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Less than 2 weeks until PASSION’S PALETTE releases…8.4.17

I’m off to #RWA17 today but before I go and start a week long blog fest about the event, I wanted to just give myself a plug of shameless promotion for my Wild Rose Press release on 8.4.17 of PASSION’S PALETTE.

This is book 5 in MacQuire Women Series and it’s a prequel in which I tell you the love story of Serena MacQuire and Seamus Cleary. They went through quite a bumpy road before they found their HEA, I’ll tell you that! The book is available for preorder now using the link at the top of the page. This book is filled with the humor, love and loss of all my MacQuire women books, and Serena is so very near and dear to me I heard her voice in my head sometimes when I was writing her dialogue say, “Are you sure that sounds like me? ” Or “Yeah, that’s just what I’d say!” Hee hee. Don’t worry, I’m not ready for a prolonged hospital stay!

I hope you enjoy reading Passion’s Palette as much as I did writing it.

 

Talented and witty portrait artist Serena MacQuire is successful in everything but love. Her gift for capturing people on canvas is rivaled only by her fiery and legendary temper. A tragedy from the past keeps her heart securely locked away, preventing any man from getting close enough to claim it.

But Seamus Cleary isn’t just any man. After he left his professional football career to become a veterinarian, his bitter wife ended their marriage. Now, as he starts his life over in a new town, love is the last thing he’s looking for. The more he tends to Serena’s horses, though, the more he realizes her own heart needs tender care and healing as well.

Will he be the man who finally unlocks and claims her heart?

Excerpt:

From the side view mirror Seamus watched her cross her arms over her chest again in what he guessed was an habitual gesture, turn, and then walk back toward the house.

What the hell was wrong with him? He’d never acted so impulsively with a woman before. All professionalism had flown the moment he’d laid eyes on her.

Good Lord, she was gorgeous.

When she’d called out from the porch he’d almost gasped out loud. She looked all of twelve years old with her hair hanging down the sides of her head in two thick braids and no makeup camouflaging her unlined face. But her voice and the air of mature self-assurance surrounding her mocked the age she presented.

He’d never seen eyes so blue. Blueberries drenched in cream. Sweet; succulent; seductive. They engulfed her face, surrounded by long, thick lashes mimicking the color of her hair.

And what magnificent hair. It was so black shards of blue shone through it in the sunlight. In a flash of carnal excitement, he wanted to see it un-braided and hanging free, dancing around her body in the breeze.

Her naked body.

When she came toward him, he realized she was much shorter than she’d looked standing on the porch. Long, coltish legs barely covered by her cutoffs, were the lengthiest part of her body. Her torso was small and angular, the bones in her neck outlined and protruding beneath her shirt. She looked frail, as if she’d been ill. The description died a moment later when she shook his hand. The quiet strength of her grip belied her outer waifish appearance.

When he’d driven out to the farm, his first stop of many for the day, he’d expected to see the ailing horse, treat it, and be on his way. After meeting Serena MacQuire, the thought he had to leave to tend to the rest of his clients was maddening. He wanted nothing more than to stay as long as he could with her.

He’d been more than willing to help her move things in the loft, never guessing she’d mistaken who he was. It gave him a cheap kind of thrill to be the stronger one, the one she needed to open the skylights, lift the heavy equipment. Sure, it made him seem a little like a conceited prick, but he didn’t care.

When he’d caught the appraising qleam in her stare as she raked her berry colored eyes up and down his body, he had to stop himself from flexing his biceps and pumping his pecs. Like a peacock, he wanted to preen for her.

And dear God, when the notion to kiss her bloomed easy and free in his head, he’d had no will to stop himself.

Thinking back to those all-too-quick few seconds, the power of that unexpected touch shook him to his core.

Why the hell had he acted on the impulse to kiss her?

He prided himself on his control both professionally and personally, but no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t summon up any will at all to stop from leaning down and tasting her.

It was almost as if he’d been hypnotized. He didn’t think. He didn’t rationalize what was happening. He’d just lowered his head to hers and taken.

Want to find out where that kiss leads? You will, on 8.4.17 Hee hee

I’ll be at #RWA17 this week in Orlando, Florida and blogging every day, so look for my links when they go live. And if you’re in the Orland oare on Saturday, July 29, please stop by the book signing at the Dolphin Hotel and come meet me…maybe even buy a book or two…or ten!

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Filed under Alpha Male, Author, Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, Life challenges, love, MacQuire Women, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

A visit with WRP author Judith Sterling

Today, I get to introduce you to another of my wonderful and talented Wild Rose Press sistahs, Judith Sterling. Judith writes medieval romances, and I’ll admit, I haven’t read a lot of that genre. But after reading a little about her new release, The Cauldron Stirred ( Guardians of Erin, nook 1) I am certainly going to rectify that!! Meet Judith and then stick around for a little sumthin’ sumthin’ from The Cauldron Stirred.

Judith, the Author 

  1. What drives you to write? An instinctive urge that’s always been with me. I wrote my first story when I was three years old. By age nine, I was writing chapter stories and elaborate scripts for my dolls to act out. Of course, I played all the parts!
  1. What genre(s) of Romance do your write, and why? I write medieval romances, The Novels of Ravenwood. During college and grad school, I studied in England, Scotland, and Sweden. I jumped on every opportunity to explore castles, monasteries, and other medieval buildings throughout Europe. The older the structure, the better! In ruin after ruin, the whispers of the past seduced me; in particular, 12th-century England. There’s also a touch of romance in my young adult paranormal fantasies, the first of which is The Cauldron Stirred.
  1. What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why? Mostly historical romance set in the British Isles. I love England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, and my first degree was in history.
  1. What’s your writing schedule? Do you write everyday? I write most weekdays but try to devote my weekends to family and relaxation. It’s good for the soul and for my lower back!
  1. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table? I write in front of a window in my bedroom. When I need a break, I look outside at the 17th-century Witch House across the street. Salem, Massachusetts isn’t a bad place to write. This is Hawthorne country!
  2. 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 prefer quiet, but with 13-year-old twin boys, that’s a rare luxury!
  3. Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not?Sometimes I listen to music—film scores mostly—but I also like quiet. It might sound strange, but oftentimes, music plays in my head without the need for an outer source.
  1. How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP? The Cauldron Stirred (the YA paranormal fantasy) was partly inspired by travel in Ireland and paranormal events in my own life.
  1. Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why? Plot, and I always use old-fashioned pen and paper for brainstorming and outlines. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how and why inspiration strikes. If I sit in front of blank paper with my pen poised above it, images and ideas just start to flow. Sometimes they’re connected to my own experience; other times, not. But sitting there ready and waiting seems to signal my muse.
  1. What 3 words describes you, the writer? Passionate, empathetic, wistful.

 Judith, The Person

  1. Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing! During grad school, my Hindi professor loved the sound of my voice. He recorded me singing, then took the tape home to India, where he played the songs for his family and his pet cow. Does that qualify as unusual? If not, I can tell you I’ve always been a magnet for the paranormal.  And I’m cool with that!
  2. Who was your first love and what age were you? I was infatuated with a classmate when I was 10 years old, but in terms of real love, I’d have to say my husband!       We met when I was 31—and he was 25—and from day one, we knew we belonged together. He was well worth the wait!
  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….That’s hard to answer, but off the top of my head, I’m torn between two: (1) my first day in Killarney; (2) the day (night, actually) when my family and I investigated the paranormal in Gettysburg.
  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? I rarely wear makeup anymore, so I guess I’d say moisturizer.
  6. What three words describes you, the person? Loving, compassionate, adventurous.\
  7. If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be?       Either “Bring Me to Life” by Evanescence or “Come Sail Away” by Styx.
  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?       Nancy Drew, and we’d solve a spellbinding mystery together. I loved those books when I was younger!

Bonus round

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

  1. Favorite sound – howling wind
  2. Least favorite sound – motorcycles
  3. Best song every written – a tie between Mozart’s Symphony #25 in G minor and “Carry on Wayward Son” by Kansas
  4. Worst song ever written – Hard to say, but I’m not fond of country music.
  5. Favorite actor and actress – Christopher Lee and Katharine Hepburn
  6. Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead) – Eleanor of Aquitaine. She’s a fascinating figure from the High Middle Ages, and I’d love to see her world through her eyes.
  7. What turns you on? Halloween, the sound of rustling leaves, stormy skies, ruins, ancient stones, classic movies, intelligence, humor, contemplation of the unknown, travel, foreign languages, and delicious food!
  8. What turns you off? Violence, bigotry, false accusation, hot weather, and reptiles.
  9. Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”) I’ve had fewer first dates than most of my friends, and probably most women! I honestly don’t remember.
  10. What’s your version of a perfect day? Exploring a historic site on a cool, cloudy day with my loved ones, followed by good food and a great movie.

The Cauldron Stirred

Ashling Donoghue never dreamed moving to Ireland would rock her perception of reality and plunge her into a mystery that brings legend to life.

At seventeen, she’s never had a boyfriend, but she feels an immediate connection to Aengus Breasal, the son of the wealthy Irishman who’s invited her family to stay at his Killarney estate.  For the first time in her life, a guy she likes seems attracted to her.

But Aengus is secretive, with good reason.  He and his family are the Tuatha Dé Danann, ageless, mythical guardians adept at shifting between this reality and the magical dimension known as the Otherworld.  Evil forces from that world threaten the Breasals, the Donoghues, and all of Ireland.  Ashling must open her heart, face her fears, and embrace a destiny greater than she could ever have imagined.

Excerpt: 

The night air was deliciously cool. Moonlight and darkness held equal sway over the backyard thanks to the shifting clouds. I dashed across the lawn and halted in the exact spot where Aengus had stood. Panting, I looked around, willing some kind of clue to materialize.

The ruins in front of me darkened as large, heavy clouds swallowed the moon whole. The wind tugged at my long, loose hair and pajamas. Tiny raindrops spattered on my nose and cheeks. I turned my palms to the sky, and cold rain pelted them.

“Great.” Intending to return to the house, I swiveled around.

I gasped. My right hand flew to my chest. “Aengus?!”

The man himself stood an arm’s length in front of me. “Why are you here?”

“You scared the crap out of me!”

“Whisht!”

“What?”

“Shush!”

Pop!

The strident sound came from the ruins. I whirled around and stared at the dark keep.

Aengus grabbed me from behind. He pulled me to him and wrapped his arms around me. I reveled in the feel of his taut body, of his warm flesh against mine.

Suddenly, everything changed. The rain stopped. The wind died. The entire landscape was bathed in the soft hue of twilight. Breasal Castle looked brand spanking new, just as it had during the bizarre dream in which I brought Aengus to the cottage. But this time, I knew I was awake.

Dumbfounded, I gawked at the medieval magnificence before me. I had no idea what had happened and no desire to pull away from his embrace.

His lips brushed my right ear, sending a shiver down my spine. “This way.”

His right arm released me, and his left slid down to my waist. Maintaining body contact the entire time, he steered me toward the stand of oaks on our right.

Once sheltered by the trees, he turned us around so we faced the castle.

“Are we hiding?” I whispered.

“We are.”

“Why? And what just happened?”

“I can’t say.”

“Can’t or won’t?”

“Both.”

Until that moment, I’d forgotten I wore pajamas. Now I was acutely aware of it. Satin was pleasing to the touch, but something told me my attire had nothing to do with his grip on me.

I looked up at him. “Not that I mind, but why are you holding me so close?”

His hand tightened on my waist. “It’s necessary.”

“I don’t suppose you can explain that, either.”

With his gaze locked on the castle, he shook his head. He pressed his right forefinger against his mouth in a silencing gesture. Then he pointed up at the keep.

High on the battlements, the black-haired woman from my dream—and from Branna’s painting—paced back and forth. Her hair whipped about her pale face and slender frame.

She paused beside a gap in the crenelated wall and glared down at the fairy mound. Her colorless lips curled into a sneer. Then her human form morphed into a dark shadow, which fragmented into what seemed a million black particles. They swarmed into the air and shot across the twilit sky, disappearing into the distance.

I took a deep breath. “So she’s real.

He nodded. “She’s real, to be sure. Come.” With his arm still hooked around me, he led me out of the woods and toward the fairy mound.

Buy Links

Amazon // Wild Rose Press //

A wee bit more about Judith:

Judith Sterling’s love of history and passion for the paranormal infuse everything she writes. Flight of the Raven and Soul of the Wolf are part of her medieval romance series, The Novels of Ravenwood. The Cauldron Stirred is the first book in her young adult paranormal series, Guardians of Erin. Written under Judith Marshall, her nonfiction books—My Conversations with Angels and Past Lives, Present Stories—have been translated into multiple languages. She has an MA in linguistics and a BA in history, with a minor in British Studies. Born in that sauna called Florida, she craved cooler climes, and once the travel bug bit, she lived in England, Scotland, Sweden, Wisconsin, Virginia, and on the island of Nantucket. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and their identical twin sons

You can connect with Judith here:

Amazon // Goodreads // FaceBook // Website

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Christmas in July…Bah Humbug??? Maybe not.

I’m going to be brutally honest and tell you one of the things I hate, historically, has been what’s called Christmas in July by the retail and commercial selling world. Christmas is Dec. 25 a winter holiday, so I have never understood why Hallmark and the Christmas Tree Shops, just to name 2, go bat-shit crazy during one of the hottest months of the year promoting the holiday shopping season.

Since I’ve published a Christmas-themed novel, though, my thoughts have changed. I now understand the WHY of such early promo. You want your readers to start reading and reviewing your holiday works so that when the actual dates roll around, the gift-of-a-book-buying public will choose yours, based on buzz.

I get it now. In spades.

Or maybe that’s in Christmas cookies(!)

For my Christmas in July, here’s A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS from The Wild Rose Press. The book is also up for a Contemporary  Romance Writers STILETTO AWARD this year. Keep your fingers crossed. I’m a finalist and the winners are announced on July 28!

Here’s a little sumthin’ sumthin’ to whet your holiday appetite.

Blurb: 

With Christmas just a few weeks away, Gia San Valentino, the baby in her large, loud, and loving Italian family, yearns for a life and home of her own with a husband and bambini she can love and spoil. The single scene doesn’t interest her, and the men her well-meaning family introduce her to aren’t exactly the happily-ever-after kind.

Tim Santini believes he’s finally found the woman for him, but Gia will take some convincing she’s that girl. A misunderstanding has her thinking he’s something he’s not.

Can a kiss stolen under the Christmas lights persuade her to spend the rest of her life with him?

Excerpt:

He came toward me and I could see every ripple of muscle, every action and reaction of his gait, every blink of his eyes, as it happened. Detailed, distinct, delicious.

The bright sun shone low due to the hour, but it haloed around his form, bathing him in light.

He looked like an angel.

A dressed-all-in-black angel, but an angel, nonetheless.

“Need some help?” he asked when he was within a foot of me.

I still hadn’t moved, my fingers cemented around the ladder rungs. I couldn’t feel them anymore. Merda, I couldn’t feel anything I was so numb from just looking at him.

But I could hear. My blood, as it river rafted crazily through my temples; my heart drumming like a heavy metal band in my chest.

And his voice. Mio Dio, his voice.

When I was six I had a terrible chest cold. Wheezing, choking on phlegm, unable to cough anything up. The doctor told mama to keep me warm and hydrated and the cold would ride itself out in time. Nonna Constanza, ancient even when I was a kid, scoffed and prescribed her own old world remedy. She sat me in her lap, cooing to me with her singsong voice and held a tiny shot glass up to my lips coaxing, “Tu bevi, Gia bambina. Tu Bevi.”

Drink, Gia baby. Drink.

She tilted the glass back into my mouth and I did. I drank every drop.

I don’t remember much after because Daddy told me I slipped into a mini-coma for about sixty-two hours, bombed out of my head from the anisette nonna had dosed me with.

But this is what I do remember. The amber colored liquor slipped down the inside of my mouth to the back of my throat and onward into my belly, tasting of melted marshmallows and warming each place it touched like a million little hits of heat popping everywhere inside me. When it reached my tummy it settled and dug in, filling my senses with the sweet flavor of mama’s Sunday morning caramel rolls and sugar.

That’s what his voice sounded like: warm and sweet, thick, delicious, and soothing.

My entire body relaxed when I heard it. My paralysis flew and my frozen-in-place digits melted.

He’d held my stare the entire time, never wavering, never becoming distracted by something else. He looked straight at me; just me. Like a missile dead-eye-aimed for a target.

“Here,” he said, moving in closer, so close I could make out the actual color of his eyes now. I’d thought they were dark and from far away and they were. But seeing them now, face-to-face, I spotted little flecks of yellow and slivery shards of gold mixed into the center and surrounded by a ring of deep, rich, mink.

If his voice was warm and soothing, his eyes were hot enough to singe, and mama mia, I wanted to be burned.

Buy LInks: Amazon //WRP // Nook // Kobo //

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Filed under A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

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 the Duke of Ravensmere and Sandra Masters

Today I’ve got a lovely treat. Wild Rose Press sistahs and author SANDRA MASTERS is visiting with one of the wonderful characters from her recent release,  ONE NIGHT WITH A DUKE.  Sandra and His Grace, Raven, Tenth Duke of Ravensmere sat down for this little tete-a-tete recently and both agreed to let me ( and you!) listen in. Sit back and enjoy and stick around because Sandra is giving us all a present: An excerpt from ONE NIGHT WITH A DUKE.

Setting: Regency England 1817, the industrial revolution, and returning soldiers with no employment set the scene for political turmoil.

His Grace, Raven, Tenth Duke of Ravensmere, reclusive, politically powerful, denies love after the tragic deaths of his duchess and baby son. Bound by a deathbed promise made ten years prior, he has vowed never to allow love to enter his heart again.

He meets Lady Samantha Winston, a young widow, who permits him to seek refuge in her carriage in a time of need, and what started out as a kiss in the name of safety, became pleasurable and not safe at all. In spite of every caution, his interest escalates into unexpected but welcomed desire.

Author: What is your main fear, Your Grace?

Answer: Being a mature and politically savvy peer, I feared to fall in love again passionately as I did with my late wife. The loss of her and our son paralyzed my every thought. To assuage the remorse, I delved more into all political events and devoted my efforts to my constituency and the tenants on my estate. England won the war against France but bankrupted the country. My goal was to propel my country back into the forefront of the financial world. My loveless life continued. And then by accident, I met Samantha Winston.

Author: Can you tell me about the incident?

Answer: You were the one who concocted the scene, but I’ll relive the events for our readers. After a meeting with the Prince Regent at his Carleton Townhouse, I chose to walk to the Townsend Ball a few blocks away. However, I encountered anarchists intent on doing me bodily harm simply because I was an aristocrat. The night darkened, and I cat-walked against walls, turned into an alley, and somehow avoided direct contact. Seven to one are not great odds for success. I saw a waiting carriage on the street with lit lanterns and raced to the door, pulled it open, expecting it to be empty. Instead, a lady sat on a seat, alarmed at my intrusion. The mob was now around us. The coachman bellowed for them to leave, but one lout climbed to peer through the window. Before I could speak to her, I went to her side and took her to me. All the thug could see was two presumed lovers in an ardent embrace and kissing. It must have amused him because he jumped down and chuckled moved the group down the street.

Author: Lady Winston allowed you, a stranger, to kiss her?

Answer: There was little time to speak, only to act. The lady kicked me in the shins, clouted me with her reticule until I uttered a sentence.

Author: Rather curious, Your Grace. What was the sentence?

Answer: Damnation, Madam. I asked her assistance since I was in dire straits…that I would explain and then I kissed her. It was when I said, “Please,” that she consented.

Author: Odd, that a duke of the realm would resort to such a word.

Answer: In dangerous times, a man would resort to any unusual actions. Now stop your falderal and let me continue.

Author: One kiss or two?

Answer: One long and pleasurable kiss. I remember thinking that a kiss in the name of safety was not safe at all. In the lantern light, I memorized her young face, but it was her verdant eyes that begged further inspection, not to mention her copper colored hair.

Author: And then what happened?

Answer: I apologized for my rash actions, made my explanation, and introduced myself. Other women would have fallen apart. Instead, she said, “It seems peculiar, Your Grace, to have introductions after our scandalous kisses. Perhaps it should have been the other way around?” Most of all, her sense of humor appealed to me. Her pleasant demeanor impressed and she chatted informally with me as if we were old friends. I offered to stay and wait for her relatives to explain my presence, but she asked for propriety’s sake that I leave.

Author: Did you?

Answer: Yes, after all, it was her request. I thanked her for her assistance. And that’s when she leaned forward and said, “Au revoir.” She whispered, “Until we meet again,” and touched my arm.

Author: Did you meet soon after?

Answer: You certainly know the entire story, but I avoided two dangers. One was the anarchists attempt to harm me. The second was the danger of a beautiful, high-spirited woman intent on flirtation or seduction. The latter intrigued me no end and represented a risk I would face with infinite pleasure. I determined that at another time, another place, I would find her again and demonstrate all the other things my lips and manly parts would do.

Author: Your Grace, I’m shocked that you would speak so.

Answer: I beg to differ with you, Mistress Masters. I can’t believe I did and said many of the things you wrote. You took great liberties with my persona in our book. You brought me out of the darkness of my personal life and gave me the desire to live and love again. There were those who never would believe me capable of such passionate utterings. They used to speak of me, under their breaths, as cold as ice with an even colder heart. The truth of the matter was that my heart needed resuscitation and my lady did an adequate job. Admittedly, you took a circuitous route, caused me great angst, pain, and suffering, but then I might not have appreciated Lady Samantha’s firebrand wit and courage. So I forgive you.

Author: For our readers’ sake, I’d like to say that you did reunite in Chapter Two. However, Lady Samantha Winston appeared to push all your ‘hot’ buttons much to your chagrin.

Answer: Yes, she did. I got the distinct impression you enjoyed every moment of my distress. We did meet at the ball later that evening, and I knew that my life would change forever because I saw the spitfire side of the lady and wanted to tame her indomitable spirit. I’ve always loved a challenge. Now, I suggest you go on to the next book because I want to savor the publication of our story. Feel free to join my lady and me in the library for a libation. I remember that you favor gin over brandy.

Author: Raven, you’re such a rogue. If I were to drink with you, I might have to write you in another book. You were one of the first dukes I created, but you gave me such a hard time because you were complicated in every way imaginable. Most of all, I liked your charming arrogance. I have created you out of the figment of my imagination. I hope I brought you justice. So, goodbye for now…oops, perhaps I should have said, “Au revoir. Until we meet again.”

Blurb: ONE NIGHT WITH A DUKE

When a spirited woman disrupts the world of a duke who follows the rules, sparks fly, passions ignite and planets collide.

Reclusive, cold as ice, the politically powerful Raven, Duke of Ravensmere, denies love after the tragic deaths of his duchess and baby. He is bound by his vow never to allow love to enter his heart again. Samantha Winston permits him to seek refuge in her carriage in a time of need, and what started as a kiss in the name of safety, becomes something more pleasurable and not so safe after all. In spite of every caution, his interest escalates into unexpected desire.

Samantha, a young widow with a secret, irreverent and high-spirited, has constructed impenetrable walls against all men. When she and Raven meet again, strong wills clash. Political intrigues and a dreaded nemesis place his life at risk, and Samantha finds herself in a dire predicament. All the while, passion soars.

Can Samantha’s barriers fall with more kisses?

Can Raven be released from his deathbed vow?

Excerpt

“I do hope that none of the rakish kind will offer for my basket. Men do feel widows are fair game. I’m not sure how I would handle such rakes. I have insufficient experience, but I suppose I will have to learn.”

“My dear Samantha, do you expect me to believe that in these past three years, you haven’t encountered disreputable men?” He laughed, “I do believe you will have a sufficient amount of reputable young men who will bid on you and your picnic basket. After all, it’s for a good cause, isn’t it? But I do hope you will keep your conversation light, or you will suffer the young man to have indigestion or apoplexy.

Impishly, she said, “I deserved that. I like your sense of humor. It’s also good to hear you laugh. We do battle well.” Perhaps he could be a man of consequence?

“Indeed, but I warn you, I have not started my retaliation. When one acquires an enemy, I don ‘t believe in keeping him or her closer; however, I might make an exception for you.”

“Oh, No, I’m not your enemy, Your Grace. Please don’t consider me as one.”

“Perhaps if you try hard, you can change my mind,” a small grin curled his lips.

“What would I have to do?” her large eyes implored.

“I leave that to your resourcefulness…and mine…under a starlit night with nothing but our naked imaginations.”

“Sweet heaven,” she muttered, cheeks crimson.

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

A little about SANDRA MASTERS

From a humble beginning in Newark, New Jersey, a short stay at a convent in Morristown, NJ at the age of fourteen, retiring from a fantastic career for a play broadcasting company in Carlsbad, California, to the rural foothills of the Sierras of Yosemite National Park, Sandra traded in the Board Rooms for the Ballrooms of the Regency period and never looked back.

Sandra wrote her first book at the age of fifteen. Romance is at best a gift and her passion is the Regency period. Admittedly, she would prefer to be the sister of a duke or an earl…perhaps even a princess? Or the other endless possibilities of a widow. Hmmm.

As a lonely only child, she used to read fairy tales and now she writes them. She admits freely she’s an unapologetic story-teller.

Her debut novel was Once Upon a Duke, which received wide acceptance. She followed with Book Two, My Divinely Decadent Duke, a marriage-of-convenience story turned inconvenient when love and sensuality entered the equation.

Her third book, THORN, SON OF A DUKE, the prequel to her fourth book, THE DUKE’S MAGNIFICENT BASTARD is a 15,000-word teaser. She delineates Thorn’s younger days as a half-breed subject to the malice of rock throwing native boys. At the age of seventeen, his mother extracts a death-bed promise for him to sail the ocean to visit his father, the Duke of Althorn, who never knew of his existence. On the island of Barbados, it wasn’t the best of lives, but it was the only one he knew. Now, he was to face British aristocracy as the bastard son of a powerful, wealthy duke.

Book Four she lovingly calls “My Bastard” is a multi-cultural romance story of a young couple defeating all odds to have their love accepted.The gossamer thread of sensuality is woven through the tapestried story of their spicy, steamy romance. At times, the obstacles are daunting.

With Book Five in this series, ONE NIGHT WITH A DUKE, she accomplished her life-long dream of publishing this story into a reality. What did it take? Cutting the too-long epic by 57,000 words was a prodigious task. She worked like a dervish so her Raven and Samantha could see the light of a publishing day. She gave them cameo appearances in each of her books so she wouldn’t forget that they begged to earn a place in the series. Seven years later, they made their long awaited debut.

For a new author, it’s been a whirlwind two years and it was nothing she expected, but everything she dreamed.

Book Six is a work-in-process and her writing takes a different path into a dark, brooding fantasy where supernatural powers assist in prolonging the adventures of The Blue-Eyed Black-Hearted Duke. What man could resist redemption from the beautiful ward of his, Miss Jaclyn? Possible release end of 2017.

Two months ago, Sandra broke her right dominant arm, so she is tested every day to manipulate fingers that used to fly across typewriter keys. Some days are good and others are not, but her grit and determination keep her going.

P.S. Sandra love bears of all sizes and shapes. However, she prefers to view the real life ones from afar.

You can find Sandra here:

AUTHOR: www.authorsandramasters.com

Amazon //  Facebook // Twitter // Goodreads   //  Website
Once in a while
In the middle of ordinary life
LOVE gives us a FAIRY TALE.

Peggy here: Sandra and Your Grace, it was an honor and a pleasure to visit with you today. Happy writing and travels!

 

 

 

 

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Coming Soon, Part II

Last week I told you about my next Kensington release coming on 10.3.17. Today I’ve got even better news. My next Wild Rose Press Release PASSION’S PALETTE, book 5 in the MacQuire Women is releasing in to the book reading world on August 4, 2017! You can preorder right now, Just clink on the title above. Passion’s Palette is Serena MacQuire’s and Seamus Cleary’s love story. If you’ve read Skater’s Waltz, or There’s No Place like Home or First Impressions, you’ve met these two fabulous people already. This book is the second prequel to the series, the first was The Voices of Angels. In Passion’s Palette Serena and Seamus first meet, fall in love, and then….well, I think I’ll just let you read it!

Here’s a little sumthing’ sumthin’ though, to whet your book reading appetites.

Blurb: 

Talented and witty portrait artist Serena MacQuire is successful in everything but love. Her gift for capturing people on canvas is rivaled only by her fiery and legendary temper. A tragedy from the past keeps her heart securely locked away, preventing any man from getting close enough to claim it.

But Seamus Cleary isn’t just any man. After he left his professional football career to become a veterinarian, his bitter wife ended their marriage. Now, as he starts his life over in a new town, love is the last thing he’s looking for. The more he tends to Serena’s horses, though, the more he realizes her own heart needs tender care and healing as well.

Will he be the man who finally unlocks and claims her heart?

 

Excerpt:

He took her lower lip between his teeth in the lightest of nips, his tongue, probing, exploring, tasting every nook and cranny of her. The notion he could sit here consuming her all day and that it would never be enough to satisfy the hunger growling through him, swam in his mind.

Serena broke the kiss and tried to pull back, but the firm grip of Seamus’s hands on her waist pinioned her in place.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered, averting her eyes.

“I’m not.”

Her head shook, as if clearing it, her hair swaying with the motion. “It must be the champagne. I’m not usually so…forward.”

Seamus studied her in silence, knowing it wasn’t the wine making her react to his kiss. “Well, I’m glad this happened. I’ve been trying for hours to figure out a way to kiss you again without making you mad at me. I wish you’d have asked me about this modeling business when you first arrived. If I’d known it was going to bring out this kind of response, I’d have volunteered myself before being asked.”

Her head shot up at his words.

Why was the irritation drenching her eyes as intoxicating as her taste had been?

“It’s no secret I’m attracted to you, Serena,” he said before she could rail at him. “I have been since that first morning in the barn. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think you feel the same.”

Averting her eyes again, she told him, “You certainly make your presence known,” instead of answering the question. “I don’t usually kiss a man within the first five minutes of meeting him.”

“Good. I’ll take that as a yes.”

A few heartbeats passed.

“Where do we go from here with this?” he asked, dropping a light kiss in the hollow behind her ear.

“Oh, Seamus. Don’t do that. Please.”

Discovering little ways to seduce her thrilled him. He pulled back and said, “Here’s a start. Why don’t you break down and call me Jim like everyone else does?”

Serena gazed at his face, her eyes fleeting across his lips and landing at the scar.

“No, I don’t think I can do that. Your name is too unusual, too, I don’t know,” she said, with a delicate shrug. “Too…you. I like your name. It fits you. Like this house does.”

One corner of his mouth tipped upwards. “Okay. Forget the name. How about having dinner with me again tomorrow? I promise this time I’ll go grocery shopping.”

Serena squinted, but her mouth twitched as she shot back, “You just want me to cook for you again.”

His face broke into a wide grin. He cocked his head to one side and said, “Well, you could. Or we could go out on a real date.”

Do they ever get to go out on that real date? You’ll have to wait until August 4th to find out! Hee hee.

Buy Links:

Amazon // Wild Rose Press //

Other online book retailers coming soon.

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Filed under Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, Life challenges, love, MacQuire Women, Romance, Romance Books, Skater's Waltz, Strong Women, The Laine Women, The Voices of Angels, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

A little something new…Guest Hostess Karen C. Whalen

Today, something a little different. I’m turning my blog over to one of my Wild Rose Press sistahs, Karen C. Whalen, for the day. Karen has new book out in her culinary cozy mystery series, the dinner club murder mysteries, titled  NOT ACCORDING TO FLAN. As a writer, Karen is going to talk to you today about that wonderful thing every writer needs to establish in their stories and between their characters: CONFLICT.

She’s also giving you a litte sumthin’ sumthin from her book, so stayed tuned to the end!

Please welcome, Karen C. Whalen.

Conflict has been called the most important element in fiction, an essential crafting tool every writer must master. Novels demand conflict and tension to compel readers to keep turning the pages.

Adding conflict was the subject of a writing exercise in a workshop I attended a few years ago. The first step was to jump to the middle of our WIP (work in progress). My middle was at page one-hundred. Then, we were instructed to add conflict on that very page by having the characters argue. They were not to have a nice, gentlemanly disagreement, no. The characters had to insult each other and call one another names. The instructor required a knock-down fight of the blow-out variety, not a puny squabble. When I started the assignment I wondered how in the world my main characters could argue. They were friends in a cozy gourmet dinner club in a cozy murder mystery. How was I going to toss in the kind of verbal exchange that would endure to a final draft?

I started reading the scene on page one hundred. Even before I finished the page, an argument popped into my corrupt and depraved mind. I let it all hang out, the taunting and the mud-slinging, all of it. The scene was much improved. The conflict added depth to the dialogue, enhanced the theme of the book, and brought the characters to life. Even I wanted to read to the end to see how the characters resolved their issues.

Why? Because in real life friends do not talk to each other that way. Friends don’t insult each other; they don’t call each other names. Friendships, in reality, are fragile. But friends think those angry thoughts, they just don’t say them out loud. Not if they want to stay friends. Admit it, you’ve played such an argument out on the pages of your imagination many times. The reader’s fantasy is fulfilled in the conflict on the written page.

Not only do readers crave the conflict, they need a satisfactory resolution as well. End results are impossible to control in real life, but the creator of the characters can control the outcome. At the end of my new and improved scene, the first character apologized to the second character who said, “No, I totally see your point of view.” Not every clash of character is going to resolve this way, nor would we want it to. At least not every time. But, hey, wouldn’t our lives be wonderful if we could resolve our arguments so happily?

That’s not reality. That’s why it’s called fiction.

Like everybody else I had a best friend growing up. We were best buds from grade school to high school to college. We swore we’d always be best friends. And you can guess what happened. She said I said something that hurt her feelings. I don’t even remember saying what she said I said. As I said, friendships are fragile. And how I would like to rewrite that dialogue!

And I can.

I can create my own comfy world in my own cozy murder mysteries. My characters are friends, good friends. When they argue, they kiss and make up (usually) and the reader keeps turning those pages to make sure.

In the last part of the writing exercise, we were instructed to examine every page of our WIP, every single page, not just every scene, and add conflict to each page, to create a page-turner, can’t-put-it-down novel.

When I heard that, I wanted to punch out that instructor. Not really, because he was so right. And besides, I live in reality where people restrain themselves most of the time. But in fiction, there are endless opportunities for confrontation and clash…and conflict.

Blurb: NOT ACCORDING TO FLAN

Jane Marsh wants to shake off the empty nest syndrome, plus the notoriety of the death of her first and second husbands, by starting over in a new place. She sells her family home to move to a far northern suburb of Denver. At the same time, Jane’s dinner club is undergoing a transformation, and a new man—a gourmet chef—enters her life. But, things turn sour when, on the day Jane moves into her new home, she discovers a dead body. She cannot feel at home in this town where she’s surrounded by cowboys, horse pastures, and suspects. Not to mention where a murder was committed practically on her doorstep. How can she focus on romance and dinner clubs when one of her new friends—or maybe even her old ones—might be a murderer?

Excerpt :

Slam! Chink. The brown packing box fell off the dolly with the tinkling sound of glass on glass. Jane sighed as the mover stacked the box labeled “kitchen” back on the dolly and thumped down the basement stairs with it.

Never mind. She’d sort it out later. She slipped outside into the warmth of the early September, blue-sky, Colorado day to check on her puppies sniffing around their new territory in the backyard. Leaning over the deck railing facing the lot to the east, she gazed into the bottom of an open excavation where a basement was being poured. Someone had parked a tractor down in the dirt, and near it a white cowboy hat lay on the ground. A man’s hand stretched toward the hat’s brim. Had someone fallen into the pit?

Jane bounded down the deck stairs and out the wooden gate, only stopping for a moment to secure the latch. She rounded the corner of her new house and rushed to the adjoining lot, pausing near the edge of the concrete that formed the basement’s foundation.

A man was shoved against the corner of the foundation wall. His torso and legs were partly covered with dirt. The cowboy hat concealed the top of his head. His left hand almost touched the brim, as if he were about to take off his hat and say “Howdy do.” A large manila envelope lay a foot or so away from his other outstretched hand.

On the envelope tall, block letters spelled out: “Jane Marsh—welcome to your new home.”

Jane’s hands flew to her throat. “Ethan,” she breathed.

Her eyes took in the three cement walls rising out of the dirt floor and at the rear, a crumbling slope of dirt spilling into the pit. Starting toward the back slope, she hesitated. The soil might not be stable. She lifted two planks, plunked the long ends of the boards into the pit, and climbed down.

The smell of turned earth filled her nose as she skirted the tractor, a small, front-end loader. Falling to her knees, she lifted the cowboy hat, then dropped it. She felt the man’s wrist for a pulse. It wasn’t there. Then her hand moved toward the envelope with her name on it, but she drew back.

After yanking a cell phone out of the back pocket of her worn jeans, she punched in 9-1-1. “A man fell into a construction pit… I’m pretty sure he’s dead…no, he’s beyond help.” The dispatcher asked for the address, and she gave it to him in a shaky voice. “Yes, I’ll stay on the line.” The makeshift bridge was harder to get back up than it was to get down. After making it to the top, she crossed the lot and rushed through her front door.

“Caleb!”

“Yeah? Whatzup, Mom?” Her grown son appeared from the kitchen. He was almost a foot taller than she, but with the same slim build and a cap of the same rich brown hair.

“Ethan Valrod. The construction manager for the builder. He fell into the basement pit next door. He’s dead.” Breathless, she took a deeper breath to stop her ears buzzing and her heart pounding.

“What the?” Caleb’s eyes widened and his mouth dropped open.

“Ethan Valrod’s dead. I’ve called 9-1-1 already and they told me to stay on the line.” Jane lifted the phone to her ear, but the operator was silent. Legs shaking, she led the way, and Caleb followed her out the door.

Her son stationed himself on top of the foundation, hands clenched to his sides, while taking in the sight below. She plucked at his sleeve. “Are you going down to look?”

He nodded his head and descended the plank. In only a few moments he was back, dragging her by the elbow over to the concrete curb where they sat together facing the street.

After hearing a voice spluttering from the phone, Jane spoke into it. “I’m all right. I’ve got my son here with me now. We’ll wait together.” She hit the mute button and shifted the phone from her right hand to her left.

Caleb slid a folded piece of paper out of his tight jean pocket and handed it to her. “I forgot to give you this.”

In a tremulous voice, she read out loud, “Mrs. Marsh, I stopped by to give you a welcome packet with the keys. I’ll come back later.” Ethan Valrod’s signature was scrawled across the bottom. She gazed into the distance for a moment.

Caleb lifted his hands, palms up. “It was on the counter when I got here. The movers set a box on top of the note, and I didn’t want it to get lost, so I put it in my pocket.”

“Okay, thanks.” Swallowing hard, she darted a quick glance over her shoulder, but no one else was around. “It looked like someone used the tractor to cover the body with dirt.”

“I noticed. And there were marks on the ground, like someone rolled his body into the corner first.”

“Did you see the blood on the tractor bucket?”

“Yeah.” Caleb gave his mother a pop-eyed stare and she returned the look.

Her ears seemed sharper than usual. The dogs barked from the other side of the fence. A plane’s engine droned from overhead. Police sirens approached from the next block.

Buy links:

Book 1: Everything Bundt the Truth

Wild Rose Press // Amazon // B&N 

Book 2: Not According to Flan

Wild Rose Press // Amazon // B&N

A little about Karen:

Karen C. Whalen is the author of a culinary cozy series, the “dinner club murder mysteries.” The first three in the series are: Everything Bundt the Truth, Not According to Flan, and No Grater Evil. Her books are similar to those written by cozy authors Jessica Beck and Joanne Fluke. She worked for many years as a paralegal at a law firm in Denver, Colorado and has been a columnist and regular contributor to The National Paralegal Reporter magazine. She believes that it’s never too late to try something new. She loves to host dinner clubs, entertain friends, ride bicycles, hike in the mountains, and read cozy murder mysteries.

You can connect with Karen here:

Facebook // Website // Twitter // Goodreads // Amazon

 

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Presenting…..#author Tena Stetler

One of my lovely and talented writing friends, TENA STETLER, has a new paranormal release — A WARLOCK’S SECRETS — and she’s visiting me today, along with one of her characters, Hannah Shaughnessy, to tell you a little about the book and how it came to be.  I’ve got a few questions for these two, so sit back and let’s get to know them a little better. And stick around – Tena’s giving you a treat at the end…

Tena, tell us a little about writing this story. A Warlock’s Secrets was one of the hardest books to write. I write by the seat of my pants. Most characters come to me and boom, I know their name, and tell me their story. Tristian was a secondary character in A Demon’s Witch, and a difficult one at that. Who would ever imagine an enforcer/assassin would charm my readers and reviewers so much that they demand his story be written? Tristian taunted and tested me every step of the way. But I believe it’s one of my best novels yet. Hannah, aww… she gave him a run for his money, but it was worth every penny. LOL. The family and friends that surrounded them were the best. Looking back I had a lot of fun writing the story too.

But Hannah is here today to tell you a little bit about her.

Hannah Shaughnessy, meet Peggy Jaeger.

Hi Hannah, nice to meet you. How about telling us a little about the real youI am a cyber security specialist. Came to the U.S., from Ireland to attend college, graduated early and was snapped up by a big cyber security firm. My family is close, and holds our guarded secret closer. I love my little cottage in Misty Harbor, Maine. On one of the worst days of my life, I stopped in a little diner and vented to the waitress I know there. This unbelievably hot man with intense blue-gray eyes, asked to join me. All I could do was nod, hoping the drool didn’t pool in the corners of my mouth. He was having a bad day too. We talked for hours. But his magic signature was disguised.

What event in your past has left the most indelible impression on you? Being sucked into a world I didn’t know existed and danger that lurked there.

What was the hardest thing you ever had to do? Keep my relationship with Tristian a secret from my sister. She attended college over here too, she’s a park ranger and we’d always told each other everything. With Tristian, I couldn’t.

What do you most value? Family and trusted friends. I know it sounds cliché, but when danger finds you, family and friends are all you can trust to be there for you.

What type of man do you want to spend the rest of your life with? A confident man with a strong moral compass and a kind and compassionate heart.

What do you consider most important in life? Being true to yourself.

What is your biggest secret? Oh, now I can’t tell you that or it wouldn’t be a secret anymore. But I guarantee it’s a doozy. LOL

Who were the biggest role models in your life? My mom. She raised my sister and I, worked at the family pub, and knew when to let us try our wings at colleges in America. It was hard for her but she supported us and our dreams all the way.

What kind of man would you never choose? Until Tristian, I’d never fallen for a “bad boy type”. But… wow… did he fit that category.

What is your biggest fear? Losing someone close to me. Tristian’s profession is dangerous and can affect family and friends, though he does his best to protect us.

            It was nice meeting you. But I gotta get going, I’m on my way to check out the new digs in Colorado Springs, Colorado, for the company I work for, Shadow Hawk Cyber.

 A Warlock’s Secrets

Blurb:

Years ago, a sacred ceremony at the Dragon’s Moon Coven turned deadly. Son of the high priestess, Tristian Shandie’s life changed forever. With a price on his head and revenge in his heart, he has no choice but to follow in his father’s footsteps to a profession shrouded in secrets. Now his skills as an enforcer for the Demon Overlord are second to none. But dangerous secrets he harbors are a liability he can no longer afford.

A chance meeting with a woman he finds irresistible flips Tristian’s world upside down. Hannah is a cyber security specialist with secrets of her own. Bad boys never appealed to her until Tristian, who changes everything. In his darkest hours, she is dragged into his magical world.

If they survive, is she strong enough to heal his heart and tame the warlock? Or will their secrets destroy them?

Excerpt:

Inside the house, a shadow passed by the huge bay window. She held her breath. Am I really going to go through with this?

Walking up the steps to the house, she paused. Why would he leave such an expensive car sitting out when he had a four-car garage? She was stalling. Straightening her shoulder’s she used the brass doorknocker. There was no answer. She knocked again.

The heavy oak door creaked open. Tristian stood shirtless, his abs rippled as he raised one muscular arm to lean on the doorframe. The skintight blue jeans hung low on his hips and his hair tousled as if he’d not been awake long.

When he stared at her, with those huge blue-gray eyes, tingles careened up her spine. She covered her mouth in case drool pooled in the corners her mouth. He was one sexy male. She sucked in a breath and opened her mouth to speak but nothing came out. A brow arched, he peered questioningly at her then twisted to glance backward into the house. The sunlight streaming through the doorway accentuated several scars across his chest, rib area and a healed slash across his back. Who gets those kinds of battle scars and lives to tell the tale? Not going to ask. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all.

The corner of his mouth curved up in an inviting sexy-as-hell grin. “Good morning, Hannah. What a surprise.”

Buy Links:

Amazon  // Kobo  // Barnes& Noble, //  iTunes, / The Wild Rose Press 

A little about Tena…

Tena Stetler is a paranormal romance and cozy mystery author with an over-active imagination. She wrote her first vampire romance as a tween, to the chagrin of her mother and the delight of her friends. With the Rocky Mountains outside her window, Tena sits at her computer surrounded by a wide array of paranormal creatures telling her their tales. Colorado is her home; shared with her husband of many moons, a brilliant Chow Chow, a spoiled parrot and a forty-year-old box turtle. Any evening, you can find her curled up in front of a crackling fire with a good book, a mug of hot chocolate and a big bowl of popcorn. Her books tell tales of magical kick-ass women and mystical alpha males that dare to love them.

 

You can find Tena here:

Website // Author’s Secrets’ Blog // My Say What Blog // Facebook // Twitter // Goodreads // Amazon // Newsletter Signup // Pinterest // Tribber // BookBub // Instagram

Hannah and Tena, thanks so much for stopping by today. Much luck in all….your pursuits!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Alpha Hero, Alpha Male, Author, Romance, Romance Books, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Sorchia Dubois, a tasty salad, and a little visit with Zoraida Gray

Today, in my constant attempt to bring you great authors and even better food (!) author SORCHIA DUBOIS is visiting me. She’s brought along a tasty summer salad recipe and an even tastier sample of her newest book ZORAIDA GRAY AND THE FAMILY STONES. 

Here’s Sorchia to tell you all about it….

In my Zoraida Grey series, Zoraida and her BFF Zhu are women of many passions. Food and drink come in about third on their list (magic and men being numbers one and two, not necessarily in that order.) From curly, cheesy fries at the local eatery in their hometown of Bear Hollow, Arkansas, to the tempting fare at a formal dinner in a haunted Scottish castle, they eat and drink their way through one magical adventure after another.

Self-depravation may be coming through in my writing since I often reward myself for meeting a deadline or word count with a wee dram. My first book, Just Like Gravity, contained so many references to a particular brand of Scotch that my publisher dedicated the entire book to the distillery and one of my reviewers says she gets thirsty every time she reads a passage about whiskey.

The format of a Gothic novel seldom allows for the inclusion of recipes, so I use my blog—Sorchia’s Universe—to cater to my own passions with an irregular feature I call the Writer’s Scotch and Salad Diet. The Writer’s Scotch and Salad Diet came about when a friend and I surmised that it should be possible to build a healthy diet around alcoholic beverages (it isn’t) and set out to prove it (We didn’t—don’t remember what went wrong, but something did go horribly, horribly wrong and I just thank the Powers That Be it happened before cell phones.)

Not to be deterred by common sense or nutritional science, to this day I continue the search for the elusive balance between healthy food and booze. Let me show you what I mean. Here’s a salad recipe and suggestions for drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) to accompany it, followed by an excerpt from Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones.

Let me hear from you! What is your favorite combination of food and drink?

 The Writer’s Scotch and Salad Diet: The Couscous and Black Bean Fiesta Salad.

Black Beans—2 cans or 1 cup of dried beans

¼ cup of minced fresh cilantro

½ tsp cumin

4 T Olive oil

3 T Lime Juice

1 tsp red wine vinegar

1 ¼ cup broth—any kind but chicken or veggie broth work nicely

1 cup raw couscous

1 chopped green pepper

1 chopped red pepper

1 cup frozen corn

8-10 chopped green onions

Sliced tomato

Shredded cheddar cheese

Method:

  1. If you use dried beans, cook until tender and cool.
  2. Prepare the couscous using the broth and cool.
  3. Mix everything except the tomatoes and cheese together and salt and pepper to taste. If you use frozen corn and mix in the rest, the corn will chill it down quickly.
  4. Chill for at least half an hour.
  5. Garnish with cheddar cheese and tomato slices.

A nice Speyside Scotch might go well with this salad—Glen Livet, Balvenie, or Glenfiddich. Something light and a little sweet. I love Rob Roys—especially smoky Rob Roys made with Laphroaig––which would be a good finisher to nearly any meal.

While I am enamored of Scotch, the salad does have a Mexican tang to it, so a Marguerita wouldn’t be amiss. Being a purist in all things, I advise against a mix. Get your bar book out and make it from scratch—not hard and much, much better. As always, avoid the cheap stuff. Patron Silver is touted as the best by many tequila aficionados in my acquaintance but I am not of their number so I can’t say anything beyond that.

If you don’t drink alcohol, then a sparkling white grape juice would be perfect. Go for something not loaded down with sugar or make your own:

  • 2 bottles well chilled Welch’s Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade. (This stuff may include sugar so you could make your own strawberry lemonade to create a healthier drink.)
  • 3 cups Welch’s 100% White Grape Juice. (You can get the unsweetened variety which is only 45 calories per serving.)
  • 2 cups peach juice.(Unsweetened!)
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced.
  • 1 peach, thinly sliced.
  • In a large punch bowl or pitcher stir together Sparkling Lemonade, White Grape Juice, Peach juice, lemon slices, strawberries, lemons, and peaches.

Here’s a little excerpt from Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones which shows Zoraida and Zhu in action at a formal dinner in a haunted castle.

Ursula moves her soupspoon—the one on the far right, I note—from front to back. Her manner looks much more civilized than the shoveling motion Zhu and I employ at home when we eat Campbell’s Chicken and Noodle soup on the porch. I catch Zhu’s attention and cock an eye at Ursula. Zhu sets her mouth grimly and copies the motion. Shea watches first her and then me. His eyebrows arch high and his mouth twists with suppressed laughter.

“I heard about the renovations.” I take a sip of soup, trying not to slurp. I could lap the savory chicken broth like a dog if I wasn’t trying to impress my new relatives. “That tower looks like it could withstand a hurricane.”

“The outer rockwork is as perfect today as it was when Lorne Logan built it in the fourteenth century.” The corners of Shea’s lips turn up slightly. Miss Watson Part Deux told us he is a murderer, a dangerous fellow likely to gut us in our sleep. He crackles with magic like the rest of them, hiding something from me and from the others. His voice is a delicious blend of rolled l’s and burred r’s, more Scottish than Michael’s clipped English accent. “We’re repairing doorways and excavating an old part of the interior that has been in ruins for nearly two centuries. Old tunnels and dungeons. Michael wants to make it part of the tour and charge an arm and a leg for the privilege. Always thinking ahead is our Michael.”

Michael shrugs. “One must do what one can to ensure the family’s security.” He smiles at me, but his words are for Shea. “We must make difficult choices and utilize our resources wisely. Shea and I have a disagreement about how to do that. Ours is a family of great diversity, and so we seldom agree on any course of action. I’m afraid family history is fraught with such disagreements, ranging from minor arguments to full-fledged feuds.”

The servants clear away the soup and bring in platters of fish ringed with lightly toasted Brussels sprouts. Fresh basil and rosemary leaves sizzle on the surface of fillet. It’s a far cry from the fried catfish they serve at Hofstedler’s in Bear Hollow.

Again, I survey the choices of implements at my disposal and wonder which one is for the fish. Who knew eating could get this complicated?

Across the table, Shea unobtrusively touches the fork on the outside left with his index finger. He shoots me a pointed glance, the smartass. With another quiet gesture, he indicates the knife on the outside right. I pick up my fish knife and fork and narrow my eyes at him. I can see enough of his mind to know he finds me hilarious.

 

To buy your very own copy of Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones—now a finalist in the Prism Awards offered by the Fantasy, Futuristic, & Paranormal Romance Writers chapter of Romance Writers of America, here are the links to purveyors of fine literature as close as your computer screen:

 Amazon // Wild Rose Press // B&N // Kob

You can connect with Sorchia here:

Website // Twitter // Pinterest // Facebook // Amazon // Goodreads //

 

Bio – A little about Sochia…

Sorchia Dubois lives in the piney forest of the Missouri Ozarks with seven cats. She edits technical writing part time, but she spends a number of hours each day tapping out paranormal romance, Gothic murder, and Scottish thrillers.

A proud member of the Ross clan, Sorchia incorporates all things Celtic (especially Scottish) into her works. She can often be found swilling Scotch at Scottish festivals and watching kilted men toss large objects for no apparent reason.

 

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Filed under Author, Cooking, Food lover, Foodie, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press, 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