10 Interesting Facts About My Protagonist – Jordan James, PI

I’m happy to welcome back Soul Mate author Rachel Sharpe. Today, Rachel shares ten interesting facts about the protagonist of her mystery series.

Here’s Rachel!

Jordan James is the main character of my Jordan James, PI series and its protagonist. Please enjoy reading 10 interesting facts about her and her series.

10 – The best writing advice I ever received came from the wife of the late author Walker Percy, who told me to always “write what you know.” I try to make it a point to do just that.

9 – The premise for Simple Misconception came from my desire to write a story in Jordan’s hometown of New Orleans. The character of Natalie, her friend who turns up missing, is loosely based on an old friend from high school.

8 – The premise for Bitter Retribution came from two separate trips: one to Hollywood where I visited family who work in the entertainment industry, and one to Colorado to go skiing.

7 – The premise for Lost Distinction came from my fascination with the Kennedy family and a trip to Martha’s Vineyard I took prior to writing book two.

6 – The premise for Cold Ambition came one night after I had decided I wanted to write a novel. The first thought that came to my mind was I wanted her to be a girl from New Orleans living in New England who decided to follow a childhood dream and become a private investigator, which was my childhood dream.

5 – Jordan’s childhood neighborhood is based on my grandparents’ neighborhood.

4 – Jordan’s first client and love interest, Rick, is based on former 1950s teen idol, Rick Nelson (hence the name).

3 – The character of Jon Riche, Jordan’s associate, foil, and sometimes love interest, came about during the first draft of Cold Ambition. He’s not based on anyone in particular and almost writes himself. I enjoy writing about him because I never fully know where he may take Jordan or the story.

2 – Jordan’s best friend, Heather, is based on my best friend.

1 – Jordan James isn’t based on me, but on what I’ve considered could have been my alternate life had my life gone differently.

Bio and Links

Rachel Sharpe is the author of Cold Ambition, Lost Distinction, Bitter Retribution, and Simple Misconception, all part of the Jordan James, PI series, a mystery series with sweet romance. Although born and raised in the South, “Yankee” relatives first led Rachel to historic New England, which she has come to consider her second home and is the setting for the series.

Rachel currently resides with her husband and children in the Greater New Orleans area.

Check Out Rachel’s Sites to Keep Up with Jordan James!!!

Facebook | Twitter

Rachel’s Novels

When Jordan James decided to embark on a career as a private investigator, she never could have imagined that a chance encounter would lead to her staring down the barrel of a gun on the roof’s edge of a high-rise building. As she begins to investigate her first case, the puzzling murder of a prominent businessman that has left Boston’s finest mystified for more than two decades, she finds herself suddenly immersed in a treacherous underworld brimming with betrayal, raw greed, and political subterfuge of international proportions. In the midst of this, she discovers she is falling for her mysterious client despite the hints of his dark past. Can this feisty Southern girl with a penchant for trouble solve this baffling case, or is she doomed to become another tragic chapter in an international conspiracy?

buynow


“It all started with a favor . . .”

When private investigator Jordan James agreed to search for the missing son of a U.S. Ambassador, she didn’t realize she was walking into a case one hundred years in the making. The deeper she delves into this unusual assignment, the more shocking, and the more dangerous, it becomes. With time running out and lives at stake, Jordan must race to identify the culprit of an elaborate plot while also uncovering a far more personal truth too intimate to ignore . . .

buynow


“What started out as a star-studded vacation has turned into a sensational avalanche . . .” When private investigator Jordan James decided to join her best friend on the set of her hit television series in the Rocky Mountains, she had no idea she would become a key player in a murder mystery more suited for the big screen than the slopes. With one actor dead and a killer on the loose, can Jordan uncover the culprit before another victim makes headlines on Hollywood Minute?

buynow


A Trip to the Big Easy Turns into a Big Nightmare…”

When private investigator Jordan James returns home to New Orleans for Christmas, she never imagined her holiday could end with kidnapping and death. As she begins to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a childhood friend, she unwittingly stumbles upon a dangerous, international syndicate. With lives at risk and time running short, Jordan must find a connection between these seemingly unrelated events if she ever hopes to find her friend.

buynow

10 Interesting Facts About the Glass Dolphin Mystery Series

I’m happy to welcome Canadian author Judy Penz Sheluk. Today, Judy shares interesting facts about the Glass Dolphin Mystery Series and her new release Where There’s a Will (Book 3).

Here’s Judy!

1. The Glass Dolphin is the name of an antiques shop where, according to owner Arabella Carpenter, “authenticity matters.” In early drafts of the novel, it was called the Blue Dolphin, until Judy discovered there was a Blue Dolphin Antiques in Maine (there’s also one in Oregon, and there are probably others, too). It just seemed easier to change the name.

2. The Glass Dolphin got its name from Arabella’s first antique “find,” a pair of cobalt blue dolphin candlestick holders, made by the Boston & Sandwich Glass Company in Sandwich, Mass. Production of dolphin candlesticks began about 1840 and continued for 35 to 40 years. They were produced in clear or opaque milk glass, as well as in colored glass, including green, canary yellow, and cobalt blue. Blue is generally the most sought after color.

3. The Glass Dolphin is located on historic Main Street in Lount’s Landing, a small town about ninety minutes north of Toronto, Canada. The town of Lount’s Landing (on the Dutch River), is loosely based on Holland Landing (on the Holland River), where Judy lived for 25 years.

4. The fictional Lount’s Landing was named after Samuel Lount, a blacksmith, farmer, and politician who lived in the village of Holland Landing in the nineteenth century. He was hanged for treason on April 12, 1838. There is a historic plaque dedicated to Samuel Lount in front of the Holland Landing Library and Community Centre.

5. Lount’s last words as he headed to his death were, “We die in a good cause; Canada will yet be free.” These words play a pivotal part in The Hanged Man’s Noose, book 1 in the series.

6. The Hanged Man’s Noose is the name of a local pub, owned and operated by Betsy Ehrlich, a history buff and a good friend of Arabella’s. Her signature drink is the Treasontini, a blueberry vodka martini. [Download the recipe here: http://www.judypenzsheluk.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/How-to-Make-a-Treasontini.pdf%5D

7. The Hanged Man’s Noose also offers a good selection of pub food, including Arabella’s favorite: Full Noose Nachos. [Download the recipe here: http://www.judypenzsheluk.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/FULL-NOOSE-NACHOS.pdf%5D

8. Arabella’s sleuthing partner is Emily Garland, a former freelance journalist and local magazine editor, and now a partner in the Glass Dolphin. A bacon eating “vegetarian,” Emily’s name comes from Emily in Emily Climbs by L.M. Montgomery and Judy’s namesake, Judy Garland.

9. Arabella’s ex-husband, Levon Larroquette, is an antiques picker (think American Pickers). He is also a major character in each book. In Judy’s head, Levon looks like a young Kris Kristofferson (think A Star is Born, 1976). Levon’s name is a combination of the Elton John song, Levon, and the last name of actor John Larroquette.

10. All factual information in each book has been carefully researched; Judy was the Senior Editor at New England Antiques Journal from 2008 through 2018, and prior to that, the Editor for Antiques & Collectibles Showcase. And like Emily Garland, she was also a freelance journalist for many years.

About the Glass Dolphin Mystery Series

A cozy mystery series without the cats, crafts, or cookie recipes, the Glass Dolphin mysteries follow the investigations of amateur sleuths Arabella Carpenter and Emily Garland. The books include: The Hanged Man’s Noose (#1), A Hole in One (#2), and Where There’s A Will (#3). While it is always preferable to read a series in order, any one of the titles can be read as a standalone.


















About Where There’s A Will

Emily Garland is getting married and looking for the perfect forever home. When the old, and some say haunted, Hadley house comes up for sale, she’s convinced it’s “the one.” The house is also perfect for reality TV star Miles Pemberton and his new series, House Haunters. Emily will fight for her dream home, but Pemberton’s pockets are deeper than Emily’s, and he’ll stretch the rules to get what he wants.

While Pemberton racks up enemies all around Lount’s Landing, Arabella Carpenter, Emily’s partner at the Glass Dolphin antiques shop, has been hired to appraise the contents of the estate, along with her ex-husband, Levon. Could the feuding beneficiaries decide there’s a conflict of interest? Could Pemberton?

Things get even more complicated when Arabella and Levon discover another will hidden inside the house, and with it, a decades-old secret. Can the property stay on the market? And if so, who will make the winning offer: Emily or Miles Pemberton?

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Apple

About the Author

A former journalist and magazine editor, Judy Penz Sheluk is the author of two mystery series: the Glass Dolphin Mysteries and the Marketville Mysteries. Her short crime fiction appears in several collections, including The Best Laid Plans and Heartbreaks & Half-truths, which she also edited.

Judy is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Crime Writers of Canada, where she serves as Chair on the Board of Directors. Find her at http://www.judypenzsheluk.com.

Samuel Lount photo courtesy of Ontarioplaques.com


10 Quotable Quotes from No More Secrets

Whenever I pick up a new book—fiction or nonfiction—I like to pause and note any passages that trigger aha moments.

In earlier times (pre-computer), I would copy those pearls of wisdom into an “Inspirational Quotations” file. I still have that file but now post digitally.

When I started writing my own novels, I was happy to receive emails from readers who were touched and inspired by certain passages.

Here are ten quotations from No More Secrets that have resonated with early readers:

“Keeping secrets is wrong, especially if those secrets are toxic. If they’re not shared, those secrets will implode.”

Continue reading on the Soul Mate Authors blog.


Spotlight on The Secret Spice Café Trilogy

I’m happy to welcome award-winning author Patricia V Davis. Today, Patricia shares excellent advice for women of all ages and the three novels in The Secret Spice Café Trilogy.

Here’s my contribution to Joanne’s Power of Ten Series. I wrote this blog post over ten years ago, for one particular younger woman friend, and I had originally titled it, “From an Older Woman to a Younger One.” For some reason, it hit a nerve with many women, went viral, was translated into several languages, and eventually landed me a book deal for my non-fiction book, The Diva Doctrine: 16 Universal Principles Every Woman needs to Know. I hope it resonates with you too. Though its particular audience was for one hetero woman, I hope everyone can pull something from it, no matter who you are. Without further ado, here are some of the things I learned after half a century of living that I passed on to a younger woman friend in the hope that it would save her some precious time:

1. You are at least ten times prettier than you think you are.

That holds true no matter how pretty you already think you are! Don’t believe me? Ask your mother/auntie/grannie if she thought she was pretty when she was twenty. She’ll say no. Then find a photo of her at that age. See what I mean?

2. The only thing you should be faking is confidence.

If you don’t have it yet, pretend you do. In every new situation, pretend you’re not nervous; pretend you’re not scared. After a few times doing this, the pretend part disappears.

3. Want to try something new like painting, skiing or running your own business? Go to the library and borrow ten different books on the subject. Skim through them all, find the ones that have the most vital information and study them. Then see number two.

4. No matter how old you get, remember what it was like to be a nine-year-old girl.

Remember the feeling of freedom. If you’ve already forgotten, do a cartwheel. You can so still do one. Savor that feeling. Wake up with it every day. You’ll stay young until the day you die.

5. In the same vein, cut or potted flowers are never a waste of money, because every time we glance at them, they remind us how much beauty there can be in the world.

6. Speaking of money, starting right this moment, whether you’re twenty or sixty, you can change your finances around.

Don’t leave someone else completely in charge, whether it’s your husband, partner, parents or banker. Become financially savvy. Financial independence gives you the freedom to walk away from many bad situations. How do you know you’re in bad situation? See number seven.

7. If your stomach hurts and you haven’t got a virus, you’re in a bad situation.

Before you know what it is, your stomach always does. Give yourself some time to ponder what it might be that’s making your stomach hurt. Chances are you already do know, you just don’t want to face it, for some reason. You can ignore advice from your friends, even your own brain, but you can’t ignore your stomach, because the stomach never lies. Oh, and by the way — drowning your stomach in alcohol won’t make it stop telling you the truth, either.

8. When meeting someone new and he or she seems to be behaving badly, show compassion first.

If after you display your sincere compassion, they are still acting badly, walk away. If they follow you, call the police.

9. Wear sunscreen on your face, neck and hands every day, winter and summer.

I don’t care how dark your skin naturally is. Wear it. You’ll remember me when you look in the mirror at age fifty. Always keep in mind that your body is directly connected to your spirit. Look after your body. Exercise, floss and brush your teeth. Put nothing in your body that can permanently harm your spirit, including the wrong man.

10. And if you are in bed with a man and he’s the right man, meaning your stomach doesn’t hurt, he’s smiling at you, he knows your name, he’s not drunk, and neither are you — for godssakes — enjoy yourself. He is not at all thinking about how fat your thighs look.

Blurbs

Book One: Cooking For Ghosts

Do hearts broken long ago forever leave a tangible trace?

A Vegas cocktail waitress. An Indian herbalist. A British chemistry professor. An Italian-American widow. Four unique women with one thing in common: each is haunted by a tragedy from her past.

Cynthia, Rohini, Jane, and Angela meet on a food blogging site and bond over recipes. They decide on impulse to open The Secret Spice, an elegant café on the magnificent ocean liner, the RMS Queen Mary, currently a floating hotel in Long Beach, California. Rich in history and tales of supernatural occurrences, the ship hides her own dark secrets.

The women are surrounded by ghosts long before they step aboard, but once they do, nothing is quite what it seems. Not the people they meet, not their brooding chef’s mystic recipes, and not the Queen Mary herself. Yet the spirits they encounter help them discover that there’s always a chance to live, as long as one is alive.

An Official Pulpwood Queens Book Club Selection, and read by Ann Marie Gideon, COOKING FOR GHOSTS is an unforgettable tale of love, redemption, and divine female power.

Book Two: Spells and Oregano

A mother desperate to save her twin sons, a war veteran in torment, a beautiful young psychic with a terrible secret, a powerful magician with a shattered soul, and a Queen steeped in history and glory. These extraordinary beings cross paths and set off a remarkable chain of events in Spells and Oregano: Book II in The Secret Spice Cafe Trilogy.

Overcome by despair after a trauma when she was sixteen, Sarita Taylor has spent the past ten years isolated and lonely aboard her beloved RMS Queen Mary. Fearful of outsiders, she dedicates her time to managing The Secret Spice Café, now an award-winning restaurant. Until Luca Miceli, a man with a dark past, steps on board.

Patricia V. Davis deftly spins past and present, mystery and magic, into a potent story of passionate longing and family tragedy all at once. Spells and Oregano is a compelling tale of atonement, devotion, and undying love, set aboard one of the world’s most magnificent, haunted ships.

Don’t miss Cooking for Ghosts: Book I in The Secret Spice Cafe Trilogy. The Secret Spice Trilogy is an Official Pulpwood Queens Book Club Selection.

Book Three: Demons: Well Seasoned

Dare to Believe in Your Power…

A long-lost grandmother. A stay-at-home mom. A comic book fan. A five-year-old girl with a star-shaped birthmark. And nine more.

The cast is bigger, the stakes are higher. When Sarita’s grandmother, a Vodou priestess, foresees a terrible evil, Cynthia, Jane, Angela, and Rohini reunite on a heart-rending mission to save all that’s precious to them, including the iconic ship, the RMS Queen Mary. They cannot do it alone–the priestess tells them there must be thirteen on the night of the thirteenth moon. in this life-or-death pursuit. Yet, can she be trusted?

Spiced with history and the supernatural, Demons, Well-Seasoned takes us from 1930s Glasgow, to New Orleans and Harlem in the 1950s, to present day southern California, and back again, on a metaphysical voyage that is both exhilarating and poignant. But before you embark upon this final sail with the denizens of The Secret Spice, be warned: expect to lose sleep, and keep tissues at hand. These valiant characters might just stay with you long after their story comes to a close.

Don’t miss Cooking for Ghosts, and Spells & Oregano, Books I and II in The Secret Spice Café Trilogy. The Secret Spice Cafe Trilogy is an Official Pulpwood Queens Book Club Selection.

Excerpt from Cooking for Ghosts

Unconcerned with what her business partners were up to, Rohini was giggling with excitement. Hugging herself, she whirled in circles, then flung her arms up over her head and collapsed back in dizzy elation onto the enormous bed in the glorious stateroom. Everything was glorious. She was here. This was her room. The Secret Spice was, in part, her restaurant.

Hers.

And when she’d first seen the Queen from the back seat of Cynthia’s preposterous little car, she knew she was headed to exactly where she should be. She couldn’t stop smiling, until, abruptly, a lump formed in her throat and her eyes misted with tears.

“I made it, Zahir,” she whispered. “I made it.”

She sobered as she thought of him, of all he’d done for her, and all that she might still need to do on her own.

But that wasn’t for today. Today was for celebration and thankfulness. Getting up from the bed, she opened her case, pulled out all the little plastic sacks of spices and herbs she’d packed, and sighed with relief. Not a one had opened or torn. Even so, she could smell their pungent bouquet right through the protective wrappings. Rauvolfia, Serpentina, Jaiphal, Javitri, Khus Khus, Ashwagandha and more — why did cinnamon always smell the strongest? There were dozens of varieties that she’d stuffed inside shirt sleeves and trouser legs and white cotton gym socks, just like a drug dealer might hide a stash. The TSA had missed them completely. They’d even affixed a sticker to the top of her bag: “Checked by Homeland Security.”

Author Bio and Links

PATRICIA V. DAVIS’s debut novel series, THE SECRET SPICE CAFE, is comprised of three books: COOKING FOR GHOSTS (2016) SPELLS AND OREGANO (2017) and DEMONS, WELL-SEASONED. (2019) The audio books will be released in 2020 by Tantor Media, and narrated by Ann Marie Gideon. Patricia lives with her husband, who is both a poker player and a rice farmer, so she divides her time between southern Nevada and northern California. Say hello to Patricia at her author website: http://www.TheSecretSpice.com

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Wikipedia

Giveaway

Patricia V. Davis will be awarding a $25 Amazon/Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. Find out more here.

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



10 Quotes to Live By from the Novel Blackhorse Road

I’m happy to welcome author Merida Johns. Today, Merida shares ten inspirational quotes from her new release, Blackhorse Road.

Values, beliefs, and life philosophy form the backbone of Blackhorse Road characters. Book reviewer, Gayle Scroggs, PhD, PCC, suggests that “The exceptional self-awareness that the characters show is what stands out in Blackhorse Road.” Here are ten quotes that give a hint about the characters in Blackhorse Road.

1. Lucinda—Chapter 1: What defines a person are not one’s financial or physical attributes or beliefs. Instead, it’s the choices that one makes in surmounting life’s challenges.

2. Luci—Chapter 1: “Conformity may make life seem more comfortable. But blind obedience, in time, frustrates and disappoints us. It is conformity that robs us of our hope and deprives us of improving ourselves and creating a better and fairer world.”

3. Sam—Chapter 2: “You have three options when you hit a brick wall and can’t get what you want. You can be complacent and accept the situation and endure it. You can live in a fantasy world and pretend everything is fine. Or you can persist and find a way around the wall.”

4. Sam—Chapter 6: “Given the relevant facts and the chance to think things through, most people are smart, creative, and resourceful enough to make the right decisions.”

5. Luci—Chapter 14: Wallowing in self-pity is a waste of energy. Pessimism robs people of their freedom. It closes your mind to possibilities and opportunities. It makes you a victim of your own behavior.

6. Chris—Chapter 15: “. . . You know, there’s that old saying, ‘Better safe than sorry,’ but I like saying ‘Safe but sorry.’ I think my version is better. I don’t want to end my life, Luci, dwelling on all the should-haves or could-haves that I didn’t do because I was afraid.”

7. Barry—Chapter 15: “If you are going to get what you want in life, you have to have a contingency plan in your back pocket.”

8. Geneviève—Chapter 16: If you want to change people’s behavior, it’s best to give them a plausible option.

9. Geneviève—Chapter 17: “Live in the present, and you won’t be anxious or worried.”

10. Chris—Chapter 21: “You cannot contract out responsibility for exercising your conscience to religion, government, or other authority. To mindlessly follow authority thwarts one’s autonomy. After all is said and done, you are accountable for your choices. Those who believe that following the rules will excuse them from moral responsibility are living in fantasy land.”

Blurb

Under another hand, Blackhorse Road could all too easily have been a singular romance. Johns provides more as she follows Luci down the rabbit hole and out the other side of life experience, bringing readers into a world where . . . transgression changes everything and challenges carefully-constructed foundations of belief and values. As Luci lets go of her lifesavers and navigates obstacles to happiness, her story becomes a vivid portrait of hope and self-examination which ultimately moves into unexpected territory. Novel readers seeking a tale that closely considers deception and forgiveness, love gained and lost, and family ties will welcome the multifaceted Blackhorse Road’s ability to come full circle in a satisfyingly unexpected way. – D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

It’s the turbulent mid-1960s, and Luci, an eighteen-year-old Southern California girl, is on the quest for self-determination and new beginnings. Three powerful forces influence her values: the grit of her Irish great-grandmother, Lucinda McCormick; the philosophy of choice of her father, Sam; and the 1960s ideals of equity and altruism. But potent foes thwart Luci at every turn. Her budding romance with a handsome United States Air Force Academy cadet sets the stage for conflict and deception that last for two decades. When Luci discovers how her autonomy and her love affair were hijacked, she struggles with anger and bitterness. But from a surprising source, she finds a forgiveness path that restores her well-being and hope and, in the end, faith in herself.

Excerpt

Uncertain what to make of Luci’s stillness, Barry brought his head close to hers and asked, “What are you thinking?”

Luci held back, still gazing ahead. She turned and drilled into Barry’s blue eyes. “I guess, using an Irish term, I could say, ‘What a bunch of malarkey!’” She drew back her lips in a saucy grin and weighed his reaction.

Luci’s response was unarming but charming. Barry laughed. “No one has ever told me in such a nice way that I’m full of bullshit.”

“Well, I guess there’s that!” Luci chuckled, then turned thoughtful. “Putting the ‘BS’ aside, I’d say the story is about choices, not a lovestruck fairy tale. It’s about risks and consequences and being true to your values. It’s about living who you are and not how someone else expects you to live.”

Author Bio and Links

Merida Johns takes her experience as an educator, consultant, and businesswoman and writes about the human experience. In 2018 Merida took an unlikely off-ramp from writing textbooks and motivational books to authoring women’s fiction. Her stories are learning lessons where awareness and curiosity transport readers to the most unexpected places within themselves. Merida hails from Windsor, Ontario, Canada, grew up in Southern California and has lived from coast-to-coast in the United States. Besides writing, she enjoys fabric arts, including weaving and knitting. She makes her home in the serene Midwest countryside that gives her the inspiration and space for storytelling.

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon | Bookshop

Giveaway

Merida Johns will be awarding a $25 Amazon/Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here.

Follow Merida on the rest of her Rafflecopter tour here.


Spotlight on BloodBond

I’m happy to welcome Wild Rose Press author Sydney Winward. Today, Sydney shares her new release, Bloodbond.

Blurb

Zachariah Degore spent ten years locked under ground as a feral vampire. Now he has to redefine what it means to be healthy and whole. With his human life behind him, he starts anew in the vampire city of Ichor Knell with the vampire shah as his kin. He must prove he is worthy of his place in this new world.

Laurel Covaci is vampire elite, she would never court a feral vampire. After two hundred years she has yet to find a mate who meets with her satisfaction. She hides the pain of past hurt and abandonment behind a cold façade. Zach is confident that Laurel is the vampire for him, but can he break through her icy walls and convince her he’s the mate she’s been waiting for?

Excerpt

“You obviously won’t bring up what is ailing you,” Oriel said, “therefore, I will. What is it?”

Her scowl deepened as she glared at a patch of red flowers that didn’t deserve her anger. “Zachariah is receiving mounds of handkerchiefs, and I fear it will interfere with his learning.”

He grinned slyly as he turned to face her. She didn’t like that look, as if he knew something she didn’t.
“I believe you are experiencing feelings of jealousy. Laurel, you are in love with Zachariah Degore.”

Shock hit her like a sleigh slamming into her at breakneck speed. Never in her life had she expected to hear the words “Laurel”, “Zachariah”, and “love” in the same sentence. Still, she shook her head stubbornly, but in her shock, she tripped on her bad foot, wincing as pain shot up her leg. She lowered herself onto a stone garden bench and took her slipper off, massaging the place where it hurt most while Oriel hovered worriedly.

“I am not in love with Zachariah,” she insisted. “We are only friends and I am simply worried about his studies.”

“Then why is your heart beating like a hummingbird’s wings?” he teased.

This time, she directed her scowl at her brother. “Curse you, Oriel. Mind your own business.”

“Your business is my business. I never liked Luca, but I like Zachariah plenty. I approve of a union between the two of you.” He sat beside her, draping an arm across her shoulders. “Zachariah is Dracula’s kin. He won’t be on the market for long.”

“I know,” she grumbled miserably, though she admitted to nothing. She was afraid to tell even herself that she felt more for Zachariah than just friendship.

Buy Links

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Applebooks | Kobo

About the Author

Sydney Winward was born with an artistic brain and a love of discovery for new talents. From drawing to sewing to music, she has loved to explore every opportunity that comes her way. At a young age, Sydney discovered her love of writing, and she hasn’t been able to stop writing since. Her active imagination and artistic mind take her away to different worlds and time periods, making every new story a fantastic adventure. When she is not writing (or fawning over animals in the neighborhood) she spends time with her husband and children at home in Utah.

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


Top 10 Things to See in Scotland

I’m happy to welcome Wild Rose Press author Jean M. Grant. Today, Jean shares her must-sees for travelers to Scotland and her upcoming release, A Hundred Lies, Book 3 in The Hundred Trilogy. On sale for 99 cents!

Here’s Jean!

I visited the land of my daydreams, Scotland, over a decade ago. It stirred the muse within to write about medieval Scotland. From that inspiration sprung my trilogy. Here is my list of must-sees for the history and nature buff.


Scotland—be prepared for rain, be prepared for beauty of nature and people.

10. The abbeys—Abbeys are poetic and serene and back in the middle ages served as monasteries to different Christian orders. We walked among ancient gray and rose stone ruins at Dryburgh and Melrose Abbeys.

9. The isles—It is hard to not visit an isle while in Scotland. There are many: Lewis and Harris, Shetlands, or my beloved Uist. We visited Isle of Skye on a dreary day and could not even see the Black Cuillin mountains in the torrential rain.

8. Lochs—Like isles, lochs, many glacial, are a must-see and hard to miss whether it is the deep blue Loch Ness, expansive Loch Lomond, or the inspiring Loch Awe.

7. Crags & Glens—High and low crags abound…the Trossachs, Cairngorms, or the five sisters of Kintail are impressive mountains. With crags, come glens (valleys). Glencoe is not one to skip.

6. Standing Stones—Standing stones are one of the few places we couldn’t visit on our trip as most are on the isles. Note to self for next time!

5. Scottish Folk & Pubs—Scots are pleasant people and we had a great time chatting with the locals. And yup, there are plenty of the other kind of locals: sheep!

4. The Lowlands—The lowlands often get overlooked, but they are green and lush with undulating hills.

3. The Highlands—Rich in clan history and natural beauty and oh so many hikes, the Highlands are the epitome of Scotland. Tramp (hike) through glens, up stony crags, visit Culloden Battlefield, and just get lost on the winding one-lane roads.

2. Highland Games— Up for putting the stone, caber tossing, tug-o-war, music, and dancing…oh yes, and lots of kilts? Get thee to a Highland Game. We visited one in Pitlochry.

1. Castles—Castles, last but not least! I visited over a dozen on my trip. My favorites: Eilean Donan (seat to Clan MacCoinneach in my books), Kilchurn (we kayaked to it), Threave (we took a rowboat across a river to it), and Borthwick (we stayed overnight in this 14th century tower house that is haunted).

Blurb

1322, Scotland

Rosalie Threston’s fortune-telling lies have caught up with her. Uprooted yet again, she’s on the run from a ruthless English noblewoman. She flees to Scotland and seeks refuge in the arms of a laird’s son who happens to be a real Seer.

A bloody past and inevitable future plague Domhnall Montgomerie. He avoids physical contact with others to ease the painful visions. When an accidental touch reveals only delight, he wonders if Rose is the key to silencing the Sight.

Mystical awakening unravels with each kiss. But can Domhnall embrace his gift in time to save her life, even it means exposing her lies?

Buy/Book Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookbub | Goodreads

Bio

Jean’s background is in science and she draws from her interests in history, nature, and her family for inspiration. She writes historical and contemporary romances and women’s fiction. She also writes articles for family-oriented travel magazines. When she’s not writing or chasing after children, she enjoys tending to her flower gardens, hiking, and doing just about anything in the outdoors.


Social Media Links

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Bookbub | Amazon | Instagram





10 Inspirational Quotations

I’m happy to welcome back Wild Rose Press author Sadira Stone. Today, Sadira shares ten inspirational quotations and her new release, Gelato Surprise.

Here’s Sadira!

Thanks so much, Joanne, for welcoming me back to your blog. Since I’ve already chatted with your readers about my reinvention from high school teacher to romance novelist, today I’d like to share ten of my favorite inspirational quotations. ‘Cause goodness knows we all need inspiration to keep us moving forward during the Quarantimes!

1. “Honey, ever’body’s got somethin’ to teach you, even if it’s how not to be.” This golden nugget came from an older Southern lady I worked with when stationed in Fort Stewart, Georgia. My job: to help folks process their claims after a reassignment move had mashed up their household goods. Lots of negativity heaped on me by pissed-off customers who often took out their ire on me. This reminder served me well then, and every year since.

2. “Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we’re here we might as well dance.” I couldn’t hunt down a reliable attribution for this one, but it’s my Northern Star. There’s so much I can’t change about my circumstances, but I can still enjoy my time, look for new opportunities, and write schmexy romance books.

3. “The grubby chores will still be there when you’re done whining, so you might as well do them now.” ~Mom

Her work ethic and practicality have served me well.

4. “The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Don’t you feel exhilarated after going somewhere new, meeting someone new, trying something new? I sure do.

5. “Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself. I am large. I contain multitudes.” ~Walt Whitman

My favorite poet and proto-hippie refused to be squashed into a box of others’ expectations.

6. “Don’t fence me in.” ~Gene Autry

We women, especially, face societal pressures to make our lives smaller. Phooey to that!

7. “Insight, curiosity, to wonder, to mull and to muse why it is that man does what he does. And if you have that, talent makes no difference, whether you’ve got it or not. ~William Faulkner

As a writer, I sure hope he’s right.

8. “Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.” ~Marie Curie

She should know!

9. “Take a lover who looks at you like maybe you are magic.” ~Freda Kahlo

Again, we women must resist others’ urgings to settle for less than we deserve.

10. “The best work anyone ever writes is the work that is on the verge of embarrassing them. Always.” ~Arthur Miller

True! My best work comes when I spill my heart’s blood on the page.

Blurb

She came to the beach to find herself—and found him.

Forty-two-year-old divorcée Danielle Peters ends up alone on her family’s annual beach vacation. Maybe time to herself is exactly what she needs. That and gelato from her favorite ice cream shop. But when the owner’s intoxicating young nephew offers more than sweet treats, she’s tempted to indulge in a hot summer fling before returning home.

Thirty-one-year-old Matteo Verducci craved a fresh start to mend his broken heart, and he’s found almost perfection in Ocean View, where he scoops gelato by day and crafts furniture by night. But when a sexy older woman stops to sample his wares—Mamma mia! He only has two weeks to convince her their passion is more than a delicious surprise.

Buy Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play Books

Author Bio

Ever since her first kiss, Sadira’s been spinning steamy tales in her head. After leaving her teaching career in Germany, she finally tried her hand at writing one. Now she’s a happy citizen of Romancelandia, penning contemporary romance and cozy mysteries from her home in Washington State. When not writing, which is seldom, she explores the Pacific Northwest with her charming husband, enjoys the local music scene, belly dances, plays guitar badly, and gobbles all the books.

Where to find Sadira…

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


Charlotte O’Shay’s 10 Life Lessons

I’m happy to welcome back Wild Rose Press author Charlotte O’Shay. Today, Charlotte shares ten life lessons and her upcoming release, Always, Almond Fudge.

Here’s Charlotte!

Hello Joanne,

It’s such a pleasure to visit your blog again.

I’m certainly old enough to know better. Finally I do—kind of. In spite of my patient parents, it took me forever to learn these lessons. Anyway, here goes.

1. Every day is a gift. Unwrap it. We make plans and we have schedules, calendars and appointments and of course, some of these are commitments we cannot neglect. But take a moment to appreciate the energy and promise of the new day. Be open to it unfolding in a way you might not have anticipated or planned.

2. Say yes. Of course you’re scared, but there is no growth without fear. Have courage. Be open to learning, doing something new. This gets harder as you get older, but more necessary.

3. Say no. Your time is precious. Don’t let people waste it. You don’t need to say yes to every invitation, join every committee or raise your hand to do something because you think you should. Take on what you truly can and want to do, and do it with joy.

4. Surround yourself with the people who make you happy. There are toxic people out there. As you get older you can see them coming from a mile away. Life is too short to engage with vitriolic people whether on line or in person. Corollary: Tell the people you love, that you love and appreciate them.

5. Surround yourself with the things that make you happy. I’m not talking about expensive objects. This is for all the yard sale lovers out there. I’m talking about a pine cone found while walking, sea glass from the beach, a pretty plate from a tag sale or a wonderful piece of music. I’m also not talking about hoarding. If you find something new, give away something you no longer need. If a color soothes you, paint it on a wall.

6. Trust your gut. We’ve all been there. A tough, even dangerous situation. Or you’ve met a new, potentially important person. Maybe it’s a big decision you must make about a job. There’s that niggling feeling like an itch you can’t get to in the middle of your back. Don’t ignore it. You may not know why you feel the way you do, but learn to scratch the itch by trusting your gut.

7. Struggling with a big decision, dilemma? (see 6. above) Walk. Running is okay and so is biking. But there is nothing quite like walking to ruminate. Extra points if you can walk on a beach.

8. Don’t complain, make a change. I vent. You vent. And we all have the friend who vents—constantly. But when does it cease being a vent and more just a state of being? After you hash out your issue with a few trusted people, take action. Don’t complain about something endlessly. Can you change the situation? Do you need legal, medical, educational, psychiatric help? Reach out for it. Educate yourself. Take action.

9. Listen (patiently, not waiting to barrel in with your side of the issue). Sometimes spoken words aren’t necessary. Write a thoughtful, appreciative letter. Hug it out.

10. Sleep on it. This works for problems in writing and all manner of life issues. Let your subconscious mind lead you to a solution. Meditation helps too.

Blurb

On a lengthy car ride to their annual seaside vacation, a mother recounts the true story of a sweet family tradition.

It’s the summer of 1941 in the seaside town of Langford, Rhode Island, and seventeen-year-old Meredith Franklin works as a server at Seymore’s Ice Cream Shoppe.

When aspiring baseball player Anthony Fanelli strolls into the ice cream shop, his teasing banter leads to romantic sparks and dreams of forever love.

Their whirlwind courtship comes to an abrupt halt on December 7, 1941, when America enters World War Two, forcing the couple to put their future on hold.

Decades later, a treasure trove of letters details the wartime romance of Merry and Anthony and the sacrifices of a generation.

Bio

Author Charlotte O’Shay was born in New York City into a big family and then married into another big family.

Negotiating skills honed at the dinner table led her to a career in the law.

But after four beautiful children joined the crowded family tree, Charlotte traded her legal career to write about happily ever afters in the City of Dreams.

Charlotte loves to challenge her heroines and heroes with a crisis and watch them figure out who they are while they fall in love.

Where to find Charlotte…

Website/Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | BookBub | Pinterest | Instagram


Top 10 Ways to Embed Carrots Into a Recipe

I’m happy to welcome Wild Rose Press author Julie Howard. Today, Julie shares tips on embedding carrots into recipes and her novel, Crime and Paradise.

Here’s Julie!

Okay, this is a strange topic. But Joanne has this “top ten” list theme on her blog, and this came immediately to mind.

I love carrots. I love my children. But when my kids were little, they didn’t like carrots. As any good mother would do, I tricked them at every opportunity into eating plenty of these vitamin-laden vegetables. Over the years, I became an expert into sneaking carrots into recipes.

My children are now grown, but I still sneak carrots into a variety of dishes where they wouldn’t normally belong. Now I deal with a husband who hates cooked carrots, so I’m still up to my old tricks.

1. Chili – I dice them up and toss them in. They get soft during the hour or so the chili is on the stove or crockpot. With all the other strong flavors in chili – from garlic to red peppers – the carrots add a delicious hint of sweetness.

2. Enchiladas – Chicken enchiladas with a verde sauce is my favorite, but I love adding a hefty variety of vegetables to the mix. My enchiladas are 2/3rds veggies to 1/3 chicken, and of course I never forget the carrots.

3. Zucchini or pumpkin bread. It’s easy to add a little extra veggie to these breads, and grated carrots keep them moist.

4. Lasagna – Same as enchiladas. I dice them up, give them a quick saute, and sprinkle some in. I love adding a few extra veggies to lasagna, even zucchini or spinach. I’m careful not to overdo it though as too many veggies can make your lasagna watery.

5. Potato latkes – I don’t make these too often, but when I do, I grate some carrots in. They add a nice color to the savory pancakes and a bit of sweetness. I’m not sure why more people don’t do this.

6. Smoothies – You need to cook the carrots first so they are soft and will blend well into the rest of your ingredients. I’ll make a fruit smoothie and add in a carrot for extra vitamins, and you’d never know it was there.

7. Salads – I’ll grate a raw carrot and add to a salad. Those tiny orange tendrils add a beautiful color to a green salad without overwhelming the flavor.

8. Stuffing – This isn’t weird at all! I’ll microwave a carrot until it’s soft, dice it up and add it. Stuffing can be so bland so it’s just begging for some variety – like some carrots!

9. Jello salad – I’m not the first in my family to trick kids to eat carrots. My mother added shredded carrots to Jello salads all the time. This is a tried-and-true way to get kids to eat their vegetables.

10. Carrot cake – I’m going end this on a sweet note. I love carrot cake, a dessert that is unabashedly carrot-based. I learned quickly not to call it “carrot” cake when my kids were little. Anyone want some cake?

Voila! And eat your veggies.

Blurb

Meredith has been uprooted to the middle of nowhere with two kids and an abusive husband. After she fantasizes about ways to kill him, he ends up dead. Despite all the evidence pointing to her, Meredith finds an unlikely supporter and friend in the county sheriff. Together, they uncover some ugly truths about her husband and this small, isolated town.

Can Meredith make this place a new home for her family, or will the real secret behind her husband’s death send her away for good?

Amazon | Apple | Barnes and Noble

About the Author

Julie Howard is the author of the Wild Crime and Spirited Quest series. She is a former journalist and editor who has covered topics ranging from crime to cowboy poetry. Now she edits an online anthology, Potato Soup Journal, and spends many delightful hours writing her books.

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon | Bookbub | Twitter