Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy a slice of lemon blueberry pound cake.

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WinterfairycoverWinter Fairy is available now at Amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Noble , Google Books and more.

Talking with Terri Herman Ponce

Today I’m talking with Terri Herman-Poncé about the rerelease of her novel In This Life.

IN THIS LIFEIn This Life is one of those hard to categorize books but one worth seeking out. Check out that evocative cover and did you notice the tag line? I’m a sucker for a good series. This one promises a love triangle and past lives in Ancient Egypt. Be sure to comment for a chance to start The Past Life Series with your own copy of In This Life.

Terri, what types of books do you enjoy reading? What is on your nightstand?

I have an eclectic mix of books I love to read, but I gotta tell you that fiction absolutely, positively has to grab me by the throat. I’m a HUGE fan of Robert Crais and Harlan Coben (to me, they’re masters and my biggest influences). In fact, I’m such a fan of Crais that I’ve reread all his books 3 or 4 times! Now, have any of you read Gone Girl? Well, that book is up there as one of the most amazing stories ever written. That story Grabbed me, with a capital ‘G’. But right now, on my nightstand? Hmm…Missing You by Harlan Coben. Peace of Mind by Thich Nhat Hanh. The Mediterranean Prescription by Angelo Acquista, M.D. Howzat for eclectic?

I Loved Gone Girl. I suspect neither one of us has a purse as interesting as Amy Dunne’s but let’s play “Dump the purse” – what’s in yours?

Hmmm. Well, now that I’ve made a mess on my desk, I guess I should share it. Lip gloss. Hand sanitizer. Wallet. Keys. My monthly train ticket and MetroCard for the subway. Oh…my iPhone! And last but not least, the backup flash drive with all my novels and works in process, book covers, book photos, and pictures for character inspiration on it – some of which are, um, racy. *cheeky grin*

Oh dear. You’ve made me blush. Let’s move to something more… wholesome. If your hero or heroine were babysitting my kids (age 6 & 10) what would the night be like?

If David were babysitting your kids? He’s an ex-Marine turned professional soldier so he’d have the nerf guns out. If one of them got out of line? He’d probably tower over them, deepen his voice, and reprimand them for disrespect. Then he’d drop down to eye level and ask if they were ready to get back into the game.

 David’s hired! Which is good, I could use I night out.re at a bar with your hero and heroine. What are they drinking?

Ha! They’ve recently been turned onto sipping tequila. And David Bellotti’s favorite is Herradura Suprema. And Lottie would be right there drinking it with him, sip for sip.

Impressive. Thinking of which, my kids built a time machine out of Legos.  When and where are we headed and why?

Ancient Egypt! I know I have a romanticized view of these amazing, beautiful people, but their concept of the afterlife intrigues me. The beauty of their texts and hieroglyphs. Their fascination with the cosmos (which I also share). The breathtaking pyramids…the mystery behind how they were built. Then there’s Nabta Playa, which has religious ties to ancient Egypt and is one of the world’s earliest known astronomical devices. It also predates Stonehenge by millennia, with astronomical monolithic structures and everything. How cool is that?

I know nothing about Nabta Playa. I’ll have to research but after dessert time!  Give me your “either—or” answers

Chocolate, fruit or other? – Chocolate. DARK!

Warm or cold? – Warm cake or pie on the bottom, AND cold ice cream on top. Yummm.

Buttercream or fondant? – Buttercream because I can lick the spoon.

Cookies or brownies? – Brownies! omg…BROWNIES!!!

With nuts or without? – Without, thankyouverymuch.

Excellent choices! Thanks so much for stopping by.

Thank you for having me here! I had a great time answering your questions and hope it was enjoyable for your visitors. And in honor of my re-release, I’m happy to gift a free copy of In This Life to one commenter. So come on…get in on the fun!IN THIS LIFE


In This Life Blurb:

Hidden memories. Buried secrets. Resurrected revenge.

Psychologist Lottie Morgan knows something is wrong when she relives memories of a lover she’s never had. At first she attributes them to fever-induced dreams. But when the fever disappears and the visions don’t, Lottie realizes something else is going on.

Then she meets Galen. Their first encounter is as intense as it is eye-opening, and his revelation that they shared a passionate relationship thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt entices Lottie into wanting to learn more about her past. Her decision, however, comes at a price. Galen may hold the answers but he could destroy the devoted, lifelong relationship Lottie has with her current lover, David.

It also could mean her death—again.

Someone is protecting millennia-old secrets, determined to keep them buried while exacting a revenge on Lottie for a mistake made a very long time ago.  A mistake she could be destined to repeat.

Take a trip to mysterious ancient Egypt, where Lottie becomes caught between two lifetimes, two men, and long-buried deceptions. Hank Phillippi Ryan, Agatha, Anthony and Macavity-winning author, calls this paranormal suspense about reincarnation and finding your soul mate “Inventive, original and thought-provoking; this mystically romantic mystery will instantly intrigue.”

 More about Terri Herman-Poncé

Terri looks for any opportunity to make stuff up, and thinks anything that can’t so easily be explained is worth an extra look and often makes a great story. She loves red wine, scotch, sunrises, Ancient Egypt, the beach—and a host of other stuff that would take too much real estate to talk about. The youngest of five children, Terri lives with her husband and son on Long Island. And, in her next life, if she hasn’t moved on to somewhere else, she wants to be an astronomer. Terri’s fascinated with the night skies almost as much as she’s fascinated with ancient Egypt.

Terri’s a member of member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America, and you can read about her at http://terriponce.com/. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter. Come visit—she’d love to hear from you!

Be sure to comment for your chance to win.  Please include your email in a name at place dot com type format.  Can’t wait to read In This Life? You can get it now


Fun with Peeps

Peeps are adorable and ubiquitous this time of year. Presenting this month’s First Friday Five – “Fun with Peeps.

1. Make Dioramas. Yours may not be the “Masterpeep” (submitted by the Washington Post) that I found on the Official Peeps website, but Peep diorama making is a fun way to spend an afternoon.

2. Play practical jokes – Randomly swap Peeps with your child’s toys or objects on a coworkers desk.  Keep this up until it is noticed.

3. See how big your Peep can grow in the microwave before exploding. Warning – the author of this post takes no responsibility for your microwave.

Source: Flowerduet.com

4. Add extra beauty to those early spring flowers with a creative centerpiece.

5. EAT THEM (duh). And keep your peeps happy by sharing your Peeps.

Spotlight on His Temporary Wife by Leslie Garcia

Today I’m turning the spotlight on fellow Crimson Romance author, Leslie Garcia and her newest Texas set contemporary romance, His Temporary Wife. What’s it about? Read on!

When Esmeralda Salinas left her childhood home, she left behind the judgmental lectures and cold, unaffectionate parents who never found her good HTW coverenough to compete with her brother Beto. Esme fashions herself into her own woman, and refuses to let others dictate her behavior or her dreams. After a love affair goes wrong in Rose Creek, Texas, she packs up her horse and moves to even tinier Truth, Texas.

When Esme finds herself singing country karaoke in her aunt’s bar, she can deal with that. But when Tía demands that Esme consider a job offer from devastatingly sexy Rafael Benton, Esme realizes that the small town of Truth might harbor some horrific lies revolving around Rafael and his recently deceased sister Cody, who had reached the pinnacle of the country music season only to crash and burn.

Still, Esme listens to Rafael’s sales pitch and can’t believe what he offers: almost a quarter million dollars to marry him for the summer.

Rafael talks a good game, and Esme knows she could enjoy the benefits of marriage to him, with or without the formalities and pre-nuptials and pretense. But sleeping with a man for the thrill is one thing. Marrying him for money is another. Can she accept a job that would make her rich but might destroy all she holds sacred?

Esme has a dilemma and if you want to find out how it turns out, you might want to check out Amazon or Barnes & Noble.  You’ll love how Leslie makes the Texas landscape come alive.

Author and educator Leslie P. Garcia spent much of her childhood moving from one state to another with her six siblings. She thought her family had settled in rural Georgia permanently, and had big plans for the roadside amusement park she and her brothers and sisters created in the middle of nowhere, but when her parents moved once again, she oversaw dispersal of the animals and went west again.melgreedit

After a stint in the hill country, she married and moved to south Texas, where she has been for the last 30 or so years of her life, surrounded by a large family and annoying animals.

Love of family and animals make appearances in many of her works, including her current titles with Crimson Romance, His Temporary Wife, Wildflower Redemption, Unattainable, and Take Me Out.

You can find Leslie on line at Return to Rio, where you can find additional information about her stories, or on Twitter: @LesliePGarcia

Read essays and poetry at AuthorsDen: www.authorsden.com/lesliepgarcia

Enjoy this excerpt from His Temporary Wife courtesy of Leslie.

The man still hadn’t answered. She arched her own brow. “And you are?” she prompted, with a tinge of sarcasm.

His head moved back slightly, almost as if he weren’t used to being challenged. Then he smiled and took her hand. “Rafael Benton.”

Her hand tingled under the firm pressure of his, but she ignored it. She’d come to Truth to find herself again, not a man. She’d committed a professional blunder back in Rose Creek, toying with a six-year-old’s emotions because she wanted the little girl’s father. One could argue that she hadn’t done any real harm, but she expected more from herself. Always.

He released her hand and took a step back, but she could swear he was looking at her left hand.

Did he wonder if she was married? Was he thinking about striking up a conversation? Finding a way to ask her out? He’d better not be involved with her aunt, then. She’d been burned more than once thinking a man was free. Or giving herself free rein to pursue men who weren’t available, figuring it didn’t matter to her if their own women couldn’t keep them from straying. Never again, she vowed.

He didn’t toss her compliments or suggestive lines, though, just peered past her at the door. “You caught me by surprise. Tía never mentioned having a niece.” He seemed to think that would hurt her feelings, judging from momentary awkwardness in his quick glance her way. “Not that we’ve spoken often.”

The humming stopped and Esmeralda heard something fall, followed by a brief curse in Spanish. Then a woman emerged, her apron spattered, but her thin face changing from annoyed to pleased as she greeted Rafael.

“Rafa! How are you?” Then dark eyes turned her way and Esmeralda sensed immediate suspicion.

“Yes? May I help you?” she demanded, wiping her hands on the sides of her apron.

“I’m Esmeralda—Esme Salinas. Tina’s niece.”

“Her niece—oh.” At least this woman, who clearly worked for her aunt, didn’t seem surprised that Tina had a niece. Startled, maybe, but not surprised. She walked over to offer her hand to Esmeralda, giving her a polite nod. “I’m Angelica Morales, but your aunt calls me Angel.” A slight smile lightened her expression. “Tía says a place like this in a town like Truth needs every angel it can get.”

“She isn’t wrong about that,” Rafael Benton muttered and both women shot him a glance. He shrugged and added, “You should know, the place I live is called Witches Haven by the locals.”

“Rafa,” Angel scolded, her face troubled. “Why would you even repeat such gossip? Hasn’t there been enough trouble in this town without helping it along?”

His lips tightened and his chin tilted, making him look angry and a little intimidating. “The trouble isn’t with a house on a hill, Angel. We both know that witches had nothing to do with this town’s personal slide into hell.”

The bitterness and darkness of his words bothered Esmeralda more than they should. “Well, it was nice to meet both of you,” she said robotically. “I’ll come see Tina later. Do you think she will be in later, Ms. Morales?”

“Tía comes in every day. Mostly.” She glanced at a decorative clock on the wall. “About an hour, I imagine. She always comes in to check before we open at four. You can wait—”

“No, thank you. I have a horse with me, and I need to get her unloaded. I’ll drop by in a while.” She nodded briefly and left.

She had her hand on the doorknob when she heard Rafael’s voice, low and fierce, as he whispered to Angel, “I’ll kill her.”

 To read more of His Temporary Wife,  visit Amazon or Barnes & Noble or other places ebooks are sold.


Does size matter?

Some romance writing friends and I recently tackled the question, does size matter?

Get your mind out of the gutter – we were discussing books and  reading preferences.  I consider myself an equal opportunity reader.  Shorter books help me feel more productive as a reader and fit easier in my purse.  I tend to buy more short works as ebooks.

I prefer a paper book for longer works. For one thing, I can flip back pages easier if I’ve lost track of the narrative thread. When a book takes me over 8 days to read, this can happen. Also, I can use post it flags to mark passages I love, maps or casts of characters.

There is a real artistry in both forms. As much as I love Stephen King and Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, well written short novels loom large in my mind.  James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis, Jennifer Johnston’s haunting and hard to find Fool’s Sanctuary, and anything Ray Bradbury. I could go on, but I won’t. Short books have taught me the value of brevity.

What do you prefer reading? Why? Any suggestions?

Spotlight on Goddess of the Hunt by Becky Flade.

I’m dirtying up my blog today with always fun Becky Flade. She’s sharing  Goddess of the Hunt, a Decadent Publishing release under the Covert Passions line.

Goddess of the HuntCodename Diana

CIA field agent Paige Aster hides a cunning intelligence and lethal skill behind a mask of golden beauty. It serves her well as she moves from one undercover assignment to the next.

Current Mission

Retrieve a stolen United States military defense program from a terrorist cell in Dublin, Ireland, before they trade it to Islamic extremists in exchange for munitions. Her only back up on this time-sensitive mission is a deeply embedded MI-6 operative.

Her Asset

Eoin Fitzpatrick has sacrificed everyone he holds dear to bring these terrorists to justice. He’ll sacrifice Diana, too, if she threatens to compromise his mission or his cover. He has orders to do just that – his agency is only doing hers a favor.

Compromised or Comprising?

Paige expects danger, but welcomes passion—taking her pleasure where and when it’s offered. She’s not prepared for the effect Eoin has on her. Or what happens when she surrenders to him—Paige burns for Eoin but will he leave her burned…

Goddess of the Hunt

Covert Passions

Decadent | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | All Romance eBooks


She only looks innocent….

A city girl, born and bred, I place my stories in and around southeast Pennsylvania, or at least have a character or two from the area. Home is where the heart is and I make mine with my very own knight in slightly tarnished armor. When I’m not busy living my own happily ever after, I’m writing about someone else’s.

Contact Details:





Becky’s sharing an excerpt with us and it’s a little hotter than the PG-13 rating I usually go for, but since she makes me laugh so hard, coffee comes out my nose, I forgive her. Read this excerpt, follow her on twitter or Facebook and embrace the fun.

from Goddess of the Hunt:

 “Is it done? Do you and the others in the house bring in sex partners from time to time?” She straightened and stared at him.

“Yes.” He hissed the answer.

“I’m travelling; you and I meet at a pub and go to your place to hook up. It’s simple and happens all the time. Believable, even.” She thought of Michel and her lips tilted at the corners. Then, casting her eyes over Eoin, she deliberately arched a brow and tucked her tongue in her cheek. “Well, for most people, anyway.”

His lips thinned and the muscles in his cheek ticked as he worked to control the flare of temper. It delighted her. “Fine, we’ll do it your way.” Eoin pushed himself from the chair he’d been perched on and nearly charged for the door. “I’ll be here at seven-thirty tomorrow morning, be ready.”

Paige grabbed his arm as he passed her. “What are you so worked up about? If it goes wrong, you can just leave me hanging and you know it. This costs you nothing, Paddy-boy; it’s my ass on the line.”

He grabbed her shirt and pushed her against the closet door. She didn’t fight it and he had his mouth on her in seconds. His tongue delved and demanded she respond; she arched up into the kiss. Delight, desire, and anger thrummed through her as she both succumbed and made demands of her own. His hands molded to her hips and pinned her between the hard planes of his body and the wall behind her. Then he abruptly pulled away. They stood inches apart; the air crackled around them. Their gazes locked. He opened his mouth, then shook his head and left without a word.Goddess of the Hunt

       Tie score.

In case you need those buy links again,

Goddess of the Hunt

Covert Passions

Decadent | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | All Romance eBooks

Talking with Nana Prah

Today I’m talking with fellow Decadent author, Nana Prah about her new book Midwife to Destiny.  I had so much fun getting to know Nana, and you will too, especially since she’s offering a giveaway to one lucky person.

Ready to learn more about Nana Prah and Midwife to Destiny? Read on.

1 Midwife To Destinyhigh-resGhanaian nurse Aurora ‘Ora’ Aikins never expected to find the love of her life while on vacation in South Africa. Engaged to another and believing that love has no place in her life, she returns to Ghana, and puts duty and honor first.

Three years later, Dr. Jason Lartey still can’t get Ora out of his mind or his heart. After learning she never married, he takes a risk and moves to Ghana hoping to rekindle what they started. His sudden appearance in Ora’s Emergency Department sends sparks flying all over again.

 They’re in the same country, working in the same hospital, and together but distance creeps between them. Can they make their destined love one for the ages?  ****

Wow! The setting alone hooked me.  I had to find out more about the author.

What types of books do you enjoy reading? What is on your nightstand?

I’m a romance addict. A friend of mine asks me how I can still like romance novels after all these years. It’s the happily ever after aspect that keeps me going back. I will read other genres, but I return to romance time and time again. Right now I’m reading Tallas by Cathrina Constantine, not a romance, but it’s really good. Conversations with God- book Three by Neale Donald Walsh is there, too (trying to show my nonfiction side), Nana Malone’s last book in her Stilettos series, Sassy in Stilettos, is waiting for me (I don’t want to say goodbye to the characters yet, but I’m looking forward to the read).

Someone else who always has a stack by the nightstand. Do you listen to music when you write?  If so, what?

Music distracts me when I write. I love to dance and sing so when music is playing I’m doing those two things instead of writing. So like Depeche Mode says, I “Enjoy the silence”

Ha! What is your favorite part about being an author?

Being famous and raking in loads of money. Lol. I have yet to reach that far yet. Having taken the risk to write a book and have it published. It makes me proud of myself.

It is a huge accomplishment. Congrats. Let’s accomplish something else and play “dump the purse.” What’s in yours?

*giggling* Three tubes of lipstick, a pen drive, two red pens (I’m a teacher), five blue pens, my Kindle, a pocket flashlight, my wallet, money – our currency is Ghana cedis, a small notebook (a must for a writer), a sanitary napkin (I’m always ready), Menthos gum (sugarfree and delicious), a packet of tissues, a few loose papers that I should really throw away, and some lint.

The dreaded lint.  Now that our purses are clean, let’s head out. But I need a babysitter.  How would the hero and heroine of Midwife to Destiny handle my 10 and 6 year olds?

Ora, the heroine, would play some games with them, nothing too outrageous, ensure they’re fed with a healthy nutritious meal, that she’d probably cooked, ensure they had a bath, and got into bet at precisely their bedtime. When they were asleep, she’d make sure the house was straightened up before you got home.

Jason would fill the kids with junk food, destroying the house with raucous running games. Your kids would be so wired on sugar they wouldn’t sleep until the high came down, long after you got home and he left.

Ora is hired, but the kids would prefer Jason. I can’t wait to see how this couple gets to their Happily Ever After.  In the meantime, let’s get dessert. Give me your either/or:

  • Chocolate, fruit or other? Chocolate
  • Warm or cold? Warm
  • Buttercream or fondant? Buttercream
  • Cookies or brownies? Brownies
  • With nuts or without?  With

Yum! While Nana and I get dessert, I have a treat for you too. Enjoy this excerpt from Midwife to Destiny and be sure to enter the rafflecopter. Nana Prah is giving away a twenty-dollar Amazon gift card!

1 Midwife To Destinyhigh-resOra focused on putting one foot in front of the other as if she were a one-year-old learning how to walk. After turning the corner and seeing the back of his head, she froze. She would know that head anywhere. He’d grown his hair out a little, but his adorable, Will Smith ears gave him away. Initiating the process of pivoting and sprinting out of the ED unnoticed sprang to mind when he turned around and his gaze caught hers.

 The air became charged with tension and neither of them moved. Her heart threatened to pop out of her chest with the force of each beat. The nurses stood between them, looking back and forth as if they watched a tennis match. They didn’t bother to hide their expressions of curiosity.

 They’d never seen Ora behave in such a manner. Not cool as a cucumber super nurse. Like herself, they kept looking at the new doctor just because of his tall, broad-shouldered, gorgeous stature. The past three years had matured him, adding a few lines around his eyes and the new feature of a goatee with a moustache changed his countenance a little. But otherwise, the same man she’d met three years ago, at least in the physical sense, stood before her.

 After an eternity, Ora snapped back to attention. “Akwaaba, Dr. Lartey. Welcome to the ward.” Madam Professional stuck out her hand for a handshake.

 Her words seemed to drag him out of his own stupor. “Uh….”

 She had rendered the man speechless. Ora’s gracious nature—that’s what she blamed it on, anyway—took pity on him and she touched his shoulder. The contact sent sensual awareness through her and she recoiled her hand.

 “Hello, Aurora. Please forgive me. It’s just that I’m a little surprised to see you.”

 “Not as much as I am,” she muttered, attempting to squash both the joy bubbling up inside of her at seeing him again and the overwhelming sadness of what she’d been missing for so long.

 “Pardon me?” he asked.

 “I didn’t expect to see you here. It’s a surprise to me, too.”

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can buy Midwife to Destiny at

Amazon | Decadent |ARe | Barnes & Noble

About the Author:

Nana Prah was born in Ghana, West Africa, raised in the US and currently resides in Ghana where she loves her job as a writer and nurse educator. She has been writing since she can remember (in her journal) and has been an avid reader of romance novels since the eighth grade. She has finally been able to utilize the years and years of inadvertent research into writing her own romance novels where love always conquers all.

Blog : www.nanaprah.blogspot.com

Twitter: @NanaPrah

Facebook: Nana Prah, Author

Embrace the March Madness

Welcome to March Madness. This two-word phrase is synonymous with NCAA College Basketball and lots of it. The name is a bit of a misnomer, as the final game isn’t played until April, but the craziness exists. To celebrate this first Friday, I present Five Reasons to Embrace March Madness.

1. The TV will be on a lot, from approximately noon until two am, Thursday through Sunday. No one will want to cook. Consider this a good excuse to consume chips and beer.

2. March Madness proves men aren’t immune to a good Cinderella story, case in point, Virginia Commonwealth and coach Shaka Smart.

3. A charismatic player will emerge from a smaller program, reminding you not all college athletes are biding their time until they can turn pro.

4. A personal reason – if I don’t watch, I won’t see my husband for a month. Worse, in an effort to watch all the games, he’ll overload the DVR before I can watch my back episodes of Enlisted or The Amazing Race.

5. The coaches fascinate me and not just because some look good in their suits. You can watch a man’s face run through every emotion during the course of a game and it’s all in the name of research.

Spotlight on Stealing Cupid’s Bow by Jewel Quinlan

Today, I’m delighted to share Jewel Quinlan’s Decadent Publishing release Stealing Cupid’s Bow.  Valentine’s Day is done. The memory of half-price chocolate day lives on in secret stashes, but love and romance remain and are front and center in Stealing Cupid’s Bow.  Tempted? Read on!

Stealing Cupid’s Bow

by Jewel Quinlan

Recently heartbroken, Raine Daniels arrives home in Las Vegas, Nevada, to help with her parents’ fortieth anniversary party only to discover they are planning to separate as soon as the last guest walks out the door. Everything she thought she knew—her very foundation is rocked to the core.

When she learns that Alexander, the sexy stranger she’d sat next to on the plane, is really the god of love, Cupid—she asks for his help, but he declines. The god of love, now long divorced from Psyche and living on earth among mortals, no longer believes in love.

Raine decides to take matters into her own hands, even if a god tells her she’s wrong.  With her life falling apart around her and the solution seemingly within her reach she dares to try and make everything better. Unfortunately, she’s unprepared for the consequences of stealing Cupid’s bow …

Where  can you buy Stealing Cupid’s Bow?

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | All Romance eBooks | Decadent

About the Jewel Quinlan:

From a young age, Jewel Quinlan had an abundant imagination and strong desire to write novels.  She particularly enjoys writing paranormal and fantasy romance. An avid traveler, she has visited fifteen countries so far (which she enjoys using as settings in her novels) and has plans to see more of the world. She has a particular fondness for Bavaria and studies the German language as one of her hobbies. During the day, she works as a pharmaceutical sales representative and, at night, she writes romance. She currently lives in Orange County, California with her two dogs; Shimmer and Penny.

For more information visit her website and blog or you can follow her on Facebook and Twitter

Want more? Here’s an excerpt from Stealing Cupid’s Bow.  Enjoy.

From the corner of her eye, the back of a blond head, paired with broad, strong shoulders, caught her attention.

She knew who it was instantly.

Alexander was walking up ahead of them in the same direction. Her entire being zeroed in on him at once and she felt her pulse spike.

Jane was saying something to her, but all of her attention was tied up with trying to see his face. He’d moved off to the side now, and it looked as though he was watching someone intently. Actually, a couple of someones—a man and a woman. On the surface it looked like he was strolling along casually, but she could not mistake the intensity of his gaze on them. It seemed almost…predatory. Was he following them?

Both her mom and her aunt walked so slowly it was almost an agony for her. She didn’t want to lose sight of him. But there was nothing she could do. If she tried to make them hurry, it would spark questions from all three. And the most likely result of her telling them why would be her mother flagging Alexander down in a loud voice, which would be embarrassing.

Jane continued to chatter away, but Raine still couldn’t focus on her cousin.

Up ahead she saw that the man and woman had stopped next to a fountain. The man was saying something. From the look they shared, it seemed to be one of those special moments. Alexander stopped, too. He was leaning casually against a pillar watching the couple.

The man Alexander watched sank down on one knee while retrieving something from his pants pocket.

Alexander changed his stance at the same time. Out of nowhere a bow appeared in his hands. He quickly notched an arrow from the right side of the quiver on his back. He drew and took aim, gazing along the shaft of the arrow.

From what she could see there was only one target apparent in that direction: the woman.

As he released the arrow, a scream rose from within her, but the sound caught in her throat. The gleaming shaft streaked across the space and sunk deep into the woman’s chest, emitting a shower of golden sparks on impact. A second arrow struck the man as well and another cloud of gold erupted. She stopped walking and, since their arms were linked together, Jane did, too.

“Did you see that?” Raine asked.

Jane glanced at her. “See what?”

She pointed in the direction and her cousin peered up ahead.

“What is it, Raine?”

Her cousin wasn’t reacting at all and neither had either of their mothers. And none of the people that had passed right by the scene of the crime were disturbed. She looked again at the couple, afraid of what she might see…and blinked.

There was no blood. No body lay on the floor. No arrow shaft stuck out from either of them. Quite the opposite. The woman was unharmed and glowing with happiness. She had accepted the ring and the man was now swinging her around in joy.

“Did you mean the couple getting engaged?” Jane asked. “Oh yes, it happens all the time here.”

Raine was stunned.  Her eyes found their way back to Alexander.

Thanks for stopping by.  I’d love to know who you would target with Cupid’s bow.

Talking with Tamara Hughes

Today I’m welcoming Tamara Hughes to talk about Once upon a Masquerade, her debut novel from Entangled Publishing.

onceuponamasqueradeI love the color palette of this cover and what a tag line. Want to meet a Cinderella with a secret? Read on.

New York City, 1883

A Prince Charming meets his match…

Self-made shipping magnate Christopher Black first spies Rebecca Bailey at a masquerade ball and is captivated by her refreshing naiveté and sparkling beauty. She’s a stark contrast to the hollow behavior of the ton and the guile of his former fiancée, but the closer he gets to her secrets, the further she pushes him away.

A Cinderella with a secret…

Rebecca is drawn to the charismatic Christopher from the first, but she cannot risk him discovering that she is really a housemaid impersonating an heiress. Her father’s life depends on it.

A Happily Ever After that could never be…

When Christopher’s investigation of the murder of his best friend leads him straight to Rebecca, he fears his ingénue may be a femme fatale in disguise.  Now he must decide if he can trust the woman he’s come to love, or if her secrets will be his downfall.


Tamara, what inspired you to write this book?

I’ve always loved Cinderella stories – a woman who manages to rise from an awful situation, and ends up with her happy ending. But I wanted to add a twist or two to make it a little more fun. Like a murder mystery. So why not have my Cinderella in the middle of it? The prime suspect.

And to add a little humor, I like my heroines to be very human. In this story, Cinderella is a little clumsy and socially awkward. (A lot like me I’m sorry to say – only I’m more than a little clumsy.) So when this Cinderella sneaks into a ball to meet her Prince Charming, she’s bound to make mistakes.

A ball scene? There must be music. Do you listen to music when you write?  If so, what?

It depends. I find my writing process changes for each book. For most of my books, including this one, I wrote in silence. Sometimes my plots are pretty intense, so I need all my focus on keeping everything straight to weave it all together as tightly as I can. That said, my current work-in-progress is a whole other deal. I’m finding I get inspiration to write from listening to music. My music selection is pretty eclectic, from pop songs to heavy metal. (I’m currently writing a paranormal.) Some of the songs include: Clarity by Zedd, I’m Not a Vampire by Falling in Reverse, Say It by Evans Blue, and Rescue Me by Kerrie Roberts.

Wow, do I feel out of touch.  Looks like I’ll be busy on Spotify later.  What is your favorite part about being an author?

I love sitting down to write. Don’t get me wrong. I find writing really hard – some days impossible. But there’s something about bringing a scene to life on paper that’s amazing. And days when I can make myself laugh, those are really great.

Those are perfect writing days. Since we’re not writing now, let’s play “Dump the purse” – what’s in yours? 

Hmm. Let’s see…all the usual suspects…wallet, Kleenex, lotion…band aids because I’m a mom (even if my kids are teenagers now), a little notebook in case an idea strikes, enough change to choke a horse, the dimensions of my living room lampshades (which I intend to replace someday, maybe – that note’s been in there so long, the ink is starting to blur). Wow. Now I feel boring. Thanks for asking this question, Lola. Ha!

That was productive at least. Let’s have some fun. My kids built a time machine out of Legos.  When and where are we headed and why? 

First of all, wow! Your kids are amazing!  (Blush – yes, they are.) As for the when and where, I was amazed by what I found researching New York City in the 1800’s. You read very few books about this time and place, and I’m not sure why.

In Once Upon a Masquerade, I write about a large masquerade ball hosted by William and Alva Vanderbilt to celebrate the completion of their home. That event actually happened in history. The New York Times had written about it, describing the costumes, the house, the dancing. The article really got my imagination going. In fact, the Hobby-horse Quadrille described in the book was an actual dance performed by guests, dressing up as horses and riders and romping around the room.  I hope you found illustrations! The party sounds amazing.

And while it doesn’t occur during the book, the Brooklyn Bridge’s grand opening also happened in 1883, with fireworks exploding over the water. Crazy, but one week later, a woman tripped on a narrow staircase on the bridge, falling into a large group of people. Someone screamed the bridge was collapsing, which caused a panic that led to twelve people being trampled to death.

Thomas Edison also made great strides in the use of electricity for lighting in 1883. He built a central generating station and lit a small town in New Jersey.

All in 1883. Not to mention a few years later, the Statue of Liberty was unveiled.

Gee, can you tell I’m excited about this stuff?

I sure can and now I’m excited too.  What a fascinating time and place and you’re right, it’s one we don’t often encounter in books even though it was a terrific time of sweeping societal changes and extravagance.  Thinking of which, dessert time!  Give me your “either—or” answers

  • Chocolate, fruit or other? Depends on my mood. Fruit is yummy, but chocolate is a need sometimes, not just a want. Oh, dark chocolate…definitely dark chocolate…  And it’s so good for you… So good… I may have to go get some now.
  • Warm or cold? Warm inside, cold outside – I live in Minnesota doncha know.
  • Buttercream or fondant? Buttercream, no contest. Does fondant even have much flavor? It’s pretty, but buttercream, now that has flavor…Mmm, buttercream… You’re making me do it again… I’ll be right back.
  • Cookies or brownies? Cookies – gooey, thick chocolate chip…or monster cookies…those are good too. Oh, what I’d do for a cookie.
  • With nuts or without? Depends on what dessert you’re talking about, if you know what I mean. Wink. Wink. Nudge. Nudge.

And now I’m blushing again.  Thanks for stopping by Tamara.

You can get Once upon a Masquerade at:onceuponamasquerade

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Once-Upon-Masquerade-Entangled-Scandalous-ebook/dp/B00HP1JZNU/ref=cm_cr_pr_pb_t

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/once-upon-a-masquerade-tamara-hughes/1117987586

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/Search/Query?q=Once+Upon+a+Masquerade

iBookstore: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/once-upon-a-masquerade/id792453836?mt=11

About the author: A small town girl with a big imagination, Tamara Hughes had no idea what to do with her life. After graduating from college, she moved to a big city, started a family and a job, and still struggled to find that creative outlet she craved. An avid reader of romance, she gave writing a try and became hooked on the power of exploring characters, envisioning adventures, and creating worlds. She enjoys stories with interesting twists and heroines who have the grit to surmount any obstacle, all without losing the ability to laugh. To learn more, stop by her website: www.tamarahughes.com. You can also find her on:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/tamarahughesauth

Twitter: www.twitter.com/TamHughes

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/7738043.Tamara_Hughes

Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/tamarahughes

If you’re feeling really lucky, Tamara is offering a $25 Amazon gift card (U.S. only) and 3 copies of Once Upon a Masquerade (international) as part of her blog tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For additional chances to win, check out the full schedule: