2017 Highway Cafe Blog Tour–Meet Twinkle-Toes

2017HighwayCafeChristmasTour

Hi, everyone, Twinkle-Toes here, I’m so happy to be involved in this year’s blog hop because I love to dance and meet new people. I tie jingle bells to the curled toes of my slippers so I make music every time I walk. My favorite song that I sing often around the toy-making barn is “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” because I want everyone to get excited about the coming celebrations.

elf shoes

Another one of my favorite fun things to do is to decorate presents. A special shelf in Santa’s workshop holds last year’s Christmas cards. I grab down a few and find images to cut out, like a tree or a sleigh or a group of carolers or a star. If I’m careful, I can find two images from each card. By writing names on the back side, that cutout becomes a gift tag. I use a yard needle to poke a hole near the top and thread ribbon through or, if I don’t want to ruin the image, I tape the top to the wrapped package. Recycling makes me feel warm inside.

xmas scene

As a special thanks to you for visiting my blog, I’m giving away two ebook copies of A Year of Romance, an anthology of historical romance stories set around Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Fourth of July. These stories comprise the first four titles in my Dorado, Texas series. Leave a comment to be eligible to win. If you have a favorite recycling tip, please share because I giggle when I find new ways to reuse.

Blurbs:

Wandering Home

Will a justice-seeking wanderer find solace on a ranch with a stubborn widow determined to protect what is hers?

Storybook Hero

Can a starry-eyed dreamer’s search for adventure overcome a taciturn man’s belief he has nothing to offer?

My Heart Knew

Will falling in love with a strong-willed cowboy be the adventure a tomboy maid has been seeking?

Sparked By Fire

Can a wounded soul find solace in the attentions from a cook who nurtures through her culinary creations?

AYearOfRomance.tn

 

 

I’ll pick the name of the winners and post an announcement here on December 11th.

2017  Garden Gourmet

Because this season is the time for giving, I want to tell you about a free book created by authors of one of my publishers. The 2017 The Wild Rose Press Garden Gourmet-A Holiday of Hacks includes helpful time-saving tips related to cooking and chores around the house. Get your copy here.

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As a special stocking stuffer, here’s the link to a free story. Gingerbread Wishes is a contemporary romance set at Christmas and is the first title is my Sugar and Spice Bakery series.

You’ll want to meet my elf friends so be sure to hop on over to the other blog posts.

December 4

Holland Rae – https://hollandrae.com/

Susanne Matthews – https://mhsusannematthews.wordpress.com/

Sorchia DuBois – www.sorchiadubois.com

December 5

Tena Stetler – http://www.tenastetler.com/category/my-say-what-blog/

Maureen Bonatch – http://www.maureenbonatch.com/blog/

Peggy Jaeger – https://peggyjaeger.com/

Barbara Burke – https://barbaraburkeauthor.wordpress.com/

 

December 6

Kelly Kalmanson – http://kkweil.blogspot.com

M.S. Spencer – http://msspencertalespinner.blogspot.com

Hywela Lyn – www.hywelalyn.blogspot.com

Reggi Allder – https://reggiallder.blogspot.com/

December 7

Denyse Bridger – http://www.fantasypages.ca

Karen Blake-Hall – https://kaydenclaremont.wordpress.com/ 

Clair de Lune – https://clairdelunebooks.co.uk/

Casi McLean – http://casimclean.com/a-christmas-to-remember/

December 8

Darlene Fredette – http://findingthewritewords.blogspot.com

Daryl Devore – http://daryldevore.blogspot.ca

Gini Rifkin – http://ginirifkin.blogspot.com

OR see what’s happening at the Highway Cafe

 

2017 Highway Cafe Holiday Blog Tour

2017HighwayCafeChristmasTour

A group of writer friends are hosting a blog tour with giveaways and fun details. My scheduled day is Friday, December 8th, but new posts will pop up each day.  Follow along and see what each author has to offer.

December 4

Holland Rae – https://hollandrae.com/

Susanne Matthews – https://mhsusannematthews.wordpress.com/

Sorchia DuBois – www.sorchiadubois.com

 

December 5

Tena Stetler – http://www.tenastetler.com/category/my-say-what-blog/

Maureen Bonatch – http://www.maureenbonatch.com/blog/

Peggy Jaeger – https://peggyjaeger.com/

Barbara Burke – https://barbaraburkeauthor.wordpress.com/

 

December 6

Kelly Kalmanson – http://kkweil.blogspot.com

M.S. Spencer – http://msspencertalespinner.blogspot.com

Hywela Lyn – www.hywelalyn.blogspot.com

Reggi Allder – https://reggiallder.blogspot.com/

 

December 7

Denyse Bridger – http://www.fantasypages.ca

Clair de Lune – https://clairdelunebooks.co.uk/

Karen Blake-Hall – https://kaydenclaremont.wordpress.com/ 

Casi McLean – http://casimclean.com/a-christmas-to-remember/

 

December 8

Darlene Fredette – http://findingthewritewords.blogspot.com

Daryl Devore – http://daryldevore.blogspot.ca

Gini Rifkin – http://ginirifkin.blogspot.com

My Titles related to Halloween

My stories featuring bits and pieces of Halloween are varied. From most recently published to a bit more seasoned, they are:

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Wandering Home, Book 1 of “Dorado, Texas” series (a 19,000 word historical novella)

Widow Vevina Bernhard sees mysterious lights at night and believes her Texas ranch Shady Oaks is haunted. She needs protection for herself and her 4-year old son but the town’s sheriff offers no help. On hiatus from his Texas Ranger duties, Kell Hawksen hires on as a farrier at the ranch while keeping an eye out for clues to a stagecoach robber in hopes of collecting the bounty. On Samhain, fire erupts and Vevina and Kell battle both the danger and the depth of their feelings.

http://amzn.com/B0190RNROY

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Unlocked Treasure, a 15,000 word contemporary novella

Aleen MacRae blames the lure of the sea for breaking apart first her family then her engagement. When her interest is caught by a man she sees both in person and in a dream, she resists—afraid to believe in her aunt’s prediction that her future is tied to the sea.

Braden Williams is on the hunt for treasure buried centuries earlier by Rhode Island pirates. His search brings him to the property where Aleen lives. Collaboration on genealogy research draws them closer, and Braden steers her toward his true passion–sailing.

Attending a party with Braden’s family lets her glimpse what she’s been missing. An unexpected discovery before her date with Braden at the Halloween Midnight Organ Recital forces a decision. Will Aleen play things safe or accept what this free-spirited man offers?

http://amzn.com/B00O0EQ754

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Unlocked Treasure also appears verbatim in Hauntings In The Garden, Vol 2, a 4-author anthology of mixed genre Halloween-related stories.

http://amzn.com/B015AOHAD0

SpooktacularSeductions Cover_blog

Bewitching Gypsy (a 7,700 word historical story) in Spooktacular Seductions, an 8-author anthology

Fiona Mikolas is an outcast—branded by her fiery red hair and a purple birth mark—forced to live a solitary life, traveling a circuit of southern states in America and selling healing potions. Until the night of All Hallow’s Eve, when her lonely life is changed by the arrival of two strangers in her camp.

Beaten and robbed, rancher Hagan Fletcher tracks his stolen stallion and stumbles toward a campfire in south Texas. He awakens, suffering from amnesia and is intrigued by the mysterious beauty to look beneath the surface to who she really is.

http://amzn.com/B00OWJJ09C

Guest Release Promotion of The Mason’s Mark by M.S. Spencer

Thank you so much for having me at Musings about the Writing Life, Linda. Several of my romantic suspense/murder mystery books are set in Alexandria, Virginia, a colonial town on the Potomac River across from Washington, DC, where I lived for many years. The Mason’s Mark: Love and Death in the Tower, is one of those novels.

GeorgeWashingtonMuseum in Masonic Memorial

Most of The Mason’s Mark, is set at the George Washington National Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia. The 330-foot-tall building has three sections—the ground level, the main floor, and the tower. The tower holds six progressively smaller rooms. The top level opens to an observation deck, from which visitors can see all of Alexandria and Washington, DC—or, if you’re my heroine, find a dead body.

The fourth floor contains a museum dedicated to George Washington. Washington served as the Charter (first) Master of the Alexandria lodge, and many of his letters and memorabilia are housed here, including the Washington family Bible. Since our heroine and hero meet in the museum, it follows that the Mason’s Mark would involve long-lost papers, distant family scandals, and academic intrigue concerning our first President. Delicious mystery and even more delicious romance ensue.

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BLURB

In the worst first day at work ever, newly minted docent Claire Wilding’s carefully memorized spiel is interrupted by the discovery of a dead body. As she deals with a smitten police detective, a hunky Senator, shadowy black ops agents, and two eccentric mothers, she learns more than she ever expected to about jewels and pennies, renegade Italian Masons, and our first President’s family secrets. Along the way she discovers that first love is not always the right love.

BUY LINKS

The Wild Rose Press

iTunes

KOBO

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

Bookstrand

EXCERPT

When they reached Prince Street, Gideon found a parking spot directly in front of her house, no small feat. Just one more way he’s special, thought Claire glumly. He walked her to her door. She unlocked it and turned to thank him, but he was already on his way to his car.

Ichabod greeted her with a snarl.

“I know. I forgot to feed you. Come on, Icky.” She found a can of cat food and emptied it into his bowl. Then she poured herself a large glass of water and took it to the living room to conduct an analysis of the soiree.

So at any point did I come across as even semi-coherent? She tried to hack through the warm, fuzzy blanket of the evening. Gideon had been the perfect gentleman, ordering foie gras and champagne, pointing out the constellations with obvious expertise, helping her in and out of the car. It all seemed so…unreal. Like he was acting a part. Too perfect. And he’d sucked her in like soda through a straw. She slapped her forehead, forgetting that she still held the glass. Water sluiced across her face and ran down her front. She mopped it up with some tissues and vowed to hit the antique stores that weekend. I’ve got to get a coffee table. Preferably one with cup holders.

The doorbell rang. With the disintegrating tissue pressed to her face, she stood on tiptoe to check the peephole and looked straight into an unblinking sea-green ocean. Gideon. After a minute she remembered to open the door.

He stared at her with concern. “Are you all right?”

Claire pulled the tissue away and noticed black streaks on it. Her mascara must have run. Oh no, I bet he thinks I’ve been crying. She rubbed her eyes, hoping that wasn’t making it worse. “Fine. I spilled a glass of water, that’s all.”

“Oh.” He stood, shifting his weight from one foot to the other. “Um, could I come in for a minute?”

She pointed at the living room and backed away, then turned and leapt up the steps. A quick look in the mirror confirmed her suspicions. I look like something Ichabod’s been playing with. She fixed her face, wrung out her blouse, and returned with renewed aplomb.

Gideon filled the small space. Claire sidled around him and sat on a packing crate. He looked around the room. “So…er, have you just moved in?”

“Yes.” It struck her that he was more uncomfortable than she and drew strength from that. “About a week ago. Sorry about the mess. Won’t you have a seat?”

He dropped down on the loveseat but immediately sprang back up. He patted his rear, flummoxed. “Why am I wet?”

Claire put a hand to her mouth to suppress the giggle. “Ooh, I’m sorry. I forgot. That’s where I spilled the water. Here, let me.”

She retrieved a towel from the kitchen and began to dab at the dark blotch on his khakis. He stood it for a minute, then put a hand under her chin and lifted her up. “You’d better stop doing that. This is hard enough for me.” He blinked. “Do you…do you know how beautiful you are?”

The question threw her. How to respond? Yes? No? Tell me more? She decided to let him talk.

“Your eyes are the color of the deepest part of the Caribbean Sea on a cloudless day. I could sink into them and drown.” He touched her brow. “And these little cinnabar ringlets framing that soft, creamy face…” He wrapped one around his finger. “Wind one up tight and it could strangle me.” He took her hand. “Your fingers—so slim and delicate, like little stilettos. Sharp enough to gouge an eye out.”

Claire stepped away from him, bewildered. “You make me sound like a vicious animal. Why?”

His hands dropped to his sides. “Because I sense how dangerous you are.”

“Dangerous?”

“To me. Claire…I—” He gazed at her helplessly.

Someone had better take charge.

M. S. Spencer Author (2)

Although she has lived or traveled in every continent except Antarctica and Australia (bucket list), M. S. Spencer has spent the last thirty years mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director and parent. Blessed with two fabulous grown children and an adorable grandchild, she has published ten romantic suspense/mystery novels. She now divides her time between the Florida Gulf coast and a tiny hamlet in Maine.

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Romance Books 4 Us

 

Character Interview of Alex O’Hara from Diane Burton’s mystery series

How about you introduce yourself by providing the basics?

I’m Alex (Alexandra) O’Hara from Diane Burton’s mystery series. An only child (but never spoiled), I grew up in Far Haven, Michigan, a small resort town on Lake Michigan. I love it here and don’t ever want to leave.

What’s your favorite participation sport?

Swimming. Growing up on the lake meant a lot of beach time. I used to sail, but now I have no time.

Did you always want to be a private investigator?

Absolutely. My father and Nick Palzetti’s father owned an investigation agency. I started working there in high school. I loved it when they’d let me tag along on a case. Of course, my mom had a fit the first time. Too dangerous. Hah. That was the exciting part.

What do you like most about being a PI?

Helping people get answers. Sometimes, like with a philandering spouse, they don’t want to know something they already sense. Finding a lost sibling or confirming the history of a potential spouse makes me feel good.

Talk about your favorite setting for a date.

The beach. Maybe a picnic, if it’s warm enough. Or just a long walk. I’m not crazy about going to fancy restaurants, although I clean up good. 😊 Or so I’m told. I’m just a small-town girl with small-town tastes.

What attracts you first to a man?

His attitude. Forget guys who think they’re God’s gift to women. I want to see confidence and intelligence. His body comes next. Since I’m 5’ 10”, he has to be tall, with long legs, and a great butt. Shallow, I know.

Are you talking about a particular man?

Oh, yeah. Nick Palzetti. We grew up together then he broke my heart in high school. We were reunited in The Case of the Bygone Brother when he returned to town. He comes and goes through the next two books in the series, The Case of the Fabulous Fiancé, and The Case of the Meddling Mama. I’m not real happy about his absences. He thinks I get into too many dangerous situations. Our jobs are a constant source of frustration and arguments between us.

Alex O’Hara - Bygone Brother Cover - 1025

BLURB

Small Town . . . Big Case.

Alex O’Hara finally gets a case that will give her bottom line a much-needed boost. She might even be able to change her diet from ramen noodles to prime rib. All she has to do is track down a man who’s been missing for over ten years. Piece of cake . . . until an old flame arrives and a mugger roughs her up with orders to back off.

BUY LINKS

Amazon

Amazon UK

Barnes and Noble

iTunes

Kobo

Smashwords

EXCERPT

“Hello, gorgeous.”

I whacked my head on the display shelf.

Well, what would you do if you were lying across the top of a four-drawer lateral file cabinet, and your arm—yardstick attached—was wedged between the wall and the cabinet, trying to retrieve the license renewal application that if you mangled, crushed or couldn’t get would mean the end of your business, and the ex-love-of-your-life stood in the doorway looking at your butt?

The shelf shook on its braces from contact with my head. Never mind that the encounter didn’t do much for the aforementioned body part. The Far Haven Chamber of Commerce awards rattled, and signed Detroit Tigers baseballs pelted my head, shoulders, and the back of my thigh. I dropped the yardstick and swore.

“I thought you promised your mother you wouldn’t swear anymore.” He would remind me of that vow.

“Relapse,” I muttered as I looked over my shoulder.

In that loose-limbed, cocky manner I once thought scary, sexy, and so cool, Nick Palzetti stood in the doorway to the spare office. He even dressed the same in a black leather jacket, black knit shirt, and jeans that molded his hips. Lordy, he could still make my mouth go dry.

As I wiggled back and sideways across the long cabinet, I felt my skirt ride up. Of all days to wear a skirt. With my foot, I searched for the desk chair I’d climbed to get on top of the cabinet. I’d kicked off my high heels before standing on the chair, probably the only smart thing I’d done so far.

“Red panties, you naughty girl.”

Diane Burton

Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and The Case of the Bygone Brother, a PI mystery. She is regular contributor to The Roses of Prose and Paranormal Romantics blogsites. Diane and her husband live in Michigan. They have two children and three (soon to be five) grandchildren.

For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website: http://www.dianeburton.com

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Sign up for Diane’s New Release Alert

 

Guest Release Promotion–666 Pine Edge Place by Caryn McGill

spooky mansion

How does a house become haunted? Must someone die there? Do ghosts or goblins seize it against its will? Or does the house decide? Learning to focus its energy. Relentlessly practicing until able to slam shut doors and windows, control faucets and thermostats…ignite blazes in its fireplaces…or anywhere it chooses. Unearth the answers in the short story 666 Pine Edge Place. If you dare.

Release date is October 28, 2017 from Drunken Pen Publishing

EXCERPT

I didn’t always look like hell. Once, I stood three stories tall crowned with a cupola and a wind vane perpetually pointing north. Wrought iron curly cues, like the letter L written in ornate script, pinned my black shutters tightly to the gray clapboard. My paint gleamed, my wainscoting appeared dent-and-scratch-free, my twenty-foot ceilings embossed with glorious white federal molding. Rather than the current inhabitants of creepy crawly creatures, pesky feral animals, and ghoulish spirits, happy families lived here…for nearly two hundred years. I protected them from the elements with my sturdy roof and walls, and from the frigid temperatures with my toasty-warm fires.

I watched with a sense of immense satisfaction as fathers tickled their children to near hysteria before finally tucking them into bed at night, then reading a favorite bedtime story, and mothers prepared sumptuous family dinners, sometimes with the aid of a kitchen staff. Holidays were magnificent with grand Christmas trees and mountains of festively wrapped presents; the sweet smells of holiday treats permeating the air as they baked in my professional-grade oven. Music and song filled my hallways. Dancing feet pranced on my marble floors and people made love in my bedrooms, sweet, thrilling love. I tried not to watch, but sometimes I just couldn’t help myself.

I felt like a worthy house, solid, set on a good foundation, hugged by magnificent magnolia trees and protected by sturdy oaks. Until the Sinclairs moved in…then everything went to shit. Perhaps if I’d been more patient, or just ignored them I might have survived.

The moment they stepped across the threshold of my magnificent mahogany door with the stained glass window spelling out WELCOME, a chill spread through me. No matter how high I turned up the thermostat I still couldn’t banish the dreadful iciness that penetrated my rafters. I shuddered, and the sound unnerved me…a sound I’d never made before.

The year was 1979. Dr. Sinclair, an eminent physician from New York, had just taken over old Doc Jensen’s practice who’d recently succumbed to liver cancer attributed to years of excessive alcohol consumption. Honestly, the stories I’d overheard from the previous owners made me think the new doc was sorely needed.

Upon her arrival, Mrs. Sinclair’s tall thin frame—her posture indicative of the stick up her ass—paraded around the first floor like a solider marching to war, her sharp spikey heels digging into my polished hardwood. I winced, and the wallpaper in my foyer wrinkled. My vents hissed, all the air seemed to get sucked out of me and I threw a few windows open so I could breathe. Nobody noticed.

Two children ran up the stairs, yelling and jumping around, as children are prone to do. But they didn’t seem joyful, their screams more like shrieks, unsettling, evil. I didn’t think there was such a thing as an innately evil child, but the second I saw them I knew this would turn out bad. Really bad. A few tears formed, the tiny droplets leaking from my faucets onto the ceramic basins with a bit of a plopping noise.

I tried to shove my anxiety and apprehension into my attic, giving myself a pep talk. You’re overreacting. You’ve been spoiled with wonderful loving families and these people are, well, just a little different. A little off… but everything will be okay after they settle in. It always takes me a while to get used to new residents. Perhaps I’m still too old-fashioned. People are more sophisticated these days. They smoke pot and believe in free love. I need to relax, chill out. Give them a chance.

Well, that attitude only lasted a goddamned week. I valiantly tried to ignore the giant gashes in my woodwork made by flying objects that should never become airborne. I really did. Mrs. Sinclair had a violent temper and both her children and her husband sported enough cuts and bruises to have her taken into custody. I couldn’t comprehend why they put up with her abuse. I mean… her husband is a doctor for Christ’s sake! He should know better! But Dr. Sinclair rarely made it home, spending long nights at his practice or the hospital and turned a blind eye to the dysfunctions of his family.

I witnessed the evilness of the children as they tortured small animals and also each other. A gleeful sneer would overtake their faces as they smeared their hands in the greasy red blood of their victims—painting their faces like war paint—and popped eyeballs with their feet. At times I couldn’t decide who was more malicious, the kids or the mother. Often I felt the urge to scream and I did so. My wailing sounded like the wind mostly, and frequently resulted in comments like “This old house sucks!” or “I hate this creepy house!” I should have been angry at the insults, but instead I was…well…hurt.

The basement became my own personal hell. Dr. and Mrs. Sinclair never went down there, but the children made it into kind of a Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory. The smells alone nearly suffocated me. The rotting bodies of furry creatures littered the cement floor when they should have been out running through the dewy green grass in my yard. I have a magnificent yard hugging me, one where lovely flowers grow and people could sit and sip a cocktail on a hot summer evening.

About a month after the move-in date I decided I couldn’t put up with one more second of this depravity. This repugnant family had to go.

Caryn McGill

Caryn McGill is published in paranormal: THE WIVES OF LUCIFER and also erotic suspense: UNSUB, under the name Kendra Greenwood.

Born on New York’s Long Island, Caryn McGill resided on its bucolic East End until a recent move to Richmond, Virginia.

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Guest Interview–Maureen Bonatch

What’s the logline that describes your writing?

It’s interesting that you ask that question since I’ve recently had my website and my logline updated. Previously it was, “Making the Ordinary Extraordinary and Laughing all the Way”.  My new one is, “Stories with Hocus Pocus and All That.”

I believe both capture the essence of my writing, which is humorous paranormal and fantasy romance.

Do you start a new story with the plot or characters first?

My characters always start the story. Sometimes I don’t even know their names when they begin telling me their story.

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

As you can see from my answer above, my writing is freestyle (or panster as some refer to it–I write by the seat of my pants.) I’ve tried to force myself to plan out part of my story to reduce editing after, but most of the time my characters have minds of their own, lol.

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

Most of my stories feature small towns surrounded by dense wooded areas (a great place to tuck away all kinds of secrets). I draw from my home to create the settings, although I don’t use any specific locations.

Are you a pet person? If so, what do you have?

Yes, definitely. I currently have a Shih Tzu, or I should say, he has us, lol. Scruff’s been with our family for four years now. Prior to that, we had a Lhasa Apso for 14+ years. My girls have had an array of other critters over the years—guinea pigs, hermit crabs, fish and a hamster. My husband is allergic to cats, or I’m sure one might’ve been in the mix as well.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

I hope readers find a relaxing escape from the everyday. That they might laugh a little and wander out of the comfort zone of their imagination. That they might appreciate those around them once they look a little closer and see the extraordinary concealed within.

EvilSpeaksSoftly_Oct 11

BLURB

They were never supposed to meet. Fame came easy for Liv by following in the footsteps of the female writers in her family. The cycle repeated for decades…until Liv changed the story. Her villain doesn’t like the revision—and he isn’t a fictional character. In his story, the bad guy always wins.

They were never supposed to find love. Liv never questioned her demanding nocturnal muse, or the strange incidents in her old, family home until she met Gage. His job was to watch her from afar, not reveal the truth about the curse and the stories of the dead. They’ve broken all the rules. Together they unravel secrets as they strive to stop the cycle. Liv’s ability to find love, and protect her loved ones, hangs on the fickle whims of the dead—and they’ve got nothing to lose.

BUY LINKS

The Wild Rose Press

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

KOBO Books

Google Play

iBooks

EXCERPT

“I met this strange man at the bar last night. He told me some really weird stuff.” I paused. When she remained silent, I continued. “He said it was related to my writing.” She watched me with the fascination of one who desperately wanted to look away but couldn’t. As if a deer blinded to the oncoming headlights, she was fixated, trapped. “He said to talk to you.”

I searched her face. I knew my Grams. When resignation settled on her features a knot clenched in my stomach from either fear, or the excitement of validating Gage didn’t fabricate the story. Perhaps he wasn’t crazy.

Grams slowly closed her eyes and opened them again. “He found you?”

I nodded.

She turned to stare out the frosted window where the birdfeeder sat frozen over from the recent snow. “I can’t believe he took that risk. Watchers are never to approach the Recorders. It could totally upset the balance.” She worried her lower lip between her teeth.

When she used the same terms as Gage, my anxiety elevated. I expected her to deny his claims and then we’d laugh about the incident. “Grams, please tell me. I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I took a deep breath. “Some weird things happened last night. Occasionally I notice unusual things, but it’s an old house and I have an active imagination, but this time it scared me.”

Added note: This manuscript placed second in the 2015 Golden Palm Contest of the Florida Romance Writers—Paranormal category

maureenbonatch

Maureen Bonatch grew up in small town Pennsylvania and her love of the four seasons—hockey, biking, sweat pants and hibernation—keeps her there. While immersed in writing or reading paranormal romance and fantasy, she survives on caffeine, wine, music, and laughter. A feisty Shih Tzu keeps her in line.

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Release Day for Perfectly Unacceptable, Book 13 in Sweethearts of Jubilee Springs

Perfectly.Unacceptable.web

Today I’m proud to announce the release of my third novella in the Sweethearts of Jubilee Springs series, a multi-author sweet historical series. Perfectly Unacceptable shares the story of the cousin of Aurelia and Rilleta, the heroines of my first two titles.

An interesting fact about the story. I always look for a topical event from history to include in my stories. As I built the hero, I realized he was pragmatic, quoted Benjamin Franklin often, and lived by selected precepts of Franklin’s writing. When I discovered that women’s equality advocate Elizabeth Cady Stanton had publicly decried Franklin, so of course my heroine had to be a Stanton devotee. I had such fun searching out meaningful quotes.

BLURB: Jared Manning was left wanting on two prior marriage attempts, and this time he wants to be assured of a bride. So he commits to a correspondence courtship with only one potential mail-order bride and anticipates the arrival of Dina Valdis, a retiring schoolteacher, in time for the town’s Harvest Dance. He knows just how he wants his picture-perfect married life to be and assumes he’s found the perfect woman to fulfill the role.

Dina is passionate about being a schoolteacher who sparks the love of learning in young minds. An incident in her hometown of Kingston, New York forces her from her job, and her reputation is smeared. Not wanting to become a hermit, Dina is reminded how her cousins, Aurelia and Rilleta, found happiness with their husbands in Jubilee Springs. Thinking this is her only option, Dina heads west as a mail-order bride. Seeing the size of the tiny town almost sets Dina running, but an attraction for this handsome miner keeps her there. When she learns the town’s children have no teacher, she starts a campaign to educate the townspeople. Soon, she’ll have to decide if the attraction she feels for Jared is stronger than her passion for teaching.

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Guest Interview–Reggi Allder

Hi, Linda, thanks for having me. It’s great to be here.

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

I write freestyle. I’m a pantser, not a plotter. Years ago, I took classes to study plotting. I tried using 3 by 5-inch cards for each scene, colored posted notes for each character and made outlines of the book. This works well for many writers. But I had a bout of writer’s block when I tried it. My creativity shut down and I was stymied. Now I write as Jo Beverley used to say, “out into the mist.” I know where the book starts and ends. After that, I let the characters take me through the events and plot twist. I add characters as I see they are needed. In one of my romantic suspense books, Shattered Rules, I was more than halfway through the book when I realized the person I thought was the villain was a red herring and another character became the bad guy.

If you use music while writing, name your favorite types.

I listen to all kinds of music, rock, classical, jazz, etc. I’ve even listened to the international news for a suspense book I was writing. For the Sierra Creek Series Her Country Heart Christmas Edition and His Country Heart, I played country western music as the books takes place in a small town in the foothills of California, with a strong cowboy and a determined woman.

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

Three of my favorite places for a vacation are San Francisco, Carmel by the Sea and Lake Tahoe, California. I’ve used these locations in several of my books, including two suspense and a western contemporary. It’s great to go online and check out cities, but nothing can compare with meeting the people of the area. I experience the food, weather, and atmosphere, things not available online. I’m looking for another place to visit–any ideas?

CarmelbytheSea

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

Often, I’m writing two books in different genres and I will switch to the other genre. When I’m really puzzled, I take a break and do something completely different, garden, cook, read, etc. If I have enough time, I’ll take my dogs out for a walk. I bring my phone/camera and take pics of whatever attracts me on that day. Usually an idea comes to me during the outing.

Are you a pet person? If so, what do you have?

I grew up with a dog and a cat. Now we live with two dogs, a pure bred and a rescue puppy who barks too much, but is very sweet. I’ve also raised a puppy for Guide Dogs for the Blind. She lived with us for over a year and then returned to guide a woman in Southern California. I’ve also volunteered as a foster care person for Guide Dogs for the Blind. I always wanted a horse, but it never happened. Still, I enjoyed researching quarter horses for my cowboy in Her Country Heart Christmas Edition.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

A review of one of my books said, “…a darn good read.” That’s what I hope for readers, to have a compelling read with characters they care about and are hard to forget. Whatever their mood, I want the reader to get lost in the story and come away with a sense of optimism.

HerCountryXmas_1011

BLURB

Crazy for cowboys? Want to fall in love?

Will Amy Long have a home for Christmas?

A single mother, she was downsized and then lost her apartment in the city. Hoping to find a fresh start, Amy returns to the small town of Sierra Creek. Does she fit in? Cowboy Wyatt Cameron knows she belongs in the city and he has the power to see she returns. Sparks fly when opposites attract.

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EXCERPT

“Sierra Creek,” the driver shouted as the Greyhound Bus came to an abrupt stop on the two lane highway.

Amy Long pushed her hair behind her ears and grabbed the worn suitcase. Surprised to see her hand tremble, she seized the case with both hands and rushed toward the front of the bus.

A gust of hot wind slapped her face as she stepped off the bus. Gravel pelted her bare legs when it drove away. She squinted and read a faded road sign, Sierra Creek population five thousand. There wasn’t a building in sight.

After years of living in the city, she’d forgotten how sweltering and desolate it was here. She’d vowed never to return home. Odd it was the first place that came to mind when she and her young son needed a fresh start.

With Granny gone, there was no family left to welcome her. She swallowed a sob. Maybe it was a mistake to come back.

The relentless afternoon sun beat down on her shoulders and her arms began to burn. San Francisco, the air-conditioned city, seemed a million miles away.

Impatient, she cleared her dry throat, wiped perspiration from her forehead, and let out a groan as the minutes ticked by. What wouldn’t she give for some shade and a bottle of ice water?

With a sigh, she pulled out her smart phone and checked the time. Thirty minutes since she’d arrived at the bus stop and not a single car had gone by. Where was the arranged ride into town?

Granny’s handyman was supposed to meet her. He obviously wasn’t a stickler about being on time. She reminded herself she was in the California foothills not in a busy metropolis where time was money.

The sound of a truck rumbled in the distance. With the back of her hand, she pushed her bangs out of her eyes and squinted. Hopeful, she watched the pick-up come closer. A shiny black Ford F 150 with extended cab pulled up in front of her.

“Amy?” A man yelled through the open window as his brown hair fell casually over a high forehead and deep-set blue eyes sparkled in the sunlight. She moved nearer and stared at his wide cheek bones, square jaw and full lips. About thirty?

A flutter of recognition stirred in her as palpable charm radiated from his broad smile, Wyatt Cameron.

His muscular arms flexed as his huge hands squeezed the steering wheel. “Don’t just stand there. Get in.”

Surprised by his gruffness, she stepped back.

“I heard you need a ride into town,” he said quietly as if he understood her reaction. “I’m Wyatt.”

“Hi, nice to see you again.” Even now her cheeks burned with the memory of him. She tightened the grip on the suitcase. As she stared her heartbeat increased and her breathing quickened. “Granny’s handyman is going to give me a ride.”

“You could say that’s me. Toss your suitcase in the back and get in the truck.”

She shook the pebbles from her flip flops and picked up her suitcase. Filled with everything she and her son might need, she grunted and struggled to lift the enormous bag high enough to push it into the raised truck bed.

Wyatt hopped out of the cab and brushed by her. With a sharp intake of breath, she took in his fresh just-out–of–the-shower scent.

Effortlessly, he tossed the bag into the truck.

She quickly hauled herself into the vehicle and slammed the door. “Nice pick-up. Beautiful upholstery,” she said trying for casual conversation. She ran her hand over the black and white leather seat.

“It’s custom. Had it done in Sacramento by a guy who specializes it tuck and roll car seats.”

“Really nice.”

Pretty fancy truck for handyman. The job must pay better than she’d thought. For some reason she’d believed Granny’s handyman would be an old retired guy gnarled from too much sun and hard work, not the hunk sitting next to her.

“Where’s your son? Thought he’d be with you.”

“He’s staying with a friend of mine in San Francisco. Bobby’s only four. I thought it’d be better if I took care of things here before he comes to the farm.” She paused. “It’s only been a few hours since I left and I already miss him.”

She sighed and leaned back. The purr of the truck’s engine soothed her and her breathing slowed.

“Thanks for giving me a ride. If you drop me at my grandmother’s farm I’ll change my clothes.”

“It’s too late for that. We can’t keep Judge Wilcox waiting.”

REVIEW COMMENT

“I’m HOOKED!!! …A seriously great book!! and I am so happy it is a series, because I am invested in what happens to Amy and Wyatt.

ReggiPhoto Smaller

An author of romantic suspense and contemporary romance novels including “The Sierra Creek Series,” where strong cowboys and determined women intersect. Reggi writes tales of love lost and then found and stories of heroes and heroines who discover love and wonder if they’ll live long enough to enjoy it. Her characters cope with longings and betrayals as each fight to discover a hidden strength.

At University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), she studied screen writing and creative writing and is a past chapter president of Romance Writers of America and current member of RWA.

It makes her day to hear from readers.

GIVEAWAY

Leave a comment for a chance to win a kindle eBook of my new novella With Glowing Hearts, a World War Two romance- Love can be found in unexpected places. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced at the end of the day.

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by author Linda Carroll-Bradd