Category Archives: Interview

Author Interview of Andrea R. Cooper

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

I’m a wife and mom to three kids. Currently, I’m a stay-at-home mom and full-time author. I grew up creating stories and characters and haven’t stopped yet.

What’s the logline that describes your writing?

Romancing Adventure

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

Reading, Zumba, Martial Arts. Used to be a gamer, but hard to fit in nowadays.

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

Freestyle. I have an idea and characters and basic destination in mind, but I don’t plot or outline.

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

Imagine Dragons, Godsmack, anything with a beat

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

I brainstorm while cleaning. Since I’d rather write than scrub floors, my creative mind usually gives me ideas pretty quickly.

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

My biggest surprise was when I discovered no writer has a perfect story. That editors and revision must take place for every book.

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

Yes. I also write fantasy romance, urban fantasy, and historical romance.

What’s your dream vacation destination?

Scotland. I’d love to walk through the old and new castles there.

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

Yes, I love Pinterest. All my books have boards there with characters, outfits, scenery, etc.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

Entertainment and a good story.

 

Fallen

BLURB

She has seduced men everywhere…but never fallen in love. Until now.

Succubus Adeline lost her powers. The crystal that all her kind crave has attached itself to her and rendered her powerless. Unless she finds a way to remove it, she’ll transform into a human–a fate worse than death.

Soon the tables are turned on the succubus, and the succubus finds herself the one at the mercy of desire.

Jack is running from vamps and weres. They want his hidden doppelgänger talents to locate a stone that enables weres to transform at will, but he just wants to be left alone. Now he has a bounty hunter after him.

In a race against time, vampires, and weres, Adeline and Jack travel from Boston to Greece to New Orleans to stay ahead of the hunters.

BUY LINKS

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

itunes

KOBO Books

EXCERPT

She scrolled through her cell as the taxi turned at a light, and Greek swear words were exchanged between their driver and an electric scooter rider. Jack’s eyes closed, and his head rested on the back of the seat, his cheeks pale.

What would she do if the order came from the master vampire who was after him? Jack tied himself to Beth in order to save Adeline. How can I repay him? The crystal latched onto her wrist caught the light. Right, if I don’t get this thing removed soon, all of my kin nearing 5,000 years will put a bounty on me. Visiting the Oracle, on behalf of a witchdoctor, would give her the chance to get information about removing the quartz without dying.

Her gaze glided over the Oracle voodoo doll. No, she’d probably be lucky if the Oracle didn’t strangle them when she met them.

Adeline dug out a mint and shivered when she pushed aside the cuffs in her purse. Snippets of hot memory of Jack on her made her debate sending the cab driver away for a few hours and straddling Jack. She offered him a mint and took one for herself. His hand brushed hers as the taxi took a sharp turn, its tires squealing.

Focus. It’s only his borrowed powers that make you feel this way. My powers. She checked her texts. Most were from men around the world asking when she’d come see them. Delete, delete, delete. Two messages from Renee, one from Damon, and one from her employer. She cringed.

Status update pronto. Never taken you this long to tag and bag a guy.

Yeah, well she’d never been without her abilities before. Working on it. She texted a reply.

Both of Renee’s notes were short, and the last one cryptic. You okay? Any update? And Call us when you can. We have something to discuss with you.

Damon’s text was blunt: Gotten the rock off yet? Or are you being chased?

Meaning by incubi and succubus who craved the crystal to amplify their gift and avoid becoming demons, or ones who already twisted and sought more wars and violence in the world of mankind. Of course, she’d tried everything to get it off. Even offered it to Damon and her succubus cousin, Samara, but the bracelet wouldn’t let go.

5-star Review snippet:

“This is a fantastic paranormal read and i just loved Jack and Adeline they were great characters.”

Andrea Cooper-June 21

Andrea has always created characters and stories. She writes paranormal and historical romance. When not writing or reading, one may find Andrea dancing in Zumba.

She believes in the power of change and counting each moment as a blessing. But most importantly, she believes in love.

WEB CONTACTS

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Guest Interview with Sheryl Winters

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

Research is a tricky subject. I can get lost for hours so I now use a simple technique to keep the story flowing. In my first draft, I type the word RESEARCH in big bold letters when I need a solid fact. An example of this is in Harper’s Place. Since the story is set in New York City, the snow fall accumulation had to be right. I wrote the story, added a realistic amount of snow for a snow storm and upped the believability Harper and Patrick’s romance.

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

Writer’s block involves smacking my head against the table, repeatedly until the blood vessels in my head have opened up. I’m just kidding. When writer’s block hits, I will find myself reading the story over again from the beginning, letting myself feel all the emotions the characters feel. Usually, this is enough to clear up any writer’s block and let me proceed.

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

Editing and revision can be fun. I like to restructure the story after I’ve made a rather terrible first draft. Each editing pass brings the story I’m working on closer to the original vision I intended. So I think I am most surprised at how much I enjoy editing something I’ve created.

What resources do you use for picking character names?

Baby name sites are wonderful for character naming, and I’ve more than one bookmarked. I can get stuck for hours finding the perfect name, so Baby Name sites become invaluable.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

I hope my readers enjoy the stories I write for them. I want them to forget about reality as they roam through the worlds I’ve created.

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

I’d love to say I can devote an entire day to writing. I try to maximize the time I have. If I only have an hour or so, I’ll do light editing. I find that real creativity takes time and quiet and the ability to let myself be bored so that my imagination can explode.

Harpers Place

BLURB:

Harper Grey is fed up with over-bearing men.

Her father wants to sell the family hamburger joint to her brother because a woman could never make it successful.

Harper knows she has the same flair for business as her mother, and sexy Navy SEAL Patrick O’Brien dares her to prove it to the world.

When duty calls and Patrick must leave her side, will Harper be strong enough to make her dream a reality?

BUY LINKS

Roane Publishing

Amazon  

Amazon (UK)  

Barnes and Noble  

Kobo Books  

Smashwords  

Bookstrand

EXCERPT

“How would you bring in new business, though?”

I’m amazed that he seems to find our conversation interesting. He’s an audience willing to listen and I’ve not had that in a long time. Damn this crush of mine. It won’t be easy to tame after tonight.

“New menu items, specials, things like that. Start serving dessert, like pies. Easy cook items. With the new burgers, I’ve created and a new décor, I’d open in the summer when the air is fresh and everyone is happy to be out of the snow, hungry for grilled food. I think we could do fine.”

“What’s your hold up?”

“Tony, Dad. It’s complicated.” I shrug. His arm feels good, and I have the overwhelming urge to nuzzle against it. “Did you kiss Amy Parker when you were twelve? She still brags about it.” Did I just ask him about kissing? What is wrong with me? Will this mouth of mine never shut up? Stop it, Stop it, stop it!

“That I did, in a closet over at Robert Anderson’s house.”

“Ew.”

“I was twelve and desperate. You can’t blame me. I do blame that stupid soda bottle.  And your first kiss?” There is a challenge in his voice.

“Kevin Monroe at the Klines Movie Theater. He sent me a six-page note the next day about how much he loved me, and I freaked out and dumped him.”

“Any regrets?”

I choke back a giggle. “Naw, ‘cept I remember I liked his cologne. It could have been aftershave, but it was nice.” It’s not half as nice as the Aramis that Patrick has on. Something about it sends a shiver up my spine that has nothing to do with the zombie waiting in Dad’s office.

“The dark isn’t so bad, now is it?”

“I guess not.”

Silence surrounds us. The fear that enveloped me seems to disappear.

“Are you seeing anyone?”

“No.” It sounds terrible now that I’ve said it out loud. Like I’m admitting to being a desperate and dateless leper.

“So,” he drawls out, “ever thought of dating a military guy?” He squeezes my fingers.

Is he serious?

His fingertip smooths over the rough callouses I’ve gained from years of hard work. Suddenly my wasted evening of not going out to celebrate is starting to look better. “I think it would depend on which military guy.”

“You’re killing me. You know that, don’t you?” His strangled tone only sets off a case of the giggles.

“Are you asking me out, Patrick?”

“Trying to, but you’re not making it easy.” The challenge is back in his voice.

“I wouldn’t mind a date or two,” I manage to squeak out. Breathe, Harper, just breathe, calmly through your nose, out your mouth. Sainted Mother of God, Patrick asked me out! I hit the jackpot! Now all I have to do is not hit him.

BIO

In a small town outside of Anchorage, Sheryl Winters can be found penning her next novel with her two cats and one dog at her side. On sunny days, she can be found in Hatcher’s Pass about an hour outside of Anchorage.

Sheryl is a firm believer that superheroes are among us—regular people whose actions “create beauty out of chaos.” Sheryl is an advocate in the fight against bullying.

WEB CONTACTS

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Guest Interview—Jana Begovic

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

I was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina (ex Yugoslavia) where I spent most of my adult life. I also acquired most of my higher education there (B.A. and M.A. degrees in languages and literature). With my husband and son, I immigrated to Canada in 1991, half a year before the country was engulfed in a civil war. After graduating from the Faculty of Education, Queen’s University, Canada, I started working for the Department of National Defence and began my career path as a foreign language curriculum and testing specialist. With a full-time job that involves a lot of international travel, too, I currently write only as a hobby.

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

Gourmet cooking and entertaining friends and family, reading, running and other fitness activities, travel, walks in nature.

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

I think of the characters first and have a rough contour of the plot in my mind. I allow the story to evolve organically without much planning.

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

I’ve traveled to most of the locations I mention. For example, in Poisonous Whispers, parts of the plot unfold in Vienna, Rome, Barcelona and Glasgow. Glasgow is one of the cities I have not visited yet. England and Ireland are also mentioned in this book, and I was fortunate to visit England several times. I dream of travelling to Ireland because I feel a strong attraction to that country. My bucket list is much too long for one lifetime.

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

When I get stuck, I simply stop writing and let the story ferment further in my subconscious mind. I also believe in synchronicities, that is meaningful coincidences that come into your life when you need them. And invariably, whenever I’d hit a reef in my storytelling, I would hear a story from a friend or an acquaintance during my travels that would inspire me to continue writing. When it comes to Poisonous Whispers, I simply trusted the process because I believed this book was destined to be born. I will never forget sitting in an airport in Europe and having the “Aha” moment, and knowing without a speck of doubt where the story needed to go in order for the plot line to come full circle.

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

I was shocked to see my characters assume a life of their own. They became alive and started to control the storyline. I was especially surprised that the heroine would reveal a certain secret to her husband almost ruining her marriage. That was so unnecessary and cruel!!! When it comes to editing itself, the realization that it is an almost never-ending process, that it is almost impossible to catch every single error discouraged and frustrated me many times. And I’m not even a perfectionist in my everyday life!

What’s your dream vacation destination?

A hot climate with white pebbled beaches surrounded by pine trees, buzzing with cicada song and infused with the scent of brine and Mediterranean grasses. I believe I’m describing the Adriatic coast where I used to vacation, and which I will always miss.

In what genre do you read?

I read both fiction and non-fiction, commercial and literary prose, but literary fiction is my preferred genre. I enjoy the depth of literary thought, and I crave books that make me stop after every couple of pages and contemplate life.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

I hope that readers derive pleasure from reading my debut novel; I hope they read it slowly, visualizing the pictures of both the physical and emotional landscapes I painted; I hope they lose track of time once they step into the multi-layered worlds I created; I hope the heroine’s pain-laced journey touches them, and also shows them that pain and loss, and poor judgment can deepen, strengthen, humble and redeem us.  And I hope they like and relate to my characters in spite of their flaws and moral fallibility.

Poisonous Whispers-1207

BLURB

“Don’t you ever forget about me…,” he whispers during their secret encounters. Like a curse, these simple words now haunt Leandra, a reputable psychiatrist, who finds herself in emotional chaos after the sudden breakup of her illicit affair. Unable to heal on her own and tormented by dreams in which supernatural forces create havoc with her fate, she desperately turns to David, a colleague psychiatrist, asking him to take her through past-life regression therapy. She hopes that this unorthodox and somewhat suspect technique will explain her profound connection to the lover who has abandoned her so abruptly.

The sessions take Leandra through 17th and 19th century Ireland, Italy and England, where love, loss and betrayal are the leitmotifs in an ambiance of co-mingled fantasy and reality. In her hypnotic state, Leandra recounts a saga of intoxicating love, dizzying passion, flaming lust and profound heartbreak. Despite the painful answers she finds under hypnosis, Leandra still cannot let go of the hope to reunite with her lover. Ultimately, the shattering revelations from her past-life incarnations, along with the turmoil over her ruined marriage, become the stepping stones of her introspective path to healing, self-discovery and an appreciation of true love.

BUY LINKS

Roane Publishing

Amazon

Amazon Canada

Amazon UK

EXCERPT

A tiny streak of pale light is cascading softly down the cell window and making a shy sliver in the veil of darkness. I open my eyes, disoriented. I do not move; I do not even dare blink until I get my bearings. Then I remember and freeze in horror. I sit up, an aching all over my body and cold dread in my heart. Instinctively, I try to disentangle my matted hair with my fingers, but it is hopeless. All around me, I smell mold, decay and death. How can I survive another day in this hole? The sound of the door opening with a screech makes me jump in terror.

The gaoler walks in; a heavy set of keys dangling and jingling in his hand.

“Come. You are being moved in preparation for tonight’s execution. A verdict was reached.”

I speak not but follow him. We climb a steep staircase. Below us, I hear moans and yells and what sounds like the death throes of those hopelessly lost to the world and forgotten by justice, compassion and mercy. Again, I am feeling dissociated from the event of my calamity; I see my body walking, but my soul is not in it and indifference over what might happen floods me. Death is not the end. Death offers me salvation from pain, from the torment of living a human life.

We leave the jailhouse and enter the house across the street to the village inn. The inn owner, James Bourke, looks at me with hatred and disdain. He also always hated my husband because his wife had hoped my husband would marry her. She was in love with him, and when he married me she tried to kill herself. James married her later, but has always known that she never stopped loving my husband.

The gaoler takes me upstairs to one of the guest rooms and locks the door behind me. The room is wide and clean even though sparsely furnished. The bed is large and looks inviting and I realize how exhausted I am. On the bed is a white, thin chemise and I immediately understand thisis what I will wear tonight when I am pushed off the bridge into the water that is cool even on the hottest of summer days. Will I have the strength or the will to swim and save myself? What surprises and almost delights me under such grave circumstances is a bathtub in the corner of the room. There is steam rising from it and I immediately undress and slip into it, relieved to be able to wash off the dirt, the grime, and above all the horrible stench on my body. I rub myself raw trying to clean my skin. Washing my hair is more difficult because at home I have servants who help me with bathing, dressing and undressing. I have been spoilt by marrying a man of wealth and power. Where is my husband now? I crave his protection. If he saved me now, would I give up Kieran, would I give up love in order to live? I surmise I would.

After I have washed, I come out of the tub feeling more exhausted than ever. At the same time, I realize I have not eaten for over a day and devour the plate of bread, cheese and apples ravenously. As I am eating, I can feel tears stream down my face; they are tears of silent despair and hopelessness. My chest is heaving with pain and I have difficulty swallowing the last few bites. I throw myself on the bed thinking my weeping and sobbing will continue forever, but I fall asleep. One would think that my dreams would be filled with the terror of the situation, but instead I dream of Kieran. In my dream I accuse him of being a weakling, of not fighting for our love. He just looks at me sadly and his eyes are filled with tears of powerlessness. He is also saying something in his defense, but I do not understand his words. I wake up feeling a sharp pain stabbing my chest and I gasp for breath. I feel like I am suffocating. I take a sip of water from the pitcher on the floor and the pain subsides. Outside, the moon is peering out from behind a cloud and I realize I’ve slept through the whole day. It is time to get ready for a new chance at life or for death.

I use the chamber pot and wash myself again with the bath water that is no longer clean. I tie my hair into a braid and pin it up. If I had scissors, I would gladly cut it off so it does not weigh me down once the cool river takes me in its wet embrace.

I sit on the bed waiting for my fate to open the next chapter of my life. I do not understand why I am suddenly so peaceful, and I cannot be certain if it is tranquility or resignation that has filled my heart.

I have no reaction when I hear the key turn in the lock and see the homely face of the gaoler appear in the doorframe. He is carrying a large red candle and in its light his toothless smile appears eerie and foreboding.

“Are you ready, my lovely, to face the savior? I must say ‘tis a shame to see such a nice body go to waste and be eaten by the fishes and snakes, but you are not the first or the last wretched witch this village has put an end to.”

His laughter is broken by a cough that must be tearing up his insides. It is so strong that it overwhelms him and he has to bend down to cough out something awful that seems to have been stuck in his throat. What a horrid man!

From a 5-star review

“The writing is exquisite—a book of depth, sophisticated in style, literary in nature. Ms. Begovic displays strong lyrical and poetic writing filled with symbolism and universal truths. The book also holds an element of suspense that keeps the reader wondering about the relationships of the characters until the surprise ending. A beautiful story, a compelling read.”

Beverly Knauer, Author of “The Line Between”

Jana_Begovic_Photo

As far back as she can remember, Jana has been fascinated by storytelling and intoxicated with the written word. As a young child, she began spinning stories, talking to an imaginary friend and devouring fairy tales. Her love of reading and writing drove her to study languages and literature. She works for the Government of Canada in the field of military language training. She was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, but has lived in Canada since 1991.

WEB CONTACTS

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Twitter @ZhannaBegovic

Goodreads

GIVEAWAY

One AUTOGRAPHED book copy as giveaway will be mailed to a reader who leaves a question/comment and his/her contact info. The author will select the winner randomly. Good luck!

 

Guest Interview—Willa Blair

Welcome to my friend I met while living in Texas. Tell us a bit about you and your background

A life-long student and reader, I’ve been a stained glass artist and instructor, a foreign language teacher, a computer scientist, an analyst, a manager and an executive. I’ve visited five continents and can get by in several languages. Scouting new settings for books is lots of fun, and being an author is the best job I’ve ever had.

What’s the logline that describes your writing?

“Romance and Adventure”. I add “…in the Highlands of Scotland” for my Scottish books!

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

I’m sorry, I don’t understand. What does “away from the computer” mean? ;^)

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

Plot, always the plot. I get to know the characters as I write.

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

Both. I wrestle with an outline and bare-bones synopsis to get the flow of the plot figured out. Then the characters step in and do all they can to wreck the plan.

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

Again, both. I may need to do a lot of historical research if I’m starting in a new time period, then fact-check or look for amplifying detail later.

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

Yes – for my Scottish books—historical and contemporary—I’ve traveled through a good deal of central Scotland and the Highlands, but have plenty left to see and do! I’ve also been to Hawaii several times which came in handy for Sweetie Pie, and just went on my first cruise. Now I have 5 more countries to use as settings if my imagination decides to go there.

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

Go away from it for a few days—or weeks—and work on something else.

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

That much to my editor’s dismay, I’m enamored of commas.

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

Yes. I also write Scottish historical romance.

What’s your dream vacation destination?

A summer in Scotland, a month each in Australia and New Zealand, a summer in Europe, shall I go on? I have lots of dreams.

perf5.000x8.000.indd

BLURB

Widow Lara MacLaren hungers for the hunky architect she hires to restore her derelict Scottish manor, but is she ready for a relationship…and is Ian ready for her twins?

Ian Paterson is eager to awaken Lara’s passionate side. Yet, if he reveals his ancestral claim to her estate, he risks losing her and his job. His clan’s history, lost over the years, may be hidden in the walls—along with a ghost waiting for the laird’s return.

When they uncover a room full of Jacobite treasure, proof of his ancestry, Ian realizes he’s out of time. If the ghost is real, it could expose his secret and destroy his romance with Lara. Ian must convince her she and her twins are the future he truly wants.

BUY LINK

Amazon

EXCERPT

“Are ye okay?” Ian felt Lara’s ribs expand under his hand as she breathed.

“I am now,” she murmured. “I could have sprained an ankle, or fallen and hit my head.”

“You needn’t worry,” he answered softly. “I’ve got you.” Pressed against his hard length, right where he needed her. Though he knew holding her was a mistake, he couldn’t let her go.

Her face flushed. “You do at that. I…I…” She glanced at the ceiling, then returned her gaze to his. “Thank you…”

“You’re welcome. I don’t mind a bit,” Ian teased. Her body was firm, yet soft against his. She made no move to escape his embrace. He lowered his gaze to her mouth. Her lips were so close. So tempting.

Lara’s breath warmed his face. Her gaze met his, then dropped quickly to his mouth.

He was certain she meant to allow his kiss…and to kiss him back. He parted his lips, drinking in her scent, eager to taste her.

Something moved in the darkness below them, soundless, but stirring the cool air and whispering across his hands. The back of Ian’s neck prickled.

Lara stiffened and cocked her head, as if listening.

“Just a draft,” he murmured. Ian could have sworn it was only moving air, nothing more. He hoped. He’d grown up hearing tales about Cairn Dubh—and its ghost. If Cairn Dubh did have a ghost, this ancient space would be a fine place for it to haunt.

Review Snippets

Waiting for the Laird by Willa Blair is a delightful romance and unexpected adventure set in Scotland.” Books & Benches Reviewer’s Choice Seal of Excellence

“Willa Blair spins a beautiful romance set in the Scottish Highlands full of suspense, history and mystery…This is an absolutely wonderful story to read while curled up in a comfy chair with a nice hot drink, I highly suggests you pick it up and enjoy.” Night Owl Reviews Top Pick

Willa Blair

Willa Blair is an Award-winning, Amazon and Barnes & Noble #1 Bestselling author of Scottish Historical, light Paranormal, and Contemporary romance. Her books have won numerous honors, including the Marlene, the Merritt, National Readers’ Choice Award Finalist, The Reader’s Crown finalist, Historical Romance finalist and Honorable Mention in InD’Tale Magazine’s prestigious RONE Award, NightOwl Reviews Top Pick, Books & Benches’ Readers’ Choice Seal of Excellence, and InD’tale Magazine Review’s Crowned Heart.

WEB CONTACTS

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Guest Author Interview—Jeremy Higley

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

I was born in California, raised in Alabama, I earned my bachelor’s in Virginia, lived and served in Colorado, and now I live in Arizona. I’m an avid consumer of text, video, and apples. I love writing, teaching, and making people smile.

What’s the logline that describes your writing?

A vague prophecy, an ancient war between immortal wizards, and in the middle of it all, a young apprentice named Skel just wants to save his infant brother from a dream cult more powerful than magic itself.

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

It’s scary, actually, just how much of my life involves my computer. Work, school, and play are all digitally entangled in some way or another. The biggest thing I do away from the cyber-void is talk to random people I meet in public. In the line at the grocery store, on the curb as I walk down the street… anywhere, really. The world is full of amazing stories hidden in plain sight.

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

I start with the milieu. The geography, the chronology, the theology, the magic systems… not until I’ve fleshed out the world a bit do I feel comfortable filling it with characters and designing good stories for them to be a part of.

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

I plan more than Ray Bradbury, less than J.K. Rowling. My planning functions as a really basic sketch, but then I follow the characters as they fill out the details in their own way. I build the world, and then they explore it.

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

For action scenes I’ll often pull out tracks from Star Wars movies, or anything similarly epic that can pull me in and help me keep my pacing. For everything else I’m usually listening to EDM, especially Lindsey Stirling.

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

Neither, really. I’m more likely to just start over again if I get stuck. Research is something I do when questions come up. I make a lot of notes during the world-building process, and sometimes that requires some research, but more often the original idea for something comes from research I remember doing a long time ago.

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

The Eltar plains are loosely based on the African savannah, which I have never visited. The Blood Mountains are based on the Appalachians more than anything, and I have been there. The Mirror Desert was actually inspired by a picture I drew when I was a Boy Scout of a reflective desert under a sunset. Irontree Mountain is meant as an echo of the Old Forest in Lord of the Rings, a place many of us have been in spirit. Personally, I’d much sooner brave the Old Forest than go anywhere near Irontree Mountain, as you’ll understand when you get to the end of the book.

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

It’s very true that I often start over. If it’s the chapter that’s giving me trouble, I start the chapter over and use a different character’s perspective. I’ve done that three times in a row before. Whatever it takes to get the story across in the best way possible. I completely restarted Son of Dark after the first two years of working on it, and it ended up being a much better novel as a result. Sometimes I wish I’d started it over again before publishing, as it would have given me more time with it. Couldn’t have hurt, but I’m really enjoying having it published and working on the sequel.

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

How fast everything goes! It felt like saying my goodbyes to a good friend while waiting for his plane to leave. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and it hurt to let go of a project I spent three years of my life on. I expect it will get easier as I write more novels, but a part of me kind of hopes it won’t.

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

I hardly ever write for longer than an hour or two. Because of other obligations, especially grad school, I snag time for writing in the evening before bed, and some writing sessions only last a half hour. I have a group of writing friends who will sit and write with me on their own projects for a couple hours each week, and lately this has been a huge help.

What’s your dream vacation destination?

Egypt. I would love to visit Egypt and see all the sights. Especially the pyramids.

In what genre do you read?

Classic literature, such as Shakespeare, Dickens, Twain, and Hawthorne. Science fiction, such as Ray Bradbury, H.G. Wells, Isaac Asimov, Jules Verne, and Orson Scott Card. My tastes for fantasy include such authors as Brandon Sanderson, Brandon Mull, Madeleine L’engle, Sean Flanagan, Patricia C. Wrede, T. S. Eliot, and Tolkein. Also, huge Bill Watterson fan.

What resources do you use for picking character names?

I develop a feel for each culture by coming up with a bunch of names that involve similar constructions and patterns, then choose from the list the names that will fall easiest on modern ears and don’t sound too similar to each other. As such, most of the names I come up with come straight out of my head, but I’ll fiddle with them a bit until they sound right. If that doesn’t work, I’ll look up obscure names to borrow. Orihah, for example. I got his name from a seldom-referenced genealogy list toward the end of the Book of Mormon.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

Most of all I hope they have a fun time. I can’t ask for much more. If there’s one moral I’d like them to pick up from this first book, it’s that suicide is never an answer. A second one might well be that you can find friends almost anywhere. Also, the darkness in the world is often not as strong as it seems, so long as you’re willing to stand up to it and not let it grow in your home or in your heart.

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A thousand years ago, the wizards of the Nynsa were tricked. They failed to follow the prophecy of the Darksome Thorn, and now the greatest evil of their time has survived into the next age. They will do anything the fix their mistake.

The Darksome Thorn, meanwhile, has revealed a new prophecy, and the very evil they failed to kill is working to use that prophecy to his advantage.

Forces of evil run rampant in the land of Duskain. Ancient powers are stirring. A greater darkness is imminent…

…and Skel, the foster son of an elephant herder, finds himself caught in the middle of everything…

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For more information on Jeremy, visit his webpage

Character Interview—The Adventures of Chloe Ann Parker by Paula Mowery

Welcome to Chloe, the protagonist of The Adventures of Chloe Ann Parker

How about you introduce yourself by providing the basics?

My name is Chloe Ann Parker. I’m in Kindergarten and had to move right in the middle of the year. My momma and daddy don’t seem too worried about it, but I’m not quite sure about a new school, new teacher, new friends, and new neighbors. That’s a lot of news!

Family members?

There’s me, my momma, and my daddy. My daddy is a pastor. He’s the reason we had to move. He’s going to be the preacher at another church. My momma doesn’t work, but she does.

What do you like most about your new school?

I have the bestest teacher named Mrs. Potts. She is like Mary Poppins – super-frogalicious!

Are you a pet person?

I do like animals, especially dogs. I think it would be neat to be a vegetarian when I grow up so I can take care of animals.

List your favorite movie of all time and why.

Even though Mommy says that it is an old movie, I like Mary Poppins. Who wouldn’t like to go on the adventures she goes on? And there’s singing. I like singing.

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

Can you believe that our neighbor, Mrs. Smith, accused me of stealing her dog? Yep, she’s a grumpy bear. She wears a fluffy pink bathrobe in the middle of the day! Momma always says that wearing that kind of clothes is for bed time.

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Chloe Ann Parker is in kindergarten but must move to a new school right in the middle of the year. Not only does she have to get used to a new teacher and make new friends, but she has to try to get along with her grumpy neighbor, Mrs. Smith. Chloe has the opportunity to become a real hero, learn responsibility, and learn some valuable lessons in this kindergarten adventure.

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Paula Mowery

Paula Mowery has always been an avid reader of Christian fiction, especially romances of all sub-genres. She holds a Master of Education and taught English/Language Arts in public school and then came home to educate her own daughter, first through twelfth grades. She teaches at writing conferences such as the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference.

Paula is a published author in Christian fiction. One reviewer stated that her writing “thunders with emotion.” Her novella, Be The Blessing, won the 2014 Selah Award. Her story, The Prayer Shawl, from the book, Legacy and Love, was a finalist in The Carolyn Readers’ Choice Awards from North Texas Romance Writers of America. Her devotions have also been included in several devotional anthologies. Connect with her on her blog, www.paulamowery.blogspot.com.

A bit about how the book came to be:

The TAG blog is where Chloe Ann Parker was born. Her story has appeared in a serialized and somewhat condensed fashion as weekly posts. www.getkidswriting.blogspot.com T. A. G. stands for Tomorrow’s Author Guild. The goal of this program is to encourage the writers of the future. Because lack of purpose can equal lack of motivation, writing lessons are created and taught with the aim of sparking interest in the student and providing a platform in which to practice good writing skills. The writing lessons are created to help alleviate some of the pressure and demands of teachers so that they can accomplish the writing objectives in fresh ways. Through the support of Prism Book Group, the children will have the opportunity to see their work in print and digital forms and available for purchase.

The Adventures of Chloe Ann Parker contains the posts but has been expanded into a short chapter book. The original discussion questions/writing prompts which accompanied those posts are available in the back of the book.

Guest Interview of Kara O’Neal

Welcome to Kara who has several releases of historical romance fiction.

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

I’m a teacher. I vowed up one way and down he other I wouldn’t enter into the profession. But God had other ideas. While I hadn’t planned on working in education, I certainly never thought about being an author. My sister challenged me to rewrite the end to a book I hadn’t cared for, and I did. In my head. Which opened up a new world, and soon I had four core families in a tiny Texas town in the late 1800s living in my imagination. It took thirteen years, and lots of rewriting, but I published my first book in 2013 and haven’t slowed down.

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

Unfortunately, I don’t have time to do anything else. I’m a mother of a cellist, trumpeter, and baseball player. I’d love to continue scrapbooking, but our children are too busy to allow for that kind of hobby. It doesn’t disappoint me because it’s truly a joy to watch them do what they love, to see them grow and change. I can’t believe I am so fortunate as to know them.

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

Well, the music I listen to while writing is whatever chant or cheer are played during an Astros or Texans game. I’m usually watching my favorite teams win, or lose, while I pen stories of romance and intrigue.

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

I sure have. I am a native Texan and have traveled all over the state with my husband and children. All of my books take place in Texas, however, the 5th story, The Soldier’s Love, starts in Nebraska (I have been there, too.) and ends in Texas. The fort in my 5th book is based on Ft. Davis in West Texas.

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

When I get home, I almost immediately start writing. I write while I cook supper. I write in the car while waiting on a child to finish practice, or CCE, or a club meeting. I usually have about 30 minutes in the morning before I have to walk out the door, and I write then, as well. Every free moment I have, I write.

What’s your dream vacation destination?

Ireland. My husband is going to take me for our 20th wedding anniversary. I cannot wait.

In what genre do you read?

I read all books. I’ve read everything from Jane Austen to Tony Dungee (football coach). My absolute favorite author is Jane Austen. She transcends time. My favorite genre is definitely romance, though. I can’t get enough of people falling in love!

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When she was little more than a child, Willa Kramer went to extreme lengths to save her family from their abusive father. After that horrible day, her mother and siblings moved to Tennessee, and Willa had hoped to leave Texas, its memories and Lonnie Davis, the only boy she ever trusted, behind. But fate is unpredictable.

Five years have passed, and Lonnie finds himself reunited with Willa, the only girl he’s ever loved. He’s determined not to let her slip away again, but a figure from the past looms, threatening his hopes for the future.

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EXCERPT

Lonnie excused himself from Willa’s parents, and despite his silent commands to give Willa space, he couldn’t keep from following the lady who had occupied his thoughts for the last several years. It would be odd not to speak to her. They’d been close. Once.

When he stepped into the vacant kitchen, he caught sight of her form through the screen door. She stood on the porch, her hands lightly gripping the rail, gazing at the outbuildings, field and the trees shading Glebe Run. The breeze caressed her, sending wisps of her hair to float around her face.

He paused. His chest tightened. He’d waited a long time to see her, had wondered if he ever would. Years ago, she’d wrapped him around her little finger, and he’d grown so attached to her, he’d thought about moving to Tennessee to be with her. But then she had stopped writing. To say it had hurt would be an understatement. But he hadn’t been angry. He could never be angry with her. Never. And now she was back and near. It was too tempting.

After taking a deep breath, he moved forward then went through the screen door. Even though it gave a loud creak, she didn’t turn. Did she know it was he who stood behind her?

The light breeze ruffled her skirt. Her long, velvety hair grazed the small of her back. An ache centered in the pit of his stomach. He’d missed her. And now she was here. “Hello, Willa,” he said, hearing the gentleness of his tone.

She tensed before facing him. Her gaze was shuttered, as if she needed to protect herself from him. Was she afraid? Had he said something in his letters that had hurt her? An urgency gripped him.

“How are you?” he inquired, tamping down the questions he really wanted to ask. Instead, he searched her face for clues as to why she seemed guarded. In the past, he’d been the person she trusted, the person she leaned on. What had he done wrong?

“H-Hello, Lonnie. It’s good to see you.”

Was it? She didn’t seem happy. “It’s…really good to see you, too,” he couldn’t help admitting.

“Did you meet my step-father?” she asked.

“I did. Seems like a nice fellow.”

“He is. He makes Mother happy.”

When she didn’t continue, he racked his brain for a response. Nothing came to him. Her upturned face held determined lines, and the barriers in her hazel eyes left him silent.

“Greg likes him,” she inserted into the awkward silence stretching between them.

He linked his thumbs through his belt loops. “I haven’t seen your brother yet. Where is he?”

She nodded her head in the direction of the barn. “Checking on his horse. He brought Tracks with us. He loves that animal too much to be apart from him for long.”

Lonnie understood. He was the wrangler on the family ranch and dealt with horses most of the time. He had a special relationship with the animals. “And Shelby?” he asked, inquiring about her sister. If mundane conversation was what Willa wanted, he would respect that. Besides, did he really want to ask why she’d stopped writing? Did he really want to return to the road that led to Willa Kramer? It had taken a while to stop feeling something whenever he thought of her. And he still thought of her. Every day.

“Married. She lives in Oregon. She hasn’t met our step-father, but I’ve written to her about him.”

Which meant Willa had indicated whether or not she trusted the man. Lonnie figured she did. If the man hadn’t earned the respect of Willa, Lonnie doubted her mother would have married him.

“How was the trip down?”

She shrugged. “As comfortable as possible. I hadn’t ever ridden on a train. It was much better than the stagecoach ride from Texas to Memphis.”

The day she’d boarded that coach to leave Pikes Run had ripped out his heart. He’d watched her go, unsure of what she meant to him, what he meant to her. A week after the Kramer family had left, Lonnie had understood he loved Willa. He’d written. And she’d replied. But then, after the fifth exchange, she had stopped. Without warning. Without explanation. What had he done?

As he looked into her eyes, it was all he could do not to move closer, to cup her cheek with a hand. He was falling again. Or had he ever regained his heart? That invisible tug he’d felt around her had returned. In mere minutes.

He refrained from uttering a curse. It wasn’t her fault he was still drawn to her. He’d probably never been free of her, though he’d worked like hell to forget her. But seconds had destroyed whatever barriers he’d managed to build, and he drowned in her eyes once more. And again, just as it had been all those years ago, he only needed her in order to keep his head above water.

But walls lived in the depths of her gaze. Walls against him. His gut clenched. Hurting Willa was the last thing he’d ever wanted to do, but it appeared he had. The need to apologize burned his tongue.

“Lonnie,” a male voice called.

Lonnie spotted a lankier, taller version of Greg Kramer walking from the barn toward the porch. Gladness gripped Lonnie, overtaking the frustrated helplessness rushing through his veins. He met the younger man in the middle of the yard. They shook hands, grinning at each other. Greg was a welcome distraction.

“It’s good to see you,” Greg said.

“And you. You’re taller.”

Greg laughed. “I can almost look you in the eye, huh? Might be able to beat you at arm wrestling now, too.”

Lonnie lifted an eyebrow, a grin still tugging his lips. “We’ll see about that.” He gestured toward the barn. “Willa tells me you brought your horse with you.”

A sheepish expression came over Greg’s face. “I shouldn’t have asked my step-father to pay to stable Tracks on a train, but I didn’t want to leave him. I just got him.”

Lonnie could feel Willa’s eyes on him. His body tingled with awareness, and if he wasn’t careful, he was going to whip around and jump right over the imaginary fence she’d erected and ask her why she’d stopped answering his letters. He had to put some distance between them. “Can I see him?” he asked Greg.

The young man’s face lit. “Of course.”

As they fell in stride with each other, Lonnie heard the screen door creak. Willa was gone. His heart sank to the pit of his stomach.

Kara ONealKara O’Neal was born and raised in Texas.  After surviving those awkward years of 7 to 16, she spent two years at Sam Houston State University where she met her husband.  He followed her to Texas Tech University and was proud when she graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Human Development.  Soon after graduation Kara followed her heart and became certified to teach Special Education.

She married the love of her life in 1998 and had three children.  The happiest times of her life are spent with her family and friends.  Kara is fortunate to be surrounded by the best and most amazing people God put on this earth.

When she was pregnant with her oldest child, Kara wrote her first novel.  And then rewrote it.  And rewrote it again.  She did this while teaching, raising kids, and traveling across Texas with her husband. Thank goodness for spiral notebooks!

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Character Interview from Love, Lies, and Fireflies by Jan Elder

How about you introduce yourself by providing the basics?

Thank you, Linda, for having me on your blog today. My name is Jake Montgomery and I’m a middle school teacher in central Maryland. I live in a little town in the country where just last week I spied a possum in my garbage can. With babies! Nothing much cuter than a baby possum. I grew up in Baltimore so I love it here—all this peace and quiet soothes my soul.

The last year’s been tough, though. I’ve been out of commission, really just sort of withdrew from life when my fiancée died. Got angry at God, angry with myself, the whole bit. I know there’s a grieving period and that’s healthy. But I guess you could say I was wallowing. I didn’t know what else to do. Thirty is way too young to pack it in, don’t you think? After a while, I had what I would describe as a “defining moment.” I wanted to live again and enjoy life. And then, praise God, Didi came into my life, but more about that later.

Are you athletic?

I used to be. I was fortunate to get a tennis scholarship at the University of Maryland. I’d even squeaked (and I do mean squeaked) into the international top hundred list. I was pretty proud to see that number 98 next to my name. And then I did a dumb thing… staircases and tequila straight up just do not mix. Last time I did that darn fool thing! I had to switch to getting a degree in education. I still play some tennis for fun, though, to keep in shape.

Did you always want to be a middle school teacher?

Not exactly, but it seemed like a good fit at the time. Most days I love being a history teacher. Looking at our past can teach us so much about the future. I also coach several sports and working with the kids fills me with joy. There are limits, though, as to how much teacher can do for their students. And of course, we are forbidden to talk about God. Those limitations bring me down. These kids need to know that they are loved unconditionally by a God who sees them and knows them through and through.

Are you a pet person?

I have a cat by the auspicious name of Lucille Ball ‘O Fun. Yes, she has red hair and no, I didn’t name her. I didn’t plan to bunk with a cat—not that I’m against them mind you—but it worked out for the best for both of us. The day I woke up and found her wrapped around my head in earmuff fashion, I figured she could stay. Or rather, if you want to know the truth, she’s a very discriminating Siamese, so I guess I’m lucky she deigned to stay with me!

Talk about your favorite setting for a date. (or favorite way to court a woman)

I’ve never been much of a ladies’ man. Kinda shy I guess, so I’m going to go with the tried and true. Nice dinner, good conversation, a bouquet of flowers, you know, thoughtful things that let a woman know she’s special.

Since I was a little rusty in this area after Victoria died, I tried asking a few of my friends for advice. Can you believe they said I should just take a woman out for coffee and then not call her for a few days? What’s this world coming to when a man can’t even spring for dinner?

What attracts you first to a woman?

I know it might sound cliché, but I do believe the eyes are the windows to the soul. I like a woman who isn’t afraid to show what’s in her heart—one who’s emotions are reflected on her face and in her features. No game playing.

Are you talking about a particular woman?

You betcha. Didi O’Brien…Didi well, I can read her like a fortune cookie and that’s a good thing. I always know where I stand and I don’t have to guess if I’m pleasing her. And talk about sweet! Yes, that’s a good description of her. Sweetness and light. With Didi, the glass isn’t just half-full. It’s filled to the brim and overflowing. I am a lucky man.

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Didi O’Brien is engaged—at least she was an hour ago. Now she’s not so sure. Her fiancé, the suave Kevin Cabot, has just revealed that he’s been unfaithful, and he’s not the least bit sorry. Reeling from the betrayal, with her plans for a happily-ever-after life in doubt, she prays for direction. The answer comes as a complete surprise. God has someone better in mind.

Middle school teacher, Jake Montgomery, is struggling with some issues of his own. Sadly, a year previously his fiancée had been killed in a car crash. Battling anger and despair, in a mountain-top experience, Jake wrestles with the Almighty, and is ready to live again. In his youth, he’d felt an unmistakable call to the ministry but, like the prophet Jonah, since then, he’s been running hard in the wrong direction.

Through a crisis of faith, and glimpses of mercy, Didi and Jake find each other. But can they find the strength to resolve the many obstacles that conspire to keep them apart?

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EXCERPT

“But, Kevin, I don’t understand. What do you mean you went out with another girl? What girl?” Didi O’Brien’s swiped at eyes brimming with tears.

Kevin sipped his single malt. “Her name’s Mindy, and she relocated here from the Midwest a few months ago. She’s a Pilates instructor at my gym.” He squirmed in his chair and shrugged. “Look, she’s just a kid of twenty-four, and she doesn’t know anyone here in the area.”

Stomach churning, Didi shoved her dinner away, barely noticing when the sauce from her beef bourguignon splashed onto the white tablecloth. She swallowed, words refusing to come.

Kevin continued in a monotone. “It’s not like I planned it. I was just being a nice guy and showing a stranger around town. You know, being neighborly. Believe it or not, she’s a real nut for baseball, and last night the Nationals were playing the Cardinals….”

“You took her to a baseball game? Last night?” Didi managed to squeak out the words despite the block of granite in her throat.

“Oh, come on. Stop getting so defensive here. You don’t even like baseball. When I saw her last Friday….”

“You went out with her last week, too? On a Friday?” Didi’s voice started out shaky but managed to rise over the conversational hum of the other diners.

“Shhh. Pipe down. Don’t go getting all ‘female’ on me.” Kevin picked up his fork and speared a green bean almondine. “So what if we’ve been to a baseball game, the museum, and had coffee a few times? Last Friday, the Smithsonian had this cool special exhibit on the life of Roberto Clemente. You probably don’t know this, but he’s a Hall of Famer who won the National League’s Most Valuable Player in 1966. He led the league in batting average.”

“Have you slept with her?” She had to ask, though she didn’t really want to know the answer.

Kevin didn’t deny it. Instead, he growled, “So what if I did? I told you it’s not serious. Plus, you had some ridiculous church thing going on last Friday, so you weren’t available.”

Her breath caught as she lowered her voice. “That’s hardly the point, Kevin. Did you tell her you’re engaged?”

“Why would I?”

“I’ll take that as a no. Do you love her?”

“Of course I don’t love her, and I’m getting tired of this tête-à-tête. I knew you were going to overreact. Mindy’s a cute kid from Dubuque who needed someone to show her around, and now you’re getting all weird on me, when I was only being considerate.”

Glancing down at his Rolex, Kevin huffed out a sigh. “Maybe we should talk about this after you decide to behave like an adult.” He flagged down the waiter and signaled he was ready for the check. “I decide to be honest, as a courtesy to you, and you put me through a Spanish Inquisition.”

With a hot flush pricking her cheeks, Didi slipped out of the booth, storming toward the exit. She refused to hear any more of his flimsy excuses.

Dodging the other patrons leaving the restaurant, Didi sprinted across the asphalt to her car. She fell into the driver’s seat, jammed her key into the ignition, and zoomed out of the parking lot. She had to get away from that man! On autopilot, she drove through town, barely remembering to stop at the stop signs. Leaving Chez Monte Carlo far, far behind, she headed to the safety of home.

She came to a fork in the road. In no mood to dally, she chose the shortcut home, veering left onto Deer Hollow Road.

Bad decision.

She drove way too fast, but right now, she didn’t care. Sliding on shallow gravel down the first steep hill, she missed the deep ditch on the right side of the road by a narrow margin. Instead, she slammed into a mud-drenched pothole, skittered sideways, and careened toward an ancient oak.

Stamping hard on the brake, she yelped as the car jarred to a halt. Maybe she did care after all. “Please, Jesus, help me get home in one piece. And if Kevin’s still on the road, crash him into the biggest tree you can find!”

Deer Hollow, slippery and dangerous when wet, was rarely her route of choice. Now she remembered why. She shoved her two-door coupe into gear and edged her way toward home. The tires slowed, but her mind raced in circles like an Olympic speed skater. In one tortured hour, her balanced world had been tipped topsy-turvy. She closed her hands tightly around the steering wheel, desperate to make it home before this crazy country lane tore her little red car apart.

With great caution, Didi drove down a steep slope, eased over the one-lane bridge, and rounded a curve. She’d nearly made it to the end of the road when a rabbit darted in front of her. She had just enough time to wrench the wheel hard to the left to avoid it. She braced herself for that horrifying “thump-thump” announcing she’d killed one of God’s furry creatures, then sighed with relief. Missing the bunny was the only happy event in what was otherwise a thoroughly rotten evening.

A cavernous empty space grew in the pit of her stomach as waves of fury crashed over her. Heat crept up her face and tears trickled from her eyes. Why did she always cry when she was mad? Kevin’s announcement had left her reeling. With her adrenaline surging from the near bunny-cide, Didi breathed in and tried her best to calm down. She pulled to the side of the road and stopped the car before she did something stupid. Resting her head on the steering wheel, she slumped deep into her misery. After this terrible night, did she have a clue where her life was going? The uncertainty was unnerving.

A dreary, gray sky hung heavy with unshed moisture. Sheets of rain had drenched the area for three days straight, and another whopper of a storm had been threatening for the past few hours. As she headed again for home, the first drops came splashing and splattering down. Great. Just great. As if to match her mood, wicked forks of lightning streaked across the sky, static electricity crackled in the air, and the rains crashed down with a vengeance.

Didi breathed a quick prayer her car would start and turned the key. Her trusty vehicle purred to life on the first try, even with 138,567 miles and an oil filter that should have been changed a thousand miles ago. She patted the dash and glanced up to the sky. Thank you. Tonight, she would have crawled the three miles home in the driving downpour rather than call Kevin Francis Cabot, a.k.a. The Rat, to come and rescue her.

How could he do that to her? Didn’t she deserve better?

The problem was…she loved him. Until an hour ago, she’d have sworn he loved her, too. What was wrong with her that he’d wanted someone else?

She didn’t want to think about it, didn’t want to try and understand it tonight. With a heavy heart, she banished the conflicting thoughts from her mind and pointed her car toward home.

Jan Elder

Jan is an inspirational romance writer with a passion for telling stories other women can relate to on a deep level. She strives to write the kind of book that will strengthen the reader’s faith, while also providing an entertaining and engrossing love story. Love, Lies, and Fireflies is her third novel. The book delves into weighty subjects such as betrayal, suicide, lost dreams, and the magnitude of God’s mercy and grace. The reader is introduced to a loving and forgiving Lord who walks beside us in our daily lives.

Besides writing romance, she enjoys the occasional hazelnut cappuccino as well as tuning in to Turner Classic Movies. Always an avid reader, she devours books voraciously, both Christian and secular. She was born a cat-lover and all books will, no doubt, feature a feline in some way or another.

Happily married for thirteen years to loving (and supportive) husband, Steve, the two live in central Maryland along with Jamie (a chubby black and white tuxedo cat), and Shu-Shu (a willowy tortoiseshell cat). On the weekends, Jan and Steve comb the nearby countryside in search of the perfect ice cream flavor.

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Character Interview from Her Survivor by Vonnie Davis

How about you introduce yourself by providing the basics?

Dustin for July 20 “Hello Ladies, my name is Dustin Franks, former SEAL and problem child for author Vonnie Davis.” He shakes his head and leans forward, his massive forearms resting on his spread thighs. “I never set out to be such a problem for her. But, you see, her editor at Loveswept told her she wanted a series on wounded warriors, SEALs in particular, who were also dealing with PTSD. What her editor didn’t know was Vonnie’s grandson was in the middle of his own dark battle with post-traumatic stress from serving in Afghanistan and seeing two of his Army buddies blown up with some of their body parts landing on him. A couple months earlier, he’d tried to commit suicide, so Vonnie wasn’t sure she could write this series and keep the emotional grandma out of it, you know?” He shakes his head again. “The woman was a mess. She stalled by reading books on life as a SEAL and PTSD. She cried.” Dustin rolls his eyes. “Like I wanted to deal with an author who bawled every time she opened her manuscript and read ‘Chapter One.’ Finally, I leaned over her shoulder and whispered, ‘Type what I tell you.’”

What do you like most about being a SEAL?

“For the most part, I was a sniper. Some would say I was one of the best in the teams, but I’m not so sure I deserve that distinction. I enjoyed taking a high point and protecting my SEAL brothers from enemy attacks. I cleared a safe path for them. SEALs are cross-trained to do all operations required to secure an area. My buddy, Wysocki, and I were clearing a building when we saw a crying toddler. Wysocki had kids back home, so instinctively went to pick up the kid.” Dustin pinches the bridge of his nose. “That’s when I saw the trip wires over the infant’s chubby legs. Before the words of warning were out of my mouth, the explosion killed my friend and took off part of my leg below the knee.” He taps the prosthesis under his jeans.

Did you always want to be a SEAL?

“No. Actually, I graduated from University of Maryland as an architect and worked for a firm for a while, but I couldn’t stand spending all day inside in a cubicle. I swam and ran track in college. I missed the activity, so I joined the Navy. When my superior officer talked to me about going through BUD/S, the challenge of training for a SEAL spot appealed to me. I love a challenge.” A smile slowly spreads. “I suppose that’s why my first meeting with Kelcee sparked my interest, even though I was mad as a hornet.”

How did you end up on a ranch in Texas?

“Zane Quinlan, or ZQ as we called him, the Commander of SEAL team 5 retired after our time in Syria. His dad was dying of cancer and he returned to the family ranch to help out. Slowly, one by one, his old team members started drifting in. First was JJ, demolitions expert and dog handler. He’d adopted the team’s service dog, Nance, who’d been wounded just before me. JJ couldn’t handle the noise and social hubbub of Columbus, Ohio. He needed quiet to deal with his demons. When I landed in a high tech hospital in San Antonio after my time in Bethesda Naval Hospital, ZQ visited me the first few days, read me my favorite poetry. When he told me I was welcome to spend time at Eagle Ridge Ranch, I took him up on his offer.”

What attracts you first to a woman? You mentioned a lady named Kelcee. Is she your current love interest?

“Oh man, she’s my whole world. Curly strawberry blonde hair, a shade plump the way I like my women, and eyes that will singe your skin when she’s angry. She got upset with me the first time we met, which was in her bookstore. She’d just inherited it from her former boss and wanted to update it. ZQ thought I’d be ideal guy, with my architectural training, to come up with some ideas. Little did I know he was playing matchmaker.” Dustin scratches the back of his head. “I still don’t know what I said to fire her up like that, but she all but tossed me out of the store on my ear.” He leans his head back and laughs. “How could you not love a woman like that? Whooo, she’s got spunk. She was also in the Witness Protection Program, but that’s revealed later in the book.

 

HER SURVIVOR cover for July 20

 

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Vonnie Davis welcomes readers to Warrior Falls! In this sizzling contemporary series, broken heroes meet women worth fighting for—and discover the healing power of love.
 
Navy SEAL Dustin Franks can handle physical pain; it’s his soul that needs mending. After losing part of his leg in an explosion, the panic triggered by his PTSD nearly drives him over the edge. So Dustin retreats to the Eagle Ridge Ranch, a charming hideaway tucked into the Hill Country of Texas. There he finds solace in the arms of a beauty who reawakens desires he thought he’d lost forever—and who makes him want to lose control, just when he needs it most.

Kelcee Todd sees beyond Dustin’s scars to the real man beneath: fiercely protective, strong yet tender. She wants nothing more than to feel his battle-hardened hands on her body. However, Kelcee is not the ordinary small-town girl she appears to be. Her brother is a killer with ties to the Russian mob, and after her testimony put him in prison, he’s out and eager for revenge. Now Dustin is her best defense, even if it could cost him everything. Kelcee could never ask him to make that sacrifice . . . but she can’t stop him, either.

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EXCERPT

Kelcee didn’t know what to expect when ZQ spoke to her about his friend who was just getting out of the hospital. She anticipated someone frail. This man, with the one earpiece of his sunglasses clamped between his teeth, towered over her and had broad muscled shoulders built for hugging. Even though one large bicep bore three jagged scars, she imagined they would deliver strong hugs in return. His face was scarred on one side and no doubt he had more scars elsewhere, especially since he used a cane.

Being scarred like that would probably take him some getting used to, particularly on the face where everyone could see them. She extended her hand. “Hello, welcome to my little book nook. My name is Kelcee Todd.”

The man with short wavy, dark hair removed the shades from his mouth and tucked the one temple bar under the neckline of his t-shirt. He flicked his hat back which allowed her to take in blue eyes so serious, they seemed to read the secrets of her soul. She nearly gasped as his hand encased hers and a tingle zigzagged up her arm. “Pleased to meet you. I’m Dustin Franks. ZQ said you wanted to rearrange your place.” His voice was dark and dangerous like a thunderstorm at midnight.

“Yes.” She cleared her throat and waved her open hand around. “The original owner had things to suit him. I’d like to give the shop a fresher appeal without losing any of its charm.”

“Charm?” His gaze swept over the interior as if he were getting ready to condemn the building.

Suddenly she wasn’t so sure she liked this guy and his square jaw with the cute indentation in it. Still, she kept talking. “The layout the previous owner had isn’t the most efficient, plus I want to be able to see people as they come in.” She paused and worried her lower lip with her upper teeth for a minute. “So I can greet them as they enter.” Or see if it’s my brother or one of his men.

“You two talk. I have a book to pick up for Mom.” ZQ tugged a slip of paper from his shirt pocket. “It’s for that book club she belongs to; the one Wanda runs. Mom claims she picks the worst books to talk about.” He chuckled. “Too highbrow for her tastes. ‘Literary snobbery’ she calls it. I practically force her to go or she’d hide out on the ranch with Dad gone. She needs some social interaction.”

“This month’s selection is around the corner of this row of shelves, the middle one.” She pointed to the row and ZQ meandered off. She returned her attention to Dustin who was giving the shop some close scrutiny. His nose was scrunched as if he smelled something foul, which further ruffled her feathers. She worked hard to keep the store clean.

“This place ever been checked for termites, being so close to the water?”

“Of course! Every year.” She was more than ready to defend her shop.

“Well, that’s one thing in its favor. The building’s substructure should be evaluated for stability. What about mold?”

A haze of red lowered over her vision and her hands slapped on her hips. “Mold?”

ZQ peeked around the corner, his eyebrows raised to his hairline.

“Yeah, being so close to all that constantly flowing water would make it an ideal place for mold to grow. How old is this…” He waved his fingers around as if he were searching for the right words.

“Bookstore, Dustin,” she forced through clenched jaws. “There’s not a damn thing wrong with this building that some updating wouldn’t take care of. I drew up rough floor plans of the store. They’re to scale as best I could do. I measured the place and its windows. I’ve got it over here.”

He followed her as she stepped behind the counter at the far side of the building. “Is this where you want to keep your register and computer?”

She removed her drawing and a pad of graph paper from the shelf beneath the computer. “No. I’d like my computer where I won’t keep bumping my knees on this stupid shelf. But that would mean rewiring for the register and everything. And that sounds costly to me.”

Two weeks earlier, she’d found an envelope containing some money in a drawer under Frank’s worn stockings. Her quick call to the lawyer told her anything she found was hers.

Choosing whether to spend it on her living quarters or in the store had been a tough decision. She’d bought paint, curtains, a new mattress and box springs, and a sofa. Enough to make her new place livable and clean. Now she wished she’d saved the monetary windfall for the store. The money Frank had in the bank and her savings, she’d earmarked for future taxes and a car.

“Here’s my drawing. I had to tape four sheets of paper together.” She opened it for him to see.

Dustin stepped behind her and she noticed a slight limp and the gentle tapping of his cane. The fragrance of male soap overwhelmed her. He leaned over her and studied her version of a blueprint. “Not a bad drawing. I graduated as an architect before I joined the Navy. I couldn’t handle sitting inside in a cubicle all day. No view of the outside.”

“I know what you mean. I love those large windows that allow me to see the falls. It’s almost like being outdoors.”

“Do you want your work counter over there?” He jerked his thumb in that direction.

“Yes, but wouldn’t that make me more vulnerable to someone passing by?” Cripes, why did I say that? Now, he’ll wonder. She twisted her neck to check his reaction to her careless remark and met his blue eyes. Oh, they were something.

“Vulnerable to whom? Are there a lot of troublemakers in this little town?” His gaze had locked hard on her and his hand closed gently around her elbow. The warmth of his touch made her want to sigh, which was so silly she got a shade or two pissed with herself.

She shook her head. “I can’t say. It’s nothing, really.” She’d never have said what she did if the man touching her hadn’t rattled her so by invading her space.

“Okay, if you say so.” He removed his hand and she missed his gentle, yet almost sensual touch. “I take it these little ovals are the windows since you’ve noted their size.” He kept staring at her, or so it seemed.

She swallowed and forced her gaze to stay focused on his eyes and not drift to his scars. “Yes. And these little parenthesis thingies indicate doors. The little x’s are outlets.” She pointed to indicate what she meant.

“Well, you’re certainly thorough. I don’t see the front porch on the drawing.”

“No. It stays as is. Men come here every day to play checkers or chess. Women like the wooden rocking chairs to sit and rest a spell, listen to the falls, and gossip.”

BIO: Vonnie Davis is an award-winning, international author who likens herself to a freshly baked croissant: Warm, crusty, wrinkled, a tad flaky–and best served with strong coffee.

By day, she hunches over her laptop, bringing to life the men who strut through her dreams at night with that delightfully self-assured swagger. They end up in passion-filled contemporary and contemporary paranormal romances with a strong spice of suspense and dollops of humor.

Vonnie’s heroes are always that delightful blend of alpha male with a chewy chocolate center. And her heroines? Her heroines are feisty females, who take life’s adversities and turn them into advantages. The settings for her stories range from the Scottish Highlands to the gulf side of Florida to the hill country of Texas to her favorite city, Paris.

You may stalk Vonnie here:

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Website   Sign up for her Newsletter while you’re there. There are prizes to be won and current news of upcoming releases.

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Twitter: @VonnieWrites

Character Interview from Sarah and the Double Wedding Woes

How about you introduce yourself by providing the basics?

Sarah, Where were you raised?

I was brought to life in The Heavenlies by the Eternal Father. I stayed close to home until my first mission to Earth. Texas is the first place I’ve visited, and leaving heaven scared the willies out of me. I still get scared at times, but all you humans are nice people and I like you.

Family members?

I have no immediate relatives, but everyone in The Heavenlies is family.

Did you attend college?

Yes. I attended Angel School. The classes were difficult, but I managed to graduate. I still have a lot to learn, but my mentor, Mother Goodness is patient. She continues to give me grades on my behavior. After each mission, the Commander reviews me. He’s kind with his critique. The Father gives the Commander words of wisdom, and I’m grateful for both of them.

Are you athletic?

Are you kidding? No! I’m constantly falling down. I love red stilettos and see ladies stroll easily in them, but not me. I fly barefoot and slide off roofs when I land on them. Ugh. Earth has a hard surface. I’m accustomed to fluffy clouds.

What’s your favorite participation sport?

I suppose I’d have to say baseball, but I don’t understand the game. Gay N. Lewis, the lady who writes about me, wrote about one of my experiences at Minute Maid Park in Houston. I’d gone there to foster a relationship between Bonnie and William. They made strange comments.

Here’s the way Gay wrote about my experience. This excerpt is from Sarah and the Double Wedding Woes.

“After the National Anthem, the game started. A player threw a ball to a man crouched on the ground while another guy stood nearby with a stick on his shoulder. A hunched dude dressed in navy blue stuck a hand in the air and yelled, “Ball!”

A big fellow two aisles down from Bonnie and William stood up and shook his fist. “You stupid umpire, are you blind?”

What? Did they let blind men judge players’ actions on the field? And why did the man in the dark uniform yell ‘ball’? Wasn’t that the name of the game and the reason people came to this place? Surely they all recognized a ball when they saw one. Seriously? These humans shouted the strangest things.

William leaned toward Bonnie. “That pitcher can’t hit a barn, the way he is throwing tonight.”

“Huh?” Sarah voiced the word aloud, but no one noticed. Why would William want the guy to hit a barn? None were even in sight. No cows, horses or other animals roamed about either.

“Stay alive out there. This guy can hit.” A man screamed from behind her.

Sarah shook her head, puzzled. No one lay dead on the grass below and none of God’s death angels hovered above. All the players appeared healthy. Good grief! People thought she spoke in odd phrases. Had they ever considered some of the things they said?”

See what I mean? Baseball is difficult for me to learn. It contains strange jargon.

What do you like most about (your profession)?

I love helping men and women find relationships with each other. I also enjoy learning how humans live. I terrify myself with goof ups down here, but I don’t want to stop coming. Even though I’m insecure and clueless, I laugh at myself for the silly things I do.

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

I’m in the middle of a crazy time right now. On missions to earth, I must create human disguises. My favorite foods are cheeseburgers, fries, and chocolate malts, but my metabolism is of a heavenly nature, and weight is never an issue. At the moment, in order to help a young woman, I’ve added fifty pounds to my frame and I’m eating small portions of rabbit food. My assignment is to help Valerie transform Valerie with a magical makeover. I’m starving. This is difficult. I’ve resorted to sneaking food.  I’m also to teach her to wear makeup and dress. Merciful heavens! I make a bad choice with human female attire when I must call forth a masquerade. Goodness! My wardrobe consists of white muslin robes.  Now, I ask you, how can I do this crazy thing? Teach someone to do something I don’t know how to do?

Sarah and the Double Wedding Woes cover

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A double wedding? Was it possible?

The Superiors want Jessica and Robert to marry, but they throw in a twist–while seeing to their wedding, Sarah, Heaven’s Little Love Angel, must also find a mate for Bonnie, Jessica’s mom. Her orders are to bring about the two weddings simultaneously.

Can Sarah pull it off? Or will her clumsiness destroy two romances in one shot?

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GayNLewisA native Texan, Gay lives in a small town west of Houston.  She loves to travel and engage in artistic ventures.  Two videos she produced —The Canadian Rockies, English and Japanese translations, and Psalms from the Mountains, sold well in international markets.  Graphic skills kept her busy as a portrait photographer, and for over ten years, she used her imaginative insight in the interior design field.

Gay loves travel, writing, and reading.  As a pastor’s wife, she writes Faith Features for various church periodicals.  Her current series is about a dyslexic angel who comes to earth to help humans, but Sarah, the angel, is more like Lucy Ricardo with humorous antics and bumbles.

For more information, please go to http ://gaynlewis.com/

Read excerpts on www.prismbookgroup.com

Gay would love to have you see her video trailers and become a follower of her blog.

http://www.gaynlewis.blogspot.com

https://www.amazon.com/author/gaynlewis
www.facebook.com/GayNLewis and also on Twitter @GayNLewis2.

Sarah has her own Facebook page. Follow Sarah on Facebook@ Sarah Wingspand

What are readers saying about the Sarah series?

“…well-written and entertaining…” Amazon Reviewer

“Sarah, with all her antics is just adorable…”  Amazon Reviewer

“It’s a joyful read and appeals to all ages and personalities. Makes a wonderful gift too!” Amazon Reviewer