taken so long. The question wasn’t who wanted Bunny Frank dead. The question was who didn’t?

Get your copy here:

Amazon ~ barnesandnoble ~ Googleplay ~ itunes ~ kobo ~ Target

Add it to your reading list:

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Born in the Big Apple, Susie Black now calls sunny Southern California home. Like the protagonist in her Holly Swimsuit Mystery Series, Susie is a successful apparel sales executive. Susie began telling stories as soon as she learned to talk. Now she’s telling all the stories from her garment industry experiences in humorous mysteries.

She reads, writes, and speaks Spanish, albeit with an accent that sounds like Mildred from Michigan went on a Mexican vacation and is trying to fit in with the locals. Since life without pizza and ice cream as her core food groups wouldn’t be worth living, she’s a dedicated walker to keep her girlish figure. A voracious reader, she’s also an avid stamp collector. Susie lives with a highly intelligent man and has one incredibly brainy but smart-aleck adult son who inexplicably blames his sarcasm on an inherited genetic defect.

Looking for more? Reach her at mysteries_@authorsusieblack.com

Just behind my college graduation, wedding day, and the birth of my son, June 9th was truly one of the most amazing days of my entire life. My debut cozy mystery Death by Sample Size was released for publication. I am humbled, honored, and proud to be able to say that now I am officially a published author! A life-long dream has come true, a hard-fought-for goal has been accomplished.

You can connect with Susie here:

Twitter * Linkedin * Pinterest * Facebook * Instagram

And here’s something special just for you from Susie: CHOOSING THE RIGHT SWIMSUIT

Peggy here – Susie, thanks so much for being my guest today. DEATH BY SAMPLE SIZE sounds fab!

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An interview with Author Steven J. Kolbe

So, if you read this blog with any frequency, you know I devote a lot of the posts to fellow writer friends, mostly Wild Rose Press and Romance gems chicks. Well, today I’ve got something – or should I say someone – new. A Wild Rose brotha. Steven J. Kolbe is just about to have his debut WRP novel published in 2 days and he very graciously sat down with me recently so I could get to know him better. But first, here’s a little about the book,releasing on 8.18.2021.

How Everything Turns Away

a contemporary mystery by Steven J. Kolbe

Blurb:

 Ezra James used to be a big deal: Harvard graduate, FBI agent, beautiful wife. After being accused of fabricating evidence in a serial killer trial, he finds himself suspended, on the verge of a divorce, and working security at a posh Catholic school in Chicago. Then something out-of-the-ordinary happens: a young student-teacher is attacked during a Christmas pageant and left for dead in the snow with a noose around her neck and an electrical burn. Plus, she’s pregnant. Ezra, along with up-and-coming police detective, Lucia Vargas, and school chaplain, Fr. Remy Mbombo, must work fast before the culprit returns to finish the job.

Excerpt:

Gorecki raised a hand. “I’m sure you’ve seen a lot, Mr. James, underage drinking, monitoring in-school detention duty and such, but this here’s serious.”

“You’re a cop, you said?” Vargas said. “Not in Evanston PD. What precinct?”

“I’m a special agent, actually.”

Both detectives raised their eyebrows.

“DEA?” Gorecki guessed.

Now he did produce his badge. “FBI, Chicago field office.”

Gorecki inspected it. “Special Agent James,” he said mostly to himself. Then a glimmer of understanding came over his face. “I—” he started to say but stopped abruptly.

This happened sometimes. Ezra would be having a perfectly normal conversation with somebody, but then a headline would flash through their mind, and their whole demeanor changed. For an entire year, Ezra’s name appeared in the Chicago Tribune, sometimes making the front page. Eventually people remembered seeing one of those headlines.

His jaw clenched as he waited for Gorecki to continue.

“You’ve helped a lot,” the detective said, biting his lip. “You can rejoin your friends inside.”

BUY LINKS

B&N:

Amazon:

Peggy here – sounds good,doesn’t it? Okay, here’s a little more in-depth stuff into Steven the Writer, and the Guy:

Steven,  The Writer Questions

  1. What drives you to write? As long as I’ve been able to write, I’ve gotten a thrill from writing down stories and sharing them with others.

2. What genre(s) of mystery do you write, and why?

So far I have only written one. It is mostly a traditional mystery (detective solves a crime in a normally non-criminal environment), but there are some procedural and thriller aspects to it. 

3. What genre(s) of mystery do you read, and why?

I try to read it all. I have a few series I like, one is a cozy mystery, another is somewhat more procedural and definitely crime rather than cozy. Thrillers can be real fun, but I can’t read them one after another. I’ve also liked the noir I’ve read. My favorite subgenre might be postmodern mysteries: Pynchon, Lethean, and Horowitz are authors who spring to mind. I just read an excerpt of Paul Sister’s New York Trilogy and am eager to read more.

4. What’s your writing schedule? Do you write everyday?

Ideally. I’d love a solid block every morning, but with three kids and a full-time teaching job, I sneak the pages in where I can.

5. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table?

In the middle of whatever chaos I find myself in. I have a study in the basement, it’s open, so I frequently have tiny visitors. I write just as often at the kitchen table or in the backyard.

6. Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnel-vision?

I get pretty focused. My wife often has to take my pen away because one of the children has climbed onto the fan. (Not really, but almost.)

7. Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not?

I like jazz, classical, and foreign language music best because it doesn’t interfere with my thoughts. 

8. How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP?

So my debut came entirely from the victim. I saw her attack in my mind and I wanted it to be nearly impossible to figure out. Then the characters came along and gave it life. With my WIP, I had the characters already and decided to give them an even more bizarre crime to solve.

9. Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why?

I believe in that magic that happens in the hour or two hours when you are totally immersed in a scene and literally anything can happen. I plot out ahead of time, which is great fun, but I live for that magic.

10. What 3 words describe you, the writer?

Spontaneous, meticulous, dictionary-aholic  (Peggy here – I’m stealing that last word for my own!)

Steven, the Guy Questions:

  1. Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing! By the time I graduated high school, I’d attended ten different schools. 
  2. If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and…. I had an amazing day a few weeks ago. We were just home on summer vacation. Took the kids to the library, the pool, and grilled in the backyard. I wrote some, I read some, and I drank coffee all day. I don’t think it could get much better than that.
  3. What’s one thing you love about your significant other? She makes me laugh more than anyone I know. 
  4. If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it item, what would it be? The internet. 
  5. What three words describe you, the person? Optimistic, ridiculous, and sorry what was the question again?
  6. If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be? Something I can’t possibly mess up.
  7. If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it be, why, and what would you do together? I know that I don’t write fantasy, but if there’s a world to visit, I have to think it’s Hogwarts. Only if I wasn’t a muggle, of course. 

Bonus round

I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:

  1. Favorite sound – a babbling brook 
  2. Least favorite sound – alarm clock (Peggy here – I second that!)
  3. Best song every written – “Clair de Lune” by Claude Debussy or “81” by Joanna Newsom
  4. Worst song ever written – mmbop 
  5. Favorite actor and actress – Steve Carrel and Emma Stone. (If you haven’t watched Crazy Stupid Love, go do that now)
  6. Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead) Einstein. There is so very much I simply do not understand. I’d like to understand some of it for a day.
  7. What’s your version of a perfect day? Productive morning–totally free afternoon.

Author Bio:

            Steven earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees in English from Kansas State University. He started his writing career as a lowly student worker for the prestigious literary journal The Southern Review. (If you received a formal rejection letter from the mid-2000s, he probably sealed the envelope.) He has published fiction, poetry, and nonfiction in various newspapers, magazines, and journals since that time. He lives in Southwest Kansas with his wife and three children. http://www.stevenjkolbe.com

For more information on Kat and Veronica, go to:

Email:               KolbeStevenJ@gmail.com

Blog:                http://www.StevenJKolbe.com

Amazon:          https://www.amazon.com/Steven-J-Kolbe/e/B098R29ML8?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1626446350&sr=8-1

Instagram: @StevenJKolbe

Twitter:            @KolbeSteven

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/117512174-steven-j-kolbe

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Through the Red Door is #0nsale Get your copy today!

I love when I find a great book. I love it even more when the author is one of my Wild Rose Press Sistahs!   And the best? When that great book by that fab author is ON SALE!!!! Sadira Stone is having such a sale!

99-Cent Sale! Through the Red Door, Book One in the Book Nirvana series, is just 99 cents (eBook only) on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes from May 31st through June 13th.

Fans of steamy contemporary romance, bookshops, and sexy historical artwork will love this tale of new beginnings after grief.

Blurb:

Letting him inside could be her salvation…or her undoing.

Clara Martelli clings to Book Nirvana, the Oregon bookshop she and her late husband Jared built together. When rising rents and corporate competition threaten its survival, her best hope is their extensive erotica collection, locked behind a red door. In dreams and signs, her dead husband tells her it’s time to open that door and move on. When a dark and handsome stranger’s powerful magnetism jolts her back to life and he wants a look at the treasures of that secret room, she can’t help but want to show him more.

Professor Nick Papadopoulos is looking for historical erotica. Book Nirvana’s collection surpasses his wildest dreams, and so does its lovely owner. A widower, he understands Clara’s battle with guilt, but their searing chemistry is too strong to resist. Besides, he will only be in town for two weeks, not long enough for her to see beyond the scandal that haunts his past.

 

Here’s a peek inside:

Clara and Jared were adventurous lovers, but this was beyond anything they’d tried, or even imagined. She turned the book sideways and peered closer at the drawing. Something touched her shoulder and, startled, she squeaked like a little girl and slammed the book shut.

Beside her stood Nick, the smutty professor, holding a plate with two scones. Was that a blush coloring his chiseled cheeks? With his deep olive complexion, it was hard to tell. She lowered her gaze and found herself looking right at his crotch.

Damn it!

With no safe place to direct her gaze, she closed her eyes and took a deep breath.

“Sorry, Clara. Beautiful women bring out my devilish side. Please forgive me.” He slid a new scone onto her empty plate, then sat beside her. “I guess Shunga isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.”

“Shunga?”

Nick nodded. “This type of painting or woodblock print. There’s usually a funny text to go with it.” He balanced the book between them, resting on the arms of their two chairs, then glanced at her, an eyebrow raised.

Okay, Clara, time to put on your big girl panties. You can handle this.

She nodded.

Nick flipped to a new page. “The beautiful costumes and hair arrangements date from the Edo era, roughly the 1600s through the mid-1800s. And here’s the text.” He pointed to columns of delicate Oriental writing.

“Can you read it?”

“Not very well. I have a friend here at the university who can help with the translations. This really is an extraordinary book.” He sipped his coffee and flipped the page.

“Are their, um, private parts always so large?”

He shot her another devilish grin. “Always. You know, it’s funny. In European artwork, male genitals are often unusually small, compared to…” He glanced down at his own lap.

She followed his gaze, then jerked her eyes away. Her voice creaked like a twelve-year-old boy’s. “Yes, I’ve—uh—I’ve noticed.”

“But in Shunga, all the genitals are outsized.”

“Doesn’t that scare women away?”

“On the contrary—these drawings were presented in ‘Pillow Books’ designed to instruct young couples in the art of love.”

Author Bio:

Ever since her first kiss, Sadira’s been spinning steamy tales in her head. After leaving her teaching career in Germany, she finally tried her hand at writing one. Now she’s a happy citizen of Romancelandia, penning contemporary romance and cozy mysteries from her home in Washington State. When not writing, which is seldom, she explores the Pacific Northwest with her charming husband, enjoys the local music scene, belly dances, plays guitar badly, and gobbles all the books. Visit Sadira at www.sadirastone.com.

I want to hear from you!

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#1stKissFriday 3.16.19

Last Friday I exhausted all my books’ first lines, so I thought I’d try something new: #1stkissfriday.

I’m going to take an excerpt of the first kiss from all my characters and each week spotlight one.

Today, of course it has to be the kiss from my first book SKATER’S WALTZ which recently had its 4th book birthday.

When he removed one hand from her arm, she reached up to trace the outline of one of his eyes. Her finger moved from the outer canthus to his cheek, smoothing the skin she touched. “You didn’t have these little lines when you left.”

Cole stared down at her face.

Her finger roamed down to the corners of his mouth, outlining them, then on to the small dent in the middle of his chin. An impish grin fanned across her face. “I remember being little and wondering if I smoothed this line away would I be able to see inside you, like it was a door or some kind of opening to your insides. Dumb, huh?”

“Sweet,” he said, softly. “Little girl sweet. Never dumb.”

Her eyes traveled up to his and locked there.

“When I got older I wondered what it would be like to kiss it.”

His breath hitched.

“Would it taste like soap, left over from shaving, or would it be all spiky and nubby because you missed a few hairs. Or would it taste uniquely like you do. I still wonder about that.”

“Tiffany.”

Knowing what he was about to do, and to whom, should have sent him jumping off the couch, running in the other direction. Instead, when his head came down to hers all Cole could think about was how much he wanted to taste her again, how he wanted to lose himself in her, and how both those feelings somehow seemed right, even though he knew they shouldn’t.

Her body tensed as he inched closer. When his lips finally captured hers, she turned fluid under his hands.

Her smooth, small body slackened beneath him as his lips gently moved across hers, tasting them, savoring them. Releasing his grip on her arms, he leaned on his elbows and ran his fingers into her hair, cupping her face while holding fistfuls of the glorious mane.

New, strange emotions jumped about in his body, heightening the sensation of every touch, every caress. She had a mouth made for kissing, for being pleasured and for giving pleasure in return. When he parted her lips with his tongue and edged into the inner treasures of her mouth, taking every inch of it captive, Cole felt as if he was falling to an abyss of pure and total joy.

A moan escaped from somewhere within her, so raw, so seductively feminine, it made Cole’s heart jump, thrilling him with the knowledge that he was the cause.

Tiffany’s hands fisted in his hair, moved down to his neck, his shoulders, massaging, kneading the tight muscles.

His lips traced down over her perfect jaw to the small hollow just behind her ear, and she shivered against his mouth.

A hot burst of sanity blew through his mind.

With a suddenness that left him breathless, Cole pulled back and gazed down into green eyes that were cloudy and drowsy and utterly sexual.

“Tiffany—”

“If you say you’re sorry, I’ll kill you.”

Taken aback, he flinched.

“I mean it,” she said, eyes now wide open and glaring straight at him.

“Tiff, I, I don’t know what to say.”

“The truth would be a good place to start,” she told him.
Cole pulled back to a sitting position and avoided her eyes.
When he hung his head into his hands, and swiped his hair behind his ears, Tiffany sat up.
“I don’t know what’s going on here, with the two of us,” Cole said. “I can’t seem to keep my hands off you. All I think about is—God, I’m sorry.”

“You’re a dead man,” she said flatly.

Intrigued? If you want to read Tiffany and Cole’s story, SKATER’S WALTZ is available in print and ebook, here:

Buy Links: Amazon // Apple // Google // Kobo // Nook

Read a preview of SKATER’S WALTZ

Goodreads Reviews

Looking for me? I’m usually here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// BookMe // Monkey me //Watch me

Here’s the link to my TELL ME ABOUT YOUR DAMN BOOK podcast interview, just in case you missed it: TMAYDB

and the link to my recent interview on NewHampshirePublicRadio

 

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It’s my #BookBirthday Let’s #celebrate with a #99centsale

It’s really amazing to think that 4 years ago TODAY my very first romance book SKATER’S WALTZ was released by The Wild Rose Press. Those of you who know me have heard the story of how this book came to be published more times than you probably ever wanted to hear. But mine truly is a Cinderella publishing story. I wasn’t relegated to sweeping, dusting, cooking, and being a house-maid, and I didn’t have a magical fairy godmother (just a wonderful editor-godmom), but my road to publication started with a contest and ended with a contract.

In the end of 2014 I entered the first romance writing contest of my life. I’d written my first romance novel and wanted to see if it had any chance of being published traditionally. I loved the book but I wasn’t sure anyone else would and I entered the contest, basically, for feedback. The contest called for the first three chapters, so that’s what I sent. And then, I simply forgot about it. I was still working full time, menopause was kicking my chubby tush, and I was uber busy in my personal life.

Four months after entering, I received an email from the contest chairperson telling me I’d won my division. Included in the email were my scores by the various judges and comments they’d made. Once the shock at winning wore off, I read all the comments and felt like I had a shot a getting published. A day later another email arrived from Rhonda Penders, the publisher of the Wild Rose Press. She was the final judge for my entry. She wrote that she’d liked what she’d read and asked if I had a completed manuscript. Boy, did I! Could I send it along to her? Boy, could I! So I did.

Two months after that I received another email from the editor Ms. Penders had assigned the book to, to be read. Condensed version here of the story : they were offering me a contract to publish.

When I scraped myself off the floor and stopped crying, I said YES.

And 4 years later, I’ve never looked back.

So, come celebrate my book baby’s birthday with me with a sale. The ecopy is only 99 cents now until March 15. If you haven’t read it yet, now’s the perfect time. It’s available at these online retailers at the sale price right now:

Amazon // Nook // Apple(iTunes) 

I’ll be out celebrating and birthday-partying today, but if you’re looking for me, you can find me here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// BookMe // Monkey me //Watch me

Here’s the link to my TELL ME ABOUT YOUR DAMN BOOK podcast interview, just in case you missed it: TMAYDB

and the link to my recent interview on NewHampshirePublicRadio

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Filed under Contemporary Romance, Friends, MacQuire Women, Romance, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

A visit with #WildRosePress debut author D.K. Deters

 

Once again I have the sublime pleasure to introduce you to another one of my new WildRose Press sistahs, D.K. Deters. D.K. has a brand new book – her debut! – out on 11/12/18 just in time for the holiday season, titled CHRISTMAS ONCE AGAIN and she graciously agreed to sit down with me and tell  a little about herself, her writing, and her new book. Sit back and learn about this new sistah of mine!


Here’s D.K.

Hi Peggy. Thanks for having me on your blog. I’ve been looking forward to it! (Peggy here: as have I!!)

  1. What drives you to write?

It started as an escape from my squabbling children and a tired husband—just kidding. I love writing, and it gives me tremendous pleasure when a stranger tells me they are a fan.

  1. What genre(s) of Romance do you write, and why?

Christmas Once Again, a time travel fantasy, was a little out of my comfort zone, but the story fell into place. I’m more at home writing about western romance and hunky cowboys. My family always watched westerns on TV, and it seems natural to write about the Old West. But if I thought of another time travel plot, I’d go for it.

  1. What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why?

I’m open to most genres. However, a long time ago my daughter made me take her to the movie theater to watch Lord of the Rings because she had just read the series. Total respect for Tolkien, but it’s safe to say that after the umpteenth orc ran across the screen, this storyline wasn’t for me. (For Tolkien fans…I know…I know. My daughter has pointed out the error of my ways!)

  1. What’s your writing schedule? Do you write every day?

I try to write every day. Wake up. Coffee. Write. Repeat last two steps about a bazillion times.

  1. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen?

For many years, I wrote in the car. I was in a carpool, and it was a long commute. When my son moved out, his bedroom became my office. It also has a gigantic closet, which I jokingly refer to as the office annex.

  1. Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds and your tunnel-vision?

Although I can work with most noises, I’m at my best when it’s quiet. The TV is the biggest offender.

  1. Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not?

Sometimes, I’ll start my day with a little music. Blake Shelton’s song Home is one of my favorites.

  1. How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP?

I was watching a news broadcast about a snow skiing accident. Ordinary people had pitched together to save a stranger’s life. It got me to thinking about how one selfless act could be life-changing. The rest…well…you’ll have to read the story.

  1. Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why?

That’s a tough question, but I usually decide on the plot first and build the story from there. In the back of my mind, I’m always thinking about the MC’s characteristics.

  1. What three words describe you, the writer? Perfectionist. Plotter. Worrier. And not necessarily in that order.

11. If you could relive one day, what would it be? Why?

I’d pick my daughter’s wedding day, which holds many of my fondest memories. Their romance had spanned from high school through college. Over two hundred friends and relatives came to celebrate the day with them. And when the couple exchanged their wedding vows, I knew they were perfect for each other.

I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:

  1. Favorite sound –my grandchildren laughing
  2. Least favorite sound – dentist drill
  3. Best song ever written – Always and Forever
  4. Worst song ever written – Too many to pick just one
  5. Favorite actor and actress – Kris Pine and Gal Gadot
  6. What turns you on? Great stories
  7. What turns you off? Physics
  8. Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date: Can we take your car?
  9. What is your version of a perfect day? The perfect day is knowing my family is safe and well.

Thanks again for inviting me. I’ve had a great time visiting with everyone!

CHRISTMAS ONCE AGAIN, by D.K. Deters

Blurb:

She’s dead broke. And eviction looms. On Christmas Eve antique consultant Madison Knight takes a phone call from local rancher Zach Murdock. Through a mix-up at an estate sale, Madison’s company purchased his grandmother’s beloved painting. He offers double the money for its return.

Madison risks her job to track down the artwork, but success falls short when she’s stuck in a blizzard. Stranded, she seeks help from a frontier family. Are they living off the grid, or did she somehow travel through time?

Zach’s the only person who knows her plan. He also knows a secret about his gran’s painting. It’s up to him to rescue Madison, but maybe he’s not cut out to be a hero.

Excerpt:

“My grandmother had an estate sale last week, and she didn’t want it sold, unfortu—”

“Oh?” She should’ve kept quiet. Run-ins with greedy family members happened in the antique business, and a judging attitude didn’t increase revenues.

“It wasn’t on purpose,” he said. “The day was chaotic, and someone had shuffled around the artwork. We didn’t realize it was missing until a couple of days ago, and it took this long to sort out the mix-up and discover your shop bought it.”

She felt guilty for jumping to the wrong conclusion. “I see how that could happen. It’s obvious the piece is treasured by your grandmother. If it becomes necessary, we have the resources to find a similar style. Is there a specific artist or significance?”

Held hostage by the slow computer response and trying not to rush him, she picked up one of the hand weights, intending to fit in a few curls.

“Keep in mind Gran’s ninety-two, and she thinks…”

“Uh-huh.” With her free hand, she grabbed the latte and took a sip.

“Gran thinks it holds a special power.”

Madison chose that moment to swallow, and the creamy espresso went down the wrong pipe. A dry, hacking cough followed, and she dropped her hand weight, which thudded on the carpet. For heaven’s sake, he didn’t hear her, did he?

Buy Links:

Amazon // Wild Rose Press // Nook

Author Bio:

D. K. Deters credits her parents, who grew up in southeastern Kansas, for inspiration to write about the Old West. From an early age, the likes of Jesse James and the Dalton Gang were often included in family lore. To this day, she’s not sure how much is true.

After earning a Bachelor of Science in Business, D. K. followed a profession in the telecommunications industry before turning to a writing career. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her adult children and their families.

Connect with D. K. Deters here:

Website // Amazon // Twitter // BookBub // Goodreads // Pinterest //

 

 

 

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A visit with YA author Christine Grabowski

Today I’m so pleased to welcome debut YA author and Wild Rose Press sistah, Christine Grabowski.

Christine’s debut YA Novel, Dickensen Academy, is out and doing fabulously with readers and reviewers alike.

 

Today, she’s brought along two of her characters from the book, Autumn and Ben,  for a sit-down to get to know them – and the book – better.  Let’s eavesdrop on their interviews for some insight into these two and the mysterious Dickenson Academy…

Tell us a bit about yourself, Autumn.

My name is Autumn Mattison. I’m from Seattle, and I just started my freshman year of high school at Dickensen Academy.

Why did you choose to attend Dickensen Academy?

Who wouldn’t? Almost no one gets in the place. So when I got in, it shocked us all. And it made my dad so proud. It’s got this great writing program, which I’m really excited about. And the art classes sound fun too. And I’ve got it admit, it was great to move out of the house. My dad is a control freak and sometimes I feel like I can barely breath around him.

What do you like about boarding school so far?

It’s so amazing to be off on my own. I’ve only been here a couple of weeks, and I’ve already made four really good friends. My roommate, Aditi, is so sweet. And then there’s Hannah, this girl I run cross country with. Ben and Ryan usually hang out with us too.

What about the classes?

I’m really liking school so far. The classes are small, and the teachers are super-passionate. Especially Mr. Robbins. He teaches Creative Core which is this art class that is supposed to be the backbone of the fine arts program. To me, it just seems like drawing and art. But the faculty says it’s much more than that.

Anything you don’t like?

Well…there’s something weird about this place that sometimes gives me the creeps. It’s almost like I’ve been here before. I keep having these déjà vu moments. But it’s probably all my imagination. My dad would say I have too much of that. But there are also all these rules. Like freshmen can’t leave campus until Thanksgiving, and we can’t hang out with the upperclassmen. There’s even this huge fence hidden in the woods. It feels like we’re locked in. But the teachers say it’s because up here in the mountains there are lots of wild animals. But it seems a bit overkill to me.

Do you have any goals for the year?

I’m hoping to get good grades. I don’t think my dad believes I can hack it on my own. But I want to prove him wrong. No way will I ever do as well as my brother, Josh. But hopefully I can do well enough to get my dad off my back.

Anything you’d like to add?

Well, there’s this guy, Ben. He’s really cute. We hang out a lot, but usually in a group. Aditi thinks he likes me. He even dreamed about me before we got in. Weird, right? But I doubt he’s interested in me. I’m sure he’ll end up with someone more like Hannah, who is model gorgeous.

(Peggy here: Mmmm… something a little creepy, eh? Sounds intriguing!) Christine sent along a picture of Dickenson Academy to share. 

All those tall trees surrounding it and the way the mist eerily is winding around them and the buildings…..wow!

And now, let’s listen in on the other student Christine has brought along with her…

Tell us a bit about yourself, Ben

My name is Ben Coleman. I’m a freshmen here at Dickensen and turn fifteen next month. My family lives in Seattle.

Why did you choose to attend Dickensen Academy?

This place has a great reputation for academics and fine arts. I’m a focused student and like the challenge. But I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to leave home. I’m really tight with my family, especially my mom. It was just the two of us for years until Jim came along. And then there’s my brother, Calvin. He’d just five. The kid looks up to me like crazy, and I do a lot with him, so my mom can get stuff done. I was worried about leaving them alone, especially because my brother has some medical issues. But then I had this vivid dream where my family was at Dickensen Academy, and I woke up feeling I needed to accept and that everything would work out.

What do you like about boarding school so far?

It’s great. I’ve got an awesome roommate named Ryan. He’s a bit of a goofball. But he gets me to let loose—something I couldn’t do much of at home when I always had to be responsible. Then there’s this girl, Autumn. We have the deepest conversations. But as I’ve gotten to know her, I realize she is beautiful in this I-don’t-even-try sort of way, always wearing jeans and hoodies. But I’m sure she sees me as just a friend, and I’m not really looking for a girlfriend right now.

What about your classes?

Love them. The teachers are fantastic. Most are really strict which I actually like. I’m here to learn. But then there’s Robbins. He teaches Creative Core which is this art class that is highly praised. He’s super laid back, so we get to chat with our friends while we work. It’s a nice break from the academics.

Anything you don’t like?

The rules. I’ve made some friends with some of the older guys playing sports after school. I’d like to hang out with them after practice, but supposedly we’re not allowed to “fraternize” with the upperclassman. What kind of a dumb rule is that? I’ve talked to this sophomore, Gabe. He basically said we could be friends later in the year, but not now. I feel like there’s something big they are hiding from us freshmen. Autumn gets the same vibe as me. She suggested it might be some form of hazing. But I don’t know. It feels bigger than that. Ryan tells me I’m paranoid, so I’m trying to let it go. But sometimes I really wonder if this school is more than it seems.

Do you have any goals for the year?

Good grades. Make friends. Just the normal stuff.

Anything you’d like to add?

Can’t think of anything.

(Peggy here- I can relate, Ben. I hate rules, too!)

 

Dickenson Academy by Christine Grabowski

This secluded high school may be her dream come true…or her worst nightmare.

Blurb

Dickensen Academy isn’t a typical boarding school. The faculty is hiding an unbelievable secret within their fine arts program. When Autumn Mattison receives an invitation to attend the high school, she yearns to escape her overbearing father yet remains reluctant to leave her mother and brother. Her doubts fade away when a vivid dream convinces her she belongs there.

Away from home, Autumn discovers a unique school environment that awakens her creative potential, and her new friends become like a second family. However, as she uncovers more about the dark side of the school and struggles with its curriculum, she questions whether Dickensen Academy is truly where she belongs.

When tragedy strikes, Autumn must learn to believe in her own power and stand up to her greatest fear or risk having her memories destroyed to protect the school’s secrets. Caught between secrets and dreams, can she find her true self?

Excerpt 

“I feel like there’s something big we don’t know about. Something those students were protecting. I mean, really, why are we here?”

I thought it was just me who was confused. “Well…the recruiters said we’re creative and focused.”

“Yeah, that’s what Principal Locke said too.”

“And we have the right personality.”

Ben looked up at the sky, sighed then turned toward the forest. “What did he say…something about how it will soon become clear why we’re here, and there’s some ultimate purpose for our creativity?”

“I know. That whole creativity part was a bit bizarre.”

He shrugged. “It seems everyone is going with the flow. But I have so many questions.” Then he touched my arm to stop me, so I turned toward him. “I’m thinking they’re isolating us for some special reason,” he admitted in an embarrassed tone.

I tried not to laugh—he was acting paranoid. But I didn’t know Ben well. Maybe he was joking, trying to freak me out. Or was he hitting on me? The flutter in my chest moved to my stomach. I was already anxious about being away from home and whether or not I could hack the academics. I didn’t need to obsess about anything else. But I still had to know about Ben’s dream.

“So…I also had a dream about Dickensen before I accepted the offer.”

Ben’s head snapped toward me. “You did?”

Buy/Book Links:

Amazon // B&N // Apple // The Wild Rose Press  // GooglePlay // Kobo

A little about Christine Grabowsk

Dickensen Academy is Christine’s debut YA novel. After graduating from the University of Washington, she earned her MBA at the University at Albany. She honed her technical writing skills in marketing and consulting but attributes the creative part of the process to her passion for reading.

When she isn’t reading or writing, Christine can often be found running, skiing, or hiking. She lives in Newcastle, Washington, with her supportive husband, two avid teen readers, and their energetic wheaten terriers.

You can visit Christine here:

website // goodreads // BookBub // FaceBook //Instagram // Twitter // Amazon //

 

* Book Trailer:

(Peggy here – Christine, thanks so much for dropping by today and bringing Autumn and Ben with you. I have to say, Dickenson Academy sounds like the kind of place I’d definitely want to visit.)

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#goddessFishBookBlast Andi Ramos and GumShoe Girl #TIRGEARRPUBLISHING

 

Goddess Fish Blog tours is proud to present debut author ANDI RAMOS and her new release GUMSHOE GIRL.

Andi Ramos grew up in central Massachusetts where she still lives today with her family, goat, and Boston Terriers. Her love for reading grew into a passion for writing. She dabbled with pen and paper for a long time and eventually stopped pushing her amusements aside and started developing those stories into novels. One of her favorite things to do is to hop into her motorhome with her family and write while traveling down the road as they journey to various destinations.

 

BLURB:

Sheagan O’Hare got more than she bargained for when her newly inherited detective agency lands its first case; a missing person, embezzlement, and murder. Sheagan’s out to prove she can hang with the pro’s, despite the constant reminder of her amateur status from an annoyingly attractive FBI agent, Colin ‘Mac’ MacEvine, who’s forced himself into her life.

How does she feel when an old high school friend hopes to ignite a new romance?

Will she be able to discover if detective work and love can mingle before someone gets hurt?

EXCERPT 

As she shifted her weight, the metal walls started to reverberate and Sheagan stifled a gasp, willing the rumbling to cease. Her breathing became labored as the musty air stole the aroma of the sweet perfume wafting up waft from the suite below. She stilled her movements and did the only thing she could think of… nothing. Nothing but stare at the heap of blankets and wait.

Come on, bimbo, come up for air. I know he doesn’t last that long.

Her discomfort increased as the noise from their passion became more intense.

Ugh, that’s it, I’ve had it!

She mashed her cheek and upper body against the grate.

I just need a peek to confirm.

She pressed harder, ogling the bed. Finally, she caught a tiny glimpse.

Just a little further.

She pushed and heard a chirring sound, then a scraping. She froze in place, but the grate gave way with a creaking groan and crashed to the ground. Time stood still as Sheagan realized there was nothing between her and the floor except air.

Buy Links for GUMSHOE GIRL

Amazon  // Barnes and Nobel

 ****** Andi will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.******

Click on this link to join the rafflecopter: Click here

ANDI’S Links:

Amazon // Website // Blog // Facebook // Pinterest // Twitter

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A visit and a debut novel….

 

Today I’m introducing you to another of my lovely and talents Wild Rose Press sistahs, Dee Gatrell. 

Dee’s first book SWEET SUNSET was released in December 2016 to wonderful reviews. Stay tuned after the interview because she’s giving me ( and you!) a little glimpse of the book.

Dee, The Writer

  1. What drives you to write? I have always been driven to write. When I was a child, I loved getting mail and answering letters. Writing helps to keep me sane, especially when life gets me down.
  2. What genre(s) of Romance do your write, and why? I like all types of romance and mystery books. I like to mostly write Women’s Fiction, but have an inspirational romance at the publishers that I’m working on revisions now.
  3. What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why? Over they years I have read many types of romance novels, except erotica.
  4. What’s your writing schedule? Do you write every day? I try to write every day, but can’t always. I prefer writing in the morning and sometimes in the evening.
  5. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table? Well, you’ll love this. I used to have a bedroom that was my office to share with my hubby. Three weeks ago I fell off the treadmill and dislocated my right shoulder. We had given a couch and chair to my granddaughter since we had two sets, living room and family room. Then we set the treadmill and bike in the mostly empty living room. A nurse came to visit and suggested the living room would make a great office, much larger.. My husband agreed . There I was, arm in sling and hubby and one son decided this was the perfect time to make a switch. I’m giving the treadmill that nearl killed me to my older son as I’ll never use it again. My husband has multiple health issues, including cancer, and should not be moving stuff around, but he did with the help of son. Then daughter and grandson visited and finished the move for him. WE have both our desks in here, me facing the set of three windows with bushes growing in front of them, him facing the rest of the yard and the house at the end of the street that sits on three acres. We have one acre, which is plenty. All the things I said like we’d have to move the phone and computer lines? Wrong. They didn’t need changed. By the way, last week hubby was sitting on the love seat, stood up and so did Ellie, our large dog. Hubby tumbled right over dog, grabbed my bad arm, but thankfully for me he continued falling without taking my arm out of joint. Bad for him as he was bruised but thankfully didn’t break or displace anything.
  6. Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnelvision? My house has always been chaotic, so I’m used to noise. Although I do ask my husband to quit talking out loud at times. Take last week, I had three grands here, ages 11, 10 and 7. They said they wanted to come help Gammy. Ahem. Well, they did do a few things, but the weather wasn’t great to be outdoors much, therefore they played hide and seek in the house. When my PT was here, they came sneaking into the bedroom and then hid in the bathroom, leaving the 7-year-old looking for them. Then I told them they couldn’t hide underneath the computers. They did play some board games and watched a few movies. The 7-year-old is the most helpful, asking to take out the trash, going to the curb to get the containers etc. And now it is us and the three dogs. I hope to get more writing done now.
  7. Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not? I like to listen to music but don’t always.
  8. How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP? I started this book, Sweet Sunset, several years ago. I think most of us have dysfunctional families. No, the story isn’t all about my family, but my mom did have dementia and did weird things that I used. My granddaughter went to high school wand was friends with a gay boy whose mother did commit him thinking he was crazy and was upset when they wouldn’t lock him up. One of my daughters was in an abusive marriage. And my one dog is named Zeus and we had another one named Coal. Oh, and June was the mother of friends and I had to use some of the stuff she used to say. The rest is my imagination.
  9. Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why? Character. I have to have people to work with, give them problems and find happiness for them in the end.
  10. What 3 words describe you, the writer? Determined, dreamer, and humorous (Peggy here: I lovelovelove those 3 descriptions!!!)

Dee, The Person

  1. Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing! I once took belly dancing lessons.
  2. Who was your first love and what age were you? You mean besides Elvis? OK at age 16 his name was Gary.
  3. If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and…. The day I won $8,000 on the lotto and nothing since then. So that day I would love to do over and over.
  4. Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando? Briefs
  5. If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be? lipstick
  6. What three words describe you, the person? Wife, Mother, Writer
  7. If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be? A Million to One (that was mine and hubby’s song when we got married, the words fit)
  8. If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it by, why, and what would you do together? Gone with the Wind. Scarlett O’Hara. Probably get in trouble together.

Bonus round I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:

  1. Favorite sound:  Music
  2. Least favorite sound : Rap
  3. Best song every written: Too many to name
  4. Worst song ever written ????
  5. Favorite actor and actress : Tim Allen Sandra Bollock
  6. Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead): Sandra Brown. She’s a great writer and I got to spend time with her once. She’s really a nice person and admired by many. ( Peggy here: She’s one of my all time favorite authors and I am uber-jealous that you got to meet her!!!)
  7. What turns you on?: being at the beach
  8. What turns you off?: stinky smells
  9. Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”): Been too long to remember (Peggy here: LOL! that’s 5 words!!!)
  10. What’s your version of a perfect day?: Being with family and doing something fun

 

Blurb:  SWEET SUNSET

Myrtle Sue Henderson, widowed, didn’t count on her mother-in-law moving in with her when her husband passed over. But Myrtle Sue’s loopy in-law troubles aren’t her only family baggage-she’s ailed with three adult children who use her like a pair of Depends. With a daughter and two grandchildren attempting to escape an abusive husband, a second daughter who is pregnant with twins, and a son who refuses to grow up, she’s at her wit’s end.

Myrtle Sue didn’t figure she’d ever meet another man she’d care for, until she went to church to get away from her troubles, only to find more when her mother-in-law causes chaos and hits an elderly man with her cane and helps herself to money out of the collection plate. That’s how she meets Zack. She figures once he meets her dysfunctional family,  he’ll run as fast as he can-away from them.

Excerpt:

Hazel walked into the kitchen and glanced around. “Who’s here? Oh my goodness. It’s my son Harold. How are you, honey?” She bent over and kissed Adam’s cheek. “And why don’t you ever visit your mommy,  you naughty boy?”

I rolled my eyes and waved toward Adam. “Hazel, Harold’s been dead for twenty years. This is Adam, Sonja’s friend from the hospital. Remember? He’s a nurse and stays with you while I work.” I should’ve added whatever we paid him was worth every penny. He really was good to her.

“Oh yes, Adam, dear.” She frowned at me. “Why can’t you be kind like Adam, Myrtle Sue. You’ve always been so mean to me.”

Sonja grinned. “Hi, Nana. How are you?”

“I’m fine.” She took a seat and grabbed a muffin. “Who are you? Are you Violet’s daughter?”

Sonja narrowed her eyes at her grandmother. “Nana! I’m Sonja, your granddaughter. Myrtle Sue and Don’s daughter.”

“Of course.” She laughed and pointed at her head. “You know how it is when you get old. Some day your mother will be just like me.”

Shuddering, I mumbled, “God Forbid.”

“I hope you made roast beef for Father,” Hazel said.

“Yes, of course. And I made garlic rolls, too,” I lied, and then whispered, “Sonja, want some garlic tied around your neck?”

“Mom!”

I hope you’ll enjoy visiting Myrtle Sue and her wacky family. Drop by anytime for some good cooking.

Buy Links: Amazon // Wild Rose Press // B&N // Kobo

A little about Dee: 

 Dee Gatrell is a mother and grandmother. She spent time raising her children and didn’t attend college until she was in her thirties. She graduated from Seminole Community College and the University of Central FL.

When her husband’s job relocated them to Ohio, she worked as a reporter for the Galion Inquirer and later as a free lance writer for the Mansfield News Journal. When the family returned to Florida she accepted a job working at Seminole State College as an educational advisor. She also did freelance writing for newspapers and magazines during this time. She sold a story to Chicken Soup for the Soul and sold many stories to the confession magazines.

Deciding it was time to retire and do what she always wanted to do, write novels. Sweet Sunset is her first published novel. She likes to refer to the book as her dysfunctional family novel. Who doesn’t have a dysfunctional family? She always had a lot of quirky relatives and friends, so writing about these folks was natural for her.

She lives in Florida with her husband, Larry, one son, Doug, and three dogs. They also have two grown daughters, Michelle and Diana,  and a grown son, Chris, and a herd of grandkid (a happy dozen.) Their rescue lab, Ellie, finds them boring and loves it when the grands come to play with her. They also have two white schnauzers, Zeus and Icarus.

You can visit Dee here: Amazon // Goodreads // Wild Rose Press // Twitter // Facebook

(Peggy here: Dee thanks so much for visiting me today and for introducing us to Myrtle Sue!!! Her story sounds like a real corker!)

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Filed under Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

An #interview with A HUNDRED KISSES #author Jean M. Grant

I’m pleased and delighted to introduce you to another new writer to me today, JEAN M. GRANT . Jean is one of my Wild Rose Press sistahs and her first book, A HUNDRED KISSES is available now. SO, sit back and learn a little sumthin’ sumthin’ about this new author you’re sure going to be hearing about.

 

Jean, The Writer

  1. What drives you to write? I’m a sucker for happy endings that I can control. I love beautiful landscapes and to escape into fictional worlds. I am a daydreamer and it extends to the written word.
  2. What genre(s) of Romance do you write, and why? Historical, with a supernatural twist. I’ve considered a time travel and contemporary, too (those manuscripts are on the planning phase as I work on the prequel to A Hundred Kisses).
  3. What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why? Historical, contemporary, time travel. I also dip into women’s fiction, mainstream, thriller.
  4. What’s your writing schedule? Do you write every day? I don’t write every day as much as I would like to. I write in nooks and crannies, morning, day, and night. I usually go through a stretch of heavy writing for a few days or weeks, and then I need to take a break for “life.” Then back to it again. It’s hard to write for a few minutes here and there; I like to allot big chunks of time. The worst thing for a writer is to get interrupted in the middle of a great scene! You lose the flow.

5. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table? Most writing is done on my laptop at the kitchen island/counter or dining room table. Sometimes the couch. Rarely my desk. Not the most ideal places for proper back and wrist position though.

  1. Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnelvision? I am pretty good at filtering, as many times, I have my young children running around. I love to have music on. Sometimes the music must get turned off and I work in complete silence for particular writing projects or sections of work.
  2. Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not? I listen to a variety of music, depending on what I am writing, and what the scene (or project) is about. The music matches the mood. A good deal of Enya gets me through, but I mix it up with some Ed Sheeran and Maroon Five, as well as movie scores-type of music.
  3. How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP? I had written three historical romances (unpublished; dare I say as practice, over the years) in 12th century Scotland. For my current book, A Hundred Kisses, I decided to jump ahead a century and apply the feedback I’d received from beta-readers, agents, editors on the first three. I really learned a lot from those manuscripts. I honed my skills. I also threw in some magical/supernatural elements to the current book. And that’s how that one came to be! My current WIP is a prequel to A Hundred Kisses, about the heroine’s mother. It’s got Vikings and more magical elements, too. I also have a Women’s Fiction/Mainstream book I am querying to agents – about a widowed mother on a journey to locate her missing child, after a natural disaster, with her other high-functioning autistic son at her side. That book is inspired by my own parenting journey, while being a work of fiction. And yes, she meets a man with his own tortured past along the way, so there is a romantic element!
  4. Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why? Plot. I love stories. I do love to connect to characters, feel their emotions. But for me, I am a plotter, so that comes easier. I always have ideas! Then I need to assign characters that suit those ideas.
  5. What 3 words describes you, the writer? Patient, Resilient, Daydreamer (Peggy here: LOVELOVELOVE those 3 words!)

Jean, The Person 

  1. Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing! I love to travel. I love to hike and tackle mountains big and small. I have a weakness for green rolling hills. I also love sharks and have a degree in Marine Biology.
  2. Who was your first love and what age were you? T.C. from early elementary years
  3. If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and….my hike through Abel Tasman in New Zealand (I picked this over other more grueling hikes, because who wants to repeat over and over those torturous hikes that left me limping for days after?!)
  4. Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando? boxers
  5. If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be? Chapstick/lip balm. I would die without it.
  6. What three words describes you, the person? Daydreamer, nurturer, resilient
  7. If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be? Daydream Believer (aka Cheer up Sleepy Jean) by The Monkees (Peggy here: We could be BFFs. My all time fav group is the Monkees, in fact, my wedding song is I’M A BELIEVER)
  8. If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it by, why, and what would you do together? Claire and Jamie Fraser (both). Why? Why not? J Sexy Scot and strong-willed English nurse. What would we do? Hmm, not sure. Hang out at some standing stones or by Loch Ness?

I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:

  1. Favorite sound – water or rain, birds chirping at 4:30 a.m.
  2. Least favorite sound – cars idling
  3. Best song every written – Sleepwalk by Santo and Johnny
  4. Worst song ever written – Barney’s theme song ( Peggy here: I can’t stand that song!!!)
  5. Favorite actor and actress – Kit Harrington and Ewan MacGregor, Emily Blunt     
  6. Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead) – I’d actually like to just have dinner with (not be) The Rock, Dwayne Johnson for one day. Silly, right? He seems like an amazing, funny, nice guy. If I could be somebody for a day, it would be my oldest son, who has Asperger’s/ Autism. I want to feel, see, and experience life through his eyes.
  7. What turns you on? – coffee and sweets and my husband playing with our kids
  8. What turns you off? – mean people
  9. Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date (here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”) – I’ve not had too many first dates so I am not sure what to put here!
  10. What’s your version of a perfect day? – writing at sunrise, then a daytime hike through some breathtaking place (New Zealand and Scotland top the list), finished with a frothy latte on a porch with a remarkable view (lake, ocean, mountain); all with my husband and kids of course

And now, for a little treat, here’s an excerpt from Jean’s debut novel  A Hundred Kisses

Blurb

1296

Two wedding nights. Two dead husbands.

Deirdre MacCoinneach wishes to understand her unusual ability to sense others’ lifeblood energies…and vows to discover if her gift killed the men she married. Her father’s search for a new and unsuspecting suitor for Deirdre becomes complicated when rumors of witchcraft abound.

Under the façade of a trader, Alasdair Montgomerie travels to Uist with pivotal information for a Claimant seeking the Scottish throne. A ruthless baron hunts him and a dark past haunts him, leaving little room for alliances with a Highland laird or his tempting daughter.

Awestruck when she realizes that her unlikely travel companion is the man from her visions, a man whose thickly veiled emotions are buried beneath his burning lifeblood, Deirdre wonders if he, too, will die in her bed if she follows her father’s orders. Amidst magic, superstition, and ghosts of the past, Alasdair and Deirdre find themselves falling together in a web of secrets and the curse of a hundred kisses…

Excerpt

She sensed no colors in the murky, lifeless water, and it was freeing. All breath escaped her. Muted visions passed before her eyes—her mother, her father, Gordon, and Cortland. Just a moment longer, she thought…

Suddenly, a burst of warm light invaded her thoughts as air filled her lungs. Red-hot hands burned her shoulders and ripped her from her icy grave. She breathed life into her body. She coughed, gagging on the change.

Muffled words yelled at her.

Oh, God, so hot. His fingers were like hot pokers. Her head pounded as she slowly returned to the present. Heat radiated from her rescuer. Somebody had pulled her from the water.

“Wh—?”

“Hush, lass. You nearly drowned.”

His voice was as soothing as a warm cup of goat’s milk on a winter’s day. A red-hot glow emanated from his body. Never before had she felt such a strong lifeblood, and it nearly burned her. She struggled in his arms to get free. She blinked, only seeing a blurry form before her. “Release me!”

She splashed and wriggled, and he did as told. She clambered to the shoreline. Numb and shaken, she began to dress. It wasn’t easy as she fumbled with slick fingers to put dry clothes over wet skin. She instantly regretted her naked swim. She pulled on her long-sleeved white chemise first.

She faced the forest, away from her rescuer. He quietly splashed to shore. His lifeblood burned into her back. He wasn’t far behind, but he stopped. She refused to look at him until she was fully clothed, not out of embarrassment of her nudity, but for what had just happened. He released a groan and mumbled under his breath about wet boots. His voice was not one of her father’s soldiers.

When she put the last garment on, her brown wool work kirtle, she squeezed out her sopping hair and swept her hands through the knotty mess. She fastened her belt and tied the lacings up the front of the kirtle. Blood returned to her fingertips, and she regained her composure. Belated awareness struck her, and she leaned down and searched through her bag for her dagger. She spun around.

She gasped as she saw the man sitting on the stone-covered shoreline, his wet boots off. Confusion and the hint of a scowl filled his strong-featured face. She staggered back, caught her heel on a stone, and fell, dropping the dagger. Dirt and pebbles stuck to her wet hands and feet, and she instinctively scrambled away from him.

His glower, iridescent dark blue eyes, and disheveled black hair were not unfamiliar. Staring at her was the man she had seen in her dream—it was the man from the wood.

Buy Links: Amazon // WildRose Press // B&N // Kobo

More about Jean:

Jean is a scientist, part-time education director, and a mom. She currently resides in Massachusetts and draws from her interests in history, science, the outdoors, and her family for inspiration. She enjoys writing non-fiction articles for family-oriented and travel magazines, and aspires to write children’s books while continuing to write novels. In 2008, she visited the land of her daydreams, Scotland, and it was nothing short of breathtaking. Jean enjoys tending to her flower gardens, tackling the biggest mountains in New England with her husband, and playing with her sons, while daydreaming about the next hero to write about…

You can find Jean here:

Website // Twitter // Facebook 

 

I hope you enjoyed meeting Jean as much as I did! Jean- thanks so much for joining me today and much success with A HUNDRED KISSES.

 

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Filed under Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Historical Romance, love, Romance, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press