Category Archives: Interview

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

Publisher

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

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.

WEB CONTACTS

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Books We Love page

Goodreads

Linked In

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

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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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.

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.

Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment.

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Guest Author Interview–Diana Rubino

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

My passion for history and travel has taken me to every locale of my books, and short stories, set in Medieval and Renaissance England, Egypt, the Mediterranean, colonial Virginia, New England, and New York. My urban fantasy romance, Fakin’ It, won a Top Pick award from Romantic Times. I’m a member of Romance Writers of America, the Richard III Society and the Aaron Burr Association. I live on Cape Cod with my husband Chris.

What’s the logline that describes your writing?

Get lost on journeys through history and meet folks who shook things up.

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

I bicycle, golf, work out, walk, play my piano, am very much into the paranormal, and devour books of any genre.

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

Since I started writing bio novels with no fictional characters, I start with the characters—I read about their journeys and accomplishments, and stick as close to possible to the historical record.

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

I’m a strict outliner and plotter—I use Donald Maass’s WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL workbook and use dozens of questionnaires.

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

Yes, all of them—I also love Austria and Mozart, which I’ve never written about, and that’s on my list, too.

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

How ‘wordy’ the piece can get—I have some really good proofreaders who pare it down and trim it ʼtil it’s lean and mean!

In what genre do you read?

I read all genres but my favorites are biographies and books about the unexplained, especially ghosts. Astronomy books also fascinate me.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

I hope they’ll forget their problems for a while, and escape into a world where life was simpler, yet much harder.

AroundTheWorldIn80Meals

BLURB 

Around the World in 80 Meals: The Best of Cruise Ship Cuisine weaves gastronomic delights around an exotic seven-day dream fantasy cruise. Imagine waking up on a different ship in a new port of call every day, and treating your taste buds to a gourmet meal every evening, each carefully prepared by one of the best chefs afloat.

This book highlights the most interesting menus and recipes of a diversity of cruise lines, from the luxurious Cunard Line, famed for its opulent ocean liners, to a small but highly exclusive line of yachts that offer the most personalized cruise experience.

Amazon buy link

Sample from a Cruise Menu:

THE PRESIDENT’S DINNER

President Ford’s Smoked Norwegian Salmon Terrine with Red Salmon Caviar Sauce

This appetizer was one of the more sophisticated first courses created for President Ford. He always came to the table with a healthy appetite after swimming in the White House outdoor pool, rain or shine.

Smoked Norwegian Salmon Terrine 

Ingredients (6 servings)

1 pound sliced smoked Norwegian salmon

2 cups cream cheese

¼ cup cream

1 tablespoon lemon zest

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/3 cup fresh dill, finely chopped

2 tablespoons capers

fresh ground black pepper

Instructions

Place cream cheese, cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, dill and capers in a food processor. Season to taste with pepper and combine.

Butter a 6 cup terrine pan. Line base and sides with plastic wrap overhanging two inches at ends.

Layer enough smoked salmon to cover bottom of pan. Layer 1/3  cup cream cheese mixture equally over salmon. Repeat layering process until all the salmon is used. The top layer should be salmon.

Fold plastic wrap over salmon, pressing down gently. Refrigerate overnight.

Before serving, turn onto a platter and remove wrap. Trim ends and cut into slices. Drizzle with red salmon caviar sauce (recipe follows). Serve.

Red Salmon Caviar Sauce

Ingredients

1 cup sour cream

8 ounces crème fraiche

½ cup mayonnaise

4 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped

1 pinch white pepper

3½ ounces red salmon caviar

Instructions

Combine sour cream, creme fraiche, mayonnaise, dill, and white pepper in a bowl. Stir well.

Carefully mix in caviar. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.

Drizzle over salmon terrine (recipe above).

BIO

Diana’s passion for history and travel has taken her to every locale of her stories, set in Medieval and Renaissance England, Egypt, the Mediterranean, colonial Virginia, New England, and New York. Her urban fantasy romance, Fakin’ It, won a Top Pick award from Romantic Times. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Richard III Society and the Aaron Burr Association. She lives on Cape Cod with her husband Chris. Together they own CostPro, Inc., an engineering business. In her spare time, Diana bicycles, golfs, plays her piano and devours books of any genre.

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Guest Interview of Rolynn Anderson

I’m enjoying my new brand!  Nope, I didn’t get a tattoo and no cowboy sizzled my skin with his logo.  I’m talking about my new author signature: a suspense writer who spikes her novels with romance and exotic settings.  Call me an inexpensive travel agent, if you want to.  With my novels, I promise you exciting adventures in a new locale, every time.

cattle-branding-Aug 25

It took a friend to point out the obvious.  My characters and I enjoy adventures in far-away places with people and cultures that challenge our sensibilities.  Mix in mystery, danger, and romance.  Watch the intensity spike!

LAST RESORT, my first novel, published by Wild Rose Press in 2011, began my ‘trend’ by taking the reader to an isolated fishing resort in British Columbia, Canada.

house on lake-Aug 25

My three-book series (FADEOUT, FAINT, and SWOON), about a boutique funeral planner whose dead clients refuse to rest in peace, is set in Arroyo Grande, California, which was foreign to me when I first arrived from Washington State in 2001.  FEAR LAND’s adventures focus on San Luis Obispo, California, a sure bet for tourist fun.

Watch how far and wide I travel in my next novels:

LIE CATCHERS: Petersburg, Alaska, settled by natives first, and lots of Norwegians later

BAD LIES: Italy (Rome and the Amalfi Coast)

pont-du-gard-Aug 25

CÉZANNE’S GHOST: Aix-en-Provence, France

FIRE IS NICE (coming soon): Sequoia National Park

sequoia-Aug 25

You see, when characters are out of their comfort zone, away from home and the homey, the suspense ramps up.  Soon we discover how resilient, flexible and confident we are, when faced with unfamiliar territory.

All this provides a juicy, boiling, embroiling stew stirred up by a writer like me.

How about you?  Do you enjoy/use unusual settings to challenge characters (and readers)?  Please comment for a chance to win a free e-version of CÉZANNE’S GHOST.  From those of you who respond to the question between today and Friday at 6AM, I’ll pick one winner at random.

I hope you’ll celebrate with me, the release of CÉZANNE’S GHOST, climbing aboard for a wild, suspense-filled ride in exotic Aix-en-Provence, France.

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BLURB  Three young American women vanish in Aix-en-Provence, France. The FBI suspects their American tour guide.

Leon Beaudet, formerly a U.S. Olympic wrestler, is proud of his five-star guide business, but when tourists disappear on his watch, the FBI dredges up a violent episode in Leon’s past and tap him for the crime. Worse, his new tour group includes Aline Kerig, who is as beautiful and carefree as the three missing women. Leon is fascinated and puzzled by Aline even while he fears for her safety. She refuses to go back to the States, forcing the FBI and local police to involve her in the hunt.

With the French tourist industry about to collapse and Leon as a prime suspect, how does he protect Aline and find his lost tourists?

E-book & print on Amazon:  http://a.co/bQdl7jp

rolynn color 1.5mb

Scandinavian, Army Brat, English Teacher, High School Principal, Golfer, Boater, World Traveler, Author. With her experiences, Rolynn Anderson is fairly bursting with stories about extraordinary people and amazing settings, real and contrived. Now add her competitive nature and her love of ‘the makeover.’ As a principal, she and the staff she hired, opened a cutting-edge high school; as co-captain with her husband on INTREPID, she cruises from Washington State to Alaska and back. As a writer, she delights in creating imperfect characters faced with extraordinary, transforming challenges. Her hope: You’ll devour her ‘makeover’ suspense novels in the wee hours of the morning, because her stories, settings and characters, capture your imagination and your heart.

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Guest Interview–Gemma Snow

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

Hi! Thanks so much for having me on the blog today! I guess I can say I’ve always been a writer, since I’ve been telling stories my whole life. I come from a family of artists and the support I needed to turn a passion into a career always kept me on the track towards authorhood. I studied journalism in college, and that’s been an incredible asset to me as a fiction writer. I also lived in a castle for several months, which I consider equally as important.

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

 So I’m actually an automotive journalist, which is a world away from romance in many ways, but similar too. Most of the things I love, love stories, classic cars, baking, art history, travel, share a certain theme, a celebration of the world and beauty and romance over the years, albeit in unique and different ways. I’m also very active, a die-hard yogi, a hiker and an amateur runner. #Ravenclaw #Feminist

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

 It’s actually funny, because it’s been so long that I’ve started from scratch, I really couldn’t tell you. I love writing series and worlds for my books. In the Triple Diamond series, I have whole other offshoots of characters that I know I could play with once the first four books are finished. Seduction en Pointe is a series, as are both of my WIP and coming releases for my other pen name. Because writing isn’t always a linear process, I tend to know the characters and overall action of books two, three and four while writing book one.

Is your writing planned or freestyle?

 I am one ball of yarn away from full-on, recently fired FBI agent with a cold case and a hunch. The bulletin board up right now is a six book series, including all the characters, excerpts, images and folders for books I haven’t even outlined yet. I have the rest of Triple Diamond planned out and already know how Full Swing is going to go. I think a lot of that is the world building that goes into a series, and a lot of that is just because I’d lose my mind if I didn’t.

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

 This is a great question! When I first started with Triple Diamond I’d never even flown over Montana, so the process for staging a whole full-length series there included a crash course in ranch life and Montana as a state, which was fun and challenging. Several of my books have been very heavily influenced by location, though. Seduction en Pointe is Paris, which I visited a few years ago and currently long for, haha. I’d say the biggest one is a book set in Amsterdam, heavily centered around the Rijksmuseum. I studied art history in Amsterdam and I couldn’t have had more fun writing those scenes.

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

 I’m a Pinterest nut. Honestly, it’s a ton of fun to look for character inspiration, so I have a bunch of secret boards of really attractive people. But the Triple Diamond series, for instance is full of images of ranches and mountain ranges. Since it’s a seasonal series, The Lovin’ is Easy is summer and my current WIP is fall, I get to go exploring for the feel and look of each new season. It’s such a fundamental part of my planning process that my boyfriend just rolls his eyes when he sees my screen filled with half-naked cowboys or pirates.

What resources do you use for picking character names?

 Names are tricky for me. Like titles, they’re either set in stone from the very beginning or close to the last thing I figure out. The historical books are definitely harder—they named all their boys after kings and all their girls after kings, but with an a at the end. For modern books though, it’s more about how the hero and heroines names sound together, or if they’re a team, how they’ll sound in a group. I also think about nicknames and how they might refer to each other, as well as name origin, so sites like BehindtheName.com have been incredible. I’d say one of my biggest challenges is in my current book, because Micah’s Native American, and I wanted to follow the specific naming customs for his heritage, but they weren’t easy to find. Suffice to say I’ve learned a lot.

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

I love animals. Right now, we have a big white and brown mutt named Houdini. We got him around Passover when he was still a baby, and my folks were dead set on naming him Moses. The great joke I’ll ever make in my life was that we named him after another famous Jew who escaped… And then there’s Vinnie, who we named for Vincent Van Gogh, because he’s white and ginger and had a small part of his ear missing. He’s the most loving cat I’ve ever met, except he’s now figured out that I’m watching the screen on my computer and not the keyboard, so he’ll just stand in front of it until I pay attention to him.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

 I mean, I love the idea of a reader using one of my books for escape, during all the madness of our current world. Romance has been an escape for me during many challenges in life, and it would be a real honor if I could help even one reader through their own or the world’s obstacles. I’m also pushing for inclusivity of all types in my books, regarding race, sexuality, age, relationship type, physical and mental capabilities and more. It’s really fundamental to my ideology that feminism isn’t feminism unless it’s intersectional, and I hope my writing reflects that.

 

New Release! (3)BLURB

When successful TV star of the Queen Anne’s Revenge, Nicco Castillo, finds his boyfriend in bed with another man, he goes full-on Hollywood trainwreck that lands him in ER. Next thing he knows, the producers are shipping him off to Paris to shape up and learn to dance for the next season’s story arc. But his incredibly tempting Parisian ballet instructor, Isabelle La Croix, makes that all too difficult, especially when he learns about her decadent desires–desires Nicco is all too pleased to indulge in. Against the ballet barre, the balcon railing, and wherever and for however long Isabelle is willing to have him.

BUY LINKS

Loose ID

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Google

KOBO

EXCERPT

“What is it you’re reading?” he asked, thickening his Spanish accent. As long as he’d been chasing lovers, the Spanish charm had always worked wonders. Hell, it did wonders for getting him starring roles too.

“Who wants to know?” Her accent was light, as though she’d learned English alongside her French, studied in Sweden or London or New York City. But for all of the softness that came spilling out of those pale-rose lips, there was a steel core that told Nicco she wasn’t having any of his charm. Her words came out strong, self-possessed, and confident, and they made him curious about the woman below the slight frame. Despite appearing so soft, she held her head at a tilt that signified power, kept her neck straight, her shoulders arched. Everything about her stance told Nicco exactly how she felt at his intrusion into her space. Normally, he took his cues and left the obviously uninterested alone, but this woman was enchanting and mysterious, and Nicco found he couldn’t quite look away from her, even as he knew that he tempted the serpent, perhaps because he did.

“Niccolo.” He extended his hand. “Here for a meeting with Monsieur La Montagne.” According to the terms Parker had laid out, Nicco would be working alongside La Montagne’s office on a PR tour of Paris while he took his dance classes, giving a few interviews here and there, a signing or two, onward and upward.

The woman beside him, however, appeared abjectly unimpressed. He liked that, liked that she didn’t buy into his bullshit the way everyone else did, the way he’d been doing for so long.

“That is a remarkable coincidence,” she replied, her eyes taking on a sardonic glint he knew came at his expense, “given that you are in his office, after all.” Feisty, this one. She obviously enjoyed goading him, and Nicco felt a wash of something dangerous at the thought that men probably attempted to charm her quite often. For some reason, his visceral reaction to this strange, nymph-like woman grew stronger each time she stabbed him with her barbed tongue. That was inconvenient, to be certain, but it didn’t stop him from wanting more.

But there was something about his—well, he wouldn’t necessarily call it just an attraction—to this woman that went deeper than lust. Nicco had had lovers, more than his fair share of them since everything with Antonio had gone so royally tits up, and he’d never lacked for a partner if he wanted one. No, whatever had him suddenly desperate to learn more about this mysterious woman went deeper than that, to some fundamental part of himself that might even long for redemption.

“I’d heard about the French,” he said. He should just turn around and leave her to her magazine, but he just couldn’t seem to do so. “Seems the rumors about witches and the smell of cheese aren’t so terribly off.”

She raised an eyebrow, and he took some satisfaction in the small quirk at the corner of her mouth that told of a repressed smile. He’d bet a week’s pay that her smile would light up the city, and he promised himself that at some point, he would be the cause of it. He didn’t know how or why, just that it would happen one way or the other.

“American, is it?” she asked, ignoring his slight.

“Mostly,” he replied. “Spanish sometimes. Occasionally English.”

From her confused expression, Nicco wondered if he had been spending too much time in California. Normally, folks didn’t question his various origins. Of course, the French were reputedly distrusting of anyone who wasn’t French. Still, he had to admit that there was something simple and altogether enjoyable about flirting with a woman who didn’t want to sleep with him just because he was a celebrity or because she angled to get her face in the papers. It felt good to just be himself for what seemed like the first time in a very long time.

“Of course,” she replied, breaking his train of thought. “All that ego can’t be exclusively American, can it?”

Nicco almost laughed out loud.

“You already know me so well,” he said. “Would you care to know me better? Dinner, perhaps?” It was bold, and the moment the words were out of his mouth, Nicco knew it had been too audacious. Something flitted across her eyes, and he could almost see her folding into herself. No, he didn’t like that, didn’t enjoy seeing this confident person turn into something else so quickly. He might be an ass about recognizing the signs in his own life, but someone or something had clearly hurt her—recently, if the ache across those beautiful pale-blue eyes was anything to go by.

“No smart remark,” he commented, hoping to bring back some of the devil he’d seen in her expression. “I’m surprised.”

She squared her jaw, and Nicco found himself happy to see even a little of the fight fill her eyes, even if it was at his expense. And, as he had anticipated, she turned a cold tongue in his direction, murmuring low under her breath.

“You don’t know the first thing about me, so I’ll ask you kindly to take a walk.” Fury, for all it was leashed and low in her whisper. And it made him ache, made him feel some of the hurt in his own chest, because the first week after he’d discovered Tony with his lover, Nicco had lashed out at everyone and everything, taking the whole wide world down to his level of hurt and sadness.

He didn’t doubt that he was nothing more than the proxy for her fury, and it made him feel bad, made him ache for her and for himself a little too.

“Miss La Croix?”

Before she could say anything that might cut him to the quick—would most definitely cut him to the quick—the woman beside him nodded in answer to the receptionist and stood without another word. If he had thought the slope of her neck enticing, he wasn’t prepared for the way her long, powerful legs, visible below her light-blue dress, mesmerized him. She didn’t so much walk down the hall as glide, her body so completely under her command that it made him wonder about putting his body in her hands too. She didn’t give him a second look as she slipped away, and that made Nicco’s heart ache in a way he didn’t want to analyze.

Her magazine still sat on the corner of the table, one of the pages bookmarked with a thick, folded corner, as if she planned on going back to it. Thinking quickly, he pulled out a pen and scribbled a note down on the back cover.

If you ever need a stranger for a friend, give me a call. There are some things we don’t heal from so easily.

Below that, he jotted his e-mail address and then took a short jog down the hallway to catch up with her. The simple note, just like the few extra moments he had spent with his fans outside, felt like color returning to the black-and-white version of himself. He still couldn’t see the full picture, not yet, but just being out of LA helped him focus.

She looked surprised and not all that happy when he drew level with her.

“You left this,” he said, handing her the magazine but not letting go.

She pursed her lips. “And what do you want in exchange for it?” Her tone sounded almost resigned. Bored, almost. He knew better, though. Her expression had a fire—blue and burning—and he rather enjoyed inspiring a reaction in her, whatever it was.

“What’s your name?” he asked her, suddenly desperate to know. By the smallest amount, her expression softened, and Nicco had to wonder what she had expected him to ask. He’d never push a person to do anything they didn’t want to do. He had retained some standards over the last few months of going full-on Hollywood.

“The catch?” she asked, her lips still pointedly pursed in his direction. And what lips they were.

Nicco shook his head. “No catch. I just want to know your name.” He really, really did. She sighed and nodded, sending the white-blonde ponytail swishing across her shoulder. Then she squared her jaw and lifted her chin.

“Isabelle La Croix.” She offered nothing else.

“Isabelle,” he repeated, because he couldn’t seem to stop himself from doing so. “A pleasure.” He handed her the magazine with his note facing down and watched as she gave a sharp nod and continued down the hallway, watched her far after there was nothing left to watch. What about this woman set his body to flame and his mind to far more carnal images than would ever be appropriate for a chance encounter in a producer’s waiting room and so, so much more?

Something hidden that came in bursts of emotion across her pale-blue eyes, something that came in the cut of her shoulders and the grace of her walk.

Miss La Croix. It fit her. She was so utterly French, petite, graceful, sharp around the edges and beautiful beyond the pale. Nicco trod in dangerous waters. He had only just left California behind, and already he panted after a woman he would never see again, unless her facade cracked and she actually decided to contact him. He could hope, kind of had to hope, because there was something about her that was so unlike anyone he had ever met. She had a self-possession, a self-awareness that almost made him envious, would have, if it hadn’t impressed him so.

The whole thing made him…a little relieved. He’d had lovers since Antonio, of course, men and women to waste the lonely nights with, to party with and get drunk with. But to actually find himself feeling a deep, intense connection—and with a person he had only just met—it gave him hope that he might not be on his own forever. Maybe Tony’s infidelities hadn’t completely destroyed who Nicco had been before, after all.

Ruby Small

Gemma Snow is the author of several works of erotic and romantic fiction in both the contemporary and historical genres, and enjoys pushing the limits of freedom, feminism, and fun in her stories.  She has been an avid writer for many years, and recently moved back to her home state of New Jersey from Boston, after completing her education in journalism and creative writing.
In her free time, she loves to travel, and spent a semester abroad living in a 14th century castle in the Netherlands. When not exploring the world, she likes dreaming up stories, eating spicy food, driving fast cars, and talking to strangers.

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