2023-03-21

Romance Writers Weekly ~ Dogs or Cats? ~ #LoveChatWrite



 This week, on the Romance Writers Weekly blog hop, we're asked the question: "Dogs or cats? Or other choices. Or no pets? Pictures please. And how does that help your writing?"

I think the answer to the first part of this question should simply be, "Yes!" 

I love animals. Pretty much all of them. I think by inclination I'm a cat person, but it's been a while since I've had a cat that actually belonged to me. The cats in the picture below were some of the "community cats" (what used to be called feral) that used to hang out on our deck when we lived in Vallejo. It was just like having cats, except you couldn't ever pet them.






 


























For the last twelve or so years my heart's been held by these cuties. And, luckily for me, they're ALL ABOUT the petting.


























And how can you not love those faces? 

I don't know that they actually do help with my writing. Actually, they're all pretty distracting. Although, I suppose, since I recently finished a story featuring a shifter that was half cougar, half wolf, I might have drawn from experience with dogs and cats? 

Not that it matters. I can't imagine a life without pets. To quote Chief Seattle, "If all the beasts were gone, men would die from a great loneliness of spirit."

Now, hop on over to Leslie Hachtel's page and learn what type of pets she has (or doesn't have!). And don't forget to check out her book, Stay With Me.  



Two women. Years apart. Linked by common experience and a cottage that has survived since the Civil War. When Rebecca reaches out from the past, Evelyn finds it life changing.

And in their own times, each must discover strength and fight to find and keep true love.

And now FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY -

On Sale for $.99.











Love is in the Air

A Limited Edition Second Chance Romance Collection


Sometimes we don't get it right the first time around. That's why life gives us second chances.

This limited edition romance collection features 20+ stories of hope, happy ever afters, and the second chances it took to get there.

In this collection you will find stories of second chances at love and life as our heroes and heroines embark on life changing journeys, whether changing careers or moving half way across the globe.

About the collection:

All NET Author proceeds are being pledged to Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the highest rated breast cancer organization in the United States and largest private funder of breast cancer research worldwide.


Includes my Games We Play story, White Elephant Gift Exchange


Available for Pre-Order now!

https://books2read.com/loveisintheair

2023-03-17

Irish Bar Scene from Two Truths and a Lie

 




















The first Games We Play trilogy (the wild geese)  feature three cousins from an extended Irish American family who are running a haunted hotel and--of course--an Irish bar.  The third book, Two Truths and a Lie is set partially ON St Patrick's Day, although the scene in the excerpt below takes place a few weeks earlier. Enjoy!

“Do you come here often?”

Startled, Brenda turned her head to observe the man who’d just slipped onto the bar stool next to her. Max. Her heart gave an odd little leap. What’s he doing here? It was only five days since his last visit, and she hadn’t expected to see him again for another week. Her heart insisted he’d come back early because of her. But she tried never to assign too much weight to that organ of faulty logic. Her heart had steered her wrong before.

She scanned his face, drinking in the sight of him, cataloging everything she saw—from his copper-colored hair and neatly trimmed beard, to his eyes like faded denim, and that odd smile she’d grown used to seeing—the one that made him look like he was hiding a secret sorrow—and made a snap decision.

“No,” she answered. “This is my first time.”

Max frowned in confusion. “What did you say?”

“I said, I’ve never been here before in my life. You?”

His blue eyes widened a bit in surprise. “Oh, uh…yeah, I’ve been here a few times, I guess.”

“Really? That’s wonderful. I love a man with experience. Maybe you can give me a tour sometime?”

Interest flared in his eyes as he smiled. “It would be my pleasure.”

Oh yes, it would. Brenda held out her hand. “I’m Donna, by the way. Donna Van.”

“Donna? Oh. Very cute.”

“Thank you. And you are?”

“I’m Ma—Mike. Pleased to meet you, Donna. May I buy you a drink?”

“Yes, thanks.” Brenda pushed her barely tasted chardonnay aside as “Mike” signaled to the bartender. “So, Mike, what brings you to Atlas Beach—business or pleasure?”

“Well, Donna, if you must know…I’m here for a conference.”

“Oh, me too!” Brenda feigned surprise as she laid a hand on Max’s arm and inquired, “The Pipefitters Union? I think it’s going to be very stimulating experience—all those pipes and fittings. I understand there’s a demonstration on coupling coming up as well. I’m really excited.”

Max choked back a laugh. Before he had a chance to answer, Kristy had come over in answer to his wave. “Can I get you something?”

“Yes, I’ll have a Guinness, please,” he told her. “And the lady…” He glanced at Brenda inquiringly, but she was already shaking her head. “No?”

“No. Kristy, can you bring us a couple of Car Bombs?”

Kristy’s eyebrows shot up. “You want what now?”

“Irish Car Bombs.”

“You’re kidding. Do you even know what you’re doing?”

“Uh…ordering drinks?”

“Stop it. You know what I’m talking about. That damn boggart’s gonna be—”

“Kristy,” Brenda snapped, cutting her friend off before she said something they’d both regret. “Let’s not go there now. Okay? And, yes, by the way, I know exactly what I’m doing.”

“Well, I don’t,” Max protested. “What’s going on? What the hell is a car bomb?”

“They’re disgusting,” Kristy assured him. “Trust me, you’re not missing anything.”

Brenda waved dismissively. “Oh, stop it. They’re not that bad. Besides they’re an Irish tradition.”

Kristy snorted in derision. “They fucking are not.”

Brenda sighed. Of course they weren’t. But Donna, who was a bit of an airhead, would probably think they were. She waggled two fingers at Kristy. “Two, please.”

“It’s your funeral,” Kristy muttered as she moved away. “I just hope your cousin never finds out.”

“What did she mean by that?” Max asked after Kristy left. “What doesn’t she want your cousin to know?”

Brenda pursed her lips. She hadn’t planned for Donna to have a cousin. And they were breaking character by talking about Luke. “I suppose she doesn’t want Luke to know what we’re drinking. Some people find the name offensive.”

“Can I assume Luke is among them?”

“Well, yes, that was her point. I’ve heard rumors that he’s thrown people out when they’ve tried to order them.”

Laughter glinting in his eyes, Max asked, “And are you by any chance trying to get me thrown out? I suppose that’s one way to ensure that your cousin doesn’t speak to me again.”

“Don’t be silly, Mike; why would I do something like that? We’ve only just met. Besides, I don’t even have a cousin.”

“Right. Sorry, I wasn’t thinking. So the Car Bombs. ‘Not that bad’ is hardly a raging endorsement. Why are we doing this? Is there an upside to them that I’m missing?”

“Well, they’re very strong, for one thing. They’re made with beer, whiskey, and Irish cream liqueur.”

“Mixed together? Jesus, I’m starting to see Kristy’s point. Are you sure it’s just the name your cousin objects to?”

“I told you. I don’t have a cousin. And, anyway, taste isn’t as much of a factor as you might think. You have to drink them fast—before they curdle. They’re not meant to be savored.”

“Mmm. Appetizing. Sounds like a good way to get drunk.”

“Why, yes, Mike. Yes, it does.”

A slow smile curved Max’s lips as understanding gradually dawned on him. “Ohhh, I get it. Why, Ms. Donovan, are you trying to get me drunk?”

“So I can take you back to my room and have my wicked way with you? It’s a distinct possibility.”





Games We Play
 The Wild Geese Trilogy 

 Book a stay the Wild Geese Inn, where love is rekindled, friends become lovers, trust is rediscovered and the fun never ends! ​ A quirky, family-owned resort on the Jersey Shore is the setting for this erotic, lightly paranormal series. 

Cousins Brenda, Luke and Gwyn are determined to turn their failing hotel business around. They have no time for love. They're in no mood for games. But it's not going to matter. Not when they're up against a handful of ghosts, a mischievous boggart, a family curse, and destinies written in stone. ​ 

The Games We Play trilogy. Three books that prove that holiday fun doesn't begin or end in December!

2023-03-14

Romance Writers Weekly ~ Who Would You Be Friends With?" ~ #LoveChatWrite



 This week, on the Romance Writers Weekly blog hop, the question is, "If you could be friends with anyone who is alive today, who would you choose and why?"

Hmm. I'm not actually sure how to answer this one, to be honest. I'm pretty happy with the friends I have and can't really think of anyone famous (I assume that's what the question is implying) who I feel any real desire to add to my life. Maybe it's an introvert thing? Or maybe it's because the world is still so weird. 

Making friends right now (something I've had to do, since I've recently moved halfway across the country) feels like walking through a field of land mines. When every opinion shared is a potential bomb, set to blow the world a little more apart, I'm not feeling up to the risk. 

Now, hop on over to Leslie Hachtel's page where, hopefully, she'll have a better answer for you.  And be sure to check out her book, Murder Most Notorious




A beautiful homicide detective and a sexy cold case guy have to team up to find a vicious ax-wielding killer. Brutal murders have shocked the city and all the evidence points to a twin sister once thought dead. So many twists and turns in this action packed romantic thriller you might get dizzy. And so much passion.

An erotic, Celtic Fantasy menage romance (m/m/f) set in Nineteenth Century Ireland and featuring two sexy tree-shifters and the woman who loves them both.

Twice each year, Aine Murphy ventures into the woods to hold ceremonies to honor the Oak King and the Holly King, never dreaming these Lords of the Forest could be anything more than myth. When the legends spring to life in front of her, how can she help but fall for the sexy demi-gods she's loved all her life? 


 From midwinter to midsummer, Fionn O'Dair rules the Greenworld as the Oak King--a role he feels is beyond his abilities, and one that dooms him to a loveless future, forever craving the one man he can never allow himself to have. How can he resist what Aine offers--the sweet devotion that soothes his aching soul, and the slim chance to live a "normal" life as her husband, if only for half a year? 


 Holly King Kieran Mac Cuilenn never desired a human lover--until now. Seeing Fionn and Aine together fills him with longing for the love he threw away and awakens feelings he thought he'd buried with the last Oak King. Is there enough magic in the solstice to correct the mistakes he made years ago? Or is he doomed to be forever left out in the cold?


*previously released as "The Oak King"

2023-03-07

Romance Writers Weekly ~ Indulge Yourself ~ #LoveChatWrite



 This week, on the Romance Writers Weekly blog hop, we're continuing the self-care theme. At least, that's how I'm choosing to interpret this week's question which is, "What is your favorite indulgence? A spa day, an outdoor adventure, a glass of wine after a long day?"

I'm going to shock y'all and go with a simple answer. Give me the wine, baby. I am allll about that. Last week, for my birthday, my son and daughter in law treated me to a trip to a somewhat local winery called The Rhinory. They have a rhinoceros you can get to know--and touch, which was super cool. And some pretty good wines, as well. 

One of my dreams is to live on a winery--just a small one, I'm not greedy. So, a nice glass of something interesting at the end of the day...or, you know, the middle...that's definitely my idea of indulging myself. Of course, bubble baths are good too...

Now, hop on over to Jenna Da Sie's page  and find out how she indulges herself.  

Love is in the Air

A Limited Edition Second Chance Romance Collection


Sometimes we don't get it right the first time around. That's why life gives us second chances.

This limited edition romance collection features 20+ stories of hope, happy ever afters, and the second chances it took to get there.

In this collection you will find stories of second chances at love and life as our heroes and heroines embark on life changing journeys, whether changing careers or moving half way across the globe.

About the collection:

All NET Author proceeds are being pledged to Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the highest rated breast cancer organization in the United States and largest private funder of breast cancer research worldwide.


Includes my Games We Play story, White Elephant Gift Exchange


Available for Pre-Order now!

https://books2read.com/loveisintheair

2023-02-28

Romance Writers Weekly ~ Self Care ~ #LoveChatWrite



 This week's question of the week, on the Romance Writers Weekly blog hop, is:"How do you take care of yourself? What do you do to practice self-care?"

Is "Not well." an answer? Because I kind of suck at self-care. I know that yoga, meditation, journaling, and eating whole (non-processed) foods are all things that I should be doing, and I do feel better when I can keep up with any of them. But let's be real: they don't happen often enough.

I was doing really good before 2020 threw me off-track and honestly, I'm not sure I'll ever find my way back. In the meantime...or, for now...or for the foreseeable future, I'm having to make do with bubble baths and the occasional wine-fueled gabfest with author friends. 

I do get out in nature on a not-too-regular basis, and I may take up beekeeping, which I've deluded myself into thinking will be a healthy pursuit. We'll see how that goes. 

Now, hop on over to Brenda Margriet's page and read about her self-care practices. Bet they'll be better than mine! Also, be sure to check out her book, Richly Deserved.




More than twenty years ago, Claudia Aronson escaped an abusive marriage. She built a secure, stable life, and is now only weeks away from realizing a long-held dream—opening her own art gallery. But her well-ordered world is threatened by the compelling, abrasive man essential to bringing her new venture into the spotlight.

Artist Titus Wilcox is reclusive, nomadic, and passionate. His solitary, drifting habits have fed his creative soul, but played hell with his love life. Soon after he meets the statuesque, seemingly-serene Claudia, however, he feels a compulsion to paint a new reality—with her.


When an antique painting reveals mysterious documents concealed behind its frame, Titus and Claudia unite in a hunt for lost riches—a pursuit that takes them into the remote hills surrounding the fabled gold rush town of Barkerville.


To these two skeptics, true love is as phony as fool’s gold. But this improbable search for buried treasure could lead to their hearts’ hidden desires.


(Claudia and Titus both 49)


You can buy it here: https://books2read.com/u/3yegNZ









Christmas Angel 
Being fully transparent is good for a relationship, right?
Well, maybe not when it’s literal.


Christmas Angel is a second-chance romance with a celestial twist. Jake’s been sent back to earth to mend fences with his ex. Or has he? Certainly Tony doesn’t seem to think so. 


Tony might have ninety-nine problems—and then some—between dealing with his meddlesome family AND running the family business (a Christmas tree farm in rural Texas) but he's pretty sure that playing catch-up with his ex-husband isn’t supposed to be one of them. It’s a little hard to imagine what kind of future the two of them could have when only one of them is alive.


Available May 16, 2023 as part of Redemption: A  Fallen Angels Paranormal Romance Collection.


Available for Pre-Order now!

https://books2read.com/b/br1JkE

2023-02-21

Romance Writers Weekly ~ What do you do when you're not writing? ~ #LoveChatWrite



 This week's question of the week, on the Romance Writers Weekly blog hop, is:"Share one of your hobbies. What do you do when you’re not writing?"

Hmm...is there life outside of writing? Some people who know me well would be tempted to answer NO! The truth is that while I have A LOT of interests, and have tried a lot of the things I write (or have written) about, I don't always keep up with them, once I've moved onto the next book. 

I mean...reading's a hobby isn't it? I'm a big reader. Always have been. Writing has really changed how I read, however. There's a part of me that's always noticing word choice and story structure. And, OMG, I've become an obnoxious fact-checker whenever I read something someone else has written.

So, I guess the closest thing I have to a hobby is creating covers and promotional graphics. I've created many of my own covers (not the anthologies, and not the traditionally published books). I  love it. It's soooo much less work than writing and you get to see the results much quicker, too. I could easily (and happily) do that as a sideline--and I might, still. I've done several covers for friends--if it weren't for the fact that I'd also be dealing with some of the most difficult, persnickety clients in the world. AUTHORS (like ME!).   

Next, hop on over to Leslie Hachtel's page and read about her hobbies. And be sure to check out her book, Once Upon a Tablecloth.




Tuesday morning, Lily woke up and showered. As the warm water cascaded down her back, she wondered what she should wear. Did it matter if she looked her best? She tried denial, but couldn't buy it. She wanted to look good. And for what? A man she despised? 

Nick Jordan acquires failing restaurants, then makes them prosperous. But when Lily Mercer called him for help, he didn’t count on falling in love. Or that someone wants to kill her. 

You can buy it here: https://amzn.to/3YHJkQ4







Games We Play trilogy: https://books2read.com/u/4ENoKg


Games We Play 
The Complete Trilogy 


A quirky, family-owned resort on the Jersey Shore is the setting for this erotic, lightly paranormal series. 

Cousins Brenda, Luke and Gwyn are determined to turn their failing hotel business around. They have no time for love. They're in no mood for games. But it's not going to matter. Not when they're up against a handful of ghosts, a mischievous boggart, a family curse, and destinies written in stone. ​ 

The Games We Play trilogy. Three books that prove that holiday fun doesn't begin or end in December!

Never Have I Ever, the second book in the trilogy takes place at Mardi GrasLaissez les bons temps rouler!

2023-02-14

Romance Writers Weekly ~ Love Story ~ #LoveChatWrite



 This week, on the Romance Writers Weekly blog hop, we've been asked to tell you a favorite love story. 


How weirdly non-specific is that? I mean...fictional? Non-fictional? My own or someone else's How would I even pick?

So I'm going to give you a very abridged version of the night my grandmother realized she was in love with my grandfather.

Both my mother's parents were born in Ireland but they were from different counties and there was a significant age gap and they wouldn't meet until they were both living in New York.

They were both the eldest of several children and they both lost their fathers at a fairly young age.  They both grew up with the expectation that it was their responsibility to help provide for their siblings and their mother. My grandmother became a nurse. This is important to the story because the hospital where she worked provided housing for the nurses, which was run (I believe) a little like a sorority house. 

The two of them met at a dance that was put on by some Irish association. My grandfather took one look at her and was immediately smitten. My grandmother, young and with enough responsibility on her plate, was very much not looking to settle down. She was a harder sell. It didn't help that the other nurses were against the match. She was high spirited and fun. He was older and quieter and very serious

They'd been dating awhile and my grandmother gradually realized she needed to make a choice. So she prayed for a sign.

That night was some sort of occasion, all the nurses had dates, including my grandmother. I like to pretend it was Valentine's Day, but I don't think it was. It was winter--that I do know--because it had started to snow at some point in the day. By evening, the buses had stopped running and the other nurses began to receive messages from their (much younger than my grandfather--just sayin' )beaus to let them know they wouldn't be coming. 

My grandmother did not get a message, and when my grandfather did not show up at the appointed time, she bitterly concluded that that was her sign: he couldn't even be bothered to let her know he wasn't coming.

Obviously, that was not the case--because otherwise I wouldn't be here to tell the story! 

My grandfather hadn't sent a message because he never had any intention of missing their date. It just took him longer than he anticipated to walk there in a blizzard.  

That's the night my grandmother realized she'd found a keeper. And the other nurses learned not to overlook the quiet, serious types. 

Their story had a lot of ups and downs, grief, heartaches, separations, but they remained madly in love with each other for the rest of their lives.

Next, hop on over to Jenna Da Sie's page and read about another love story. 






























Both Truth or Dare (the first book in my Games We Play trilogy) and Put a Ring Around the Rosie (the newest story in the series) take place primarily on Valentine's Day. Why not pick them up and enjoy a little topical romance this holiday?

Games We Play trilogy: https://books2read.com/u/4ENoKg




2023-02-09

A "Tail" of Two Logos

So...tail? Yep. Tail. Cue the shifter jokes because I'm diving into the fun and furry world of werewolves! 

See, a funny thing happened on the way to tying up the loose thread that I'd left hanging when I decided to make  Light Up the Night a much shorter story than I'd originally planned. It's what usually happens when I pull on a thread. I  end up with a whole new tapestry.

See, the vampire love story I intended to write for Heather and Drew involved a side trip to the mountains to deal with some troublesome werewolves. But the side trip became a whole entire subplot involving Liz and Jason. So I decided to split the story into two and to call this second story Chasing Daylight.  So far, so good.

But then...I made a crucial error in judgement when I decided to enter Chasing Daylight into a Shifter anthology. Because just because there are werewolves on the page, doesn't mean this particular story was ever going to be a werewolf romance. 

So I  decided to write a separate story for the anthology, which I'm doing and I'm loving. It's called Can't Fight the Moonlight (there's a message there for me, I think!) and now...I've got a brand new shifter series to write and a brand new shifter world to play in and a brand new problem deciding between two different logos. Which is where you come in. Here are the choices and here's the link to the poll: https://forms.wix.com/r/7011191113025323677 do I go with granite gray (with what looks to me like claw marks) or do I go with the shifting shades of moonlight-on-snow blue?



Also, here's the blurb and one version of a possible cover...


The Sierra Nevada foothills have been vampire Josiah Lodge’s hunting grounds for nearly two centuries. Alone since a lover’s betrayal cost him his nest, the former trapper-turned-wild-crafter has given up on ever again finding love or acceptance. If he didn’t have to eat, he’d never venture out of his woods again. But needs must.

When Coldpelt (Cole) Moonwalker’s true shifter nature asserted itself, he was judged an abomination and cast out of his pack. Without a territory to call his own, he’s constantly on the move, constantly in danger—which is how he ends up passed out and injured on Josh’s front porch. While Cole dreams of someday finding a place where he can belong, he knows that place can never be with the scarred and surly vampire who undoubtedly has the blood of Cole’s people on his hands.

Will the attraction they feel for one another allow these natural enemies to overcome their sense of mutual distrust? Is enemies with benefits even a thing? 

Find out when the FREE anthology Shifter Fever debuts April 1st.

2023-02-07

Romance Writers Weekly ~ Where do you go for inspiration? ~ #LoveChatWrite

 

 


This week's Romance Writers Weekly question is: "Share a place where you go to find inspiration (museum, park, coffee shop, etc.). Why does it inspire you?"

Well, this question gave me something to think about! I like being outdoors--taking a walk by the ocean, or hiking through a grove of trees. It's invigorating and grounding and something about walking around thinking deeply about a story will make things almost magically fall into place. 

However, anything that magically falls into place, can also magically erase itself from your brain if you don't have any way to record it. So, sitting outside somewhere with a cup of tea or coffee, or a glass of wine--and something to take notes on--is almost as inspiring and far less frustrating.

Unless the weather sucks--then it's coffee shops all the way.
Next, hop on over to  Leslie Hachtel's page and find out what she's been reading. And be sure and check out her book, Tied to Morocco



Lady Catherine was kidnapped and taken to Morocco. There, she fell in love with Tazim. But, just before they were to wed, Tazim disappeared and she was told he was dead. Forced into an unwanted marriage with another, she manages to escape and make her way home to England. But Tazim is not dead. Believing Catherine betrayed him, he has vowed to exact revenge.

Can they find each other again? Can their love be rekindled?


 Buy it here: https://amzn.to/3JGgXwL




COMING SOON



Christmas Angel

You’ve heard this story, or one just like it, a hundred times before. Cranky guy dies without learning the true meaning of Christmas, is turned into an angel, and sent back to earth in order to save some other poor schmuck from suffering the same unhappy fate.


Usually it’s billed as a romance, or a dramedy, perfect for a night of family fun. Which is ludicrous. Even Dickens, the man who invented cheesy Christmas stories, knew better than that. His Marley was clearly miserable, as who wouldn’t be in his situation?  Which, as it happens, is also my situation. 

Hi. My name is Jacob. I’m an angel. And this is my story. ​


Releases May 16, 2023 in the limited edition anthology Redemption: a Fallen Angels Paranormal Romance Collection available for pre-order now. https://books2read.com/b/br1JkE