Canadian Anne Hamilton Fowler appeared to have it all. However, life is not always as idyllic as it seems and at age twenty a series of events almost destroyed her. Emerging from the wreckage she reinvented herself, started over and proceeded to live on the edge with a risk- taking life style. Then, in 1993 an event experienced during a trip to Central America changed everything.
“I’ve Worn Many Hats” is an inspirational read that demonstrates our human frailties, one’s ability to survive personal adversity and how we can learn to forgive both ourselves and others. It is a story of redemption. Anne Fowler is a retired Canadian who divides the year between her Haliburton summer cottage and a home in Central America. This memoir is her first book and all proceeds will be used to support Anne’s ongoing humanitarian projects in Honduras .
Anne says: The blurb on the book jacket cover gives the reader a glimpse into the rocky life I have experienced in my 81 years; a life that has most definitely not been without risk or uneventful!! Here is one of those risky romantic adventures that I relate in Chapter Ten, “Close Encounters of the **^%#!!* Kind” It was during a particularly unsettled time in my life when I was REALLY down in the dumps and thought, maybe a cruise will cheer me up. Since I was travelling solo, I boarded not sure what to expect, but just in case, several books were tucked in my suitcase. The plan was to find a secluded spot on the top deck, relax in a deck chair, read and enjoy the ocean breezes while drinking a glass of wine. Didn’t happen that way! The books were never opened because my first day on board I met an extremely attractive divorcee travelling with his two teenaged sons. To quote one of my favorite speakers, Henry Kissinger, “Power is a great aphrodisiac.” It certainly was in this case!
While his boys were off doing their own thing, the attractive president of a Detroit based corporation became my charming companion for the duration of the trip. Although I’d been on many ships, my accommodations had never come close to the level of his state room. Luxurious beyond words with a large ocean view veranda, it was like something out of a movie. These surroundings alone could conjure up visions of romantic encounters presenting endless possibilities to explore… which of course we did on several occasions. However, one of the most exciting “no no” situations I’d ever experienced involved a life boat. One evening, while strolling on deck enjoying the warm breeze and star filled sky, we passed a craft undergoing some sort of upgrading or repair. Not to be dissuaded from a chance for adventure, we looked at each other and said, “Why don’t we check out the inside?” What an opportunity! How could we resist? We climbed on board carrying our evening’s second bottle of wine and proceeded to take advantage of the unusual locale. The risk that someone enjoying an evening walk might pass by and spy on our activities just added to the excitement! But totally unexpected was our discovery by four workmen at a particularly inopportune moment when they showed up to check on their repairs. After quickly reassembling ourselves, we beat a hasty retreat. The workers didn’t speak English but “sorry, sorry” is a universal term understood by all. Although we were spared further embarrassment and didn’t bump into them the rest of the trip, my guess is that we supplied a titillating story for the entire ship’s crew. Some of the “looks” received from a few staff members were probably just imagined, the result of a guilty conscience! We enjoyed each other’s company in what was a classic shipboard romance that ended when we docked. The trip had accomplished its purpose, my spirits were substantially lifted and I no longer resided “in the dumps.” Romantic escapades were part of a life that included inappropriate behavior, run ins with the law, personal tragedy and eventually redemption. Better late than never!!! Web Page: https://anne.honduranhope.net Video interview: https://youtu.be/Zs-SZXzH6Lg Facebook name: Anne Hamilton Fowler
Get ready to experience a roller coaster ride of emotions! Laughter, sadness, empathy, outrage.
Charlotte Saunders has a full life—a rewarding career as a nurse, meaningful volunteer work at a dog shelter, and family, friends and pets she adores. But no matter how hard she tries, she can’t forget the horrible event that’s haunted her for ten years.
A survivor of childhood sexual abuse, Damon Greyson now helps others who have suffered trauma. His experience and intuition alert him to trouble in Charlotte’s past, and he wants to help her, if only she’d let him.
As they work together to help veterans suffering from PTSD and neglected dogs needing loving homes, their feelings for each other deepen. But when the trauma from Charlotte’s past roars back to life, both are forced to confront their painful histories—or die trying.
Single dad Ben Greyson wants only to retain custody of his two stepdaughters. A dysfunctional childhood has made family the most important thing in his life. When his late wife’s parents sue for custody, a desperate Ben is left with two choices – run away with his girls or marry his next-door neighbor.
Jamie Garven wants to be a mother. She’s intrigued by her handsome new neighbor and falls in love with his little girls. Then Ben is faced with losing his children, and Jamie agrees to marry him for a chance at motherhood. They’re determined to show the world, and the girls’ grandparents, two loving parents.
Their marriage of convenience turns into unexpected love. But Ben interprets Jamie’s efforts to save their family as betrayal—they could lose everything, including each other.
Garrett Saunders’ world changed two years ago on a road in Afghanistan. Back home, he feels like a stranger. As he struggles to find his place in the world, he meets a horse destined for the slaughterhouse and a woman bent on rescuing the strays of the world, including him.
Blair Greyson moves to Masonville to look after her ailing grandfather and give her rescue horses a home. Right away she butts heads with a surly former Marine. Despite a rocky start, they come to an agreement: Blair will board Garrett’s rescue horse and he’ll help with repairs around her farm.
Garrett finds purpose working with Blair—and falls in love with her. But she’s hiding a secret. Can she forgive herself and accept Garrett’s love, or will she let guilt and regret continue to rule her life?
**On Sale at Amazon for .99cents May 20 – June 3!!**
Is Lauren’s love for Cole stronger than her fear of scandal in her hometown?
Lauren didn’t intend to sleep with her brother-in-law Cole on the day of her husband’s funeral. But now that she is pregnant, she’s not sorry. Cole’s given her a baby, a long-wished-for miracle. He’s been her friend forever, though she never told him or anyone else how unhappy her marriage to his cheating brother was. And she’s afraid to tell the small town that considered her husband a hero that the baby isn’t his.
Cole’s been in love with Lauren since he was sixteen. It kills him that everyone believes the baby is his dead brother’s. All he wants is to claim the baby, and Lauren, as his own. Though she marries him, will Lauren’s heart ever be his?
Lauren must tell the truth or risk losing Cole. Is her newly-discovered love for him greater than her fear of scandal in her hometown?
When Jana Richards read her first romance novel, she immediately knew two things: she had to commit the stories running through her head to paper, and they had to end with a happily ever after. She also knew she’d found what she was meant to do. Since then she’s never met a romance genre she didn’t like. She writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and historical romance set in World War Two, in lengths ranging from short story to full length novel. Just for fun, she throws in generous helpings of humor, and the occasional dash of the paranormal. Her paranormal romantic suspense “Seeing Things” was a 2008 EPPIE finalist.
In her life away from writing, Jana is an accountant/admin assistant, a mother to two grown daughters, and a wife to her husband Warren. She enjoys golf, yoga, movies, concerts, travel and reading, not necessarily in that order. She and her husband live in Winnipeg, Canada. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at www.janarichards.com
The Twenty-One-Year Contract is a standalone, just like its prequel Secrets, Shame, and a Shoebox. Both are 20th Century Fiction>romance>drama>crime>mystery>suspense. I didn’t realize when I started out, but generally I write romance, filled with characters that have something to say and plot lines that are real life. What happened in history still happens today. I aim to expose that fact.
Do you believe that characters are the most important part of your stories?
Characters wake me up in the middle of the night shouting “hey listen to me, I’ve got something to say, come on write it down!” How can I possibly ignore them? Their stories about strong women, courage, and survival. They are real, honest, hardworking. Though of course some are not so much. There’s always the villain that everyone loves to hate.
Then there’s those who read my books and tell me something that makes my day. One said, after reading Secrets, Shame, and a Shoebox, “I’m so glad Harriet was fired from her job. At least she didn’t have to put up with that dreadful employer!” Another person said, “I hated that CJ. What a monster!” My heart sang. It’s such a compliment and so heartwarming to know that they’ve enjoyed my book. It means that I have done my job. What more can I ask? I’m truly humbled to think my stories provoke thought and emotion.
What’s the fun part of writing and why?
I love the way the characters grab me by the hand and lead me along paths I could never have dreamed of. They tell me what they want to say, and what’s going to happen next. Who would have thought it? I love that, and I love them. They are survivors, though they don’t see themselves that way, they sure are!
Why did you write The Twenty-One-Year Contract that you’re talking about today?
I’m an observer of life. Like most writers I imagine, and I’ve been fortunate travel and to have worked alongside and taught some amazing people. Those I taught in return taught me. I’ve admired their strength of character, their courage, and will to live. I learned so much from them it has been astounding. Both my published books are standalone.
Then there are those coincidences. How many times have you been on holiday and bumped into someone you know in a far-flung country? Or met someone that you knew as a child and found lived for years just a stone’s throw away? What are the chances? But they’ve happened to me. I bet they have happened to you, or maybe you know someone who has talked their experiences anecdotally at a party or over coffee.
What’s the most difficult part of writing and why?
Okay, well let’s get down to brass tacks. Finding time and that difficult word: Marketing! For me it’s a real issue unless you are a natural born salesperson, which I am not. Some people can sell snow to the Inuit’s! I’ve never been good at bragging about myself, and that’s what it feels like. Selling my brand, telling everyone I’m great, my books are great. Go out and buy my book. Really, that’s not me. I’m shy enough as it is! But that would be wonderful if you did buy my book. Thank you.
Marketing can also be expensive, not only in time but money, and of course it stops me doing what I love to do most. Writing stories.
My sincere thanks go to every reader who has or is considering buying my book. Without you lovely readers, writers wouldn’t be needed. So, thank you from the very bottom of my heart.
How do you get to know your readers? What do you learn from your readers?
Reviews are brilliant. They tell a story. I learn from that and thank them for their valuable time and effort and those who share their kind thoughts in other ways.
I also blog. I offer simple writing suggestions for budding authors and share what I’ve learned along the way.
I offer to host authors, new and experienced to give my readers a chance to see who else is out there and share their thoughts.
If there’s anything else I think might be of interest, I post again on social media. And I get a real buzz to hear back from them. However, here comes an apology with regard to my blog. www.wifeinthewest.com because I have temporarily stopped responding to my readership. Why? Because unfortunately I have had over a 1000 scams/trolls ruining perfectly good dialogue my readers, with genuine questions. I take hours to read through messages to weed out the good from the bad. I’ve begun with a clean-up program, hopefully that will resolve the issue.
Oh, and I’ve also recently listed my recent up to date program on my blog so readers knew what is available, rather than them having to trawl through every post.
Kathleen Gray is our central character of The Twenty-One-Year Contract. Kate, as she is now known, agreed I could ask her a question for this blog. I think I floored her when I did. It was difficult for her I have to admit.
“In a nutshell Kate, why did you run away?” Kate gave me such a look.
“In a nutshell?” Her eyes watered, I felt guilty for asking, but she plowed on ever the determined character she is. “I think you know the answer to that, but honestly, I wanted to find my birth mother. But then of course there was Uncle Jack. I absolutely adore him. Since my parents died… he had to take care of me… I knew he needed to get on with his own life. He needed to settle down, get married, have a family of his own. He couldn’t do that with me hanging around.”
Dorian Craddock is a secondary character in The Twenty-One-Year Contract. She’s pure evil, but in my opinion, she shines out as one of those people you love to hate. I thought I’d push one of her buttons to get a response.
“Dorian, I think you owe an answer to our readers as to why you feel the need to be so mean to so many people.” I handed her the mic. And started typing furiously.
“I owe the readers an answer, do I? Seriously? Who do you think you are, pushing me about, asking me to tell the readers about my business? Really, I’m mean? Besides, you know full well Harriet and Kate got everything they deserved! It could have been so much worse.” She gave me one of those sly smiles. “Read the dialogue, read between the lines. You wrote it. I’m owed plenty, as you well know, and I’m going to get what I deserve.”
(Little does she know!)
Tagline: Only a simple shoebox, but full of secrets…
Blurb: Kathleen Gray—talented, a little wild, at times rebellious, but always popular—has a fun, easy life in rural Somerset, with a doting family.
Suddenly, they are gone, everything is changed, and she has only Uncle Jack. Try as he might, he cannot be father and mother to her—he has a business to run and his own life to manage.
Kathleen takes a chance and becomes Kate Westfield, fending for herself in London, with a new life built on her hopes and dreams and new friends. She could hardly have imagined that one of those friends has a shoebox full of answers.
SNIPPET FROM The Twenty-One-Year Contract
‘After a glass of water, Jack made himself a cup of tea and returned to the job in hand. This was going to be much harder than he could ever have imagined. Working deep through the night, Jack methodically sifted through volumes of paperwork until light inched its way through the curtain. Though he felt thoroughly ready for bed, he continued searching, his aim to find at least a smidgen of information about his niece. Randomly tidying up as he went, Jack noticed an encyclopedia oddly extended over one of the top shelves. He tried pushing it back into place. It was jammed. It looked awkward. Pulling it out to check the depth of the book, he found a box file hidden behind. Upon the side panel was one word, capitalized in thick bold lettering: KATHLEEN As the hazy sunlight grew, puzzled, Jack pulled the curtains to lend natural light, took the file off the shelf, sat back in Henry’s chair, and looked inside…’
I’ve been happily married for 46 years and lucky enough to be surrounded by my lovely family. I’m lucky to be a grandmother of 5 and had plans to trek the world when we retired. But that was put on hold for good reason. We were in Spain when the invisible big bad wolf arrived (Covid). It changed so many lives, forever.
Going back in history, I was told I was thick at school. No-one should ever do that, not to anyone. I’ve always had this notion I wanted teach and write, and I did, even though I came out of school with nothing. Just goes to show if I can do it anyone can!
Potted history: Married, two children and did a wide range of jobs: from cleaner, to barmaid, to secretary, to social worker and eventually got my certificates and became a lecturer. Nothing stopped me writing though. It’s a passion. I always wrote around the full-time paid job. Well, the bills don’t pay themselves do they?
When I eventually retired, my husband and I decided to travel. I still didn’t have the confidence to submit my work. If it hadn’t been for a a couple of good friends and my husband with a: ‘do it before you pop your clogs mate,’ I don’t think I ever would have been in this wonderful position now. I couldn’t believe it when I was offered the contract! Pinch me!
Available now Secrets, shame and a Shoebox / Sequel: The Twenty-One-Year Contract.
Reviews can be found on Amazon, Waterstones, Barnes & Noble, Bookbub, Goodreads, and the books can be ordered at all good book stores near you.
Title: The Twenty-One-Year Contract Series Name: Prequel to Secrets, Shame, and a Shoebox 20th Century Historical fiction> romance>mystery>suspense Page Count: 382 Word Count: 86297 Digital Price: $5.99 Print Price: $18.99
Tamsyn McKiernan thinks her dreams have come true. She’s engaged to a dashing Key West bachelor and finally in her widowed father’s good graces. But in her heart, she knows something’s wrong. She loves the ocean and the quiet pleasures of nature—so what does the aristocratic life she’ll lead truly hold for her?
Mercenary captain Drake Ashton is neck deep in preparations for the Spanish-American War, running guns and other supplies to Cuban natives who want out from under their Spanish masters. He and his brother Freddie risk their lives daily, focused on saving his friends on the island. Nothing else matters but his mission.
A chance encounter with a spiny sea urchin brings the two together, and neither of their lives will ever be the same again.
It would be better if Drake was happy for Tamsyn’s good fortune. She’d not want for anything material as the wife of Winslow—no doubt, a beautiful house and gardens, a fine carriage, a husband whose future was financially secure.
His own fortunes lay along a much different path.
If Drake were to be caught by the Spaniards, it wasn’t likely he’d live to be tried for the crime back on the mainland. The Spanish were known for their quick tempers and sharp swords. The mercenary trade paid him well, for now, and if the buzzing rumors he’d heard on the Pickham veranda were true, war would come within the year. Guns were a prime commodity in time of war. He always carried rum when he returned from the islands, of course, and sugar and tropical fruits, to cover his real motives. He had not been interdicted yet. As young men often did, he played the odds and planned to beat them.
For the first time, however, that focus was shaken by thoughts of this woman.
What distinguished Tamsyn MacKiernan from the other women he’d met in a hundred different ports? Drake couldn’t put his finger on it. He just knew she appealed to his heart in a way that possessed him. She held an intriguing blend of strength and vulnerability, stomach ironclad in the face of blood yet timid as a lost waif left alone in the midst of the ball. He wanted to know her better.
But she was to be married. Even if he had been able to marry her, even though he had a proper home with a hired woman to maintain it, it was nothing compared with the empire Winslow would command in a few years. Drake knew he had no business thinking Tamsyn might prefer a lonely pirate to the golden boy.
A fated encounter. A familiar stranger. A storm of passion. Can Ondine release her fear, surrender to Marut’s power, and claim her own?
Marine biologist Ondine Ambrose has always felt at home in the sea. Orphaned at birth and raised by her grandmother on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, she has never really questioned her extraordinary affinity for the watery world.
When she encounters an attractive but arrogant engineer on her private beach, surveying the site for a prospective off-shore wind farm, anger is her first reaction. A casual touch, however, transforms that emotion to incomprehensible, irresistible, terrifying lust.
Ebony-skinned Marut has his own talents—aside from his uncanny ability to swamp Ondine with desire. He can control the winds and summon storms. When he insists that they are both more than human, and that she is his destined mate, Ondine responds with skepticism. She tries to resist the charismatic Haitian, but ultimately she cannot deny the evidence of her senses—and her heart.
She’d always taken her abilities for granted, figuring that perhaps they were some compensation from the universe for having snatched her mother at birth. Nevertheless, she didn’t flaunt her differences. When she dived with the other scientists from her team, she donned the unnecessary wetsuit, tanks and regulator. No point in encouraging idle speculation.
“So? What the devil does that have to do with you? With us?” Her harsh tone was a deliberate attempt to hide her uncertainty.
“I’m like you. Human, but with extra-human gifts. And you are my destined mate, Ondine—no matter how hard you try to deny the fact.”
Marut rose from the table, imposing despite the shabby robe that hung from his powerful frame. The garment gaped open, revealing the smooth ebony swell of his chest. Belted at Marut’s narrow waist, the faded terry hid his groin, but Ondine didn’t have to see the man’s magnificent cock to know it was swollen with desire, the same desire that had soaked the crotch of her sweatpants.
His mate. Ridiculous! And yet there was something mysterious and inevitable in her attraction to this stranger. Determined to fight that inexplicable desire, she turned towards the back door.
“I’ll go fetch your clothes,” she called over her shoulder. “I’ll be right back.”
The Wedgwood-blue morning sky and brilliant sun had disappeared to be replaced by masses of lead-gray cloud. The muggy air was thick as syrup, so heavy it was practically an effort to breathe. Marut’s jeans and shirt hung limply on the line, along with the laundry she’d hung before heading for the beach. With the humidity, Ondine feared they’d still be damp, but the earlier sun appeared to have done its work. Both articles were dry enough for her unwelcome visitor to wear. He could leave as soon as he dressed. Relief mingled with regret as she squeezed the clothes pin holding the T-shirt.
A sudden, brisk wind sprang up, tugging at her hair and whipping the stiff denim of the suspended jeans against her belly. Startled, she dropped the white cotton onto the sandy soil. The breeze caught the garment and whisked it away, a tumble of white, until it caught on one of the points of the picket fence. With a sigh, she padded barefoot across the yard to retrieve it.
She whirled to face him. She hadn’t heard the squeak of the old screen door hinges, yet there he was, tall and dark as a thunderhead—gloriously naked. His piercing eyes pinned her in place. His noble forehead arched up to the explosion of frizzy curls that framed his skull. His skin gleamed as though it had been oiled. He stood before her—no, loomed above her—his muscled legs parted, his arms crossed over his chest, sniffing for her all-too-obvious scent. His nostrils flared like a thoroughbred racehorse and his prominent lips curled into a confident smile.
And there, rising from its nest of inky fur, was the cock she’d caressed out on the beach, a proud cylinder of dark flesh with a slick, mauve cap. In their frenzied groping upon the rocks, she hadn’t really seen his organ clearly, but now…
She’d read that primitive cultures worshipped the phallus as the source of all power. Now she understood, in a most visceral sense, how this could be. She wanted to fall on her knees before this vision of male potency, to beg for a touch, for a taste. Use me, something in her cried, though in fact his beauty and vitality struck her dumb. Helpless, terrified, swamped by need, she waited for him to make the first move.
The strange wind blew around them. Marut’s eyes glittered like chips of hematite. He stared into her soul, asking questions she didn’t dare acknowledge. Unable to bear his scrutiny for more than a few moments, she dropped her gaze to his bare feet, graceful and strong as the rest of him, and waited for him to take her.
“Ondine.” Her name on his lips was moonlight on a tropical lagoon, a gentle surf kissing the shore.
Lisabet Sarai became addicted to words at an early age. She began reading when she was four. She wrote her first story at five years old and her first poem at seven. Since then, she has written plays, tutorials, scholarly articles, marketing brochures, software specifications, self-help books, press releases, a five-hundred page dissertation, and lots of erotica and erotic romance – over one hundred titles, and counting, in nearly every sub-genre—paranormal, scifi, ménage, BDSM, GLBT, and more. Regardless of the genre, every one of her stories illustrates her motto: Imagination is the ultimate aphrodisiac.
Welcome to Tena Stetler, with the latest entry in the Wylder West series from The Wild Rose Press!
Magic, the paranormal, and the unexplained have always been my wheelhouse. Even as far back as grade school, I wrote vampire tales for my friends. When I took the opportunity to write full-time, I polished one of my paranormal romances and submitted it. Lo and behold, I received a contract offer. Yippee! This was 2015, fifteen books, and six years later, I still write paranormal romance/mystery novels. But 2021, I strayed from my comfort zone and wrote An Angel’s Wylder Assignment for The Wild Rose Press multi-author Wylder West Series. While still paranormal, the book is also historical, western, time-travel, and a mystery. Whew, did I bite off more than I intended. Since I am a seat of the pants writer, and my characters drive the story. They took off on a chosen path, including a spirit quest, visions, and there was no looking back regardless of what research was required. What a Wyld ride! But also fun!
Because paranormal is anything I can imagine and have an overactive imagination, I can write anything I want and make it work. I love magic. So it was quite a change to have to do research. What was life like in 1878? What appliances were available, hot and cold running water? Not so much unless you were rich. Mode of transportation, horse and buggy or on foot? Then, the blacksmith craft my hero was saddled with in the assignment. Yes, there is magic. What a learning curve.
I made a few mistakes, i.e., 1878 Western language, and was immediately corrected. Don’t use “yummy” in dialogue for 1878. LOL I ran my manuscript by a couple of TWRP historical authors who also wrote in the Wylder series. A couple of their characters appeared in my book, and I learned more. Thank you, Laura and Kim.
Would I do it again? Probably. I have a story simmering for a couple of my secondary characters, Luke and Jilly, who are clamoring for their own story. So we’ll see.
I learned a lot and grew as an author writing this book. Stopping to research while I was writing was trying at times. I had a lot of fun discovering how life was in the Wild West of Wyoming Territory in 1878. I recommend every author try writing out of your comfort zone! My current writing endeavors are strictly paranormal, cozy mystery, and a sequel to Mystic Maples set in an Irish castle.
An Angel’s Wylder Assignment
A Wylder West Novel
by Tena Stetler
Genre: Paranormal Romance
It takes a Warrior Angel and Native American Shifter to save the past and create their future.
Angel Killian Dugan’s annual trip to the family castle in Scotland is shattered by the arrival of Legion Commander North. Killian’s skills are needed for an urgent time travel assignment. A rogue demon has escaped back in time. He must discover the why and where then stop the demon before it can damage the past and change the future.
Killian’s girlfriend Chinoah Grace, a Native American shapeshifter is included in the mission, which takes them to the wild west town of Wylder, Wyoming in 1878. She will have her hands full fitting in and making friends. Nothing is as it seems. They encounter visions, spirit quests, and a mysterious shaman. On top of it all, blending in as a blacksmith is more physically difficult than he imagined. But not as challenging as keeping his hands off his undercover wife. Will they complete their assignment or run out of time?
Tena Stetler is a best-selling author of award winning paranormal romance with an over-active imagination. She wrote her first vampire romance as a tween, to the chagrin of her mother and the delight of her friends. Colorado is home; shared with her husband, a brilliant Chow Chow, a spoiled parrot and a forty-five-year-old box turtle. When she’s not writing, her time is spent kayaking, camping, hiking, biking or just relaxing in the great Colorado outdoors.
Her books tell tales of magical kick-ass women and mystical alpha males that dare to love them. Travel, adventure, and a bit of mystery flourish in her books along with a few companion animals to round out the tales.
When I decided to seriously write, I had a difficult time deciding what genre to write in. I love Romance, Epic Fantasy, and Young Adult Fantasy. I finally settled on Romance because it is by far the genre I read and love the most. It spans so many sub-genres that I couldn’t go wrong.
The idea for my first romance novel, Inescapable, came pretty easy to me.
Writing was a different ball game. There was a huge learning curve for me, but I actually enjoy the process. Even the days where words hide from me and the story stalls because I haven’t quite gotten the right mix of plot and character to move the story on.
When it came to writing Inevitable, I initially had no intention of writing a series. The couple featured in this sophomore novel, René and Nico, kept hounding me for a resolution to their broken love story. My readers wanted to them to be happy, and they wanted to be happy. So I explored their personal histories and the reason for their previous relationship ending and came out with a book about two beautifully flawed people who needed each other. Of course, I mixed their love story in with action and the dangers of Nico’s mafia lifestyle.
I’m really excited for the reception of this book, and my other author friends keep telling me this won’t go away. It makes sense. Each book is my child and once it’s published my child is leaving the safety of my home for the brave unknown of the world. What matters is that readers find the book entertaining and they feel an emotional connection to the ups and downs my book babies go through.
Four years ago, I made one mistake, and she left. I couldn’t convince her to stay no matter how much I loved her. Still love her. But one day she turns up at my door asking for my protection. A rival family is threatening her life and the business she busted her ass for. No matter what unresolved issues lie between us, the heartache I’ve carried, or the dreams I wish were reality, I won’t let anyone threaten her or the family I had always wanted to be mine. I will always protect her. But I am more than just a temporary bodyguard. I have a second chance to show her my love is worth fighting for, and I will claim her completely. With this new chance, she can’t escape the inevitable.
Asking Nico for help is the last thing I want to do. After breaking up with him four years ago, I am not ready to be reminded of all the reasons I fell in love with him, to begin with. Avoiding him becomes impossible when he is still the only man I trust to protect me and my family from a rival mafia boss intent on ruining our lives. His every touch reignites my passions. Though I fight it, and will never admit it, my feelings for my ex had never died. As the heat between us flames to new heights, he tempts me with the possibility of a second chance at love.
Please Note: Both Inescapable and Inevitable can be read as standalone novels in the expanding Oliveri Mafia series
“You’ve got this,” René told herself. She straightened her posture, and faced the door she had walked out of three years ago with no intention of ever returning. “It’s not like I am crawling back. If it weren’t for Onika I wouldn’t even be here right now.”
Although René was a first-generation American and had lived in the states her entire life, her family was big, loud, close, and international. With her childhood summer vacations spent in Jamaica, she and Onika, who had only moved to Felicidad two years ago, might as well have been twins. They spend almost every day of their breaks together.
Two years ago, René had offered to help Onika get settled, but her stubborn-ass cousin rejected her offer. Now René was a target with few options.
It was too late to lament her current circumstances, her business was at stake.
Okay, her life and Onika’s were also at stake which technically was more important.
But damn, René had worked her ass off to become a hairstylist whose growing popularity resulted in two successful salons. She’d spent years renting chairs in other people’s salons while doing hair in her parents’ extension. Nights, weekends, and friendships were sacrificed on the altar of her dream. Finally, success had started trickling into her life. And now there was a threat to everything she had poured her soul into building, not to mention her life.
She wanted to curse Onika’s name, but Onika was only part of the equation. Who knew her friendship with Jessie would one day up the stakes to her dilemma?
There she went, hyping herself up when she needed a calm head to deal with that man behind the door. If anyone had gotten her wrapped up in drama she would have bet the bank on him—Nico Donini.
All this time she had avoided his name. In her mind, he was an abstract idea. Because thinking his name brought inevitable memories. Not the rip your heart out memories but the warm, cuddle sessions that plagued her after she’d ended things. They whispered to her of the what-ifs she could never voice.
Desperation had driven her here but it didn’t cancel out Nico as her wisest choice. Who was she fooling? She was not ready to face Nico. She spun to her car once again.
Before her first full step, the voice still haunting her dreams said, “Running again? You haven’t changed, have you?”
Melverna McFarlane loves stories with Happily Ever Afters. After years of characters taunting her imagination with their potential, she decided it was time to write her own scorching hot romances. She moved to America from Jamaica at a young age, and has lived up and down the east coast most of her life. The bitterly cold winter of 2013 was the last straw, driving her back to island life—this time to Hawaii. When not writing, she is reading romance, YA, and Fantasy, country hopping, or vicariously obsessing over other people’s cats (she awaits the day her landlords succumb to the truth: feline domination should be everyone’s goal in life).
So, I’m back with a new contemporary romance novel, once again set in my backyard of Brisbane, Australia. For the most part, anyway.
Aside from writing about a location that I’m familiar with, I guess I chose South East Queensland as my main setting for the Jukebox Collection series because most Australian novels I’ve read have sort of skipped my little corner of the world.
And I get it. I do. Brisbane’s pretty much unheard of. Most people, when you say “Australia”, automatically imagine the outback or Sydney or Byron Bay. (Ugh. Byron. I’m not a fan. It’s overrated. This is the hill I will die on.)
But South East Queensland has so much to offer. We have beaches that are far superior to Bondi or Byron (fight me), rainforests to explore and mountains to climb, zoos, and theme parks, and a cultural centre in Brisbane which -while it is admittedly nowhere near as good as Melbourne- is steadily growing and improving over time. Hell, we even have movie studios on the Gold Coast. Oh, and the subtropical climate here is generally pretty awesome. (Let’s not consider the recent flooding and months of rain. That’s a once-or-twice-every-decade sort of deal.)
It seemed only natural to set a series of novels here. My little urban paradise.
I’m aware that I spend a bit more time describing the local setting in Handle With Care (Book 1 of the Jukebox Collection), but in You Can’t Hurry Love we venture a bit further north to explore Hervey Bay, and also take a short flight across the pond to visit Charlie in London.
And I love that. I love that novels can take us all over the world, without ever leaving our homes. That’s something I’ve relied heavily on since a certain pandemic happened. As much as I’m looking forward to travelling again, I’m glad I can do it from my armchair…and I like to hope that, through my writing, I can share the gift with other readers, too.
Sara Carlisle and Charlie Rhodes are complete opposites. Oil and water. Chalk and cheese.
Before Sara even meets Charlie, she hates him. He’s insulted her best friend -a woman Sara considers family- and that is unforgivable. In person he proves to be just as obnoxious and insufferable as she’d anticipated. And, as far as she’s concerned, the fact that he’s tall and muscular with an accent to die for is not enough to redeem him. Charlie Rhodes is an arrogant A–hole (with a capital A!) and that’s all there is to it!
For his part, Charlie thinks Sara is a conceited pain in the arse. A prissy princess to the nth degree. It becomes his prerogative to get under her skin for the sheer pleasure of riling her up. He feels genuine enjoyment in the face of her frustration, and he makes no secret of it. Besides, she gives as good as she gets!
Fundamentally opposed in every way, it’s obvious to those around them that they’re not going to get along.
When their relationship turns from reluctant acquaintances to red hot lovers, they find it’s good.
What could possibly go wrong?
In a slow-burn romance that follows hot on the heels of Handle With Care*, Sara and Charlie discover that you really can’t rush romance.
*Both Handle With Care and You Can’t Hurry Love can be read as standalone novels in the expanding Jukebox Collection series.
“So, tell me,” Charlie directed the question her way once she’d made her promise to Gemma, the glint in his eye seemingly payback for her smugness at his own telling off, “why doesn’t your boyfriend ever attend these family get-togethers?”
“Roger marches to the beat of his own drum,” she answered easily with a shrug. “Sometimes he comes along, other times he doesn’t. We don’t need to live in each other’s pockets.”
After a couple of years of doing the whole on-and-off/casual relationship thing, she was used to it. Besides, Roger didn’t pressure her to attend events with him, either. Which was a good thing, because his snobby parents couldn’t stand her, and vice versa.
Sara felt as though things were pretty equal in that way.
“I couldn’t imagine him in a low-key restaurant like this, to be honest,” Jeff chimed in, chuckling. He stuck his nose in the air and assumed a haughty tone as he looked down at his menu, “Sara, darling, I don’t see a single main here over twenty-five dollars. Outrageous! We’re truly dining with the commoners tonight.”
Balling up a purple paper napkin, she threw it at her friend, even while she smothered her own giggles. “Stop it,” she chastened, “he’s not that bad.”
Gemma snorted. Sara levelled her with a glare, but all Gemma did was raise her glass of water to her twitching lips and sip primly. “Sorry,” she said, sounding anything but apologetic, “but that impression was spot on.”
“You both suck,” Sara sighed, shaking her head.
“Sounds like you could do with a real man in your life,” Charlie was having far too much fun at her expense, and it ruffled her feathers the wrong way.
It was one thing for her friends –who also worked with Roger in the hospital– to playfully tease Sara about him, but altogether different for this random English wanker to do so.
“I hope you’re not suggesting you’re a viable option,” she sassed back, “because I don’t think you fall into that category either.”
Okay, so it was a bit flat and ridiculous as far as comebacks went, but he scowled back at her, so she took it as a win, nonetheless.
“Don’t flatter yourself, love.”
“Aww, diddums, did I hurt your feelings?”
They were interrupted by their names being snapped on either side of them. He was cowed by his mother’s frown, while Sara sighed and apologised to Gemma.
This really was going to be much more difficult than she’d initially thought.
Sex, blood and betrayal: it’s all in a day’s work.
I strip for the fun of it. Don’t let anyone tell you different. It’s not the money. I could make nearly as much working at the mill and keep my clothes on, but then I’d have to suck up to the bosses. Up on stage, I’m the one in charge, and I like it that way.
Tony Pinelli hired me for a private dance. I was determined to give him his money’s worth. I didn’t expect to be caught in the cross-fire of a double murder. When his widow shows up at my door, I know I’m in way over my head. Now I’m everyone’s target. I can’t trust anyone – not even the police detective who was sweet on me in high school. My only chance at survival is to shift through the lies and expose the truth.
Play It Again, Lisabet
I’ve been a published author since 1999. Although writing is not my primary occupation, that’s enough time for me to have produced a large number of books. I’d guess I have over a hundred titles to my credit. In fact, it’s a bit difficult to enumerate them, because I’ve seen many of them go “out of print” multiple times.
In twenty-three years, I’ve survived quite a few publishers. In fact, almost every company with whom I’ve worked ultimately closed their doors. It’s not me, I swear – I’m not a jinx! It’s just tough to turn indie publishing into a sustainable business.
When your publisher decides to throw in the towel, your book rights revert to you – but the books themselves become unavailable. If you want readers to be able to appreciate your hard work, you’ve got to get those titles back on the shelves. This can be a challenge; many publishers don’t want to bring out re-prints.
Fortunately, self-publishing has removed at least that obstacle. Furthermore, if you’re creating a new edition of a book, you can spruce it up in a variety of ways: better editing, bonus content, new cover and blurb, maybe even a new title. If you’re lucky, you may be able to attract new readers who never noticed you before.
Anyway, I’ve been busy re-publishing a lot of my back list books, many of which were orphaned by a publisher folding last year. My latest release, Exposure, is actually a fourth edition. This erotic suspense novel was first published by Phaze Books in 2010. For the current release, I’ve done some significant editing to make my heroine more believable. I’ve also added a sub-title which I hope conveys the genre: Urban Erotic Noir.
If you’ve already read Exposure, I don’t know if it’s worth a second pass. If you haven’t though – why not give it a try? You’re one of those readers I’m hoping to entice by publishing it – yet again.
My next stop is the Fourth Precinct police station. It’s not in my neighborhood, and it’s not near the Hyatt, but I know someone there. I limp in, trying to look dignified, and ask for Detective James Ostermann. The huge grin that lights up his face when he sees me makes me feel better than I have all day.
“Stella! What a treat!” He pumps my hand with boyish enthusiasm. “What have I done to deserve this honor?”
Jimmy and I went to school together. There’s always been some kind of sexual tension between us, though we never did anything about it. He was one of the few guys who respected me, who didn’t try to get into my pants. Last time I saw him, at our fifth reunion, he had just been promoted from beat cop to detective. Then just six months ago I read an article in the paper about him heading up a new task force against organized crime. That’s how I knew where to find him.
“Hello, Jimmy.” I return his smile. “I wish I could tell you that this was just a social call, but in fact I’ve got something pretty serious to discuss with you. Can we talk in private?”
“Always a pleasure,” he teases, but his face takes on a professional expression as he leads me into his office. “Bill, would you mind taking a walk?” he asks his partner, a hefty black man that I haven’t met before.
“Sure, Jim, no problem. Give a yell if you need me.”
Jimmy closes the door and seats himself behind his desk. I sit across from my old friend. There’s a newspaper on the surface between us, the headlines screaming about the double gangland murder that claimed the mayoral candidate and his aide. Jimmy notices my glance.
“Hear about what happened to Tony Pinelli?”
I nod and swallow my nervousness. “Yeah. I was there.”
“That’s right. There at the Hyatt, Room 422, last night around eight forty-five.”
He looks grim as I relate my tale. Shakes his head when I describe Mr. Clean’s attack and Tony’s reaction. I don’t tell him my theory, though, about me being the target. I’ve got no evidence, and anyway, this morning it seems kind of crazy.
“So you didn’t see anyone else, other than Pinelli and Henderson?”
“No—though I guess there might have been somebody else in the bedroom of the suite. It had a separate door out to the hall.”
“How long after the shooting was it that you checked the bedroom?”
“I’m not sure. I was kind of in shock. Five minutes. Maybe ten.”
“Was the dead bolt on that bedroom door thrown?”
“I didn’t notice. I don’t know. I could hardly think straight.”
“And the corridor was empty when you left?”
“I think so. I was in a hurry to get out.”
My voice stays calm through my original story, but now, being grilled, I’m trembling. His questions bring it all back, all the fear and the blood.
“Did you go out the front door of the hotel?”
“And how’d you get home?”
“I took a cab…” My voice is shaking. “Look, this is really hard for me. I’ve told you what I know. If I think of any other details, I’ll call you.”
Jimmy looks up from his notepad. He suddenly sees how upset I am.
“Jeez, I’m sorry, Stella. Just doing my job. I get carried away.”
“That’s okay. It’s just—I really don’t like to think about it.”
Jimmy comes around to my side of the desk. “I’m so sorry. God, Stella, it must have been horrible.” He gives me a brotherly hug.
His strength feels wonderful. I relax a little and let him soothe me.
He strokes my hair back from my face, murmuring nonsense into my ear. “Poor girl, I’m so glad that you came to me. I’m sorry to be such a dolt. If there’s anything I can do…” Nothing has changed, but for a moment it seems as though the weight of the world has been lifted from my shoulders.
Then I notice two things. First, his arm is around me and his fingers are brushing against the side of my breast. It’s casual, almost unconscious, but my nipples contract and throb in response. Second, there’s a hard protrusion pressed against my thigh, conflicting with the supposedly innocent nature of this embrace.
I’m tempted to give in and accept more intimate comfort, but I have a feeling that would be a mistake, at least right now. Gently, I push him away, glancing down at his tented trousers as I do so. A blush creeps over his blunt features.
“Thanks for your support, Jimmy. The main thing that you can do for me is to keep me out of this as much as possible. Keep it quiet. If Joey from the Peacock found out, he might not be too crazy about having me work there.”
“There’ll be an investigation. There might be a trial. Will you testify?”
“If I have to. But I hope that it won’t be necessary.”
“I’ll do what I can, Stella.” He notes my limp as I stand up to leave, and grabs my hand. “Hey, are you hurt?”
“I’ll be okay, Jimmy. Hazards of the profession.” He doesn’t let go of my hand, and I see that his erection has not subsided. I melt a bit at the sight. “Thanks for everything.”
“Thank you, for coming out about this. You’ve made things a lot easier for us.”
There’s an awkward silence. He’s squeezing my fingers, hard, but I don’t think he realizes it.
“You look fantastic, Stella.”
“Maybe we could get together some night, for dinner, or something? Catch up? Or talk about old times? I feel bad that we haven’t kept in closer touch.”
I pull my hand away. Simultaneously, I lean over and kiss him lightly on the cheek. “Maybe. You could always come by the Peacock and catch my show.” He blushes again, mottled crimson. “Or maybe I can arrange a special performance.”
“Just teasing, Jimmy! I’ll see you around.”
I hobble out of his office, knowing that he’s watching my hips roll beneath my skirt. Sweet Jimmy.
Lisabet Sarai became addicted to words at an early age. She began reading when she was four. She wrote her first story at five years old and her first poem at seven. Since then, she has written plays, tutorials, scholarly articles, marketing brochures, software specifications, self-help books, press releases, a five-hundred page dissertation, and lots of erotica and erotic romance – more than one hundred titles, and counting, in nearly every sub-genre—paranormal, scifi, ménage, BDSM, GLBT, and more. Regardless of the genre, every one of her stories illustrates her motto: Imagination is the ultimate aphrodisiac.
SECOND CHANCES is the second book in the Pittsburgh Lady Lawyers series. Inessa Regan, a curvy, insecure, forty-something attorney finds herself without a job after failing to make partner at a Pittsburgh firm. She also finds herself in love with a man half her age–a man who’s dying of cancer. Can we find her a HAPPILY EVER AFTER?
“I want you,” Kurt whispered, breath hot in her ear. “Come upstairs with me.”
Inessa nodded and reached shakily for her purse.
Keeping one of her hands firmly in his, Kurt picked up the half-empty bottle.
“I want to make sure you don’t get away this time,” he said. “I’ve got the door. You get the lights.”
The switch clicked off at a touch of her finger, reducing the room to darkness. He took the moment to steal another kiss, sidling closer until her back was against the wall and she could feel every inch of him pressed against her.
After several lingering moments of lip-locked fervor, he stepped back and pulled her into the foyer and through the front door, locking the door behind them.
Buoyed on a dizzy cloud of bliss, she let him guide her around the corner and up the stairs. The lights of the city echoed the starry skies, and she felt transported to a new world, a different world, where everything might not be just as it seemed.
He turned to her on the small landing, the lights reflecting off his face giving him the visage of an angel. She reached for him, and he caught her in his arms, the two of them seeming suspended in mid-air, high above the street, halfway to the moon.
“I need you,” she whispered, and she realized it was true.
“It’s about time!” He nuzzled her neck and drew her inside.
Both of them burning like randy teenagers, they inched toward Kurt’s bedroom in the dark, peeling off clothing as they went. He steered her to the bed, his hands warm on her flushed body. By the time they hit the mattress, she pulled him on top, desperate to have him inside her, and their intense momentum built until it hit the flash point.
After a few euphoric moments in a protracted, simmering haze, and a final kiss from his still-hot lips to her forehead, he tenderly disentangled himself. Both of them breathless, they lay on their backs side by side, only gradually able to make out features of the room as their eyes adjusted to the dim light from outside.
Inessa couldn’t recall the act ever feeling like that before, even when she had been thinner, younger and more agile. She couldn’t move. Languor set in as the warmth of their encounter began to fade.
“Wow,” she said.
A soft laugh came from the darkness.
“Really, counselor. Sixteen years of education, an English minor and that’s the best you can do? Wow?”
“Sorry! My mind’s been blown, okay? I’m afraid someone’s short-circuited my superlatives.”
“Did I ever tell you I’m one hell of a good electrician?”
She knew if she could see his face, she’d see a wicked light playing in his eyes. She smiled.
“Do you want anything? Tea? Wine? I can just turn the light on and—”
“No! Leave it dark.”
Her voice cracked with frantic desperation. Her insecurities about her body, now naked and exposed on Kurt’s bed, sprang into defensive mode as the urges of the moment passed. Nerves tingling, she tried not to stiffen or pull away.
“Hush, now. You’ve got no worries with me, Nessa.”
When Inessa Regan gets a pink slip, laid off from her law firm at the age of 42, without prospects she’s sure her life is over. She hides from the world, until her neighbor brings her a client, a young Iraq war veteran dying of cancer.
Kurt Lowdon only wants to make sure his affairs are in order should the worst happen, but meeting Inessa gives him encouragement on the road to recovery. His quest to help her realize her self-worth leads them into dangers they never expected, as horrors from the war and long-hidden family secrets come back to haunt them.