Character Interview from Time Trap by Danele Rotharmel

How about you introduce yourself by providing the basics?

Hello, everyone! I’m Dr. Laura Nelson from Washington D.C. I’m a professor at National Science University and third-in-command of the Temporal Counseling Program.

What exactly is the Temporal Counseling Program?

TEMCO trains time-traveling cadets to intervene in the lives of troubled individuals before they embark on a career of crime. In essence, we find people in our prison systems who could have led peaceful lives instead of violent ones if they’d been counseled as children. We send counselors back through time to help criminals make different choices. Many times, the people we counsel end up becoming influential members of society.

That sounds very exciting. Is it dangerous?

Not usually. Occasionally, we do have a case that spirals out of control. Four years ago, we almost lost a cadet to a serial killer. But most of our cases go smoothly…

You look concerned. Is anything wrong?

Not really. It’s just that we lost contact with two of our cadets today. I’m sure it’s nothing serious. Most communication problems are due to malfunctioning equipment. Nevertheless, I can’t help feeling concerned… But I really shouldn’t be discussing ongoing cases. Do you have another question for me?

 Can you tell us where were you raised and how you became involved with TEMCO?

I was raised in the mountains of Alaska. My family lived miles away from the nearest large town. I wasn’t lonely, though. I had a pack of older brothers to keep me company. As I grew up, I excelled in academics. I went to college at age sixteen. While I was working on my doctorate, I met Peter Matthews and William Ableman. I began assisting them in their attempts to capture timewaves. Later, I helped them establish TEMCO operations on the NSU campus.

 You mentioned Director Peter Matthews. Is there truth to the rumor that you’re dating him?

Where on earth did you hear that? Peter and I are just friends. Good friends. I’ve known him since college. I’ll admit that he’s very handsome, but dating him would be like dating my brother.

 Would you ever consider dating him?

Peter is a wonderful man, but there’s never been a spark of romance between us. I wouldn’t be averse to exploring a relationship with him, but I doubt the opportunity will present itself. Regardless, I think we’re getting off subject. Do you have another question about TEMCO?

What do you like most about your profession?

I like the fact that we’re changing lives. TEMCO prevents tragedies from occurring. It turns criminals into productive members of society, and the crimes they would’ve committed never take place. Recently, Vice President Hamilton praised the TEMCO program in one of his speeches. He said that TEMCO had made our society better in a thousand ways.

Why are you smiling?

I was just thinking that TEMCO has made our society better in 4,896 ways—that’s how many cases we’ve handled since the establishment of the program. I don’t think people realize just how big of an impact we’ve had on society. TEMCO is a wonderful program!

 You mentioned earlier that cases occasionally become dangerous. How big of a commitment do you have to the program? Would you be willing to fight, or even die, for it?

No one likes walking into danger, but if the life of a cadet was in jeopardy, or if the program itself was facing a threat, I would willingly step up and fight. I know that with my manicured nails and coiffured hair that I don’t look like a fighter, but I am. I won’t let anything happen to my students or to TEMCO. If that means putting myself in danger or sacrificing my life, I’m willing to do it. But hopefully, that will never happen. As I said before, most cases never encounter a hint of danger.

 But if danger arises, you’re ready to face it?

Yes, I am.

Time Trap_June 22

 

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When problems arise during a field exam, Director Peter Matthews and Dr. Laura Nelson are sent through a time portal to investigate.  While they search for their missing cadets, they encounter an enemy who is calculating and brutal—a mysterious nemesis who is holding a grudge against the TEMCO program.  As Peter and Laura race to unravel clues directing them to their kidnapped cadets, their own survival comes into question.  A deadly trap has been set, and they are forced to pit their wits against a serial killer who is intent on playing a deadly chess game through time itself.

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EXCERPT

The soft sound came again. Standing to her feet, Laura tried to calm her breathing. The furtive sounds could only mean one thing—their captor was approaching.

“Whatever happens,” she said quietly, laying a hand on Peter’s shoulder, “don’t tug against your cuffs. You can’t afford to lose more blood.”

“Keep your head and take your time,” Peter said stiffly. “Be patient. Stay out of his reach until you see an opening. If he has a gun, you can use a roundhouse kick to disarm him, but you’ll have to be quick. If he gets you down and starts kicking you, curl into a ball and protect your head and stomach.”

Laura squeezed Peter’s shoulder. She could hear the tension in his voice, and she knew he was terrified for her. She also knew that his inability to protect her was ripping him apart.

Peter spoke quickly, “If he manages to get his hands on you, use the heel of your palm and thrust it up against his nose. Don’t be afraid to be vicious. Go for his eyes, throat, and groin.”

“Don’t worry,” she said in a focused, determined voice. “I’ll fight dirty.”

The door opened.

Moving to the center of the room, Laura took a solid stance.

Danele Rotharmel

Danele Rotharmel’s life took an unexpected turn when a mysterious illness brought her close to death. Eventually, she learned that a carbon monoxide leak from a faulty furnace was poisoning her. This poisoning triggered Multiple Chemical Sensitivity causing her to be put in quarantine. For seven years, she could only talk to friends and extended family through a windowpane. During this time, she wrote the first six books in The Time Counselor Chronicles.  Although her journey back to health was difficult, it provided her the opportunity to grow closer to God and write her books. For that, she’s forever thankful.

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Danele’s Blog: https://dragonflydanele.wordpress.com/

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Free Book Promotion—Leap Into The Knight by M.J. Schiller

LEAP INTO THE KNIGHT June 17

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Sir Darius Lee is a Knight of the High Order.

But when Darius wakes to discover a beautiful female intruder in his room, he begins to question his vows and how he lives his life.

Princess Megan of Bethyea is being held captive.

But when two knights help her to escape and bring her back to her home planet, she finds the home she knew no longer exists.

 The Council of Twelve has questions about Maggie and Darius’ budding relationship.

Will Darius lose his Knighthood? And what about Orion’s feelings for Maggie? The questions abound for these romantic Knights.

EXCERPT

Orion’s feet hit the bottom of the stairwell and he crossed the short distance to the door. After yanking it open, he stepped out into what were undoubtedly the laundry facilities. He was met by the heavy and unpleasant odor of mingled mold, flowery detergent, and the acidic smell of dry-cleaning chemicals. His eyes quickly adjusted to the bright light spilling from naked bulbs hanging from the ceiling. The heat and humidity were so thick they could almost drink it like a soup. He surveyed the area in dismay. The girl could have gone anywhere in the vast room running the length of the building.

Darius entered seconds behind him, seeming to take it all in instantaneously. They scanned the floor for clues. Maybe she had stepped in one of the many puddles left by the condensation dripping from pipes and left footsteps to follow. But no such luck. Orion was about to give up when Darius called out, “There.” He pointed to some windows near the top of the wall.

One window was cracked open a few inches and he could see where fingers had wiped away steam in the places they grabbed the glass and left droplets of water racing each other down the pane. He wondered how anyone could fit through so small an opening while at the same time, he tried to re-visualize the layout of the building.

“This way,” he called over his shoulder as he dodged laundry carts.

He found the door they needed, and they soon soaked in the crisp night. Bright light illuminated the lawn around the compound, ending at the edge of a wood. He felt certain the girl was lost, but as he watched, his master closed his eyes and seemed to center himself, breathing deep in the cool outside air. He had never met someone who could access their Inner Spirit so easily. But what could it possibly tell Darius now? Surely his master could not have formed a connection to this woman in such a short time, and Orion knew a spiritual connection was needed to track someone without physical clues to go on. Yet as he watched, he knew somehow the Knight would find her.

Darius opened his eyes and said purposefully, “This way.” He stepped out with certainty toward the nearest copse of trees.

They soon hurried through the woods, following what seemed to Orion to be an invisible path, although here and there he thought he caught glimpses of trampled grass and broken twigs. At last his master slowed his pace, much to his relief, as he struggled, despite his own tall frame, to keep up with Darius’s long strides. Darius motioned silently, indicating the stranger was ahead. They moved forward, trying to make no sounds that might alert her to their presence.

Within seconds, they arrived on the edge of a clearing bordering a large body of water. At first glimpse it appeared to be a natural lake with a gentle waterfall tumbling into it from a small stream to their right. But upon closer inspection Orion realized it was a little man-made oasis. What he initially thought to be rock was actually some kind of synthetic material with spaces created at regular intervals for people to sit, half-submerged in the water.

The girl stood on the edge of what appeared to be a large, upward-sloping outcropping of rock, but now he saw it was actually a cleverly designed diving platform for the pool.

Darius held up his hand and made a circular motion, gesturing to the far side of the pool. Orion nodded and circled around quietly in the brush beneath the covering of trees to the far side of the “lake.” He understood his task was to wait there in the event the girl should attempt to flee across the lake when cornered on the rock.

***

Darius waited in the stillness for Orion to reach the far side of the pool. The light changed, making it easier to watch the girl, but also allowing her to see him on the fringe of the woods. He guessed she’d stopped to rest after escaping into the woods and she didn’t suspect they had followed her here. He watched from slightly below where she stood on the ledge. Her lone figure was silhouetted in the growing dawn, and he speculated on whether this could be the woman they were sent to find. He didn’t take his eyes off her, but not out of the usual devotion to the mission. He simply was compelled to do so.

He wondered what it was he found so striking, so intriguing about this particular woman. He often met beautiful women in the course of his travels throughout the universe, and while he could appreciate their attractiveness, their physical appearance meant very little to him. They were merely features to note on his mental checklist of their description, like anyone else’s features. But this stranger who had not spoken a word to him, he discovered himself riveted to for some reason.

Completely out of character. But the change quietly thrilled him.

Free copies are available to anyone who emails a request to the author at mjschillerauthor@gmail.com

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M.J. Schiller (2)

M.J. Schiller is a lunch lady/romance-romantic suspense writer and the mother of a twenty-one-year-old and three nineteen-year-olds. That’s right, triplets! She enjoys writing novels whose characters include rock stars, desert princes, teachers, futuristic Knights, construction workers, cops, and a wide variety of others. In her mind everybody has a romance.

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Character Interview from Dumpster Dicing by Julie B. Cosgrove

How about you introduce yourself by providing the basics? 

My name is Janie Manson and I am the widow of an Austin police detective. He often bounced his most puzzling cases off my brain to get a different perspective. Now I live in Sunset Acres retirement village where I power walk almost every morning with my best friends Ethel and Betsy Ann and host Bunco on Thursday evenings.

Family members?  

I have a son living with his family in New Jersey ad a daughter, Mel, who lives here in Alamoville with her husband. His name is Blake Johnson and he is the chief detective for their police department. I don’t mind telling you, he is overworked and I worry that it might damage their marriage.  Mel and Blake have two teenaged kids, Elli and Jaime. He never gets to their banc=d concerts or soccer games.

Did you attend college? 

I did, and that is where I met my late husband. He was moonlighting as campus security while going for his law enforcement degree. I majored in English with a minor in sociology. Don’t ask me why. Back then it was acceptable. All of us gals were really there to get our MRS. Women’s lib was not yet in full swing so most of us expected to be housewives.

Are you athletic?  

I try to stay fit, even though I am in my sixties. My ticker is fine and except for a slight blood pressure issues and being about fifteen pounds more than I’d like to be. I do power walk, as I said, which is how Betsy Ann and I discovered Edwin’s body diced up in the community’s dumpster. And after he’d only lived here three days. Quite odd, don’t you agree? But I won’t tell you why, because then you wouldn’t read Dumpster Dicing.

I also take yoga at the village and swim. I have never been a golf or tennis aficionado, even though they offer both here at Sunset Acres. Walking the golf course in the early morning is invigorating, however.

Did you ever think about a profession?  

(She leans closer to the microphone with a hushed voice.) Just between you and me I wanted to be a private investigator. Women in my day just didn’t do that sort of thing, you know. Or if they did, well they were very secretive about it.

Are you a pet person?

Oh my, yes. I have a cat, Ms. Fluffy. A spoiled rotten Persian, but she is a great companion. I am not that fond of dogs, but I tolerate them as long as they don’t bark obsessively or slobber. My late husband had a German Shepherd named Buddy. He was a police dog, of course, so when Jack died I gave him to his junior partner. Buddy stayed outdoors most of the time. He preferred his run and dog house to our house. Got antsy when he remained inside for too long, so we got along just fine.

Do you have any hobbies?

I do needlework, and of course I am an avid reader. Mostly suspense and mysteries, though I am nothing compared to Ethel with her bookshelves crammed with mystery novels. Did you know she cross-catalogs them by crime and motive? Oh, but I digress. I also love Bunco, which is why I host it in my home.

What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you?

Well my dear, if I told you, I’d be revealing part of  the plot of Baby Bunco, the next one in the Bunco Biddies mysteries. You will just have to wait until the winter of 2017 to discover that!  (She winks and sets down her tea cup.)

DumpsterDicing June 15

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As Janie and Betsy Ann go for their morning jog, the city sanitation vehicle follows its normal five-mile Tuesday morning route through their retirement community of Sunset Acres. The two Bunco-playing biddies spot a leg dangling out of the dumpster when the truck lifts the trash container high in the air. Someone diced up one of their newest residents—a grouchy loner named Edwin Newman. Did he unpack too much of his dicey past when he moved in last weekend?

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EXCERPT

The community’s trash receptacle dangled at a precarious angle.

The senior citizens sputtered in unison. “Stop. There’s a body.”

The garbage man shook his head in confusion.

Betsy Ann motioned to the back. “A body. Get it? Dead person.”

The man shut down the engine. “¿Muerto?”

“Yes. Uh, sí.” She bobbed her cropped, reddish-blonde hair.

The worker crawled down from his seat and walked to the back of the sanitation truck, which rumbled and spewed more putrid fumes. The dumpster titled down at a forty-five degree angle. Suspended in time clung numerous trash bags, pizza boxes, a broken lawn chair and…an arm?

It’s Edwin.

“Who?” Betsy Ann’s brow furrowed.

“Newman. Edwin Newman. He chewed out Mildred Fletcher because her Yorkie barked at him. Threw a coffee mug at the poor animal. Whack! Right on the nose. It left a raw, sore spot.”

“He did?”

Janie gave her a quick nod. “Mildred must apply a special salve on him three times a day. Says it cost her $22.95.”

“On Mr. Newman?”

Janie scoffed into her velour v-neck. “No, the Yorkie.”

Betsy Ann’s lips formed an “O.”

Janie pointed to the dumpster. “Mr. Newman’s in there all right.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.” Janie bent to Betsy Ann’s ear. “I see his head.”

Julie Cosgrove

Julie B Cosgrove is an award-winning novelist, freelance Christian devotional writer and public speaker.  When she is not writing novels, she enjoys reading those by other faith-based authors while curled on her sofa with her two purring cats and a cup of Earl Grey.  And yes, she plays Bunco.

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My sites: www.juliebcosgrove.com

Blog: Where Did You Find God Today?

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Guest Release–TARGETED (FBI Heat Book 2) by Marissa Garner

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FBI Special Agent Marissa Panuska faces the most explosive case of her career when she impersonates a female terrorist to infiltrate an al-Qaeda cell. Her dark hair, olive complexion, and Arabic fluency make her the perfect imposter, but each passing hour raises the risk of discovery. Can she stop the dirty-bomb plot—alone—when the Feds don’t even know the target? And should she trust the mysterious man who bursts into her life when her cover is blown?

Former Navy SEAL Ameen Ali has a very personal reason for hating the terrorists and vowing to stop them. But when a beautiful woman joins the sleeper cell spreading death-to-America propaganda at his mosque, he doesn’t want to believe she shares their evil goals. Can he convince her to join forces before it’s too late?

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EXCERPT

Night had fallen when Samir parked the truck in front of the dilapidated house in the drug-infested Tijuana slum. Once he killed the headlights, the moon provided the only illumination along the crumbling asphalt road. Wedged between Samir and Omar on the seat, Marissa Panuska scanned the neighborhood of decaying buildings, hoping to catch a reassuring glimpse of the two agents who were out there—somewhere—following her, watching her back.

On five previous occasions, the terrorists had brought her to their hideout in Mexico, just across the border from San Diego. Marauding drug gangs ruled the area where crackling gunfire was as common as barking dogs. The constant smell of weed permeated the air and stung her nostrils. The residents were rarely visible, preferring relative safety behind walls.

Marissa’s gaze swept over the run-down house, checking for any signs of change or trouble. Boards protected the windows from prying eyes, and a padlock secured the door against thieves. The electrical connection dangling from the sagging overhead lines was one of the few in the slum, and the satellite phone antenna on the roof was definitely unique.

After an anxious look around, Omar jumped out to unlock the door before all three darted inside. Samir switched on the lamp that sat on the floor by the door. Ignoring the stench from the barely functioning bathroom, they hurried past it and the bedroom on the left. A narrow archway separated the front room from the larger back room, which included a rudimentary kitchen along one wall. The furnishings consisted of six metal folding chairs, a wooden table, and three tall lamps. Several boxes of electronic parts, including a new one, were lined up near the rear door. The place was filthy, but no one cared.

The stifling heat in the closed-up house stole Marissa’s breath. Sweat dampened her skin beneath the long, black abaya and niqab, the Muslim robe and veil she wore over her other clothes. While the men turned on the lights, she sank onto one of the flimsy chairs, morbidly wondering if she was more likely to die from heat stroke than at the hands of the terrorists.

Holding the niqab away from her face, she drew slow, deep breaths and grimaced at the pain in her lungs and stomach. The stress of impersonating Baheera Abbas, of pretending to be the female terrorist previously unknown to the US intelligence community, gnawed at Marissa’s nerves. If only she could determine Baheera’s role in the planned attack, she might be able to finish the covert operation, might be able to survive. Every passing minute held the threat of discovery and diminished that possibility.

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Marissa is a wife, writer, chocoholic, and animal lover, not necessarily in that order. As a little girl, she cut pictures of people out of magazines and turned them into characters in her stories. Now she writes edgy romantic thrillers and steamy contemporary romance. She lives in SoCal with her husband, but enjoys traveling from Athens to Anchorage and many locations in between.

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Guest Release–Answering Sarah by Nancy Shew Bolton

AnsweringSarah_Cover copy (2)

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After a fire destroys their home when she was a girl, Sarah’s family rebuilds their lives, yet the echoes of the fire’s damage remain. Sarah learned to turn inward, and keep her curious mind to herself, asking God all the questions that her own father used to delight in. But the fire silenced her father, and spread the stillness to the rest of them. Yet Sarah longs to express herself, to find answers to all her questions. A new, young pastor arrives, and captivates her heart. The prospect of a challenging and unexpected life dances before her, but then is held out of her reach. And with the new possibilities come questions she’s never asked herself before. Is she ready for the answers?

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EXCERPT

Soon Mary left the library to help fix supper, but Pastor stayed. How she wished he would leave so she could lay her head on the desk and cry away some of this pain. He’d go soon, and then she could give in to her tears.

She sat at her desk and wrote reminders for tomorrow. Considering her jumbled state of mind, she doubted her ability to remember anything. The sound of the door closing made her look up. He hadn’t even said good-bye. She scanned the pegs on the wall. He was in such a hurry to go, he forgot his coat.

He was probably glad to go home, away from her gloomy unfriendliness. Thank God, he couldn’t see how petty she was. What a failure she’d turned out to be. A test came along, and all manner of awful things poured out of her. She wanted to go home.

Sobs shook her as she released the tears and held her bowed head in her hands.

God, please forgive me. Please help me. Please.

“Sarah, what is it? What’s the matter?” Pastor’s alarmed voice cut through her sobs.

Oh, no.

He stood next to her desk. How could she look at him? What could she say? Why was he there?

She tried to catch her breath. “I…I miss my family. I wouldn’t have cried, but I thought I was alone.” She took a few shaky breaths and kept her gaze down.

“I saw Deacon Tobias outside trying to calm down his horse and went out to help him. He said the leaves spooked her.” He was silent a moment. When he spoke, she could barely hear him. “Sarah, how can I help you?”

“I’m all right. Don’t bother about me. I’ll be fine in a minute.” She stood and walked past him to the stacks of books. How could she let herself get to this point? She’d never be able to look him in the eyes again. Heavy silence filled the room. Sarah stood and stared at the books, mind blank, unable to remember what she should do next. She could feel his presence and squeezed her eyes shut.

“Sarah?”

She couldn’t take any more. Why wouldn’t he leave?

Her voice shook. “Pastor, please. I can’t talk right now.”

“Let me help—”

“No. Please leave me alone. Please.”

Silence.

Just go or I’ll lose my mind.

She waited, back stiff, head held high.

“All right.” Pastor’s voice sounded sad and resigned. He must have been so disappointed in her.

She heard him put on his coat. The door closed behind him. Trembling, Sarah walked back to her desk and almost tumbled onto the chair. She crossed her arms over the top of her desk and dropped her head onto them. Her heart yearned for her family and her life as it had been before.

I can’t do this. I don’t have the strength.

Nancy Bolton

Nancy Shew Bolton is a wife of 43 years, mother of five grown sons, and grandmother to a boy and girl. She’s lived in the Finger Lakes region of upstate NY all her life. Her faith, her family and her surroundings inspire her writing. Her books explore the many depths of faith and love.

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Guest Interview with DiAne Gates

Linda, it’s so kind of you to have me on your blog today. Thank you.

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

I’m a Florida gal turned Texan for the past thirty something years. I won my first writing contest when I was a teen. The article, entitled The Basis of a Great Nation is a Christian Home, and the paper still resides in my cedar chest. I cringe at the teenage grammar.  I also paint and for most of my life painting took center stage. Moving to Texas stirred my interest in rodeo and the rest is history. I wrote articles and took photographs for the Youth Rodeo Association in East Texas, and rodeo is kinda like Florida sand—once the sights, sounds, and razzle-dazzle of the arena gets in your blood, well, you know—Roped was the result and I’m pleased to let you know Twisted is finished and will be with my editor at Prism Books by the second week in June.

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

I come from a long line of foodies. My mom and aunt were caterers and I love to create new recipes and tinker with Mama’s family favorites. Being raised in the deep south, fried chicken, grits, and greens were the staples tingling my early taste buds. However, you can’t be a Texan and not love spicy. When the frustrations of technology get the best of me, I head to the garden. I love, love, love flowers and photography, as my FaceBook page and blog illustrate.

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

Definitely a SOP writer—Seat of the Pants—start to finish. Outlines are for sane, normal people. I’m sure if they tested me for ADD, I’d rank off-the-charts nutty artist. I’ve taken some personality tests that place me as a totally right-brained individual. Not one brain cell even leans left. Just ask my accountant husband, or my math teachers.

I generally begin with a situation or principle or character flaw and build my story from there. When writing Roped, my phenomenal edit group coined a phrase—that’s not a Crissy word. And bless their hearts, that phrase made Crissy’s character bud and bloom on the page. She’s Texan to the bone.

Have you traveled to any locations that appear in your books?

Terrell, Texas is the scene for the Roped series, that’s about twelve miles from our home in the small town of Crandall, Texas. But you will find a rodeo arena, horses and trucks and trailers, goats, and cattle, and, of course, barbeque, near any-town-Texas.

 Can you share a tip about what you do when you get stuck in creating a story?

Take a bath, a bubble-bath preferably. Don’t laugh, I’m in good company. Author DiAnn Mills shares my idiosyncrasy. Something about relaxing in the warm water sets my brain to problem solve.  I just have to remember to keep a note pad on the sink so I can write the dialogue, plot twist, or whatever down before I forget. DiAnn’s dear husband installed a white-board for her creative flashes. The accountant personality in my husband said, “Really?”

What was your biggest surprise in the editing/revision process?

I mentioned earlier I belong to a group of the greatest writers this side of heaven. We are seven in number. I’ve dubbed us The Magnificent Seven, but in fact we are called The Literati. And six of them are indeed magnificent! When we began I would create what I thought was wonderful. Arrive at our weekly meeting to find these six magnificent writers had torn my work apart. The drive home was usually tearful, with my husband asking, “Why do you go to these meetings?” “To learn to write,” I’d reply, sniff, and blow my nose. “Well, are you learning?” I’d change the subject and determine next week I’d show ’em.

By the time Roped reached my Prism editor, tears, rewrites, and revisions could have filled several moving boxes. Too bad I didn’t buy stock in Kleenex. I’ve learned the editing process is an awful lot like work, but they are also a writer’s best friend.

Do you write in a genre other than the one of this release?

Oh yes, my blog is serious non-fiction, written mainly to the Church. I believe the Church is one of the largest mission fields in the world. Most church members don’t crack their Bible during the week. They come to church to have their weekly feeding of the Word, then starve ‘til the next Sunday. That’s why our children have very little interest in the things of God and have been transfixed by the world. Because you can’t teach your children what you don’t know. I also write about the grieving process on my blog.

My writing career seriously began with a four book family devotional series entitled The Master’s Plan, which I’ve written and illustrated. And it keeps company with another children’s book, Arnold the Ant Who Didn’t Want To Be…an ant. Again one I’ve written and illustrated.  These five books are looking for a publishing home. Prism does not publish children’s books.

In what genre do you read?

If you had asked me three weeks ago,my resounding answer would have been, mystery/adventure. But two Prism authors have changed my mind by their new releases, Nancy Bolton with her historical fiction romance, Answering Sarah, and Julie Cosgrove, with her Navy Blues. My favorite author is Joel Rosenberg. His nail-biting, heart-stopping, fiction you’ll probably read as headlines in the newspaper in a month or two.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

No doubt whatsoever, the ability to see the issues my characters face and learn what to do and what not to do when facing those same life experiences. My stories are Christ based. Not hit you over the head with my Bible, but real life problems and what the Word has to say about our choices. In Crissy’s case, her Papa is the glue that holds the family together. A man who has walked with the Lord through the tragedies of life. The grandpa we’d all like to have claimed.

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“Will Texas teen Crissy Crosby’s rivalry and temper throw her off her dream to win the rodeo buckle?

When life bucks hard and unfair, will she latch onto the faith she was raised to rely upon or grasp anger and pride as her rope on this ride?”

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EXCERPT

“Before Chun could sit down, Jodie Lea leaned over and deliberately jammed her elbow into his side, then scooted as close as she could against the side of the bus, just as Mrs. Moore shifted the bus into gear and stepped on the gas.

One of his books jarred lose and tumbled into her lap. In a rage she turned and took aim. “What a jerk.” And with both hands, shoved the poor kid backward. He fell, fanny first, to the floor. Books flew every which way.

She leaped out of her seat and gathered up the fabric of her skirt, holding it fan-style for everyone to see. “Watch what you’re doin’, moron.” She turned to the other kids, stuck her nose in the air, and the curtain went up on her one-act horror show.

“His dirty Chinese slime is all over my brand new skirt. It’s ruined.” She brushed at an imaginary spot. “Stupid nerd. Why don’t you go back to China?”

I gasped. That was evil. Even for Jodie Lea.

She slipped a smirk at her two dingy girl-shadows who were equally offended. Jodie Lea stretched herself to haughty, her arms folded, her lips pouty, and her eyes narrowed to slits.

The boy sat motionless on the floor, muttering, “Please excuse me. I did not mean to cause you harm.” He struggled to his feet and reached to brush the invisible smudge from Jodie Lea’s skirt.

She flattened herself against the window wall of the bus. “Don’t touch me.” Her shriek had the grinding pitch of a tornado siren.

“Hey kid.” Jimmy Henry grabbed Chun’s arm and shoved him back down on the floor. “Can’t ya hear? Are ya yellow?”

Another boy jammed his foot against the new kid’s chest and pinned him there.

Our bus driver, Mrs. Moore, shouted, “Knock off the noise and sit down, or you’ll all end up in the principal’s office.”

Chun mumbled something in his native language. Sure couldn’t understand what he said. Prob’ly a good thing. But the hair on the back of my neck bristled. Poor kid. If Mrs. Moore didn’t do something—

The kids snickered and picked up Jodie Lea’s taunts.

I sprang from the back seat. “That’s enough.” In two quick steps, I latched onto Jimmy’s arm and shoved him away. “Knock it off. Can’t you see he’s upset?” I kicked the other kid’s foot off the boy’s chest and reached down to give Chun a hand up. “It’s his first day. Give him a break.”

An arsenal of words somersaulted syllable over syllable out of my heart and leaped off my tongue. “Jodie Lea Fairgate. This was low—even for you. You’ve done some rotten things, but this one ranks with the worst-of-your-worst.”

My bad-self suggested I rub her nose into the floor. I had enough cause. But Mama’s voice echoed in my ear. Not a word, Crissy.

So with all the self-control I could scrape up. I shut up, glared at her, and returned to my seat.

A voice came from the back of the bus. “You takin’ up for the nerd, Crissy?”

I stopped and, with my hands on my hips and my best cowgirl swagger, scanned the crowd of faces. “Yep, you wanna make something of it?”

“Don’t you guys know? Nerds of a feather fly together.” Jodie Lea twisted her face into an evil-step-sister grin and her groupie friends, of course, did the same.

Yikes, a litter of Cheshire cats. Monster-show scary. Right.

On his feet by this time, Chun’s face blushed a vivid shade of crimson.

I crawled under the seat to rescue his books. “Don’t pay attention to that girl. She’s the jerk.” I took his arm and guided him back to my row, then sat and glared at Jodie Lea Fairgate and the others ‘til their laughter stopped. Talk about rotten—that girl’s heart must be tough as steel. And dark. Very, very dark.

The boy glanced at me, his mouth forming a wanna-be half-smile. “Thank you for helping me.” Then he sat and stared at the floor.

I gestured toward the other kids. “They’re just a bunch of wooly-buggers. They follow whatever that stupid girl does. She’s trouble with a capital “T.”

“I did not mean to harm her.” Chun’s eyes met mine long enough for me to see those deep chocolate circles fill up with sad. My heart hurt to see him upset because of Jodie Lea Fairgate.

“Just stay out of her way and ignore her. That’s what I do.”

A twinge of guilt tugged my conscience. Yeah, right. Sure you do.”

REVIEW SNIPPETS

“A great read for teens and adults, Roped is a gallop-paced rodeo ride from the first to the last page. ” ~Lori

“Couldn’t put it down. Truly an AMAZING work of art.” ~Abigail

DiAne Gates

Texas writer, DiAne Gates, illustrates and writes fiction for children, YA, and serious non-fiction for the folks. Her passion is calling the Church’s attention to how far we’ve catapulted from God’s order.

DiAne worked as a photographer and writer for the East Texas Rodeo Association, which gave birth to this western rodeo adventure series, ROPED. The second book in the series, entitled TWISTED is just completed and with Prism Books.

She leads an edit group for North Texas Christian Writers and is a GriefShare Facilitator. Wife, mother, and grandmother, whose passion is to share those life lessons God is teaching her. Lessons she hopes will leap from the page into your heart.

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Leave a comment on this blog post and be eligible for the chance to win a signed paperback copy of Roped.

 

Sale Promotion–LOVE COMES CALLING by Deborah Piccurelli

Love Comes Calling June 3

BLURB

New Christian, Derek Spencer, falls for Charlie Parkes the very day he shows up on her doorstep to make up for what he’d done. But Charlie’s sister mistakes him for a home improvement contractor, and he decides to play along until he finds a way to explain who he really is.

Charlie is attracted to Derek, but knows the attention he shows her is only flattery. How could this handsome guy fall for someone with a face like hers? Nevertheless, the two form a relationship, bringing a joy to Charlie that’s way beyond her wildest dreams.

But what will happen when Derek’s true identity is revealed?

From Prism Book Group on sale for 99cents until June 15

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EXCERPT

Before leaving the kitchen, he asked, “May I take you out somewhere for lunch tomorrow?”

Stunned, she almost dropped the plate she had been drying. “Ou-out?”

“Yeah, you know, a restaurant? Where someone else will be serving the food?”

“I-I… Okay. Sure.” Are you crazy, Charlie girl? Everyone will see you and stare at you. Then poor Derek will be embarrassed.

“Good.” He turned to walk away.

“Wait.”

He stopped and waited.

“On second thought, maybe I’d better not.”

In a nanosecond, he closed the space that separated them. “Why?”

His closeness made her claustrophobic. She half-turned her face away. “Oh, Derek, you don’t want to be seen in public with me.”

“Excuse me, but I think that’s my decision.”

“Please.” She moved away from him to replace a bowl into the cabinet and to put a more comfortable distance between them. “I don’t want to embarrass you.” He’d trailed her steps, and his breath ruffled a wisp of her hair. She turned and backed up, only to bump against the counter.

“What makes you think you’ll embarrass me?”

“Oh, c’mon, you’re not blind. People will stare and wonder what a good-looking guy like you is doing with someone who . . . looks like me.”

She dodged to escape his nearness, but he was too quick and trapped her between his arms as each of his hands grasped the edge of the counter. His height required him to lean slightly in order to accomplish this, putting them nose-to-nose.

“No. You’re not going to run away. Listen to me. You’re beautiful.” She turned her face, and he pulled her chin up so that she had no choice but to look into his eyes. “You are beautiful. I don’t care what anyone thinks. I like spending time with you, and I’m not ashamed of that or of you.”

DEBORAH PICCURELLI (5-26-16)

Deborah M. Piccurelli enjoys reading and writing romantic books. She is the author of two novels, a novella and several cause-related newspaper articles. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and an advocate for sanctity of life. Deborah lives in New Jersey with her husband and two sons.

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Spotlight on Masked Hearts from Roane Publishing

Masked Hearts cover

BLURBS

Affinity by Dana Wright

Behind the shadows lies the truth…

A magic mirror and a houseful of ghosts await Kristen when fate leads her to Wanderly House. Secrets and spirits consume her days, but one look in the magic mirror and her heart falls fast. A mask, a cloak, and a key leading her to an enchanted evening in the faery garden might be Kristen’s end as all that glitters may well have sharp teeth.

Magic mirror on the wall…

Connor is trapped in Faery. With only a view through a bewitched mirror to the real world, his attention is nabbed by a curious cat shifter with a ghostly following. Can he find a way to break the spell that binds him so he can reach the girl that haunts his dreams?

When the forces of Faery and Wanderly House collide, will Kristen and Connor’s love be enough to save them?

Water Woman by Claire Davon

Sparks fly when a Spanish water woman, and an African two-horned horse shifter meet at a masquerade. Kimoni has gone to ask Isidora to use her skills to aid him with his ailing grandfather. When strangers claiming to be Isidora’s relatives try to force her to share her powers, the pair is plunged into danger. Isidora and Kimoni look for a way to fight the ruthless intruders, while also saving his grandfather.

Using their combined powers, they meet the challenge, all the while conscious of the growing attraction between them. It has been a long time since Isidora has met a man who calls to her as Kimoni does. The strong, handsome horse shifter sings to her senses, and she sees a matching spark in his eyes. Can love between them blossom? Can a water woman and a horse shifter find happiness together?

Dragon Law by Nemma Wollenfang

The kingdom of Baelin is under attack. A terrifying dragon rains fire down on the capital city, burning all in his path. The people’s one hope lies with the Princess Draxa, who – in accordance with an ancient rite – must willingly sacrifice her future to sate the beast’s wrath.

For her kingdom, Draxa will do it. She will leave Andre, the fierce soldier she loves with all of her heart, don her red cloak, and make the treacherous trip into the heart of the mountain, to face the monstrous Lord Siouxlian in his lair.  

Feather Fall by Sheryl Winters

Brooke Adair’s autism has turned the world into a constant puzzle, especially when it comes to men. When she meets fellow swan shifter Blake Landen in a dream, though, Brooke feels a potential connection to someone who could understand her. If she lets him.

But trusting in Blake takes a whole lot more courage than Brooke has. After all, if she doesn’t take this leap, Brooke might miss out on meeting the one man she could actually learn to understand.

Duty or Desire by Sharon Hughson

Alyona Wyrden dwells contentedly in her elven realm, but when her brother disappears, she travels to Earth to bring him home.

Camden Kerr hunts down magical artifacts, keeping them out of the wrong hands. The amulet that draws Alyona to her brother is just the sort of object Cam’s after. The way his flesh responds to the lithe, blonde necklace wearer is a different matter altogether. When their paths keep crossing, Camden decides they can work together-until he discovers her elven heritage.

Can their attraction defeat prejudice? Which will rule—duty or desire?

BUY LINKS

Roane Publishing: http://www.roanepublishing.com/category-s/203.htm

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01FZPTST8

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01FZPTST8

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/masked-hearts-dana-wright/1123833081?ean=2940158509322

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Bookstrand: http://www.bookstrand.com/masked-hearts-0

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-maskedhearts-2044722-166.html
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Guest Release—Navy Blues by Julie B Cosgrove

LoveIs_NavyBlues May 27

BLURB

Her fiancé cheated on her…in paradise. Broken hearted and confused, Emma flies home to Fort Worth, Texas not sure what life without him will entail.

Ryan is being discharged from the Navy to join a gastroenterology private practice in Fort Worth. New city, new life. The last thing on his mind is falling in love. Until a forlorn lady sniffles in the seat beside him on the flight.

A storm, an emergency landing and an out of control ex-fiancé thrusts Ryan and Em into a dilemma. Each must make some tough choices, but will those involve each other?

BUY LINKS

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EXCERPT

Just as I mouthed a thanks to God, an eardrum-stabbing wail occurred two rows back. “Why can’t Daddy sit with meeeee?”

The man huffed and twisted toward the sound. “Because the airlines said Daddy’s seat is here. You stay with Mommy.”

The child’s whining persisted as people jabbed and jostled through the claustrophobic cabin. It would be a full flight. My temples began to pulse.

One baritone voice pierced the din. “I’ll trade with you.”

I turned to see sandy hair, a chiseled jaw, and piercing blue eyes on the face of a military man. He held his boarding pass in one hand and a khaki duffle bag in the other. It matched his uniform. The Naval emblem on his brass belt buckle glimmered in the late afternoon light as it streamed through the airplane’s portal. Well, this was Hawaii. A bunch of the men onboard wore Navy fatigues. He was being transferred like the rest of them, no doubt.

“Really?” The father lost half of the worry lines on his forehead. “Thanks.”

The sailor hoisted his duffle and a briefcase into the compartment above us and shrugged. “No problem. A seat is a seat.” His eyes dropped to scan me. I pulled my skirt over my knees and shifted my gaze to the tarmac beyond the double-paned oval window.

From the outer edge of my vision, I saw the two exchange positions. In mid-movement, they shook hands. The Navy man smiled. “You should be with your family, man. It’s only right.”

He sat down, adjusted his position to dig the seat belt out from the cushion, and then leaned into my space to click it. The insignia on his left collar resembled a gold tree with a green stone in it. On the right, perched a silver maple leaf. Even though my father was in the Naval Reserves most of my early childhood, I never mastered deciphering rank and emblems. I did remember those two meant he was an officer of some sort and, by the khakis he wore, he’d been out to sea.

I shot him a semi-warm grin. “That was nice of you to do that, um, Lieutenant, is it?”

“Actually, it’s Doctor.”

My mouth formed a small “O.”

He whispered in my direction. “And it was a purely selfish act. Why would I want to sit next to his kid while she blubbered the whole trip?”

My mouth readied to spill my thoughts about his brash remark, until I saw his wink. Instead, I inched my lips to the right in a fake chuckle. “Very funny.”

“I had you. Admit it.” Those crystal blue pools twinkled with mirth. He extended his hand. “Name’s Ryan MacKenzie. Lieutenant in the Navy, for another 48 hours or so.”

I kept mine in my lap and nodded. “Emma West. My friends call me Em.”

“M? For mystery woman?” The sides of his mouth curled upward. His attention briefly focused on my left hand. It was bare, though it had yet to feel that way to me.

“Hardly.” The words croaked from my throat. I placed my right hand on top and blinked the tears back into my eyes. The white mark around my ring finger where the sun had not hit for four years screamed my plight—rejected for another, not good enough.  The warmth and strength of his fingers covered mine. Soft. Clean nails. Surgeon’s hands. He whispered, “Sorry. Forgive my crassness.”

I bobbed my head, and as quickly as the sensation came, it left as he released his touch. Something inside me wanted to grab it back. But that would be ridiculous. I didn’t even know the guy. I closed my eyes and shut out the cabin noises. The horrid scene, which caused my decision to board this flight, replayed in my mind. I’d tossed the two carat, blue-diamond solitaire— courtesy of my father’s checkbook so his daughter would wear a decent stone—at Trey’s head as it lay tousled on the bed pillows next to another’s, obviously not mine. She scrambled to the bathroom, wrapped in a bed sheet. He pleaded it had been a one time lapse of judgment. I seriously doubted that. Living in two different cities almost four thousand miles apart had taken its toll. How could I have been so naïve?

Above our heads, the seat belt sign dinged off. Airborne. My teeth pinched my lower lip as I observed the island chain disappear amongst the clouds. I always hated good-byes. This one had been final. I’d never be back. The vice grip around my chest crushed my heart some more. Dear God in Heaven, don’t let this naval doctor see me cry. I swallowed the saliva in my mouth in an effort to force the puddles under my eyelids back as well.

He broke the silence. “You okay? Your face seems rather blue.”

Had I put on navy liner and mascara that day? Did it streak down my face? I wiped my finger across my under-eye skin then peered at it. No, not very smudged.

He chuckled. “I meant blue as in down. You know, perturbed. If I offended you.”

I returned my gaze to the wisp of clouds. The sun’s rays infused them with gold. The delicate celestial waves shimmered like a pearl-seed edged lace veil, one I’d never wear now. “It’s not you. I just hated to leave, that’s all.” I turned to him with a forced smile. “But, Spring Break’s over. Back to the grind.”

“Are you, uh, in school?” His eyes narrowed inside his scrunched eyebrows.

“Is that so hard to believe?”

He coughed into his fist. “Well, I mean people go back all the time, I…”

His stumble-stepping over his words brought a chuckle to my lips, though a small one. “I teach at the community college.” With a tilt of my head, I parroted his previous jab. “Admit it. I got you.”

His facial muscles relaxed. “Touché.”

Julie Cosgrove

Julie B Cosgrove is an award-winning novelist, freelance Christian devotional writer and public speaker.  When she is not writing novels, she enjoys reading those by other faith-based authors  while curled on her sofa with her two purring cats and a cup of Earl Grey.  Visit her website www.juliebcosgrove.com and her devotional blog: Where Did You Find God Today?

Character Interview–Roxie from Stepping Out Of Line

SteppingoutofLine_med

Meet Roxie, the heroine of Stepping Out Of Line, a contemporary western romance that’s one of my backlist titles.

How about you introduce yourself by providing the basics?

My birth name was Liberty Star Nolan but I got used to Roxie Starr, the stage name I used for a decade as a Las Vegas showgirl, and that’s what I still go by.

Where were you raised?

This small town in northern Texas named Wayback.

Family members?

Daddy lit out ages ago, chasing his rodeo dream. Mama Argie lives in the family house with my younger sister, Felicity, and my aunties Branwyn and Clarine. A whole lot of estrogen under one roof.

Did you attend college?

Nope, I couldn’t wait to see the city fade in my rearview mirror as soon as I graduated high school. I headed for Los Angeles because I knew I would be the next go-to actress.Turns out getting this Texas twang out of my voice was harder work than I’d imagined.

Are you athletic?

Being athletic became my profession when I started as a dancer in a chorus line in Vegas. Now I do yoga and love to swim in the summer.

What’s your favorite sport to watch?

I love watching ice dancing in the Olympics.

Did you always want to be a beautician?

Never had a thought about it until I’d been performing for several years. Then I realized I needed to learn skills that I could use after my body gave out. While in Vegas, I learned tips and styles from so many dancer and performer friends that opening a beauty salon seemed like a natural second career.

What do you like most about being a beautician?

Helping customers gain a style that boosts their self-confidence.

Are you a pet person?

I have a soft spot in my heart for dogs of all kinds, especially strays.

Where did you go for your most recent vacation?

Being a small-business owner doesn’t allow for many vacations but I did manage to attend the last ballroom dance championship. [shrugs] What can I say? Dancing’s in my blood.

Talk about your favorite setting for a date.

Now that I’ve seen the glitz and glamour of Vegas, I appreciate the specialness of laid-back events like the town’s Founder Day celebration, the lighting of the town square Christmas tree or the Fourth of July fireworks.

What attracts you first to a man?

His smile. And filling out a set of Wranglers just right doesn’t hurt.

Are you talking about a particular man?

[eyes gleaming] Oh, yeah.

BLURB

Two years ago Roxie Starr left behind her life as a Vegas showgirl and came home to Wayback, Texas to open a styling salon. She claims she’s there to help with her younger sister, but the truth is age was catching up to her body and the time had come to step out of the chorus line.

Fighting against a nagging injury, Dev Laredo is determined to finish one last rodeo. He won’t return to his Oklahoma ranch until he’s won enough to cover his brother’s college tuition. The sight of a sassy redhead sparks his interest, but her tender ministrations to his injury touch his lonely heart. Can two bruised souls put aside their differences and give love a fighting chance?

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The Wild Rose Press

by author Linda Carroll-Bradd