Category Archives: Guest Interview

Guest Interview–Christy Effinger

Welcome to an author friend from The Wild Rose Press, Christy Effinger.

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

I’m originally from Southern Indiana, but now I live in a suburb of Indianapolis with my husband and baby daughter. Books have always been my passion; I earned an MA in English and then taught for several years at a community college. I’m excited to have a book of my own in print—finally!

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

I usually start with the characters. Say Nothing of What You See began with the mental image of a woman jumping off a grain elevator, but there was another character I’d been thinking about for some time. He was intelligent and sophisticated but also controlling and jealous. I wanted to find out how these two characters were connected. And to do that, I had to write the story.

  Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

I work from a rough outline, but I’ve learned to be flexible. Often characters take me in a direction I never could have imagined. That certainly happened with Say Nothing.

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

When I wrote Say Nothing, I sometimes listened to electronica while I worked. I love chill-out, downtempo, and ambient music. Now that I have a baby, I cherish the quiet moments when I can write. But music remains an important source of inspiration.

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

Right now I’m home with my baby daughter, so I write during the day. I tend to write in short bursts when she’s napping or playing. Morning is my favorite time to work.

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

Say Nothing is a paranormal new adult novel, but my WIP is contemporary women’s fiction. I also have a historical fiction project in mind I hope to tackle one day.

In what genre do you read?

I love all kinds of books, from literary classics to commercial fiction. I also enjoy narrative nonfiction and poetry.

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BLURB:

 

When her aunt steps off a grain elevator into the emptiness of a prairie evening, Mira Piper loses her one protector. Chloe, her flighty mother, impulsively drags her daughter to Bramblewood, an isolated spiritualist retreat in northern Michigan, run by the enigmatic Dr. Virgil Simon.

 

Chloe plans to train as a medium but it’s Mira who discovers she can communicate with the dead. When her mother abandons her, Mira discovers a darker aspect to Bramblewood: the seemingly kind doctor has a sinister side and a strange control over his students.

 

Then one winter’s day Troy Farrington arrives, to fulfill his mother’s dying wish and deliver her letter to the doctor. But calamity strikes and he finds himself a captive, tended by a sympathetic Mira. Haunted by her dead aunt and desperate to escape Bramblewood, Mira makes a devil’s deal with Dr. Simon. But fulfillment comes with a steep cost…betrayal.

BUY LINKS:

The Wild Rose Press

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

EXCERPT:

 

“You are absolutely stunning, Mira.”

 

I stole another glance in the mirror. The material was a rich, shimmery gold that fell from my shoulders in folds of liquid light. It looked like something a Greek goddess might wear. Oh, how I wished the girls from Amberville High School could see me in this dress!

 

“When you came here,” said Dr. Simon, “I had a vision of you like this. I looked at the girl before me, but I saw the woman you are now.”

 

“Thank you,” I murmured, gesturing toward the piles of clothes on my bed. “You’ve been so generous. I know you’ve spent a good deal of money on me—”

 

“Money means nothing,” he interrupted abruptly. “I have more than I could ever spend, more than I know what to do with. Don’t consider the cost.”

 

His tone was brusque, and I wondered if I had offended him.

 

But the next moment Dr. Simon smiled. “I think of you as my charity case. You were like a doll thrown out in the garbage. I simply rescued you from the trash, cleaned you up, and dressed you in something decent. But the beauty was present all along.” He touched my cheek. “Here.” Then he touched my forehead. “Here.” Then he touched my chest. “And here.”

 

I knew he was referring to my heart, but even so, his hand on my chest made my face warm with discomfort.

 

“You blush so easily,” he laughed. “You’ll never be able hide anything, Mira, with such a transparent face.”

 

“That’s all right,” I said, taking a small step back. “I don’t have anything to hide.”

 

 

 Quote from a 5-star review:

 

“A tale of darkness and despair at the hands of a madman . . . fabulous reading.” –Tome Tender

Effinger Photo

BIO & CONTACTS:

Christy Effinger’s poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared in various print and online publications. She lives near Indianapolis. Her website is www.christyeffinger.com.

Author Links:

Website: http://christyeffinger.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/christyeffinger

Tumblr: http://christyeffinger.tumblr.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/christyeffinger

Goodreads: http://goodreads.com/christyeffinger

Google+: http://google.com/+christyeffinger

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/christyeffinger

 

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Guest Interview–Nancy Fraser

Welcome to Nancy Fraser, author of both contemporary and historical romance. Let’s jump right into the interview questions.

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

Yes, many. For my contemporary novels, I like to add some color by citing attractions in the city/town setting that I’ve actually experienced myself. In my vintage historical, April Love (part of my Golden Decade of Rock and Roll series), I send my H/H to Grand Cayman Island. I was there in the early sixties with my family, and those pictures (taken with an old Brownie camera) and memories are a big part of the novella.

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

Once I quit questioning my sanity at wanting to be a writer, I usually make myself a cup of coffee (I’m a certified cof-a-holic), park myself at the computer and pull up a blank document. I create a ‘very rough’ blurb for the book and two or three tweets pertaining to the WIP. I sometimes also surf the various stock photo sites for a picture of my hero or heroine. These exercises usually get my creative juices flowing again.

What was your biggest surprise in the editing process?

For my featured book, A Saved Woman, it was my editor’s insistence that I needed more conflict. Because I absolutely adore her, and respect her insight, I went back and fleshed out a couple of scenes. As always, I was happy for her suggestions. Most often, though, it’s those pesky passive phrases that trip me up. You work hard to avoid them and—somehow—they sneak in there anyway.

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

First of all, I don’t there’s anything ‘normal’ when you’re a writer. I just retired from outside employment this past December. In my cluttered brain and in a very neat spreadsheet, I had my writing plotted out for the following six months. However, s#!t happens. I lost a cousin (for whom I’m serving as executor) just a week after retirement, and my beloved writing partner in May of this year. Needless to say … my schedule quickly went the way of the green-specked deadline fairy,

When not under outside influences, my day begins early. I’m usually dressed and grasping that first cup of coffee by 8:00. I try to write at least 3-4 hours with occasional five minute breaks to stretch my legs (aka re-fill my coffee cup). After a break for lunch and social media, I get another three hours in before calling it quits for the day. I write five days a week, although not always M-F. I devote two full days to family. If my daily routine is interrupted, I try to make up the time in the evenings. Otherwise, at least one hour each evening is set aside for social media.

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

Yes, I do, several in fact. I know the ‘experts’ (whoever they are) will tell you it’s easier to build an author platform if you stick to one genre. I wish my brain worked that way. It doesn’t. In addition to western historical, I also write contemporary, vintage historical (e.g., 1950s-1960s), and have dabbled in time travel (probably my favorite of all my books). Later this year, my first borderline erotica will be released from Decadent Publishing.

As a creative person, I can’t expect my imagination to tether itself to one point in time, especially when I can’t confine the reader in me to one genre.

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

If I didn’t, I’d be lost before the end of the first chapter. I use a spreadsheet of my own design for plotting out every book I write. I often will surf the stock photo sites for images that reflect my H/H or my setting and put them on my corkboard. One of the images I purchased from an online site became the award-winning cover of my release, The Lawman’s Agreement.

For my five-book series (The McCade Legacy) set in post-Civil War Mississippi, the characters move between three different towns along the Mississippi River. I have an extensive spreadsheet devoted to keeping everything straight. No matter which town they’re in at any point in time in the series, I know the banker’s name, the owner of the mercantile, the sheriff, and even the owner of the local saloon/whorehouse.

What resources do you use for picking character names?

If I’m working on a contemporary story, I usually draw from names of people around me, my family, their friends, my friends. If I’m working with a historical setting, I’ll Google the state census for 20 years prior to the book’s setting to get a feel for both the surname and given names popular at the time.

One of my best resources (and most loved), has been the contests I’ve run where the winner got to have their name used in the next series book, and also in a couple of cases got to name one of the businesses featured in the story.

Perhaps I should do that again…soon.

A Saved Woman

BLURB

Katy Anderson has experienced more heartache than most know in a lifetime. Given to a man old enough to be her father, she has spent the past six years secluded from everyone except for her three young children. Her husband’s untimely death brings relief that … finally … she and her children are free.

When Sheriff Mitch Logan arrives at the Anderson homestead, he is moved by Katy’s sad circumstances and vows to right the wrongs done to her. Mitch has always shied away from marriage due to his dangerous profession, yet he quickly changes his mind when Katy comes into his life, and into his heart.

BUY LINKS

The Wild Rose Press

Barnes & Noble

AMAZON

EXCERPT

Katy set aside the storybook she’d been reading to the children and urged a sleepy Alice to unlatch from her breast. Happier than she could ever remember being, She laid the baby in her crib and drew the lightweight blanket up to her tiny heart-shaped chin.

A sigh of contentment flowed through Katy, the simple release calming her in a way she couldn’t describe. The past week had been like a rebirth, the start of a new life for herself and her children. She lifted two narrow logs from the basket beside the stove, her efforts halted by the sound of an approaching horse. She’d barely reached the door when Toby’s excitement rang out across the yard.

“Sheriff Mitch, Sheriff Mitch,” the boy called. “Come see the fort me and Susan built from the old rags.”

Mitchell Logan slid off his horse and started in their direction. She watched in wonder as the tall man hunkered down beside where they played. A lump formed in her throat when the usually shy Susan wrapped her arm around the sheriff’s neck and laid her head down on his shoulder.

Tobias had never shown his children such gentleness. Tobias had never beaten the children, likely because she’d always placed herself between them. However, he’d also never bothered to show interest in them or what they were doing. Her beautiful, precious children accepted their father but learned quickly to be wary of him, even at their young age.

Yet, in the span of a few short days, this total stranger had taught them trust, compassion.

Katy straightened her shoulders and silently strengthened her resolve. No man, no matter how gentle, how trustworthy, would ever come near her again. She’d allow his warmth toward her children, if only to teach them to return kindness. For herself, she wanted only his friendship, his understanding, and nothing more.

She stepped off the porch and crossed the distance between them, coming to a stop at his side. Mitch looked up at her and smiled, his dark brown eyes twinkling with humor. In no more than a heartbeat, her resolve weakened and she found herself wishing it was her head on the sheriff’s shoulder, and not Susan’s.

From a 5-star review:

Historical Romance Full of Passion

“A Saved Woman” opens with the Sheriff telling Katy her husband is dead. This story is set in 1865 and is wonderfully written. Nancy Fraser paints a neat picture of Cold Creek (a western town, and of the characters; Mitch Logan, the sheriff, and Katy Anderson, a poor mother of three). Mitch is a kind, passionate man who is great with children. Any woman would love to have him. Katy is a fragile and yet strong woman who would do anything for her kids, and swears to never let another man near her. Until Mitch. There’s a twist near the beginning I hadn’t expected. I love it when a writer adds something I don’t anticipate to their story. The romance will surely have your heart pounding, as it did mine. If you enjoy short romances with western themes, I encourage you to get to know Mitch and Katy.

BIO:

Like most authors, Nancy Fraser began writing at an early age, usually on the walls and with crayons or, heaven forbid, permanent markers. Her love of writing often made her the English teacher’s pet, which, of course, resulted in a whole lot of teasing. Still, it was worth it.

When not writing (which is almost never), Nancy dotes on her five beautiful grandchildren and looks forward to traveling and reading when time permits. Nancy lives in Atlantic Canada where she enjoys the relaxed pace and colorful people.

Social Media:

Website: www.nancyfraser.ca

Blog: http://nancyfraser.ca/wordpress/

Twitter: @nfraserauthor  http://twitter.com/nfraserauthor

FB: http://facebook.com/nancyfraserauthor

GIVEAWAY

Since I mentioned it earlier, I decided to go ahead and offer a giveaway. Here is the Rafflecopter code:

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Guest Interview–Alexa Bourne

 

Today I’m chatting with Alexa Bourne, romantic suspense author.

What’s the logline that describes your writing?

Suspense to leave you breathless, romance to soothe your soul.

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

I love reading when I have time. I also love watching sports, especially soccer and football. Oooh, and I’ll travel anywhere over the world because I love adventures

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

The music I use depends on what I’m writing. For my Scottish stories, I listen to a lot of Celtic. For my suspense scenes, I listen to metal/alternative. For a love scene, I’ll toss on love songs. For my New Year’s book, Simple Treasures, I played Christmas and New Year’s songs.

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

Yes, I have! I really love the opportunity to set stories in places I can accurately describe so my readers feel like they are really there. My full-length books are set in states I’ve lived in. So far all my novellas are set in my happy place, my favorite place in the world, the UK. Upcoming settings are Austin, TX, Mexico, and Thailand!

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

I was really surprised with how long it takes to go through my revisions. In the beginning, I would plan for a certain amount of time and then I’d always have to expand it so I could do my best job.

What’s your dream vacation destination?

I have 2 and I can’t choose just 1 to tell you! As a traveler, I’d love to visit New Zealand. It looks so beautiful there. From friends I’ve heard how different society is there and I’d love to observe it. As a writer, I would love to spend 4-6 months somewhere in Scotland. I would love to have a volunteer assignment so I can interact with the locals and then also spend a huge chunk of time writing new books set in Scotland.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

I hope my readers get an idea of what it’s like to be in other countries, maybe a country she dreams of visiting one day. I also hope readers see ordinary people in my characters and everyday courage and love.

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BLURB for Dance Away, Danger:

Sensible dance instructor Tessa Gage likes her life organized, risk-free and on her own terms. When her cop brother goes missing, his crooked partner tries to kill her, and a handsome stranger claims he’s come to protect her, she’s forced to leave her comfort zone. With more dance and business sense than survival skills and no idea who to trust, Tessa has no choice but to rely on this man who’d rather be anywhere but by her side.

When carefree carpenter Matt Rylan gets a late night call from an Army buddy who once saved his life, he finds himself where he never again wanted to be—responsible for someone else. Honor demands Matt cooperate, but he never expects his simple babysitting job to test the limits of his self-control. Nor does he expect it to explode into a race against time for his very freedom.

As Tessa and Matt get closer to the truth, and to each other, Tessa learns to step outside the safety of her world to help set the wheels of justice in motion. For Matt, supporting this courageous woman suddenly becomes everything to him.  Yet, his biggest challenge remains sharing his closed-off heart with her before the danger silences them both forever.

BUY LINKS:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

All Romance ebooks

EXCERPT

“Hammer, I’m callin’ in a favor.”

Matt Rylan tightened his grip on his cell phone. Hammer. No one had called him that in three years, not since his friendship with Jason Gage had drifted apart.

“Jason?”

A strained sigh pushed through the phone line. “You remember.”

Matt gritted his teeth and crushed his lucky fishing hat in his fist. “Did you doubt I would?”

“Truthfully? Yeah. It’s been a while.”

He tossed his cap into the half-filled suitcase sitting in the center of the unmade bed. “What’s up?” he asked, like it hadn’t been years since they’d spoken. From the dresser, he grabbed the plane ticket he’d reserved two weeks before. The one he’d sacrifice tomorrow because Jason had called to collect a debt. And regardless of what his old friend wanted, Matt couldn’t say no to the man who’d saved his life on a battlefield in a far-off country most Americans didn’t know existed.

“My sister, Tessa….” Jason began.

“What about her?”

Jason had shared stories of the teenager during breaks between missions. Their parents’ death in a car wreck had hit her especially hard, which was understandable, but soon after, Jason couldn’t shake her. She became a clingy, paranoid pain in the ass. Jason had to take care of everything for her while he was in high school. Apparently, she hadn’t learned to do anything for herself since.

Matt shuddered at the thought of someone clinging to him like that. He’d willingly surrendered those burdens when he signed on with Uncle Sam and left his permanently discontented sisters to their husbands.

Jason ripped something and let loose a string of vicious swear words. “I need you to protect her.”

Matt’s stomach muscles clenched like a vice grip around a two-by-four. He’d been a contractor since he got out of the Army, taking care of buildings instead of people, which was exactly how he wanted it.

“What kind of trouble is she in?” He tossed the plane ticket into the suitcase and concentrated on his buddy’s words.

“Not her. It’s all me.” Jason wheezed and coughed. “Tell me you’ll do it.”

“What about the cops?”

“I’m not…sure which ones I…can trust.”

Matt straightened at the urgency in his one-time friend’s voice. He’d left soldiering, left responsibility, in his past where it belonged. He’d carved a sweet life for himself, working when he wanted and taking off when he damn well pleased. He answered to no one.

“Come on, Hammer. I got nobody else.” Jason gasped in between words.

A cheer erupted from the TV as Matt returned to the living room. Which of the teams had scored?

No way could he say no. Man, he was a fool. “I’m in.”

 

Bio:

Alexa Bourne is a teacher by day and a romance writer by nights, weekends, and all school holidays. She also teaches online classes for writers throughout the year. She writes romantic suspense and contemporary romance and is thrilled to have the chance to share her stories with readers everywhere.

When she’s not concocting sinister plots and steamy love scenes or traveling and exploring new cultures, Alexa spends her time reading, watching brainless TV, and thinking about exercising. Okay, she also spends way too much time interacting with readers and writers on social media sites. But don’t tell her editors! Find out more about her and her books on her website, www.alexabourne.com.

http://alexabourne.com/cuan-macdougall-pub/
https://twitter.com/AlexaBourne
http://www.facebook.com/AuthorAlexaBourne
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5818611.Alexa_Bourne

Guest Interview–Julie B. Cosgrove

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

I am a native Texan, widowed at the age of 58, who majored in religion and has always been a bookworm. My faith is the most important thing in my life. To be given the humbled honor to write about my Lord and have that touch others in a way that strengthens their faith still amazes me daily.

As a freelance writer, I write devotionals and inspirational articles for several publications and websites. I’ve also authored three Bible studies. I lecture to church groups and lead retreats. But fiction is my passion. Our Lord told stories, because people relate to stories. Each of my novels contains characters with real struggles and doubts, but through the process God helps them discover something in their lives worth redeeming.

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

Reading and word games/puzzles. I also enjoy observing nature and the wonderful variety of creation in plants, birds and animals.

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

Plot, though it evolves around my characters’ life struggles and eventual discovering of God’s mercy and grace at work in their lives. I want people to identify with my characters, but in less they can dive into their lives through the plot, I don’t believe they will see my characters three dimensionally. Our experiences and our reactions to them define us greatly.

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

Freestyle. I let the creative juices flow and am constantly surprised where God directs my story- always to better plots than my own brain could conjure up. Then I go back and edit, edit, edit to polish it.

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

In 1994, when I’d reached a very dry point in my life, a friend suggested Christian radio. I listened for thirty days, and never went back, except an occasional deviation into Bach or Handel. Gosh, has it really been twenty years? Wow. Music is how I get my worship on, which is my Lord’s and my private joke because the radio is the only thing I have talent to play. Whenever I feel I’m starting to sink, Christian music lifts me back into His hands. But I write in total silence, probably more than not. Stems back to my bookworm in the library days, I guess. That’s where I studied the best.

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

Yes, many of them. However, I also had the honor to freelance write for a travel site for two years and my assignments were to help people visualize the locations. That has helped my scene-setting immensely. I research until I can put myself there—walk the streets, smell the foods and flowers, and see the people. Thank the Lord for the vastness of the internet!

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

I am blessed to work part-time as a church secretary, and they allow me to write when things slow down. But I seem to have “writing cravings” as if God is beckoning me to carve out time to pray and create. In those times, my fingers fly over the keyboard for hours, even skipping meals and sleep. (Not at work, though!)

In what genre do you read?

I love suspense and cozy mystery. Always have, from the age of eleven on. In fact, most of my Netflix list is murder mysteries as well. I am just not at the point to where I can murder any of my own characters…maybe down the road

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

I am a total cat person. I have had cats all my life. I have two and they are my joy. They have made widowhood so much easier. To have another heartbeat to talk to when I get home is so nice. Few things are more soothing than a purring cat on your lap. I call them my “beasty boys.”

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

In all my writing, fiction and non-fiction, there is one underlying theme- the fact that God breaks through the mundane, everyday life in a broken world to reach out and show us His vast love for us. Thus my blog – Where Did You Find God Today? It always amazes me how God chooses to communicate with us. I want my readers to discover it for themselves. From the beginning of creation, God’s greatest desire has been to be with His children. Jesus came and walked among us for just that reason. It is also why He died for each of us.

Hush In The Storm

Blurb /Synopsis:

Jen, a young widow floundering in the storm of mourning, whose only lifeline is her humdrum job, is tossed into a maze of deceit and intrigue by a coworker named Tom…at the request of her late husband, or so Tom says. He kidnaps her and fakes her death to keep her safe from the cartel who he thinks caused her husband’s “accident.” Together, they are thrust into a tempest of danger and deceit where no one is whom they claim to be. The list of people Jen can believe in keeps diminishing. Who can she trust while dodging the Feds, human traffickers and the press who’ve discovered she’s alive? How will Jen rescue the two held-captive girls she befriends without drowning them, Tom, and herself in the waves of betrayal, especially when she’s begun to suspect her husband may not be as dead as everyone thinks..

Genre: Christian contemporary suspense romance

Publisher: Prism Book Group

BUY LINKS

AMAZON

BARNES & NOBLE

to learn more, visit Julie’s website

To add to your Want To Read list on Goodreads

Excerpt:

An eerie thought pressed a clammy hand upon my shoulder. What if all you thought was true never actually was?

Widowed unexpectedly at thirty-one, I naturally longed for what could never be again. Regrets and what-if mantras swirled daily through my mind. I’d learned to push them aside. But this sudden, unsolicited notion surged an icy-hot chill through my body.

My logical side chided me. Don’t be silly, Jen. Of course it was true. The diamond band on my left hand glimmered with proof. Robert had cherished me, married me, spent five loving years with me…that one night didn’t mean a thing.

I shuddered off the question and leaned in to review the balance sheets my boss had emailed.

But the bizarre suggestion whispered once more in the back of my thoughts just loud enough to keep me from concentrating. The numbers on the page became muddled gibberish. I closed my eyes, sucked in a breath, and tried to focus.

I fiddled with the little gold cross I always wore around my neck, more out of habit than any indication of piety. I hadn’t perched in a pew in years, except for our wedding day and at Robert’s funeral. But after the latest in the series of sympathizers walked away, I seethed a semi-prayer under my breath. “Dear Lord. Please. Why can’t everyone just leave me alone?”

I had a job to do. The report was due first thing in the morning. I had to concentrate on the now. Besides, I never wanted to hear the eggshells crack as well-meaning colleagues tiptoed around my mourning. I was stronger than that, at least in public.

One by one, the other workspaces emptied. The buzz of office machines and human chatter diminished until the only sound was the soft hum from the fluorescent lights and the tick of the office clock, like a steady heartbeat.

At last, a welcomed solitude settled around me in a thick hush. In fact, it was too quiet. I tapped my pencil, then my foot, to dispel it.

A short, high-pitched ding pierced the silence.

My heart jumped into my throat. The elevator? The bottom right-hand side of my computer screen flashed 6:05 p.m. It was too early for the janitorial staff. None of the executives or customers ever ventured down to this dingy basement department with no windows and stale, recycled air.

I swallowed. “Who’s there?”

Tom stepped out of the elevator, then pushed open the glass door with the stenciled white lettering proclaiming the owners of this windowless dungeon—Abernathy & Smith Accounting Firm.

“Hey, Jen. Still at it?”

My heart slid back into place.

My jaw set, making a dental impression in my now tasteless chewing gum. Of all people to show up after hours, why Tom? Those piercing blue eyes unnerved me. Many times over the past few weeks, I’d find his gaze on me. And now, he and I were the only ones left in the department.

I wanted him to leave—and for these numbers to make sense so I could do the same. I also wanted my life back, but I wasn’t about to discuss that with him, or anyone else for that matter.

“Back away from it for the night, Jen. It’s time to go.”

His voice took on an authoritative tone. A hint of brogue, no doubt leftover from some forgone ancestor, twirled the last word on his tongue. They called his type the black Irish—dark hair, crystal blue eyes. Right now his windows into the soul darkened to a deep, steel gray. Stern. Inflexible. Like my eighth-grade biology teacher’s stare when I hadn’t paid attention in class, again. That sort of look always made me buckle.

Bob’s Burgers is close.”

Cholesterol-clogging comfort food did sound good. I grabbed my purse off the back of my chair. “Okay.” I raised my finger. “But we’ll go Dutch.”

“Whatever.”

“Well…” I glanced to the office wall clock. 6:15. My stomach responded with a silent rumble to remind me I hadn’t stopped for lunch. I loathed eating alone and didn’t feel like whipping up something at home. Even eating with Tom was better than the alternatives. “The janitors will be here in a bit anyway. Can’t concentrate with them vacuuming, emptying the trash bins…”

I sighed and dug into my purse. “Where are my keys?”

Tom dangled them in front of my nose. “Left ’em on your desk. But, we should take my car.”

I shook my head and opened my palm, fingers cupped. “Uh, no. We shouldn’t.”

“Your choice.” He exhaled through his nostrils, plopped the keys into my hand, and then texted something into his cell phone. I noticed his jaw twitch as he slipped his phone back into his jacket.

Was it me, or had his mood taken a dark turn? Had I ruffled his male feathers by insisting we go in separate cars and pay Dutch? I made an attempt to smooth things over. “Thanks for the offer, though.”

“I was just trying to save you…”

I touched his arm. “Tom, I don’t need saving.”

One side of his mouth stretched into a smirk. “You sure?”

5-star Review comments 

“Suspense and romance touches the shadowy underworld of human trafficking. A recent widow is kidnapped and her death faked, supposedly for her own good. But if she’s really a widow, why does she keep hearing her husband’s voice? Julie B. Cosgrove weaves a tale that both shocks and informs.  Hush in the Storm will keep you reading late into the night.” Mary Hamilton, author of the best selling Rustic Knoll Bible Camp Series

“Hush in the Storm by Julie B. Cosgrove is a tough but compelling read about a woman spirited away into the darkness and harsh reality of human trafficking. In addition to her terror and confusion over this split-second turn in her life is the unspeakable horror that perhaps someone very close to her is involved in her nightmare. This is a page-turner that will not only entertain but also inform and educate on a topic relevant to our time and culture.” Kathi Macias  (www.kathimacias.com) is an award-winning writer of more than 40 books, including Deliver Me from Evil.

J Cosgrove

BIO

Julie B. Cosgrove is a freelance writer, professional speaker and published author. She is a member of Advanced Writers & Speakers Association, American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Authors Network, North Texas Christian Writers, The Christians Writers Group Two, and Christian Writers Fellowship International.

She represents Women at Risk International, a Christian missionary group who sponsor safe houses for women and children snatched from human trafficking and slavery in 13 countries and is actively involved in Prayer For Freedom, a nonprofit anti-trafficking ministry.

Julie has authored three contemporary faith-based novels. Focused, set in the Texas Hill Country, which follows a woman’s journey to find God in her empty nest, was released in 2012. She is working on the other two novels in that trilogy, Grounded and Rooted. The sequel to Hush in the Storm, Legitimate Lies, launches through Prism Book Group in early 2015.

Author Links:

http://www.juliebcosgrove.com

http://Wheredidyoufindgodtoday.com

FB: https://www.facebook.com/juliebcosgrove.tx

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/JulieBCosgrove

Giveaway-  3 Kindle or Nook versions ( commenter’s choice) emailed

Story Inspiration for Stone Of Destiny

Behind the scenes with Stone of Destiny by Mary L. Ball

Wouldn’t it be great if we could look ahead and see our destiny?  There are fortunetellers who claim that for a price they can tell you what lies ahead. Most of it’s lucky guessing and common knowledge which statically fits 95% of all individuals.

What if an object could change the outcome of our future? People everywhere would struggle to get hold of any item-if they thought it would clear the path to a carefree life.

The truth is there is no way of looking into a crystal ball and knowing what you’ll be doing five years from now and I’ve never known a rabbit’s foot to guaranteeing that life will be a bed of roses. Think about it, the rose is a beautiful soft flower, but the stem has thorns. At times, we all face an unpleasant situation and wish there was a magic potion for problems. Some of us have an   inclination to hold onto sentimental objects, and place our dreams around them. YA fantasy books portray many of those imagines.

One day I passed by my oldest grandson reading a fantasy book. I glanced at it and immediately thought. I need to write about a different kind of magic, a divine guidance that comes from faith and trust. Over the next few days Stone of Destiny was born.

The novel focuses on a sapphire ring and the importance it plays in a family’s life. I choose this symbol because the dark-blue gem is my birthstone. Once the manuscript was submitted to Prism Book Group and the edits began, I began to second-guess the story.

Does it really fit the message I want to convey?

Have I been true to myself while writing this book?

As I pondered those questions Joan, the editor-in-chief of Prism Book Group emailed and said, “Mary, have you researched the Christian meaning of the sapphire stone?” She sent me a link to follow.  I hadn’t check out anything about the sapphire, but as I read the information, I smiled. The words, “the sapphire symbolizes mental clarity, faithfulness and truth,” explained the underlining plot of my story.  When I continued, the explanation said, “The sapphire is often called the stone of destiny,” I knew that once again, the Lord used someone to answer my concerns and that the fictional story should be told.

StoneofDestiny bigger-001 (Mobile) (Custom)

Stone of Destiny blurb:

 Taylor Harrison has given up on everything but her work. The youngest CEO of Mugful’s Beverage Company, her life is complete. That is, until her grandmother asks her to oversee renovations at the family home and find the missing heirloom.

 First contact with what she believes is an insignificant ring, lost for fifty years, sends her life spinning. Taylor experiences strange dreams. Feelings surface; she doesn’t understand; thoughts that should remain unspoken, voiced. 

 Taylor’s emotional journey begins, testing a heart as cold as the ring itself.

  Is this a fairy-tale or her soul, reaching out for a life she can only find through faith and trust in God?  

Amazon.com: Stone of Destiny eBook: Mary L Ball: Books

Mary Ball

Bio-

Mary L. Ball lives in North Carolina and writes Christian fiction novels blended with romance to encourage readers to see the wonder of love and divine mercy.

When she’s not working on her latest story, she enjoys fishing, reading, and singing with her husband.

Readers can connect with her on Face Book and Twitter. https://twitter.com/inspires4mary

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Inspirational-author-Mary-L-Ball/200478210087932?ref=hl

Guest Interview–Jennifer DeCuir

Welcome to Crimson Romance author Jennifer DeCuir who is my guest today and has lots of share.

What’s the logline that describes your writing?

Visit Scallop Shores – Fall in love in a small town. Small town contemporary… that’s me.

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

I love to crochet and I have the yarn hoard to prove it. Baby items are my favorite to make and give as shower gifts. My kids’ teachers get crocheted gifts every year.

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

I concentrate best if there are no words. I prefer movie soundtracks. I love “Concerning Hobbits” from Lord of the Rings, the Game of Thrones opening theme song, Last of the Mohicans music – I even have some from Frozen (just not “Let it Go”). I’ve tried Enya and Loreena McKinnett but it just throws off my focus, no matter how beautiful the music.

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

I hit the shower. Seriously, there is something about the water drumming down that brings me my best “aha” moments. I have an Aqua Notes notepad and pencil in the shower stall to make sure I can write it all down as soon as it pops into my head.

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

I’ve never had the nerve to write anything but contemporary romance, but I have a nugget of an idea for a series of paranormal books, each focusing on a different mythological creature. It’s percolating.

What’s your dream vacation destination?

Ahhh… Ireland. Anywhere in Ireland, really. And for as long as I can stay. Have I ever been? Nope. It’s still just a dream.

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

Yes! Pinterest is invaluable in helping me picture my characters, my town, everything I need. When I was writing Five of Hearts and was picturing a young Chris Hemsworth as Dean Patterson, my husband went out and bought me a large Thor action figure. He stood on my desk every day while I wrote that book. I have a drawing of a fairy that my daughter made when she was five years old, that was the start of Drawn to Jonah.

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

I LOVE pets! Currently we have two cats and a rescue pup named Luna.

 What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

The warm fuzzies. Seriously, I’m not trying to solve world issues or presume to teach lessons. I just want my readers to have a chance to check out for a little while… leave their troubles behind and just relax and enjoy a fun story with a guaranteed happily-ever-after.

Those are the questions Linda has graciously provided. I welcome any others you’d love answered. Leave your questions in the comment section and I will answer them asap. Thanks so much!

Praise from a 5-star review…

“I set out for a relaxing afternoon of reading and ended up on a rollercoaster of emotion. I feel as if I now have a motley crew of friends, that range from open and vulnerable to cantankerous. Taking the step outside of Scallop Shores made me miss it more than I thought I would.”

Wynter's Journey

BLURB:

A childhood promise brings Wynter and Sam together again after tragedy ripped them apart over ten years earlier.  Fate has given him a second chance to tell her how he feels.  This time he’s not going to run.

EXCERPT:

Now came the hard part. Sam wasn’t expecting her. More to the point, he’d been avoiding her for the last twelve years. She knew the reception she’d get wouldn’t be a welcome one. But that was okay. She had her trump card—a promise Sam had made years ago. Her baby’s future depended on him honoring that promise. Her means of escape having driven away, Wynter took a deep breath and knocked at the big red door.

She shuffled her feet, wishing she’d had enough money to purchase a thick pair of winter boots for her impromptu cross-country adventure. Okay, to be fair, there really hadn’t been much time. One minute she held a one-way ticket to Florida, purchased by her parents, the next she had changed her destination, and hopefully, the overall direction of her life.

At one time, too long ago for her taste, Sam had been her rock, one of her closest friends and someone she could go to in a moment of crisis. Now Wynter was newly widowed, about to raise a baby on her own. She could no longer afford the apartment she had shared with her husband in California. And, at thirty years old, she was forced to consider moving back in with her parents—an option she’d desperately like to avoid. If ever there was a moment of crisis, this was it.

Why wasn’t Sam answering the door? Wynter’s eyes flew to the curtain-covered window beside the door, looking for movement. Did he know who was out there? Had he seen the ugly green and orange cab pull up and dump out the last person on Earth that he expected to see? Was he hiding on the other side of the door, willing her to turn around and walk the five miles or so to town?

Well, it wasn’t going to happen. Wynter swallowed hard, past the lump forming in her throat. Her Sam wouldn’t leave her out on his doorstep to freeze. His mom had raised him right. Even if he didn’t want her there, he’d invite her in to warm up and rest. She rubbed her arms and stamped her sneakered feet. He wasn’t here. She hadn’t even considered that option.

A little bit wildly now, she paid closer attention to her surroundings. The next house over was barely visible through the spindly winter-bare trees on the other side of the road. Sam’s covered porch offered little in the way of protection from the wind. Fear clawing at her throat, Wynter eyed the glass windows and pondered how she might break in. But any rocks were buried beneath at least a foot of snow, and the only furniture on the porch was a swing, attached to the shingled roof with thick chains.

She crumpled onto the swing, defeat sapping the rest of her strength. Making herself as small as possible, she huddled against the cold wood, tears stinging the backs of her eyelids. Her idea had been to ask Sam for a place to stay, temporarily. She knew, through his sister, that he lived alone. She’d intended to look for a job, something she could walk to until she saved up enough for a beater car. Choking on a sob, Wynter realized the futility of her hastily made plans.

She hadn’t counted on Sam living in the boonies. She wasn’t sure where the actual town was, or if there was even the possibility of a job. Wynter was so desperate to stay independent, to keep her domineering parents from taking over her life and the raising of her child that she’d run to the one person she could think of.

“Where are you, Sam? I need you.” And the tears that had threatened from the moment the cab started to creep deeper and deeper into no-man’s land finally caught up with her.

Hunching into her thick parka and pulling her knees up as best she could, Wynter tucked herself into the swing and gave in to the hopelessness that she could no longer hold at bay. Wrapping her arms protectively around the life that grew inside her, she started to cry.

 

BUY LINKS:

Buy links for Wynter’s Journey:

Crimson Romance: http://www.adamsmediastore.com/wynters-journey

Amazon: http://amzn.to/Qlv4cG

B & N: http://bit.ly/1m2yOxy

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/wynters-journey/id841057559?mt=11

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/wynter-s-journey

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Jennifer_DeCuir_Wynter_s_Journey?id=SlsXAwAAQBAJ

Jennifer DeCuir

BIO:

Jennifer DeCuir lives in the Pacific Northwest where sunshine is at a premium and coffee is a must. Her crazy family keeps her hopping and provides an endless supply of writing ideas. Chocolate keeps her sane.

Author web contact links:

Website: www.jenniferdecuir.com

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/HdgQXi

Twitter: http://bit.ly/160UYHt

Pinterest: http://bit.ly/1aE8XBg

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1k35SPl