Excerpt of THE MORE I SEE - Book 3 of Texas Hearts

Let me start out my post by saying that I'm hanging my head in shame.  I had every intention of having the 3 books in the Texas Hearts series available 1 week apart.  I love reading series books one after the other so I'm fully aware of how much I'm frustrating some of my readers by being late with the 3rd installment of THE MORE I SEE.  It's okay, you can comment here and tell me how mad you are at me.  I won't mind.  I deserve it.

But alas, I was being ambitious.  Life gets in the way and THE MORE I SEE has been delayed.  My hope is to have it uploaded to Smashwords, Amazon and Barnes and Noble by the end of the week.  When I do, I will post here and let you all know.  So keep checking back.  

When I wrote my Texas Hearts series, I always knew that Cody, Beau's brother, was the "handsome one" of the bunch.  Girls loved him.  He was sexy, successful, arrogant and the to-die-for cowboy hero that makes a woman want to be on his arm.  So pairing him up with Lyssa McElhannon, a guide dog training who was a Plain Jane was an interesting dynamic.  Having a reversal of roles where she had been blind most of her life and could now see, and he'd had his eyesight was now blind, was also an interesting dynamic.  I wondered how they viewed life and what living really was.

I won't say more except to mention that this story was inspired by a friend of mine, who'd been blind for about 8 years, and trained with a guide dog.  I'd been so in awe of the relationship between handler and service dog that I knew I needed to write a story about this special relationship.  Otis, the wonder dog/guide dog in THE MORE I SEE, was inspired by the real Otis that helped give my friend the freedom of movement while living those 8 years in her dark world.   

But this story is so much more than just finding life again after a debilitating accident.  It's about confronting the deepest fears we have as humans and trusting enough to allow someone to see the real beauty inside.

While you're waiting for THE MORE I SEE to be released, I want to give you a chance to peek inside this book and see what's in store for Cody Gentry.  Here is an excerpt from THE MORE I SEE.  Enjoy!
 The More I See - Book 3 - Texas Hearts

Chapter One

There was nothing extraordinary about Alyssandra Orchid McElhannon but her name.  She was used to being invisible where men were concerned.  People for that matter, but men were an unusual breed for sure.  This one was no different.
Lowering her sunglasses, she blinked as she peered at the long and lean man stretched out on the lawn chair by the pool.  So this was Cody Gentry.  The man that insisted she come all the way from the Houston school where she'd worked to personally train him here on the Silverado Ranch.
At least Cody Gentry had a valid excuse not to notice her.  He was blind.
He made no move to indicate he'd heard her approach or the soft sound of dog claws scraping on the concrete as she led her guide dog closer.  No tilt of his head, lift of his long fingers which were weaved tightly together on his lap, or even a twitch of his booted feet, crossed and slightly hanging over the end of the lawn chair. 
Lyssa slid the sunglasses back up the bridge of her nose.  He could be asleep, she decided.  By the slump of his shoulders and his head cocked to one side, his white straw cowboy hat tilted over his face ever so slightly, it was certainly possible.  It would explain why he'd yet to have even a slight reaction to her approach.
She knew how acute the other senses were when one was lost.  She'd outfitted herself in the usual garb, a pair of well-worn blue jeans, a cool cotton button down shirt and a comfortable pair of sneakers.  She could understand how the soft soles of her sneakers would sound muffled.  Lyssa wasn't the most graceful person, but she wasn't a clod.  If Cody hadn't heard the sound of her footsteps, he should have at least noticed the telltale sound of Otis' paws on the walkway.
Maybe he wasn't asleep.  Maybe he was just being rude.  Mike Gentry, Cody's father, had warned as much.
It had only been a week ago that Mike Gentry first approached the Houston Guide Dog School asking for immediate help, insisting his son needed a one on one instructor.  If only the school could send someone to the ranch, it might break through the deep, impenetrable depression that had overtaken his son since a freak chemical accident had rendered him blind nearly eight months earlier.  Help him get back among the living again.
Lyssa had been in the office the day Mike Gentry strode in with deep pockets and endless arguments about why he needed someone immediately.  The director had been insistent that the school offered only month long classes to students who stayed on their campus.  While what he was asking for his son was not unprecedented, it was usually reserved for extreme cases.
Mike Gentry's pockets were deep and the money he offered to gift the school spoke of his desperation.  Right in front of Lyssa he'd offered what amounted to enough money to service several dogs to those in need.    Cody needed to become functional again in his own environment,  Without the aid of a guide dog, he wouldn't be able to get around.
He'd assured the school that Cody was eager to work with a guide dog, but given life on the ranch, he felt that training must be conducted in an environment where the dog and handler would spend the bulk of their time.
Lyssa found she couldn't stay quiet.  There was time before the next class started.  She had a dog ready and even with the limited information Mike Gentry had offered about his son, Lyssa felt the match might work.  
Peering over at Cody now, she realized the depression Mike Gentry spoke of was much worse than he had let on. 
The desperation, the depression.  Lyssa had seen it happen before.  Although she didn't remember feeling it herself having lost her own eyesight at such a young age.  When she regained eyesight again after twenty years of living in the darkness it was cause for celebration.  New miracle surgery.  That option wasn't open to everyone.  Yet.  Lyssa was sure that one day it would be.  The advances modern medical science had made still astounded her.
Until that day came, she had the incredible task of trying to pull this six-foot plus man out of his despair by showing him that life was still worth living without his vision. 
She sighed, noticing the heavy slump of his shoulders.  She had her work cut out for her.
She made a command to Otis to sit and, as the dog was trained, he heeded to the command instantly.  Lyssa cleared her throat and the man didn't move. 
As she suspected, he'd heard her perfectly well.  He simply chose to ignore her.
"I was told I could find Cody Gentry out here by the pool," she finally said.
The muscles on his face twitched slightly.  "Who's looking?"
The timbre of his voice was deep, with a faintly ominous edge that reminded Lyssa of the voices she'd heard as a child when she and Kim would sneak downstairs in the middle of the night and watch old horror flicks on cable.  She couldn't see the movies, she'd only heard the voices, and that added to the mystery, raised the level of anticipation, sending shivers racing up her spine.
Cody wasn't anything out of a horror flick.  She ignored the swell of apprehension that had her confidence faltering. 
She knew better than to extend her hand in a normal greeting for her introduction.  Instead, she drew in a deep breath and hoped her voice sounded pleasant.  "I'm Alyssandra McElhannon."
He didn't move.  "What do you want?" 
"I brought Otis," she said cheerfully.
"What's Otis?"
"Otis is a who, not a what."
His whole body seemed to stiffen.  His voice was controlled, but edgy enough to send shivers chasing over her skin.  "I'm sorry you came all the way out here like this.  Apparently someone failed to give you adequate information.  I'm not training cuttin' horses anymore."
"Oh, Otis isn't a horse.  He's a dog.  Your guide dog.  And I'm here to train the two of you to work as a team."  She said the words with the pride she couldn't help but feel.  Otis, like many dogs trained as seeing aids for the vision impaired, were a lifeline to independence. 
He sat still, unaffected.  It wasn't at all the reaction she'd been expecting. 
"Not interested."
"And you would be Cody Gentry, I take it?" she asked already knowing he was.
"I just said I'm not interested."
"And I heard you.  My job is to make you interested."  
"Says who?"
Confused, she said, "Mike Gentry for one." 
He groaned audibly and straightened up in his chair.  "My father sent you, huh?"
"That's right.  He didn't tell you I was coming?"
"Did he already pay you for your troubles?"
"Well, yes, a portion is—"
"Then you're fired.  I'll make sure you get the rest of the money you're owed by mail.  I'm sorry he wasted your time."
Lyssa's huff was slightly exaggerated.  Cody was as difficult as Mike Gentry had warned but in a totally different way than Lyssa had been prepared for.
"In the first place, the school pays my salary and it is run entirely by donations.  Second, training my dogs and students is never a waste of my time.  Furthermore, you aren't the one who hired me, your father did.  In fact, he asked me to stay on at the ranch until you and Otis were working well together.  So, you can't fire me, no matter how much you squawk."
He made a face that almost made her laugh.  "Squawk?"
Crossing her arms across her chest, she said, "I call it like I see it."
"Listen, Ms. McElfen er McEllaf…  What's your name again?"
"McElhannon," she said slowly.  "Alyssandra Orchid McElhannon.  If we're going to be working together, I'd prefer to keep things informal.  So you can call me Lyssa, if it's easier." 
Easier and infuriating, she knew.  Just because he couldn't see her, didn't mean he couldn't hear perfectly well.  In fact, she knew his hearing was much better now than it had been before he'd lost his eyesight.   
"Okay, Lyssa.  I appreciate your crusade here, but you really are wasting your time.  And mine, for that matter.  I don't need a dog, and I don't need you.  I need my eyes back.  And if you can't give me that, then get out of my way!  I don't want you or your dog here."
Anger flared so strong through her whole being that Lyssa could taste its bitterness.  Part of Mike Gentry's argument that Cody needed a one-on-one instructor was because of his environment.  He'd warned Cody could be difficult to work with, but explained he was there on Cody's behalf and that Cody was anxious to start training as soon as possible.  He had attitude, but a strong desire.  The only way to show Cody exactly how infuriating he could be was to throw it back in his face, his father had told her.  Fight fire with fire.  That seemed to be the only way to break through Cody's despair lately. 
Lyssa couldn't argue with that.  Cody had plenty of attitude.  But Lyssa had underestimated the warning and now regretted it.  Fight fire with fire?  In her estimation she was going to need to set off a case of C4 explosives to even make a dent.  
"Otis and I aren't going anywhere," she said calmly.  "At least not for the next month."
"A month?"
"That's right."
Anger simmered to a boil just beneath the surface of Cody's exterior it seemed.  His movements were quick and deliberate as he sat up straight and dropped his boots to the ground with a thud.  She wanted to take a step back to shield herself from the slap of anger she was sure he was about to unleash, but she held her ground.
Lyssa had been too young to feel the anger when she'd lost her eyesight.  She learned, just as a child learns to crawl and then walk, how to live in her dark world.  Learning to crawl for a child was second nature.  Curiosity won over confidence every time, hands down.  Get from point A to point B and it didn't matter how you got there as long as you did it. 
Learning to crawl as an adult, however, was utterly different.
She stayed rooted in her place and in silence, watching him stumble in disorientation while trying to rise from the lounge chair, and then feel his way around the table to the back of the chair.  He lifted his head and an almost imperceptible sigh of relief escaped his lips.  Cody dragged in a breath of air and began walking, his body tall and proud, his hands rooted at his side instead of out in front of him as a guide.
He must have memorized the amount of steps.  Even in his stubbornness, his instinct for survival took over.  Maybe she could use that to her advantage.  Make it his.  She wasn't going to give him an inch though.  She suspected a single step back for Cody would feel more like a mile.
Eight steps.
He didn't need her here.  Not right at that moment.  But she gave it one more try to see if she could make a small crack in his resolve.
"If you'd like, Otis will take you in."
He reached the door and lifted his hands, floating them out in front of him until they made purchase with the outer wall of the house.  "I told you I don't need the dog."
"Yeah, I heard you.  But counting eight steps only gets you from the chair to the house.  What do you do when you're out in the fields?  There aren't any chairs out there.  Or is that some place you never venture anymore?"
His whole body became rigid.  But he said nothing.
She shifted her weight to one hip and crossed her arms as she looked out into the green and gold pastures that rolled deep into the horizon. 
"I suppose you could count the fence posts, or even paces to the fence, but turning around would be a bear.  You could end up walking all the way to the county line before you hit the other side of the ranch."
"Your point?" he said haughtily.  
"Otis can help you get around.  Help you climb out of your eight steps and make it a hundred or more."
He dismissed her easily by turning and carefully walking through the French doors. 
She released a slow breath, felt her shoulders sag slightly.  Guilt should be gnawing at her inside by now for striping down his reality but she had no other choice.  In her experience, it was either depression in a comfortable chair for the rest of his days, or it was living again.  She was determined to make sure Cody Gentry chose right.
In the meantime, Lyssa had a few strong words for his father.

Guest Blogger - Author Jill James

Please join me in welcoming Indie Author Jill James to Conversations today!  Jill is the author of Divorce, Interupted (love that title) and Someone to Trust.  Jill will be giving away a copy of book Divorce, Interupted, which is book 1 in the series, today to one lucky commenter.  So don't be shy.  Grab a cup of coffee and join the conversation!



Jill James BIO:

Jill has loved to write since she first began putting on puppet shows in her garage for a nickel a person. Her first love was poetry until she picked up her first romance novel, after that it was all romance. She writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense and paranormal romance. She is a member of RWA since 2004 and a member of the From The Heart chapter, Black Diamond chapter, Kiss of Death chapter, and ESPAN chapter. She has been writing romance for a few years with a few poetry contest wins and a published short story, Lunch Break. When Jill isn’t writing you will find her reading, her other passion. She lives in Northern California with her husband, who is the inspiration for all her heroes. Her debut novel, Tempting Adam, released February 2011, from The Wild Rose Press. She has Indie published with Divorce, Interrupted. Book 1 of the Second Chances series.


A series is a set of interconnecting stories. They are usually connected by people, place, or things. Most writers go into a series with an idea of what will entwine the tales. Some use people, like sisters, brothers, or a family. Some use things, like a piece of jewelry or a music box. I’m not most writers; I didn’t start with a plan.

When I started writing Divorce, Interrupted it was not with the idea to do a series. But, as the story unfolded an idea started taking shape. The idea of second chances and of a place for that to happen developed; Lake Willowbee. By the time Divorce, Interrupted was almost finished I realized it was the start of a series.

All of a sudden it blossomed into a three book series. The story of Todd and Lisa Miller, a newly-divorced couple forced to work together to survive in freezing weather, a torrid flash flood, and their anger with each other the only warmth they have. The story of Evie Grimes, a former abused wife, happily single until hunky carpenter, Brady Jackson comes into her life, ready to do anything to protect the woman he loves. The story of wrongfully accused embezzler Megan Kirby, her husband who hasn’t been with her in three years, and their little girl who doesn’t know her mother at all.

In all the stories, the couples find their second chance at love, romance, and family at Lake Willowbee, California. I used Auburn, California as the basis of the fictional town and nearby lake. I loved the idea of a place having the power to heal and bring back feelings the couples thought were lost. I love the idea of Second Chances.

Order Someone To Trust at these online sites: 

Amazon http://tinyurl.com/7txssb5
BN.com http://tinyurl.com/85rtjxk
Smashwords http://tinyurl.com/87l85ah

#27 on Barnes and Nobles TOP 100 Bestseller's List

Imagine my surprise when I logged onto Barnes and Noble to check for reviews on my books only to find the HER HEART FOR THE ASKING was #27 on Barnes and Noble's Top 100 Bestseller's list.  Now, this number changes based on how many books are sold, and I may not see this position again when I log on tomorrow morning, but I'm enjoying the sudden burst of sales I'm having.

Of course, I have no clue why.  As an author, I do my fair share of promotion for my books.  I post excerpts. I list my books on Facebook. I have a great "street team" of people who tweet and retweet for me on Twitter. I post on Goodreads. I've done blog tours and guest blog spots.  So I'm "out there", doing what I need to in order to let readers know I've got a book for sale.  

I actually have 13 books in various formats for sale.  Some have sold better than others for a period of time.  But I haven't seen the same surge in sales as I've seen for HER HEART FOR THE ASKING on Barnes and Noble and I'm scratching my head trying to figure out why. (Not that I'm complaining.)

Such is the mystery of online promotion.  I could spend the entire afternoon reading up on social media and online promotional techniques that work for other authors.  I do believe it's helped and, since writing is so solitary, I love connecting with readers. But I'm also at a loss as to why some techniques work for some and not others.

I've come to the conclusion that successful promotion is a strange cocktail of things that converge together become explosive.  Certain things on their own may not work, or work as well.  But mix them with some other compound and you have a recipe for success.

I just wish I knew the exact recipe.   I'm sure many authors feel that way.  Being as tenacious as I am, I'm not about to roll over and rest while watching the numbers on my Barnes and Noble report.  I have planned two blog tours over the next two months and am scheduled to guest blog on other author sites.  My books are out for review and I'm still writing, crafting new stories to add to the ones that are already for sale.  If readers like my stories and want more, I want to give them more!

What about you?  What promotion strategies have you used to gain readership and sell books?  If you're a reader, where do you find books you want to read?  What entices you to try a book by an author you've never read before?  Leave a comment and I'll randomly choose a commenter to receive a free copy of HER HEART FOR THE ASKING, Book 1 in my Texas Hearts series.

Until next time,

Available at:
Barnes and Noble http://ow.ly/8WReM

Her Heart for the Asking on Barnes and Noble's Top 100 List!

I woke up this morning to a nice surprise.  Her Heart for the Asking, book 1 in my Texas Hearts series, was ranked in the TOP 100 List on Barnes and Noble!

How authors get their books on bestseller's lists is still a mystery to me.  I'm thrilled that readers have embraced this new e-series, which is also available in hardcover from Avalon Books, and that 10 years after it was originally published, there is still excitement about the stories.

Book 2 of my Texas Hearts series, His Heart for the Trusting is now available in ebooks form for all formats as well.  Book 3, The More I See, should be available to readers some time this weekend.

Please check out more info about my Texas Hearts series by clicking on the Texas Hearts link above or visit Barnes and Noble or Amazon to read an excerpt and order the books!

Enjoy your day!


Order from Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s?keyword=lisa+mondello+texas+hearts&store=ebook&page=%2Febooks%2Fbestsellers.asp&prod=univ&pos=&box=

Order from Amazon http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lisa+mondello+Texas+Hearts

Guest Blogger: Tamika Newhouse

I'm thrilled today to have the fabulous Tamika Newhouse on Conversations as my guest blogger.  Tamika totally rocks as the powerhouse behind the African Americans on the Move Book Club (Twitter: @AAMBookClub URL: http://aambookclub.com ) promoting African American authors of all genres.  (You've seen some of these wonderful authors right here on Conversations!) But did you know that Tamika is an author as well?  Grab a cup of coffee, sit back and learn all about this amazing author and promoter!

Here is a little about Tamika Newhouse:

Tamika Newhouse is a self-published bestselling author who founded Delphine Publications, at the age of 21. Tamika appeared on various bestseller lists and won Self Published Author of the Year at the 2009 African American Literary Awards only 9 months after her debut novel. In 2010 she was inducted into Who's who in Black San Antonio and she landed a major publishing deal without an agent and still continues to write independent projects. In 2011 her company Delphine Publications won an African American Literary Award for Best Anthology.  Tamika also won the Self Published Author of the Year award for the second year. She has been nominated by the National Women in Business Association for the 2011 Entrepreneurial Spirit Award.  Along with Delphine Publications, Tamika is the founder and President of African Americans on the Move Book Club (AAMBC) - an online book club and radio show catering to avid readers across the nation. She is also CEO of Obsessive Soul Media. With future projects in the works from short films, stage plays and much more, Tamika is a young woman on a mission.

Tamika presently tours the country speaking about overcoming her teen pregnancy to fulfill her dream, as well as teaching aspiring writers the publishing ropes. A former radio host, she hosted her own internet radio show (AAMBC) for over three years and continues to expand her brand. She is currently living in San Antonio with her son and daughter and is currently working on her fifth novel He's My Favorite Mistake.

For Bookings: Nikki@NikkiWalkerPR.net This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Inndsbudbwqufdbwqubdfwqbd


Lisa: How did you get your start in this business/industry?

Tamika: In February 2008, I was sitting on the bed watching my husband pack for his second tour to Iraq. Already staying in a new city of San Antonio, I felt alone and bored. I simply stated to him that I wished I were in a book club. Just out of nowhere, in that instance, an idea of starting a MySpace page to post up books I read came across my mind. I thought it would be a great idea to just talk with people over the internet. In that same month I started to get emails from authors I had never heard of who wanted me to read their books. I said to myself, wait I should read their books and post my thoughts on them. Not knowing that it was going to grow into something so large. This is how African Americans on the Move Book Club was born. I later birthed AAMBC Radio and Delphine Publications.

Lisa: Did you have any formal business training?

Tamika: I had absolutely no business training. I didn’t know anything about blogs, book reviews, how to publish, how to market, or any of that. I started with posting up my views on the author’s book and I asked people to read them. I believe this totally came from God’s doing. I was blessed to have met so many authors through MySpace and learn from all of them all at once.

Lisa: What separates you and your firm from the competition?

Tamika: I honestly didn’t know of any other format when I started my company. So the fact that I launched something clueless to the industry excites me. The ideas and concepts I started in which I continue to do all began when I knew nothing or no one. So the fact that I based a lot of my early works just from brainstorming separates me from the rest. Not to say I am original but I am not duplicated.

Lisa: How would you describe your experience as a Entrepreneur?

Tamika: Being an entrepreneur is tough, time consuming, and adventurous. You take complete control and meet so many people. To think that I am here in this position is a blessing because I didn’t start to read novels until 2006. But I was always a writer since the day I could write a sentence. Being your own boss has its blessings and sometimes I find myself so obsessed over my work that I can’t stop. Ideas come one after the other. So I enjoy being an entrepreneur because I control my destiny. Well me and God that is.

Lisa: What do you like most about your profession?

Tamika: I design my concepts, I promote my concepts, I develop my concepts, and I can stop when I want to. I enjoy having control over what I do, when I do it, and how.

Lisa: What is your biggest challenge in business? How did you overcome it?

Tamika: My biggest challenge is that with success come trials and tribulations. I am a fan of myself but somewhere down the road you meet others who are not. It can be because of what you do, what you’ve accomplished and so forth. I use that as my motivation. So how I overcome the negativity is to use it as my gas to keep it moving. A business such as any other industry requires tuff skin so I put mines on and my game face and I enjoy my works.

Lisa: What advice would you give someone just starting out in your industry?

Tamika: To never enter an industry you don’t know anything about. I know that’s funny seeing as though I was an ammeter when I started. Thing is I took a crash course and learned the industry through others and research. Google is a great engine. Use it. Go to seminars and conferences and speak to veteran authors. Always research and as long as you’re living there is always something to learn.

Lisa: What do you hope to offer your clients or customers to shape their lives?

Tamika: I hope to give people I work with skills and knowledge. Anyone can show you how to do it but learning it for yourself empowers you. Within AAMBC, I give authors exposure and I explain how to self-promote. On my radio show, I offer authors the opportunity to speak on the things they love while exposing themselves to potential readers. With my publishing house, Delphine Publications, I teach my authors how to hustle and grind. If you love who you are you would work as hard as you can to make sure you reach your highest potential and, even then, shoot for more.

Lisa: What are 3 things all leaders possess?

Tamika: A Strong foundation, common sense, and a creative mind.

Lisa: How does your mission or vision keep your business growing?

Tamika: I simply want to help others. My mission is to expose the independent writer so that they too can have a national fan base. Although I do converse and speak to national best sellers my main focus is the new authors. Because of this, I have grown in more ways than I could ever imagine. I expect my company’s reach to be more than triple the current reach within the next year with keeping the same mission and goals. When we started, I could count the amount of members AAMBC had and with our new website. I am able to keep track of over 1200 members worldwide.

Lisa: Tell us about the people you help. How is your organization or company impacting the public?  What social issues or causes do you want to address?

Tamika: The authors I connect with on a daily bases are usually new authors on their first book or have recently self-published and want more exposure. I offer them that. The purpose of getting your book exposed is very important. You want your name and novel to become a familiar product. My goal is to help them become more familiar. Some issues that occur are when an author knows to little about the industry and marketing. It can delay the process of promoting their novel. All authors must know that they have to self-promote whether they are with a publisher or not. I always state that the author must self-promote and do a lot of research. This is always important to any writer who wants a long term career in writing.

Lisa: What’s new in your company?

Tamika: AAMBC has become more active in virtual tours since last spring; our radio show has a consistent concept with on average two shows a week. We started annual events such as Holiday Book Bash, Valentine Showcases, Virtual Book Release Parties, Holiday Book Drive, College Scholarship Fund, April is our Poetry Month, and we have our annual conference which will make its home in Dallas starting in 2011. AAMBC Radio has a new co-host Anna Black who is also signed to my label Delphine Publications. I am constantly thinking and developing new concepts and online events for our members. I will never rest I know that for sure.

Kisses Don't Lie By Tamika Newhouse

Kyla struggles with her desires and her past when she makes a rare trip back home to Fort Worth. After leaving ten years ago Kyla comes to terms with the one who got away; Dean and their short lived romance comes into full swing. That is until it goes terribly wrong and she is left with wondering if she should work it out with Keith instead. A simple kiss led to many secrets being revealed; and it makes Kyla wish she could take it all back. Michael is ready to commit to Brittany and for once he feels he has the right woman by his side. That is until a passionate night turns into an unwanted child. Fighting to keep her heart from being broken; Brittany vows to never be just another notch in a mans belt. Although Michael promises to be there and seals it with a kiss, Brittany still struggles with if she should carry their child. When love isn't enough will each one of them make the right decision? Can they finally trust the one they want the most? After all its better to be slapped by the truth then kissed with a lie. They say kisses don't lie, right?

Excerpt of HIS HEART FOR THE TRUSTING - Book 2 of Texas Hearts

Book 2 of my Texas Hearts series, HIS HEART FOR THE TRUSTING, is finally released!!  Yes, after a few rocky starts, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords have it listed for sale.  (Many thanks to Judy for smoothing out the rough spots!)

HIS HEART FOR THE TRUSTING is a special story for me because I wrote it at a time when my life had changed drastically.  On April 2, 2001 I went from being the mother of two children to being the mother of 4 children overnight when my husband and I became legal guardians of my niece and nephew.  I explored a lot of very raw feelings about alcoholism and abuse, and how it leaves scars we can't see, while writing this book and thank goodness I had an editor who pulled back some of the really dark stuff.  Let's face it, this is a romance and we all live for that happily ever after in a romance novel.  One reader has already told me she was brought through a full range of emotions reading it, from laughter, to tears and anger before the payoff at the end.  I hope all you enjoy the excerpt and enjoy Book 2 of my Texas Hearts series.

HIS HEART FOR THE TRUSTING is available on ebook in all formats at Smashwords, and at Amazon for Kindle and Barnes and Noble for ePub.  Check the links below to see where you can get a copy! In the meantime, please enjoy this excerpt.


Ever since Mitch Broader set foot in Texas, he dreamed of owning his own ranch. Now that he’s bought a share in the Double T Ranch, he’s one step closer to the dream. Then his past greets him in the form of a baby basket, complete with infant and birth certificate naming him as the father. He can’t change diapers and work toward his dream at the same time.

When Sara Lightfoot, “Miss Hollywood” in Mitch’s eyes, rescues him with her particular knack for handling his precocious son, he hires her on the spot as a temporary nanny. No matter how much Sara’s dark eyes and warm heart make this bachelor think of making their arrangement permanent, she’s made it perfectly clear she has other plans that don’t include him or his dreams.

Sara Lightfoot never thought she’d return to her home on the reservation. Now she plans to reclaim the life she left by going back to the reservation as a Native American storyteller, teaching the Apache children stories of their culture. She didn’t expect Mitch Broader’s sexy smile or job offer as a live-in nanny to derail those plans. After all she’s been through to come home, can she open up her heart once again to love?


Still dancing in circles, Midnight eyed Mitch, seemingly aware of his every move. Mitch turned his back to the mare and played with the bridle, as if ignoring the horse. Finally, Midnight stopped running and with cautious steps, she moved forward, stopping every so often and taking a side step, bobbing her head or giving a neigh, as if calling Mitch to pay attention. Eventually, she stepped up alongside him and gave him a quick nudge with her nose. Then another until she was settled alongside Mitch.

Ever so softly, Mitch stroked her head and neck and front legs with long, easy strokes. He smiled his pleasure and crooned softly.

Without even realizing how he'd done it, the bit was in Midnight's mouth and the bridle was around the mare’s head. Mitch let the reins fall and allowed Midnight to get use to the bit.

Such trust.

“That's amazing,” Sara said quietly.

“Not really,” Mitch said, glancing up at her as he kept his attention on the mare.

She turned to him. Mitch was looking at her, his eyes filled with the same questions she’d seen in the kitchen.

Then he said, “She still could bolt at any time.”

Sara gripped the splintered rail. “But she hasn't. She came to you when she could have easily just kept running in circles.”

“Trust isn't an easy thing for her. She still doesn't know what to think.”

“She let you put the bridle on her. You didn't have to chase her. She came to you.”

“I have to win her trust. And when I have it, I can't abuse it or she'll never give it up again.”

Mitch carefully took the bridle off Midnight and took a few steps away. Midnight followed like a stray dog.

“Does she trust you now? Enough to ride her?”

Mitch shook his head. “We still need a little time together before she'll allow me put a saddle on her. Right now, she's letting me know her boundaries.”

“She let you put a bridle on her as if she didn't even know you were doing it.”

His face was bright with a smile. “Oh, she knew. But she's still making up her mind. She wants to trust me. I can tell. And maybe one day she will.”


He looked up at her again from across the corral. He was incredibly handsome. His dark hair was the color of mica in the fading light, and his eyes had turned from blue to a smoky gray. He stood tall, his weight shifted to one hip as he held the reins of the bridle.

Such strength.

Sara remembered all too well how it had felt earlier to be in Mitch's arms. Her heart still raced with the memory.

“What if she's never ready to trust you?”

Mitch's expression grew serious, pulling her into his gaze. He took a few steps closer, his boots kicking up dust from the ground as he walked. He stopped a good ten feet from where she was standing and said, “I can wait as long as it takes, Sara.”

Available at:

AMAZON http://amzn.com/B007AWZGSM

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/his-heart-for-the-trusting-lisa-mondello/1005039937?ean=2940013956841&itm=12&usri=lisa+mondello

SMASHWORDS for Kindle in Mobi and Nook in ePub http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/134008


Lisa Mondello

The Marriage Contract featured on Kindle on the Cheap/The Cheap Nook Today!

I'm always excited when one of my books is picked up to be showcased by a blogger or review site.  Today I am Author of the Day on Kindle on the Cheap and The Cheap Nook for THE MARRIAGE CONTRACT!  I love this book because it's a romantic comedy and I just have a thing for that type of story.   Here is a little bit from THE MARRIAGE CONTRACT.

"Hilariously funny!" "Delightful!" 4 STARS Romantic Times Magazine

What would you do to get a second chance at love? Sometimes fate needs a little helping hand...

When Ruthie Carvalho finds an old birthday card with a marriage proposal scribbled on the back, she figures she's hit pay dirt and is destined to get her 35 year old daughter married.

The trouble is, Ruthie can't stand Cara's boyfriend and Cara is just stubborn enough to push in the opposite direction of what her mother wants.

When Devin Michaels gets a phone call from his old friend's mom, he knows Ruthie is up to something. But he's at a crossroad. It's been 17 years since he's seen Cara and memories of their soulful talks and walks on the beach make him long to reconnect.

Going back to the seaside town of Westport Massachusetts to reconnect with Cara seems like just the thing to do. One look at Cara and the years seem to melt away. With a little help and “creative” planning from Ruthie, can these old friends become lovers and have a second chance at happiness?



“Oh, but...what about the wedding?” Ruthie gasped.

“Who's wedding?”

“Why...yours and Cara's, of course. You did read the card, didn't you?”

“Yes, but...” Puzzled by her query, Devin picked up the card again and turned it over in case he’d missed some important piece of information. The search proved futile.

“Cara will be thirty-five next week.”

“Yes, I know.”

“Well, then you know what that means, don’t you?”

He was silent.

“Do you or don't you intend to honor that contract, young man.”

A grin tugged at his lips. Although Ruthie's voice held a hint of amusement, he sensed her taking this line of offense immensely serious.

Knowing in advance how Ruthie Cavarlho operated, he proceeded with caution. “Ruthie, it’s not really a contract.”

“It’s in black and white.”

“Yes, but…it’s bogus. There was no serious intention of marriage by either of us, no meeting of the minds. No-”

“Devin, dear, don’t talk to me in legal mumbo jumbo. I don’t understand a word of it.”

“It was a joke. It’s not legal.”

“Not legal,” Ruthie grunted.

There was silence on the other end of the line for a few seconds. Devin picked up the ball point pen he'd strangled earlier and started tapping in his desk to fill in the void.

“Would Cara know this?” Ruthie finally asked.

“Well, I-”

“I'll bet she doesn't,” she proclaimed, an undertone of hope resonating in her words. He could almost hear the wheels in her head spinning triumphantly when she declared, “What she doesn't know won't hurt her.”

A grin tugged at his lips. “Ruthie, what are you up to?”
Even though I wrote this book more than 12 years ago, I still manage to laugh!  You can get The Marriage Contract at these online retailers.
AMAZON http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005LSCKD6/ref=cm_sw_su_dp

BARNES AND NOBLE http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-marriage-contract-lisa-mondello/1004029177?ean=2940

KOBO http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/The-Marriage-Contract/book-wV463Zon3kOAeHAsknul9Q/page1.html

iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-marriage-contract/id465576307?mt=11

Love on Campus? - The 10 Most Romantic College Traditions

I recently received an email from a reader who introduced me to her article.  Being the mother of 3 girls, one who is already in college and 2 who are off to college next year, the article really interested me, especially because what I do all day is write about romance!  The traditions range from a kissing rock, a kissing tree, a kissing bridge, well, I'll just let you read the article and see the rest for yourself!  There's a whole lot more going on at college than just academics!  And I remember that well. 

The 10 Most Romantic College Traditions


Check out the article and tell me what your favorite is?  As for me, I'm bouncing between Eternal Flame and Kissing Bridge.   Thank you Helene Schmidt for bringing this article to my attention!


Guest Blogger - Interview with Anna Black

It is my pleasure to introduce you to Author Anna Black and her new book Who Do I Run To?  I'm always interested in hearing about new books from new authors and how they came to be.  So sit back with a cup of coffee and enjoy the interview!

Anna Black BIO:

Talented and inspiring is the best way to describe this Chicago Native. Now You Wanna Come Back is her debut novel and it has earned Anna, her bestselling author title and has done its duty as a page-turning introduction for Anna. She has showed herself to be ready for the literary world by winning the 2011 African American Literary Award for Best Anthology of the Year for her contribution to the erotic anthology Between the Sheets. Her second novel Luck of the Draw is holding its own; being one of Amazon’s best selling Kindle books for several months. Her love for writing began about ten years ago with poems and short stories and now she is ready to wow readers with her page turning plots, by giving readers stories that will make them laugh, maybe cry, but definitely reflect. This new authoress is here to make a mark in the literary world, so readers get ready. She recently released her third romance page-turner Who Do I Run To and it has already received several five star reviews. She currently lives in Texas with her husband Chris and her daughter Tyra and it is her pleasure to share her written words with you.

Blurb:           Who Do I Run To?

Janiece Hawkins never thought she'd find herself facing a love triangle. More than that; a love triangle with a married man. KP, the man of her dreams swept her completely off her feet before telling her he was married with two kids. Too deep in love to let go, she became accustom to being KP's other woman and didn't have a problem with her role as KP's mistress until she met Isaiah. Isaiah ready to commit and make Janiece his, he stops at nothing to win her over, even though Janiece is stuck on KP. Things spiral out of control when KP decides it's time to leave Kimberly, his wife to be with Janiece. Drama kicks into high gear when Isaiah fights to have Janiece and Kimberly also fights to keep KP. The ultimate decision has to be made by Janiece. Who will she run to when she is ready to love?



Lisa: What type of stories do you write?
Anna: I Romance with a hint of drama and suspense. I write romantic stories that are more realistic than fantasy. What is it about those stories that draws you to that subject? What draws me is the realness. I get feedback all the time with readers saying how they experienced the same situation or they know someon who has.
Lisa: How did you start your career as a writer?
Anna: I started with a Print-On-Demand company initially, then I signed with Delphine Publications.
Lisa: Tell us a little bit about your current book?
Anna: My current release is about a young woman that is involved with a married man and after five years of being his mistress, she decides to move on with a new guy she meets. As soon as she calls it quits, her married lover leaves his wife for her and now she is caught between the two of them and is unsure who she wants to choose. Is it a series? It is part one to the sequel Who Do I Run To Now? Coming summer of 2012.
Lisa: What was it like trying to get your story published?
Anna: This release was easy because I'm signed with a publishing house. Did you have many rejections from publishers? I've never been rejected because I've never submitted my novels to any other publishers.
Lisa: Did you need an agent?
Anna: No I didn't need an agent.
Lisa: Is this book inspired by personal experience?
Anna: No, purely fiction. Where did the idea come from? A little of it was inspired by a friends situation.
Lisa:  What do you do for promotion?
Anna: I promote through on line sites like FaceBook and Twitter. I also hand out post cards almost everywhere I go and my publisher also does a lot of promoting for me. I do serveral signings a year and attend a lot of book conferences.  
Lisa:  What is the oddest or most challenging thing you had to do to research this book?
Anna: Nothing really, there is nothing in the book that needed a lot of research.
Lisa:  How can readers find you and your books? Twitter? Facebook?
Thanks so much Anna!  Readers you can find Who Do You Run To? at

E-Release of Her Heart for the Asking February 8

Mark your calendar!  HER HEART FOR THE ASKING, the first book in my Texas Hearts series will be E-released for Kindle and Nook February 8th.  Kobo, Sony, Smashwords and iTunes will follow.

"Ms. Mondello presents a beguiling story that keeps you turning the pages." Susan Mobley - 4 STARS - ROMANTIC TIMES MAGAZINE

Promises made...secrets kept...

Mandy Morgan swore she’d never step foot in Texas again after Beau Gentry left her for life on the rodeo circuit eight years before. He once promised he'd love her forever.  But he'd abandoned their love for the rodeo and she hadn't seen him since.  Now she's back in Texas.  Her uncle’s heart is failing and Mandy has to convince him that surgery will save his life. She never dreamed the first thing she’d see when she stepped off the plane would be her biggest nightmare...the one man she’d never stopped loving.

Beau Gentry had the fever for two things: the rodeo and Mandy Morgan. But for Beau, loving Mandy was complicated by his father’s vendetta against her uncle and a promise he'd made to an old friend. Hank Promise, Mandy's uncle, was more like a father to Beau than his old man had been.  The hardest thing Beau had ever done was leave Mandy behind for the rodeo.  He can still see the bitterness and hurt on her face. It has killed him all these years to think Mandy had forgotten him...maybe even in the arms of another man. But now they’re both back in Texas, and Beau's going to do all he can to win back her love.

Her Heart for the Asking Book 1 of TEXAS HEARTS

An update on HER HEART FOR THE ASKING, Book 1 in my new Texas Hearts series.  I'd hoped to have it published by the last week of January.  With a blog tour in full swing and 3 kids applying to colleges, it's been busy and I've fallen just a little behind.  So the plan is now to have HER HEART FOR THE ASKING published in ebook form by Feb 8th.  If you're one of the people who've emailed me to find out when you can get a copy of book 1, mark your calendar.  Your wait will be over next week. 

Over the weekend  I will post my new cover for the book.  I'm actually quite thrilled with it.  My daughter, who is very artist and much better at doing these things than myself has designed my cover.  Along with my cover I will post some premade ebook covers she's made on a separate page of my blog for any authors who are looking to have economical book covers for their ebooks.

In the meantime, enjoy your Friday!  Check back over the weekend for more updates and mark your calendar for the release of HER HEART FOR THE ASKING Feb 8th!

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