Posted in Books, Guests, Talking with

Stolen Hearts by Christy Newton

A few weeks ago, I won an ARC of Christy Newton’s Stolen Hearts. I enjoyed the book so much, that I invited her to stop by, even if she doesn’t drink coffee (gasp).

What is Stolen Hearts about?

Jewels, deception and adventure…stolen hearts cover

Twenty-two year old Cammie Adams knows one thing for sure – life isn’t fair. She’s still an emotional wreck from the tragic loss of her parents seven years ago. Right after she gets her PI license she is not only robbed, but abducted, only to find her life was all a lie. When she finds her mother’s diary, she discovers she was only a pawn in her mother’s dangerous game. Now she must get back what is rightfully hers from the man that murdered her mother.

Hot and mysterious, Simon Fisher has really only loved one thing – jewels. This ex-jewel thief, now bodyguard, doesn’t even know what hits him when he rescues Cammie as a favor to her father. Simon must protect her, but soon finds out where there’s trouble, Cammie isn’t far behind. She will not only steal his prized jewel, but his heart.

This book was a joy to read and you can find my Goodreads  review here. Be sure to scroll all the way down this post for your chance to win a terrific prize package, including a copy of Stolen Hearts.

Christy is a busy lady so I didn’t ask her to play dump the purse, instead I asked her for twenty fun facts.

1. I’m creative.

2. I love dark chocolate.

3. Purple is my favorite color, but I love every color.

4. I have a purple office.christy newton

5. I have a toy poodle named Lola. (Great name!)

6. I spend more time with my on line friends than my the ones that live close by.

7. I want to go to London.

8. I am horrible at math.

9. I have one brother.

10. I have to have lemon in my water.

11. I don’t eat bacon.  (And I like her anyway)

12. I hate winter.

13. I love fall.

14. Spring is ok.

15. Summer is too hot.

16. My favorite pizza is Luca Pizza.

17. I still miss Guiding Light.

18. I believe in God.

19. When I’m hungry I turn into the hulk.

20. I painted all the artwork in my house. (And her insider knowledge of art comes through in Stolen Hearts.) 

About the author

Christy Newton is a hopeless romantic and writes many genres of romance. She just might be the only author out there that doesn’t drink caffeine, but dark chocolate is her must have. She falls in love with each of her heroes and hopes you will too! Christy is the author of the More Than Treasure Series and the Love Again Collection.

You can find more books from Christy and visit with her at


*Twitter: @CNewtonAuthor

*Author Website:


*and Amazon:

Don’t forget to enter the rafflecopter for your chance to win.

Posted in Books, Christmas, Guests, Talking with

Talking with Cynthia Woolf

Today I’m welcoming multi-published author Cynthia Woolf. I asked Cynthia some tough questions about her contribution to the Sweetwater Springs Christmas anthology entitled “Sugarplum Dreams.”

Cynthia, what inspired you to write this short story?

I was contacted by Debra Holland. She asked if I’d be interested in participating an anthology of Christmas stories set in her fictional town of Sweetwater Springs, Montana in 1895. Well, I was thrilled. It’s not often that I get to work with other writers much less those of the caliber of Debra and the other authors involved in this venture.

The list of contributors is amazing and features an eclectic mix. What types of books do you enjoy reading?

I read mainly historical and erotica, with some paranormal and contemporary thrown in for variety.

Tell me about your favorite place to write. What makes it special?

I can write anywhere because I usually do most of the first draft in longhand. I wrote one of my first books sitting on the beach in Puerto Vallerta. That had to be my favorite place to write – on a beach. Anywhere on a beach.

The beach is one of my favorite places to read, but not this time of year. Since “Sugarplum Dreams” is a Christmas story, what do you love about the holidays?

I love decorating the tree and seeing the house after my husband gets done decorating it. I collect Christmas ornaments and it’s always fun to go through and see my treasures.

Fun! If you could wave a magic wand and make one thing about the holiday season disappear, what would it be? 

The need to have the Santa’s on the sidewalk ringing their bell for donations. Nothing would make me happier than to have the needs that they ring for satisfied. No more homeless needing shelter and meals, that would be it for me.

What a beautiful thought. On a lighter note, let’s play “Dump the purse” – what’s in yours? 

Oh, my goodness, that’s scary. I have a wallet, a cosmetics bag overflowing with stuff, I don’t use since I rarely wear makeup. There is wetwipes, glass cleaner towelettes, pens, notebook, trading cards of my books, sunglasses, three checkbooks,  pain medication, car keys, my phone and a metal credit card case (to thwart any would-be card number thieves), disposable tooth brush and toothpicks.  Whew! That’s a lot of stuff. Explains why my purse weighs ten pounds, huh?

Nothing light there. Dessert time!  Give me your “either—or” answers

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

Want to know more about Cynthia?

Cynthia Woolf was born in Denver, Colorado and raised in the mountains west of Golden. She spent her early years running wild around the mountain side with her friends.  Their closest neighbor was one quarter of a mile away, so her little brother was her playmate and her best friend. That fierce friendship lasted until his death in 2006.

Cynthia was and is an avid reader. Her mother was a librarian and brought new books home each week. This is where young Cynthia first got the storytelling bug. She wrote her first story at the age of ten. A romance about a little boy she liked at the time.

Cynthia writes historical western romance under Cynthia Woolf and scifi romance as CA Woolf.





old farm in the mountains at winterRead on for more about SWEETWATER SPRINGS CHRISTMAS (note – authors are listed in alphabetical order)


Far from home and with love in their hearts, a young Wyoming rancher and the daughter of a Montana railroad businessman learn the true joy of Christmas is in giving.


Will a wish on a star foretell the future of a young suffragette and a visiting rancher?


A lonely widow and a lonelier marshal make peace with their past.


Can two reserved people overcome their limitations and find love?


An orphaned boy finds an unexpected family.


The town banker learns that perhaps some things are more important than money.


Ida doesn’t remember the last two years, but her husband is determined to find her and reignite their love.


A spinster discovers it’s never too late to embrace love and the surprises life has in store.


A woman scarred in face and heart finds love with a cowboy.


A grieving ten-year-old girl anticipating a sad Christmas receives some surprises.


With a little Christmas magic, two searching hearts discover they can bridge much more than a raging river.


Faced with her first Montana winter without her husband, Rachel Tanner and her young son need a miracle.


Julia Bosworth travels west to fulfill a special dream and finds her heart’s desire.

Sweetwater Springs Christmas is available through Amazon

Posted in Christmas, Crimson Romance, Guests, Talking with

Book Spotlight: Christmas Dinner by Robyn Neeley

Today I’m featuring my favorite Christmas book this year–Robyn Neeley’s Christmas Dinner.  The cover alone makes me crave eggnog and the inside is even better.  Curious? Read on!

About Christmas Dinner

News anchor Amanda Turner used to love everything about the holidays—the eggnog sugar cookies, the tacky family Christmas sweaters, and a lawn decorated with so many multi-colored lights that 747s could land safely. That is until her boyfriend dumped her in front of the whole town on Christmas Eve. Humiliated, she fled her small town start a new life. Two years later, she’s finally ready to return to the scene of the emotional crime, until she learns that her ex is engaged. Now, the only thing worse than going home is going home single.

Tate Ryan, her tall, dark, and arrogant co-anchor, offers to pose as her boyfriend. There’s one problem, though: they barely like each other, and he recently scooped her story on live TV. But she needs a ride home and a boyfriend fast, so Tate will have to do.

As she watches Tate interact with her family and town residents, fully embracing the spirit of the holiday season, she starts to see his kindhearted side. She can’t help but wonder if she was wrong about him. Perhaps he isn’t the conniving co-worker that she once thought. And her new feelings for him would definitely put her on the naughty list.

Tate has his own agenda for the weekend that includes telling Amanda he’s been in love with her since the first time they met. He’s ready to reveal all during Christmas dinner but fate has other plans.

Purchase on Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Robyn Neeley is an East Coaster who loves to explore new places; watches way 050813-RNmore reality TV than she cares to admit; can’t live without Dunkin Donuts coffee and has never met a cookie she didn’t like. (No wonder I like her so much.)  If you have a must read romance suggestion or a fabulous cookie recipe, she wants to know. Visit her at

Robyn and I are running off to Dunkin Donuts together with a plate full of fudge.  Lucky you, she’s sharing the recipe.

Delicious Holiday Fudge!

2/3 cups evaporated milk

2 cups sugar

1 square of baker’s chocolate

1 stick margarine or butter

4 Hershey candy bars

½ cup of nuts


Stir first three ingredients well and bring to a boil.

Boil for three minutes. Add margarine or butter the last 1 1/2 minutes stirring all the time

Take fudge from heat and stir in Hershey bars (broken up) and nuts. Beat until thick, add vanilla and pour in an 8 x 8 buttered pan. Add nuts to the top if you’d like. Put in the refrigerator until set, then cut into squares.


Now that you have a snack, enjoy this excerpt from Christmas Dinner

         “I’ll have another, please.” Amanda waved her empty wine glass and glanced up at the mounted television. Their explosive local story had made national news. “I really need to get out of this town,” she muttered.

“Excuse me?” The bartender picked up her glass. He was wearing a Santa hat.

“Oh, nothing.” She pointed at his head, changing the subject. “Do they make you wear that?”

“Nah, I just like to get into the Christmas spirit.” He grabbed a bottle of wine, refilling her glass.

“Christmas spirit,” she echoed dryly. She remembered that feeling. It was only two years ago that it was her favorite time of year-two heartbreaking years. “Thanks.”

She took a long gulp and went back to brooding over Brad’s status update. What if she ran into him and his fiancée this weekend? Oh, God. What if she knew her?

“Hey, Santa, think you could bring me a boyfriend to take home this weekend?” she asked sarcastically. Out of the corner of her eye, she caught a flicker of a man in a suit. She knew its owner immediately.

“Why, Ace, are you taking resumes?”

She spun around and shook her head. Tate had taken the empty seat next to her. Her knees briefly touched his. “What the- where did you come from? Are you following me now?” She drank her wine. “I hate you,” she mumbled.

“I’ll take that as a no.” He pointed to her fresh glass. “I see you’re celebrating. Mind if I join you?”             

She pushed off her seat. “Sorry, I was just leaving.” Her legs wobbled, and she felt a little tipsy. When had she become such a lightweight? She sat down to regain her equilibrium. “On second thought, I was here first.”

The bartender came over. “Sir, can I get you anything?”

“A stocking full of coal would be appropriate,” Amanda interjected sweetly. She glared at Tate and raised her finger directly at a group of women on the other side of the bar who were looking their way. She suspected they were gushing over Tate. Most women did.

“See that cougar in the tight sequined silver top and black hooker stilettos? I’m sure she’s one of your fans. I’d bet my paycheck she’d love to have the great Tate Ryan make her night.”

Tate nodded to the woman and pulled Amanda’s arm down. She felt his hand linger.

“I think I’ll pass.” He signaled the bartender and said, “Hey, buddy, could I get a Manhattan?” Then he turned back to Amanda. “Okay, talk to me, Mandy. Why so glum?”

“Don’t call me that. My brother calls me Mandy, and I’m angry with him right now, too.” She stood once again and reached for her purse, determined this time to get away from her co-anchor. “I think I’ll get a table-for one. Merry Christmas, Tate,” she said flatly.

She walked over to the dining area and scanned the room for an empty table. There was one near the window. She plopped down in a chair.

Tate sauntered over.

“Oh, no. No, no.” She raised her hand in protest. “You are not sitting here.”

“Look, you can’t still be angry with me for what happened earlier.”

“Why can’t I?”

“Ace, you know I didn’t sabotage you.” He pulled out a chair and took a seat.

Amanda sighed. “I know.”

“Listen, let’s order some dinner. My treat. I’m starving, and I’ll bet you are, too. We’ll eat, and you can tell me why you’re here drowning your sorrows because this can’t all be my fault. Start from the beginning. I’m a great listener.” He scrolled through his iPhone. “Was it really that bad of a day?” he asked, glancing up.

“You can’t be serious. You did not just ask me that.”

Tate shrugged. “It’s one story. There will be others.”

“Not like this one.”

“You really believe that?”

Amanda shrugged. “I don’t know what I think anymore. Let’s just order. Will you promise to leave me alone after we eat?”

“Deal. Okay, where to begin? All right, why do you hate me? No. Wait.” Tate jerked his hand up in the air in a halt. “Don’t answer that. Let’s start with a softball question. Why do you hate the holidays?” He grabbed the other menu on the table.

“I don’t hate the holidays.”

Tate smirked. “Amanda, you pretty much tell anyone who wishes you a Merry Christmas to go to hell.”

“That’s not true.”

“Not to mention I had to twist your arm for you to do the kick-off story on this year’s toy drive.”

“That hardly makes me a scrooge. I agreed to it, didn’t I?”

He pointed at the window. “Speaking of toys, did you see that huge Santa and sleigh on the flatbed truck in the parking lot? It’s filled with all kinds of fun things. What do you think they’re doing with all those toys?”

Amanda followed his gaze out the window. In the darkness, she could just make out a life-size Santa and sleigh. God, she hated sleighs.

She could also see Tate’s reflection in the glass. The man certainly knew how to wear a suit. Why did he have to be so incredibly good looking? His eyes met hers, causing her cheeks to warm. She glanced away and reached for the breadbasket. “Does it really matter?”

“I’m just trying to lighten the mood.” He flipped his menu to the other side.

She sighed. He was right. It was common knowledge around the station that she wasn’t a big fan of the holidays.

“You’re right. I do get somewhat uptight this time of year,” she admitted. “I was planning on going home tomorrow, but now I don’t know-”

Tate looked up and interrupted. “You’re not going home for Christmas? Why?”

“I don’t know what to do. My mother will kill me if I don’t. My older sister’s about to have a baby.”

“Everything okay?”

“With her, yes. It’s just I received some unsettling news about my ghost from Christmas past.”


“Never mind.” She slid back in her chair and took a drink. “It’s just hard to be single during the holidays, I guess.”

Tate studied her. “I wouldn’t have pegged you as the type of woman who gets down in the dumps for being single this time of year.”

“I’m not.” She paused. “Well, maybe I am a little. You think you’re headed down this precise path to achieving all of your carefully planned out goals-good grades, great college, solid career, the guy, perfect marriage, great sex-”

“Why, Ace, I could help you with that last goal.”

Amanda rolled her eyes. Of course he could. She continued, “Adorable kids and a nice house.” She sat up in her chair. “Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy in Wilmington. I’ve got a wonderful career, good friends, and my beautiful beachside condo bought and paid for. It’s just . . . I don’t know. You think everything is on track and then a-”

“Teleprompter jams,” he finished.

Her eyes started to water. “Something like that.” She immediately looked out the window to hide the evidence. Tate could not see her cry.

“So how long has it been since you’ve been home?”

“Two years.” Amanda grabbed a piece of bread and broke it apart.

“That’s nothing. What’s kept you away?”

“Long story.” Amanda grimaced and shoved the bread in her mouth.

“Might help to talk about it.”

She swallowed. “If you must know, my boyfriend of five years dumped me two years ago on Christmas Eve in front of all my family and friends.”


“Tell me about it.” She picked up her glass and swung it up in the air. “Then I get a text tonight telling me to check my Facebook, and guess what?” she asked, her voice rising. She didn’t wait for Tate to respond. “The bastard’s getting married!” She slammed her glass down. “Freakin’ engaged.”

“Is it really the end of the world?” Tate motioned for the waiter to bring Amanda a glass of water.

“Clearly you’ve never been in a relationship.”

“You just said you were happy here.”

“I am.”

“Are you still in love with him?”

“No.” She shook her head. “He might have broken up with me, but I realized we really weren’t meant to be. It’s just . . .”

“Just what?”

Amanda stared at Tate. Why was he so interested in her love life? “I guess I don’t understand why Brad gets to have his happy ending before me. Two years ago he didn’t want it.” Her eyes watered. This time she couldn’t hide the evidence as one tear slid down her cheek. “At least not with me.”

Tate grabbed a napkin from the table dispenser and handed it to Amanda. “Let’s turn this around.”

“How?” She sniffed, dabbing her eyes.

“Okay, here’s how I see it. Your sister is radiantly pregnant and about to pop out your mother’s first grandchild. Is your brother in a relationship?”

“Yes, with my best friend from high school.”

“I see.  It’s all making sense. There you will be at Christmas dinner, sandwiched between both couples. You have a great career and some would say a pretty good life here down south, but the humiliation of what happened with Brad will be the unspoken elephant in the room all weekend. Am I painting an accurate picture?”

With each stroke of his verbal brush, he certainly was. “I think you should order your dinner to go,” she said icily. It had obviously been a bad idea to share her love life with Tate.

“I think I can help-no, I know I can help you.”

“Help me? How?”

“If you brought a new man home, it would show everyone that you’ve moved on.”

“Maybe, but it’s not like I can rent one.” She thought for a second-could she?

“No need.” Tate reached for his drink and took a sip. “You can take me-free of charge.”

Amanda studied Tate. Was she hearing things?

“Take me home with you and introduce me as your boyfriend. I’ll fill that seat at Christmas dinner this year.”

“I was kidding with the bartender.” Amanda scoffed. The idea of bringing home a handsome boyfriend was intriguing. It would prove to everyone she was over Brad and past the humiliating breakup. But this was Tate. Handsome, yes. Her boyfriend? She didn’t think so. He rattled her on most days. They’d never pull it off.


Want to read more?  Purchase Christmas Dinner on Amazon or Barnes & Noble  and while you’re shopping, be sure to check out Destination Wedding also by Robyn Neeley.

Posted in Giveaway, Guests, Talking with

Talking with Katherine Linquist

I’m thrilled to have debut author Katherine Linquist on my blog today talking about her children’s book The Twelve-Day Christmas of Silverlenne Forest.  Even better, Katherine is giving away a copy of her book to one lucky commenter.

12 day christmasDoesn’t this look like a great book to share with your children or grandchildren while drinking milk and eating cookies in front of a stocking bedecked fire-place?

Katherine is a talented young lady.  Not only is she an author, but also a modern and contemporary dancer  trainee with the Inlet Dance Theater based in Ohio.  I’ve known her for years and can’t wait to see what she does next.

I sat down with this busy lady to find out more about The Twelve Day Christmas of Silverlenne Forest.

What inspired you to write this book?

I grew up taking ballet classes at dance studios in town. The studio I was attending needed a Christmas production, and it was suggested that I provide a plotline. I actually didn’t want to at the time. When I tried it, though, it was a whole lot of fun.  At first, I tried to stick with easily stage-able content. That was pretty tough, but turned out okay. Then the studio ended up picking a different production, so I was able to include whatever I wanted. I worked on Twelve-Day Christmas whenever the season came around, until Tate Publishing wanted to pick it up. It’s been an enjoyable project.

Tell me about your favorite place to write.  What makes it special?

There’s not a specific place, but there is a type of space. The best spots for me involve an open, indoor space with a good amount of natural light. It’s got to be pretty quiet but not silent. Christmas lights are also a personal touch of mine; I enjoy plugging them in when I’m writing quiet or relaxing scenes.

I love the idea of Christmas lights!  I may steal it.  Now for the important questions.  If a celebrity did your audio book, who would you pick and why?

Adam Young. Owl City always brightens my day with his quirky happiness. Ocean Eyes and Maybe I’m Dreaming were my go-to albums for editing this book. Consequently, his voice fits with the atmosphere in my head. I can also picture him having a lot of fun voicing a fairytale. Breanne Duren could join him for the female characters’ voices, too.

Great picks.  His voice is dreamy.  Thinking of dreams, I wish we got together more often because my kids adore spending time with you. The ten year old can’t wait to be in another play under your direction and the six year old wants to tackle you in football.  But since we are going to sneak out to the ballet, let’s get the characters from The Twelve Day Christmas of Silverlenne Forest to babysit. What will their night be like?

Well, if you ask for one princess, you get all three plus a prince and four fairies. No one will want payment, because half of them are royalty in wealthy kingdoms.  Also it might be weird for the neighbors to see the fairies’ wings. How about you to go on a cruise or something and just drop them off at the castle? They’ll be perfectly safe now. Although you might want to let Prince Ryan know if you don’t want your kids learning basic swordsmanship. 6 would only get a wooden sword, but I’m not sure about 10.

The six year old would be all over that.  What else?

They’ll probably create some massive piece of cloud artwork with Princess Cora. Princess Charlotte will set up a treasure hunt or some similar game for them in Silverlenne Forest. She’ll also take them stargazing, if they want to go. Princess Abigail will teach them how to swing on the forest vines. If you say it’s alright, she’ll do beginning archery with them, too. The Fairies will make sure they don’t do anything too dangerous. Between the four of them, they’ll also show your kids all over the kingdom. Honestly, they’ll both probably talk more about flying than anything else. If you want details of the castle halls, you’ll have to come see them yourself! The King and Queen would be more than happy to have you. Just make sure you’ve got a few books with you; they will want to know what kinds of stories are being told in our branch of the world.

Fun!  I hear the Queen makes delicious desserts.  What are your quick picks?

  • Chocolate, fruit or other? CHOCOLATE. Dark chocolate. White chocolate. Chocolate with caramel or almonds or salt. Yum.
  • Warm or cold? Whatever it’s not in the restaurant.
  • Buttercream or fondant? Fondant is weird. Buttercream.
  • Cookies or brownies? Afternoon: cookies. Evening: brownies. Both with butterscotch chips.
  • With nuts or without? It depends, but for simplicity’s sake, without.

Yum!  While Katherine and I run off to Silverlenne, here’s a bit more about the book.  Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter.  One lucky commenter wins a copy!

12 day christmas

Princess Abigail watches her kingdom’s Christmas preparations, meets Ryan, and is almost kidnapped within the space of a single day. The king asks Ryan to protect Abigail and her two sisters, whether they are swinging through the forest or bouncing on clouds. All the while, Abigail and Ryan are assisted by their four fairy friends in seeking a betrothal gift that will please the king and queen. It shouldn’t be impossible, but the woods by the castle have proven not as safe as they were before. The gifts keep sensing danger and running away.

An old threat to Silverlenne works to overthrow the king and queen.  A new threat joins him, and returns for Abigail. Ryan, Charlotte, and Cora search for her across the kingdom with help from five liquid-sunlight rings, eight dancing milkmaids, and ten lords marching to battle. Abigail works with the fairies to escape her captor’s fortress. Ryan and the others only have days to find her, or they will lose both Abigail and Silverlenne.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Twelve Day Christmas of Silverlenne Forest by Katherine Linquist is available now at Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and through Tate Publishing

You can visit Katherine and see some photos from her release party at

Posted in Books, Guests, Writing

Zombies! Dead New World by Ryan Hill

I love a good zombie story.  The Walking Dead is my favorite show on TV.  I love a  good zombie kill as much as the next person (is anyone else picturing spinning tires right about now?) but what keeps me coming back is the humanity in the show.  Zombies are an excellent metaphor for uncovering what makes us human which is why I’m so excited for Dead New World by Ryan Hill. Why, you ask? Read on!

Dead New World by Ryan Hill

 Zombies aren’t mindless anymore.

They follow orders. And if Holt and Ambrose want to kill some undead, they’ll do the same. But when a routine mission goes horribly wrong, the best friends’ lives are flayed to the bone. Now there’s only one light in the darkness of Holt’s life, and when she’s taken, he’ll do anything to get her back. Even if that means defying orders and using his best friend as a weapon. Holt and Ambrose risk all to save her, but what they discover among the hordes threatens to remake humanity. Again. In the end, will there be anything left to live for in this dead new world? I get chills from the title Dead New World, so I asked Ryan Hill (Twitter @J_Ryan), why zombies and here’s his reply.

Zombies: An Emotional Connection?

Just like everybody has their own zombie story, the dead meat all tend to mean something different to different people. George Romero made them out to be like consumers in Dawn of the Dead, Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead suggested the living were really the zombies, and Max Brooks’s World War Z, well… I guess you could say they brought out the best and worst of mankind. Hard to pin it down since the novel is really a collection of short stories that tell one massive story. What interested me about zombies was exploring a survivor, like Ambrose (the main character’s best friend). Someone who’d been bitten, sort of changed, but didn’t and now looks half-human, half-zombie. He still eats human food (not humans, mind you), but has an odd sort of psychic connection to the walking dead. Get it? Walking dead? Lame, I know. More importantly, how would the living treat a survivor? Would he be embraced? Pitied? Hated? I figured all of the above. Ambrose is forced to use different silverware, cups, etc. than the others, and he must wear biohazard symbols on all sides to let people know he could be a danger. The only one who isn’t afraid of him is his best friend, Holt. But what would that kind of hate and isolation do to a person? Would he prefer he were all the way dead, or fight every day to remain human? It’s an interesting conundrum, and one I hope gets answered in Dead New World.

Ryan Hill’s Dead New World is forthcoming from Definition House, (Click here for their gorgeous site) but there is a catch – a Kickstart campaign!  Want to help make this book become a reality?
[kickstarter url= width=220]
Be brave!

Posted in Guests, Reading, Talking with

Talking with MJ Schiller

Copy-of-upon-a-midnight-clear-blog-tour_128 (2)

I’m delighted to have multi-published author MJ Schiller as my guest today.

MJ is a lot of fun and I love her way of thinking.  Her newest release, Once Upon a Midnight Clear, promises a blend of sweetness and suspense just in time for the holidays.

So, MJ, I have to ask, what inspired Once upon a Midnight Clear?

This one was actually written in response to a submissions call. The press wanted a romantic suspense novella with a Santa as a main character, whether he be the good guy or bad. I thought about what might be an interesting request for a mall Santa to have and came up with the little girl asking for a daddy, because her daddy was dead. I thought this would immediately pull the reader into the story. From there it was easy to plot the rest. It’s a romantic suspense, so of course the daddy was murdered, and the bad guy is after the heroine and her daughter, the girl who sat on Santa’s lap. After working with an editor at the press through revisions that editor had to retire because of family issues, and I was assigned to a new editor. The new editor’s advice was the direct opposite of the first editor’s, so I just decided to hire my own editor and self-publish it.

I like your solution to the conflicting advice dilemma.  Too bad not all problems are as easily solved.  Since I struggle with this myself, I wonder, how do you make time to write? 

I’m just going to put it out there. I ignore my family and my other responsibilities. Chiefly, cleaning the house. I only clean when I finish a round of edits and I haven’t yet started on the next project. As far as my family goes, I’ve often looked up at 7:30 at night and gone, “Oh, yeah. Dinner…” I have a nineteen-year-old and seventeen-year-old triplets. I figure, I gave them over a dozen good years of steady dinner times, they can muddle through without me. The person who finds this most objectionable is my spouse. In conclusion, it’s easy to find time to do the thing you love most to do…just aggravating for others.

At that age, they should be feeding you – at least when you’re on deadline.  MJ, you’ve previously published the Rock Romance series.  Do you listen to music when you write?

That would be too distracting for me. Music, though, has inspired a number of
my books. TRAPPED UNDER ICE is a mixture of storylines that were created while listening to different Nickelback songs. I have another book in the works that is inspired by Breaking Benjamin music. If you are familiar with the band, then you will know that book is a little bit darker and sadder than my others.

I’ll have to check out Breaking Benjamin.  Thanks for the tip.  Since we’re sharing, what books do you like?  What’s on your nightstand?

I love all kinds of romances. I don’t like anything too heavy because I think life is heavy enough, so I read for pure escapism. I read mostly in the car, so the only books on my nightstand are THE BIBLE and our daily devotional. My Kindle is loaded with books from author friends who I like to support and who have books that interest me. I have it in the car most of the time to read in those spare minutes when I’m picking someone up and waiting for them, or while waiting for appointments.

And with children – you have a lot of time waiting in cars.  My kids are a wee bit younger (6 and 10) and they built a time machine out of Legos.  Where are we going and why? 

Back to the day before I met my husband so I could begin again!

Maybe I’ll let you take that journey on your own… Maybe we should go out for a drink with your hero and heroine.  Where are we?

It’s one of those neighborhood types of bars. Dylan is drinking a domestic beer.
Keira has Irish cream over ice.

Yum!  Okay, I’m hungry for dessert quick question time:

  • Chocolate, fruit or other? *incredulous snort* Chocolate!
  • Warm or cold? warm
  • Buttercream or fondant? buttercream
  • Cookies or brownies? brownies
  • With nuts or without? without

I know just the place.  Before we head out, why don’t you leave me with a blurb and an excerpt for Once Upon a Midnight Clear, and answer one last question – which celebrity would you pick to read the audio book?

Morgan Freeman. Because…he’s Morgan Freeman. And if he’s busy, James Earl Jones or Liam Neeson.

Oh how I wish I could make the Eartha Kitt Catwoman noise.  Great picks.  Thinking of picks – be sure to pick up your copy of Once Upon a Midnight Clear by my guest today, MJ Schiller

Blurb ~ Once Upon a Midnight Clear

Dylan Fisher is an EMT and part-time Santa Claus at a mall in Denver, Colorado. He has logged plenty of time with children sitting on his lap asking for anything from the latest electronic gadget to a week’s worth of homework passes, but he never heard anyone ask for what little Delaney Kelly asked for on one snowy night in December. A dad! When Dylan’s eyes search the crowd for Delaney’s mother and land on Keira Kelly, the paramedic almost finds himself in need of a little CPR. She is stunning!

Keira Kelly is still grieving over the loss of her husband, but a reckless driver has her thinking about nothing but survival as she’s headed home from the mall. When Keira wakes in the hospital to find a hunky EMT at her bedside, she begins having a few thoughts that would put her on Santa’s Naughty List for sure! But when she finds out the EMT is only hanging around because the police believe someone is out to get her, she’s not sure what to think about his kindness. Is he helping her because he wants to, or because he feels he needs to? And what about the man who rammed her car, could he have had something to do with her husband’s death?

Excerpt Once Upon a Midnight Clear by MJ Schiller

MidnightClear_CVR_MEDHer gaze skimmed over the crowd again and Dylan searched the faces as well, wondering which ones belonged to her parents. Delaney’s focus shifted back to him, her face sincere as she crooked a little finger to tell him to come closer, although they were only a breath apart. He leaned in further, tickled by her earnestness. He wasn’t at all prepared for her whispered request.

“Well, Santa, since my Daddy went to heaven, I want a new Daddy.”

Dylan sat stock-still, his heart in his throat. He’d heard kids ask for everything from the newest video games to snow, but this was a new one. He pulled back, “You want…a Daddy?” His voice sounded odd in his ears.

The little girl nodded, prayerful as she clasped her hands in front of her, the knuckles turning white. He gazed into her sweet face and began stroking her hair absentmindedly. He was at a loss. The would-be Santa threw a quick glimpse at his elf-assistant. With her head cocked, she listened for the next name in her walkie-talkie, not looking in his direction at all. Scanning the crowd, he hoped to find some inspiration, something he could say to the child on his knee which would somehow be right in this situation.

That’s when he saw her face. He knew the woman leaning across the retractable band, waving frantically, must be Delaney’s mother. It wasn’t so much that she bore a striking resemblance to her daughter, but there was something about her. She possessed the same, round eyes—though the mom’s proved a more interesting grey—and warm smile, only with just the thinnest veil of sadness. Or had he perhaps, just imagined it, having seconds before found out she was a widow? He took in her china-pale skin and straight, auburn hair, hanging just to the shoulder. Her bangs made her look a bit like Cleopatra and accented those already fabulous eyes all the more.

He tore his eyes away from the striking face, peering again into the miniaturized version in front of him. “Well, honey, I-I…”

An elf at the bottom of the stairs interrupted him, leaning with one bent leg on an upper step, an elbow on her knee, and fist balled under the chin. “I’m sorry, sweetheart, but Santa needs to visit with some of the other children. Did you get to tell him what you wanted?”

Delaney gazed at Dylan solemnly; the look swore him to secrecy. “Yes. Yes, I did,” she replied in that grown-up way of hers, and then she did something unexpected.  She kissed him on the cheek and hopped down, slipping her hand into the elf’s hand. As they walked away, Delaney glanced back. He sat frozen, his mouth hanging open. An elf leaned in.



She frowned. “Tommy!”

Dylan turned to look at her. “Oh, right…Tommy.”

Will Delaney get what she wants?  Find out in Once Upon a Midnight Clear.

Posted in Guests, Talking with

Talking with Jenna Jaxon

Today I’m welcoming Jenna Jaxon and her Lyrical release Only Scandal will Do.  Every time I visit Jenna, I end up blushing.  Read on to see what I mean.

What inspired you to write this book?

I was reading Mary Balogh’s historical romance The Secret Pearl and Duncan (my hero, the Marquess of Dalbury) came up and started whispering in my ear about how he had gone to a brothel auction and bought a red-haired prostitute for an obscene amount of money. But after he tried to have his   way with her, he found out she was actually a lady who’d been kidnapped. I was drooling with excitement by this time, couldn’t wait to find out how this story ended–if they overcame this horrible meeting to have an HEA.

Prostitution?  I’m blushing already.  What types of books do you enjoy reading? What is on your nightstand?

I love historical romance first and foremost, although I do read a smattering of other sub-genres, mostly what my author friends write.  I also LOVE Stephen King (my favorite non-romance author), Dean Koontz, John Grisham, and Patricia Cornwell.  At the moment  on my nightstand (though I’m not actively reading anything) are three books I got at RWA this year:  Too Good to be True by Kristan Higgins, Lyon’s Bride by Cathy Maxwell, and Mary Balogh’s The Arrangement.  And my most recent purchase, Jo Beverley’s latest, Seduction in Silk.

Tell me about your favorite place to write.  What makes it special?

My favorite place to write is a cabin in the woods.  That may sound totally strange–especially when said cabin has no electricity–but it’s the most peaceful place I know, has absolutely no distractions, and I can consistently write a chapter a day when I’m there.  I can use a PowerStation to charge the computer and cell phone (for research when necessary) and I’m happy as a clam!  It’s owned by dear friends who take care of me and pamper me when I’m there.  The perfect writer’s retreat.

The pictures of the cabin frighten me a little – especially since I enjoy a good Stephen King novel myself.  Do you listen to music when you write?  If so, what?

When I did academic writing I would have on music videos or movies playing that I knew well and they created a white noise that I could tune out and still write.  Writing fiction, however, I optimally have no music, no television, nothing.  Of course, that only happens when I’m at the cabin I mentioned above.  I have two daughters who like to watch TV while I write.

With two daughters and a full-time job, how do you make time to write?

I steal it.  From sleeping.  From time with the family.  From time putting on make-up. LOL (I don’t wear any make-up because I’d rather spend the 15-20 minutes writing.)  I stay up as late as I can and get up as early as I can.  I’d be so much further ahead if I didn’t have to sleep.  Five hours I have to have–six is a luxury I allow only occasionally.  I take off whole days sometimes to have a writer’s retreat with fellow members in my local chapter.  Those are very productive days.

Sounds like a great writing group.  Let’s be semi-productive now and play “Dump the purse” – what’s in yours?

Crap (not literally).  Change purse, tons of receipts, chapstick (from RWA!), pens, office key, Faculty ID, Sam’s Club Card, pill bottles, a roll of surgical tape, a ring, a red washable marker, a thumb drive (also from RWA), Splenda packets, business cards, a swag key chain from a local chapter member, a cell phone screen cleaner (RWA), lipstick, my last month’s pay stub, a Crystal Light Peach Tea packet. Nothing terribly interesting, unfortunately.

I’m sure more than one of those pens came from RWA.  Now that our purses are clean, let’s run out for a drink.  Oh, dear.  I need a babysitter.  How about the characters from Only Scandal Will Do?

If Katarina were babysitting, your children would likely have their first lesson in fencing.  If Duncan was watching them, they’d probably be still be playing something like pirates when you got home.

Duncan’s hired!  Now, for a few last questions:

  • Chocolate, fruit or other? Chocolate
  • Warm or cold? Cold
  • Buttercream or fondant?  Buttercream
  • Cookies or brownies?  Brownies
  • With nuts or without?  With nuts (and Amaretto!)

YUM!!!  Jenna and I are off to get dessert, but you get a treat too!  Enjoy this excerpt from Jenna Jaxon’s Historical Romance Only Scandal will Do.

“I assure you, there was never a night like that before.” Lord Dalbury spoke quietly, and Katarina sensed a tension in him. “I had never done such a thing before. Never participated in such an auction. Never tried to take a woman unwillingly to my bed.” He stopped speaking. Just stopped. Then his breath hissed as though he’d slowly released it.

“I cannot find the words to tell you how deeply I regret I was not a better man that night.” He paused, and she held still and waited. “What I tried to do was madness, without thought, without honor. I do not even have an excuse other than my base desires, and that your abundant charms overwhelmed me.” His face was shadowy in the scarce light of the sickle moon, but he sounded contrite. “I have no right to ask for your forgiveness. I have no right to expect it. But I would ask you to allow me to attempt to remedy the situation.”

Kat shook her head slowly. “What on earth do you believe you could do, Lord Dalbury, that could even come close to a remedy for the terror and humiliation you put me through? Do you think now that I have met you, heard your feeble attempts at an apology, and rejected them, the memory of that night will magically disappear?” She fought to control her anger, though she yearned to blast him with it. “What magic potion would you have me take that would erase the memory of you pinning me to the bed? Because if you have such an elixir, then yes, I will gladly take it from you and obliterate you absolutely and irrevocably.”

He stood silent at her words, then said simply, “I have only myself to offer, my lady.”

“You would have me kill you, my lord? In that, too, I agree I would oblige you, but not at the cost of my own life. I understand the English law punishes those who do murder quite severely.” Kat was astonished when he lurched backward, as from a blow.

“No, my lady, I would not have you kill me,” he said, sounding grimly amused. “Though indeed that would probably give you most satisfaction. I meant I would have you marry me.”

His words surprised a laugh out of her. “Marry you?” The laughter grew. “I see, my lord, you think me both a whore and a fool.”

“I think you are neither, Lady Katarina.”

“Then you are the fool to believe I would put such a man as you in control of every aspect of my life.” That he thought she would even entertain the suggestion was insulting.

The pale moonlight shadowed his face, but she could read displeasure there just the same. “You judge me solely on one act that, I assure you, was grossly out of character for me. You cannot possibly know what kind of husband I would be.”

“And never will, Lord Dalbury. I can swear to you that I would not marry you if I were in Hell and you were my only hope of Heaven.”

He inclined his head toward her, a faint smile touching his lips. “I believe you made a similar claim about dancing with me, Lady Katarina. Yet we have indeed enjoyed a dance together despite your words.” His tone was soft, the sensuous, cajoling one he had used to seduce her that night in the House of Pleasure.

Kat trembled, recalling the incredible sensations of his hands, his mouth on her body. Damn. He could not do this to her again. Not just with his voice.

“Is there nothing that would entice you to leave your Hell for my Heaven?”

She struggled to answer, opened her lips to deny it, only to find her mouth completely sealed by his.”

onlyscandalwilldoVintage(1)WARNING: A blade-wielding heroine crosses
swords with a master of sensuality.

Wowza!  Jenna Jaxon made me blush again.  Pick up Only Scandal Will Do at any of these fine location:

Amazon, Barnes & NobleAll Romance eBooks or iTunes.

You can find out more about Jenna Jaxon and Only Scandal Will Do at



Twitter:  @Jenna_Jaxon

Thanks for stopping by!

Posted in Crimson Romance, Guests, Reading, Writing

Talking with Heather Thurmeier

Hi Heather, thanks for stopping by today.  Tell me a bit about your Reality TV Romance Series.

There are three books and each takes place during the filming of a different show.  Each book was inspired by one of my favorite reality TV shows. The first, Falling for You, was inspired by The Bachelor/ette. The second, Stuck on You, was inspired by The Amazing Race. The third, Lost Without You, was inspired by Survivor.

Terrific picks all of them.  I’m slightly obsessed with the Amazing Race.  James and Jaymes will be appearing in my future books. So, I’m curious, how did these real life reality TV shows influence your novels?

When I created the characters for each book, I thought about the different characters and relationships I’ve watched on TV over the years. Some I’ve loved, some I’ve hated, some I couldn’t figure out why they were the way they were. But each of them left a lasting impression on me long after the shows ended. And that was exactly what I wanted my fictional characters to do too! Some of my favorite characters were people like Boston Rob and Amber, Mike Boogie and Dr. Will, Flight Time and Big Easy and so, so many more! I always love seeing the father/daughter, Mother/son combos! I love the best friends and coworkers who take on the challenge of going on a show together. And I LOVE the showmances that blossom spontaneously when contestants are thrown together into the isolation of a show for weeks.

Boston Rob created such a great TV persona.  I’ve always wonder what he is like in real life.  I met Flight Time a few years ago and he is just as charming in person.  And I love watching the different group dynamics and how those dynamics change under pressure. How about you?

I was also inspired by the crazy challenges contestants are expected to take part in on these shows. Each one makes their contestants do something so completely out of their comfort zone that it’s almost cringe-worthy watching them try to attempt it. Anything from obstacle courses, to eating disgusting things that should never be consumed, to daring walks across tightropes or even bungee jumping. When I wrote the challenge in these series, I thought back to all of those competitions I’d seen on TV before. I tweaked, twisted, and manipulated them until they were something original and unique, but each still feels familiar and completely plausible as something you really would watch on TV! I had so much fun… too much fun… thinking up these challenges and forcing my characters to take part!

They’re fun to read, too.

Thank you. Some of my favorite challenges happen on Survivor. They always seem to have the most elaborate setups for the contestants to conquer. I love their obstacle courses and swimming challenges the most. In Lost Without You, I definitely touched on those as part of my contestant’s challenges. After being the ‘creator’ of a reality TV show in a series of novels, I can only imagine how much fun the development team on real reality TV shows have when they’re thinking up and designing challenges for the upcoming season! I think I would love that job!!

It would be, but I wouldn’t want to be the one to test all those challenges.  There have been a few I watched through my eyelids. 

So who were some of your favorite characters? What are some of your favorite moments in reality TV? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Thank you so much for having me today!

~Heather Thurmeier

“Heather Thurmeier’s hunky heroes and feisty heroines will have you laughing out loud, falling in love … and coming back for more!” ~ Carly Phillips, NY Times Bestselling Author

“Heather Thurmeier writes sweet, funny romances that capture your heart!” –NYT and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Probst


Facebook: HeatherThurmeierAuthor



Heather Thurmeier is a lover of strawberry margaritas, a hater of spiders and a reality TV junkie. She was born and raised in the Canadian prairies, but now lives in New York with her husband and kids where she’s become some kind of odd Canuck-Yankee hybrid. When she’s not busy taking care of the kids and pets, Heather’s writing her next romance, which will probably be filled with sassy heroines, sexy heroes that make your heart pound, laugh out loud moments and always a happily ever after. You can find out more about Heather and her books by checking out her website at:


Zoe Oliver never wanted to be on another reality TV show . . . until Chip Cormack made an offer too good to refuse. He’s guaranteed her a payday this time and a chance to redeem herself in America’s eyes. But Zoe worries she won’t be able to focus as her desire for Chip grows and her strength to resist him weakens. When she learns she’ll be roughing it in the woods with Chip and without luxuries like indoor plumbing and electricity, she’s instantly on edge, feeling naked and terrified that her scars will be exposed and her secrets revealed. When Zoe’s past turns up on the show, she fears she’ll lose not only the life she’s sacrificed everything else to have, but also the affections of the only man she’s ever trusted with her heart.

Amazon buy link:

Posted in Family life, Guests

A new addition

Yesterday, we welcomed a new feline into the home, but I’m not sure who adopted whom.  The new house cat, who is as yet unnamed, began showing up at our house nearly two years ago.  The kids fed him.  He came back.

For the last few years, he sat with me as I waited for my daughter to get home from school.  He’s sat patiently in the rain and cold waiting for a bit of kibble. He’s chased butterflies in the yard, purred upon seeing us and hopped on our laps uninvited.  A year ago, he started grooming me, a sure-fire sign he considered me kin.

I’ve listened to neighbors strolling past shout out “What a beautiful cat you have!” And he is a looker – a solid black with a shiny healthy coat and green eyes.  For a long time, I shouted back “He’s beautiful, but he’s not mine.” I pumped them for information about who might be missing a cat too tame to call feral.  I wondered where this cat called home, but he already knew.

A month ago my cat-allergic husband began testing the waters, accepting the affection the cat offered so freely.  With his approval and a daily dose of Zyrtec, I took the cat to the vet to ensure his health before bringing him in.

There will be challenges ahead and plenty of hisses as he meets our two resident cats up close and personal after looking through windows at one another for months. I give it a week before the mutual grooming begins. This is a cat whose ever gesture and purr seems to say “thank you” and “what took you so long to realize you belong to me.”

Posted in company, Crimson Romance, Environment, Guests

Happy Earth Day (with guests)

I’m a nature loving girl, as is my daughter and my mother.  I think we inherited our love from my Grandfather, who was a steward of the earth long before Earth Day made us more aware of the special place we live.

To  honor Earth Day I invited a couple of friends to share some ideas on how to take care of our planet.  Please welcome Kenyatta Copeland, project manager with Jordan and Burke an environmental consulting firms that specializes in watershed restoration, and her husband, Malcolm Patterson, Senior Project Manager with H20 Environmental. H20 also specializes in watershed restoration, water quality planning and regulatory compliance.  I first met them in Synithia Williams’ You Can’t Plan Love.  Even though I’m convinced the heat between them is partially responsible for global warming, I couldn’t think of anyone better to take over my blog for a day.  Without further ado, may I present Kenyetta and Malcolm.

Kenyatta: Lola invited us here on Earth Day to talk small steps you can take to celebrate Earth Day every day.

Malcolm: One of the reasons I work on environmental initiatives is because I’m an avid fisherman. I see firsthand the impact of pollution on waterways and I like the challenge that comes with finding ways to protect a resource I use.

Kenyatta: And I like making a difference in my community and seeing results first hand. But you don’t have to work at an environmental firm to make a difference. Making small changes in your daily life can not only improve water quality, but have multiple environmental benefits.

Malcolm: For example, switching from a gas mower to an electric mower not only prevents the possibility of leaks and spills during oil changes that can be washed into the storm drain and ultimately our local waterways, but it also reduces air pollution.

Kenyatta: Conserving water in your home saves this valuable resource, and reduces the amount of energy needed by water providers to treat and supply water.

Lola: Reading between the lines, does that mean sharing a shower is good for the planet?

[Awkward pause.  Kenyetta blushes.  Malcolm clears his throat.]

Malcolm: My job requires lots of travelling, so carpooling with co-workers saves gas and reduces air pollution. I also make a habit to book hotels that offer environmental services such as recycling for their guests.

Kenyatta: I love going out to eat with my girlfriends, so looking for restaurants that serve local food is something we do to not only support local businesses, but gives me assurance my food is fresher since it wasn’t shipped halfway across the country.

And since Malcolm also can’t cook, we eat out a lot but never sit in the drive through line. It’s faster to go inside and it reduces pollution from our vehicles idling.

Malcolm: I though this interview was about Earth Day, not my lack of culinary skills.

Kenyatta: Sorry, baby, just making another “green” point.

Malcolm: Because I love you, I’ll let it slide. I hope you enjoyed our simple tips on ways that you can go green.

Kenyatta: We wanted to touch on things you may not have considered before and hopefully our information gave you something to think about. You can learn more green tips at, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Earth Day Page

Thanks, Lola, for having us hang here today and spread our green message. Maybe next time Malcolm can sing the Captain Planet theme song.

Malcolm: You had to bring that up, didn’t you?

Kenyatta: Only because I love you.

Lola: Awwwww. Thank you both for coming and sharing some great ideas with us. Next time I’ll figure out how to imbed songs.  Malcolm’s singing is something I want to hear.

You can get to know Kenyetta and Malcolm in You Can’t Plan Love by Synithia Williams

Knowing firsthand the heartbreak that comes when desire and emotion rule a relationship, Kenyatta Copeland assumes marrying Brad Johnson will lead to a safe and secure life. But as much as she believes she can plan her future, it’s hard to ignore the way her boss, Malcolm Patterson, ignites her passions with just one look.

After Malcolm learns of her engagement, he makes a play for her heart and reminds her that passion between a man and a woman has its perks… but also its costs. When Brad confirms his suspicion that there’s more than work between Kenyatta and Malcolm, he devises a sinister plan to keep Kenyatta by his side.

Torn between her promise to marry Brad and her irrepressible longing for Malcolm, Kenyatta must decide if she can live her life in a passionless marriage of convenience or once again trust her heart. Yet Brad does not intend to let her go easily, and by the time she realizes the depths of his treachery, it may be too late.

Synithia Williams is also the author of Worth the Wait and the forthcoming Heart to Heal.  You can find her books at Amazon, B&N, and more.