Interview with Rachel Brimble, Author of The Temptation of Laura

Me at Ashford2What made you decide to be an author?
I’ve wanted to be an author since I discovered Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven around the age of seven or eight. I devoured the series and then went on to read the Famous Five series and many, many more of her books. I used to spend hours penning stories and tying the pages together to make my own library. I wish I had kept a few now!
Becoming a writer was always a dream until my youngest daughter started school and then I had a ‘now or never moment.’ Eighteen months later, The Wild Rose Press published my first novel, “Searching For Sophie.”

What do you like best about being a writer?
First and foremost, is that I get to stay at home and do what I love all day! As far as the writing process, my favourite part is when I have the first draft written and can then dive back in to make the original story better. Love that part 

How do you think your life experiences have prepared you for writing Contemporary and Victorian romance?
I am often asked how I prepare to write my Victorian novels compared to my contemporary work – there is very little difference because romance is all about the emotion of the story and its characters. Love, hate, joy, sadness, greed and empathy would have been felt in just the same way in the 19th century as they would today. The same is true for how my personal experiences work in my writing. Rather than using real events, I use the emotions of how I felt during certain circumstances and hopefully it relates well onto the page. The only real-life experience I’ve used in my writing was being rescued by helicopter from a holiday camp during the 2010 French floods (A Man Like Him).

Have you ever felt as if you were being dictated to while you wrote a book–as if the words came of their own accord? If yes, which book did that happen with?
Ooh, I LOVE when that happens! It hasn’t happened with an entire book, but I would say it happens with at least two or three chapters in every book. For The Temptation of Laura, one of the ‘dictated chapters’ was chapter 6…

You’ve written fifteen novels and two novellas and are working on your sixteenth novel. What’s your favorite time management tip? Demanding “me time” – that’s it in a nutshell. If you want to be successful at anything, you have to make the time. Family, friends, the housework etc will all take as much time as you give them so sometimes (no matter how hard), you have to say no. If you want to be an author, you need to act like one and write. Trust me, your beloved family and friends won’t hate you for it, they’ll love you…as for the housework? Who cares?

Are you a plotter or a pantser, i.e., do you outline your books ahead of time or are you an “organic” writer?
I am a plotter…to an extent. I start each book with the hero and heroine’s goals, motivations and conflicts and then write a short paragraph for each chapter. From those chapters, I write a three to four page synopsis. Once I have done that, I have a good feel for the book I want to write and the dive straight in. I write the first draft from start to finish without looking back. Usually the pantser in me sways from the original synopsis, but that’s okay!

If you had one take away piece of advice for authors, what would it be?
See my time management tip above!

Do you listen to music when you write? Do you have a theme song for this book? What music did you go back to over and over as you wrote it, or as you write, in general?
As a rule, I never listen to music because I need absolute silence to work – the only story I used music to ground me in the time I was writing about was Transatlantic Loving (novella with The Wild Rose Press). Gotta love the 80s!

Tell me more about The Temptation of Laura. Cover

Laura Robinson has always been dazzled by the glamour of the stage. But perhaps acting and selling one’s favors are not so different—for Laura must feign pleasure with the men she beds to survive. Now, with her only friend at death’s door and a ruthless pimp at her heels, escaping her occupation seems impossible. Hoping to attract a gentleman, she attends the theater. Yet the man Laura captivates is no customer, but a rising star and playwright…

Adam Lacey has been driven to distraction since the moment he saw Laura. She is his ideal leading lady come to irresistible life—and so much more. Certain they can make the perfect team on and off stage, he is determined to win her heart—and discover her story. But that is precisely what Laura fears. And she has no idea that Adam harbors shameful secrets of his own. Will the truth free them to love—or destroy all their dreams…?

How about an excerpt from The Temptation of Laura?

What was she doing inside Adam Lacey’s house, sitting upright and rigid upon a settee she could never afford? Laura crossed and re-crossed her ankles as she glanced around his drawing room. His home was masculine, bare of trinket or flower, but compared to her and Bette’s place, it screamed of achievement. He’d left her to go upstairs and change out of his wet clothes. She glanced at the wall clock. The ten minutes she’d been alone could’ve been an hour.

She needed to leave. Get out of there.

Standing, she stepped toward the door just as it swung open and Adam entered. Her breath caught. The man was ridiculously handsome. His dark blond hair was darker than usual, after his unplanned swim, and his face scrubbed clean. Her gaze drifted, of its own accord, to the smattering of chest hair just visible at the vee of his open-necked shirt. The man was unfairly relaxed. Laura inhaled. Handsome—stupidly, stupidly handsome.

He halted, his smile dissolving. “You’re leaving?”

He moved to touch her, seemed to think better of it and dropped his hand to his side. Their eyes locked and silence descended. Her heart beat fast with the knowledge she would’ve given the world to stay there. Eye to eye; toe to toe with a man who fascinated and intrigued her.

She stepped back. It was too dangerous. The atmosphere between them too potent. Her attraction to him kicked and punched at her heart. It was strong enough to make her want to kiss him, touch him and bring that dazzling smile to the surface over and over. For little more than another breath, she would risk everything to run her fingers over his biceps and up to the plane of his wide shoulders…

Laura blinked as her mouth drained dry. What had she been thinking by coming here? She hadn’t been thinking. In that moment when he asked her to accompany him back to his home––nothing but desire had whipped through her. Nothing but interest had leapt in her veins and obliterated her common sense. The fervor and lust in his eyes bespoke of a man who clearly had an agenda entirely different to hers.

Laura blinked and looked past him to the door. “I have a friend. She’s sick. She needs me and the medicine I bought before I came upon you at the park.” She brushed past him, through the door and into the hallway. “I shouldn’t have come here. I’m sorry.”
“Laura, wait.”

Ignoring him, she hurried toward the closed front door. She had to get out of there. If she looked at him again, she’d falter. Her rationale already hung on a hair’s breadth. His footsteps sounded at lightning speed behind her and when she clasped the door handle, his hand closed over hers. She stared at their joined hands and her body heated.

“Laura. Please. I need to talk to you.”

Swallowing hard, she forced herself to meet his gaze. His dark brown eyes shone with a pleading she hadn’t expected. How was she supposed to refuse? He was the first man in forever to make her heart pick up speed and flourish her hope for something more. She slowly pulled her hand from beneath his.

Buy Links:
Amazon US

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble

About the Author Rachel lives in South West England, just a short drive from the famous Georgian City of Bath. She is married with two teenage daughters who keep her busy when she isn’t writing. A member of the Romance Writers of America and the Romantic Novelists Association, Rachel writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense for Harlequin Superromance and Victorian romance for eKensington/Lyrical.

When she isn’t working she likes to read, knit, watch too much TV or walk the beautiful English countryside with her beloved black Lab, Max.

Where can readers find more about your stories, books and you on the Internet?
Website
Blog
Twitter
Facebook

Thank you so much for being with us here today. I know my readers will enjoy your work and your interview.

New Release: Our Little Secrets by Merry Farmer

Our Little Secrets is the first book in Merry Farmer‘s highly acclaimed, historical Montana Romance series. In Our Little Secrets, she writes about the sins, secrets, and the impossibility of keeping them apart…or quiet.

“…a story that has you begging for more and has you searching for answers from the first page….The past haunts the present as two people try to move into the future. A quick marriage with no questions asked. A budding and growing love. And a past that refuses to stay under wraps. A great story that will keep you wanting to know more. With depth characters and a story line that is unique in its own but has all the strength to pull you in and not let you up for air.” - lilgracielue, Amazon reviewer

Get Our Little Secrets on Amazon, Amazon UK, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks.

Add Our Little Secrets to your Goodreads to-read shelf!

About Our Little Secrets

OurLittleSecrets-coverMichael West swore he would never fall in love again. So when the beautiful and wily Charlotte steps off the train looking for a new life he jumps at the business opportunity she presents. Engaged forty-five minutes after meeting, married the next day, Michael thinks he’s found everything a respectable man should have. Except that Michael is as far from respectable as they come. They agreed not to ask questions about each other’s pasts, but when the past seeps into their present Michael suspects his passionate new wife is not who she says she is. Too bad he’s already fallen in love with her.

Charlotte Baldwin has a secret. She fled Philadelphia to escape the sins of her past but someone is following her. What better way to hide than by marrying Michael West, Cold Springs, Montana’s enigmatic shopkeeper? A new name, a new life, and a passionate husband is exactly what she needs to leave her sins behind. But when it comes to keeping secrets Charlotte may have met her match in Michael. When a connection neither of them expects catches up with them, the shocking revelation means Charlotte may have run right into the arms of her enemy.

No sin stays a secret forever….

small 50 x 50
My Review: Secrets within Secrets! small 50 x 50

When I first began reading Merry Farmer’s OUR LITTLE SECRETS, I was immediately engaged by her main characters, Charlotte Baldwin and Michael small 50 x 50West. A young woman on the run from a mysterious past, Charlotte heads west, away from Philadelphia and someone who has been following her from St. Louis. She arrives in Cold Springs, Montana, amidst a bevy of husband-hunting painted ladies and does her best to divest herself of their bawdy company.small 50 x 50

Michael, the owner of the general store in Cold Springs, is at the train station to receive a shipment of goods for his emporium. To his amusement, Charlotte small 50 x 50mistakes him for a porter. Enchanted by the dark haired beauty, Michael decides to show her the town. Before long, the woman who wants a new life and was not in search of a husband and the man who had no desire to marry are wedded in a civil ceremony in a business deal where each promised not to ask questions about the other’s pasts.

Charlotte is introduced to the beauty of lovemaking and Michael is astonished at her virginity and her delight at her “wifely duties.” Soon they are making love in the bed, on the sofa, on the stairs, anywhere they can grab a moment and each other. Neither ever expected their business deal to turn into a love affair. They are happy, have friends in the community, and the business is doing well.

Little by little, however, suspicion enters into the relationship, along with some bad dealings from their past. Ugly rumors abound and their relationship hits the rocks. Just as it seems things can’t get worse, a dreadful person from their past arrives in town and delivers demands and ultimatums.

No spoilers from me! This book has action, adventure, romance, betrayals, and secrets within secrets. I very much enjoyed this Western romance. Mary Farmer’s attention to detail in the sounds and smells of the era and the small town setting put me into the story. Her characters are three-dimensional and flawed in ways that were endearing. Her plot took me for a fun filled ride with enough twists and turns to keep me flipping the pages late at night. I highly recommend this book and give it 5 Shiny Sheriff Stars.

Get Our Little Secrets on AmazonAmazon UKSmashwordsBarnes & Noble, and iBooks.

Add Our Little Secrets to your Goodreads to-read shelf!

About the author

Merry FarmerMerry Farmer is an award-winning author of Historical Romance and what she likes to call “Sci-Fi for Women.” She lives in suburban Philadelphia with her two cats and enough story ideas to keep her writing until she’s 132. Her second novel, The Faithful Heart, was a 2102 RONE Award finalist and her unpublished futuristic novel A Man’s World won first place in the Novel: Character category at the 2013 Philadelphia Writer’s Conference. She is out to prove that you can make a living as a self-published author and to help others to do the same.

Find Merry Farmer on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon Author Page.

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Fall into Fantasy 2014 is Here!

FIFG largeOver 50 authors have banded together under the leadership of Ash Krafton to bring a terrific two-week long event to readers.

We are giving away books and swag. All you have to do is follow the directions! Have fun and happy reading!

 

 

 

 

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New Release: Mistress for Hire by Letty James

Final Mistress for HireStranded in Paris, Nikki Sommers is desperate for a job, willing to sweep the floors of a local bakery. But Gérard Beauvais knows where Nikki needs to be – not in the bakery, but in his bed. Offering her a job as his personal assistant, Gérard introduces Nikki to the workings of international business, along with the romance and beauty of Paris. Nikki falls under Gérard’s magnetic spell, only to get a nasty surprise when she discovers she is merely a pawn in an international scandal involving her own sister. Her heart is torn between family and a love she had only fantasized about. Will she win Gérard’s heart or only be his Mistress for Hire?

 

Excerpt

He entered the pâtisserie like a conquering warrior, indecisive patrons falling aside in the wake of his determination to reach the pastry case. His nostrils flared as he inhaled the essence of the bakery. Nikki shrank back from the power emanating from him as clearly as the smell of freshly baked bread rippled from the ovens in back.
Her grandmother’s letter crumpled in her hand. She thrust it into the pocket of her jacket.

The proprietress pushed through the other gray-haired clerks to wait on the man. “Bonjour, Gérard. What can I get for you today?”

To Nikki, the air in the bakery stood still as the massive man swept his chestnut mane off his forehead and his eyes scanned the wide display case full of sweet delicacies.

“Un petit macaron de mangue, s’il vous plaît.”

One small mango macaroon? How could such a large man limit himself to one bite?

“How are we to stay in business with customers ordering one macaron at a time?” she scolded him teasingly as one would a child.

He smiled slowly, his face softening as he looked at her. “Madame, you would make me fat.” He patted his exceptionally trim middle.

“Hmpf.” Madame shook her head and began to fill a large white cardboard box with pastries. Before she could close it, he thrust out his meaty hand, gesturing for the macaron.

Nikki pushed her glasses up her nose, watching as he popped the red-and-orange-tinted cookie into his mouth. He closed his eyes, his face tilted toward the heavens, and his hands clenched the lapels of his black wool coat.

His groans and sighs filled the small room. Nikki’s body flushed as she imagined him groaning like that over a woman—over her. She pushed her glasses up again and wiped the perspiration off her upper lip, watching his tongue move under his lips, over his teeth. She couldn’t look away. She felt the pleasure as he felt it. The barely-there crunch of crust, the smooth interior, the silk of mango cream across his tongue. His tongue that would slide across hers when he kissed her. Sucking wet kisses that would consume her.

His eyes opened, a smoky blue-gray, targeting her, his stare pinning her to the wall. Could he see her lust—exposed as clearly as if she were naked before him? Nikki held his hot gaze, desire shimmering between them, then broke the contact, staring down unseeing toward the glass case. Her gut clenched and her heart pounded. By the time she looked up, his broad back blocked the light from the door. Not thinking, she stepped after him, only to be caught up short by the swirling gray fog. He had disappeared, taking her fantasies with him.

***

Gérard Beauvais adjusted his scarf against the chill wind, rustling dry leaves through the dark cobblestone alley and cursed his morning flight of fancy. As he strode away, he ran his hand down his face, blowing out a sigh. His reaction to the blonde had startled him—an instant attraction that made him forget the sensations in his mouth and feel other longings. He’d forced himself to turn away and not be tempted. He had enough aggravation in his life. But something about her niggled at his brain. Her high cheekbones, the tilt of her head.

Merde!

He stopped short, the string of the pastry box cutting into his fingers. Of course! She had to be Jessica’s sister! The younger one supposedly still in the States. Once he realized it, the family resemblance was obvious, although he had never reacted to Jessica in such a physical way. Cursing his weakness, he tamped it down, his mind rolling over other complications.

Had she come to demand ransom for the files Jessica held hostage? Gérard turned to confront the conniving bitch, tossing the pastries into the nearest trashcan. He would shake her until the answers rattled out of her head.

Rounding the corner, he halted, seeing Tante Emmaline and the blonde in the window. Emmaline patted the younger woman while she wiped her tears with a tissue. Crocodile tears. Jessica only had to pull that trick on him once to see he was immune. Emmaline certainly had a softer heart than he as she pulled the woman further into the bakery, probably to fill the thief’s belly with sweets while listening to some preposterous sob story.

Gérard’s eyes narrowed as he stepped back into the warmth of the bakery.

Buy Link:
Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Mistress-Hire-Letty-James-ebook/dp/B00O2G04Q8

Character Interview: Lon Devlin from The Shucker’s booktique

TheShuckersBooktique_w9189_750Lon Devlin enters the room, one giant hurricane of a man. The torrential downpour outside soaked his clothes and plastered his ink-black hair to his face. Not a bad thing, though. His black shirt molds to his chiseled, rock solid body.

He greets me with a quiet “hello” as he walks confidently into my tiny office. I watch in fascination as he somehow folds his giant frame into the interview chair across the little table. Outside the rain batters at the windows, the thunder rocks the building and lightning streaks outside in the dark night.

Maybe I shouldn’t have suggested meeting him at night during a storm. But… it was the only way he’d agree to show up.

His gaze sent my prepared speech to la-la land. No one had eyes like that, did they? They looked green, then grey, then blue in the dim lighting—flickering dark orbs contrasting with his pale, almost translucent skin tone.

Get a hold of yourself, Margaret, you’re an award winning journalist.

After, clearing my throat, twice, I lean forward, not quite managing to make eye contact. “Lon Devlin, thank you for meeting me today, er, tonight.”

Lon nods and shifts in his seat.

“Are you ready?”

He nods again before casting his storm gaze about the room.

I set my recorder on the table between us. “So, Lon. We don’t know very much about you. Where are you from? Did you have a happy childhood?”

A bark of laughter rumbles with the storm outside.

I wait. Surely, he’ll answer with more than a laugh.

“My childhood was interesting.” His deep voice fills the room. “My…father…wasn’t the type to express emotions, good or bad, but I had a lot of brothers, so time passed quickly when we played.”

The seconds hand of my office clock grows louder and louder.

“Okay. Well, what about now? Where do you live and what do you do for a living?”
Lightning flashes outside, casting Lon’s face in a different light. His face appears more angular, and otherworldly.

I lean forward, but after the room dims, the moment is gone, shattered. Am I seeing things?

Lon’s full lips quirk and he leans back in his chair. “I live on the coast, near Lobster Cove. I’m a weather insurance salesman.”

His tone might be dry and matter-of-fact, but his gaze swirls like the ocean, daring me to question him further.

Challenge accepted.

“Is there anything you’d rather be doing?” I ask.

“Yes.”

I wait.

He waits.

My clock keeps ticking.

I continue. “What’s going on in your life right now?”

He hesitates and shifts in his seat again.

“Is there someone special in your life?” I press.

Lon glances away, content to stare out the window at the quieting storm and let silence answer for him.

“Lon?” I don’t plan to let him off so easily.

“I heard you. Yes, and no.”

“What do you mean by that?” I ask.

“I’ve met a woman, someone special, someone I want in my life.”

“But?”

“But, I’m not sure it will work out.”

“Why? What’s keeping the two of you apart?”

Lon’s shoulder sag as he releases a sigh. “I kept a secret from her.”

“That’s it? Surely, she can forgive you?”

He turns his swirling gaze on me full force. My breathing hitches, my heart stops, and my brain cylinders stops firing.

“It’s a pretty big secret,” he says.

“Do you think it will work out?”

“She’s the anchor to my soul.” He purses his full lips and looks outside again. “I hope so.”

“Can you tell—”

“I’m sorry Margaret, I must go. Thank you for this opportunity.”

“Wha?” I stutter. By the time I can form a simple sentence and spring to my feet, Lon has made it out the door. It swings shut and an audible click signals the exclamation point of his departure.

I race after Lon and yank the door open. And stare down the storm-stricken street, with no Lon in sight.

Coming Soon from the Wild Rose Press
BUY LINK
Blurb: After her fiancé dumps her and her beloved Aunt Jenny goes missing, Willa Eklund travels to Lobster Cove with a broken heart to search for Jenny while running her bookstore. When a mysterious man visits the Shucker’s Booktique on a stormy night drenched in rain and covered in mud, Willa’s heart melts under his stormy gaze. She wants Lon and the answers he may have, but he also has a secret. Can Willa trust him?

Lon Devlin is a Tempest, a water sprite who can only take a human form during stormy nights. He rides the waves, lives by the tides, and nothing can hold him down, not even a beautiful woman. When he visits his mortal friend, he discovers she’s missing and her intriguing niece has taken her place. He wants Willa, but he also wants answers. What happened to Jenny?
Excerpt:

Thump! Thump! Thump!
No! She gasped. It couldn’t be. The banging on the front door of the booktique had to be a figment of her imagination. She couldn’t will Lon into existence. Why would he come back? Especially if he was involved. Unless…cold ice prickled up her spine…unless he needed to eliminate her to take care of loose ends.
No. Crazy thoughts, Willa. He could’ve taken care of her the night before. No, her heart hammered against her chest for a different reason. But it didn’t matter. The knocking on the door wouldn’t, couldn’t be him.
Thump! Thump! Thump!
Could it? She clutched her hot mug in both hands and turned toward the doorway leading to the bookstore. From the kitchen in the back room, she had a clear view through the store to the front door, but not who stood on the other side.
“Willa!” Lon growled. “Wake up and let me in!”
Willa gasped and almost dropped her cup. The tea sloshed around and some spilled over her hands. It burned, but she didn’t move. She couldn’t breathe. Somehow the air got trapped inside her throat. Why was he here? What did he want?
Oh God, let it be me!

Contact Information:
Website: www.jcmckenzie.ca
Blog: www.jcmckenzie.blogspot.ca
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/j.c.mckenzie.author
Twitter Page: www.twitter.com/JC_McKenzie
Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/jcmckenzie
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/JCMcKenzie

Author Bio: View More: http://photos.pass.us/headshot2

Born and raised on the Haida Gwaii, off the West Coast of Canada, J.C. McKenzie grew up in a pristine wilderness that inspired her to dream. She writes Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance.

New Release and Review: The Doctor’s Dreams by J.J. Brown

TheDoctorsDreamsJJBrownDreams allow us as dreamers to walk through window into our subconscious. Whether pleasant wish-fulfilling dreams or nightmares, they have always fascinated me. I love seeing how our imaginations can transform the events of our days, our hopes, or fears to create dreams. For my new book, The Doctor’s Dreams, I collected a set of my dreams and set them in a family drama, where a brother finds a secret dream diary of his sister’s, the doctor Marsha.

After she has mysteriously gone missing on her way home from work and all company her brother Frank has is her little dog, who is not much comfort, he discovers a hand written book of dreams. If you found someone’s dream diary, would you read it? Frank takes the plunge and finds himself in a surprisingly dark world of nightmares. Marsha’s surreal dreams touch on her work as a doctor, the deaths of her patients, and her past clinical research work. As a picture of her inner life comes into focus through the lens of dreams, Marsha’s brother becomes convinced that both their lives need to change.

Have you or someone you know ever been out of work? In the second tale in my new book, After the Layoff, I turn the tables on a profession that’s usually thought of as quite stable, science. The central character is a workaholic chemist who loses her job. A person who is usually in control of her experiments, and her life, she finds herself drifting and nearly drowning in the new experience.

Find the book and ebook here:
Amazon (print and Kindle) / Barnes & Noble (print and Nook) / Ebook Editions

Excerpt:

“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.”
Edgar Allan Poe

1
On New Year’s Eve, the Brooklyn apartment where Frank waited for his sister was silent as a cemetery. Sitting alone, Frank listened to the above-ground trains pass at longer and longer intervals. Each time another train shook the walls, the sound grated along the nerves in his body and Marsha’s absence disturbed him all over again. He wanted to report her as a missing person but it hadn’t been 24 hours since he last saw her—and so he thought he couldn’t.

He asked himself, who would believe that an adult coming home late from work, tonight of all nights, was something to worry about? Surely no one but him. He would have to be patient. Frank felt vaguely frustrated. Patience was not one of his virtues.

Marsha’s old Pomeranian, Sasha, slept near the doorway—dead to the world. When Marsha got back from work late from the hospital other nights, Frank forced himself to walk the little dog around the block. Sasha would rush along the narrow city sidewalks with him, pulling hard on the leash because she much preferred her walks to be with Marsha. Tonight he’d already walked Sasha twice. She was worn out. He watched her long black fur rise and fall with her quiet breathing. Her paws twitched. She seemed happy, he thought. He wondered what dogs thought they ran to or from in their dreams. What desires of Sasha’s had not yet been fulfilled? Did she have conflicts she needed to work out in dreams? What fears surfaced during sleep?

The little dog’s paws stilled. Her mouth curled back framing a low growl. A nightmare, Frank thought.

Who really knows what another dreams? The dream world is the last wilderness, vast and unknowable.

Frank had expected his sister to get back from work by about six. By seven-thirty he started to worry in earnest. He ate. He cleaned the kitchen to pass the time, wiping a sponge along the sink and over the electric stove top. He ate again. He moved the special things he’d bought for the evening around in the refrigerator; the sparkling wine, the raspberries, and the cheese. He would have to wait.

Imagining the terrible things that might happen to a woman on the subway from the F to the M line, from Manhattan to Brooklyn on a drinking holiday like New Year’s Eve, Frank checked the news online repeatedly. No concerning events were reported in his area; no train accidents or delays, no murders. Marsha didn’t look like a potential victim. Nothing external distinguished her. She didn’t dress any differently than anyone else there, mostly in gray or black like any ordinary person. She had no conspicuous habits. But still. Bad things can happen to any kind of person; ordinary or extraordinary, rich or poor, good or bad. Crime, like disease and death, does not really discriminate. The unpredictable things like these were the ones Frank was most afraid of, with a deep and irrational fear.

He stalked through the library room of the small apartment removing and replacing favorite books, killing time as the last moments of the year ticked by. Not in the mood for making ambitious personal resolutions, he flipped through the bizarre short stories of Franz Kafka. He took out a classic collection of old German poetry. On edge, Frank was unable to settle on anything. He didn’t know what he felt like reading. Nothing at all, really. And as New Year’s Eve wore on, instead of anticipating midnight with an appropriate emotion, like light-hearted happiness, he became more and more darkly agitated.

He asked himself what would explain Marsha’s absence. What was she doing?

*****
To fiThe Doctors Dreamsnd out more about J.J.Brown’s books, visit her author website.

 

 

 

My Review of The Doctor’s Dreams: Five Snap, Crackle and Pops out of Five

In an era when almost nothing is private and no topic taboo, JJ Brown reaches into the recesses of our psyches and pulls out the forbidden. Dreams are personal, a clandestine journey in our deepest REM sleep into the darkest reaches of our minds. Some dreams are rehashing of a days events, some are prophetic, and some reveal our greatest fear: death.

In these novellas, the theme of death is explored from two perspectives. The Doctor’s Dreams investigates our fears of physical death and dying. On New Year’s Eve, in the hours between the death of an old year and the birth of a new one, a brother who lives with his sister worries that she has disappeared and may even be dead. He finds her dream journal and to pass the time, he types up her dreams. As he reads and types, he sees a side of his sister he has not known that well, her fear of death, and, more importantly her feelings of impotence in the face of the death of her patients. Does he find solace or concern in these writings? Will she return or be found dead in an alley? He types through the night, waiting, worrying, and watching the door.

In After the Layoff, the author examines our fears of the death of our professional selves. In an era when many of us define ourselves by our work, losing a job is a form of death. Not only does her main character, a chemist, lose her employment, but also the lifestyle that comes with it. Questions ricochet in her mind. What will become of me? How will I survive? Will I be homeless? Would my family be better off if I were dead? As a reader and a workaholic, in many ways, I found the After the Layoff to be more disturbing than The Doctor’s Dreams.

I commend the author for tackling terrifying topics and for bringing them to the surface for examination by thoughtful and fearless readers. I give this book five snap, crackle and pops out of five.

 

Character Interview: Lacy Dahl from The Art of Love and Murder by Brenda Whiteside

perf5.000x8.000.indd1. Where are you from? Did you have a happy childhood?
I was born in Flagstaff, Arizona but was raised in Scottsdale. My birth parents were killed in an airplane crash when I was an infant. I was on the plane and the only survivor. My adoptive parents, Arlo and Sarah Dahl, gave me a healthy, happy childhood.

2. Where do you live now and what do you do for a living? Is there something you’d rather be doing?
I still live in Scottsdale and own the Lacy Latte, a coffee café that also serves my drink of choice, chai tea. I love my café and wouldn’t dream of doing anything else. Before my husband died, three years ago, I was a pharmacist. But I needed a change and the café was perfect for me.

3. What’s going on in your life right now?
My dad died a few years ago and my mother just passed away. My daughter, August, found a chest with some things from my birth parents. August owns an art gallery in Tucson. In the chest are some sketches that are signed M/KM. With her encouragement, I’m going to Flagstaff to discover the artist.

4. Is there someone special in your life?
I haven’t had anyone in my life since my husband died, but there’s a certain sheriff that attracts me.

5. How did you meet? What’s his/her family like?
Chance Meadowlark came to my rescue the first night I arrived in Flagstaff. I keep running into him, which I don’t mind at all. I didn’t know he was a sheriff at first. In fact, he seemed rather mysterious, even dangerous. He’s been widowed for eight years and has a daughter in college.

6. What’s keeping you two apart?
It’s obvious he’s not over his wife, even though he has a casual girlfriend. He’s also very protective, and I really don’t need his protection. There’s something about all of that I can’t quite figure out. He has secrets in his past.

7. What one thing could you do that would make you feel like the relationship will work out?
I’m about ready to give in and be satisfied with the kind of casual relationship he’s used to. I mean I want to. It’s not like me, but I’m seriously considering it. Maybe I can break him out of the shell he’s built around himself.

8. Any last comments?
I don’t want to issue any spoilers, but the web of murder I discover surrounding my birth parents is all tangled up in Chance’s life too. The danger I’m faced with is real, but in order to discover the truth about my parents, I can’t hold back.

BUY LINKS
The Wild Rose Press

Amazon

Blurb:
Lacy Dahl never questioned her past until the deaths of her adoptive parents and her husband. A husband who wasn’t what he seemed. Her research uncovers secrets about the mother she never knew; secrets that dispute the identity of her father and threaten her life.

Sheriff Chance Meadowlark is still haunted by the murder of his wife and the revenge he unleashed in the name of justice. When he meets Lacy he is determined not to become involved, but their pasts may make that impossible. As they move closer to the truth, saving Lacy may be his only salvation.

Lacy begins to think the present is more important than her past…until Chance’s connection to her mother and a murder spin her deeper into danger and further from love. Will the truth destroy Lacy and Chance or will it be the answer that frees them?

Excerpt

Momentarily struck dumb by his eye color, she stared back. Why hadn’t she noticed until now? Although not as light as hers or her father’s, the professor’s eyes were a startling green shade.

His hand nudged her arm. “Lacy?”

She jumped. “Oh, yes.” She slipped the tissue from the half-carved wolf. Another glance at his eyes and goose bumps riddled her arms.

He lifted the wood close to his face, using both hands as if handling a delicate hummingbird. His thumb traced the neck of the creature to the juncture of where it emerged from the wood. When he brought the piece to his nose, closing his eyes and breathing deeply, Lacy wanted to turn away from the oddly erotic gesture.

He swallowed, opened his eyes and set the wolf back on the tissue. His attention shifted to the photograph of the chest. He touched the photo, a smile on his lips. “Where is the chest?”

The chest. Like he knew it, had seen it before. “I’m having it sent. You’ve seen it before?”

He didn’t move, stared out the window as if deep in thought. “I’d like to show you something, Lacy.”

“All right.” She waited, watching his profile.

He turned and stared into her face a moment. “You’re so very lovely. A creation full of life and passion, surpassing any art form.”

His hypnotic voice floated on the classical strains drifting from the living room. She couldn’t speak. Didn’t know what to say. She’d been lifted upon a pedestal of admiration. With any other man, she might consider his words a means to a sexual end. The professor’s intentions, however, were crystal. He admired her like a work of art.

 

About the Author: 116_0343 color 4x5 - Copy2
Brenda spends most of her time writing stories of discovery and love. The rest of her time is spent tending vegetables on the small family farm she shares with her husband, son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter. Together, they’ve embraced an age-old lifestyle that has been mostly lost in the United States – multiple generations living under one roof, who share the workload, follow their individual dreams and reap the benefits of combined talents.

Although she didn’t start out to write romance, she’s found all good stories involve complicated human relationships. She’s also found no matter a person’s age, a new discovery is right around every corner. Whether humorous or serious, straight contemporary or suspense, all her books revolve around those two facts.

Author links, webpages, fan pages, and book trailers.
Visit Brenda at http://www.brendawhiteside.com/
Or on FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/BrendaWhitesideAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/brendawhitesid2
She blogs on the 9th and 24th of every month at http://rosesofprose.blogspot.com/
She blogs about writing and prairie life at http://brendawhiteside.blogspot.com/
Video:

Interview with JM Stewart, Author of Risking it All

RIACoverWhat made you decide to be an author?

A dream. No, seriously. I’ve never really been a writer. I’ve always been a reader. The writing bug officially hit me when my youngest was just a baby (he’s 14 now). I had a dream one night. It was really vivid. It was just a picture of a boy in a wheelchair, but something about it bugged me. I kept thinking, “There’s a story in there somewhere.” One day I decided to write it. It was a YA romance (because romance is really all I read), and it awful. lol But I eventually found a critique group of women who taught and encouraged me. I fell in love with the process.

What do you like best about being a writer?

Getting lost. That moment when the characters have become so real they over and the story takes on a life of its own. When it keeps me up at night and it’s all I can think about until I get it finished. That’s addicting.

How do you think your life experiences have prepared you for writing contemporary romance?

Well, in part, I’m a people watcher. I love to sit back and absorb the people around me. I’m fascinated by people. I was a psych major in college (never graduated, though). And quite a lot of my own experiences have ended up in my books. The heroine of Risking It All, for example. Ceci has PTSD. I hadn’t intended for her to get so much of me, but as her character developed, I realized that she and I were a lot alike. I have PTSD as well. So I used my own experiences to flesh out hers. I hope this doesn’t sound like a blatant plug, but I just did a post on this for another blog. I’m trying to keep this short, but if anybody wants to read more about this, the post is on Marlow Kelly’s blog.

Have you ever felt as if you were being dictated to while you wrote a book–as if the words came of their own accord? If yes, which book did that happen with?

Yes. I’m a spiritualist. Meaning, I believe life exists beyond this realm. Aka “I see dead people.” Actually, I hear them, and I communicate quite often by opening a Word document and typing out what I hear. I’m not entirely sure how it works with writing, but I’ve often suspected that I don’t write alone. It’s more the way I write. When I’m “in the zone” and the words just flow and characters take over and suddenly I’ve got an entire chapter I don’t remember writing. I wrote my last work-in-progress in 6 weeks. It came out so quickly I couldn’t keep up with it. I’m writing one now that feels as if it came from somewhere else. It wasn’t planned. This series was supposed to stop at 3 books, but a secondary character popped in book 3 and I just knew I had to write her story. This last book is a struggle to make it fit the rest of the series, but for me, the series won’t be complete without it.

You’ve written 16 novels and are working on a short (category length) romance. What’s your favorite time management tip?

Okay, you caught me on this one. I had to stop and think about how many books I’ve actually written, including the ones that will never see the light of day. lol As for time management? I’m laughing. I am SO not an organized person. Honestly, I fit in writing when I can. But I’m lucky. I don’t work outside the home, so I’m home all day anyway. So my tip? Take time when you get it. I often work in spits and spurts. In between doing laundry and dishes, etc. In fact, some of my best writing is during that hour while I’m cooking dinner. Take it when you can. :)

Are you a plotter or a pantser, i.e., do you outline your books ahead of time or are you an “organic” writer?

I’m a bit of both. I need to know a few things before I can start writing. The basic premise and plot points, a few scenes. But I don’t write anything down and I get to know my characters as I write. I often say I just take dictation. So, often what I started with changes as I go along.

If you had one take away piece of advice for authors, what would it be?

Never give up.

Do you listen to music when you write? Do you have a theme song for this book? What music did you go back to over and over as you wrote it, or as you write, in general?

I actually can’t listen to music while I’m writing. I find the music too distracting. I need quiet when I’m writing or I lose my train of thought. I tend to use music when I need inspiration. So, I do have “theme songs” for most of my books. They tend to jump out at me. Suddenly I’m humming a tune and I realize the words fit the book I’m writing. My YouTube favorites list is full of songs like this. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to find one that fits this book.

Tell me more about Risking It All.

Risking It All is a friends to lovers story. Kyle and Cecelia (Ceci) have known each other for most of their lives. Kyle was literally “the boy next door.” He’s been in love with Ceci for years, but he can’t ever tell her. He’s keeping a secret from her, something that haunts him, because he knows if she ever finds out, it could end their friendship. He keeps it, though, in part because he made a promise to her grandmother. But mostly because he worries if she finds out, it’ll do more damage than good. Deep down, Kyle’s a protector at heart, and he’ll do anything to protect her.

But as Ceci begins to search for the answers to her mysterious past, she comes to him for help. His walls begin to crumble when he realizes she’s beginning to feel more than just friendship for him, too. So for me, this story is about their journey into finding each other and Ceci’s journey into finding herself.

How about an excerpt from Risking It All?

For a moment, she stared, her eyes searching his, then she straightened her shoulders. “Why’d you kiss me?”

Panic curled through him, sending his pulse pounding into his rib cage. Damn. Why hadn’t he expected her to ask that? But he couldn’t answer it. To do so would be tempting fate. An intense need for distance seized him. Half afraid he’d lose his mind and do something else he’d regret, like pull her into his arms and show her why he’d kissed her, he shot to his feet.

He flashed her a smile he knew had to look as phony as it felt. “Headache’s better. Thanks.”

He didn’t wait for a response but strode toward the yard.

“I need to know, Kyle.”

His answer sat on the tip of his tongue, but the voice of reason sounded in his head. Don’t say it. Whatever you do, do not say it. Just keep walking.

Her soft footsteps sounded behind him. “You can’t just do something like that and walk away and expect me not to question it. You blow hot and cold, do you know that? I know desire when I see it, yet you just keep walking away.”

“Ever think maybe I wanted to kiss you?” The words left his mouth on a hoarse whisper, and God help him, a desperate need to see her eyes seized him. He turned to find her directly behind him. She stared for a fraction of a second too long, heat and curiosity blazed in her eyes. A heartbeat later, a light blush stole into her cheeks, but she didn’t move, didn’t say a word.

Everything inside of him ground to a halt, his mind twisting off in another direction. I’ll be damned. If ever he needed a confirmation, there it was. Whatever had happened between them was definitely not one-sided.

Buy Links:
Penguin: http://www.penguin.com/book/risking-it-all-by-jm-stewart/9780698147980
Amazon US: http://amzn.com/B00FFFSZB6
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00FFFSZB6
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/risking-it-all-jm-stewart/1116985780
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/risking-it-all/id715224120?mt=11
Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/risking-it-all-14

Where can readers find more about your stories, books and you on the Internet?
Website: http://authorjmstewart.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjmstewart
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JMStewartWriter
Blog: http://jm-stewart.blogspot.com/

 

About the Author: JM Stewart is the author of passionate, heartfelt contemporary meMar2014romance. She’s a wife, a mother, a spiritualist, and lover of puppies, and happily addicted to coffee and chocolate. She lives in the rainy Pacific Northwest with her husband, two sons, and two very spoiled dogs. She’s a hopeless romantic who believes everybody should have their happily-ever-after and has been devouring romance novels for as long as she can remember. Writing them has become her obsession.

Thank you so much for being with us here today. I know my readers will enjoy your work and your interview.

Thanks so much for having me, Sharon!

Character Interview: Suzie Sarnio from School of Deaths by Christopher Mannino

coverSchoolofDeaths (2)1. Where are you from? Did you have a happy childhood?

I’m from Damascus, Maryland. I’m only 13, so some people think I’m still a kid. When I was a little kid things were good. My family’s nice and I have friends. Things got really hard lately though, for three months I kept losing weight and everyone thought I was anorexic. It sucked. I really tried to eat, but it’s like Mom wouldn’t leave me alone about it. Turned out to be a lot weirder than anorexia. I wish that had been what it was…

2. Where do you live now and what do you do for a living? Is there something you’d rather be doing?

I’m a student at the College of Deaths. I’m learning how to reap souls. Yeah, you heard me, like a Grim Reaper. I do it because I’m forced to, at least for this year, and then I can go home. What would I rather be doing? Anything! I hate it here. Not only is the job super-weird and depressing, but I’m the only girl. It’s the first time in a million years they’ve had a girl Death, and they all treat me awful because I’m different.

3. What’s going on in your life right now?

Trying to survive this year at the College. I’ve made a couple of friends, despite the attitude of most of the boys. There’s also some weird mysteries here in the World of Deaths that have been bugging me. I keep wondering about this woman Lovethar, who was a Death a million years ago.

4. Is there someone special in your life?

My housemate Billy is kind of cute. He’s one of the few boys who’s nice to me.

5. How did you meet? What’s his/her family like?

We met when I was brought to Eagle Two, the name of our house on campus. The College is a like a giant maze of cliffs, mountains, and canyons, and we’re inside the big, but once inside the canyon, it looks like a normal house. I’ve learned that he failed his test last year on purpose, which means he chose not to go back to the Living World. He must not have liked his family.

6. What’s keeping you two apart?

I’m only going to be here a year, and I have so much else to deal with.

7. What one thing could you do that would make you feel like the relationship will work out?

He needs to listen better when I talk to him.

8. Any last comments?

Nope, that’s it.

Blurb:

Thrust into a world of men, can a timid girl find bravery as the first female Death?

Thirteen-year-old Suzie Sarnio always believed the Grim Reaper was a fairy tale image of a skeleton with a scythe. Now, forced to enter the College of Deaths, she finds herself training to bring souls from the Living World to the Hereafter. The task is demanding enough, but as the only female in the all-male College, she quickly becomes a target. Attacked by both classmates and strangers, Suzie is alone in a world where even her teachers want her to fail.

Scythes hungry for souls, Deaths who enslave a race of mysterious magicians, and echoes of an ancient war with Dragons.

As her year progresses, Suzie suspects her presence isn’t an accident. She uncovers a plot to overthrow the World of Deaths. Now she must also discover the reason she’s been brought there: the first female Death in a million years.

Excerpt
She wanted to scream but no sound came. She wanted to run, but her legs wouldn’t move. The hooded man grinned.

Suzie’s heart pounded as she opened her eyes. Laughter echoed in the back of her head. The terrible laughter she heard every night. She wiped the sweat from her face, pushing aside the sheets. Sunlight spilled into her room from between frilly curtains. Mom would be knocking on the door to wake her soon.

She turned to one side as the dream started to fade. Every night the same nightmare. Every night she heard the laughter. The hooded man with a scythe. The feeling of complete terror.

What did it mean?

Above her clock radio, a worn teddy bear stared at her with its single eye. She pulled the bear to her chest and clutched it with her bony fingers.

Suzie Sarnio. The hooded man had written her name down. He always wrote it right before the laughter began. The man looked like Death. But why would Death have a stammer?

“Suzie,” said Mom, knocking on the door. “Come on, you’ll be late for school.”

“I’m coming.”

Suzie changed, staring at the mirror in her pink-wallpapered room. Each rib stuck out from her chest; she counted all twenty-four. The skin on her face stretched tightly over her skeletal face, and dark patches surrounded each of her gray eyes. As much as she tried to comb it, her long black hair tangled into stringy knots. Her arms hung from her shoulders like twigs, and her legs looked too weak to hold her up. In the past few months, she had lost nearly half of her weight. She glanced at an old picture, taken last year, on the first day of seventh grade. A chubby, pigtailed girl with freckles smiled back at her from the photo. Her braces gleamed in the sun, only a month before their removal. Suzie sighed. She opened the door, looking for a moment at her room. She didn’t want to start another year of school. Slowly, she turned around.

“Hey, squirt, watch out,” said Joe.

“Sorry.” Joe was a pest and a bully, but he was her big brother, and Suzie supposed she loved him.

“Get your skinny butt out of the way already. We’ve got a run before school.”

“Today’s the first day—”

“After last year, coach says we have to practice early.”

Suzie stepped aside, watching the bulky frame of her brother lumber downstairs.

“Later.” He winked at Suzie. “Have fun at school.” He ran out the front door, slamming it behind him, while Suzie went to the kitchen and sat down.

“I’ve made you a special breakfast,” said her mother, carrying a plate and a glass of orange juice.

“Let me guess, something big.”

About the Author:Mannino_shot3 (2)

Christopher Mannino’s life is best described as an unending creative outlet. He teaches high school theatre in Greenbelt, Maryland. In addition to his daily drama classes, he runs several after-school performance/production drama groups. He spends his summers writing and singing. Mannino holds a Master of Arts in Theatre Education from Catholic University, and has studied mythology and literature both in America and at Oxford University. His work with young people helped inspire him to write young adult fantasy, although it was his love of reading that truly brought his writing to life.
Main site and purchase links: www.ChristopherMannino.com

Book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AeszKiTz0k

Facebook: facebook.com/CTMannino

Twitter: twitter.com/CTmannino

Blog: http://poetsfire.blogspot.com/

Character Interview: Christina Crawford from Law of Attraction

perf5.000x8.000.indd1. Where are you from? Did you have a happy childhood?
I grew up in Halifax, a big city on the east coast. I had a wonderful childhood. My parents are loving, and my baby sister is my best friend.

2. Where do you live now and what do you do for a living? Is there something you’d rather be doing?
I still live in Halifax. I’m a lawyer, one of the best in the city, lol. Business Women Magazine did a feature on me. They only spotlight the best of the best. To receive their phone call was quite exciting. Being a lawyer is all I ever wanted to be.

3. What’s going on in your life right now?
Work keeps me very busy, but that’s the way I like it. My sister is getting married, so I’m taking some vacation time to be with her.

4. Is there someone special in your life?
No…umm…maybe. A guy from my past has resurfaced. He’s not easily ignored. Believe me, I’ve tried, but he’s incredibly handsome and oh-so enticing.

5. How did you meet? What’s his/her family like?
He’s a lawyer, too. We met at a work party five years ago. We recently reconnected and are opposing lawyers on a divorce case. His family is supper nice.

6. What’s keeping you two apart?
He had me fired. He betrayed me. I’m having a hard time getting over those two issues.

7. What one thing could you do that would make you feel like the relationship will work out?
Forgive him.

8. Any last comments?
Just one…a question that maybe you could help me with. How do I walk away from a guy I think I’m still in love with?

Author Bio:
An avid reader since childhood, Darlene loved to put a pencil to paper and plot out stories of her own. She writes heartwarming contemporary romances with a focus on plot-driven page-turners. When Darlene isn’t writing, editing, or reading, she enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter, and Yellow Lab.

Coming Soon from the The Wild Rose Press
Law of Attraction
Release Date: October 01, 2014
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
The Wild Rose Press Purchase Link: http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=1186

Blurb:
Lawyer Christina Crawford has a successful career and stable financial future, but is it enough? Her world is disrupted when a routine divorce case means working with a man she never expected—or wanted—to see again. During their first meeting, she can’t deny a connection still exists. Her head warns her to run, but her heart yearns to stay.
Steven Mitchell is ruthless in the court room, but outside those doors, his easy charm, good looks and unlimited stream of female companions gives him an unscrupulous reputation. Six years ago Christina saw beyond his façade, but the emotions she evoked scared him and he pushed her away. Now he wants a second chance and he is determined to get her back…even if he has to play dirty.

Excerpt
Heart pounding in her chest, she closed the door behind him. Wearing her best business face, she returned to this disastrous meeting and sat. Christina drew in a deep breath, and a measure of control was restored. She picked up her pen and flipped open the case file. “So, according to these documents, your client is contesting the divorce?”

Steven reached across the table and snatched the pen from her hand. “What’s the rush, Christina? We haven’t seen each other in years. There’s a lot of catching up to do.”

She clenched her teeth together, barely parting her lips as she spoke. “We have nothing but this case to discuss.”

“Come on, don’t be like that.” He leaned back in his chair, frowning. “You’re not still holding a grudge, are you? What happened was so long ago. I hoped we could start fresh, as friends.”

“Are you freaking serious?” She glared an icy stare. Forget a slow death by high heel. She’d get more pleasure strangling him with her bare hands. “You accused me of misconduct, had me fired, and now you want to be friends?” Her heart thumped a rapid beat in her ears. “You’re out of your mind.”

A heavy silence filled the room. Steven stared down at the table, flicking the tip of her pen with his thumb. “You look fantastic,” he finally whispered.

“Go to hell.” Christina couldn’t believe his nerve. Did he think she would fall for his act? Those dark captivating blue eyes wouldn’t sway her, not this time. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Author links:

Be sure to drop by my web site to enter an awesome giveaway to celebrate the release of Law of Attraction!
Web: http://findingthewritewords.blogspot.com
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