Monday, February 29, 2016

Tonya Kappes: Small Towns

I grew up in a small town, and like most I couldn't wait to get out and explore the vast world. Only....the vast world was only two hours from my small town to a city near Cincinnati, Ohio, still in Kentucky.

The older I got I became to appreciate the small town and what it meant to me. I realized moving to a larger city life has become very busy, hustle and bustle, smog, violence, you know.

When I decided to become a writer, I knew I wanted to base a series around a small town and the people in it.

Let's take a look at what you will find in a small town. First you will notice there isn't any traffic, only a few straggling cars. But people! The people are walking around the town with little fear of safety. So much so you can almost feel it. They say hello to you and give you eye contact. They ask about your family, and invite you over to pick some berries or tomatoes out of their garden.

And the buildings! How amazing are those old buildings. They are the core of the town. Generally small town buildings are compact, well organized and centered around the city building. It embraces you, giving you that welcome feel. There is a sense of belonging. And that feels good!

Did you take a big deep breath? No? Well do! How about that?

Fresh air! Clean fresh air. Free of smog!

Have you seen a small town school? Yes, there is no barbed wire around it, or metal detectors. Just kids all over the school yard, laughing, eating, and making jokes. Harmless. The building itself is small, with few teachers, but that's because there are fewer children in small towns. As you can read on the school's marque, the upcoming dances, PTA meetings, and other school spirit activities taking place.

Then there are the business. Local, homegrown doctor (who might be a vet too), locally owned grocery store, feed and seed, post office, and florist.

These are just a few reasons why small communities are being sought after. People are wanting the hometown, good salt of the earth life for their families. Most of these communities are only a hop, skip, and jump away from larger cities where most the families travel to work.

These communities offer charm, a sense of humanity. When someone is sick, the entire community jumps in and helps the family. No matter how hard I try to make this happen in my community, it just doesn't happen. Of course my kids are great, and we love our neighbors, school, and jobs, but there's something to be said about the love and warmth of a small town.

The Magical Cures Mystery Series is  set in my fictitious small town of Whispering Falls, Kentucky. I've built a community around the lives of the residents there who happen to be a village of witches. They own cozy shops that is a "front" for their witchy gift. June Heal, the main character, is a potion maker and her shop A CHARMING CURE is a homeopathic cure shop. When a customer comes in for a homeopathic lotion, June's gift of intuition tells her what the real issue is with the customer. The customer might come in for a bad case of heartburn, but in reality the customer might be heartbroken. Throw in a couple of dead bodies and a charming mystery is created!

Do you live in a small town? Do you like to visit small towns in your reading?

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Pushing Pause To Live In The Moment -- Michelle Monkou

Gyeongbokgung Palace
At the beginning of February, I headed for Seoul, South Korea. My daughter is attending university for a year in a study abroad program focusing on Asian Studies with a concentration in Korea. I arrived with suitcases loaded with American goodies for her and a pile of To Do items for me.

All of my To Do items were writing-related. I had books to be published, books to be edited, books to be written. While I had great intentions, I got sick with a cold that my dear daughter shared with me at the beginning of my trip.

Down for the count, I barely had energy to just live. Nothing like a cold or flu to make you feel lousy. But the list of what I had to do grew longer and my desire grew shorter. Until finally, I had to push pause.

I'm here in South Korea. It's a 14 hour trip from the Washington, D.C. area. There is so much to see and enjoy in this Asian city rich with history and contemporary achievements. Why am I not living in the moment?

Armed with daily doses of Citron tea, I moved my deadlines where I could and decided that I'll get back to the reality of writing in March when I return from my trip. But for now, I'm turning all my focus on this amazing opportunity to learn and enjoy another culture. Here are few of my photos. If you ever get the chance to visit Seoul, jump on it.
King Sejong

View from my rooftop apt
Student Union Bldg at Yonsei University


Michelle Monkou

Friday, February 26, 2016

Eve Gaddy: Grist For the Mill

Where do you get your ideas? If you're a writer you've heard this question many times. My answer is "everywhere." But if that's all I can say this blog will be very short. So, a few specifics.

TV shows and movies. No, I don't use entire plots. But sometimes a situation or plot element in a TV show or a movie will really strike me. But instead of writing about how the character on the show handled, say, a secret baby, I apply the question to my particular character, or characters. And since my characters are different people, they will react differently. Partly because the situations that people accept in a TV show, particularly a soap opera, don't really work in a book. For instance, none of my characters have been married or involved 150 times. That is common in a soap opera. Three or four marriages the reader can accept. More becomes iffy in a book. Although, my dad knew someone who had been married eight times. Yes, really. But do you think my readers would buy that? I don't. Except, dang it, now I'm thinking about a character who's been married eight times. What would cause you to keep marrying? Why would a person even want to get married eight times? I'm not sure I see the appeal.

News items often spark ideas. And I love the weird things that show up when I read my Facebook feed. "Twelve celebrities with the worst plastic surgery," or "What is the cast of Gilligan's Island doing now?", or one I've been seeing a lot lately, Victorian pictures of dead people in family photos. The last might be good for a paranormal book.

Today, among other things, I found an article with pictures of a wild bear and wolf who are friends. Great pictures, and yay, they were all on one page. This is the only one I saw today that I thought I might somehow put in a book.

I hate the ones where you have to punch next (or wait for the slide show to change) for every single picture. A lot of the time I get caught up and go through the whole thing laboriously. Cursing the whole way.:)

I also found "Celebs we feel sorry for," "Rare historical photos", "animal hybrids" and "enormous dogs". I might be able to work in enormous dogs. Or animal hybrids.

Oddly named towns or streets can be interesting. I once set a book, Cowboy Come Home, in Happy, Texas because I thought the name was so great. 

We have an Easy Street where I live and I'm considering putting that in a book. Did you know there's a town in Texas called Big Stinking Creek? 
What a great name!

Yesterday I had to go to sleep clinic to find out if I needed to have a sleep study done. This was a brand new to me doctor and specialty. So I was sitting in the exam room after talking to the doctor and began thinking about how I could use this experience in a book. Since I write romance and romantic suspense I thought of several scenarios involving the doctors, nurses, techs, and patients. I even had a few ideas for a romantic suspense, involving dead bodies, naturally. "Murder at the Sleep Clinic." Or "Death Comes to the Sleep Clinic." Anyway, it would be fun to play with.

The point is, there are stories everywhere. These are just a few that have occurred to me. I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Anne Lamott.

 “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should've behaved better.” Anne Lamott

Try the newest Whiskey River novella at  your favorite digital outlet

Or try the first Whiskey River novella free at your favorite digital outlet.

Find me on the web at, @evegaddy on Twitter and

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Ooh La La! Romance and Armchair travel to France with Annie West

Do you love the idea of travel but maybe don't get to do too much of it? One of the things I adored about reading Harlequin Presents stories right from the beginning was the opportunity for some vicarious travelling to gorgeous exotic places, usually far from my home town. Now I write those stories and part of the joy is setting them all over the globe, some near my home on the east coast of Australia and some on other continents! Linked to the joy of writing those stories is the pleasure of researching them. I research using internet, books, documentaries, people who live there or who have visited in person and, yes, sometimes I get to travel for research too. This new release, A VOW TO SECURE HIS LEGACY is about a woman who's led all her life being cautious but who decides, when she faces the possibility of a lethal illness, to travel the globe, crossing items off her bucket list. Her first stop is Paris - which I can totally understand.
The story begins in Paris then moves elsewhere but I thought I'd share some of my research photos of that fabulous city. After all, it's where Imogen and Thierry fall for each other in what they believe will be a short term fling, but ends up being the love affair of a lifetime.
As you can see by the photo below, some research just needs to be savoured! I'm enjoying my first Kir Royale on French soil, just a couple of blocks from the River Seine.
Which looks like this:
One of the things Imogen wants to do is take an evening cruise through the centre of Paris. Here's a photo I took on one of those trips. I have far too many shots of the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame but the carved faces on this bridge really fascinated me, as they did Imogen.
She also wanted to drive a sports car around the Arc de Triomphe - a space notorious for its huge roundabout which has no lanes marked! I spent a long time on top of the Arc de Triomphe, not just admiring the distant view, but mesmerised by the traffic which alternated between free flowing and absolutely manic.

Then there are the shops (so many and so varied) and the sometimes whimsical displays.
And since Imogen was on the trip of a lifetime, she splurged on a stay in one of the famous luxury hotels. Here I am, researching, outside the Ritz.
And I'll leave you with one of my favourite views of the city - from the roof level of Notre Dame Cathedral.
If you want a closer look at the photos, just click on them. I hope you've enjoyed this sneak peak into a couple of the places that inspired A VOW TO SECURE HIS LEGACY. If you want to grab a copy it's available in all the usual places including:
If you want to find out more about the book or sign up to receive exclusive snippets and giveaways associated with my books, you can do that at my website.
What's your favourite way of armchair travelling? Reading fiction? Hearing about friends' travel? Watching TV documentaries? Travel books? Where have you armchair travelled recently? I'd love some recommendations.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Kristina Knight: Welcome to Las Vegas

I have a love affair with Las Vegas. For every person who hates it - and some hate the glittering, neon-ringed, gambling den with a passion - I can come up with a reason to love it. Not all of those reasons are found on the Strip, either. Some, of course, are.

Like, the neon. I know, I know. Neon is ugly during the day, it's wasteful, the old signs clutter up landfills. I know all of these things. But after the sun goes down and before the moon comes out, you can look out of your hotel suite and the Vegas Strip is transformed into a fairyland. Twinkling lights, brilliant colors and fantastical displays as far as the eye can's a very modern display, but it is also very beautiful.

Or, if you're not into neon, you can go into the desert to watch the sunrise over the Grand Canyon. I love sunrises and sunsets over the ocean, but there is something completely other-worldly about the grey-to-pink-to-blue changes that take place over the Canyon at takes your breath away.

And then there is the food. We've been to Vegas at least 5 times now, and I've never found one of those mythical 99-cent buffets. Even if I did, I probably wouldn't eat there because there are places like the Original Lindo Michoacan and a local brick over pizza place that we stumbled onto just off the strip... and there are the fancy options at Cesar's and the Luxor.

I love vacationing in Vegas, and that's part of the reason I set my Billionaire Cowboys trilogy there - because it gave me an excuse to go back (it was a business expense!!) while researching the books...and it also gives me the chance to go back every day that I'm drafting or editing one of the books.

Tell me, where is your favorite vacation spot?

About What the Bachelor Gets:

The Billionaire Cowboys trilogy by best-selling author Kristina Knight kicks off with a seductive story of long-simmering feelings and hot Vegas nights.

When Vegas Nightly names local property developer Gage Reeves as its sexiest bachelor, he's barraged with a stream of showgirls, local socialites, and entertainers who all expect something from him. But all Gage wants is to make a success of his new luxury shopping development.

Enter Callie Holliday. Callie dreams of having the hottest day spa in Vegas, but she's saddled with a bad location and an account balance full of zeroes. When she walks into a last-chance meeting with an angel investor and finds herself face to face with Gage, the childhood friend on whom she had a huge crush, she's not sure his reputation is the right match for her business. But then he offers her a storefront in his new high-end retail complex, and she has to admit it's a thoroughly tempting proposition. But feelings she thought were long buried threaten to turn their deal from strictly professional to decidedly personal.

It's risky business gambling on love . . .

Buy the Book: Amazon  B&N  iTunes  KOBO  Crimson Romance

Monday, February 22, 2016

How to Stay Focused and Produce When you are a Writer by Joanne Walsh

I’ve spent some time gleaning words of wisdom from fiction writers, both published and self-published, about staying focused.  I’d like to share what I’ve harvested with you.

·         Identify the time when you will be most productive.  For some, very first thing, before the day gets going, is when they’re at their most creative.  For night owls like me, evenings are when the juices run.

·         Nail down the time span or word count in which you can stay focused.  This will vary from person to person. Very few can work for more than 4 to 5 hours straight, and it seems that most will produce 250 to 2,000 words in one session.  It may mean you write less, but more frequently.

·         Try to get something down every day. Even if it’s a few sentences, or a re-written paragraph.  It keeps the writing habit going and you in touch with your characters and storyline, not to mention ideas bubbling.

·         Make sure you take breaks away from your computer.  Many writers talk of the value of even 5 minutes apart from their manuscript for giving a fresh perspective on what’s just been written.  Some will break their daily allotted writing time into two or three parts just to get that view.

·         Don’t edit while you write. Just let it flow. You can always go back and refine later.

Do let me know how you stay focused!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Barbara Ankrum: Hot Alpha Sheiks And Other Tales From The Old West

I turned in a book a week or so ago, which is always cause for celebration for me.  Getting to the end of a book is like giving birth and mostly, as in childbirth, we authors tend to forget the labor pains of that last book when we start writing the next one. This one was a historical, a particularly prickly story that took me a long time to finish. Its progress was interrupted, over the course of a year, by several other book deadlines, a personal crisis, an unexpected move halfway across the country, and all the regular chaos of life.  And more than once, during that year, I felt like running away from home. No, seriously, I did. But I didn’t run.  I stayed at my keyboard and finished that story.  

The title, “The Ruination of Essie Sparks,” came to me as I was doing the head-to-desk smack over some character issue, and might just hold some clue about my conviction that Essie was going to be the death of me—or her—whichever came first.  My very alpha half-breed Cheyenne hero accidentally-on-purpose steals her from the Indian Industrial School she’s teaching at and drags her off to the wilds of Montana, where they run for their lives from the men chasing them. Essie, who is already at the end of her very frayed rope when this occurs, must choose over and over in this story: to stay or go, love or hate, to live with fear or courage.  And inevitably, I fell madly in love with both of them, thank goodness.

But in the middle of writing it this last go round, I was quite shocked to realize this was a sheik-in-disguise book set in the old west. Now, I don’t write sheiks, though some of my favorite authors, like Jane Porter, do and they’re wildly hot and alpha and loads of fun. I write both emotional, adventurous western historicals and on-the-lighter side contemporaries for Tule.  But not, specifically, sheiks. This book was, however, that same fantasy at play of being swept away from it all by some alpha male to some other place that is not your known world. Of turning the tables and shifting the power, not just in the literal relationship between the hero and heroine, but in how my heroine perceived herself in the world. Coincidentally, it was a book that I not only wanted to write, it was a book I needed to read. (I jest. There was no coincidence about it!)

As a long time mentor to new writers, I remembered the many times I’ve told my students that theme—or that underlying issue or moral of their story—is something very personal and to expect it to show up over and over in their writing. (They’re always shocked to learn this.) Theme will even show up in your reading if you’re a reader. If you go take a look at your bookshelves, you’ll probably find common themes threading through your favorite books. No doubt those themes will vary at different times in your life. At least, they do on my bookshelf. We read books, novels in particular, to feed our imaginations and often, to work out things we’re dealing with in our lives.  Romance in particular, speaks to women’s fantasies and issues, and reading is a much safer bet to resolve those than say…actually running away. And so much less complicated.

Discovering how closely this book allied with my own struggle this year also reminded me that romance serves a real purpose beyond straight entertainment (which I hope it also does.)  Romance puts up a lens through which to look at ourselves, our choices, our foibles and even our flaws and helps us put them into perspective, safely.  Romance is more than pure escapism, though yay for that! There is a good reason why the genre has such a loyal and die-hard following. If romance also gives us reason to hope that we, too, can find our own power as women, then so much the better.

How about you? Was there ever a book you read that helped you sort through something in your life? Made you feel better about your choices or just got you through your day without running away?  I’d love to hear.  One lucky commenter will win a $10 AMAZON GIFT CARD.  

The Ruination of Essie Sparks will be available for pre-order soon and will release in early March. Thanks again to Lee Hyat for so sweetly inviting me to blog here monthly this year. I look forward to getting to know you all better!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Resolutions Schmesolutions by Jenny Gardiner

So, it's been 6 weeks since the New Year. Anyone still sticking with those darned resolutions that sounded so achievable back then?

I have mixed feelings about resolutions. I mean when it gets down to it, they seem like a self-flagellating set-up for failure (by the way, I was going to post a picture of self-flagellation just for a laugh, but all the pictures I found were absolutely gross!). As if something miraculous happens at the stroke of midnight that means all of a sudden you're going to eliminate sugar while binging on kale, exercise two hours a day, write masterpieces and publish them at a rate of one per month, master the fine art of marketing, and oh, while you're at it, make world peace a reality.

Yeah, I'll get right on that.

I know some folks who are serious goal-setters, with annotated bucket lists (I really do not love the whole bucket list concept---it feels really trite to me), but if it works for them, good on 'em. I know one gal who is a bucket lister-extraordinaire: somewhere hovering around # 70 was this bold ambition: go to medical school. Well, last spring, at the age of 54, she completed her undergraduate degree, and now, at age 55, is enrolled in medical school. I can't tell you how impressive I think this is--I mean, damn, what an undertaking. While the rest of us are lamenting hot flashes and praying to God for an early retirement, she has undertaken a whopping commitment that will have her busting her ass (and never sleeping, though maybe she's maximizing the downsides to hot flashing all night)) well into her 60's---and that's before she even ends her training. WOW! That is A-MAZING to me. That said, she's left teenaged kids home with her husband, which is something I could never do. Although what a cool example to set for your kids. But then again, you only have your kids with you for such a short period, it would break my heart to leave them behind like that. But that's just me.

Okay so on to my resolutions. I do have writing goals that I am determined to achieve, and I do believe it helps to write them down, not only to just have it there in black and white, but to help you see it and remind yourself of it and even, if you're lucky, tick off some of those achievements when they occur (usually a few years later).

Now's time for you to laugh. I just took a look at my 2016 Goals for Writing (which I'd forgotten to look at since I wrote it a month ago). Top of the list?
  1. Organize my life
Well, crap. So far, not so good on that one. Believe me, if/when I achieve this one, I'll let y'all know.
the rest are in no particular order, and I'd just like you all to light a candle or two on my behalf if you have it in your heart that maybe I can get through these this year:
2. Master Facebook ads (i.e. listen to, then apply my 50-hour tutorial on FB ads)
3. Build mailing list
4. Write lots more books (haha, don't ya like how I didn't write a number. Though I've got 5 slated to publish and in my fantasies I'd write at least 3 more. Operative word being "fantasies". Perhaps this is how I maximize that failure to sleep that menopause imposes on us at this age.
5. Have books made into audio books (this will be when the money starts falling from trees, or when I master Facebook ads, whichever comes first)
6. Have books translated into German (see #5 as far as realistic goal)
7. Make bestsellers lists.
So there you have it. I have my work cut out for me. And as I scramble to meet my deadline with a book to my editor, again, I will put it out there that I wouldn't turn it down if you all wanted to light a candle for me to actually get it all together.
And if I don't? Well, there's always 2017...
Oh hey! I accomplished something I forgot to write down. It was really an overlap from 2015 but it happened, so yay me: I overhauled my website, and it just got finalized last week. Feel free to check it out and tell me what you think! (now wish me luck with maintaining it, technophobe that I am...).
While you're over there, I've got an awesome free book for you if you sign up for my newsletter: Something in the Heir, book 1 of my It's Reigning Men series! Sign up here and you'll be first to hear about deals and giveaways.
Also, Throne for a Loop, book 6 of the It's Reigning Men series, comes out March 8 and is available for pre-order here:
iBooks                           Kobo                       Kindle
Now it's your turn: what are your goals and aspirations are for 2016 and beyond?
     JennyGardiner_ThroneForALoop2_200   SlimtoNone200

And you get the first sneak peek at my cover for book 7, It's Getting Hot in Heir!

Subscribe to my newsletter
find me on Facebook
find me on Twitter
my website

Friday, February 19, 2016

Margaret Marr: The Blessing of Community

This past week I attended a Romance writer's conference and as I often am, when surrounded by Romance writers, I was blown away by the intelligence, kindness, generosity and professionalism of my peers. I don't know why I'm ever surprised that the writers in my genre possess these qualities. I've been a published author since 2008 and a Romance author since 2009 and I know without doubt that the writer's of Romance are creative authors and savvy business people nearly always leading the way with regards to changes in the publishing industry. 

I think what I am always struck with is the sense of community among Romance writers. A group that is willing to share business information as well as discuss plot. These discussions take place whether you're a newbie with your first book or a veteran with a decade of experience and fifteen books published...I was a bit shocked to discover that I'd somehow, over the past two years, slid from newbie to veteran with the publication of The Glamour Series and my ongoing Eligible Billionaires Series. I tilted my head a bit when referenced by a younger author as being 'more established'.  

What I took away from the conference wasn't just new information on craft, marketing, business, or advertising. No, my biggest take-away was my reconfirmed sense of community. That while I may sit alone at my computer screen for hours, days, and weeks hammering away words that the imaginary people in my head tell me, that I while I work alone, I am not alone. There are too many of my friends and fellow authors out there working too and within three keystrokes away (thank you social media!) that I can check in with. This deepening sense of friendship and knowledge that I am entrenched in a caring and vibrant community is a blessing. A blessing for which I am (often) overwhelmed with gratitude. I simply can't overemphasize what an amazing group of authors the Romance community is and how wonderful it is to be a part of this group. 

Happy Reading!

xo Maggie

PS A little shout out that Hard Glamour book 1 in The Glamour Series is FREE for a limited time!

And, Broken Glamour book 2 in The Glamour Series is only .99 for a VERY limited time!

Maggie Marr is an author & attorney. She got her start in Hollywood pushing the mail cart where she became a motion picture literary agent. She now splits her time between her legal practice dedicated to entrepreneurs & creatives, and writing. She writes smart, sexy, men and the women that love them. She is the author of The Hollywood Girls Club Series, TheEligible Billionaires Series, TheGlamour Series, and The Powder Springs Series. You can find her on,  Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.  

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Debra Holland: Introducing Montana Sky Kindle World

One of the greatest satisfactions I have in life comes from helping others—whether it’s in my role as a psychotherapist, a corporate crisis and grief counselor, or as an author. I spend a lot of my time mentoring and sharing information with other authors.

I’ve also indie published a Christmas anthology of stories by myself and guest authors set in my Montana Sky Series, which I knew could help all of us cross-promote. So in 2014, when an Amazon rep first approached me about the possibility of establishing a Montana Sky Series Kindle World, I was intrigued by the concept.

Amazon Kindle Worlds are fan fiction contracted stories written by guest authors. In my case, authors write stories in the Montana Sky Series, which includes my Mail-Order Brides of the West books. The Montana Sky series books range from stirring sweeping frontier romances to small, heartfelt stories of an individual overcoming obstacles and loss.

But when I was first offered my own Kindle World, I knew I wasn’t ready at that time. I had a few books I wanted to finish first, including Mail-Order Brides of the West: Prudence, which introduced readers to the mining town of Morgan’s Crossing--a two days ride from my small town of Sweetwater Springs. Having the two towns in my KW would give authors a larger scope for their stories.

Before opening this world, I thought about whether I could let go of the characters and towns I’ve created. Once I decided I could adopt a “hands-off” approach, I felt ready to jump into this opportunity and have fun!

After I first contracted with Amazon to have a Montana Sky Kindle World, I reached out to historical or contemporary Western romance authors to see it they wanted to write stories in my “world.” Most of these authors were already friends of mine, or I knew them from the Pioneer Hearts Facebook group. In addition, I’d read and enjoyed some of their books.

I wanted my guest authors to be able to tie their own series into mine. So in these KW stories, readers will see familiar characters from my books as well as characters that may have a connection to a guest author’s series. Aside from providing some guidance about my series, I haven’t had anything to do with writing these books. They will be as new to me as they are to the readers.

The awesome fourteen launch authors have primarily set their books in the mining town of Morgan’s Crossing, although some of the characters pass through Sweetwater Springs on their way to the mining town. I’m looking forward to reading these authors’ stories! Explore the books at:

The authors are:

Kirsten Osbourne
Louella Nelson
Linda Carroll-Bradd
Caroline Clemmons
Merry Farmer
Crystal Green
Cassie Hayes
Paty Jager
Sylvia McDaniel
Patricia Thayer
Carré White
Kit Morgan
E. Ayers
Cynthia Woolf

To see their books and to learn more about writing in the Montana Sky Series Kindle World, go to:

Debra Holland is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of the award-winning Montana Sky Series (sweet, historical Western romance) and The Gods’ Dream Trilogy (fantasy romance.) Debra is a three-time Romance Writers of America Golden Heart finalist and one-time winner. In 2013, Amazon selected Starry Montana Sky as one of the Top 50 Greatest Love Stories. When she’s not writing, Dr. Debra works as a psychotherapist and corporate crisis/grief counselor. She’s the author of The Essential Guide to Grief and Grieving, a book about helping people cope with all kinds of loss, and Cultivating an Attitude about Gratitude, a Ten Minute Ebook. She’s also a contributing author to The Naked Truth About Self-Publishing.  For more information on her fiction books go to:

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Susan Stephens: A Tuscany Setting

Hello again! I hope you had a really great start to February!

I’m so excited to see the book I wrote set in Tuscany on the shelves.

It wouldn’t have happened without these amazing people…

Authors Alannah Harte, and Linda Gask, together with the irrepressible and quite amazing, Sharon Kendrick, course leader sans pareil!

Having a critique partner is usual in many parts of the world, but in the UK, not so much. In Tuscany I discovered the fun and stimulation of working in a group. It was just wonderful, fabulous, and I can thoroughly recommend it.  I certainly can’t praise Sharon Kendrick highly enough – Sharon’s books are fabulous, and she’s fabulous, and I just love her to bits!

And who wouldn’t be inspired by this type of scenery…

Coming soon…

My next Harlequin Presents/Mills & Boon Modern will be in August this year, and is entitled, In The Sheikh’s Service.

November sees another passionate story, this time set on a small island off the coast of Spain. A Diamond for Del Rio’s Housekeeper features a young orphan and an older, aristocratic Spanish Grandee, but age doesn’t matter when love is involved.
I also have a Susan Stephens story coming up in an exciting box set with some fabulous author friends. This anthology is called Royal & Rogues, and my hot, stand-alone BlackHeart novella is called, Seducing the Princess.
Warning: this story features a princess who should know better, and a bodyguard who knows everything he needs to…
So get your earplugs out if you don’t like to hear a hero swearing, and put your blindfold on if you don’t want to see things you shouldn’t!

Here’s the skinny…

Princess Angelika needs an heir...
The first time I met Gideon Black, I was a teenager. I hated him with a passion that kept me awake at night—as it has done every night since. Gideon is everything a queen in waiting should avoid: pure, unadulterated sex on two hard-muscled legs, and an attitude that can only be described as ruthless. I never dreamed our paths would cross again, or that Gideon would need my body as much as I needed his.
When Angel’s father begged me to protect his only child before he died, I knew this was a deal I could work with. Getting Angel pregnant would secure the throne for her, and give me an excuse to reconnect with the woman I’d often fantasied about. I wasn’t prepared for seeing Angel again. A tease at sixteen, she had grown into an irresistible, kick-ass woman, and I knew exactly what I wanted to do to her—how thoroughly, and for how long.

And… as if all that wasn’t enough! Xandra King rides again!!!
I recently received reversion rights to my Tale from Lachmuirghan- that tiny Scottish village that has been known to disappear in the mist, and where something strange is always going on at the Lachmuirghan Guest House.

I can’t wait to develop these 2 stories, so I can reintroduce that very naughty Teacher of All Things to you!

Well, that’s it for this month – wishing you everything wonderful, and in abundance,
Your friend and author,

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Short and Sweet

I love February for its shortness.

And yes, I realize it has that extra day this year, which doesn't make it any more or less sweet. It's still shorter than a thirty or thirty-one day month.

About four years ago, we here in Canada finally got a long weekend in February. (Family Day) Before that, there was always the desert wasteland of unbroken weeks from New Year's day until Easter. Yes, Easter! Which sometimes waits until April to show up with chocolates and a day off from work.

So February was my friend, usually arriving with a hint of weather just mild enough to tease of spring, and finishing fast so I was suddenly looking at March and daffodils and a day off.

Now, of course, I'm a stay-at-home-writer which means I never get a day off. You think I'm joking. I'm totally not, but I'm also not complaining.

And I still love February for its shortness.

Which makes if perfectly fitting that my bad boy short story, Taken By The Raider, released this month. Griffen Woodlock, corporate raider, 'acquires' Aubrey Hargrave in a hostile takeover. He quickly seizes more than her assets. That's the short version, anyway. Here's the full blurb:

The first time Aubrey Hargrave was “acquired” by corporate raider Griffen Woodlock, she was unable to resist his potent sexuality. She made the fatal mistake of mixing business with pleasure, but had to end their passionate affair to save her father’s reputation—and her heart. 
At 20, Griffen pushed his abusive father out of his CEO position to take the chair himself. Aside from indulging his passion for beautiful women, Griffen hasn’t made an emotional decision since. When Aubrey cuts short their white-hot affair, he tells himself she can easily be replaced. Except she can’t. 
Discovering Aubrey’s family secret gives Griffen the power to force a second take-over, but he intends to seize more than her business. He wants her

Want a short sexy read to keep you warm while you wait for the spring thaw? Here are the quick links:

Amazon US | CA | UK | Aus | Kobo | iBooks | GooglePlay

What's your favourite month?