MEET THE AUTHOR PG FORTE

  • Have the main character of your last novel introduce you to our readers.

“Hello. My name is Mike Sherman and I’m one of the two lead characters in PG Forte’s latest published work, Christmasing With You. I’m an accountant by trade, which I know is not very interesting. But then again, I never claimed to be particularly interesting. I’m just famous by association. My co-lead in Christmasing With You and in the book that came before it, Let Me Count the Ways, is a woman who needs no introduction; she’s the award-winning, legendary film star, Claire Calhoun.

“Right now, Claire is shaking her head at me and insisting that most of you are probably too young to have heard of her, which, if true, is your loss. And, frankly, inexcusable. She’s a national treasure. Go stream some of her movies and I’m sure you’ll agree. Claire also insists I add that she considers me the most interesting man she knows, but that’s obviously absurd. The most interesting thing about me is the fact that I’m in a relationship with her.”

  • Without giving us spoilers introduce your latest and greatest novel or work in progress and let us know which it is and if it’s a WIP let us know when it goes live.

As Mike explained, my most recent release is Christmasing With You. It’s a little rom-com novella that just released November 1st as part of the Let’s Get Naughty Christmas anthology.  The anthology is currently selling for only .99 cents—for 35 stories! But only for release week. It’ll be going up to 4.99 after that.  

I like to say that Christmasing With You is what you’d get if the porn-parody version of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation had had a baby with any one of Hallmark Channel’s snowed-in-for-Christmas movies. Or, as I say in the blurb: “An isolated cabin, a winter storm, a hungry cougar—what could possibly go wrong? In a word: Everything!”

  • What do you like best about your main character in your latest and greatest or WIP from above?

Oh, let me count the ways! (yeah, that was a title pun—sorry!) My favorite thing about Mike is that he’s such a good person. He’s a little goofy at times, and Claire’s probably not the only one who finds his self-deprecation a little grating. But he truly is more interesting than he thinks. Once he develops an interest in something, or someone, whether it’s wrought iron, fine wine, hot stone massage, Maui Sunset Macaws—or Claire—he has to learn all about it. He’s a little obsessive by nature, but Claire hasn’t had a lot of good guys in her life so he’s just what she needs. Plus he absolutely adores her. And isn’t that something we all want and need in our lives?

As for Claire, I love that she still allows herself to be emotionally vulnerable. She’s a survivor. She’s been through a lot over the years, but she hasn’t let it break her. In the beginning of Let Me Count the Ways, she definitely has more of a hardened exterior, but once Mike gets past that, well…let’s just say she’ll walk a mile through the unpaved, dusty, coastal scrublands in her Jimmy Choos to show him how much he means to her (that wasn’t too much of a spoiler, right?).

  • Tell us a little about one of your side characters from your latest and greatest or WIP?

Christmasing With You is a snowed-in story, so it’s just two of them in an isolated cabin. Other than the wildlife, there aren’t a lot of side characters. So I’m going to talk a little about Derek Novello who features somewhat heavily in Let Me Count the Ways.

Derek is an instructor at The Body Electric—that’s the fitness studio Claire owns—and even though he’s quite a bit younger than she is, they used to date. Derek is a gorgeous, hard-assed yoga and martial arts instructor who’ll do anything for one of his friends. He and the love of his life (aspiring actress and dog walker to the stars, Gabby Brown) have their own stories—Waiting for the Big One and Going to the Chapel. Those are both out now. However, the Let’s Get Naughty anthology is scheduled to have a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th volume in the next three years (volume 2 is already available for pre-order, by the way, and yes, I have a story in that one, too). I plan on writing a Christmas story for the Derek and Gabby called Waiting On Santa for inclusion in Let’s Get Naughty 3.

  • How did you come up with your idea for the above story?

That’s actually a fun story! I used to belong to a group of authors called the Nine Naughty Novelists. And one year we decided it would be fun to host an Ugly Christmas Sweater online party. We each chose a couple from one of our published books and wrote a verrrrry short story involving the two of them and an ugly Christmas sweater. My story was called Counting On Christmas. It’s just two scenes from the start of Mike and Claire’s first Christmas together, but I always wondered how the rest of that story would’ve turned out. Did the weekend live up to their fantasies?  Did it bring them closer together, or drive them further apart? I mean, the potential was there for it to turn into a disaster, even though I hadn’t explored it.

When I saw the call for this anthology, I thought it was the perfect chance to write a story about the rest of that weekend. I happen to LOVE Hallmark movies, and I love writing parodies. Christmasing With You gave me a chance to indulge in both. And no, it isn’t really a parody, but it does poke a little bit of fun at some of the usual tropes. I had a lot of fun writing it. Counting On Christmas is still available as a free read. You can find a link for it on the FREE Reads page of my website:  https://www.pgforte.com/free-reads

  • What was your writing plan for this book or WIP?

Plans? We don’t need no plans! Kidding/not kidding. I’m somewhat obsessive in my plotting. I plot EVERYTHING out. But other than that…honestly, my only plan was meeting my deadline. Which I did—with two whole days to spare! Which is two days more than my last three books ended up with. I don’t like waiting until the last minute and I don’t usually write that way. But these last few years have been really hard writing-wise. And, yes, I know I’m not alone in that!

  • How do you handle writers block?

Ugh. I hate even thinking about writers block. But okay, if I must…

 It seems to me there are several different types of writers block, and they don’t necessarily respond to the same tricks. If I’m struggling in a story that I’m actively working on, I find that changing the POV can often help. Maybe the words aren’t flowing because the scene would work better from another character’s perspective. Maybe I need to change from first person to third person, or from past tense to present tense. Or vice versa. Sometimes I’ll do all of that and still end up switching back to what I originally had. But, still, something about that will, more often than not, shake the words loose and break through the block. Another thing I’ll try is to go back to the beginning and read through what I already have written. If I’m lucky, momentum will carry me through the block, and I’ll be able to pick up from where I stopped. And worst case scenario, I’ve edited and cleaned up what I already have.

Sometimes I’ll be blocked because there’s a different book or a different scene that I really want to write instead. If I’m on a deadline, I can’t switch books, but I can write (or at least sketch out) the scenes that I really want to be working on. That seems to help a lot.

If the block is keeping me from even starting a story and I can’t write at all, I’ll just give myself permission to write anything. I’ll lean into all my faults, do all the things “they” say you shouldn’t do—overuse certain words, or punctuation; head hop; insert long flashbacks; tell instead of show. I think the trick there is just to let myself play, to find the joy in writing that sometimes goes missing.

  • Do you have a secret writing ritual and what is it?

Not so secret if I talk about it, now is it? lol! Only kidding—nothing’s a secret. I used to have to completely clear my desk off whenever I’d start a new book. But I haven’t had the time to do that in years. Ooh! That’s something else I’ll try if I’m suffering from writers’ block. Sometimes the clutter is subconsciously bothering me, or the last book’s artifacts are distracting me from my current WIP.

I need to make my workspace feel as much like the world of my book as possible. So I might choose a specific coffee/tea mug to drink from, pick the right incense or scented candle, choose a particular snack (yes, I peeked ahead), hang up ornaments, or windchimes, or suncatchers, or posters, etc, that remind me of my characters.

One other thing I’ll do is create cover art for whatever book I’m working on and use that as my computer’s desktop. That also helps because it gives me a visual representation of my characters that I can focus on. Of course, that sometimes turns into procrastination when I go on to create cover art for Works that aren’t even In Progress yet.

  • What is your writing snack?

Like I said earlier, it depends on the book. But because I’m working on so many Christmas stories, atm, you can be sure I’ll be stocking up on eggnog, and holiday ice cream flavors this holiday season. And, of course, I’ll be making gingerbread cookies. I moved last January, or I’d already have had my freezer stocked. Luckily, I can buy peppermint candies any time of year!

  • What do you do when you’re not writing?

Uh…read? I mean, there are all the usual things—spend time with my husband, our pit bulls, and our grandson. I’m in wine country so wine tasting is probably my favorite non-writing activity. I was doing a lot of yoga and walking, up until a few years ago. But then the studios all closed, and I moved twice, and then I broke my foot, and then I stepped on a piece of glass (same foot!) and needed stitches, so I’ve been way more sedentary than I’d like. But I just bought a new pair of hiking boots, so hopefully I’ll get back out there again, soon.

  • What is your favorite season and why?

Oh, that’s an easy one! Fall. Because I’m basic like that. Although, in my defense, I’ve loved Autumn since long before PSLs were invented. I actually wrote a bit of flash fiction about loving Fall just a few weeks ago. You can find that here: http://rhymeswithforeplay.blogspot.com/2022/09/romance-writers-weekly-fall-flash.html

  • What is your favorite genre to read and what do you like about it?

I’m pretty eclectic in what I read and write. Romance, obviously, but it runs the gamut—contemporary, PNR, romcoms, historic, small town, etc. I love to read and write m/m, f/f and menages. I lean more towards the fantasy/sci-fi/PNR side of things. As to why…well, to quote Willy Wonka (or the Gene Wilder version, anyway) I like to live in a world of pure imagination!

  • Do you have a writer mission statement? What is it?

I do not—but it sounds like a great idea! I used to say that “I don’t have to write the best book in the world, I just have to write the best book that’s in me,” but lately I think my goal is to entertain readers and give them a safe place to escape to. The world is nuts and I think we all need a break from it from time to time. I can’t control what goes on in the world in general, but I can control everything that happens in my imaginary worlds, so that’s what I do. That’s what I focus on. I think of it as a public service.

  • What do you listen to when you write? How does it help to put you in the mood?

OMG. I used to have a collection of several hundred CDs, because my taste in music is pretty eclectic too. Now I make Spotify lists for every book.  They’re all public, by the way, and I’m on Spotify as PG Forte, so you can follow along and listen for yourself! 

Basically, I choose whatever songs work for the book I’m working on. By which I mean either the tempo is right, or I feel an emotional resonance with the song, or it just seems like something one of my characters might listen to. Or maybe they just have the same title as my book! I have a LOT of Christmas songs on there right now because I’ve got…I think it’s six Christmas stories in a row that I’m working on?  I also follow a lot of other people’s playlists. For example, there’s an unrequited love playlist that I listen to whenever I need to get the proper feeling of despair I need to write those dark, dark moments.

NOVEMBER QUESTION OF THE MONTH

What are you thankful for that’s you didn’t think you were going to be thankful for?

Huh. Something that I didn’t think I’d be grateful for? Uh…I guess that my hair is white, because I can use temporary hair color and it looks great, but I don’t have to bleach it or commit to permanent unicorn colors.

Ooh! Wait. I know. Decades ago, when ISBNs were really cheap (well, comparatively) my husband bought a batch of 100 of them, because, at the time, we were making documentary films. It seemed like a big, unnecessary expense, back then, and I was dead set against it. HOWEVER, I’m really grateful for them now that I’m an indie author because I’d have had to pay a lot more if I were buying them now. Of course, I’d probably be more thankful if he’d have had the foresight to buy 200 back then because they go faster than you’d think and my WIP list just keeps growing!



GREAT BOOKS TO BE THANKFUL FOR






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MEET THE AUTHOR, Gail Cushman

Gail Cushman, a Northwest Author

  • Have the main character of your last novel introduce you to our readers.

Good morning, I’m Audrey, an Idaho housewife. I live on a soybean and hops farm in rural Idaho eighteen miles out of town and only recently met this author. Her name is Gail Cushman and she’s a piece of work. I’m over sixty-five years old and I was perfectly happy with my life until she sent me on a month-long cruise to Portugal. It wasn’t enough that she took me out of my comfort zone, but she also introduced me to a seventy-year-old dreamboat named Logan, a podiatrist with a foot fetish and insists that I have the prettiest feet around. Gail caused me to second-guess Griff, my husband of nearly fifty years, and now she has written four books about me, Griff, Logan, and a group of other seventy-year-olds who are looking for adventure in their golden years. Gail’s books are laugh-out-loud funny with adventurous quirks. I’ve heard Gail talking about adding books to the series, so I’m looking forward to a boat trip down the Erie Canal and a romantic trip to Paris.  Ooh-la-la!

Gail is a people watcher who sees humor in every part of everyday life. She brings those observations and humor in each of her novels. Gail’s background includes Marine Corps service during Vietnam, teaching high school, being a high school principal, and director of education for the Idaho State Department of Correction. She has always lived in small towns and identifies with the day-to-day lives of plain, ordinary people living and loving in their communities.

  • Without giving us spoilers introduce your latest and greatest novel or work in progress and let us know which it is and if it’s a WIP let us know when it goes live.

Wrinkly Bits Flash of Time is a WIP and will go live this fall.

In the fourth Wrinkly Bits novel, Audrey and gang head off to a high-end senior community in Florida called the Haciendas where they continue their avant-garde activities and head off to the beach, a nude beach. They are all over sixty-five years old and figure “why not?” After all, it’s an adventure that they will probably never see again, but senior citizens on a nude beach is fraught with wide-eyed excitement especially when they arrive at the wrong beach.  A couple characters, Clare and Lynnie, tackle online dating, trying to find love while avoiding pitfalls.

  • What do you like best about your main character in your latest and greatest or WIP from above?

My favorite character in my series is Audrey, a rural Idaho housewife. She is retired, but worked part time, puts up with her over-bearing husband Griff, and longed for adventure in her retirement. She is pretty and energetic and wants more from life than her daily walks through a soybean field and reading. Griff loves her but is more interested in sex than enriching their lives with adventures. When Griff decides they should go on a cruise, she runs into Logan and her life opens up to see all the adventure that awaits her.

  • Tell us a little about one of your side characters from your latest and greatest or WIP?

Phyllis is a retired teacher with energy and interests galore. She loves to travel, and she and her husband Gus have taken many cruises since they retired. They had no children but stayed involved with the students they taught. She instigates adventures for all, loves to laugh, and is often the center of attention.

  • How did you come up with your idea for the above story?

When my daughter reminded me to “write what you know,” she mentioned cruises and being old.” I growled a bit but realized the potential for fun-loving romances and hopped on that bus and began writing about retired folks having adventures on cruises and other types of travel. The stories include some truth, some fiction, and a lot of fun.

  • What was your writing plan for this book or WIP?

I planned four books in this series Cruise Time, Out of Time, Wasting Time, and my WIP Flash of Time. They tell the stories of six rural Idaho people all of whom go off on hijinks looking for the next adventure. My readers are often retired, in their seventies, and I want to introduce readers to themselves, getting out, doing things, having adventures, and loving life. Speaking for myself, time passes quickly and how much time does a seventy-six-year-old person have? I’m not getting healthier and I’m not getting younger, so the time for an adventure is today!

  • How do you handle writers block?

I’ve written since I was old enough to hold a pencil, but I have written for possible publication only in the past twenty years and so far, I haven’t had writer’s block. There are so many exciting things going on in my life and the world that I can’t be bothered by thinking about what’s not there. I have the opposite problem: Writer’s Gush, too many stories flowing out my fingertips. When I see something, anything, I see a story, but sometimes I have to put it on hold until a later time. This is where my Wrinkly Bits blogs kick in. I can plug the “anything” into a story and post it on Facebook or another site. The first hundred blogs of the nearly three hundred are available in my book Bits of Time. At age seventy-six, I don’t have time to write all the stories that flow through my fingers.

  • Do you have a secret writing ritual and what is it?

There is no secret to my writing, other than writing daily and enjoying what I do. I write every day, often six or seven hours. I currently have three WIP’s, Flash of Time, Murder in the Diocese, a mystery, and Widows and Widowers, Dancing with a New Partner, a combo love story and how-to book about online dating for senior citizens, co-authored by my significant other, Cowboy Bob. My blog writing keeps me on target, and I work on blogs almost every day. They are two-minute reads, in the guise of Erma Bombeck, Seinfeld, or Paul Harvey, basically about nothing except the ups and downs of everyday life. My readers are very generous with their comments, and when I miss a deadline, I often receive texts or emails inquiring about my health. My followers identify with my blogs, whether they are about nostalgia, technology, aches and pains of aging, or getting on with life. I love hearing from my many readers.

  • What is your writing snack?

Easy question:  water and coffee. I’m always on some kind of diet, but no matter the diet, they include water. Coffee is one of the essential food groups, so that gets a nod, too. I stay away from carbs because I might as well paste them on my body, eliminating the digestive system as being the middleman.

  1. What do you do when you’re not writing?

I love adventures and Cowboy Bob, a real Montana cowboy, and I take off for adventure as often as we can. In the past year we have traveled over twenty-five states and half a dozen countries in the past year. We have a list of to goes” as well as a daily list of to do’s  The most difficult part of our list is deciding which to do first. Next year, Paris and the Erie Canal are on the list, but a trip through the Panama Canal sounds inviting as does a railroad trip across Canada. We’ll figure it out!

  1. What is your favorite season and why?

Autumn, because Cowboy Bob and I both love the changing of the colors, the first snow on the mountains, the Thanksgiving holidays, and watching the baseball playoffs. When I taught school, autumn included the first day of school, the first football games, and unpredictable days of what to wear…shorts, sweaters, or ski parkas, sometimes all three in one day.

  1. What is your favorite genre to read and what do you like about it?

I usually select either good stories or mysteries. I have always loved to read, but when I’m in the middle of writing a book, I read less, because of time and the possibility of confusing my characters with the characters in the book I chose. My favorite authors are Lee Child, Michael Connelly, and Ivan Diog and I often reread their stories.

  1. Do you have a writer mission statement? What is it?

My mission is to write humorous and useful books for and about people of a certain age. And what is life without fun and laughter? I strive to make people laugh, move away from the dreary, and take an adventure with me.

The literary world considers age fifty as senior citizens, but many of us baby boomers are well over fifty, into the eighties or nineties and are active and energetic and adventurous but left behind in the literary world. I try to fill that gap.

  1. What do you listen to when you write? How does it help to put you in the mood?


I need silence when I write. Music distracts me from the job at hand. If the TV or radio is on, I tune them out.

OCTOBER QUESTION OF THE MONTH

What’s the weirdest dream you’ve ever had?

I seldom remember my dreams, but I’ll tell you about something weird that happened the day my husband died. He had spent his last days at the Idaho State Veteran’s Home, and the staff called me at about 0300 and told me that he had passed away. I had visited the night before, but he had been unresponsive. I want to believe that he knew I was there but didn’t respond when I spoke or touched him. I called my kids and told them he had died, but we didn’t go to the Veteran’s Home until later in the morning. I had made my bed, eaten breakfast, and rustled around a bit, not knowing who might be stopping by. The VA played Taps and held a wonderful ceremony for him, followed by eating another breakfast at a local cafe. When I returned home, I went into my bedroom to change clothes and I discovered a perfect paper heart, lying smack-dab in the middle of the bed. It was about ½ inch square and looked like it had been cut out with a hole punch, but the thing is, I don’t own a hole punch. I have no idea where it came from.  It was tiny, so I picked it up with a piece of Scotch tape and taped it to my computer, so I can look at it every day.

I’ve heard of things like this happening but never dreamed it would happen to me.




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Meet the author anna michael

  • Have the main character of your last novel introduce you to our readers.

So this lady acts like she’s the boss, but absolutely nobody bosses me around, except my kid. And that’s mostly because I like to win and I like to be able to give that to my little girl. But if Anna thinks she’s in charge of anything that I do, she really needs to reconsider. Look, she has enough on her hands with two little kids, a rescue dog, and her idiot cat. She doesn’t need to be in charge of anybody else, especially the hot guys she’s imagining.

  • Without giving us spoilers introduce your latest and greatest novel or work in progress and let us know which it is and if it’s a WIP let us know when it goes live.

My next book, Big Boss, is scheduled to release on October 13th. It’s an age gap workplace romance featuring a former rockstar billionaire who is definitely going to fall in love with his assistant.

  • What do you like best about your main character in your latest and greatest or WIP from above?

I like that my heroine is learning to embrace her differences and live her most authentic life. The way she shows her boss how to embrace who he is has a significant impact on their friendship and love story.

  • Tell us a little about one of your side characters from your latest and greatest or WIP?

The heroes of this series are a group of billionaire best friends who play poker together. You’ll meet the hero of the next book in this one, but he’s in a rough place and not at his best, so be gentle with him until he gets his own book.

How did you come up with your idea for the above story?

I loved Lyssa Kay Adams’ Bromance Book Club series, and wanted to write about a group of guy best friends who take care of each other even though they are all different types of men. In the first book, the hero was a single dad athlete, and in this book, he’s a former bad boy rockstar who’s trying to overcome the ghosts of his past reputation.

  • What was your writing plan for this book or WIP?

Panic, procrastination, and lots of caffeine/DoorDash delivery.

  • How do you handle writer’s block?

Work on a different book. When I’ve been stuck in this one (book 2), I’ve been working on book 4 (I can’t WAIT for the last book in this series).

  • Do you have a secret writing ritual and what is it?

I do like to leave home during the last pre-deadline push and stay up all night and eat weird snacks.

  • What is your writing snack?

I like salty snacks like Veggie Straws or cheddar popcorn. I’m also really into energy drinks when I’m working hard.

  • What do you do when you’re not writing?

I’m a mom and a lawyer, so I’m usually running my kids to different places or at the courthouse for my day job.

  • What is your favorite season and why?

Autumn is the best. I like the change of colors with the leaves and cooler temperatures, bonfires and s’mores, and my favorite holiday (Halloween).

  • What is your favorite genre to read and what do you like about it?

I read almost entirely romance (mostly contemporary and mostly queer/sapphic) and YA fantasy. I love happily ever afters and make believe, and I have loved both of these my entire life, so it’s not a surprise that these are still my two favorite things to read.

  • Do you have a writer’s mission statement? What is it?

My author tagline is “escaping reality one page at a time” and this is what I always want to give my readers. I know regular life can be difficult and even depressing, and if I can give you a break for a few hours or a day, then I’m grateful to be able to do that.

  • What do you listen to when you write? How does it help to put you in the mood?

I make playlists for my books, but usually, I just listen to brainFM or Endel (programs that play sounds/music that is supposed to optimize brain activity for work and creativity) when I’m writing. I can’t listen to lyrics or it messes up how the book sounds in my brain.

AUGUST QUESTION OF THE MONTH

What was your biggest failure that you turned into a success?

Last year, I truly struggled with depression, and it was extremely difficult to get back to writing. I was so sad all the time that it was hard to go to a place where people could be happy and fall in love, and I was honestly worried that I couldn’t do it. So I started small by taking care of my health first, and that helped me to get through finishing a manuscript. My last release was my best yet and has more reviews than any of my other books.


For all those writers who are struggling. I wanted to let you know that I believe in you. YOU CAN DO IT.


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I just wanted to share this with you, I hope you enjoy it.

Cowboy’s Secondhand Heart Chapter 3

Lisa grabbed her coat close around her. It was a cold day for October, and the drizzle made it miserable. Today, Joseph and Lisa were going to paint the inside of the two-bedroom cottage about a mile down the road from the big ranch house so she could move into it. The house was beautiful, with a big yard, and it was October, but you could see the outlines of flower beds that Lisa was certain in spring would be beautiful.

When she went inside, she found Joseph in the kitchen painting it a sunny yellow color. She could smell coffee over the smell of the paint.

“Mmm, it smells good in here. Do you have another cup? … I can’t thank you enough for helping me, Joseph. It really means a lot. The place looks terrific.”

“No problem. There is a cup over there. Are you ready to get in here?” He didn’t wait for an answer but went on, “Well, everything is up to code. Mom and Dad redid the plumbing and electricity. You’ll have new appliances once we get the painting done. It’ll be like getting a new house. You’re even getting new floors.”

“It’s the best. I don’t understand why they would do this. I mean, I’m not one of their children, yet your mom treats me like I’m one of the other girls. It’s kinda nice. After I graduated, my mom and dad moved to Tucson, so I don’t get to see them very often.”

“Are you gonna stand there and talk, or are you gonna get busy and get this place painted?”

            Lisa took one more sip of coffee and grabbed a roller, a paintbrush, and a can of eggshell-colored paint, and went to the bedroom. She shook the can, opened it, poured it into the roller pan, and began to cut in the corners of the room. Soon she was rolling and giving it a second coat.

Joseph came in and looked at her face smudged with paint and thought she was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. He picked up the paint rag and started wiping her face with the cloth. The electricity between the two was unmistakable. Joseph dropped the paint rag and grabbed Lisa by the shoulders so tightly it almost hurt. He pulled her close to him. Their faces were so close Lisa could feel his breath on her lips and almost taste the remnants of his coffee. Then suddenly, there were voices in the kitchen. It was Sarah and James. They had brought lunch. Joseph turned and went out the front door of the house, slamming the door and avoiding his parents, leaving Lisa to explain.

I’m not about to explain what I can’t explain to anyone, and I don’t want to share this with anyone but Joseph.

Lisa took a deep breath and went to greet Sarah and James.

“What do you think?” Lisa asked as she stood in the middle of the bright, buttery, sunny kitchen.

Sarah knew something had happened and asked, “Are you okay? You look upset. Is there anything I can do?”

James scolded his wife and said, “Leave her alone, will ya. Give her some privacy.”

“No, I’m fine. It’s just the paint fumes.”

“Well, of course. Let’s open this window and get some fresh air in here. How much painting is left to do?” Sarah wanted to know. “Where did Joseph go?”

“He headed to the hardware store to get some stuff to help us clean ourselves up.”

            James ended that conversation with a harumph.

Joseph

 Chloe was having a sleepover at her friend Christine’s house. Joseph was free to be unusually self-indulgent, and that’s what he was. He went to the Niwot Tavern, grabbed himself a table, and settled in. He wasn’t going anywhere until he felt better or felt nothing at all. He ordered beer and shots of whiskey and waited for the numb to fall over him.

What was that? Why did I do that? Was I just about to kiss her? I haven’t kissed anyone but Jennifer since I met Jennifer in college. I can’t be this man. I can’t be this dad.

Just then, Heather, one of the local girls, came up to him, “What the hell are you doing down here in town, Joey? Are you slumming?” she asked. Heather was a petite blonde with big long hair and short shorts. She wore cowboy boots and a tight T-shirt rolled up and tied in a knot at the back.

            Joseph doesn’t answer her question, “Can I buy you a drink, Heather? How the hell have you been? It’s been a long, long time.”

Heather said, “Well now, that’s downright friendly of you.”

            Heather and Joseph sat at the table drinking until it was closing time, then Heather said, “We could go back to my place if you want.”

“I really should go home, but I’m tired of my mother pulling my strings. So let’s go to your house.”

Joseph was a little taken aback when they pulled up to a motor home parked next to where Heather’s parents lived. Joseph remembered a cheerleader disappearing from high school, but it was never proven that Heather had anything to do with that. Joseph was still drunk, however, and didn’t realize the danger he was in. He followed Heather up the stairs into the Coachman Catalina Summit. He watched his step and ducked his head—it was quite the feat getting inside and not hitting his head. The place smelled of hairspray and plastic.

“What can I get you to drink?” Heather asked. She did not want this party to stop.

“Do you have any Jack Daniels? That’s what I like, but I’ll take anything.”

“Great. I’ve got some beer in the fridge. Do you wanna grab a couple, and I’ll change into something more comfortable.”

Heather went to the back of the camper, and when she appeared again, she was wearing a short red silk robe with a dragon painted on the back, and that’s all. Joseph could see her various piercings and the tattoos on her thigh and stomach.

It was when he noticed the pierced labium that he felt he was in over his head and needed to go home. “Heather, I can’t be here. I don’t want to be here. I still love my wife.”

“You don’t still love your wife. It’s been years since she died. I’m just not good enough for you.”

“Look Heather, you caught me at a bad time. I was hurting and wanted to hurt someone else, and you don’t deserve to be used that way. … Goodbye, Heather.”

“If you think this is over, you’re wrong.”

With that, Joseph headed straight for his truck, the barn, and Jasper, counting his blessings.

Lisa

The next night after dinner, Julia suggested a game of Cornhole, “Let’s play after Mom and Dad have gone to bed. We’ll play out in the barn, so we don’t disturb anyone. It’s Friday night, and I am so bored I can’t stand it. I need to howl at the moon.”

“Two things, Julia. I have never played cornhole before—never even heard of it, and I get weirdly competitive. I can’t help myself.”

“Do you remember the game Toss Across? It’s kinda like that, only different. We’ll teach you how to play.”

“Okay. I’ll stay up and play with you.” Lisa said, leaning forward in excitement at being asked by Julia to do something.

“What about you, Joseph? You look like a guy that needs to let loose.”

“Look, I am not a guy that needs to let loose. Just because tomorrow is Saturday does not mean that I don’t have a shitload of work to do. We have pregnant cows that are going to calf any day now.” Joseph ran a brush through Chloe’s hair.

Lisa was embarrassed she had assumed that a Friday night was a good night to get a little loose for everyone. “I didn’t mean to offend you, Joseph. I just thought everyone went a little crazy on Friday nights.”

“Oh, come on. Please, brother Joey. I do stuff for you all the time.”

“Fine. I’ll meet you out in the barn after Chloe falls asleep. Who is bringing the refreshments?”

“I’ll send Stephen. Any requests?”

            “Jack and Bud.”          

            This is my chance to get to know Joseph better and to show him that I am just a regular person. Not that I care one way or the other.

            The four headed to the barn for a game of Cornhole.

            Julia gets the bucket out with the Cornhole bags, “Let’s play girls against guys.”

            “That’s fine, Julia. But I want to play with you at some point tonight,” Stephen said, and then he blushed. “You know what I mean.”

            Lisa wanted to get a little teasing in. “Yes, Stephen, we do know exactly what you mean.”          This caused Stephen to turn bright red and turn his face away from the three. Lisa worried for a moment that she may have gone too far.

            Joseph poured drinks for everyone—shots of Jack Daniels—and then he opened bottles of beer for each of them.

            These guys make drinking into a sport, at least sometimes. I hope I can keep up without getting sick.

            Lisa did what everyone else did. She chugged her shot and took a drink of her beer.

            Joseph took the bags and handed a set to Lisa, “Ladies first.”

            Lisa threw first, and then Stephen. Next Julia and Joseph. In the end, the girls won the round, and the boys needed to drink a shot. The boys won the next round.

            Lisa pitched her bags. “Julia, will you teach me how to ride?”

            “I’m honored that you asked. Sure, we can do something after school.” Julia pitched and missed. Her bags slid off the board.

            “Come on, Julia. You gotta do better. I don’t want to wake up tomorrow with a headache.”

            Joseph and Stephen pitched their bags, and it was Julia’s turn again “You guys are going down. I hate losing and losing getting drunk. No way.”

            “How were things on the ranch today, Joseph?” Lisa pitched her first bag.

            “They were fine, but we have a young calf with a bacterial infection over in the other barn. We had the vet out to give it antibiotics. Now, all we can do is watch and see if it takes. How were things at the school?”

            “They were okay; we had one little kid I think may be on the autism spectrum. I am going to suggest to his parents that we have him tested.” Lisa pitched her last bag.

Joseph

            There was a terrible ruckus out in the cow pen. Joseph, Julia, and Stephen looked at each other and knew immediately what it was. Lisa was out of the loop.

            “Have you ever seen a baby calf be born?” Joseph grabbed Lisa’s hand and pulled her through the horse barn out into the cool night air and into the calving shed. There were lots of cows and newborn calves. The four walked along until they came to the cow that was in labor. Joseph put his hand on the cow’s stomach.

            “This calf is breech. … We need to help her. Stephen, grab some rope. You know where we keep it. Julia, your arm is long and slender. We are gonna have you put the rope around the calf’s hoof. Just tie the end in a loop, like this.” He demonstrated. “Now you reach in, Julia.”

            “I know how it’s done. I just don’t know why you think I need to do it. Have you ever seen the size of an erect bull?” Julia grabbed the rope from Stephen and got down on the ground and put her hand up the butt of the cow.

            “Do you got it, Julia? Do you have the calf’s feet?” Joseph was almost screaming at her.

            “Yeah, I’ve got it.” Julia was down on her knees.

            “Okay, Stephen. Let’s show these ladies how it’s done.” The two men sat down in the dirt and pulled the calf out. First, the back legs appeared, then then a little body, and finally a little head. The calf lay on the ground next to Joseph for a second and didn’t move.

            Julia said, “Damn it. I put my arm in a cow, and the calf dies.”

            Joseph grabbed the calf and gave it CPR of sorts. He held its mouth closed and blew into its nose as hard as he could. The calf started to move. Joseph stood up and grabbed the calf around the middle and helped the calf stand up.

            Julia sniffed her arm, “I am never gonna get this smell off.”

            The calf started to nurse, and Joseph clapped his hands together. He picked Lisa up around the waist and twirled her around. “Now you know why being on the ranch is so special. If you didn’t know before.”

            The four didn’t go back to the Cornhole game. They just sat in the barn and watched the baby nurse like it was the first time they had ever seen anything like it. It was the first time for Lisa.

            Lisa

Lisa grabbed the last of her boxes out of storage at the Thomson Family Ranch and moved them to the cottage down the road, then waited for Adam and Joseph to bring over her furniture.

I wonder if Joseph and I will have another one of those moments today. Another embrace. Another chance to hold each other. What was that all about? I want to know. I want to look at it. I want to dissect it and do it again, only better. But what did it mean? Was there a deeper meaning behind it? What kind of feelings did Joseph have for me? … Here they come.

“Hey guys, thanks for helping me out. I’m glad you came too, Chloe.”

“Hi, Miss Lisa. Daddy said I should come, that there might be a job that I could do.”

“Hey, it’s not a problem,” Adam said. Adam was young, with dark, curly hair poking out from under a John Deer hat, which set off his blue eyes. It made him look younger than he was.

“Where do you want this stuff?” Joseph asked.

“I thought I’d put the couch in front of the window right here. And the chair over between the dining room and the living room doorway.”

The couch was a light gray color and had big puffy pillows on it. The chair was yellow, with an abstract pillow that went on it.

“I don’t have a dining room set, so I was thinking I’d set it up as a library—get some Ikea bookshelves or get an Ikea dining room set, I don’t know. What do you guys think? Do you have any opinions, Joseph? Adam, what do you think? While I decide, we can go ahead and set the bed up in the bedroom. When we’re finished, I thought we could go into town for a beer and a sandwich at the tavern.”

“Ok, we can watch the game there,” Adam said.

They worked at a fever’s pace to get everything done in time so they could go to town and watch the Broncos game.

Lisa and Chloe started in the kitchen, unboxing and unwrapping all her dishes so they could be washed and put away. The two guys carried in all the furniture and boxes and put everything in the correct rooms, and then they put the bed frame together.

“I’m finished in the kitchen and the living room. Adam, I need some picture-hanging hardware stuff. Could you go to the hardware store and get that for me?” Lisa asked.

Adam cheerfully agreed to go. “Any excuse to go into town, and I’m all over it.”

“Chloe, would you go with him and make sure he comes right back?”

Chloe was very excited to be going with Uncle Adam and to be having some real grown-up responsibility.

“Well, I appreciate it very much. I forgot to get the hanging kit when I was there yesterday.”

The two left for town, and so Lisa successfully maneuvered the situation so she could talk to Joseph about that embrace last weekend and his current attitude toward her.

“Joseph, what happened last week? What was that all about?” Lisa asked as she lay across the bare mattress in her new bedroom. Joseph was putting together her makeup table. He stopped and looked at her in horror.

“Look. I do not ever want to talk about those few seconds ever.”

“I want to understand why you did it. I think I deserve at least that.”

“Are you really that naïve? Or are you that stupid?”

“I don’t know. I have never felt that way before. I have never had a man touch me like that. Your feelings—explain what’s going on.”

“I can’t get you out of my mind, and I can’t do anything about it. I’m still in love with my dead wife, and I have a daughter that I am very protective of.”

“Not that it matters, because I couldn’t do anything about it either. I can’t date a student’s parent. It would be unethical. But more to your situation—I would never try and replace your dead wife. I think the more you love, the more room you have for love. … Exactly what do you think I would do to Chloe, who I have already gotten quite close to?”

“Well, Lisa. It’s a good thing neither one of us has to worry about it,” Joseph said, hoping that would put an end to the whole conversation.

“Why did you grab me like that and hold me and look into my eyes with such intensity that I thought you could see right into my soul? Why did you get me so wrapped up? It does matter to me that you did it.”

“I was tired, and I just lost my self-control.”

“You need self-control to keep your hands off me? That’s hard to believe. In fact, I don’t believe it at all. We were about to kiss. That’s what we were about to do. …”

 Joseph grabbed Lisa by the shoulders again and looked into her in the eyes with that same intensity. “Lisa, you’re incredibly beautiful in your innocence. That makes you beautiful. You’re strong. That makes you beautiful. And you’re accomplished. That makes you beautiful. You are just incredibly sexy. I could also say it’s your auburn hair or your gorgeous green eyes, but it’s more than that. I think you’re sexy the way you are with Chloe, and then in an instant, you’re making Pop-Pop laugh. You are so special. But neither one of us can do anything about it. That’s that.”

“No, I can’t do anything about it. You can do something about it. You just choose not to.”

“It doesn’t make any difference. You can’t do anything about it if I choose.”

“You’re only my student’s father for another seven months.”

“This is a small town, and word is going to travel fast if we get caught, and we will get caught.”

“Let’s think about it. I have more to lose than you do. … What would we do about Chloe? It doesn’t feel right to keep a secret like this from her.”

“I don’t know if I have the courage for this.”

“We’ll tell everyone we’re just friends. That way we can see if we like each other enough to take it to the next level.”

Joseph

Adam and Chloe arrived with the picture-hanging hardware. With the bedroom all set up, all that needed to be done was that the sheets and blankets needed to be put on the bed and the house would be livable.

“Someone said something about sandwiches at the tavern so we can watch the Broncos game for a while. I’m starving,” Joseph said.

“We’d better get your dad some food, don’t you think Chloe? Should we make him wait while I make the bed, or should we just go?” Lisa said teasingly.

“Let’s go. I’m hungry. I want wings.”

Everyone loaded into the pickup truck and headed for the Niwot Tavern. It was very busy, so they had to wait for a table in the bar. Adam and Joseph each had a beer, and Lisa and Chloe had Cokes.

They had just settled into their seats and gotten their drinks when a little blonde who was very drunk came over to the table, “You’ve got some balls coming back here and bringing your family. You don’t think I’m gonna tell them where you were the other night—after you helped that school teacher paint her house. That’s right, little girl, your daddy was fucking me. Or rather, fucking me over. You see, he came to my place to do the deed, and then Mr. High and Mighty decided he was too good for me and left me there with two open cans of beer,” Heather spoke in a slurred montage.

The manager came over and apologized, “Someone get her outa here. … Heather, you can’t come back here to drink anymore.”

Lisa looked shocked but didn’t say anything.

Chloe said, “Is that where you went when we couldn’t find you after you painted Miss Lisa’s house? What is fucked?”

Adam said, “Man who Heather WOW! You must have been drunk. I won’t tell Dad. Chloe, you don’t tell anyone either, okay? This needs to be a secret.”

Joseph just sat there in total disbelief. “Man, I’m really embarrassed I’m sorry you just witnessed that tirade. Hey, Chloe let’s not mention it at the house, okay?”

“I’ll get him something a little stronger to drink,” Lisa suggested, as she left for the bar. When she came back, she was clutching a Shirley Temple and three shots of Jack Daniels.

“Word at the bar is she’s not through with you. You got her thrown out of the bar where she likes to drink. Now you’ve made an enemy,” Lisa said.

“Oh, everyone in this bar saw. By the time we get home, Mom and Dad are gonna know what happened,” Joseph buried his head in his hands. “At least she won’t be able to do another one of these surprises.”

The food came, and everyone ate and enjoyed themselves as much as they could. Chloe chattered away about Halloween, which was coming up, and Joseph and Lisa sat quietly listening to her exuberance. Adam was totally into the game. Finally, the food was gone, the game was over, and it was time to go home.

Joseph drove with Lisa sitting next to him and Chloe and Adam in the back seat. I have to talk to her again. I have to know what she thinks? How does she feel now that she knows about Heather? I have to explain Heather and my mother’s matchmaking. I’m not sure that Lisa will understand, but I have to try.

Lisa said, “I always hate the first night by myself in a new place. All the strange noises that you have to get used to.” She was hoping that Joseph might pick up on her hint and come by and keep her company.

When Lisa got out of the truck, she reminded Joseph that he was on the Harvest Festival committee and they had a meeting tomorrow after school.



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MEET THE AUTHOR OLIVIA JAYMES

  1. Have the main character of your last novel introduce you to our readers.

Olivia is a dyed in the wool caffeine addict who eats far more dark chocolate than she should.  She’s currently teaching her teenage son to drive so she’s thinking of taking up drinking hard liquor.  When she’s not writing, she likes to take long walks, work on puzzles, and dig into true crime stories.  That’s how she came up with the idea for my book.   

 

2. Without giving us spoilers introduce your latest and greatest novel or work in progress and let us know which it is and if it’s a WIP let us know when it goes live.

The book is called Daring Desire and it should be released by the end of August.  (It is on preorder) It’s the sixth in the Cowboy Justice Association: Serials and Stalkers series.  Our hero goes to his high school reunion where his friends convince him to visit the local “haunted house” although someone now owns it.  He gives in, meets the pretty new owner, but minutes later they discover one of his friends dead on the property.

3. What do you like best about your main character in your latest and greatest or WIP from above?

Jackson is going through a tough time dealing with his troublesome family.  They’re dysfunctional with a capital D, but he never takes out his frustrations on anyone else.  He deals with his emotions like an adult and isn’t afraid to be vulnerable and talk about the issues with the heroine.

4. Tell us a little about one of your side characters from your latest and greatest or WIP?

That has to be Alexandra!  She’s my heroine’s best friend who has flown into town after finding her fiancé in bed with another woman.  She brings her fluffy chocolate brown teacup poodle and a great sense of humor.  She’s someone that you’d just want to be friends with.

5. How did you come up with your idea for the above story?

I comb true crime television shows, message boards, blogs, books, and subreddits for inspiration.  Many of my stories are influenced by real live cases although I make changes so that they aren’t exactly the same, putting a new twist (Or three!) on it.

6. What was your writing plan for this book or WIP?

For me to write and be productive, I have to be a creature of habit.  Every day is pretty much the same.  I get up and feed the dogs.  Then I work out.  Take a shower.  Work for an hour or so.  Skype with an author friend – we hold each other accountable for progress.  Then I eat lunch.  Then back to work until I hit my goal.  Day in and day out.  Most people would scream from boredom.  I love it.  Yes, sometimes my day has to go differently due to appointments, etc but I like my routine.

7. How do you handle writer’s block?

If I get writer’s block, it’s usually because I don’t know my characters well enough.  I go back and really flesh them out.  Likes, dislikes, background, trauma.  Heck, even their favorite ice cream.  It gets me into their heads and it’s never failed to help me break through a block.  Chocolate helps, too.

8. Do you have a secret writing ritual and what is it?

No, unless you count my daily routines.  I guess I do like to have a nice smelling candle next to me when I write.

9. What is your writing snack?

A piece of dark chocolate.  Did I mention that I like chocolate? 

10. What do you do when you’re not writing?

I work out most days.  I like to take the dogs on long walks, although in Florida right now it’s too darn hot!  I like to bake when I have the chance, and I love to read.  Mostly biographies.  Hubby and I like to watch mystery movies together. 

11. What is your favorite season and why?

My favorite holiday is Halloween so my favorite time of the year is fall.  Although we don’t get much of it here in the Sunshine State.  We’re usually still sweating in November.  But I do love the colors and the whole apple-cider-scarecrow-pumpkin patch sort of thing.  I do not, however, like Pumpkin Spice flavor. 

12. What is your favorite genre to read and what do you like about it?

As mentioned before, I really enjoy biographies.  I think it’s interesting to learn about the lives of others, especially if they are a historical figure. 

13. Do you have a writer’s mission statement? What is it?

Hmmmm?  A mission statement?  We had one of those when I was in corporate America.  I don’t think I have one except that I want to write books that will entertain people.  I always try and make the next book better than the last.  I always want to be improving my skills. 

14. What do you listen to when you write? How does it help to put you in the mood?

I can’t listen to any music with words while I write.  I usually have “rain sounds” in the background but I did write my first several books while sitting in my living room with Cartoon Network playing loudly in the background.  It was the only way I could get any writing time as my son was quite young back then.  Now I like things much quieter.

AUGUST QUESTION OF THE MONTH

What was your biggest failure that you turned into a success?

I flunked out of college when I was a sophomore.  Not just a little flunking – I flunked.  Big.  There were finals that I didn’t even attend.  I had a myriad of personal issues going on and school just dropped to the lowest priority on my list.  I went and got a job.  And you can imagine the crappy, minimum wage job that I got.  Once I saw the “real world” it sent me right back to college a few years later.  My education helped me in my career in the financial sector where I worked until I quit in 2013 to write full time. 


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MEET THE AUTHOR  SHERI LYN

  1. Have the main character of your last novel introduce you to our readers.

Sheri is horrible at remembering our names, but she’s a great listener and doesn’t force us into anything. She lets us control the story, which let’s face it can be problematic.  She is a hopeless romantic and loves to wrangle us into awkward situations.

  1. Without giving us spoilers introduce your latest and greatest novel or work in progress and let us know which it is and if it’s a WIP let us know when it goes live.

My latest story comes out in Sept. I co-wrote it with my sister Cassidy K. O’Connor.  In the story, my character is a human turned shifter. He has to battle his own prejudices and learn to work with his new partner to stop a string of child abductions.

  1. What do you like best about your main character in your latest and greatest or WIP from above?

He’s not perfect, but he’s willing to give people a chance and not let his self-hatred destroy a chance at a new life.

  1. Tell us a little about one of your side characters from your latest and greatest WIP?

There are a bunch of side characters that feature in this story but my fav would have to be the bartender.  He’s hysterical!

  1. How did you come up with your idea for the above story?

My sister and I decided to write a story together and she stumbled upon a cover and showed it to me. We fell in love and created a story that would work with the cover.

  1. What was your writing plan for this book or WIP?

Cassidy dragged me to Starbucks every weekend where we’d open the story in Google docs and write together. It was fun to wait for her character to reply to something mine did or said.  It made the story unique.

  1. How do you handle writer’s block?

If I’m stuck I go back up and rework the story. It’s usually because somewhere something went off the rails. Once I fix that it usually starts flowing again.

  1. Do you have a secret writing ritual and what is it?

Only if Starbucks counts 😉  I get the most writing done when I’m there without the constant distractions of my 3 dogs.

  1. What is your writing snack?

Coffee and anything I can grab and put in my mouth without unwrapping. 

  1. What do you do when you’re not writing?

Read, play with my dogs, read and hang out with my family/friends.

  1. What is your favorite season and why?

Fall, hands down.  It’s as close to a season change as we can get in Florida

  1. What is your favorite genre to read and what do you like about it?

YA is my guilty pleasure. I’m not really sure why I love it so much tbh. Maybe because it takes me back to a time when life was simpler…well compared to what some of these characters go through at least.

  1. Do you have a writer’s mission statement? What is it?

No. I’ve never even considered that as a writer.  Is that something other writers do?

  1. What do you listen to when you write? How does it help to put you in the mood?

Just whatever music is on at Starbucks. I tend to get distracted easily. So I prefer quiet for the most part. I think it helps me hear the voices clearer;)

JULY QUESTION OF THE MONTH

What event would you say changed your life?

I’m not sure there is just 1 thing.  There were many small things that led me down different paths I probably wouldn’t have taken. Meeting the right people at the right time has been a huge impact on my life.

MEET THE AUTHOR JENNIFER WEDMORE

  • Have the main character of your last novel introduce you to our readers.
  • This is Jennifer, she is the mastermind behind myself and my mate Fauxon. She’s nonmagical, not a shifter or anything cool like a paranormal so not sure where she comes up with the shit she writes. (Between you and me, some of the stuff that comes out of her head scares me! Have you met the professor??) Anyways, she’s a mom of three, works full time in retail, and writes so her imagination doesn’t drive her insane, that’s her in a nutshell, or at least how I see her. xoxo Morwen
  • Without giving us spoilers introduce your latest and greatest novel or work in progress and let us know which it is and if it’s a WIP let us know when it goes live?
  • My last book was in the Nightshade Guild: Magic Flawed. This is season 2, the first season the Guild had to protect the Elven princess for a month, now the mages have lost their powers and have to find a way to get them back and who took them in the first place. It came out June 24thi.
  • What do you like best about your main character in your latest and greatest or WIP from above?
  • Morwen was a bit self-conscious about her new relationship with Fauxon and moving in with him. But through their adventure getting their magic back, she sees how much he loves her.
  • Tell us a little about one of your side characters from your latest and greatest or WIP?
  • My current WIP is a horror story coming out in March of next year in an anthology. It’s a family who moves into a new house and the parents are finding they are losing memories…. The daughter is a teenager and I’m LOVING having a snarky sarcastic kid to talk through. The kind that would make a parent want to backhand them…. yeah… not really but you know what I mean lol.
  • How did you come up with your idea for the above story?
  • Actually my family had just moved into a new house and my middle child (16) called out to my oldest son (18) with a nickname. I said what did you call him? He said Gabberslack. I had never heard it nor had my husband. The kids claim the two of them and my niece/nephews all had nicknames for each other. None of the adults ever heard of them before, which sparked the story idea.
  • What was your writing plan for this book or WIP?
  • Writing plan? I just sit and word vomit onto the screen. lol
  • How do you handle writer’s block?
  • I swap book genres a lot and it really helps. When romance is exhausting, I swap to my serial killers, horror, or sci-fi. Then vice versa.
  • Do you have a secret writing ritual and what is it?
  • I don’t! I don’t hear my characters speak to me, I don’t need to use a special pen or anything. I like something on tv as background, shows like Criminal Minds or similar stuff.
  • What is your writing snack?
  • I love mini M&M’s lol
  • What do you do when you’re not writing?
  • Work full time at Ross clothing store, PA for other authors and READ like crazy.
  • What is your favorite season and why?
  • What is a season? I live in Florida and we really don’t have seasons. I love Halloween so I guess Fall or at least the idea of Fall.
  • What is your favorite genre to read and what do you like about it?
  • Dystopian! Especially YA Dystopian. I guess the survival aspect of the stories really draws me in.
  • Do you have a writer’s mission statement?
  • What is it? Write in as many genres as appeals to me and tell the story I love regardless of it being a popular trope.
  • What do you listen to when you write? How does it help to put you in the mood?
  • Typically 80s music I can sing along and it’s mindless or musical soundtracks lol.

JULY QUESTION OF THE MONTH

What event would you say changed your life?

This is harder, I think writing my first book. It was an anthology with some of my favorite author friends and we went to a sex club as our characters. Each of us took a kink but it made me remember how much I loved writing. I joke peer pressure started my writing career and it really did



SUMMER READING TREATS

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https://books.bookfunnel.com/summer_lovin_2022/5rxu2qyb2x

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https://www.amazon.com/Cowboys-Secondhand-Heart-Thomson-Family-ebook/dp/B09TYFZHKT/ref=sr_1_7?keywords=billie+daddario&qid=1658346573&sr=8-7



I SCREAM YOU SCREAM WE ALL SCREAM FOR ICE CREAM



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MEET THE AUTHOR GINA CONKLE

  • Have the main character of your last novel introduce you to our readers.

Cecelia MacDonald of A Scot is Not Enough

               “It’s my pleasure to introduce Gina Conkle—a woman who reads too many books at once and doesn’t flirt nearly enough. In my humble opinion, Gina was born in the wrong era. She lives in sunny southern California where no dukes, lords, or Viking warriors can be found. To compensate, she conjures these men in her mind. This is why she writes so many stories set in the past. Everyone knows Gina prefers stone castles over sand castles.”

  • Without giving us spoilers introduce your latest and greatest novel or work in progress and let us know which it is and if it’s a WIP let us know when it goes live.

My WIP is For a Scot’s Heart Only (Scottish Treasures, book 3) and it’s almost done! The book releases April 2023.

  • What do you like best about your main character in your latest and greatest or WIP from above?

Mary Fletcher is a cool, smart, and better-with-things-than-people corset maker. She’s nearing her thirtieth birthday and never had the chance to live for herself (she raised her younger sister). Though Mary claims to be hunting the last of the Jacobite treasure for her clan, she’s really hunting for something else (a sense of adventure perhaps?), she’s partnered with the scarred ship master, Thomas West, in order to find it.

Mary might finally be living for herself.

  • Tell us a little about one of your side characters from your latest and greatest or WIP?

Rory MacLeod is a bare-knuckle brawler with a military past. He’s more anti-hero than hero because he goes where the wind blows, as long as it serves his purpose.

  • How did you come up with your idea for the above story?

The series was conceived when I read about the lost Treasure of Arkaig.

Spring 1746, the French sent two ships packed with gold, ammo, and medical supplies to aide rebel Scots. However, the English were hot on the French ships’ trail. The French quickly unloaded seven caskets of gold on a beach near Arisaig (western Scotland). By this time, the rebels had already surrendered. The treasure was passed around with some Scots taking gold for themselves, while others protected it. There was sharp division among rebel Highlanders on the purpose of the gold: some wanted it to fund a new rebellion, others thought it should go to Highlander who supported Bonnie Prince Charlie (because most suffered badly after Culloden), and Charles Stuart thought the gold should go to him.

To this day, much of the gold hasn’t been accounted for. Modern day treasure hunters follow clues, believing part of the Lost Treasure of Arkaig is still out there.

The series plays on shocking historical facts which have only recently surfaced.

  • What was your writing plan for this book or WIP?

My plan was to write a marriage of convenience romance for For a Scot’s Heart Only, but that changed.

  • How do you handle writer’s block?

Sometimes I write with pen and paper. Sometimes I write stream of conscious from a main character’s POV. Sometimes I go and read.

  • Do you have a secret writing ritual and what is it?

No.

  • What is your writing snack?

Right now, I have a small bowl of popcorn beside me.

  • What do you do when you’re not writing?

My husband and I really dove into gardening this year. It’s been fun.

  • What is your favorite season and why?

Christmas. I love the festive spirit, the lights and decorations, and spending time with family. Spring is a close second because…flowers.

  • What is your favorite genre to read and what do you like about it?

Historical romance with a side of historical fiction! I prefer pre-Regency (though, yes, I do read Regency). There are certain eras I especially enjoy: mid-1700s, medieval, Viking Age, Roman Empire, or ancient times/cradle-of-civilization. It’s harder to find older eras because much of historical romance centers around Regency. Hist fic offers a great variety of time periods. Oddly enough, I do read some contemporary romance.

  • Do you have a writer mission statement? What is it?

No. I wrote a business plan and a job description.

  • What music do you listen to when you write? How does it help to put you in the mood?

Sometimes I listen to music. Sometimes I write in absolute quiet. The music I listen to runs the gamut of 70s songs, to fairly recent pop tunes, to classical music, movie sound tracks, or Loreena McKennit (for writing Vikings).

JUNE QUESTION OF THE MONTH

 Tell us about your favorite June vacation memory. Or tell us about the vacation that your main character took this year.

A favorite June vacation was camping the summer between third and fourth grade. Growing up, we didn’t take a lot of vacations. The same is true when my boys were growing up. My husband never took taking family vacations as a kid. With our two sons, we took occasional trips, maybe once every 3 or 4 years, otherwise summers were spent at home: going to the beach, the zoo, the local aquarium, or staying at home and having friends over.


GREAT BOOKS TO ENJOY THIS SUMMER

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https://books.bookfunnel.com/99romancereads6/ssit1vnfyt
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GREAT FREE BOOKS

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MEET THE AUTHOR SARAH HEGGER

  • Have the main character of your last novel introduce you to our readers.

Sarah has an active imagination and the attention span of a goldfish, so she’s constantly switching genres and coming up with new directions to send us in. Fortunately, she’s a plotter so she keeps us on the straight and narrow.

  • Without giving us spoilers introduce your latest and greatest novel or work in progress and let us know which it is and if it’s a WIP let us know when it goes live.

I’m currently working on the fourth book in a five book paranormal romance series. It’s due to release on October 31st this year, but it will probably go live sooner than that. Readers waiting for the next book might get feral if it doesn’t get here sooner rather than later. The series is about a nearly extinct coven of witches fighting to restore harmony and balance in the world. They’re being thwarted at every turn by a evil bloodwitch with megalomaniacal tendencies and desire to throw the world into chaos. At the moment, she’s winning *gasp*.

  • What do you like best about your main character in your latest and greatest or WIP from above?

There are multiple MCs in my WIP, so I couldn’t isolate just one and say they were my favorite. But I like characters who grow and learn, and have a little tire tread on them from lessons learned and challenges overcome. I also like them to have a sense of humor and strong sense of the ridiculous.

  • Tell us a little about one of your side characters from your latest and greatest or WIP?

I’m in the process of semi-redeeming a baddie. I love doing this. She’s a character who has caused so much trouble for my main characters, and has been absolutely awful at times and done some very nasty stuff. But redeeming characters is a favorite thing of mine to do. I don’t believe people, like characters, are all bad or all good. I like to play in the grey area in between.

  • How did you come up with your idea for the above story?

The series started a few years ago, when I felt the world was drifting into a dark place. As recent history has shown, it just got worse. I wanted to write a book about hope, and about a world in which miracles and magic do exist, and there is a way out of the dark.

  • What was your writing plan for this book or WIP?

The entire series was plotted before I started the first book, so I’m sticking with that. I deviate a bit as I write and throw a few curve balls in, but for the main part I’m a stick-to-the-plan type of writer who does a set amount of words a day.

  • How do you handle writers block?

I don’t want to jinx myself by saying this, but I haven’t dealt with writer’s block thus far. I tend to hit my word count every day and don’t worry too much about whether the words are good or bad. I just get them on the page, and fix the wobbly bits in editing.

  • Do you have a secret writing ritual and what is it?

Now I kind of wish I did, but sadly, I do not have a secret writing ritual.

  • What is your writing snack?

Anything cheese related sees me through the rough patches.

  • What do you do when you’re not writing?

I do a lot of acting and backstage work for a local amateur dramatic society. I also love gardening and, of course, reading.

  • What is your favorite season and why?

I grew up in South Africa, and I miss the heat. I’d have to say Summer because I’m all about being warm and getting outside.

  • What is your favorite genre to read and what do you like about it?

The goldfish attention span strikes here too. I swap around for no apparent reason. I tend to read mostly romance genres, with a few other books sprinkled in.

  • Do you have a writer’s mission statement? What is it?

My author tagline is “writing the power and the joy”, because these are things I strive to find in my life. And I think we all need to find our power and our joy.

  • What do you spend your music so you listen to when you write? How does it help to put y ou in the mood?

I have to ban music from the writing cave, otherwise, I end up singing the lyrics, and dancing around the room. Before long I have my own little concert going.

JUNE QUESTION OF THE MONTH

 Tell us about your favorite June vacation memory. Or tell us about the vacation that your main character took this year.

One of my favorite summer vacations took place in Greece. The sun, the sea, the heat, and the wine were all lovely and recharging. Swimming in the warm Mediterranean and snorkeling was a highlight.


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MEET THE AUTHOR ZOE BETH GELLER

  • Have the main character of your last novel introduce you to our readers.

My name is Riccardo. Zoe has a creative mind giving me a backstory of tragedy and bringing me back from the edge of loneliness and into one where I fell in love with a younger woman in her mafia series, Dirty: A Dark Mafia Romance Series. My book is Dirty Deals and in the course of my past I’ve gone from being a man of the law in Israel to the right-hand man of the Don in Italy.

  • Without giving us spoilers introduce your latest and greatest novel or work in progress and let us know which it is and if it’s a WIP let us know when it goes live.

My current work in progress is Puck in the Over, it’s a hockey romance and book 5 in the Maine Maulers Hockey Series. It will go live on October 7th, 2022. The title is a play on the word Bun as in Bun in the Oven. The genre is sports romance, and this will be a surprise baby for one of the hockey players who has been set up on a date with the coach’s daughter.

  • What do you like best about your main character in your latest and greatest or WIP from above

I find the mafia books have to convey a magnitude of character depth. All my characters have a backstory and flaws, and they all involved team members in the hockey series. In the mafia books, it’s all about family. The siblings, and the women the men fall in love with, and change for in some way. For Riccardo, he’s an enigma in 4 books, being the right-hand man of the Don and in charge of their security for all the family members, and his backstory is revealed in the last book of the series as to why this is important to him and why he’s so good at it.

  • Tell us a little about one of your side characters from your latest and greatest WIP?

In Dirty Deals, out July 222nd, most of the characters are involved in the final book and Riccardo’s ward is interesting as she ties into his backstory. She’s a ballet dancer studying in Russia and she’s been with love with Riccardo forever.

  • How did you come up with your idea for the above story?

I love Italy and have contacts in law enforcement and DEA so it’s indirectly a part of my life. Lots of women love a bad guy, and maybe some of the mystique of dark mafia is that we all know the man we usually have the hot chemistry for and the man who lives on the wrong side of the law is exciting, in real life, they seldom get a happily ever after. So books are a safe place to live out the fantasy of the ‘one’ we might have crossed paths with in our real life.

  • What was your writing plan for this book or WIP?

Writing plans, um. I try to write a chapter a day and put out a book every 60 to 80 days. This mafia series comes to a conclusion in July but in a round about way it sets up my next mafia series of standalones that are not as in depth with the suspense and thriller part that stretches over 5 books.

  • How do you handle writers block?

I’m never at a lose of what to write. The books are mostly in my head and it’s having the energy to be an author around the clock with all the hats we wear and create at the same time. If I’m tired, I sleep. I see the grandkids weekly and watch movies to veg out and decompress.

  • Do you have a secret writing ritual and what is it?

A chapter a day keeps me from being overly anxious about deadlines and finishing a book.

  • What is your writing snack?

I’m older so I try to eat once a day! I’d say caffeine is my best friend.

  • What do you do when you’re not writing?

Swimming with my labs to get exercise and seeing my grandkids.

  • What is your favorite season and why?

I love taking vacations in cold weather as I live in Florida and it’s hot most of the year.

  • What is your favorite genre to read and what do you like about it?

I like mafia the best, not the shock and awe with the man being abusive.

  • Do you have a writer mission statement? What is it?

No. I’d say I have to hustle every day.

  • What do you spend your music so you listen to when you write? How does it help to put y ou in the mood?

Sometimes watching a favorite movie in the genre or with the tropes I’m using gives me a new spin for the story. Sometimes a song conveys the characters flaws and I can use that in the book I’m writing. If so, I put it in the books playlist.

JUNE QUESTION OF THE MONTH

 Tell us about your favorite June vacation memory. Or tell us about the vacation that your main character took this year.

Dirty Deals ends with someone’s wedding in Greece! And a potential one in the French Rivieria!


GREAT SUMMER READS

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https://books.bookfunnel.com/99romancereads6/ssit1vnfyt
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FREE READS

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