contemporary romance

Baking cookies: sweet combination or recipe for disaster?

Welcome to sister Wild Rose Press author Darlene Deluca and her cookie collection book!

—“Here, let me take your coat. Just dump your bag. I’ve got tons of chocolate and snacks.” Helen steered Alana into the spacious great room, which opened into a fabulous light and airy kitchen. Alana loved her aunt’s home—old and stately on the outside but completely updated and contemporary on the inside.

“Wow, Aunt Helen, this is gorgeous. You didn’t tell me you changed your color scheme. That tree is amazing.” The towering Christmas tree shone with white lights and hues of blue plus silver and white. “It’s festive and, I don’t know, tranquil at the same time.”—

That’s one snippet from my new Christmas novella, Cookie Collision, just released by The Wild Rose Press. It’s a sweet romance that’s part of a 50-some collection of holiday stories that all feature a cookie theme.

Isn’t it amazing how every Christmas tree has its own look? Almost like snowflakes or a fingerprint, no two are exactly alike. A thousand people can start with the same basic tree with green branches and make it fit their personality, taste, style and decor.

When my husband and I first got married, we had no particular style. We bought basic glass balls for ornaments and hand strung popcorn-and-cranberry garland to decorate our early Christmas trees. (We didn’t have much money, either.) Through the years we changed it up. For a while, we chose a red and silver color scheme. Then we switched to a more sophisticated look with rose and gold ribbons and ornaments. Then one year I found some blue and green ornaments that I absolutely loved, and a whole new “look” was born.

I love seeing how people trim their trees—colored lights or white, solid or flashing, handmade ornaments from the kids or high-end designer baubles. In the last few years, I’ve seen a lot of fun trees in pink and white and some beautiful, more traditional trees in reds and golds, and it makes me wish I could have a different tree in every room!

Do you have a favorite theme or color scheme? I’d love to hear about them!

And here’s another little peek at Cookie Collision, my newly released Christmas cookie novella.

—“Ooh, I love these. Sweet and savory at the same time.” Alana picked up a pretzel rod dipped in dark chocolate and set it on a small dessert plate.

“Yeah, those are good, but I’m in the mood for something sweet.”

“I think I can help with that.” She plucked one of her frosted snowman cookies from the plate.

A slow smile spread across his face. “Nah, I’m going to need that red stocking.”

“Well, okay. Picky, picky.” She placed the snowman on her own plate and lifted the other one.

“Reminds me of you.”

Her brows pulled together, and she gave a little laugh. “A Christmas stocking? And why is that?”

“Reminds me of how we met.”

“Ah, yes. Those snazzy red slippers. Those are some keepers, for sure.” She remembered his warm hands on her leg as he’d gently slid the socks on. She glanced back and saw they were partially blocked from view by the Christmas tree.

Justin bit into the cookie and chewed. “Yeah, that’s good. But I was thinking of something even sweeter.” He pulled her closer and brushed a thumb across her cheek.

When her eyes fluttered closed, his lips covered hers, and she wound her arms around his neck. Mmmm. Sweet, indeed.—

Book Blurb:

Before she can let up and enjoy some holiday cheer, real estate agent Alana Drake has work to do. With Christmas moving in fast, she has clients to meet with, houses to show, and cookies to bake. Every open house deserves her special touch—homemade and hand-decorated sugar cookies for a warm welcome. And she needs several dozen for upcoming holiday events and open houses.

But a poorly timed stop at the grocery store could upend more than her bag of groceries. Running into Doctor Justin Teague—literally—shakes up Alana’s tidy world. The chance encounter leaves her with a bum ankle, forces her to reconsider some dating ideals, and reveals new information about a longtime nemesis.

When all she wanted was to bake some cookies…

Excerpt:

Justin moved into the room, set the things on a side table, and perched on a chair. Watching her, he could practically see the pain fade from her face. Her brow smoothed, and the tension he’d noticed around her lips disappeared. He fought the urge to brush a kiss across her forehead. She looked way too peaceful to disturb. But now what? Sit here and watch her sleep? Sneak out the door? He couldn’t leave it unlocked, and he had no idea whether she’d be down for the night or if she did power naps.

Finally, he took off his shoes and quietly padded to the kitchen to deal with supper. For now, everything could go in the fridge. Feeling like an intruder, he moved stealthily around her kitchen. With that task completed, he grabbed a newsmagazine from a basket and settled into a chair across from his patient…and/or dinner date.

Twenty minutes later, Alana stirred. She pulled up her arm and adjusted her position. Then her eyes opened.

“Hey,” Justin whispered.

She bolted upright. “Oh, my gosh. Justin. Did I fall asleep? I’m so sor—”

He held up a hand. “Shhh. No worries.” He handed her the glass of water and tablets. “Why don’t you take a couple of these then I’ll wrap your ankle.”

For him, the biggest issue was not the condition of her ankle but trying to stay in professional mode and ignore the feel of her smooth leg under his hands. Seated on the table in front of the sofa, he forced his eyes to focus on the strip of fabric as he wound it around both foot and ankle and secured it firmly. “How’s that feel?”

Alana nodded. “That’s amazing. It’s better already.” Luminous eyes met his. “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome. Keeping it tight is the key.” He couldn’t help himself. He reached out and touched her hair. “Sorry you had a bad day.”

A light sparked in her eyes, and she sat straighter. “I didn’t have a bad day.”

Frowning, he cocked his head. “You didn’t? Looks like the ankle was, well, a big pain.”

She grinned. “It was. Except for this stupid ankle, I had a great day. I got two offers on the house, and another couple that’s interested is supposed to let me know tomorrow. That means we could have a bidding war and get more than our asking price. And that is a good thing.”

Justin couldn’t help laughing. He held up his hand for a high-five. “Very nice.” He loved her triumph-over-adversity attitude.

“Hey, food’s in the fridge. Easy to heat up whenever you’re ready.”

“Oh, okay. Thanks.” She glanced toward the kitchen then met his eyes again. “Are you— Can you stay?”

He felt a pull deep inside as those questioning blue eyes leveled on him. Yeah, he wanted to stay.

Author bio:

Darlene Deluca writes contemporary romance and women’s fiction, and likes to explore relationships – what brings people together or keeps them apart.

Her intent is to bring to life interesting characters that readers can relate to in real-life situations that combine a little fun, plenty of drama (with perhaps a tear or two), and big helpings of friendship, love and self-discovery, and will leave readers either cheering or sighing with a satisfied smile as they turn the final page.

The Kansas City author enjoys getting lost in a good story with a glass of tea, a bit of dark chocolate and a warm, sunny beach.

Author Website:

www.darlenedeluca.com

Social Media Links:

https://www.facebook.com/Darlene-Deluca-282385088481413/?ref=bookmarks

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6879809.Darlene_Deluca

https://www.instagram.com/darlenedelucaauthor/?hl=en

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/darlene-deluca

Buy Links:

https://books.apple.com/us/book/cookie-collision/id1585465393

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cookie-collision-darlene-deluca/1140147032?ean=2940162321422

A lady in scarlet looks for romance in this latest entry in the Christmas Cookie series

Book blurb:  

Hair stylist Scarlett Kerrigan lost her job and her apartment. To alleviate a touch of self-pity, she succumbs to her stepmom’s pressure to attend a wedding in the New Hampshire White Mountains. Unfortunately, she runs into the vacation fling who promised the moon but disappeared without an explanation. Months have passed, but she is not ready to forgive and forget.

After a chaotic year, executive Wes Harley settles into his family’s event venue, The Timeless Manor. His carefully structured world is shaken to its core when Scarlett arrives for the Victorian Christmas wedding weekend. The feelings he never quite erased flood to the surface.

When secrets are revealed, will a magical chateau and a sprinkle of tinsel be enough to charm Scarlett?

Purchase Links:

Amazon          Nook

Apple IBooks

Excerpt:

Lights flashed in the side view mirror. Another car parked behind them, but snow blocked all visibility through the back window. Boots crunching through snow announced the hulking figure before he appeared at the door. A scarf and hat covered most of the stranger’s face, and only a pair of emerald-green eyes peered in.

Scarlett inched down the window a crack. The possibility of this person being a deranged lunatic couldn’t be overlooked.

“Scarlett?” The man stepped back and tugged down the scarf.

She knew that face and opened her mouth to speak but couldn’t find a word. This day just kept getting better. Those eyes should have been the first clue, but never in her wildest dreams did she expect to see him again. The blur of memories racing through her mind dropped a throat-constricting concoction of confusion, hurt, and vile hope on her chest. “Wes.”

“What are you doing here? Aren’t you a little far from home?” A line formed between his eyebrows.

Clarice leaned forward to get a better glimpse of their potential knight in shining armor.

“More than a little.” Coherent thoughts took shape in the form of questions and accusations. Every fiber in her being burned at the thought of asking him for help, but alternative options were few and far between. Who knew how long before roadside assistance arrived? Fine, maybe he’d get her out of this mess, but making small talk didn’t need to factor into the exchange.

About the Author:

Jill Piscitello is a teacher, author, and an avid fan of multiple literary genres. Although she divides her reading hours among several books at a time, a lighthearted story offering an escape from the real world can always be found on her nightstand.

A native of New England, Jill lives with her family and three well-loved cats. When not planning lessons or reading and writing, she can be found spending time with her family, trying out new restaurants, traveling, and going on light hikes.

Social media links:

Website ~ Twitter  ~ Facebook Instagram  ~ GoodReads ~ BookBub

You never know what’s hiding in your house: Kimberly Baer

My husband and I started our married life in a tiny, rustic house at the edge of a deep woods. Not surprisingly, we had many encounters with wildlife. Here’s the story of one of them.

Mice With Green Heads

One particularly snowy winter, our house was overrun by mice. We didn’t want to kill the little critters, so we put a big plastic garbage can in our utility closet and baited it with food scraps. Mice would scramble in to get the food, but the slick vertical sides prevented them from climbing back out. Every morning we would find five or more mice huddled at the bottom of the garbage can. We would drag the can three or four hundred yards into the woods (uphill, through deep snow) and release them.

Despite our efforts, the daily mouse counts never decreased. The situation was both perplexing and troubling. How many mice were living in our walls? Dozens? Hundreds? We wondered whether the mice we released in the woods were somehow finding their way back, but dismissed the idea. The distance was too great, the snow too deep.

Nonetheless, I decided to conduct an experiment. One morning I scooped one of the captured mice into a jar and painted the top of its head with green food coloring. The poor thing winced in misery the whole time (“Why is this HAPPENING to me???”). I murmured soothing words and then hiked up into the woods to release it.

The next morning, I found the usual five or six mice in the garbage can—including one with a green head! I repeated the experiment several more times—with the same incredible results. I recalled all those stories I’d heard about lost cats and dogs making their way home over impossible distances. Did mice have the same fortitude, the same mysterious homing instinct?

We moved on to Plan B: driving our wee captives to a wooded area about three miles from our house, on the far side of a creek. (Try to get back now, you little scamps!) We always left a handful of toasted-oats cereal to get them started on their new lives. That did the trick, though our mouse problem was never entirely resolved. Eventually we moved to the suburbs, where our house was occasionally infiltrated by lady bugs, spiders, and ants. But we never again saw a mouse—green-headed or otherwise!

New From The Wild Rose Press: Snowdrop Dreams, Cherry Thumbprint Screams

Annie Barkley lives next to a forest but has worse things than wildlife to contend with. Read about her tribulations in the romantic suspense novella Snowdrop Dreams, Cherry Thumbprint Screams, part of The Wild Rose Press’s Christmas Cookies series.

Check out the book trailer at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giM9IljM448.

Blurb for Snowdrop Dreams, Cherry Thumbprint Screams:

When Annie Barkley discovers a boy living in the attic of her cookie shop, she’s stunned—and oddly elated. She can almost believe the universe is giving her back the infant son she lost eleven years ago.

Annie senses that something bad happened to the boy, but he won’t talk. All she knows is that he’s terrified of being found. When her long-ago crush, police captain Sam Stern, stops by to inquire about a missing boy, Annie says she hasn’t seen him.

Big mistake. Because that lie might cost her more than a romance with Sam. It also leaves her vulnerable to a ruthless pursuer, one who’s determined to silence the boy for good.

Excerpt:

She was startled by a thump from above, followed by the muffled slide of the attic window, first up, then down. The groan of floorboards beneath traipsing feet.

Goosebumps prickled across her scalp. Why hadn’t she thought to grab something to use for self-defense? A knife or a fork or Gram’s old cast-iron baking pan, which maybe, just maybe, would deflect bullets. There might be a metal nail file in her purse, except she had no time to hunt for it, because the trap door was creaking open, and—oh, God!—someone was coming down the stairs.

Footfalls thudded across the floor, mere feet from where she was hunkered behind the island. Squinting through the grainy dimness, she peeked around the corner in time to glimpse a slight, dark figure creeping into the room out front. She got to her feet and followed.

She came to a halt just beyond the doorway. The big neon clock on the rear wall glowed blue, giving the room a bar-like ambience. The cookie burglar was standing behind the counter to her left, cramming snowdrop cookies into his mouth.

God in heaven, it was a boy. The cookie burglar was a boy. And he was eleven. She was sure of that, even though the light was dim and she was seeing him only in profile. Something about him seemed familiar—his slouched shoulders, perhaps, or the long, straight slope of his nose. He was slender like her, though a few inches shorter. His hair was matted and dark but with a good shampooing would probably be the same tawny shade as her own.

An eleven-year-old brown-haired boy, come down from above to burgle her cookie shop…

She stepped forward with a gasp. “Jonah?”

Purchase link:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Snowdrop-Thumbprint-Screams-Christmas-Cookies-ebook/dp/B09GXM27PR/

Social media links:

Website: www.kimberlybaer.com

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/KimberlyBaer14

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKimberlyBaer/

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Kimberly-Baer/e/B08D3RVKCH/

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/kimberly_baer

About the Author:

Kimberly Baer wrote her first story at age six. It was about a baby chick that hatched out of a little girl’s Easter egg after somehow surviving the hard-boiling process. Sadly, she never managed to get that story published.

Nowadays, Kim writes in a variety of genres. Her paranormal young-adult novel The Haunted Purse was the third-place winner in the 2021 National Excellence in Story Telling Contest (YA category), sponsored by the Central Region Oklahoma Writers. Her middle-grade novel Mall Girl Meets the Shadow Vandal was the bronze medal winner in the 2021 Reader’s Favorite Book Award Contest, Children’s Mystery category. Snowdrop Dreams, Cherry Thumbprint Screams is Kim’s first foray into adult romantic suspense.

In addition to being an author, Kim has worked as a professional editor for the past sixteen years. She lives in Virginia, where she likes to go power-walking on days when it’s not too hot, too cold, too rainy, too snowy, or too windy. On indoor days, you might find her binge-watching one of her favorite TV shows: Gilmore Girls, Friends, The Office, or Breaking Bad.

Military Week feature

Check out SECOND CHANCES at the Romance Lives Forever blog, and learn about Army veteran Kurt Lowdon….

Can a marriage of convenience turn into real love?

Genre: Small town contemporary romance

Themes: Marriage of convenience, friends to lovers, second-chance love, family conflict

Keywords: smalltown romance, addiction, damaged hero, infertility, troubled past,

ISBN: 978-1-5092-3829-3 Paperback
           978-1-5092-3830-9 Digital

Length: 352 pages Heat Level: Spicy – R Release Date: September 27, 2021

Cover Artist: Rae Monet

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09CG2MVS7

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-unexpected-l-rosamond-richards/1114738832?ean=2940162376996

iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/unexpected/id1580981690

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57013622-unexpected

BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/books/unexpected-masonville-series-book-3-by-jana-richards

Short Links:

Amazon  ~  B & N  ~  iBooks

Tagline: A marriage of convenience. An unexpected love.

Blurb:

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.

Excerpt:

He wrapped his arms around both girls. Jamie watched, uncomfortable to be intruding on such a private moment. Something about the tender way this big man held these two tiny girls hit her square in the solar plexus.

Not every man behaved like her ex.

She cleared her throat. “I should get Rex and Sammy home. It was nice meeting you, Bella and Sophie. I’ll see you around.”

Her neighbor rose quickly and extended his hand. “Thank you for helping me find the girls. I’m Ben Greyson, by the way.”

“Jamie Garven.” She accepted his handshake. Again, she had the sensation she’d seen him before. In the lights illuminating the playground she could see his eyes were a mixture of green and brown and were framed by long, thick lashes. This close to him, she noticed the dimple in his cheek for the first time and caught the scent of a delectable men’s cologne. For a moment, Jamie’s heart wobbled like a washing machine with an uneven load.

Or a hormonal teenager with her first crush.

The embarrassing thought made Jamie tug on her hand. He released it immediately and she forced herself to smile politely.

“It was nice meeting all of you. Goodnight.”

Once she and the dogs rounded the school and were out of sight, Jamie urged them into a run. They raced all the way home. As if the hounds of Hell were on their tails.

Or perhaps her own unsettling thoughts were chasing her. Jamie stifled a groan. She was being ridiculous. She’d been momentarily dazzled by a pretty face. Any red-blooded woman with a pulse would have reacted the same way.

Anyway, there was likely a Mrs. Ben Greyson somewhere in the picture. Men who looked like him generally weren’t single.

And men who looked like her hot new neighbor didn’t give plain women like her a second glance.

Author Bio:

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

Social Media Links:

Website:  http://www.janarichards.com

Blog:  http://janarichards.blogspot.com

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/JanaRichardsAuthor

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/JanaRichards_

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/author/janarichards

Amazon UK Author Page:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B002DEVWWG

Newsletter Signup: http://janarichards.com/contact.html#newsletter

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2892274Jana_Richards

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jana-richards

New read from the Valesky Crime Family Series!

Target

The Valesky Crime Family Book 1

by Tina Donahue

Genre: Dark Mafia Romance

A Russian kingpin wants her dead… the only one who can stop it is the man sent to murder her.

Toni Flores loved her dream job working for a respected US senator until he raped her. She’s determined to bring him to justice, no matter the cost.

For years, Dimitri Valesky, head of a Russian crime family in America, has bought off those in government. Just like the senator responsible for Toni’s assault. When she won’t keep quiet about it and risks Dimitri’s business, he orders his stepson Michael to kill her.

Michael’s a lobbyist not a mafia enforcer. He refuses the insane demand, but Dimitri insists. The power he holds over Michael and his brothers is absolute… or so he believes.

Rather than murder Toni, Michael intends to romance her. Once he convinces her to keep quiet about the Senator, she won’t be a target any longer and Dimitri will back off on the hit. The plan falls apart and now they are dodging mafia enforcers, bullets, and Dimitri’s outrage.

Michael and Toni fight to stay alive and save those dearest to them as they also fall hopelessly in love.

This is book one in the Valesky Crime Family series and has an HEA.

Publisher’s Note: This contemporary dark mafia romance contains elements of mystery, suspense, action, adventure, adult themes, and possible triggers for some readers.

Add to Goodreads

Amazon * Google * Kobo * Books2Read * Blushing Books

Tina’s an Amazon and international bestselling novelist who writes passionate romance for every taste – ‘heat with heart’ – for traditional publishers and indie. Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, Romantic Times and numerous online sites have praised her work. She’s won Readers’ Choice Awards, was named a finalist in the EPIC competition, received a Book of the Year award, The Golden Nib Award, awards of merit in the RWA Holt Medallion competitions, and second place in the NEC RWA contests. She’s featured in the Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market. Before penning romances, she worked at a major Hollywood production company in Story Direction.

On a less serious note: she’s an admitted and unrepentant chocoholic, brakes for Mexican restaurants, and has been known to moan like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally while wolfing down tostadas. She’s flown a single-engine airplane (freaking scary), rewired an old house using an ‘electricity for dummies’ book, and is horribly shy despite the hot romances she writes.

Website * MeWe * Twitter * Instagram * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

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An interview with Sarita Leone!

Thanks for being with us today, Sarita! First, would you tell us a bit about yourself?

I love happy endings—in life and on the page.

When I’m not busy writing, I practice and teach yoga. I also like to hike, travel, and dance beneath the stars. I study languages, love baking and cooking, and I can pack a suitcase in less time than it takes to peel an apple. I never say “no” to fun and absolutely plan to make every moment of this journey count.

Are you a coffee fiend, or do you have another “addiction” you must have on your desk at all times?

I enjoy a good cup of coffee, love some wonderful chai, but the one thing I have on my desk is M&Ms. It’s the go-to handful for when I’m contemplating a plot twist or wondering how a character will act. The childhood favorite sits in a jar on my desk and that’s a jar that gets refilled a lot when I’m writing on deadline!

How would you best describe your books?

I hope that my books are heartwarming romances. I love seeing ordinary people find love, especially when it comes with some sort of growth. When we step outside of ourselves and see the world and others in kinder, gentler ways, there’s so much opportunity for growth. Many of my books are set in different times in history, where there was potential for personal expansion. I hope that my books show that there’s room for romance and learning, both.

Tell us about your most recent publication.

Snickerdoodle Snowmen is part of The Wild Rose Press’ Christmas Cookie Series. It releases on November 3 and I’m so excited for this fun romance set in Alaska to come out!

The blurb:

Baker Kris Kringles sends snickerdoodles from North Pole, Alaska, across the globe, spreading holiday cheer like confetti. But she has a secret not dusted with sugar, and an incentive to speak with a slick journalist that isn’t half-baked.

Reporter Santos Kloss hates Christmas. How could he not, with a name that makes him the butt of endless holiday jokes? He’s got one last assignment to complete before he can begin a new chapter in his life, so he grits his teeth, grabs a parka, and heads to Christmas central.

Both expect the interview to be a snap, but a snowstorm, insistent sisters, and a little holiday magic have very different ideas!

What inspired you to write this story?

As soon as I heard about the call for submissions, I knew I had to write this story. I have to admit, I love baking and snickerdoodle snowmen are one of my favorite cookies, both to bake and eat!

Also, I love the Northern Lights. I’ve seen them a number of times from a few different locations, and I’m always mesmerized by the way the sky dances. So, I wanted to set a story beneath the Lights.

Add a couple of loving families, snowy encounters, and two characters who are completely not looking for love and I knew that this was a recipe for a happily-ever-after story. It was a blast to write, and I hope readers enjoy reading it.

What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today?

I think my favorite thing about this story is that it shows that people’s motivations aren’t always what we imagine them to be. Everyone has a story or something they’re dealing with, so it’s best if we all remember that and treat others with kindness. These characters both have a lot on their respective plates and hide that well. They come to the story with baggage that seems much lighter when they learn to share the load.

aurora borealis on the mountain

When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

I don’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be an author. I think I wrote my first story in crayon (probably purple!) and I haven’t stopped since.

Do you belong to any writing groups?

I don’t belong to any formal writing groups, but I’m super fortunate to have a wonderful group of author friends. We chat, support each other, bounce ideas around, and honestly just share the writing journey. They are dear to me and I feel so grateful to have other authors as friends.

Is there any special music you like to listen to while writing?

I don’t generally listen to music while I’m writing. It makes it hard to hear the voices in my head, LOL.

To encourage those still on the path, tell us a little about your path to publication. How many books have you published? How many books did you write before selling one? What do you think was the key to selling that first book?

I don’t count the number of books published, so I can’t honestly answer that question. I sold the first book I wrote and haven’t looked back. I know that’s not everyone’s story, and I’m grateful that it happened that way for me.

I believe a lot of things factor in to selling a book and I don’t have any real idea of what the “one thing” might be. I just honestly believe that the best way to become published is to write. Then write some more. And then, write. Most of us improve with practice, no matter what it is we’re doing, so I think it’s important to practice writing the way you’d do with any other skill you’re taking on.

What are you writing now? What’s next for you—will you be making personal appearances anywhere our readers can find you?

I’ve written a few stories for The Wild Rose Press’ Wylder West Series. I love being a Wild Rose Press author and am having a great time writing for the series. I am currently working on a book called Wylder Promises. It’s a story about second chances and finding love with someone who thinks romance is part of their past, but not their future. I’m enjoying writing this wild west story. It’s such an interesting time in history and I get a kick out of researching the time period.

I am not making personal appearance at the present time. The pandemic still has me sticking close to home. In the future I do plan to do signings again and attend conferences, but just not yet.  

Anything else you would like to add?

Thank you so much for having me here today! It’s been a pleasure!

Links:

Snickerdoodle Snowmen (Christmas Cookies) – Kindle edition by Leone, Sarita. Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

https://saritaleoneauthor.blogspot.com/

Amazon.com : sarita leone

Finding a new life isn’t easy

Arborview

by Karen Guzman

Genre: Women’s Fiction

When the recipe for a new life is bittersweet…

Ellen Cahill’s financial future rides on the success of her new pastry shop. A bruising divorce has drained her bank account, along with her spirit. A man enters her life promising love, but Ellen, haunted by the past, questions whether she can pull off this new beginning.

College student Rosa Escamilla has her own culinary dreams—and a difficult mother who’s dead set against them. Rosa won’t be deterred. She scrapes up the money to enroll at a prestigious culinary school, setting out to prove everyone wrong.

When hidden betrayals by the people they love most surface for both Ellen and Rosa, can they overcome the blows they never saw coming on the road to where they want to go?

Add to Goodreads

Amazon * Apple * B&N * Google * Kobo * TheWildRosePress

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/59084694-arborview

Buy Links
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09DNQH267

Apple: https://books.apple.com/us/book/arborview/id1583063322

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/arborview-karen-guzman/1140053868?ean=2940162377610

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?_bbid=19486921&_bbreg=us&_bbtype=blog&id=nOBDEAAAQBAJ

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/arborview

TheWildRosePress: https://www.thewildrosepress.com/book-post/arborview

Excerpt #1 from Arborview

The light was dying in Arborview. Ellen had to get going, but she wasn’t ready. Descending the ladder meant reentering her life. The time she spent here, suspended among the branches, did not banish the uncertainty that crept back when her feet hit the ground, but it did give her reprieve.

The stillness, the silence, slowed her mind. Be still and know that I am God. She used to love that old Psalm. This must have been what it meant. Her thoughts unraveled in Arborview, exposed in a cool, piercing light, a calm glow giving her hope.

It had been a week since she’d heard from Alice, and the memory of her guilty laundry-room face lingered. Perhaps Ellen had been too harsh, too judgmental. That was a big thing today, wasn’t it? Judging. Nothing was supposed to be off limits, nothing truly wrong, or shameful. Ellen had broken down and left a voicemail, but Alice had not returned the call.

The warm impression William had left in her bed, the faint whiff of his cologne on the pillows, had stayed with Ellen, too. He was coming to take her to dinner in an hour.

William had struck a chord with his pastry shop idea. It had taken root and grown all week within Ellen, its tendrils reaching into her heart. She could see it: a little storefront place, a jingling bell on the door, cakes and pies in the window, a soft wash of light on the gleaming display cases inside.

Excerpt #2 from Arborview

That was how she had come to think of herself: a divorced person. She disliked ”divorcee,” which Alice liked to throw about suggestively. The word had the faint stink of misogyny, of finger-pointing, the whisper of failure—more so a woman’s than a man’s. Why was that? Men were simply “divorced,” a neutral proclamation. No cutesy name had been invented to designate their failed-marriage status.

In truth though, if Ellen had failed anyone, she had failed herself. That stinging little insight had come to her Arborview, lying in dappled sunlight, where she was free to look at things, to test them out, and creep near the truth. The truth was she had fallen like a stone to the earth after all these years, and the voice that she had learned to ignore had only grown louder. God, forgive me. She had abandoned, or at least shelved, herself, long before Zach worked up the courage to do it.

She really should tell Rosa this: Don’t worry about what your mother thinks, or your brother, or anyone else. Choose, or the world will do it for you. That was what the girl needed to hear.

About the Author

Karen Guzman is a fiction writer and essayist. Her new novel, Arborview, will be published on September 29 by The Wild Rose Press. Her debut, Homing Instincts, was published by Fiction Attic Press in 2014. Karen’s short fiction has appeared in a number of literary magazines, and her story collection, Pilgrims, was a finalist for the St. Lawrence Book Award.

Karen is a regular contributor to the Collegeville Institute’s Bearings Online magazine. She is the recipient of a 2021 writing fellowship at the Collegeville Institute.

You can find Karen’s books onAmazon, and learn more about her work at www.karenguzman.com

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Amazon * Goodreads

Author Links

Website: https://karenguzman.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kgwriter

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kguzman_author

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kagauthor

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Karen-Guzman/e/B097Q6PYXJ

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4348296.Karen_Guzman

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An interview with author Darlene Fredette–her new release is Cherry Red!

Thanks for being with us today. First, would you tell us a bit about yourself? What area of the country do you live in, do you have a family, pets, etc.

I live on the Atlantic Coast of Canada with my husband and daughter. We also have a rambunctious three-year old Yellow Labrador.

Are you a coffee fiend, or do you have another “addiction” you must have on your desk at all times?

I don’t drink coffee or tea, but my go-to caffeine addiction is hot chocolate. I have a cup of hot chocolate every day, and my favorite is flavoured white hot chocolate.

Is your education relevant to your writing, or have you branched off in something entirely different to create?

I studied administration in school and followed that path in my career, which led to a position as Director of Administration and Marketing. My writing stemmed from English classes when we had to write essays on books.

How would you best describe your books?

Contemporary Sweet Romances.

Tell us about your most recent publication/whichever book you’d like to talk about today?

Cherry Red is about a woman who owns an ice cream business. Carly has no time in her life for a relationship…until Noah strides into her life and she is forced to pretend he is her boyfriend.

This summer, ice cream entrepreneur Carly Redd’s only focus is expanding her business—until she’s coerced into attending her ex’s engagement party. Showing up without a date is unthinkable. She reluctantly agrees to be escorted by her brother’s co-worker, although doing so breaks her rule of not dating firefighters.

The daughter of the town’s fire chief should wear a Do Not Touch sign, but firefighter Noah Harding’s interest blazed the moment he saw Carly. Agreeing to be her fake boyfriend is a no-brainer, but convincing Carly to trust him with her heart is harder than extinguishing a fire.

Overstepping the platonic-only rule is as dangerous as fire and ice swirling into a tempting combustion.

What inspired you to write this story?
When I learned my publisher was looking for ice cream stories to fit their One Scoop Or Two series, I thought about the perfect storyline to fit the theme.

What interesting thing did you learn or research to write it that you didn’t know before?

Researching ice cream was so much fun!

What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today? Any special memories you have in the creation of it?

I love the characters I created from the main characters (Carly and Noah) to the whole cast. They were enjoyable to write about.

What do you most like about writing? Least like?

I like getting into the story and seeing the characters grow and interact. I don’t like editing. It’s painful and tedious.

When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

I wrote a short story for my high school English class and enjoyed developing the plot and characters.

Is there any special music you like to listen to while writing? How does it inspire you?

I listen to the radio while writing. It’s on but not very loud. Music is very therapeutic.

Do you belong to a critique group? What do you find most valuable about the experience?
I am part of a beta group. I don’t know what I would do without their input.

To encourage those still on the path, tell us a little about your path to publication. How many books have you published? How many books did you write before selling one? What do you think was the key to selling that first book?

The main thing is to stay positive, even when rejections hit hard. The key to selling my first book was perfecting the writing craft – reading and learning as much as I could. Cherry Red is my eighth published book

What are you writing now? What’s next for you—will you be making personal appearances anywhere our readers can find you?
My ninth book, Finding Home Again, received a contract and is currently with the proof-reading department. Once proofing is done, it will be formatted, and I’ll receive a release date. I am writing book ten, which brings me back to Redford Falls.

Anything else you would like to add?

Thank you for the opportunity to share Cherry Red with your followers!

Bio: Darlene resides on the Atlantic Coast of Canada where the summers are too short, and the winters are too long. An avid reader since childhood, Darlene loved to develop the many stories coming to life in her head. She writes contemporary romances with a focus on plot-driven page-turners. When not working on her next book, she can be found with her husband, her daughter, and her yellow Labrador. Darlene’s favourite pastime is taking summer daytrips to the Valley to soak in the small-town feel.

This link will bring you to my website which has links to all distributing sites for my books. Universal Purchase Link: http://darlenefredette.blogspot.com/2021/04/my-books-purchase-links.html

Author Web Site: http://darlenefredette.blogspot.com/

Blog: http://findingthewritewords.blogspot.com

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Darlene-Fredette/e/B005NAF660/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DarleneLF

Murder, mystery, suspense in latest from Brenda Whiteside

The Wickedest Town in the West turned ghost town, turned hippie haven, turned tourist mecca…that’s the inspiration for my latest series, The MacKenzie Chronicles. Although I’ve renamed my city Joshua, Arizona, anyone familiar with Jerome, Arizona will recognize the setting within my stories.

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  • I was born and raised in Arizona and fell in love with the city in the 1960s. Jerome has long been a favorite place to visit for locals. The town nearly died in the 1950s when the mining dried up. What once was a raucous little town hanging on the side of a mountain, inhabited by the men who worked the mines, the wealthy who owned the mines, and the ladies who lived in the cribs and entertained both, became a ghost town. And the city does literally hang on the side of the mountain. Three main roads are stacked like stadium seating.

In the 1960s, hippies discovered Jerome and squatted in the abandoned buildings. But they also bought the homes, improved them, and turned the town into a center for art.

Today, the town flourishes with artists, wine tasting, historical settings, and restaurants. The residents prefer to keep the town looking much like it did in the 1920s when the mines pumped out the minerals that made millions.

Frank MacKenzie, an artist, and Susie Muse, a store owner and mystic, met in the hippie days of Joshua. The MacKenzie Chronicles are about their three children, now grown. Susie died a couple of decades ago, but two of her offspring have mystic talents while one is creative like her father. There is murder, mystery, and suspense in their pasts as well as their presents.

Mystery on Spirit Mountain, book 2 in the series, is Harlan’s book, and officially releases on September 15. Preorder is available now at a sale price.

The past never sleeps.

The truth never dies.

Only Harlan MacKenzie can sense the troubled history of the Big Purple House. When he’s hired to restore the historical mansion, he doesn’t foresee the secrets—secrets that entangle his family in deceit and murder.

Phaedra is selling the house that has been in her family for decades. As her friends-to-lovers relationship with Harlan escalates, she puts her values on the line and chances losing him.

After a stranger comes to town, weaving her web of deception, hell-bent on correcting an old grievance connected to the house, dark revelations of the past implode the present. Harlan and Phaedra are thrown on a dangerous path, not only risking love but possibly their lives.

You can read the first chapter of Mystery on Spirit Mountain here:

https://brendawhiteside.com/mystery-on-chapter-one

To reserve your copy of Mystery on Spirit Mountain (The MacKenzie Chronicles book 2) at the sale price: https://www.amazon.com/Mystery-Spirit-Mountain-MacKenzie-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B09CP3BXVG/

BIO:

Brenda Whiteside is the author of suspenseful, action-adventure stories with a touch of romance. Mostly. She and her husband are gypsies at heart having lived in six states and two countries. For now, they’ve settled in Central Arizona, but won’t discount the possibility of another move in their future. They share their home with a rescue dog named Amigo. While FDW is fishing, Brenda writes.

Visit Brenda at https://www.brendawhiteside.com

Or on FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/BrendaWhitesideAuthor

Sign up for her email newsletter: https://us3.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=4804e039587723cfe02e83f2c&id=5e4b22a4ac

Twitter: https://twitter.com/brendawhitesid2

She blogs and has guests: https://brendawhiteside.blogspot.com/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003V15WF8

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3972045.Brenda_Whiteside

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/brenda-whiteside

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brendawhitesideauthor/