Tag Archives: interview

INTERVIEW with Kaira Rouda author of Laguna Heights ~ GIVEAWAY

I’m excited to have author Kaira Rouda on the blog today. I think you’ll enjoy getting to know her through our interview and also learning about her book Laguna Heights. I’m loving the cover. Definitely makes me want to take a tropical vacation. How about you?

Also, don’t forget to enter her awesome giveaway!

Let’s get started…



What are your five best personality traits?

  1. Cheerful: I like to smile and that seems to make people smile back ;-)
  2. Caring and empathetic: I care deeply about my family and friends
  3. Optimistic: I tend to look on the bright side of life
  4. Enthusiastic: I love to work hard and I believe anyone can achieve her dreams
  5. Genuine: What you see is what you get.

What’s the first thing we’d see when we open your front door?

My two dogs, Tucker and Frankie!

Aww…nothing is better than being greeted by furry friends. What’s the one thing you eat that makes your family cringe?

Mustard on French fries, but now some of them love it too! Grey Poupon preferred.

Okay, I might have to try mustard with french fries now. lol Tell us your favorite part of the writing process.

Beginning a new story with a clear idea of my characters.

I love choosing character names. Tell us how you came up with your character’s names in LAGUNA HEIGHTS.

Annie just sounds like someone you would like and somebody you would want to be friends with! I’ve never met a mean Annie. And Hank is named after a really kind chiropractor I know

Describe your book tweet style…that’s right, you have 140 characters!

LAGUNA HEIGHTS by USA Today bestseller @KairaRouda. Will their perfect life be ruined by her secret past? #romance

Nice job with the tweet! Where do you write?

In my office. Lately at a stand-up treadmill desk!

I want one of those so bad! I’m jealous :) Is there something you have to have when you are writing? Maybe you wear a lucky pair of socks, light a candle, eat something sweet…

I have to have my dog, Tucker, curled up on my desk and my other dog, Frankie, in her bed. That makes everything perfect to start writing.

What’s the one scene from LAGUNA HEIGHTS that stands out in your mind as being your favorite to write?

I loved writing the scenes on the college campus – it has been a long time since I’ve strolled on a campus as a student! Those were fun scenes! Imagining the coffee shop, the walkways full of kids. The infinite possibilities at that time of your life. Ah.

When did you know that writing was your passion and was what you wanted to pursue?

By third grade, maybe sooner, but for sure by third grade.

Why should we read LAGUNA HEIGHTS?

It’s the perfect beach romance with a twist. The story flashes between present and ten years ago, has a definite bad guy, but mostly it’s a wonderful love story.

Please share the first sentence in your book.

Why won’t Madison pick up? Annie’s hand shook as she held her phone to her ear, wishing her best friend would answer her call.

Out of all your books, which one character is most like you?

Kelly in Here, Home, Hope – my first novel.

Would you like to tell us what you’re working on now?

Absolutely! I’m working on a women’s fiction novel at present, and next, I’ll jump back into contemporary romance. I’m so happy to have my feet in both writing worlds. Next year,  I’m excited my women’s fiction release, THE GOODBYE YEAR, on May 3, 2016. I’m equally excited about starting a new contemporary romance series in 2016 AND continuing both the Laguna Beach and Indigo Island romance series. I’m so excited about the future.


I wish I could slow down time. My kids are growing up so fast.

My best accomplishment of 2015 in my writing life is making the USA Today bestseller list and in my personal life, surviving the empty nest (barely).

My toothbrush is aggressively electric.

I prefer sunsets over sunrises.

I don’t plan to ever skydive.

The last thing I ate that had bacon in it was I’m not sure! I’ve been mostly vegetarian for eight years.

I’m so glad you let me interview you Kaira. I hope you had as much fun as I did.

Thanks so much for having me here!



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Laguna Beach #2
Kaira Rouda
Released Oct 15th, 2015
Real You Publishing


Annie and Hank have created a perfect life in Laguna Beach but when a dark secret is revealed, will their marriage survive?In high school, Annie Johns was the calm, supportive sidekick to the rest of the tumultuous female stars of the hit reality TV show, Laguna Nights. Today, she’s living the happy life as a mom that she predicted on the show long ago. There’s only one problem: the secret from her past that haunts her most nights, a secret that if revealed could ruin everything she shares with her husband, Hank, the man who saved her from the heartache.

***Laguna Heights can be read and enjoyed as a standalone novella. And if you enjoy Annie and Hank’s story, please consider reading the
rest of the Laguna Beach series.

Laguna Nights (Laguna Beach Book 1), Madison and Josh 
Laguna Heights (Laguna Beach Book 2), Annie and Hank 
Laguna Lights (Laguna Beach Book 3), Laura and Paul
Laguna Sights (Laguna Beach Book 4), Jamie and Scott


Annie dropped back into her seat, contemplating another cup of coffee when a guy approached her table. He looked like he’d just rolled out of bed. He was cute, with shaggy brown hair and, Annie noticed, sleepy bright blue eyes. He smiled, revealing straight white teeth. “Hey, are you Annie? From the show Laguna Nights?”

“That’s me,” she said, feeling her cheeks blush under his gaze, a strange phenomenon as this was the expected question. Coming from him, though, with his eyes focused intensely on her, she felt electricity crackle in the air between them. This was a first. So far, through high school and college, she had been on dates with some great guys, even multiple dates with a couple of them, but none of them she would consider boyfriend material. She had decided she was destined to be everybody’s friend, guys and girls. But with this guy, well, she felt her heart beat a little faster.

“Can I grab you another cup of coffee? I was just going inside to order. Black, right?” he said, looking at her almost empty cup.

“Yes, sure,” she said, shrugging her shoulders.

“I’ll be right back,” he said. “Oh, I’m Chris, by the way.”

Annie leaned back in her chair and felt a rush of happiness wash over her body.



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I’m delighted to be able to say I’m a national bestselling author. My books have won the Indie Excellence Award, USA Book Awards, the Reader’s Choice Awards and honorable mention in the Writer’s Digest International Book Awards. The novels have been widely reviewed and featured in leading national magazines. I’m still working hard and building that career, learning from a wonderfully supportive reading and writing community. Speaking of support, I couldn’t ask for a more wonderful family. My husband and four amazing almost grown children are my biggest blessings. Oh, and my friends fill my life with joy. I hope you’ll take a moment to visit my website – and to peruse my books. I love talking to book clubs, in person or via Skype. If you’re interested, please let me know. For more, please visit my website
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Posted by on November 10, 2015 in Blitz/Bonanza Spotlights


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INTERVIEW with Laura Drewry author of How Forever Feels ~ GIVEAWAY

Today I’d love your help in welcoming author Laura Drewry to the blog. She’s let me ask her a few questions so that we can get to know more about her and her release How Forever Feels. I think you’ll enjoy getting to know more about her and her book!

Afterward, take a moment to check out her giveaway and leave a comment :)

Let’s get started…


Tell us one thing you love, one thing you hate, and one thing you fear.

I love elephants. There’s just something about them that’s so beautiful and amazing.
I hate when I run out of milk for my coffee. I don’t drink milk on its own, but it’s a must for my coffee.

Besides the everyday fears of something happening to my kids, I fear open water. I force myself to go out on our boat once in a while, but only because the kids and my husband like it. I think the ocean is truly awe inspiring and I’m very happy to live right next to it, but I’d much rather admire it from the shore than to be out on it where it’s deep and cold and a heck of a lot stronger than me.

I am an elephant lover too. Like you said, they are amazing, and they have a gentleness about them that I find so beautiful. What’s the first 5 things you see when you open your refrigerator?

Yogurt, coffee, left over cannelloni from last night, carton of eggs, and a ½ glass of milk (my son leaves them in there all the time – drives me crazy. LOL)

lol…I do the same thing as your son. Drives my hubs crazy! What’s the one thing you eat that makes your family cringe?

Brussels sprouts. I know, I know, but I like them. Preferably covered in gravy, but even without, I still like them. :)

I won’t touch the subject of brussel sprouts. lol Tell us your favorite part of the writing process.

I have a few favourites, but one of them is when something that happened early on in the book comes around full circle and closes things up at the end. I don’t use an outline when I write, which means I never know what’s going to happen until I’ve typed it out, so when these things pop up it’s always such a great surprise.

I love choosing character names. Tell us how you came up with your character’s names in HOW FOREVER FEELS.

I agree – choosing names is always fun!

Maya McKay – The first time we met Maya was in PLAIN JAYNE, Book 1 of my Friends First series, when she was just coming through a painful divorce. She needed a name that I thought encapsulated who she was: gentle but strong, kind but not a pushover, and someone who might seem quieter than most, but who was fierce when it came to the people she loved and for me, that name was Maya.

Jack Rhodes – Jack is many things but an alpha male he’s not. An everyday guy without superstar status or a reputation with the ladies, he needed an everyday name to match that. At the same time, it needed to be strong, like him, and still sound good slipping of Maya’s tongue.

Describe your book tweet style…that’s right, you have 140 characters!

Jack has always loved Maya, but he’s also her ex-husband’s best friend so it’s hands off. How far can loyalty be stretched before it snaps?

Nicely done! Where do you write?

I changed our dining room (which we never used) into my office where I have my big desk, bookshelves, turtle tank, my Jeter corner, and the china cabinet (which I’d love to get rid of, but there’s so much stuff in it! LOL)

Dining room conversions are all the rage right now. I know 2 others that turned theirs into an office and a library :) Is there something you have to have when you are writing? Maybe you wear a lucky pair of socks, light a candle, eat something sweet…

Coffee and music. The coffee has to be in my favourite mug which I just realized is 21 years old (yikes) and the music changes depending on what I’m writing.

What’s the one scene from HOW FOREVER FEELS that stands out in your mind as being your favorite to write?

The scene in Jack’s hotel room when he and Maya are playing his Apollo game was a lot of fun to write. They’d just gone through an emotional scene where she learned more about Jack’s childhood and they were both feeling a little drained, so they needed to lighten it up a little. It was a side of her he’d never seen and it was fun to watch and write how he reacted to her.

When did you know that writing was your passion and was what you wanted to pursue?

I’ve always wanted to write, but it took me a long time to figure out *what* I wanted to write. It wasn’t until a friend sent me a box of Linda Lael Miller and Johanna Lindsey books that it suddenly became clear. I needed to write books with happy endings.

Why should we read HOW FOREVER FEELS?

HOW FOREVER FEELS, like the other books in the Friends First series, is a story about regular people facing some of the same problems we all face. I don’t want to give too much away for those who haven’t read it, but I think readers will relate to the decisions Jack and Maya have to make and why they make the decisions they do.

I hope HOW FOREVER FEELS takes the reader on an emotional ride that ends with a smile and a sigh of contentment, because couldn’t we all use a little more of that? :)

Out of all your books, which one character is most like you?

I think there’s a little bit of me in all of them, but I don’t think there’s one that is most like me. If one is, it’s completely unintentional. One of the joys of being an author is writing characters who can be smarter, funnier and stronger than me. :)

Would you like to tell us what you’re working on now?

I’m starting a new series called Fishing for Trouble so I’ve just finished writing the first book, OFF THE HOOK, which is scheduled for release in April, and I’m starting on book 2. The series is set in a family run fishing lodge on the coast of BC and each book focuses on one of the O’Donnell brothers.

That is such a cute series title and book title. Nicely done!


I wish I could: swim.

There is no way I’d ever: go white water rafting.

If I could go anywhere in the world I’d go: on safari in Africa

I prefer: Daryl to Rick.

lol…okay, that’s my favorite answer! I’m a Daryl fan, too!

Growing up: I took tap dancing lessons from Sister LaRose – a nun at a nearby convent.

The last thing I ate that had bacon in it was: last night’s bacon/sausage cannelloni. Heaven! :)


Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog today – it was great fun!

Thank you for coming by. I enjoyed our interview and wish you much success with your book. Awesome cover!



Enter to Win a 
Select Ebook Bundle from Loveswept


Friends First #4
Laura Drewry
Releasing Oct 13th, 2015

From USA Today bestselling author Laura Drewry comes a warm and witty new Friends First novel—perfect for readers of Jill Shalvis and Susan Mallery. How Forever Feels is a sweet tale about the one that got away . . . and the one that came back.

Maya McKay’s heart is as big as Jack Rhodes’s shoulders are broad. Their chemistry is out of control, but it could never work between them because Jack is more than just best friends with her cheating ex-husband—they’re like brothers. Maya, the sensitive, practical florist, has given up on love and is ready to settle for like. But now that Jack’s around again, he’s stirring up old feelings—and turning Maya’s fantasies into irresistible reality.

Jack blew his chance with Maya years ago when he stepped aside for his best friend, Will, and he’s still kicking himself about it. Maya was promised forever once before, and she got burned. But when Jack realizes that second chances aren’t going to fall out of the sky, he seizes the moment—and the woman he’s always loved—to show her how forever truly feels.



“So what brings you to town?” Ellie asked. “And if you mention Dickhead’s name in your next sentence, you’re buying a round for the whole room.”

“Thanks for the heads-up,” Jack muttered, giving the packed house a quick glance. “The company I work with is moving one of our offices up here, so I’m keeping an eye on things to make sure it all stays on track and we get going on time. I talked to the contractor the other day and it sounds like we’re on course, so hopefully—”

“Duh!” Groaning, Jayne thumped the heel of her hand against her forehead. “You’re Gamer-guy-Jack from TMJ! That’s why I know your name—Nick told me someone was coming to take over for Keith but I didn’t make the connection between you and him. “

“You know Nick Scott?”

“Sorry.” Maya laughed. “Let me try the introductions again. Jack, this is Jayne Scott, Nick’s wife, and if he’s doing the work, you’ll have no worries about staying on track.”

“Good, because the lease we have right now is up in mid-November, so we’re already pushing our luck.”

“Nick said you work out of Seattle,” Jayne said. “So are you going to stay when the new place is finished or are you just here on loan?”

“Just a loaner,” he said. “Until Keith’s back.”

“And are you staying with”—Jayne stopped and winked at Ellie—“He Who Must Not Be Named?”

“No.” Jack blinked past Jayne and shrugged. “That hotel by the golf course gave us a good deal, so—”

“Us?” Ellie asked. It was only one word, but it covered a lot of territory.

He turned his grin to Maya. “Me and Pete.”

“Pete’s with you?” Maya cried. She’d never considered herself much of a dog person until she’d met Pete. “How is he?”

“Still the same; big, brown, and a little bit pathetic.” Jack pulled out his phone and flashed a couple pictures of his chocolate Lab, starting with the one of Pete as a chubby nine-week-old puppy and ending with a recent one of him with two tennis balls stuffed in his mouth and his right ear flopped back.

“How old is he now?” Maya asked. “Eight?”

“Coming up next month, yeah.”

They were all still gushing over him as Ellie continued to pepper Jack with questions.

“You married?”


“Ever been married?”

“Sorry, Jack,” Maya muttered. “Ellie, the Queen of Tact, doesn’t believe in beating around the bush.”

“It’s fine.” He chuckled but Maya knew it was forced. “And no, never been married.”

“Got any kids?”

“Nope. It’s just Pete and me,” Jack said, tucking his phone away again. “I told you, boring.”

“I don’t believe that,” Ellie said, watching him through narrowed eyes. “You don’t look like the boring type.”

There was never a day that went by when Maya didn’t know how lucky she was to have these three women as her best friends, but nights like this made her appreciate them even more. Following Ellie’s lead, they spent the next hour or so dragging all kinds of stories from him; everything from him being the tall, skinny awkward kid at school, to the craziest date he’d ever been on—the girl showed up in a leopard-print catsuit complete with tail and ears—to the time he literally ran into Thor at Comic-Con.

“He’s a big sonuvabitch, that one.”

“Looked in a mirror lately, Jack?” Regan laughed.

“Yeah, easy for you guys to laugh about it,” he said. “But I wound up flat on my ass surrounded by security.”

“Way to make an impression,” Maya snickered. “There goes any chance you might have had to get him to voice one of your games.”

A slow smirk spread across Regan’s face as she sat up straighter. “If it’s voices you need, why don’t you get Maya to hit up her new boyfriend, Griffin Carr?”

“Griffin Carr?” Jack’s eyes bulged. “You mean . . . no . . . Griffin Carr? Like just-started-filming-the-next-Bond-movie Griffin Carr?”

“One and the same.f” Ellie nodded, but Maya was already shaking her head.

“He’s not my boyfriend. We’ve been out a few times, that’s it.” Okay, it was a little more than that now, but she couldn’t exactly tell the girls about it with Jack sitting there staring at her.

“Sorry, Snip, you’re going to have to give me more than that. Griffin Carr?”

It took her a few seconds to say anything else, partly because she was in mid-sip of her wine and partly because she was dragging that sip out as long as she could.

“He’s been filming up here a lot in the last few years and likes to use Regan as his stylist.”


“And a few months back, he and Regan made a deal where she’d be his stylist for an indie film he was doing if he’d agree to play on our slo-pitch team in a charity game, which is where he and Maya met.”

Jack nodded. “Right, I remember Will saying something about the game.”

Ellie nodded pointedly. “I’m guessing Dickhead neglected to mention that Griffin was all over Maya like white on rice.”

“But she was playing hard to get,” Regan added. “Because she thought he was a sleazeball.”

“And I already admitted I was wrong,” Maya said, forcing a dry laugh. “And that I shouldn’t believe everything I hear or read about him, so can we get over that, please?”

Regan popped a couple peanuts in her mouth and grinned. “I’m telling you, Jack, that game was one of the best things I’ve ever witnessed; we had Griffin putting the moves on Maya for all the world to see, and we had Dickhead and his skank with front row seats to the show. It was beautiful.”

Maya was sure Will’s scowl that day had little to do with the fact that Griffin was hitting on her and more to do with the fact that Stella spent the entire game the same way every other woman—and a few of the men—did: drooling over Griffin and doing whatever she could to get his attention.

A better person might not have found any satisfaction in Will’s misery, but Maya never claimed to be that good of a person.


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USA Today Bestselling author, Laura Drewry had been scribbling things for years before she decided to seriously sit down and write. After spending eight years in the Canadian north, Laura now lives back home in southwestern British Columbia with her husband, three sons, a turtle named Sheldon, and an extremely energetic German shepherd. She loves old tattered books, good movies, country music, and the New York Yankees.

Posted by on October 22, 2015 in Blitz/Bonanza Spotlights


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INTERVIEW with author MJ Schiller author of Blackout

Please help me welcome friend and fellow author MJ Schiller to the blog today! She agreed to take the hot seat and answer a few questions so we can all get to know her a little better and she’s also sharing some info on her latest release BLACKOUT! I love the cover…and of course her teasers are incredible. I think you’ll enjoy our chat and checking out her latest release :)

Let’s get started…

Describe yourself in 3 sentences.

I am a mother to a twenty-year-old, and eighteen-year-old triplets who just started as freshman at the University of Missouri-Columbia, my alma mater. I enjoy writing romance and romantic suspense. Make-believe rocks! I like to read, karaoke, and attend concerts.

Make believe does rock! And congrats on the kids starting freshman year…what an achievement! When it comes to peanut butter, do you prefer creamy or crunchy?

Ahh…depends. Smooth for a sandwich (doesn’t tear up the bread), crunchy for everything else.

I wish I liked crunchy, but I’m a smooth girl all the way :) What’s the one thing you eat that makes your family cringe?

Chicken quesadillas and protein cakes. Quesadillas because it is my go-to meal when we are out to eat and it drives my  kids crazy that I always order the same thing. Protein cakes for a similar reason. I eat one every day.

lol…Love it! Tell us your favorite part of the writing process.

I actually enjoy almost all of the parts of being a writer, but my favorite would have to be getting that rough draft down on paper, because that’s when the creativity is at its height.

Very true! I love choosing character names. Tell us how you came up with your character’s names in BLACKOUT.

The three main characters are Faith Roberson, Eli Batonis, and Max Theobald III. A long time ago I made a list of girls’ names I liked and Faith was on it. Roberson is actually the last name of my daughter’s friend. Several years ago my lunch lady friends and I drew up a list of “sexy guy names.” You know, the ones that almost always seem to be attached to a sexy guy. Eli was on there. Max just seemed to fit the character’s personality. He’s a charmer, funny, sexy, from a wealthy family, but pretty down-to-earth. Couldn’t picture them with any other names!

Thanks for sharing. I love behind the scenes stories like that! Tell us about your book in a tweet…that’s right, you have 140 characters!

Max-the consummate ladies man. Eli-haunted by his past. Hope-the woman who loves them both. Eli vs. Max. Wish it were a title fight.

Nicely done. Describe your writing space.

Right now my writing space is the corner of the couch closest to the outlet. But my husband and I recently became empty-nesters and before the boys even left I had Recycling for Families come and pick up their bed frames because their room is going to be MY OFFICE! That’s right, no more mail littering the coffee table, no books stacked on the floor. Instead of a box full of wires and plugs, we’ll have them stowed away in a drawer. It will have soothing gray walls and a big, black, L-shaped desk. Already have the paint chips! ;)

Fun times! Congrats on your new office. Do you prefer to write in the morning, afternoon, night, or are you one of those lucky authors who can write whenever and wherever?

When I had newborn triplets and a two-year-old, I learned pretty quickly that I had to seize those little 5-15 minutes of the day not assigned to some chore. I used those niches in the day  to do something for me, which was write!

What’s the one scene from BLACKOUT that stands out in your mind as being your favorite to write?

There is a scene when Max and Eli get into fisticuffs and then are found bruised, bloody, and laughing on the floor by an irate Faith. Love that scene!

When did you first know that you wanted to go the extra distance and become an author?

When I turned forty I decided “that book I was going to write someday” needed to be written! I sat down and wrote twelve books. (Not in one sitting!) Then I decided I needed to do something with them and started pursuing publishing.

Great story. Love it! Why should we read BLACKOUT?

Because it is a story about love, making mistakes, pain, forgiveness, and self-sacrifice. It’s sexy and it’s funny—it has some dark spots, too. And the ending really felt right.

Out of all your books, which one character resonates with you the most?

Well this is kind of hysterical, because he is as unlike me as he can be, but Chad Evans from TRAPPED UNDER ICE, the first book in my ROCKING ROMANCE COLLECTION. Chad has issues. He carries around a lot of pain and anger from his childhood. But he’s also the sweetest guy. He needed just the right woman to unlock that wonderful side of him.

Care to give us a sneak peek into what you’re working on next?

Due out any day is the final installment in my scifi romance series the ROMANTIC KNIGHTS TRILOGY. It’s titled A KNIGHT TO REMEMBER. The series contains two storylines. The romance between Darius and Maggie, and how Orion’s feels about it. And then there’s the suspense element. Someone is killing off the members of the Grand Council—and a few of our favorite peeps are on their hit list!


When I was a kid I wanted to grow up to be _I didn’t want to grow up. Still don’t. WAAAAY overrated!

My eyes are _one is blue, one is green.

When I write I always have funny expressions on my face. That is, according to my kids.

I prefer to not work, and yet I’m forced to.

Thanks for having me! It’s been fun!

LOL…I loved your answers to the random questions. Thank you so much for visiting me on the blog MJ. I enjoyed getting to know you better and learning about your latest release :)


Blurb ~

Max. The consummate ladies’ man.

He’s good looking, but not an absolute knockout. With Max’s charm though, he could have any woman he wants. Once he meets Faith, he doesn’t want anyone else.


Eli. He is a knockout.

But a dark past shadows him and holds him captive. Drinking dulls the pain, but meeting Faith makes him want to change all that.


Faith. She loves them both.

When a blackout brings her together with Eli, she’s happier than she’s ever been before. When another blackout tears them apart, Max is there to pick up the pieces. But can she forget the man who first made her whole?

legs teaser BLACKOUT

Excerpt ~



He was there. I remember it all—the crowded street, Max holding the car door open, a bus passing by—and then he was just there, looking…as good as ever somehow, but not looking the same. I froze and everything faded away—the honking, Max’s laughter, the tires on the road, the sounds of construction. As if God pressed His giant mute button. And Eli stood there, peering at me from across the street, and I couldn’t breathe.

Instead of his khaki green flak jacket he wore a navy, cotton jacket, unzipped. The wind tugged on the ends of it as he glanced around. His hair was shorter, but it was definitely him, hands shoved into the pockets of tan Dockers, (Eli, in Dockers?). He leaned a little against a light post, his feet crossed in front of him. When his gaze landed on me, he straightened. A bicyclist passed in front of him, a bullet of color. My mouth froze in mid-smile and my throat suddenly ached.

And then, like some cosmic explosion, everything came speeding back into place.

“Babe?” Max turned and glanced across the street, but he didn’t seem to see Eli. How, I don’t know. “What’s wrong?”

“N-nothing. Nothing,” I finally spat out, looking up into his warm, brown eyes.

“Well, are you going to get in?” He gave me a teasing smile, his handsome face serene. Max’s sandy, red-brown hair was not as long as Eli’s had been, but long enough to show a hint of sexy curl. He wore his beard closely-cropped and carried himself with a confidence and style which was inherited from his successful parents.


“In the car, you nut.”

He bent and kissed me on the lips, a sweet, simple kiss, but I pulled away; suddenly it was all wrong. He didn’t notice. He was too happy. Too happy I finally said yes. I gazed back across the street and, even though he wasn’t near enough for me to see his eyes, I knew what they looked like. I knew by the way he turned and hurried away. And Eli’s pain was mirrored in my own.


Barnes and Noble:



ISBN: 978-1-939274-15-1

M.J. Schiller profile pic (picmonkeyed)

Bio ~

MJ is a lunch lady in the heart of Central Illinois. My gosh! Can you get more folksy than that? She met her husband at the University of Missouri-Columbia and now she has a twenty year old (how did that happen?) and eighteen year old triplets! She loves to read, karaoke (where she can pretend she is a rock star) and spends WAY too much time on Facebook. She grew up in St. Louis and still has family there.

Links ~

For MJ







Google + :




Posted by on September 17, 2015 in Blitz/Bonanza Spotlights


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INTERVIEW with Diane Burton author of The Protector ~ GIVEAWAY

Please help me welcome friend and author Diane Burton to the blog. Diane has agreed to take the hot seat and answer a few questions. If you don’t already know Diane, I think you’ll enjoy getting to know a little more about her, and of course her latest release The Protector.

Don’t forget to check out her blurb and excerpt, and then enter her awesome giveaway at the end of the post!

Let’s get started…


Describe yourself as if you were tweeting…that’s right. You get 140 characters! :)

Action/adventure romance author. 1 spouse, 2 kids, 3 gr’kids. Quilter, gardener, reader, movie watcher. Detroit Tigers & Star Wars fan.

Nicely done! What’s the first thing we’d see when we walked in your front door?

Family pictures.

What is your favorite meal to cook?

Mostaccioli or as my grandkids call it “fat spaghetti” from my grandmother’s recipe.

Pasta is always a favorite. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

In high school, but a teacher discouraged me. A long time later, with empty nest approaching, I decided I would write a romance novel, sell a zillion copies, and be as famous as Nora Roberts. LOL Life doesn’t work like that.

It’s rewarding none the less though :) I love choosing names for my characters. How did you go about choosing yours?

For my science fiction romances, it’s sound—how the combination of consonants and vowels appeal to me. I want them to be different from American names yet pronounceable. For romantic suspense, I decide on the character’s heritage and the part of the country they are from.

What makes THE PROTECTOR different from other books in the same genre?

I tackle issues that are just as common in the future as they are today, like human trafficking.

Which character is most like you?

Bits and pieces of me are in all the characters I write. Rissa’s lack of confidence in Dillan’s love; Dillan’s rebellion against his father’s plan for his career; Arjay’s inadvertent humor.

Do you prefer to write in the morning, afternoon, evening, or just whenever you can?

Definitely in the morning when I’m freshest.

That’s how I roll, too. lol What’s the first sentence in your book?

After cutting the heel off a loaf of jambor, Rissa Dix sat on a stool at her work island, closed her eyes, and inhaled the scent of freshly-baked bread.

What was your favorite scene in THE PROTECTOR to write and why?

When Dillan takes Rissa up into the rainforest canopy. The scene shows her having fun, something she rarely does.

Why should we read THE PROTECTOR?

If you like adventure along with romance, second chances and healing, you’ll find it in THE PROTECTOR.

Sounds great :) What is one of your fondest memories from when you were growing up?

Lying on a quilt in a shady spot outside and reading Nancy Drew mysteries.

Growing up my sister and 2 neighbor girls would read romances while we soaked up the sun on a trampoline. Fond memories :) What is the best part of the writing process for you…the beginning of the book, the middle, or the      end…and why?

The beginning. It’s a new adventure, full of promise. I know basically where the story will go but not how. There are always surprises.

Would you give us a sneak peek into what you’re working on now?

I’m working on the second book in my cozy mystery series called The Case of the Fabulous Fiancé. It features a female detective in a fictitious resort town on Lake Michigan. It should be available in October. Then I’m finishing a Christmas novella that started as a short story about the voyage of a small team of astronauts to a “Goldilocks” planet. Christmas in Space will be released in November.


The Protector (An Outer Rim Novel)
by Diane Burton
Amazon  Barnes & Noble | Kobo Books | Smashwords
Genre: Romantic Adventure/Science Fiction
Release Date: July 24, 2015
Length: 370 Pages

After tavern owner Rissa Dix rescues two girls from a slave ship, she must rally the townsfolk to prevent traffickers from raiding the frontier colony. She’s met with apathy and disbelief. Because she lost her own baby to traffickers, she’s determined that no other mother will suffer the same heartache.

Industrialist heir Dillan Rusteran aids her in rescuing more children. Little do they know they’re about to tangle with a trafficking ring that puts Rissa in danger. Dillan’s loved her for years despite her claim she’s too old for him. As they fight the traffickers, will she finally see him in a new light?


Dillan woke up to a steady thump-thump-thump. Damn, the sublight engine was acting up again. He rolled over and almost fell out of bed.

Two things hit him at the same time. He wasn’t in the wide, comfortable bed in his quarters aboard ship and the thumping wasn’t his sublight. Thank the stars for that. Still, it had been acting a little wonky lately. He’d have to check it out.

After dressing and taking care of his needs in the small san-fac near the stairs, he ambled down carrying his boots in the event the big Zebori was still asleep. Although how anyone could sleep through all that thumping he had no idea. He followed the noise into the kitchen.

Rissa stood at the island kneading dough. Last night he remembered how much higher than normal the island was. She’d built it to accommodate her height. For a moment, he just watched her as she concentrated on the dough. Several lumps of grayish-brown dough sat on the flour-covered table waiting their turn. Even though he was a few meters away, the yeasty scent hit his nose and brought back memories of the times he’d been there before. And how much he enjoyed her company. Despite her treating him like a kid.

The dark haired teen—Pela?—worked alongside Rissa. She noticed him first. Panic crossed her strong features before she murmured to Rissa.

“Good morning, sleepyhead.” She laughed as she turned the dough she’d been punishing into a long, loaf pan. She picked up another lump and went to work on it.

Dillan yawned. “What time is it?”

“Almost Mid-Day.” When she looked up, she did a double take. “Your beard is gone.”

“It itched. When I find the barber, I’ll get my hair cut, too.” He ran his fingers across the top of his head. “It’s Mid-Day? Damn. I wanted to get an early start.”

Without stopping her kneading, she asked, “Early start on what?”

“Going into the mountains.”

“Did you come here to go climbing again?”

Grief hit Dillan the way it had for the past six years any time someone mentioned his former favorite sport. He hadn’t climbed since his best friend died in a freak rock slide. Or so he thought until a year ago.

Rissa’s dark eyes reflected guilt. She stopped working the dough. “I’m sorry, Dillan. I forgot.”

“Apparently, so did Konner.” He didn’t conceal the hurt he’d felt when he learned Konner was not only alive but had a family. “Turns out I was wrong about some things. I’ll, uh, leave you to your work.”

With her forearm, she wiped the sweat off her brow then went back to kneading. “Pela, you did fine. Turn that one into the next pan then get Dillan a cup of sheelonga tea.”

Pela eyed him with uncertainty.

“I can get it.” He sure didn’t want to upset the girl. “Mugs still next to the sink?”

Rissa looked surprised that he remembered. He remembered everything about her. She’d stayed in his mind after every trip from the time he was sixteen. Konner had teased him about being infatuated. Dillan knew it was more than infatuation. Especially after that last visit.

About Diane Burton
Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page


I grew up in the Detroit-area and have lived in Portage (MI), Sedalia (MO) as well as a brief stint in Chicago-land.  I’ve been a Parks & Recreation supervisor, an inventory clerk for a flute store, and a long-time volunteer for Girl Scouts. My last job was for an oil and gas exploration company where I discovered the cure for insomnia—reading oil and gas leases.  My longest-running gig was as a teacher where I taught elementary kids for over 10 years.  I am a member of Romance Writers of America and the Mid-Michigan and Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal chapters of RWA. I met my own hero on a blind date. It was love at first sight–for me. It took him a little longer. We currently reside in West Michigan and have two grown children and three delightful grandchildren.

I’ve been a reader all my life, and I love movies, especially action adventure, mysteries, science fiction, and romantic comedy. CastleFirefly, and NCIS are my favorite TV shows. So is it any wonder that I write science fiction romance and romantic suspense, both with comedic elements?


$15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble Gift Card



Posted by on August 20, 2015 in Blitz/Bonanza Spotlights


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INTERVIEW with Shelley Shepard Gray author of A Wish On Gardenia Street ~ GIVEAWAY

Please help me welcome author Shelley Shepard Gray to the blog today. She’s getting comfy in the hot seat so I can ask her a few questions about herself and her book. Don’t you love the cover? Then you’ll love the blurb and excerpt, too. I think  everyone visiting today will enjoy getting to know more about Shelley and her book. It’s a book that is out of the realm of what I normally read, but I’m looking forward to opening my copy.

Afterward, don’t forget to check out her giveaway!

Let’s get started…


Tell us two things about yourself not many people know.

Hmm. Let’s see. Most people know I bake all the time, but not many know that I don’t really like to clean up the kitchen and I usually leave a mess. Okay, I don’t really like to clean and even our housekeeper who comes once a month asks me to stay out of her way.  I’m also left handed and I almost always write two books at the same time.

I’m just jealous you have a housekeeper once a month. lol What color is your toothbrush.

It’s currently blue.

What’s your favorite holiday and why?

I love Christmas. I decorate the day after Thanksgiving and bake nonstop for a month. I also get to see both of my kids at the same time, which makes me very happy.

The holidays are wonderful when family visits. Where to you prefer to write?

I usually write in my office in our basement. I will sometimes write outside on my laptop, but I don’t type as fast on my laptop.

Writing outside is the best when it’s warm with a light breeze :)I love choosing my character names. How did you go about choosing your hero and heroine’s names?

Some people might not realize that there are only a certain number of last names that the Amish have. I read the Budget, which is the Amish newspaper, and pull names from there. After 30 books, I love discovering a ‘new’ Amish name!

I didn’t know that. I love learning something new. If you could tweet us your favorite line in your book, what would it be?

Yes, it needs to be 140 characters or less) All she’d had to do was believe. Believe, dream, hope…and have faith

Describe your hero in five words.

I don’t really have a ‘hero’ in this novella, so my heroine, Maddie, could be described as Impulsive, Steadfast, Chatty, Amish, and Kind

How do you feel your book is different from other books in the same genre?

This is a fun little story that is part of my Pinecraft series. It’s an Amish story set in the middle of Sarasota, Florida. So it’s a fun change of pace.

Why should we read A Wish On Gardenia Street?

It’s a sweet little novella that’s a quick read. I think it’s a nice reminder about being faithful and trusting friends, family, and God.

Care to share what you  have coming up next?

September will bring the next installment of my Pinecraft Bride series. A Wedding at the Orange Blossom Inn comes out at the beginning of September. It will be followed in October by A Christmas Bride in Pinecraft. November brings Whispers in the Reading Room, the last of my Chicago White City Mysteries. It’s a historical romance set during the 1893 World’s Fair.

Enter to Win A 
Digital Download Copy of


An Amish Brides of Pinecraft Novella
Shelley Shepard Gray
Released July 28th, 2015
Avon Inspire
author Shelley Shepard Gray continues her Amish Brides of Pinecraft series with
a special addition—a tale of wishing and wanting…and what the heart really
things may come to those who wait, but Mattie Miller is confident that great
things come to those who go after what they want…and Mattie wants Danny Brenneman.
Danny is the reason she’s returned to the sunny Amish community of Pinecraft,
Florida—well, that and to see her best friend Leona get married.
Mattie’s met Danny only once before but she knows the spark between them is
sure to lead to something special. Despite a missing cat, wedding day chaos,
and Danny himself, she’s confident this vacation can only end one way: in an
engagement of her very own!

June 10

Everything looked the same.

As she looked around the colorful, bright attic room of the Orange Blossom Inn, the very same room where she’d stayed just a few months ago, Mattie Miller felt a curious sense of déjà vu. The same bright quilts decorated the three twin beds. The same rag rugs warmed the wooden floor.

But yet everything was different.

This time, she wasn’t going to be staying with Leona and Sara, her two best friends in the world. This time she was going to be by herself. And instead of preparing to have the time of her life in their girlfriends’ getaway, she was back in Pinecraft for Leona’s wedding. Sara had planned to come, too. Unfortunately, she’d contracted pneumonia and their doctor had forbidden her to travel.

Therefore, Mattie had boarded the Pioneer Trails bus by herself and had passed the time on the twenty-hour journey with the company of a good book and a comfortable pillow and blanket. To her amazement, she’d slept for seven hours and had awoken with the sure feeling that everything was going to be amazing in Florida.

She just knew it.

Of course, it was going to be a special trip because she would get to watch Leona say her vows. But she had other plans, too. Other, secret plans she hadn’t even dared to tell Leona.

Mattie Miller didn’t intend to simply observe a romance. No, this time she was going to have a romance of her own.

During her visit in January, she and Danny Brenneman had grown fairly close. Since then, they’d exchanged a half dozen letters. Though neither of them had declared anything, Mattie was positive that their friendship was ripe for blossoming into something more.

Yes, if all went well, she would be planning her wedding to Danny Brenneman soon. Just like her best friend Leona. Before long, Mattie would be moving to Sarasota, too. She and Danny would have a perfect life together and she and Leona would continue to be each other’s best friend. They’d support one another through their first months of marriage, throw baby showers for each other, and raise their kinner together, too.

Just like they’d always planned.

And now, it was finally all going to happen.

“Are you sure you don’t mind being up here in the attic all alone?” Beverly Overholt, the proprietor of the inn, asked, interrupting her drifting thoughts. “I feel badly that I had to switch you with the two ladies who were supposed to be staying in this room.”

As long as she had a place to stay, Mattie didn’t care where she slept. “I have two good legs, Miss Beverly. Stairs don’t bother me. I don’t think that lady can say the same.”

“I imagine that is true.” Smiling a bit sheepishly, Beverly added, “I canna tell you how surprised I was to see Mrs. Donaldson on crutches. One would have thought she’d have told me that she couldn’t navigate stairs at the moment.”


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Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times
and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction
Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time Hold Medallion winner. She
lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can
often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.



Posted by on August 3, 2015 in Blitz/Bonanza Spotlights


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INTERVIEW with Maris Soule author of A Killer Past ~ GIVEAWAY

Please help me welcome author Maris Soule to the blog today! I’m excited to have her her and even more excited that she agreed to let me interview her. I think you’ll enjoy getting to know her, too. 

Afterward, check out her release A KILLER PAST. You know what a cover junkie I am, and this is another winner. I love it.

And, don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a $15 Amazon gift card. The link is at the end of the post. GOOD LUCK!

Let’s get started…


Tell us two things about yourself not many people know.

(1) I did a bicycle tour through parts of 4 European countries when I was 21. We stayed in youth hostels, a youth work camp, and inexpensive B&Bs. It was a great experience.

(2) I was the head of two (different) high school art departments for a total of 6 years.

I love those fun facts Maris! What’s the last thing you cooked?

Some breaded chicken breast strips, served with mixed vegetables.

What’s your favorite holiday and why?

I love Thanksgiving. It’s not commercial. The emphasis is on getting together with family, enjoying a meal, and talking.

That’s my fave holiday as well, for the same reasons as you :) Tell us your favorite part about the writing process.

The editing. I have the story down, now I can go through it and eliminate the repetitions, bring in the five senses, improve my sentence structure, add texture, and do all of the many things a writer needs to do to turn garbage into prose.

I love choosing character names. How did you go about choosing the names for your hero and heroine?

In A Killer Past, my heroine has kept a low profile for 44 years, so I knew she would choose a common name. The name I gave her was Mary. I’m not sure why I picked Harrington as her last name, other than it sounded good, and by making Mary’s decease husband’s name Harry, I liked the sound. Mary and Harry Harrington. As for my hero (if he can really be called that), I wanted a former Chicago policeman who’d transferred to Rivershore, Michigan so his boys would grow up in a safer environment. I wanted him to be Italian, but rather than give him an Italian first name, I went with Jack. Jack Rossini. Now, Mary has another name, but that’s revealed later in the book, and as far as Mary’s concerned, that person no longer exists.

If you could tweet your favorite line from your book, what would it be? Yep, that’s right, you only get 140 characters. :)

Of course, if Mary did tell the truth, and Clare did believe her, Mary would have to kill her.

Ooohhh…that’s a good line! Describe your hero in five words.

Lonely, curious, protective, determined, and loving

Now your heroine.

Complicated, secretive, athletic, determined, and remorseful.

Do you prefer to write in the morning, afternoon, evening, or anytime?

I feel as though I’m the freshest in the morning (9-1:00). I used to write late at night, but now I find I get too tired and I’m not as happy with anything I do then. My problems really started when my husband retired. I now try to write when I know I’ll have a block of uninterrupted time. That changes day by day.

What makes your book stand out from others in the same genre?

I’m not 100% sure what genre A Killer Past fits in (which made it difficult to sell). It’s more of an action suspense than a mystery. There have been some movies recently where an older female is actively taking out the bad guys (Red and Red II), but most books (and movies) of this nature involve younger women. I’ve found, when I talk about the book, a lot of older women are eager to read about a kickass grandma. So that’s what makes A Killer Past different.

Can you share a sneak peek into what you’re working on now?

Meadow Lark Williams, who’s in her late 50s, is nudging my creative thoughts. Meadow moved in with her father when his wife/her mother died. Her father has dementia, and Meadow is trying to decide what’s best for him now that her mother’s not around to care for him. Her father was a burglar in his younger days, and Meadow learned the “trade” from him and his friends. I know a series of burglaries are going to occur in the retirement community where her father lives, and I know a woman her father has an argument with is going to be found dead, but the whats, whens and whys are still up in the air.




A Killer Past
by Maris Soule
Amazon  Barnes & Noble Kobo Books | Books-A-Million
Genre: Mystery / Suspense
Published by: Robert Hale / Hale Books
Release Date: June 1, 2015
Length: 224 Pages

Most people in the town of Rivershore, Michigan view Mary Harrington as a quiet widow whose only oddity is that she spends a lot of time at the gym. Her son thinks it’s time for her to move into a retirement home. Two gang members think she’ll be an easy target. No one in Rivershore knows what Mary did in her younger years—really did—but the two gang members discover they’ve underestimated their victim . . . and Mary fears reverting to old habits may have jeopardized her future.


Mary limped into her living room and sagged into Harry’s Lazyboy. Her heart hadn’t stopped pounding since she’d left the two boys. Even though pain radiated up her leg, the adrenalin racing through her body overrode the sensation. Excitement clashed with fear. My God, what had she done?

The boys hadn’t been content to simply take her purse and run. Oh no, they wouldn’t leave it at that. The short one blocked her escape while the tall one looked inside her purse. He said a twenty wasn’t enough, wanted to know where she’d put her credit cards, where she lived. They’d threatened her.

When the tall one grabbed her arm and reached for the lapel of her jacket, she didn’t even think before she reacted. Forty-four years might have passed, but her body automatically responded with ingrained moves. A shift of position, one step back, and she had her assailant off balance. She used her cell phone as a weapon, jamming the edge hard against the bone of his forearm. As she applied pressure, a sweep of her foot, along with a twist to her side, had him falling forward. The moment he hit the ground, she dropped down and slammed her knees into his back and ribs. Before he could react, she used the edge of the cell phone to cuff his ear, then grabbed his arm and gave a violent twist. He started screaming right after she heard his shoulder pop.

A quick roll to the side put her on her back. The short one stared down at her, his mouth open and his eyes glazed with confusion. She knew she didn’t have much time, but springing to her feet was not an option. Her joints might remember the moves, but age had robbed her body of its elasticity. What once had taken a single maneuver now required three stages, but she was on her feet before Shorty truly understood what was happening.

She used the cell phone in her hand to deliver the blow to his face, a side kick took out his knee, and a chop to his neck put him down on the ground. In the past, she would have finished him off then, finished both of them off. She knew the killing points. Two strategically placed jabs, and both of the boys would be eliminated, no more threatening old ladies.

But that was in the past.

“You stay where you are,” she demanded over their whimpering.

She retrieved her purse from where the tall one had dropped it, gave the pair one last glance, and turned away. Breathing hard, she hoped she wouldn’t have a heart attack before she reached her house.


Writer, teacher, artist, wife, mother, dog trainer, horse rider, boater. Maris Soule can list an array of occupations and avocations. Even as a writer her 29 published books span a variety of genres and subgenres, ranging from short stories to romances, romantic suspense, and mystery. A two-time RITA finalist, Soule has placed in and won several writing contests. Born and raised in California, Soule and her husband now spend their summers in Michigan and their winters in Florida.


About Award-Winning Author Maris Soule
Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Newsletter | Amazon Author Page


Click HERE to enter to win a $15 Amazon Gift Card


Posted by on July 20, 2015 in Blitz/Bonanza Spotlights


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INTERVIEW with Alicia Dean author of RUINED ~ Giveaway

Please help me welcome author Alicia Dean to the blog today. I think you’ll enjoy getting to know her a little better as she takes the hot seat and lets me interview her. Afterward, please check out her latest release RUINED and then enter her giveaway :) I love the sounds of this book because it takes place in the 20s, one of my favorite time periods.

Let’s get started!


Describe yourself in 3 sentences.

I am a mother, a writer, an editor, and an Elvis fan. I have a bad habit of saying ‘yes,’ and therefore, I way overbook myself, but I love what I do. I am probably a little too interested in murder and mayhem.

What’s the first thing we see when we walk in your door?

My bar area with my knick knacks (some are Elvis-related J). Beyond that, my kitchen. But please don’t look too closely, it’s a mess.

What makes you buy a book…the author, cover, blurb, first paragraph, or something else?

The cover catches my attention, then I read the blurb. If I’m still engaged, I read the excerpt, and if I am not drawn in right away, I don’t buy it. I have too many books to read, and write, and too little time to read a book that doesn’t grab me.

What character in your book did you have the most fun writing and why?

My heroine, actually. I’ve never written anyone like her. First of all, it’s set in the 1920s, and I’ve never written in that era. Secondly, she’s from England, and all my other characters have been American. But, the main reasons I had fun was that she was a prostitute, she lied a lot, and she didn’t read all that well, she was close to illiterate. Definitely a different character than I’m used to writing about.

What inspired you to write your latest release?

I would say it was a combination of the Martini Lounge where I meet friends for drinks every Friday, and those friends; Kathy L Wheeler, Amanda McCabe, and Krysta Scott. We had the idea to write novellas centered around an establishment like the Martini Lounge, and the Martini Club 4 Series was born. RUINED is my contribution to the project.

Where do you write?

In my bedroom at my desktop and in my recliner on my laptop. I always tell myself I need to get out of the house and write in different environments, but I’m a bit of a hermit.

Describe your hero in 5 words.

Strong, loyal, hot-tempered, former boxer, rugged.

Now your heroine.

Survivor, gullible, dishonest, caring, British

As a writer I love choosing character names. Tell us how you chose the names for your hero and heroine.

For my heroine, I looked at a list of 1920s names, and Eliza seemed to fit. For my hero, a friend of my son’s, Vincent, passed away not long before I started writing the story. I named my hero Vincent as a tribute. It’s funny, but it fits him perfectly. For the last names, I just ran a list through my head until something seemed to fit.

Describe your writing day.

I usually prepare the night before for whatever I’ll be writing. I don’t normally get an entire ‘day’ for writing, but I try to get as many hours in as possible. I will often silence my cell phone because distractions can completely take me out of the zone. I can’t sit for several hours at a time, so I usually write for an hour or two (much of that time is spent banging my head against the desk in an effort to shake the words loose), then I have to get up and do something. I wish I could say I get up and clean house, but that’s doesn’t usually happen. :)

About the Book – Just $0.99!


Ruined (Martini Club 4 – The 1920’s)
by Alicia Dean
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo Books
Genre: Vintage Historical Romance
Release Date: February 26, 2015
Length: 120 Pages

She vowed she’d be no man’s doxy, but fate had other plans…

After the Earl of Goodwin attempts to force himself on her, housemaid Eliza Gilbert flees England for New York, hoping to build a better life. But the land of opportunity proves as harsh as the London docks, and she finds herself in a situation more dreadful than the one she escaped.

When Vince Taggart’s childhood friend disappears, he heads to New York in search of her and meets Eliza, a woman with a less than honorable reputation. Inexplicably captivated, Vince can’t force himself to stay away, especially when he learns Eliza may be the key to finding his missing friend.


Eliza sat on a barstool at Club 501, her legs crossed, sipping a White Lady. The joint was wall to wall people. There weren’t many places as nice as Club 501 that sold liquor. Most were seedy, dangerous. Club 501 had opened a few days ago. The two level speakeasy was as luxurious as a palace with its rich gold and mauve tones, velvet upholstery, and long oak bar.

Meggie was on stage singing “Crazy Blues.” She wore a one-shoulder peach calf-length gown with a scalloped hemline trimmed in shimmery silver braid. Her eyes were half closed, blonde curls glistening beneath the spotlight.

Eliza closed her eyes and let the loveliness of Meggie’s voice soothe her. Uncanny how she could sing without the hint of an accent.

In the worst of times, Eliza used a mind trick where she traveled to another place and removed herself from whatever was happening. She’d had to use the trick many times as a scullery maid, and when Lord Renwald had trapped her in the barn, but the night he’d nearly raped her, that had been something altogether different. Rather than using a mind trick, she’d fully escaped. Meggie’s voice brought her that kind of escape. She was transported to another place.

The song ended, and Eliza opened her eyes, clapping more loudly than anyone else in the place. Meggie winked and curtsied, then went into her next number. Some day, she was going to make it big, Eliza just knew it.

“Need anything else?” Charli appeared at her shoulder, holding a tray full of empty glasses at shoulder level. She wore the Club 501 uniform—a mauve dress that came to mid-thigh with sheer voile that fell to her ankles. She’d acquired a position as cocktail waitress a few days after Meggie had been hired as a singer.

“No, thank you. Last night was a late one. I ought to take it slowly.”

Charli wrinkled her pert nose. “What a sweet deal you landed, while I’m stuck in this dive slinging booze.”

Eliza pursed her lips. “Now, Charli, this is hardly a dive. Serving drinks here might not be the wealthy lifestyle you’re accustomed to, but things could be worse—much worse.”

Sympathy shone in Charli’s brown eyes. “I know, luv. Selfish of me. I know what you’ve been through, how awful things were for you before we found you on the docks, then again when you arrived and had to take a position at that ghastly old factory.” She let out a sigh. “It’s just that I had such high hopes. I wanted so much to start a great life doing what I love most.”

Eliza squeezed her friend’s hand. “You’ll get your bakery, I know you will. You keep schmoozing Mrs. Carter, and you’re a shoo in.” Mrs. Carter was a successful businesswoman who owned a string of department stores. Charli all but panted after the woman.

Charli giggled and playfully slapped Eliza’s knee. “I do not schmooze her. I just find her interesting.” She glanced over her shoulder. “Sorry, gotta run. These blokes might perish if I don’t keep the hooch flowing.” She cocked an impish grin. “See ya, luv.”

Eliza scanned the crowd. Jess was supposed to come in, but so far, Eliza hadn’t seen her. She was feeling slightly abandoned. At least Oscar wasn’t present. Now that he was her employer, she could barely relax when he was at Club 501. She always felt she was on the clock.

Her gaze bounced over a man, then zeroed back. The bloke was looking directly at her. She caught her breath. He was leaning on the bar a few stools down, talking to Charli. He had this…magnetism, some kind of forceful presence that made it impossible to look away.

He was broad, muscular and dressed like a dock worker with brown suspenders over a yellow shirt and a newsboy cap over his dark blond hair, but what caught her attention right off was his smile. His white teeth flashed, and a dimple creased the right side of his face.

Charli moved away, and the man looked up and caught Eliza staring at him. His grin widened. His eyes were so blue—so electrifying, that Eliza could feel their allure even in the dimly lit, smoky bar.

He winked and gave her a finger salute off the brim of his cap.

A tingle ran from her toes, all the way through her body, making her head swim. My, but he was a fresh one. With superhuman effort, she dragged her attention away, but it didn’t keep her heart from racing faster than a thoroughbred at Churchill Downs.

She swallowed and took a deep breath, fingering the pendant at her neck, trying to slow her heart rate. What on earth was wrong with her? She met plenty of handsome men—men more pleasing to the eye than he with his workmen clothing and slightly crooked nose. But never had any man sent her blood rushing through her veins like this.

She gulped from her glass. Get ahold of yourself. She was not the kind of girl to pick up strange men in bars—even if they did have a devil of a smile and eyes like an angel.

About Alicia Dean
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Award-winning, multi-published author Alicia Dean began writing stories as a child. At age 11, she wrote her first ever romance (featuring a hero who looked just like Elvis Presley, and who happened to share the name of Elvis’ character in the movie, Tickle Me), and she still has the tattered, pencil-written copy. Alicia is from Moore, Oklahoma and now lives in Edmond. She has three grown children and a huge network of supportive friends and family. She writes mostly contempo.

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