10 Interesting Facts about The Vampire with a Blanket of Stars


I’m happy to welcome multi-published author Susan Hanniford Crowley. Today, Susan shares ten interesting facts about The Vampire with a Blanket of Stars, Book 3 in the Arnhem Knights of New York Series and the cover reveal for Lady Fallon’s Dragons.

Here’s Susan!

I love writing paranormal adventure romance with a deep abiding passion. The Vampire with a Blanket of Stars is the 3rd in my series Arnhem Knights of New York, which is a spinoff from my first series Vampires in Manhattan. I will share with your ten fun-filled facts, then where to find me and my books, and a sneak peek at the cover of my upcoming novel.

Fact 1

I dreamt about Vampire Prince Răzvan and his story. It took about 6-8 months to have and write down all the dreams. Then it took a year and a half to research and verify the factual parts of the book.

Fact 2

The name of characters are very important to me. When I first had Răzvan’s name, I looked up the first and last name in Bucharest, Romania. There were several Răzvans, which didn’t bother me as it’s a popular name in Romanian history. However, I found a young man with the same first and last name as my character. Since my character lives in Bucharest for some of the time, I didn’t want a real person to be burdened with the name of a vampire mistakenly associated with him. I returned to the dreams and got a new clearer view of the name: Răzvan Forţă.

Răzvan means the bringer of good news. The name comes from the Geto-Dacians who inhabited the land that would become Romania.

His surname Forţă means force or power.

Fact 3

Half of the book happens during WWII in Romania. The few atrocities shown in the book actually happened.

Fact 4

Prince Răzvan is an older vampire than Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Both of these characters are fictional.

Prince Vlad III Dracula, also called Vlad Țepeș, who was a prince of Wallachia, part of Romania, was a real person who fought the Turks and frightened them from returning with a battlefield full of the enemies’ heads impaled on sharp poles. In Romania, he revered even today as a national hero.
Prince Răzvan is the 7th son of a King of Dacia, as Dacia was the land before it was Romania. Dacia existed between 168 BC and 106 AD.

Fact 5

It was common for royals that if you had an heir and sometimes a spare but if you had more sons, appropriate occupations for them would be to become a soldier or a monk. Daughters were married off to other royals to form alliances.

Răzvan became a soldier that fought for his country. When he became a vampire, he still fought for his modern day nation of Romania.

Fact 6

Vampires are called strigoi in Romania. What makes a strigoi different? In Romanian folklore, there is a living strigoi and dead strigoi. The living one blends in with everyone else. Day or night doesn’t make any difference. The dead one rises from the grave at night. What they both share is an intense love for whatever they loved in life. If a strigoi enjoyed great food, after death their love for great food would cause them to seek it and eat everything in a friend’s kitchen. Just an example.

Fact 7

The disintegration in sunlight is an invention of Hollywood.

My vampires can walk in the day but are cautious with overexertion in sunlight or spending too much time in their direct rays. The damage the sun does to human is sped up a little in my vampires. They wear protective clothing and sunblock. Spending two days uncovered in direct rays could kill most of my vampire characters.

Fact 8

Hoia Baciu is an actual place and one of the most famous haunted forests in the world. It is considered the Bermuda Triangle of Romania. It is famous for UFO and paranormal activities. Oh, it I mention it’s in the part of the country called Transylvania?

In my novel, I added to the paranormal activity there. (Laughs) I couldn’t help myself.

Fact 9

Readers have told me that they are astounded that many of my vampires of religious. Prince Răzvan has an old friend from the war who is a Romanian Orthodox (Christian) priest.

Fact 10

Other readers have said they were surprised that my vampires are just like ordinary people. Something bad happened to them (becoming a vampire) but they are able to use it for the good of others. They are heroes. When a vampire finds their true lifemate, that person is their beloved for all time.

Love helps all of us endure the hardships of life. Love is the strength of my vampires and other supernatural heroes and heroines.

Buy Links

To find all my books on Amazon both the Kindle and the Print, visit: https://www.amazon.com/Susan-Hanniford-Crowley/e/B004YXOGXG

To find them everywhere:
Nook | Kobo | Smashwords | Walmart Books

Where to find Susan

Website | Blog | Facebook | Facebook Author Page | Twitter | Instagram

Coming soon: Lady Fallon’s Dragons. This is a dragon adventure book with a sweet romance in it. Lady Fallon’s Dragons is a wondrous tale of contemporary dragons and a young woman fighting for her life. Here is the cover reveal!

Thank you for sharing my adventure with me today! If you have any questions, feel free to put them in the comment box.

Spotlight on Susan Varno

I’m happy to welcome Soul Mate author Susan Varno. Today, Susan shares her creative journey and debut novel, A Rebel and Her Rogue.

When I was eleven years old, I saw Walt Disney’s PETER PAN at our neighborhood movie theater. On her adventure in Neverland, Wendy learned you have to get taller and older, but you never have to give up make-believe. And so I never have.

In college I started to major in Creative Writing but realized I didn’t know what I wanted to write. A degree in Political Science from American University in Washington D. C. led to three years of teaching 7th graders.

Back home in Chicago, I married the quintessential bad boy who I tamed without meaning to. We had two sons. Staying home to raise these little darlings gave me a good deal of free time, especially when they went off to school. Then I realized all my Wendy fantasies were romances. I wrote and published romantic short stories and personal experience humor.

Over the years I’ve had a variety of jobs. The most satisfying was running the local office of an Illinois State Representative. Much of my time was spent helping constituents who had problems with various aspects of state government. I heard many stories; poignant, desperate, sometimes funny, and none of which I’m allowed to repeat. During that time I tried writing contemporary romance novels but had no success.

Instead, I concentrated on writing pieces I had a better chance of publishing. For twenty-five years, I wrote columns and reviews for Video Views Magazine. After my husband and I retired to the Arkansas Ozarks, I published over 450 articles in magazines and newspapers about the people, culture, and history of the Ozarks.

My husband died three years ago. I miss my hero every day. I moved back to Illinois where I joined Windy City RWA. Their members inspired me to try a romance novel. The market had changed. There are many smaller publishers. Amazon and Facebook make self promoting easier though more competitive.

Historicals have always been my favorite genre. What intrigues me most is how women with courage and ingenuity establish power in a male dominated world. Last year Debbie Gilbert at Soul Mate Publishing accepted my Regency novel A REBEL AND HER ROGUE. I’ve just completed the second book in my series The Shady Side of the Law with POSING AS A PRINCESS.

Tagline

His secret death wish, her reckless behavior. After Blake thwarts Cassie’s scheme to rob him, he wants to marry the diabolical damsel. Can these two hell raisers tame each other?

Condensed Excerpt

Cassie waited in the library to speak with Blake. Did he think his delay would throw her into a terrified tizzy? She would “tizzy” for no man.

The door flew open. Blake kicked it shut behind him. “I apologize for my behavior yesterday.”

“I understand.” She twisted her fingers together. “You needed to know what I was up to.” Cassie couldn’t bear to look at him. He was the most striking man she’d ever seen. Power defined his every move.

“I let the masquerade go on too long,” he said. “I enjoyed playing the highwayman.”

She stared at her tightly clasped fingers. “Last night, I told your mother I will return home as soon as possible.”

“You can’t leave. You came to see if we suit each other.”

He strode toward her. Yesterday, his nearness excited her. Today, he was crowding her.

Cassie looked into his intense blue eyes. “Sir, I intended to rob you of six hundred pounds.”

He grinned. “That was your original plan. When you believed I was the highwayman Dangerous Dan Durgan, you wanted us to run off to Australia together. That was just before you invited me to kiss you.”

This man enjoyed making sport of her. Unlike yesterday, she would not let his needle pricks unhinge her.

“You missed my meaning. I long for the freedom of a highwayman. Those were fanciful thoughts. Not to mention, at the time I believed you were an outlaw. A far more respectable occupation than full time rogue.” Too late to bite back her words, and she had promised herself to be civil.

He blew out his breath. “I am going about this all wrong. Let me try anew. I would consider marrying you.”

A frisson of panic streaked through her. “Why would you want to marry me?”

Slowly, he eyed her body, down and back up with pauses at her hips and bosom. She felt like a heifer at a Market Day auction.

Inside her head she yelled, Stop talking and start smiling. He said he might marry me. However, she was Cassiopeia Valient, incapable of holding her tongue. Why couldn’t she force herself to be meek, charming, and gracious? The last two, she could manage. Being “meek” tripped her up.

In this battle of wills and won’ts, she pressed home her slim advantage. “Are you in love with me?”

He looked startled. “Madam, I hardly know you.”

Blake falling on his knees and admitting he’d fallen in love at first sight was too much to expect.

Cassie thrust again. “If we marry, you will let me do whatever I want?”

His grin turned into a leering smile. “Of course not. What excitement we’ll have. Screams, doors slammed, a little wrestling. Followed by…”

She could guess the rest of his thoughts. He expects to spend his life stirring me to explode. His bizarre proposal arrives at the moment I’ve vowed to abandon my reckless ways.

Social Links

Website | Amazon | Facebook

The Space to Grow

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

In her recent post, “Six Writing Lessons from an Actual Backyard Gardner,” Kelsey Allagood shared the following anecdote:

I have an aloe vera plant in my office. Her name is Alice. Alice came to me in a cute little terra cotta pot, and has followed me from sunny windowsill to sunny windowsill through a move across state lines. You could say we’re pretty close.

A few months ago, I noticed Alice wasn’t doing well. She was wilting, and the tips of her leaves were turning yellow and withering. She wasn’t growing at all.

After some experiments in watering and sunlight levels, I gently picked Alice up out of her pot to look at her roots. It turns out Alice was rootbound, and the thin white threads of her roots were filling up the potting soil and beginning to curl around the bottom of the pot itself.

Once I realized that Alice was root-bound, I quickly transferred her to a bigger pot, about three times the diameter of her first pot, and filled with new soil formulated specifically for succulents.

The next day, Alice was a new plant.

She’d perked up. Her leaves were now a vibrant green. I snipped off the ends that had turned yellow, and they healed themselves up. Her leaves are reaching up toward the sun and spreading wide, and she’s sprouting new ones.

Be like Alice.

And by that, I mean give yourself and your work the space to grow.

Read the rest of Kelsey’s post here.

Trust That Little Voice Within

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have Guelph author Wendy Stross sharing her inspiring reinvention story and first novel, A Love to Behold.

Here’s Wendy!

Act One

When contemplating this blog and what to share, I realize that throughout my life I have had various endeavours, various acts, and consider myself to be very much a student of life. With that said, at the age of nineteen, I became a registered nurse working in a downtown Toronto hospital. I worked on a surgical unit, part of which was directed to the treatment and care of patients with lung cancer. Once, when working a night shift, a couple of nurses and I were talking about what we would do if, at some time, we stopped nursing. “A writer,” I replied without thinking. My answer took me by surprise. I thought, “Now where did that come from?” I could never have imagined that one day I would hold a Ph.D. in History from the University of Toronto, and later still, write and publish a novel, A Love to Behold. So, how did I get from nurse to writer?

Years later when my husband and I had moved to Guelph and my children were in school, I registered as a full-time student at the local university. At the time, I had absolutely no interest in taking history. Truthfully, when in high school, if someone had told me one day I would become an historian, I would have told them they were crazy. History then was about kings, people with money, and those who held political, legal and/or religious power. There were few, if any, women, children – no ordinary individuals such as myself. As such, the subject held little interest for me. But, timing is everything. Two decades later when I returned to university, history as a discipline of study was undergoing significant changes. It was about social and cultural history, directed to including those individuals who had previously been ignored, silenced, excluded from the historical narrative. I thought, “Okay, this interests me.”

This new history demanded a great imagination. One had to examine old sources in new ways, to imagine new possibilities of discovering and learning about those individuals who had been ghosted from the past. In looking at old sources in new ways, historians were coming to new understandings about the past. I found this new direction exciting. I don’t think it was an accident that at the same time I was doing my Ph.D., my interest in spirituality was sparked, first through reading, then being a member of a goddess circle, and attending various spiritual workshops. Again, it was about expanding my worldview, using my imagination.

What triggered the need for change?

After earning my doctorate, for the next few years, I did some contract work and volunteering at the local city museum. Initially, I loved the experience of working in my community, discovering its past through material culture. But over time, I had this feeling that I didn’t belong there anymore. At the same time, both my parents were ill and I felt drained, physically, emotionally, and mentally. And even though I had no idea what I was going to do next, I decided to leave.

Where am I now?

So, why turn to fiction? In nursing, in the study of history and in working at the museum, I came upon a world of stories, past and present, stories we tell ourselves, stories that shape who we are. I became interested in the possibilities of these stories – possibilities not just seen, but the unseen, the undocumented, the unexplored possibilities imagined, but perhaps not written about.

When doing a doctorate in history, it was necessary to write something original, something new yet to be addressed. And so, when turning to fiction, I wanted to write something unique, a different kind of love story. A couple of years earlier I had heard a woman on the radio talk about the love and relationship she had shared with her twin flame. She described their love as deeply respectful and unconditional, one that consistently honoured the other’s choices and situations. I began to wonder what that kind of relationship would look like. How would it manifest in an ordinary life? And what would that look like if one twin flame was still alive, but one was dead and across the veil? A Love to Behold is the product of my wondering, my imagining.

It was only as I was preparing for the virtual book launch of A Love to Behold, that I came to fully appreciate all that I have accomplished. For a long time, I questioned what I was doing in terms of my career. To be a writer was something I never could have imagined for myself. And the fact that I have written and published my first novel is amazing to me.

Do you have any advice for anyone planning to pursue a second act?

The best advice I ever received was from my husband. My first written assignment as a university student was a philosophy paper on Plato’s Republic. Prior to this, the extent of my writing had been the weekly grocery list. The Saturday before the essay was due, I went up to my study. Hours passed, and finally my husband came upstairs and dared to ask me how it was going.

I burst out crying. “I can’t do this! It’s too hard!” In all that time, I had not been able to put a single word down on paper.

Once my husband had recovered from his shock, he said, “Wendy, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Just write down your thoughts, and slowly it will come to you. You can always go back and edit it.”

While he was talking about writing, I think it is true for life in general. Beginning anything new is scary, and it is hard. Looking back on my journey from nurse, to historian, and now novelist, I have come to appreciate how much courage it took to keep going. I remember handing in a draft of my first chapter of my doctoral thesis to my supervisor who then returned it with comments. I asked him if I should edit it. He answered, “No. Keep going. It is only when you reach the end that you will finally know what your book is about.” Wise words, I still hold dear.

Affirmation to Share

Love yourself and be kind to yourself. Trust that little voice within, even if at times, it seems to make no sense. It is leading you somewhere, someplace that you can’t even imagine – yet.

Blurb

This is the story of Anne and Archie. Boy meets Girl. Boy loses Girl. Boy finally gets Girl. Sounds ordinary? Well yes, until you realize Boy meets Girl, and they are together for three months. Boy loses Girl for forty-three years, and does not get Girl until after his death when he returns to tell her she was the love of his life. It is an amazing love story, full of promise, hardship, and the growing awareness of the immense and unconditional love shared by these twin flames.

Excerpt

As she turned the key in the ignition, Anne decided to stop at “the Gathering” – an annual event sponsored by a local store that specialized in spirituality. It was around 10:30 and the church auditorium was humming with activity. Tables of the various vendors, healers, and mediums were scattered throughout the room.

Jennifer, a friend, called to her, “Hey kid, what are you doing here?”

“Probably procrastinating! I’ve never been to this event and was curious.” Jennifer was an energy practitioner who did Reiki and Reflexology, and Anne asked if she had a table here.

Jennifer said no, that this kind of event was not conducive to the healing work she did – too busy and noisy. “Actually, I’m just leaving. My daughter has dance in an hour. See you at Friday yoga?”

Anne nodded, waved bye and started to wander. Everything from aromatherapy, crystals, jewelry, Christmas decorations and baking, as well as various healers offering their services were to be found in this one room. She was thinking she should go when from the corner of her eye, she spotted a woman seated at a table; her sign read “Susan Barker, Psychic Medium – Readings – $60 for 30 minutes.” Anne had had readings from psychics before, some good, some not so good. She was not familiar with this one. Anne circled the room once more, but found herself drawn back to psychic Sue. Ms. Barker looked to be around fifty, heavy-set, and reminded Anne of a beloved great-aunt. She was free at the moment, so Anne paid her money and sat down for a reading.

For the first fifteen minutes or so, the medium was pretty on track. Anne’s grandmother had come through, saying Anne had come by her love of books from her.

“Was there something at the end whereby she couldn’t talk?”

“Yes, she had a stroke that affected her throat. She could neither swallow nor speak at the end.”

The psychic said that her grandmother regretted she was unable to say some of the things she had wanted to say. That she was very proud of Anne and of all she had accomplished while being a wife and mother. Moments later, Sue looked above Anne’s head, her eyes widening in surprise.

“Your soulmate’s here, standing behind you!”

Stunned, Anne leaned forward to ensure she had heard correctly. “I’m sorry. What?” And then, shaking her head, she said, “You must be mistaken. I’ve been married over forty years and to my knowledge, my husband is very much alive.”

Bio

Throughout her life, Wendy has had various endeavours and considers herself to be very much a student of life. As well as being a wife, mother, and grandmother, she has been a registered nurse, has a Ph.D. in History from the University of Toronto, and has earned a Certificate in Museum Studies from the Ontario Museum Association.

The common thread underlying all her pursuits is Wendy’s lifelong passion for all things spiritual and unknown. At one point in her life, Wendy was a member of a goddess circle. The goddess experience, being part of a circle of women, opened Wendy up to the possibilities of magic in the world, to the possibilities within herself.

Over the last few years, she has attended various spiritual workshops which further fueled her interest in subjects such as soul contracts, soul ages, reincarnation, and meditation, prayer, dreams – all means by which one is able to connect with the wisdom of Spirit, God, one’s High Self, spirit guides and angels. And Wendy was astounded to learn that she could converse with and access the wisdom of her soul, her High Self, God, her spirit guides and angels through various means. The understanding that one could communicate with those spirits across the veil, that across the veil relationships were real and are possible served as inspiration for A Love to Behold, her first novel.

So, why turn to fiction? In the study of cultural and social history, in efforts to gain a more inclusive understanding and vision of the past, Wendy came upon a world of stories, past and present, stories we tell ourselves, the stories that shape who we are. And she became interested in the possibilities of these stories – possibilities not just seen, but the unseen, the undocumented, the unexplored possibilities imagined but perhaps not written about.

Wendy has long desired to write a novel, a love story, about the immense and unconditional love shared by twin flames. What would that kind of love and relationship look like? How would it manifest in an ordinary life? And what would that look like if one twin flame was still alive, but one was dead and across the veil? A Love to Behold is the product of Wendy’s wondering – her imagining.

Social Media and Buy Link

Twitter | Facebook | Website | Buy Link

The recording of the virtual book launch of A Love To Behold on March 7th is now on YouTube. Here’s the link.

Excerpt Tour: Forgiveness

I’m happy to welcome author Laura Thorne. Today, Laura shares her memoir, Forgiveness: Your Key to Harmony and Inner Peace.

Blurb

FORGIVENESS: YOUR KEY TO HARMONY AND INNER PEACE by Laura Throne will take you on a fascinating journey through the author’s real-life experiences as she provides practical advice to achieve a more intentional, conscious and aware approach to life. It will show you how accepting change and facing the unknown can create wonderful new opportunities.

This memoir details the author’s own wake-up call about how she restored her emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing after a devastating, miserable marriage, and regained her physical health after a chronic disease. Her story will help you discover small miracles in your everyday life you can be grateful for. See how difficult life situations and challenges can help your soul grow and evolve so you can reach your true potential.

FORGIVENESS will help you to remember that you are loved, worthy and complete. In the same way, you are valuable, powerful and significant in this world. Practicing forgiveness liberates your soul and sets you free, and kindness fills your heart with joy.

Excerpt

Being a stay-at-home mom is one of the most rewarding, wonderful, important and difficult jobs in the Universe. Sometimes I, like many women, felt less valued and judged. It is OK. Do what you think is the best for yourself and your children. Don’t let others decide for you. We are not less valuable just because we don’t have a career with promotions and a high salary. You and I raise the next generation that will shape our world and impact our future. That is how important our job is! No position, no career, no money, no business can match it! So be proud of what you are doing and don’t seek validation from other people. Women hold the family together, so it is important to find the right balance between paid and unpaid work, time with our families and time alone. If we feel off balance, which is often the case after the birth of a baby, it is important to make changes in our lives and ask for help to rebalance. If we are happy and balanced, everyone in the family is happy and balanced. If we feel overwhelmed, overworked and stressed, it will be reflected in the family. Taking good care of ourselves is just as important as taking care of others.

Website: https://laurathroneauthor.com/

Purchase Links

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Bookshop | Indigo | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Author Bio and Links

Laura Throne lived in four different countries between 2005 and 2020, and now resides in Canada with her two children. Forgiveness is her first book. By writing her memoir she hopes to inspire people to connect to their heart and soul. She hopes that her personal story will help you to remember that you are loved and worthy. In the same way, you are powerful and significant in this world. Practicing forgiveness liberates your soul and sets you free, and kindness fills your heart with joy.

Giveaway

Laura Throne will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here.

Follow Laura on the rest of her Goddess Fish tour here.

What to Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

Here are a baker’s dozen of suggestions for those challenging periods:



Adversity: A Catalyst for Reinvention

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have Wild Rose Press author Kimberly Baer sharing her inspiring reinvention story and her novels, The Haunted Purse and Mall Girls Meet the Shadow Vandal.

Here’s Kimberly!

Joanne, thanks so much for inviting me here today. I’m honored to be featured on your blog.

I never set out to reinvent myself. Reinvention has been forced upon me by fate—time and time again.

Long ago, I was a young stay-at-home mom living a comfortable domestic life with my husband, Richard, and our three children, ages six eight, and twelve. Then the unthinkable happened: Richard died of a sudden, first-time heart attack. In the blink of an eye, I became a widow with three young children to support. At the time, I had only a high school education. My focus in life narrowed to raising the kids and putting myself through college. I didn’t date, because it didn’t seem fair to make the kids share their only parent with someone new.

My family’s journey wasn’t easy, but we made it. The kids grew up and, miraculously, turned out okay. I graduated from college and got a good job as an editor. And then came the second blow. That great job I had? I lost it. The organization I was working for shut its doors for good. As a result, I was out of work for six months. After applying for dozens of jobs, I finally snagged the perfect one. The only problem: it was two hundred miles away—and that meant I had to leave the town I’d lived in my whole life.

That second upheaval was almost as hard to deal with as the first. In my hometown, I’d had a support system consisting of friends, relatives, coworkers, and neighbors. My parents and sister lived minutes away. I knew the area so well, I could have driven the roads blindfolded. But after I moved, I was alone in a strange city, working with people I didn’t know. I was constantly getting lost on the unfamiliar roads. I’d lie in bed at night pining for my beloved old house, my good friends, the life I’d left behind.

That was nine years ago. My new locale isn’t so new and scary anymore. I still have the great job that brought me here in the first place. I’ve made friends. And although I’ll probably never know the area as well as I know my hometown, I manage to get to all the important places. More excitingly, I’m now a traditionally published author of two books: a young adult paranormal novel, The Haunted Purse, and a middle-grade mystery novel, Mall Girl Meets the Shadow Vandal. The cherry on top of everything: after all those years of not dating, I have a wonderful fiancé named Clint.

Sound like a happily-ever-after ending? It isn’t really. (I’m not sure such a thing even exists.) Life has thrown me a new curve ball. A few years ago, Clint was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, a terminal lung disease. The only cure is a lung transplant—and, miraculously, he was able to get one. Unfortunately, he’s suffered many setbacks since then and remains at risk of developing an infection or succumbing to organ rejection.

So once again, I’m facing a challenge: caring for a loved one with a serious medical condition. Am I up for it? You bet. They say that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, and I believe that. Getting through one crisis shows us that we have what it takes to get through the next one.

Sometimes I sit back and marvel at the journey I’ve made thus far. My life today is very different from what it would have been if Richard hadn’t died. I’ve grown tremendously as a person. I’ve gone from sheltered young wife and mother to mature college student to uprooted career woman to caregiver. That’s four acts, four different scenarios. And each transition was forced upon me by fate.

Are you facing tough challenges of your own? Relax—you’ve got this. Know that you will get through whatever life throws at you. You’re stronger than you think, and you have the power to reinvent yourself as many times as fate demands it.

Blurb for Mall Girl Meets the Shadow Vandal
(a middle-grade novel)

Chloe Lamont doesn’t live in a neighborhood, like most kids. Her house is in the middle of the mall. And now someone is stealing items from her house and using them to vandalize stores. Who is trying to frame her? And how are they getting into the house?

Desperate to catch the real vandal and clear her name, Chloe seeks help from the kids in her Mystery Reading Group at school. While searching for clues, the Mystery Groupers make an astounding discovery. And then things get really crazy…

buynow

Blurb for The Haunted Purse (a young adult novel)

That old denim purse Libby Dawson bought at the thrift store isn’t your run-of-the-mill teenage tote. It’s a bag of secrets, imbued with supernatural powers. Strange items keep turning up inside, clues to a decades-old mystery only Libby can solve.

Filled with apprehension and yet intrigued by the mounting pile of evidence, Libby digs for the truth. And eventually finds it. But the story of the purse is darker than she imagined—and its next horrific chapter is going to be all about her.

buynow

Social Media Links

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon | Goodreads

Sunny and Dana, Heroines of Shirley Goldberg’s Books, Talk About Writing

I’m happy to welcome Wild Rose Press author Shirley Goldberg. Today, Shirley shares an entertaining chat with the heroines of her novels, Middle Ageish and Eat Your Heart Out.

Here’s Shirley!

When Joanne asked me to guest post, I invited two of my main characters to join me. Living through the writing process with me hadn’t been easy.

They didn’t seem all that eager.

“What’s the problem?” I’d been wrestling with words all day and didn’t welcome moodiness from my imaginary beings.

“Isn’t this a tad weird?” Sunny’s voice was taut with attitude.

“Weird? How?” Dana asked.

“We’re characters in books and we’re chatting as if we’re real people.”

“Not so odd.” Dana scratched a mosquito bite. “We’re friends in the books.” “Florida was great, by the way. Except for the bugs,” she added.

“Don’t say anything about who you went with on vacation,” Sunny said. “We don’t want any spoilers.” She gave Dana a stern look. “I guess we should introduce ourselves. I’m Sunny Chanel, the main character in Middle Ageish, Shirley’s first novel.

“I’m Dana, Sunny’s BFF in her book.”

“You have your own book now, though. How do you feel about that?”

“You sound like my therapist.”

“The two of you bicker inside my head all day long,” I interrupted. “It’s unnerving.”

“I’m the one with a therapist, not you.” Sunny stepped around me to confront Dana.

“Hey, no spoilers. Not everyone has read Middle Ageish.”

“Sorry.” Sunny looked embarrassed. “Aren’t we supposed to be introducing Shirley?”

“You start.” Dana gestured with her chin. “Give the readers a heads-up about her background. Why she wrote the book.”

“I’ve always wondered myself.” Sunny looked at me. “You did a lot of online dating and took notes in the ladies room, didn’t you? When you were on a meet.”

“I’ll admit it.” I put my hands up in surrender. My dirty little secret was out. At least they weren’t bickering.

“So let me get this straight. You’re on a date. You excuse yourself to go to the restroom. And take notes in the toilet stall? Seriously?”

“Pretty much,” I said.

“It’s true,” Sunny said. “You wouldn’t believe how many guys I had to do the old meet-and-greet with to keep the story moving forward. Shirley planned it all in the restroom.” She gave a little sneer. “How romantic.”

“I don’t write books in the toilet,” I protested. “Notes. I took a few notes.

“We’ve all heard the advice writers get.” Sunny fixed me with a look that said I wasn’t getting away with anything. “Write about what you know.”

“I’ve heard that,” Dana said. “We’re getting off track here. The book is about starting over. Not so easy when you’re a little older. Shirley knows because she started over. She was living in Crete, teaching English. She and her husband ended their marriage.

“Right, sorry about my tirade,” Sunny said. “Shirley moved back to Connecticut and started over.

“We met when you moved from Paris to New Haven and enrolled in the grad program.” Dana crossed her legs and scratched her mosquito bites again. “Just like Shirley.”
“Are you saying the book is autobiographical?” Dana asked Sunny.

“Ask Shirley,” Sunny said. “I think all writing is somewhat autobiographical.”

“My marriage was circling the drain.” No point in denying the similarities in the book to my own life. “Look, relationships aren’t easy. It’s a wonder two people come together, much less stay together.”

“So in Middle Ageish, I issue the dating challenge that starts the ball rolling,” Sunny said.

“I made up that dating contest,” I said.

“Yeah, probably after three glasses of wine.” Sunny looked around the living room. “I could use a glass of wine.”

“Hey.” Dana poked Sunny in the arm. “We’re guests here.”

Sunny gave Dana a look. “Shirley forced me to date. A lot. And broke my heart.”

“No spoilers!” I’d had it up to my eyelashes with my characters. Especially Sunny.

“Dana, you’re the heroine in Eat Your Heart Out. Can you say a little something about––”

“Friendship,” said Dana. “Women. Men. Two foodies. We sauté together, banter, and dance around each other. No spoilers here.”

“Shirley said she writes to make readers laugh,” said Sunny.

They exchanged a knowing look.

“Amen to that, wouldn’t you say?” Dana put a hand on her hip and executed a little salsa move.

The three of us burst out giggling.

Two foodies, Dana and Alex, banter, sauté and tiptoe around each other. Except for the occasional smooch. What’s with that? They’re not ready to go from friends to lovers. Will practice make perfect?

Blurb for Eat Your Heart Out

When a tyrant in stilettos replaces her beloved boss, and her ex snags her coveted job, teacher Dana Narvana discovers there are worse things than getting dumped on Facebook. Time for the BFF advice squad, starting with Dana’s staunchest ally, Alex—hunky colleague, quipster, and cooking pal extraordinaire. But when the after-hours smooching goes nowhere, she wonders why this grown man won’t make up his mind.

Alex Bethany’s new lifestyle gives him the confidence to try online dating. What he craves is a family of his own until a life-altering surprise rocks his world. He knows he’s sending Dana mixed messages. Alex panics when he thinks he’s blown his chance with his special person. From appetizers to the main course will these two cooking buddies make it to dessert?

Funny and bittersweet, Dana and Alex’s story will have you rooting for them.

Excerpt from Eat Your Heart Out

“However things play out, I want to tell you something.” Alex took both my hands now between his. “Getting to know you, your sense of humor, compassion for the students—corny, I know, I’m a corny guy—has been such a pleasure.” His voice like hot fudge, sincerity emanating in waves. “But I’m not lying to myself.” He turned toward me, a loaded grin transforming his expression.

My defenses faded, replaced by the kind of warmth you feel when a specific compliment comes from a specific, uh, person.

“I’m not saying you would date me, Dana,” he said, ducking his head as if the boldness of the statement surprised even Alex himself. “Date me, Dana,” he repeated. “It has a ring,” he said and laughed. “But I certainly have a bigger chance now, don’t I? Than that much, much bigger guy I used to be.”

My mouth hung open as I groped for a clever retort. Where the hell was my repartee when I needed it?

“Relax,” he said. “I’m sorta messin’ with ya. Thank God you’ll never know what it’s like to be as large as two and a half men.” He sat back, hugged his arms to his chest and rocked once, twice.

Sure. Letting me off the hook, saying he was messing with me. His way of letting himself off the hook, too? Date me, Dana. Date. That word had a way of popping up every once in a while between us.

And what did he mean by however things play out? His comment repeated on me, like too-spicy sauerkraut. What was playing out? We weren’t dating. Did he think this spontaneous dinner was a date? Impossible. More like he was back-pedaling, resending those mixed messages.

His hand slid over mine. “I want to make you happy, enjoy the moment. You’re my friend, my good friend.” A little half smile.

I knew his problem. He still couldn’t make up his mind. Normal under the circumstances. With such a huge lifestyle change, it was no wonder he was confused and overwhelmed. Overwhelmed? That was putting it mildly. For starters, a son he never knew he had. And the women, dozens probably. He needs an excel sheet to sort them out. Because he’s online, isn’t he? He’d be a fool not to be.

Alex leaned forward, his elbows on the table. “I don’t know if I should ask you this. Hell, I’ll just spit it out. How’s the dating thing going? Are you in extreme like? Or has it gone over to the smitten side?”

How could I answer that one? I suspected Alex was the smitten one, although he’d said very little about Honey, the woman he was dating, other than she’d had some tough relationships, a problematic mother, and they were having fun, he and Honey. Honey. The name felt thick and sweet. He has to be kissing her. And more. A man didn’t date someone for weeks, or months without…that meant he was kissing us both. And doing one of us.

My so-called date date date date at Union League? I wasn’t his first choice. But those kisses. When he kissed me…those slow, meandering kisses… My mind floated, imagining what it would be like to—

“Dana?”

“Yes?” I let more wine slide down my throat, leaned toward him pointing a finger. “You have a nice mouth. Do you know that?”

Buy/Read Links

Amazon | Apple Books | Barnes & Noble | BookBub

About the Author

Shirley Goldberg is a writer, novelist, and former ESL and French teacher who’s lived in Paris, Crete, and Casablanca. She writes about men and women of a certain age starting over. Her website http://midagedating.com offers a humorous look at living single and dating in midlife. Shirley is the author of two rom coms. Eat Your Heart Out and Middle Ageish, both in the series Starting Over. Shirley’s friends nag her to tell them which stories are true in her novels. Her characters believe you should never leave home without your sense of humor and Shirley agrees.

“Started very different and very interesting. Was a great book watched the relationship grow from the beginning. I fell in love with this book and didn’t want to stop reading.” Goodreads Review

My Socials

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Amazon Author Page | BookBub