Category Archives: Interview

Interview with Larry Farmer

Happy Wednesday and welcome to author Larry Farmer~

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

I grew up a baby boomer in rural Texas on a cotton farm. After high school, I went to Texas A&M where I earned two degrees. In between degrees I joined the Marines, hoping to go to Vietnam. After my stint I travelled around the world, looking for my head as we used to say. I work as a computer programmer as a career for Texas A&M University. I have three children and have been married twice.

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

I am an avid reader. Mostly non-fiction. I love history and politics. I am very into writing my novels. All this and my daily life keeps me busy.

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

They are based on my true-life experiences. Between my Texas background, Marine Corps and my travels around the world, plus romantic endeavors involved, I have much material to deal with.

What is the starting point for research—story concept or when you get stuck while writing?

Looking up the time and place and setting. Only to fill in the gaps in the story to not miss any details.

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

All of them.

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

Keep going and let it work its way through, even if I have to return to the story part where I got stuck.

Describe a normal writing day (or period, if you have other employment obligations).

To contemplate where I am in the story and how I want to deal with it and keep moving with it.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

Entertainment, but also I hope my storyline interests them and they get in the setting and circumstances. I want people to relate.

There was a new age. One called the Age of Aquarius with a restless, ideological generation in the spirit of Woodstock and a reverence for new worlds opening up to new ideas. When the Beatles presented a mystique of India into pop culture, the Hippie Trail derived where hip adventurers traveled overland from Europe to Kathmandu and India. Hunter was not among these hipsters. Still bitter over treatment as a Marine combat veteran from the Vietnam War, he nevertheless shared allure for the open road. While getting visas in Vienna he came across a Polish girl, Ewa. A Warsaw Pact girl whose politburo father got her unequal privileges she gladly abused to join Hunter on the trek to India to check out the new age together. Shared experiences and hardships bonded them. But Cold War politics made falling in love the worst hardship of all.

Amazon buy link

EXCERPT

By 1978, I wanted to go overland. Overland by way of what was called the Hippie Trail. India was the chic place to go anymore, if you were a true adventurer. I still hated hippies, but I did love this part about them. The free and open road way of life. The wanting to get out of the mold, away from the rat race, and see things and places you only read or heard about. The Marines got me started on that, structured as it was in a war zone called Vietnam, but I loved my generation’s open road spirit and wanted to do it too. To see these places first hand, and not as a part of a group tour package of five countries in three days.

I wanted to mingle with the crowds, the locals. To eat their food and put up with the hardships, to sleep in a ditch if I must, or in some sleazy hotel. To experience the joy and pure fun of staying in exotic place after exotic place.

The Hippie Trail began in Vienna. That’s why I was there. Vienna was the capital of Austria, which meant it had embassies where you could get the travel visas you needed for the Asian countries you passed through on the way to India. And Vienna was on the edge of Asia Minor where these Asian countries began.

It seemed fitting that it was my search on the internet for a Beatles song that reminded me indirectly of those days and my meeting Ewa. For it was the Beatles that introduced my generation to India. Not the historical India so much as the India of the new mystique.

WEB CONTACTS

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Guest Interview with Sorchia DuBois

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

I taught English in small schools and community colleges for about twenty-five years. Now I am an editor/customer service representative for a virtual education provider which allows me to work from home. I have a couple of grown kids and one delightful granddaughter who, unfortunately, lives for most of the year in Germany.

Writing is something I put off for far too long because I bought the ideas that you can’t make a living at it and anything you can’t make a living at isn’t worth doing. These things are both wrong. I’m never happier than when I have a story in progress—unless it’s when I’m promoting a finished book. This is what I wanted to do since I was a kid and I could kick myself for letting myself be influenced by naysayers.

What’s the logline that describes your writing?

Magic, Mystery, Romance, History, A little Whisky, and a Cat

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

While the idea of a plot may trigger my interest, it’s the characters that build the story for me.  The Zoraida Grey series, for instance, started with an idea for a character—and not even the main character. Zoraida’s granny was the instigator—and once you get to know Granny, you’ll see how this had to be the case. I wanted to write about a witchy lady who lives in the wilderness in Arkansas. Which led me to wonder why someone with those skills would be in Arkansas. Which led me to wonder about her family. Which led me to her granddaughter, Zoraida.

When I start thinking about characters, I need to know all about them. I have a list of questions and I use Tarot cards to get the answers. This takes me in strange directions, and this was how Zoraida went from Arkansas to a haunted castle in Scotland to the Yucatan jungle and back. The plot sprang from her and Granny’s family history.

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

The Zoraida Grey trilogy is an urban fantasy/adventure series. I’m currently working on a small-town mystery series—probably also a trilogy since that seems to be the way my so-called mind works. Working titles are All the Pretty Knives, Birds of a Feather, and Corked. I’ll always include bits of fantasy and magic realism to see how those elements work in other genres—anything speculative sounds like fun to me.

In what genre do you read?

I will read nearly anything including the backs of cereal boxes. I steer clear of gratuitous violence and while I have read erotica, I get a little bored unless the writer can think of new, um, angles. My favorites are psychological thrillers, mysteries, any kind of fantasy, and humor.

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

I’m a cat lady and proud of it. The current count is nine—mostly rescues. Everyone in the house is fixed, including the humans, and most of us have had our shots, too. I live in the country where the cats can roam as they want—no indoor litter box except in really bad weather when the divas in the pride refuse to wander far from the fireside. While I did not plan to have this many cats and am not seeking any more, I do enjoy their company.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

An author I admire named M.C. Beaton once responded to this question by saying, “I never wanted to be a literary writer. I wanted to be an entertainer. All I wanted was to give what a lot of writers had given me: a good time on a bad day.” While I would like to give literary writing a try one day, I have to agree with M.C. I write what I enjoy, and I hope that enjoyment translates to my readers. Bad jokes, quirky characters, and absurd situations make me laugh so I try to add those things to my books.

Blurb for Zoraida Grey Trilogy

How many Scottish witches does it take to destroy one small-town fortune teller?

The Zoraida Grey trilogy follows Zoraida from Arkansas to Scotland on a quest to retrieve a healing stone to save her granny’s life. But it seems Granny hasn’t told her everything. Soon Zoraida is smack dab in the middle of a witchy clan war and in danger of being ensorcelled by not one but two smoking hot witches. The truth of her own heritage is buried deep beneath Castle Logan. Trouble is the only one who strikes fear in the black hearts of the Logan witches has stepped in a steaming pile of Voodoo thousands of miles away in the Caribbean.

To save her granny and her best friend, Zoraida must choose between her old, safe life or a new one filled with magic and danger.

The task may be the end of her—or the beginning.

Start the adventure with Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones in which Zoraida discovers just what a mess Granny has let her in for. Continue the story in Zoraida Grey and the Voodoo Queen in which Zoraida journeys to the Yucatan Jungle to retrieve a Scottish wizard who turns out to be naked and painted blue. The trilogy ends in Zoraida Grey and the Pictish Runes as Zoraida returns to Castle Logan with vengeance on her mind.

Buy Links: (each book just 99 cents through Jan 22)

Stop by Sorchia’s Universe for more info or go straight to buy links at your favorite sites:

Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones: books2read.com/u/mKJkvZ

Zoraida Grey and the Voodoo Queen: books2read.com/ZoraidaGrey2

Zoraida Grey and the Pictish Runes: books2read.com/ZoraidaGrey3

Excerpt from Zoraida Grey and the Pictish Runes

Dinner guests at Castle Logan look like a traveling Halloween party in search of a human sacrifice. Why am I surprised? A few of them stare at the looming figure of Jock in the doorway, but the majority seem to be people not put off by a giant wizard and his feathery familiar in the foyer.

Castle Logan looks much as I remember it, but I’m changed in more than appearance. The place is as creepy as it ever was. Dark shadows lurk in the upper hallways, a cold mist flows along the floor, and the prickle of magic crawls across my skin like a dozen tiny spiders. The first time I walked into Castle Logan, I had a severe case of the heebie jeebies. Now, the weirdness feels homey. I’m glad to be back.

Normal rules don’t apply here. We’re going to sit down to dinner as if nothing monumental has happened. Our unexpected appearance is but one of many odd happenings in the last quarter hour alone.

Zhu materializes beside me and hands me a glass of wine. I marked her presence and apparent good health the first minute I walked into the castle. I’m glad to see her, and not just because of the wine, though that’s a nice plus.

“You took your sweet time,” she says, grinning like a drunken Cheshire cat. “This place is nothing like Arkansas.”

“You’re the one who wanted to see witches and real magic. I didn’t want to come back too soon and ruin your fun.” I breathe a silent sigh of relief. She’s safe and she’s not bewitched. The world is still right side up. “You look pretty chummy with all these folks. I had the idea you were being held hostage.”

As I lift the glass of wine to my lips, I notice a tall, blue-eyed man standing close to Zhu. If I didn’t know better, I would say he was her bodyguard. And if not for the large, dark Scotsman holding my hand, I would be giving this blond fellow a longer look. Instead, I raise my eyebrows at Zhu.

Zhu smiles sweetly and sips her wine. By this, I understand I am not the only one with a story to tell.

Snippet from Reviews

“This is a really fun magical adventure. It is light-hearted but has a serious, suspenseful edge to it as well. Zoraida is a great narrator for the tale and hearing everything from her point of view allows the author to surround her with characters who we are not really sure of their intentions.” LIAL at The Romance Reviews for Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones

~*~

“Zoraida’s inner narrative is a dazzling combination of humorous self-deprecation, sarcasm, and wit. It’s like Practical Magic, Charmed, and The Craft had a baby and named it ‘Zoraida Grey’.”  On My Kindle Review of Zoraida Grey and the Voodoo Queen

~*~

“So many secrets and surprises it keeps you guessing and wondering. You should definitely read this book-series!!” HG review of Zoraida Grey and the Pictish Runes

Sorchia Dubois is the pen name of a mysterious, retired English teacher who lives deep in the forest in a tall house with nine cats. Sorchia writes paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and small-town murder mysteries. She published her first book in 2018 at the ripe age of mumblety-seven and plans to publish at least ninety-nine more. Her latest accomplishment is to survive cancer, which was no fun, but served to broaden her perspective—that’s for sure. Currently, she’s working on All the Pretty Knives, the first in a new trilogy to be released 2021-22.

WEB CONTACTS

You can find Sorchia on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. You can also follow her at Amazon, Bookbub, and Goodreads. Check out the current sale on Sorchia’s website, Sorchia’s Universe, and sign up for my newsletter to get updates on new releases.

Guest Interview with Liz Flaherty

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

I’m retired from the post office and live with my husband and three cats in the cornfields of Central Indiana. I’ve written 20-some books and every time I think about retiring, I write another one

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

I get people first—always. Sometimes I end up with people hanging around just waiting for a story of their own

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

Other than a scene or two in England, where I’m still waiting not-so-patiently to go, I’ve been everywhere I’ve set a story. The towns themselves are always created, but with an actual place in mind. Fionnegan, the setting of Back to McGuffey’s, for example, has its roots in St. Johnsbury, Vermont.

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

It sounds almost like cheating, but if I’m stuck, I look up story prompts on the Internet. I may not end up using the prompt for much, but I can always find a starting point.

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

This release is the one that’s actually different. With one historical aberration, I’ve always written contemporary romance. Window Over the Sink is a compilation of essays chosen from the 30-year history of my column, “Window Over the Sink.”

In what genre do you read?

I read mostly women’s fiction these days, but also love to find a romance with “seasoned” protagonists or an Americana historical written with a voice like Cheryl Reavis’s or Cheryl St. John’s.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

I hope they feel as if they’ve been there—and that they enjoyed the trip.

BLURB:

It’s been nearly ten years since we retired. I’m still in the office Duane and the boys created for me. The seven quilts I promised to make have been completed. A few books. He has new knees and new guitars. We’ve had grief and loss in these years, occasional discontent, times of being alone even when we were together. We’ve also had a blessed amount of fun. Of music and laughter and family. Of the other side of being alone that comes of knowing we never really are.

Much has changed in those nine years and change, and much has stayed the same. At first, it seemed as if this book was a vanity thing. Or a thing for the grandkids to look at and think Okay, Nana, what do you want me to do with this? But in the end, like most other things in life that are worthwhile, it is a labor of love. A gathering of thoughts and dreams and memories.

Thanks for joining me on the journey.

Buy links: Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08Q5T2Y5S/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i2

For everywhere else D2D:

https://books2read.com/u/bw7NM0

EXCERPT:

My father-in-law was here this morning for a while. Seeing him, naturally enough, made me think about my mother-in-law, and miss her. And my mom—and miss her, too. I gave him a cup of coffee and thought about how many cups of coffee there had been at how many tables and then I thought of places that have been important to me.

In case you didn’t know it, this is how a writer’s mind works. Forget any idea of sense or linearity or neatly dovetailing thoughts—there aren’t any of those. A writer’s mind is a whole lot like the junk drawer at the end of the cabinet, full and messy.

But, yes, places. Starting with kitchen tables. My mother’s, where the homemade bread and sugar cookies cooled and she taught me to iron pillowcases. My sister’s, where no one was ever a stranger. My mother-in-law’s, where we sat while she cooked and gave the grandkids whatever they asked for. The tables from our 30s where girlfriends and I sat and shared coffee and confidences. Our kitchen island now, where we play Farkle and I write Christmas cards and make plans. Kitchen tables are so many things—pulpits, confessionals, meditation sites, places of both privacy and society. They are where we laugh and cry and make life-changing decisions. They are important.

Desks have been instrumental since the first day of first grade, when I learned the word “Look” and from there on couldn’t be stopped from reading every written page that crossed my path. It was at a desk where I learned to love American history although I never got good at it and where I had to stay through several recesses because of talking in class. It was where I was sitting when an editor first called and said, “I want to buy your book.”

Bleachers are way up there on my list. They are where I watched my kids grow up and learn things that might have been missed outside the arenas of sports, drama, and music. They’re where I had my first experience with civil disobedience back in high school. When I was 19, I sat in the bleachers at the softball diamond in Maconaquah Park and tried to figure out what I was going to do next.

Church. Obviously, it’s the accepted place to worship, but I believe you can worship anywhere. It’s also where people are married, baptized, dedicated, and eulogized. It’s where we have chili suppers, noodle suppers, sauerkraut suppers, and tenderloin suppers—and that’s just in September and October; there are plenty more to be had throughout the year. It’s where, if we’re lucky, party affiliations and grudges are left outside the open-to-all doors. It is, when all else fails, a safe place.

Norris Lake, Tennessee is important because our family in its entirety spent Thanksgiving weekend there a few years ago. It was one of the best times I’ve ever had—it’s also the last time we’ve all been in the same place at the same time. That could be bittersweet, but it’s not—it’s all sweet. Although it’s important not to live in the past, keeping good memories in a pocket inside your heart is just as important.

The Nickel Plate Trail. I don’t walk much these days, but it’s still my favorite place when I do. I’ve done a lot of plotting there, spent quality time with family and friends, and remembered what a gift nature is.

The school up the road is important if for no other reason than there have been family members in it ever since it was built. It’s where I have so many memory bank deposits I can’t begin to keep track of them all.

There are so many others. Favorite vacation places, the side yard where the deer graze and the birds dive-bomb each other and the sun slips quietly and beautifully into the horizon, places I’ve voted, music that has been so stirring it created places of its own.

The pleasure in important places is that you don’t have to go back to them to experience them. As faulty as memory becomes—and it does—happy times still live there. You may not be able to remember how to get back to the physical places that are important to you, but you’ll remember how you felt there. You’ll remember the perfect meal with 16 of you at the table and the day you were laughing so hard you were falling off the barstools in the kitchen and the taste of those sugar cookies that you’ve never once been able to emulate. And you’ll know those places—and times—were important. Capture the joy.

Review snippets:

… you’ll laugh and cry and feel good all over!” – Nan Reinhardt

“The book is a delight to read with vignettes that are like warm hugs.” – Patricia Bradley

BIO: Retired from the post office, Liz Flaherty spends non-writing time sewing, quilting, and wanting to travel. The author of 20-some books and her husband Duane share an old farmhouse in North Central Indiana that they talk about leaving. However, that would require clearing baseball trophies from the attic and dusting the pictures of the Magnificent Seven, their grandchildren, so they’ll probably stay where they are.

Liz can be reached at lizkflaherty@gmail.com or please come and see her at  her website, Facebook, and Twitter

Guest Interview with Pam Crooks

I’m happy to introduce a writing friend, Pam Crooks. We met while contributing stories to a couple of multi-author series–one is the newly launched “Bachelors & Babies” series.

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

I grew up in the ranch country of western Nebraska.  Cowboys and pickup trucks were everywhere, and though I was a city girl through and through, those cowboys were thrilling.  My husband and I had four daughters before we moved to Omaha, and it was here where I discovered a writer’s group, Romance Authors of the Heartland.  Without RWA, I wonder if I’d be published today.

I’ve been a writer forever. I (like many other readers) read Kathleen Woodiwiss’ The Flame and the Flower, and I was hooked.  Back then, we didn’t have computers, and I typed out my story on a Smith-Corona electric typewriter, which was a birthday gift from my husband.  I was in heaven!  Imagine my delight a few years later when my brother gave me his cast-off Apple computer.  Oh, my goodness.  No more correction tape or White-Out.  Now THAT was heaven!

It took me nine years to make my first sale to Leisure Books, but when I did, the sales kept coming.  After four books with them, I got picked up by Harlequin Historicals and wrote ten more.  By then, they were having some distribution troubles, and the self-publishing phenomena hit.  I jumped on the band wagon with a few more titles, and well, the rest is history.

In 2019, I released three titles, two self-pubbed historicals and one contemporary with Tule Publishing.  I have come to love multi-author groups like Bachelors and Babies!  TRACE is my 23rd book, and it’s been quite a joyride.

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

It’s a little bit of both.  I have to have a framework (doesn’t everyone?) with hero and heroine, their conflict and goals.  I love making them as opposite as I can since it makes the story writing easier (yeah, right).   But other than that, I am very much a pantster.  No matter how much I try to pre-plot, my brain goes in a different direction while I’m writing, and admittedly, a better one.

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

I do use music. It has to be instrumental, otherwise I’d sing along with the artist and that’d be a huge distraction. Ha!  Piano, flute, guitar, or harp are my favorites.  Top of the list, though, are Gregorian Chants.  So soothing.

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

My tip has to be my critique group and brainstorming verbally with them around my dining room table.  It’s that give and take, a lively and spirited discussion, that really gets my juices going.  After all these years, brainstorming is still my favorite part of writing.

Describe a normal writing day (or period, if you have other employment obligations).

I’m retired.  My brain can’t focus on writing until I get my daily slate cleared.  That means breakfast eaten, bed made, bathroom tidied, dog walked.  I have to finish email and some computer work, too.  By then, it’s usually late morning, and I finally get myself in front of the computer.  I stop for lunch with my husband and then take a brisk walk.  Inhaling deeply while I walk is miraculous and amazing.  I can then sit at my computer again and really focus.

I use a calendar to plot out my weekly page goals. I do a minimum of three pages a day, and if I don’t make the three pages one day, then the shortage gets tacked onto the next day.  Good incentive!

What’s your dream vacation destination?

Europe.  Specifically, Italy.  My grandparents immigrated from there, so the country’s influence has been a strong part of my childhood.  I hope to get there soon.  Fingers crossed!

Do you use visual aids (storyboards, Pinterest, collages) when plotting or writing?

I am VERY visual.  Pinterest is my salvation.  Very inspiring and just plain helpful.  And like I mentioned above, I need to see how many pages I’m accomplishing, too.  Writing them down on paper makes me feel like I’m actually accomplishing something.

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

I wouldn’t call myself a pet person, but when my husband and I retired (a few months apart), I wanted a puppy to give a layer of purpose to our days.  We got a purebred Golden Retriever named Louie.  He lights up our days, keeps us walking, gives us something to talk about and take care of, and he is just a joy.  (Notice I didn’t say I enjoy the dog hair, cleaning up the backyard or his barking, but oh, well.)  I wouldn’t say the puppy stage is easy, but he’s almost three years old now and mellowing. Very smart and very sweet.  I can’t imagine my life without him!

BLURB

Trace McQuade has lost everything–his ranch, his brother, and the woman he wanted to marry. When his quest for justice fails, he leaves Texas to head north, but he never expects to gain an outlaw’s baby along the way.

Morgana Goldwater needs to be needed. After she endured a terrible tragedy, she lives in a narrow, protected world. When Trace needs help caring for the baby girl, she is quick to take them both into her heart and into her life.

But their troubles return, and Trace and Morgana must face their past to keep loving the little girl–and each other–in their future.

SNIPPET FROM REVIEW

5 stars–“Awesome book. I couldn’t put it down till I finished it. Now I have to wait another month for the next one to come out… great job, Pam.”

BUY LINK

Amazon  (free in Kindle Unlimited)

EXCERPT

If the basket held a tangle of rattlesnakes, Trace couldn’t have been more apprehensive looking inside.

Sure enough, there was a baby lying there, sleeping, with one miniature fist curled next to her cheek. She wasn’t much more than four or five months old. She had more hair than most, at least from other babies Trace had seen. Dark, with ends that curled over her ears and temple.

Slick-Shot had curly hair, too.

The knowledge churned inside Trace. Cruel twist of fate the man’s bastard daughter had been forced upon him. Wasn’t it enough the outlaw had stolen the woman Trace once loved, and worse, shot and killed Robbie? Who wouldn’t be angry over it? Who wouldn’t try to refuse?

Trace wallowed in a thick pool of righteous indignation, for sure, but the longer he stood there, the harder it got to pull his stare off the infant. He couldn’t see much of Emma in her, but that part might come out later. Too early to tell what kind of woman she’d be, too. If she’d have her father’s inclination for crime or if she’d take on a more lawful frame of mind.

Regardless, the baby was innocent of her father’s murdering ways and Emma’s poor decision-making. A miniature human being that, through no choice of her own, now depended wholly and completely on a stranger—on Trace—for survival.

He blew out a breath from the immensity of it.

But he’d not be beholden to this child just because Emma wanted him to be. Trace had plans, Nebraska plans, and none of them included taking care of an outlaw’s baby.

He just had to get through tonight, that’s all.

Tomorrow, he’d make arrangements. Whatever he needed to do for the baby’s best interests—and his own.

His mood lifted. Careful not to jar the child into waking, he cradled the basket and knapsack in his arm and entered the cabin, easing the door into a quiet latch behind him. He managed to set the basket onto his bed with little more than a faint stirring from the baby, then went for the knapsack, hoping its contents would make caring for a child easy and quick.

Not surprisingly, the bag yielded several sleeping gowns, diapers, a can of condensed milk, a contraption for a feeding bottle and a letter.

Taking it, he ripped open the envelope, unfolded the paper and read the feminine handwriting:

Trace,

You took care of me once, now I’m asking you to take care of my daughter. Her name is Harriett, and she was born on January 28, 1881.

There’s no one I trust more than you.

Emma

Trace’s lip curled. She might as well be standing right beside him, speaking the words in her Texas drawl. It was just like her to expect such a thing from him, too, taking on the care of her daughter as if the girl was a geranium in a pot, needing only watering now and then. Trace could imagine her lashes fluttering, her smile coy, cajoling his promise to do what she wanted. As if he had nothing else to do with his life.

Until he remembered how she’d suffered because of him. A physical pain that would’ve paled compared to the knowledge she wouldn’t live to see her baby daughter grow up. The prospect of leaving her behind, of forcing her into the care of a stranger, well, hell. Trace couldn’t think of anything worse.

Emotion welled up in his chest. He owed Emma, for sure. He’d take care of Harriett as long as he could. Until he found someone better capable and more deserving.

Emma trusted him to do at least that.

A whimper intruded into his thoughts. He tossed the letter aside and strode back to the wicker basket. Seeing him, Harriett suddenly quieted. Her dark eyes fastened onto him and rounded.

Then, her little face scrunched, turned red, and she filled her lungs with a howl that reached to the rafters. The girl must’ve known Trace wasn’t familiar. Might be she was even afraid, and Trace scooped her up and put her to his shoulder to offer some comfort.

A wet diaper soaked into Trace’s shirt. Grimacing, he rummaged one-handed through the pillowcase stuffed at the foot of the basket for something dry to put between them, only to discover it held more diapers, just as wet and soiled with who knew what else, carrying a godawful smell that nearly felled him to his knees.

Trace stuffed it closed again and bolted toward fresher air. The howling grew to a fevered, shrieking pitch, and no matter how he patted and soothed and bounced, no matter how hard he tried to think of the best thing to do, he had no choice but to accept the cold, hard truth.

It was going to be a very long night.

While expecting her first child (more years back than she cares to count), Pam Crooks read her very first romance novel, and she’s been in love with them ever since. She grew up in the ranch country of western Nebraska, and it was inevitable she’d eventually write lots of books about cowboys. Pam still lives in Nebraska with her husband (who is not a cowboy), four married daughters and a whole slew of perfect grandchildren.

She’s a long-time member of RWA and RAH, her local chapter. Pam is also one of the founders of Petticoats & Pistols, a popular blogsite for western romance.  She loves to cook, hang out at her lake cabin, and decorate birthday cakes for anyone who will let her.

WEB CONTACTS

To see more books Pam has written, visit www.pamcrooks.com

Or visit her author page on Amazon 

Or check out her page on Bookbub

Website
Facebook
www.facebook.com/pamcrooksauthor
Instagram – @pamcrooks
Twitter @pamcrooks

Guest Interview with Jean Adams

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

Although I was born in England, I have lived in New Zealand for more than thirty years. I developed an interest in writing romance and founded Romance Writers of New Zealand, which has now been going for more than 21 years.

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

I usually begin with a plot and build the characters into it. However, on one occasion I had a secondary character who I felt deserved her own book, so I built a plot around her. That book turned out to be one of my personal favorites.

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

When creating a book, I prefer not to plot in advance. I’ll never write a detailed outline. I tried it once but it was as though the story had already been written, and I never finished it. What I prefer to do is think about the plot for a few days, let it play around in my head, then write a bullet list of things that I want to happen in the scene. Nothing much, just a word or two. That way I don’t forget anything, and if necessary, it’s very easy to adjust the story as I write.

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

I’m not so keen on revision. I’m doing that right now with a story, and it’s a real pain because half the story has had to change.  However, I love editing. I enjoy taking a raw, unedited story, expanding on it and making it better by using different phrases, words, etc.

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

Yes, I’ve been to Egypt, Greece and the United States.

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

If I’m still stuck after a week, I call my friend and we have a brainstorming session. It’s a funny thing because after I’ve written down all possible scenarios, when I get home the ideal answer just pops into my head. A sign the little gray cells are still activated, I suppose.

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

Yes, I’ve written a time travel novel and am working on an historical trilogy set in ancient Egypt. I’ve also tackled a few erotica.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

I hope readers will enjoy this heart warming story of courage at the holidays, and share a tear or two. Other than that, I hope they find them entertaining.

 

BLURB

Devon Alexander intends to hide away this Christmas. Forget the terrible memories of the last holiday. She couldn’t bear to relive the past. Until she finds a Christmas angel looking for a new mommy.

Chase Kennedy’s little daughter has run away from home and he’s frantic with worry. When he gets a call saying his daughter has been found, he goes to collect her and meets the most beautiful woman he’s ever met.

Can little Sara bring a touch of magic to both their lives?

BUY LINK for 99 cents

Amazon   

EXCERPT

“I just wanted you to know so you’re sure you’re not releasing Sara into the care of an ogre whose daughter runs away from him every chance she gets.”

She laughed. Such a pretty laugh that went straight to his gut. And his nether regions. Holy cow! It had been a long time since that happened.

“I’d hardly think that, Mr. — Chase.”

Better think about going. “Good. Well, thanks for the coffee, and thanks for taking such good care of Sara. We’d better get out of your hair now. Let you get ready.”

”Get ready for what?”

He looked around the festive-free room. Although it was warm and tastefully furnished, the fact that there was no sign it was Christmas intrigued him. Come to think of it, there were only a couple of what he took to be family photographs on the dresser. “I see no sign of any decorations, so I assumed you’re going away for the holidays.”

“I’m not going anywhere. I’m staying right here, quietly hibernating ‘til it’s all over. I’ve got a pile of good books to keep me busy for days.”

He frowned. Hell’s teeth. Even his single friends had a card or two. “Not a fan of Christmas, huh?”

She shifted her feet. “You could say that.”

This was puzzling. “What do you do, Devon?”

“I’m in advertising.”

He winced playfully. “Ah, that would explain it. You guys have probably been preparing for months so that when the time actually rolls around you’re sick of the sight of it.”

Devon sighed. That wasn’t the reason, but it would suffice. She didn’t want to go into her past to a perfect stranger. Or delve into her guilt.

He got up and walked to the armchair where Sara was soundly sleeping, and bent to kiss her forehead. “Sara. Sweetheart,” he said quietly. “Time we were leaving.”

Sara stirred.

“Come on, Pumpkin. Time to let Devon have her life back.”

Life? What life?

Sara mumbled and slowly opened her eyes. “Daddy!” Instantly awake, she threw her arms excitedly around his neck and hugged him, a big grin spread across her face.

“Come on, sweetheart. Let’s go and leave Devon in peace.”

In peace. Did she deserve peace? These two had brought a little magic into her life and now she was loath to let it go. She wanted to cling to it. But why? She didn’t even know them.

“But, Daddy. She’s my new mommy.”

If only. She’d have liked kids. A daughter especially.  Devon blinked furiously. Her teeth caught her bottom lip and she looked away.

“No, she isn’t, Pumpkin. You must have been dreaming.” He looked up at Devon. “Sorry about that,” he said awkwardly, and rubbed the back of his neck.

Her gaze on Sara, Devon managed to disguise her watery eyes. “No need to apologize. She’s just a little confused.”

“But, Daddy. She needs us.”

He smiled into his daughter’s face. “Really? And why’s that?”

Sara made a bad job of trying to whisper in his ear. “‘Cause she hasn’t got any Christmas.”

“My daughter. The consummate diplomat.” He got down on his knees. “Come on, put your coat on. It’s cold out there.” There was a brief pause while Sara slipped one arm into one sleeve, then the other. He buttoned it up, then glanced at Devon and shook his head. His voice dropped to a whisper to match his little daughter’s. “Maybe she doesn’t want any. Scarf.” He held it out to her and waited while Sara wound it around her neck.

“She can share ours. We’ve got heaps.”

When he answered, amusement sounded in his voice. “She might not want to.”

Devon grabbed up her coffee mug and took a drink. It was cold. She knew he was doing his best to be diplomatic, but best laid plans.

“Why?”

“Not everyone likes Christmas as much as we do,” he said with a patient smile.

“Why?” His inquisitive daughter seemed determined to get the best of the argument.

And the way the two of them were looking into each other’s eyes so earnestly, tugged at her heartstrings. She busied herself tidying the occasional table.

“Well…because…” He looked up suddenly. “Help me out here, Devon.”

“It might be a very sad time for them. Makes them remember sad things.” The words were out before she could stop them. Help. She hadn’t meant to blurt that out. Likewise, neither could she stop a tear escaping.

Chase caught her gesture just as she swiped a tear from her cheek. From the look in his eyes, it was as though he knew she was hiding her anguish. “That’s enough questions for one day. Let’s go.”

“But, Daddy!”

He eased to his feet. “Listen to me, sweetheart. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and Daddy has only one day left to write to Santa so he can bring your present in time. You’re only getting one this year, remember? So be sure you know what you really want.”

A big grin spread across her face. “Devon!”

Chase laughed. “You can’t give people as presents.”

“Why?”

He pulled a face. “Questions. Always unanswerable questions. Because it’s not a very nice thing to do.”

“Just this once, Daddy. Pleeeease.”

Devon swallowed at the closeness of these two. At the little girl’s words, realizing she had a lump in her throat the size of Texas when she saw her eyes gaze pleadingly into her father’s.

Embarrassment was written all over his face when he stood up. “Once again, I can only apologize.”

She hid a brief smile behind her hand. “No apology needed. That was a very generous thing she said. I’m honored.”

“She’s like that. I’m very proud of her. And now, we’d better get out of here before she tries to twist me round her little finger, like always.”

A Touch of Magic is also included in Christmas Tidings, an anthology of four holiday stories by four authors.

Other titles include:

A Viking for Christmas by Cynthia Breeding

Santa’s Own Angel by Annette Louise

The Christmas Shop by Cynthia Owens

BUY LINK

Amazon for $1.99

 

Guest Interview with Susan Peters-Davis

Hello Linda, thanks so much for having me as a guest at your place. I’m excited to be here and look forward to answering anyone’s questions, if any of your visitors care to leave a comment.

I’d also like to offer a $10 Amazon GC as a giveaway – to enter please leave a comment telling me what your favorite supernatural/paranormal character is and why. Please also include your email address so that I may contact you if you are the lucky winner of the drawing:) Drawing will happen on Sunday, November 18th at 7:00 PM:0)

What’s the logline that describes your writing?

SPD – A mixed, not stirred, blend of supernatural, crime, suspense, paranormal romance, some with a diverse edge and others with a sublime impactful subject awareness.

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

SPD – I start with my main character sketches (including villain), and then I brainstorm with another author friend, the story plot using a three-act system of incidents/events, laid out as screen writer Sid Fields teaches. At this point, I add the secondary and extra character sketches as they crop up within the story.

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

SPD – I listen to African Tapestries, Hennie Bekker, he also has different ambient music I like. Or, I listen to piano music (like Jim Brickman and many others). I love music without words – Yanni too:)

What is the starting point for research—story concept or when you get stuck while writing?

 SPD – Excellent question – I used to get caught up in research until I had a collection of superb information, but no where for it to actually fit into the story. Needless to say, a huge waste of my time and delayed my actual writing of the story. So, now, as I’m writing the story, I’ll make a comment/notation within the story that shows I need to research on that one subject. So much easier to do that way…after the book is in a first or second draft;)

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

I have been to most of my locations, otherwise, I use google satellite imagery and research. I do like being first-hand familiar with my locations:) Living in Michigan all of my life, a lot of my books take place there.

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

 SPD – There are a couple of things I do: first, I’ll reread what I’ve actually written, and now I keep a timeline of each chapter (which helps make sure I’m keeping on track without any repetition). Then I’ll go back to my plot points. Usually, when I’m stuck, it’s because my plot points have changed and I need to realign or update them.

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

SPD – I use another pseudonym, DK Davis, for actually the same type of genre for Young Adult/New Adult.

Peters-Davis-Malevolent-111418

TAGLINE  

Trafficked girls marked to lose their souls by a malevolent supernatural entity require someone with explicit abilities for their rescue. Will Kendra be able to save them?

BLURB for Malevolent, a Kendra Sparks novel

Kendra Spark, suspense-mystery writer and communicator with the dead, signs on to the next FBI Special Task Force case, trafficked girls that are marked to lose their souls.

Jenna Powers, ghostified criminal analyst, sticks close to the case as she and Kendra are also marked by the same malevolent supernatural force.

Derek Knight, lead FBI Agent on this case, learns of the malevolent entity and the deeper paranormal realm of danger.

Kendra’s unfiltered feelings for Derek struggle to take a backseat, and as the menacing threat grows more intense, so does her passion for Derek.

Derek faces uncertainties he’s never dealt with in his past, like malicious entities and the loss of his heart to love. How can he protect Kendra against forces he can’t see?

As boundless supernatural danger intertwines with the future reality of the trafficked teens, Kendra and Jenna realize only they can shoulder the rescue by calling in a voodoo priestess…

BUY LINKS

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KOKO

Scribed

Smashwords

Indigo

EXCERPT

We left in silence, and during the whole drive to Derek’s place, neither of us said a word.

As soon as we drove into his driveway and parked near his garage, outside lights popped on, streaming through the window and shining across Derek’s face. He turned to me and said, “So what did you not tell Jackson?”

“You gotta hand it to him, our Derek is a pretty receptive dude.” Jenna snickered from the backseat.

“I didn’t tell him about Buster, the malevolent spirit from the hotel. He’s also known as a soul-sucker.”

“What does that mean?” Derek’s back went rigid straight.

“It means those girls don’t know anything about their abuse because their souls are no longer inside their bodies. The soul-sucker absorbs them as his energy source.” There was no way I would tell him females were his favorite meal, or young girls were like a euphoric dessert. “Bertellia’s prostitutes’ souls have taken up residence inside the empty bodies of the teen girls. They are using them like a vessel.”

Derek’s eyes widened to the size of half-dollars. “Are you saying prostitutes live inside those kids?”

“Exactly.”

Derek climbed out of the SUV, and so did I. He went to the back and hauled out my luggage.

“I’m having a hard time wrapping my brain around this, Kendra,” Derek stated. “It sounds like something only a fiction writer would come up with as an explanation.”

Wow, what a blow, as if he stabbed a sharp blade directly into my heart and twisted it a million ways at once. Heat blasted across my face and scurried down my neck. Maybe I shared too much, too soon. I didn’t need him doubting me, nor did I need the hurt and frustration sweeping through me right now.

“How does this guy take their souls?” He stared at me, his startling blues went stormy. “Are you telling me this thing we dealt with inside the hotel room could have taken your soul? Or Jenna’s?” He hissed an exaggerated breath, dropping his gaze to the ground and shaking his head.

“Wow, keep it coming, Derek.” Jenna stepped next to me, punching her fists at him like a boxer on steroids. “Now what are you going to tell him? Hopefully, the truth. That both of our souls are marked by that soul-stealing freak for his consumption.”

That wasn’t what I would share with Derek, considering his acknowledgment of what actually happened in the hotel room. He had some understanding of the danger.

“So, what can stop it?” Derek spoke through clenched teeth, bringing me back to his previous questions. He was already overprotective, but what could he possibly do to protect us from Buster?

How would I respond? Clueless as to the extent of Buster’s abilities, but I was sure about what Grandma Ellie said, he could steal Jenna’s and my soul. Plus, a strong intuitive feeling told me in order to destroy that beast we would have to get up-close and personal with it.

“I’m sure I’ll find answers in Grandma Ellie’s journal. It’s the research I told you I still needed to do. I’ll require specific supplies and chants, and maybe someone else’s help.” Someone that knew about malevolent spirits and what it took to destroy them because right now I hung totally out of my realm. I needed to find Buster’s vulnerability, his number one weakness, his achilleas heel.

“All this supply stuff and chanting, that sounds like pagan lore. Are you a witch, Kendra?” He rolled his shoulders and his furrowed gaze melded into mine.

“I like to think of myself as a spiritualist.”

REVIEW COMMENTS

5 stars “Thrilling ride into the world of spirits.”
S. Peters-Davis takes us proficiently into the world of malevolent soul-sucking spirits. Woven well into the world of the FBI and police investigations we are taken on a whirlwind ride into the unknown.

5 Star – S. Peters Davis does a great job of layering the suspense, keeping track of her characters and developing the romance between Kendra and Derek as dark entities threaten their world.  Edge-of-your-seat action makes this a fast-paced read.

SusanHeadShot_for 111418

S.Peters-Davis writes multi-genre stories, but loves penning a good page-turning suspense-thriller, especially when it’s a ghost story and a romance. When she’s not writing, editing, or reading, she’s hiking, RV’ing, fishing, playing with grandchildren, or enjoying time with her favorite muse (her husband) in Southwest Michigan.

As DK Davis, she also writes YA and NA paranormal, supernatural novels that involve diverse and mature subject matter.

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A Video Interview

Entertainers of the West-7 titlesI had the great fun of being interviewed for the Write Now! podcast hosted by Kitty Bucholtz. The topic was my 7-title series, Entertainers of the West, written within Debra Holland’s Montana Sky Kindle World. I talked about how I first got involved and then a bit about how I picked the plots.

Kitty also did an interview with Debra who shared about the process of how the kindle world came into being.

Both interviews are about 30 minutes in length.

Here is Debra’s, the first one:
And here is mine, the one that came out today:

 

Two more authors, Kristy Phillips and Louella Nelson, are scheduled to be interviewed in subsequent weeks.

The interview can also be found on youtube by looking up Write Now! Workshop.

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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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

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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.

WEB CONTACTS

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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.

BUY LINKS

Amazon

Amazon UK

Amazon CAN

Amazon AU

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.

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