Hadley Evans Ferrari, art detective in Florence, Italy, is on the scent of a forgotten Fragonard painting at a villa in Rome when she stumbles across a treasure trove of stolen Nazi artwork—from Hermann Göring’s personal World War II stash.
When she and the palazzo’s interior decorator are held hostage by the head of a secret Nazi organization and required, in a race against time, to appraise all the artwork in the house for private sale, she fears they will never escape with their lives.
Can her sexy carabinieri husband Luca Ferrari and the police department’s Art Squad get there in time to come storming in and “save the day” before the villa’s evil Count “ties up loose ends”?
“How do you know me?”
“Who in Italy doesn’t know the famous and beautiful Signora Ferrari of Massimo Domingo Art
“I wasn’t aware anyone knew my name. My boss is the premier art expert.”
“Signora, you’re too modest. Your reputation precedes you, as does the highly questionable and fading reputation of your boss. And your particular expertise will be put to very good use here, I assure you. It’s a special job that requires your particular skills.”
“What exactly are we doing here?” Hadley demanded, acting more courageous than she felt.
“Okay, let’s dispense with the niceties, if we must. I have inherited a number of paintings, and I’m in need of your talent in authenticating and tracking the provenance of what I believe are masterworks.”
“You mean stolen Nazi art.”
The man straightened. “Certainly not. I have the records that maintain these paintings were legally sold to the buyers and that I now own Palazzo Allegretti and all of its contents.”
“But I understood that Herr Muller had purchased the palazzo.”
“Herr Muller works for us. He’s what you could call an anonymous third party. We’ve been waiting a long time to release these paintings onto the open market. I simply need your assistance in verifying their authenticity, perhaps giving us an idea of their current value, which has undoubtedly risen since they were…”
“Confiscated?” Hadley posed. “Is that the word you were looking for?”
Marilyn Baron writes in a variety of genres from women’s fiction to historical romantic thrillers and romantic suspense to paranormal/fantasy and cozy mysteries. She’s received writing awards in Single Title, Suspense Romance, Novel with Strong Romantic Elements and Paranormal/Fantasy Romance. She was also The Finalist in the 2017 Georgia Author of the Year Awards (GAYA) in the Romance Category for her novel, Stumble Stones, and The Finalist for the 2018 GAYA Awards in the Romance category for her novel, The Alibi. Her latest novel, The Case of the Forgotten Fragonard, Book 3 in the Massimo Domingo Mystery series, her 29th work of fiction, was released today. A public relations consultant in Atlanta, Marilyn is past chair and current member of Roswell Reads and serves on the Atlanta Authors Series Committee. To find out more about what Marilyn writes, visit her website at: www.marilynbaron.com/
I’ve got a brand new-to-me- author and WRP sistah here today for a visit and an interview. I’m so excited to introduce you all to STELLA GRAE. Let’s get to know her a bit and then take a glance at her new WILD ROSE PRESS book JUST CALL ME CONFIDENCE releasing March 22, 2023
Stella…take it away.
Stella –The Writer
1. What drives you to write?
For me, writing has always been cathartic. I write when something bothers me, upsets me, or when I’m trying to process something. So, writing has become almost this extension of my personality. And, I just love creating an alternate reality where I might want to live…for a just little while at least.
2. What genre(s) of Romance do your write, and why?
I write erotic romance, which I had never thought I’d do. When I first began writing, romance writing was at the bottom of the list. Honestly, I was very frustrated with my lack of success in other areas, so I thought, “Why not?” and the words, plot, characters—everything flowed really well. I’m very fascinated with sexuality. I will often look at people and wonder how they are sexually. I know…it’s odd, but for me, erotica is as much about the psychology as the sex.
3. What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why?
I prefer romance with a dark twist. I have read and enjoyed Pepper Winters writing. I love that the characters are allowed to evolve and triumph out of dark, gritty situations.
4. What’s your writing schedule? Do you write every day?
I do not write every day unless I have a work-in-progress that is pulling me to it. Some weeks that means I may write every day, but usually I devote part of a weekend to writing. Since I teach, I do a lot of writing during the summer and on breaks.
5. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table?
I have devoted a corner nook in my bedroom as my writing space. The gorgeous old table that my family used when I was a kid is my desk. It’s a little cluttered, but I am essentially an organized person. I love the table because I can see the indentations in the wood that spark a lot of memories. It’s a very comfortable place for me to be mentally as well as physically.
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?
I really like quiet. I am bothered by background noise, so I do writing in the early morning or late at night.
7. Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not?
No! I honestly don’t know how people do that. I might be able to do some classical music, but usually silence is best. Now, I can be inspired to write by a song, but that’s it.
8. How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP?
So, this will be an interesting answer because most authors pull some part of themselves into a work, even if it’s just their own personal fantasies. Just Call Me Confidence and its sequel, which I’m working on right now, were both born of a failed relationship. I was lonely in the relationship, but didn’t want to do anything stupid, so I created characters and situations that were based a little on reality, but twisted them to create the kind of relationship that I actually had wished I had. The relationship fizzled, but the plot sizzled, as they say.
9. Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why?
I’d have to say that the plot comes first, but the character and his or her conflicts will come a close second. I often think about real people and their stories—why something is the way it is, or how it could be—and can flesh out a story pretty quickly. The characters have to be spot on though for a story to click, and that’s why, for me, character development really drives that plot.
10. What 3 words describe you, the writer?
Intelligent, determined, and passionate.
Stella –The Gal
Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing! I love to work with my hands, especially on home improvement projects. I’ve tiled a bathroom, put in flooring, installed crown molding. I even have my own saws, levels, and such.
Who was your first love and what age were you? I was young—maybe first grade—and I had a crush on this boy named Greg. I just thought he was wonderful, but he only had eyes for someone else. I can’t remember why I liked him, but I do remember that by middle school I had a mild obsession with Rick Springfield.
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 think I would relive the day that I was with my grandmother, brother, and other family on a train trip to the West. We were going across the Continental Divide and it was just magic—the scenery, the people I loved—I just could live that feeling of majesty over and over. It was very humbling to know, in a moment, how blessed you are.
What’s one thing you love about your significant other? I absolutely love that my significant other gets me and my writing. He isn’t jealous of the time I put in to it and really lifts me up. He’s so encouraging!
If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it item, what would it be? Pencil and paper—I’d go crazy if I couldn’t write things down.
What three words describe you, the person? Intelligent, kind, and independent. (Peggy here – loves those descriptions!)
If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be? “Tide Is High” by Blondie. It’s a fun, feel-good song that Jimmy would like and I love Debbie Harry’s voice—she sings in my range, so I’d sound somewhat decent.
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? There are so many great characters, but I think I’d hang out with Edward from The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. While it’s geared toward kids, that story has one wise bunny! He makes the best of any situation and keeps himself open for love, even if it’s fleeting. I like to hike and cook, so I imagine that Edward and I would do both because he likes that independent, vagabond life. I could make some cowboy beans over a fire, build a little shanty, and we’d philosophize under the stars.
I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:
Favorite sound I love nature sounds—birds singing, leaves blowing in the wind, little animals scurrying. It’s so peaceful and humbling.
Least favorite sound Loud talkers. I cannot stand loud talkers.
Best song ever written Well, I’m going to pick something suggestive because I write erotica, right? So, a song that’s always in my line up is “Physical” by that late, great Olivia Newton John. I fell in love with the Xanadu soundtrack and “Physical” is just a perfect combination of seductive lyrics and music.
Worst song ever written I’d say I’ve always disliked the Carpenters—“Rainy Day and Mondays.” Her voice is like nails on a chalkboard to me.
Favorite actor and actress George Clooney is my favorite actor; he’s always very natural, and easy on the eyes. My favorite actress is Kate Winslet. I loved her in Revolutionary Road. She seems very genuine, and I love that she embraces her age—bravo!
Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead) I think I’d like to be Queen Elizabeth. Can you imagine the secrets she took to her grave and the things she’s seen? I could take that information and write some great stories. Plus, a castle, a carriage, corgis, and servants—yes, please!
What turns you on? A great vocabulary and a kind heart.
What turns you off? A person who is narrow minded and unkind or rude.
Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”) You have a stripper’s body.
What’s your version of a perfect day? My perfect day begins with a snowy morning in a cabin, freshly brewed coffee, and a day completely dedicated to writing. I’d see some sun later for a quick hike, then a nice fire—and more writing!
And now, here’s a little about Stella’s book:
Jenna Craig is a 40-year-old freshly-minted “hot momma” looking for a little love in her post-divorce life. After a night out with her cougar tribe, she wonders whether she’s still got “it”—the double-takes from the college clowns at the bar quickly put her doubts to rest. Though she may be alone, she knows she’ll never be lonely.
Jenna’s newfound confidence is buoyed by some swim club eye candy: Travis the lifeguard. Hot trysts in the locker room leave her wondering if she might want something more. When her naughty, new boy toy introduces her to his friend, Collin, Jenna is engulfed with waves of emotion that she thought she might never feel again. With two younger men vying for her heart, will she choose the perfect guy for right now, or the man who could give her another shot at love?
The experienced Ms. Craig is certain of one thing: She better bring the confidence to pull off the choice of her desire.
“I’m glad we’re friends, and that you think nothing of racing to my house to help me with my man woes, and my panties. But you know what I appreciate most?”
“You appreciate my sarcastic, brutally honest, down-home wit?”
“No, the fact that you don’t judge me or what I do, or don’t do. You’ve never said you think I’m acting like a whore.”
Fielding hugs me and doesn’t let go. Patting me on my back she responds, “I’ll never stoop to calling you a whore because you’re simply acting like a woman with a man’s morals.”
Stella Grae is an unassuming English professor, copyeditor, and copywriter living in Lexington, Kentucky. She’s the author of the short story “Power Play” that was originally published in the website erotica journal Oysters and Chocolate. In her spare time she enjoys sipping on bourbon, nibbling cheesy grits, and philosophizing about love and sex in her blog, “Bone Up,” which can be found on her website: stellagraeerotica.weebly.com…along with other sexy tidbits. This is her first erotica novel.
You all know I lovelovelove it when one of my Wild Rose Press sistahs comes to visit. Today, I’ve got TENA STETLER here to tell you about her newest WRP release. Tena’s been a frequent visitor to the blog and every time she comes she brings me a new need-to-read book!
Tena…take it away…
Hey, Peggy, thank you for allowing me on your blog to talk about writing and the release of my new release, SECURITY FORCE OF TWO
I’m a writer. That’s what I do, I write. I’ve spun tales since I was old enough to read and put Crayola to paper. With my vivid overactive imagination, I’m never at a loss for a magical story. The tricky part is keeping it interesting and flowing from beginning to end. Over the past couple of years, there’s been a family crisis in my world, illnesses, major surgery, and physical therapy.
While I’ve rarely had real-life disrupt my writing, it did this time – big time. After surviving COVID in 2021, a blood clot caused by COVID, then the necessity of major surgery for full hip replacement on October 5, 2022, the words didn’t come as easily. Now this wasn’t “writer’s block”, the ideas were still there, but the continuity was not. Finally, the manuscript was submitted. However there was a glaring continuity issue, I missed. Bless my editor’s heart, she brought it to my attention (Yep, my face was red). The error was corrected and the novel was contracted. Whew!
After that fiasco, I returned to my new manuscript and barely made my weekly word count goal. My heart just wasn’t in the words. Self-doubt danced around the edges of my mind. Was it the recent chaos in my life or was the well running dry?
The family drama and illness have settled down, the loose ends are still running amuck, but we’ll get them tamed. I’m off the heavy-duty painkillers from the surgery(nothing worse than your mind floating off and you can’t catch it), able to care for myself, getting rested up, and feeling more me. Scary thought, huh? Wow, what a difference that makes.
Now, the words are back in abundance. Yippee! My second book in the Mountain Town Mystery Series is back on track. It’s taking a little longer, as I keep re-reading the partial manuscript to make sure part of the story doesn’t disappear and the continuity is spot on. I can’t tell you how much fodder that event gave the little voice in my head that creates self-doubt.
I put these words to paper—Or I guess actually it’s to screen so others will know there is always a light at the end of that dark tunnel. Sometimes you just have to wait for the ray of light, but it’s there lurking. That’s tough for me as I’m the impatient, determined sort. Well, it’s time to delve back into my next book in the second Mountain Town Mystery Series before the characters take off in the wrong direction…again. <sigh>
What I’d like to take away from all this is, take time to enjoy your family and friends. Remember to take care of you. A short walk, relax in a quiet place can get the juices flowing again. Self-doubt is a reoccurring event for most writers, don’t let it rule your world.
Now let me tell you about my new release SECURITY FORCE OF TWO.
Miacoh Zane, a Special Forces veteran, returns to Aspen Ridge, Colorado a small town nestled in the Rocky Mountains, to settle his beloved grandmother’s estate. But the town holds painful memories and family secrets he wants to leave behind for good.
Candle Bearclaw, a gifted computer analyst/programmer with talents she’s buried when recruited out of college by the CIA. After fifteen years, she abruptly resigns her position with the agency. She returns to her sleepy hometown only to discover her childhood crush has also returned and a violent crime has been committed.
Due to their covert operations experience, Candle and Miacoh are thrown together to assist Homeland Security, FBI, and her father, former chief of police, with a murder investigation. As they search for the perpetrators, will their secrets be revealed as the investigation takes an unusual twist that could blow the case wide open.
Candle Bearclaw stood in front of Carl’s large mahogany desk, laid the unsealed white envelope face up on the polished desktop, and slid it toward her boss.
“What’s this?” Carl eyed the offending envelope.
“It’s what we talked about last week, my resignation.” Candle swung her briefcase onto the leather chair beside her. Pulling out a laptop computer, a manila file folder, and a memory stick, she sat them on the corner of her boss’s desk. “It’s all here, including the passwords necessary to access the sensitive files, my work thus far on the assignment, including my contacts, and it’s a good stopping point for me. Someone else should be able to pick up exactly where I left off, seamlessly. I am requesting a no contact status by you and the agency.” She pulled out a .380 semi-automatic tucked into the waistband of her slacks, ejected the magazine, and racked the slide open. Gingerly setting the gun on the desk beside the other items, she sighed.
He looked across the desk at her, observing her actions. “I understand your position, but that may not be possible. How deep were you?”
Hands flat on the desktop, she leaned over and glared at him. “Deep enough to understand the assignment went against every fiber of my being. You knew that when you assigned it to me, and yet, you did it anyway, knowing it would be my final act as a CIA operative.”
She stood and raised her arms in a surrender motion. “For God’s sakes, Carl, I’m a computer analyst turned hacker under your fine tutelage. I can’t do it anymore.”
Carl leaned back in his chair. “A replacement will be difficult to find, if not impossible,” he said flatly. “You’re the best.”
“You should have thought about that before you forced me to take this assignment,” she insisted, pacing around the room.
Carl raked his fingers through his thick salt and pepper hair rubbing at the tension knots that formed the minute she walked through the door. “Thought you’d come around. You always have.”
Candle shook her head, feeling a little sorry for the predicament she’d put him in, though it was of his own making. “Not this time. I’m through. And I’m taking you up on the promise you made when I agreed to become an independent contractor with the agency.” She gave a half laugh. “That didn’t last long, did it?”
“That was a long time ago before you were officially with the agency. I’m not sure you can just walk now. The director needs to sign off on this.” Her boss leaned forward with his elbows on the desk, fingers tented in front of him, and gave her a hard stare.
“I guess that’s your problem. Unless, of course, you want me to have a little chat with the President.” She shrugged then returned his stare, refusing to look away. “Come on, Carl cut the bullshit. I know you don’t want me to go, but we both know I’m not cut out for what this assignment could turn into. I’m a computer geek, not a deep-cover operative.”
Finally looking away, Carl sighed, reached for the envelope, and pulled out three pieces of neatly folded paper. The first was her handwritten resignation, signed and notarized. The second had one word typed on the entire page, a password to unlock her agency computer giving access to the top-secret files stored there. “Only one password?” He raised a bushy brow in question.
“Yes, the rest you can get from my handler, Mark, along with anything you don’t understand on the third page regarding my assignment.” She turned on her heel and started for the door.
Carl stood and walked around the desk. “Candle. Are you sure about this?”
She paused and turned halfway around. “Positive.”
The determined look on her face said it all. He sighed. “Ok, I’ll set up your exit interview in one hour. That’ll give me time to get HR briefed and up here.”
“Thanks, Carl. I appreciate it.” She pulled a single piece of paper out of her briefcase and laid it in front of him. “I need you to sign off on this, acknowledging receipt of my computer, weapon, phone, and files.”
Carl pulled the paper toward him, scribbled his name at the bottom, pushed the document back to her. “You know this is going to tarnish my reputation.” He said gruffly, a small smile crossing his lips. “I just allowed one of our best geeks to cut her ties to the agency.” Carl solemnly nodded his head, bringing his eyes up to meet hers. “I wish you’d reconsider.”
Candle shook her head slowly. “Not a chance.” She grasped the polished silver handle and yanked open the door. Walking through, she closed it quietly. Leaning her back against the door, she felt like a dead weight had just been lifted from her shoulders and let out a sigh of relief. Only the director stood in the way of her freedom.
Tena Stetler is a best-selling author of award-winning paranormal tales. Some call her crazy others creative. She deals with the voices in her head by writing them down and creating a fantasy world and characters you won’t soon forget. Her books tell tales of magical kick-ass women and mystical alpha males that dare to love them. Travel, adventure, magic, and a bit of mystery flourish in her books along with a few companion animals to round out the tales.
Colorado is home; shared with her husband of many moons, a brilliant Chow Chow, a spoiled parrot and a fifty-year-old box turtle. When she’s not writing, her time is spent kayaking, camping, hiking, biking or just relaxing in the great Colorado outdoors.
Innkeeper Maureen O’Dowd lives to cook and bake, spoils her family and friends, and is an expert at keeping secrets, especially about the man who’s held her heart for years.
Police Chief Lucas Alexander is dealing with an aging father and a moody teenage son, and he’s in love with a woman who only wants to be friends.
How can these two fiercely private people reveal their feelings for one another without destroying the friendship they already have? And if they’re successful, will another secret, if revealed, drive a wedge between Maureen and Lucas that can never be repaired?
Now, who exactly in Colleen in this book, why would she respond to a 911 call and what the heck is the BAWL ROOM??? Is that a typo??
LOL. You’ll have to read the book to find out….
Colleen O’Dowd manages a thriving bridal business with her sisters in Heaven, New Hampshire. After fleeing Manhattan and her cheating ex-fiancé, Colleen still believes in happily ever afters. But with a demanding business to run, her sisters to look after, and their 93-year-old grandmother to keep out of trouble, she’s worried she’ll never find Mr. Right.
Playboy Slade Harrington doesn’t believe in marriage. His father’s six weddings have taught him life is better as an unencumbered single guy. But Slade loves his little sister. He’ll do anything for her, including footing the bill for her dream wedding. He doesn’t plan on losing his heart to a smart-mouthed, gorgeous wedding planner, though.
When her ex-fiancé comes back into the picture, Colleen must choose between Mr. Right and Mr. Right Now.
And you can find the entire MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN series, here: MMIH
To commemorate this auspicious publishing endeavor, and to celebrate the end of the series, The Wild Rose Press is having a celebration on Tuesday night at our public Chat.
HOPE’S DREAM was the second book in the series and even though I wrote it 5 long years ago, I still think of it as one of my favorite titles.
Here’s a look at Hope’s Dream and then a little about the final book in the series, Love A la Carte.
Hope Kildaire gave up her dream of becoming a nurse practitioner when a car accident killed her father and left her mother an invalid. Working two jobs and caring for her mother leaves the twenty-seven-year-old with no time for fun or relationships. When a law firm representing her paternal grandparents sends her several letters, Hope ignores them. She despises the family who disowned her father and wants nothing to do with them.
Lawyer Tyler Coleman’s job is simply to obtain Hope’s signature on a legal document. Getting it is harder than planned, though, when an unexpected attraction blossoms between them. If Ty is honest with Hope about why he’s in Willow Springs, he’ll fulfill his assignment but may risk hurting her.
The opportunity to have everything she’s ever desired is at Hope’s fingertips. Will her dream come true at the expense of Tyler’s love?
When Nathan Harte received a review that trashed his restaurant and reputation, he left New York to start over in Willow Springs, Vermont, at the Deerbourne Inn. Pleased with his new life and success, he’s preparing to receive an award for his achievements when trouble steps through his door—Chantel St. Ives, his ex and the author of the bad review. Is she here to repeat history? Chantel, a food and wine critic, discovers Nate’s location at long last. She’s always wanted to explain what happened with her critique, but he disappeared. Now she’s determined to hash it out with him and hopefully rekindle the love they had, but he’s hostile and suspicious. Can she rebuild his trust?
All the books are stand-alone stories, but you will see many local characters flow between each one since the series is set in a small Vermont town. The books range from sweet to sexy, historical to contemporary, with even a little paranormal thrown in. They span the seasons and holidays, too.
Here are all the glorious covers.
As you can see, there are a host of award-winning and best selling authors who are part of this wonderful series.
You can read each of the books in the series, via ebook, here: DEERBOURNE INN
The book that introduced my beloved San Valentino family to the world – 3 WISHES– is a Valentine favorite. Filled with family angst ( a cheating husband), mistaken identity ( our hero) and a strong, Italian chocolatier ( our heroine) 3 WISHES is a fast, fun, and flirty read and part of the Candy Heart Series from The Wild Rose press.
Do wishes have expiration dates?
Valentine’s Day is chocolatier Chloe San Valentino’s favorite day of the year. Not only is it the busiest day in her candy shop, Caramelle de Chloe, but it’s also her birthday. Chloe’s got a birthday wish list for the perfect man she pulls out every year: he’d fall in love with her in a heartbeat, he’d be someone who cares about people, and he’d have one blue eye and one green eye, just like her. So far, Chloe’s fantasy man hasn’t materialized, despite the matchmaking efforts of her big, close-knit Italian family. But this year for her big 3-0 birthday, she just might get her wish!
At about five minutes of ten, I was almost ready to turn the Closed sign on the door when it opened. I heard Janie’s breath hitch and turned from where I was sweeping up. Staying open late is always a risk, with the thought thieves will invade at the end of the day.
If the guy standing at the door glancing around the shop was a thief, then Dio mio, I wanted to be robbed.
About six foot, his hair was the color of a deer’s pelt, with autumnal golds and browns shot together in a glorious patchwork that grazed the collar of his jacket and curled a little at the ends. He wore a faded brown bomber jacket over a shirt I couldn’t see, but he had shoulders almost as wide as my doorway. A pair of well-worn jeans covered his mile-long legs, and the fabric on the stress points at his knees was practically white.
“We’re about to close,” I heard myself say. “Can I help you?”
It was at that moment he looked over at me.
His face could have been sculpted by Da Vinci or Michelangelo. A broad, smooth, forehead housed naturally arched eyebrows I knew some of my gay guy friends would have paid a fortune to have on their own faces. His cheeks were carved from marble, high, smooth, and deep. And his mouth, mother of God, his mouth. Full, thick beautiful lips sat perfectly over a chin with a dent you could shove a button into and have it stay put.
“Sorry,” he said, those fabulous lips pulling up a little shyly at the corners. “I got stuck at work and couldn’t get here until now. I’ll be quick. Promise.”
So here’s the thing: the guy was gorgeous. But even if he’d looked like a frog with raw antipasto smothering his face, I would have dropped to my knees when he opened his mouth. Warm honey, a shot of raw whiskey, and a little hot puff of smoke wafted from his mouth like a fine and rare brandy being decanted.
Intrigued? Get your copy just in time for Valentine’s Day, here 3 WISHES
I adore my Wild Rose Press sisters, and Jana Richards has been a sister since the beginning of my writing journey with WRP. Today, I’m featuring her and a few of her books in the Victorian Mansion Series. Have a look….
I originally wrote RESCUE ME, book 1 in my Victorian mansion series, many years ago. Like over twenty-five years ago. I submitted the story to Harlequin’s Duets, a line devoted to humorous, light-hearted love stories. Harlequin passed on RESCUE ME, and not long after, a computer crash wiped out the digital copy of the book. The last surviving copy was a printed manuscript that I’d stuffed into a box and pushed into the back of a closet.
Fast forward to 2007. I’d finally sold my first novel to a small publishing company. I’d read that offering a free book at various retailers was a good way of getting attention, but I didn’t have anything to offer. But then I remembered the completed story stuffed into a box at the back of the closet. I dug it out and wondered how I’d turn this pile of paper into an ebook.
Where there’s a will there’s a way. I took my pile of papers to my day job and fed it through a scanner. (Just to be clear, I did this after office hours.) The scanner turned the paper into a PDF, which I emailed to myself and converted into a Word document that I could revise. Because, oh boy, did it need revision. My writing had changed over the years, hopefully for the better.
I also had to come up with cover art. I couldn’t afford a cover artist, so I purchased a piece of vector art for $5 and a friend helped me put the text on it. Using software at Amazon and at Draft to Digital, I put the cover and the manuscript together and magically turned them into an ebook! I offered it free at several retailers.
That low-budget free book served me well for several years. But by 2018 I decided I needed something more. A free book isn’t terribly useful unless it leads to further sales. So I wrote a companion book to RESCUE ME called TAKE A CHANCE ON ME. Both are set in the same, somewhat shabby Victorian mansion in Toronto. This time, I commissioned a really great cover from artist Rae Monet, and it’s one of my favorites, probably because of the pug! I put the cover and buy links in the back of RESCUE ME, hoping to entice readers to buy the new book.
But I’d made a couple of fundamental flaws in my marketing. First of all, I didn’t change the cover of RESCUE ME when the new book released. It still had my homemade cover. Secondly, I wrote TAKE A CHANCE ON ME as a spicy, sexy book while RESCUE ME is a sweet romance. I reasoned that most of my other books were of the spicy variety, so it represented my writing better. Perhaps that was true, but it meant the Victorian Mansion two-book series (or duet) was uneven when it came to heat levels.
So, in 2022 I decided to do something about it. First, I commissioned a new cover for RESCUE ME. It was finally time to get a professional cover and once more Rae Monet came through. Second, and most difficult, I rewrote TAKE A CHANCE ON ME to make it a sweet romance. I found it wasn’t simply a matter of removing the sex scenes. The tone of the book had to change as well. It required a lot of work and took much longer than I’d expected.
But finally, by December of 2022, I was able to relaunch the Victorian Mansion duet with a new cover for RESCUE ME and a rewrite of TAKE A CHANCE ON ME. Both are now available on Kindle Unlimited. It’s been a long time coming!
Or is it? Soon after Matt moves in, strange romantic notes begin showing up at the art gallery where Chelsea works. Then she’s followed home from the bus stop late one night, and her apartment is broken into. Despite her growing feelings for Matt, all the evidence points to him as the culprit.
Matt is at a crossroads. His acting career is stalled, and all his siblings are getting married and having babies while his love life is non-existent. Something has to change. Things begin to look up for Matt when he moves next door to Chelsea. He’s totally captivated by the beautiful blonde and wants to take their relationship to the next level. But when he discovers what Chelsea suspects about him, his plans are put in jeopardy. And how can he protect her from the real stalker?
Is Matt the kind, funny, sincere man Chelsea is falling in love with, or some kind of letter-writing stalker? She must decide whether he is a dream come true or her worst nightmare.
Teacher Darcy Ferris loves to travel almost as much as she loves her Toronto neighborhood. But no matter how far she roams, she always returns to the genteelly shabby Victorian mansion where she grew up, the last place her father lived. Darcy’s world is turned upside-down when the Victorian is slated for demolition.
Since the death of architect Nick Cummings’ mother, his father has retreated from his real estate development business, and from life. In a desperate attempt to interest him in something once more, Nick buys a beat-up Victorian mansion and draws up plans to replace it with a Victorian-inspired condo. He hopes his father’s old spark will return if he helps him build the new condo. But he doesn’t expect such opposition from his new tenant, Darcy Ferris. Nor does he expect to fall in love with her.
Nick and Darcy must come to terms with the past before they can forge a future together. And they’ll need to take the biggest chance of all – on love.
Okay, so in book 5 of the MacQuire Women series, PASSION’S PALETTE, we’re back to that action sentence again. And I did what all the experts tell you to NEVER do in a first line – I had my heroine waking up to greet the day.