On Conversations: #author Desiree Holt

Please welcome author, Desiree Holt to Conversations today! She's here to talk about her Romantic Suspense novel, Collision Course.

Lisa ~

     I’m always fascinated with kickass heroines, especially those with excellent defense skills and the determination to use them. I myself have a Texas Concealed Carry license and practice frequently with my weapon. I was at the gun range one day, cleaning up my spent cartridges, when the idea of a female sharpshooter came to me.
     What if she was former law enforcement? And add former military to that. Tough as nails but still feminine and sexy. At a point in her life when she had an indecisive picture of her future and a badly wounded heart. 
     And here comes the man-in-jeopardy, sexy, smart, running for his life and hiding away in her tiny corner of Texas. Would she protect him? Defend him?
     The idea for Collision Course was born. The gun range where Casey practices looks exactly like the one I use, and the scenery as she heads back to her little town is what I see on the way back to my little town. Connelly, Texas is a carbon of the little Texas town where I live and the Half and Half a takeoff on the place where people in my town gather to eat, drink exotic coffees and tap into WiFi.
     So, you ask, am I Casey? I sure would like to be. 


He's discovered that his boss, international businessman Charles Bennett, is actually dealing in drugs and illegal arms. Killers are on his trail and Tate Buchanan needs a place to hide and use his hacking skills to get the evidence he needs. He finds it in tiny Connelly, Texas, where he also finds hotter than hot Casey McIntyre. After six years with the F.B.I. and four years in Afghanistan marked by a disastrous love affair, Casey is trying to put both her life and her shattered heart back together. Her instincts tell her that the stranger in the family restaurant has trouble on his back but her common sense tells her to stay as far away from him as possible. Of course, common sense never paid attention to combustible chemistry and it's not long before Casey and T.J. (as he now calls himself) are spending every minute together day and night. Can he find the proof he needs before the killers track him down? And when they do, can Casey use all her skills to protect him and keep him safe?

A man-in-jeopardy story for a change, where a kickass woman uses all her skills to protect the man she's come to love.


     Crack! Crack! Crack! 
     Casey McIntyre fired the last three bullets in her Glock 17G thirteen-round clip, hitting dead in the middle. No center mass for her. All her shots went straight to the head of the silhouette with one hundred percent accuracy. She nodded her head in satisfaction.
     Since she’d left the service and come home, she started most of her days the same way. She tried to tell herself it was to keep her skills sharp but in reality, anger drove her. She still had so much of it stored up inside her, along with a world of hurt.
     She trudged to the backstop, nailed up another target and took a black Magic Marker from her jeans pocket. In big letters she wrote a P and an M on the head, making them as bold as possible. At the shooting table again, she reloaded her Glock and checked to verify her H&K P30 had a full clip. The two guns were her personal weapons, much like the ones she’d been issued when she’d been attached to the Special Ops unit in Afghanistan.
     She adjusted her ball cap, yanking at the ponytail poking out through the opening in back. Putting on her ear protectors and safety glasses, she picked up the Glock and sighted.
     Again the first shot drilled a hole in the center of the head.
     Die, Paul Marsden. You asshole. Rat bastard. User.
     The next three shots, in rapid succession, stitched a straight line down the torso. With defiant satisfaction, she emptied the rest of the clip into the genital area, blowing a nice round hole in his package. The act gave her the first real sense of wiping away the past and taking control of her life since she’d come home. She had to suppress an urge to lift the gun and blow on the barrel the way old-time gunfighters did.
     Reloading the clip, she fired again. By the time she’d finished, she’d gone through two more and the silhouette hung in shreds and tatters. Wiping her hands on her jeans, she tore the target down and replaced it with another. Again she marked it with initial­s—A.A.S.—and drew a circle around them with a vicious stroke. Then she picked up the Heckler & Koch, settling the familiar grip into the palm of her hand.
     This time when she sighted, she aimed for center mass and unloaded the entire clip without pausing between shots. Reloading with rapid speed, she fired in the same pattern, over and over again, until she’d used all the .45mm ammo and left a hole in the silhouette big enough to drive a small car through. By then her arms were quivering, her body covered with sweat. Sitting on the bench at the loading table she forced herself to slow her breathing and her racing pulse before policing her brass and packing away her gear.
     Shooting the ghost of her former lover had been cathartic but not half as satisfying as destroying the target marked A.S.S.—Col. Aaron Sherman Smart.
     Good initials for him. They suited bastard that he turned out to be. A sanctimonious son of a bitch.

Collision Course is available for ONLY 99 Cents. Get it HERE!

Desiree Holt has lived a life of excitement that brings the color to her writing. She spent several years in the music business representing every kind of artist from country singer to heavy metal rock bands. For several years she also ran her own public relations agency handling any client that interested her. She is twice a finalist for an EPIC E-Book Award, a nominee for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award, winner of the first 5 Heart Sweetheart of the Year Award at The Romance Studio, and is published by four different houses. Romance Junkies said of her work: "Desiree Holt is the most amazing erotica author of our time and each story is more fulfilling then the last."

When she's not writing she's traveling Texas and, in season, obsessively watching football. 

Visit Desiree at www.desireeholt.com, www.desireeholttellsall.com, and follow her on Twitter @desireeholt, Pinterest: desiree01holt and Facebook www.facebook.com/desireeholtauthor.

Come on out and play!

On Conversations: Interview with #AAMBookclub #Author Missy B. Salick

It is my pleasure to welcome AAMBookclub Author Missy Salick to Conversations today.  Sit back and relax, and enjoy the excerpt from her new release, Claiming Jeremiah. Be sure and check out her interview and get to know Missy.

Lisa ~ 

On the same night that twenty four-year-old Jordyn Sims has a miscarriage, her sister-in-law Tori Sims conceives a child. Nine months later, Tori, a long term heroin addict, abandons her two-hour-old drug addicted newborn Jeremiah, in a hospital stairwell. Jordyn receives the news and pursues foster adoption. However, Oscar, Tori’s possessive drug-addicted boyfriend, is not about to give Jeremiah up so easily. While in confrontation with Tori and Oscar, Jordyn seeks help from the Administration of Children Services (ACS), only to discover she is faced with a maze of departments, regulations, legalities and overworked social workers. Jordyn, however, remains strong and continues to push through the uphill battle, even after she discovers she’s pregnant.
With all odds against her adoption of Jeremiah, and her pregnancy at high risk from increasing stress, will Jordyn win this tough battle, or will her world crumble before her?

     Hazel pulled a black garbage bag from her jacket pocket and gave it to Tori. Another black bag protruded from her pocket.
     “You take the living room and I’ll take upstairs.”
Tori walked around the well-decorated house looking for valuables. She saw a silver picture frame with the word FAMILY written in decorative script across the top. It was a family of four: mother, father, little girl, and her brother. Tori stepped back and gazed at the photograph wondering what it felt like to have what they have.
     Hazel hurried into the living room, her garbage bag filled to the top. Tori could see a laptop poking out.
     “Tori, what you doing standing looking at that picture? We have to go. In and out remember?”
     “I . . . uhhh. Do you know these people, Hazel? We stealing from people who have kids you know.”
     “No, I don’t know them, Tori, and neither do you,” said Hazel, heading for the back door. “You don’t owe them nothing. Come on. We do this now or you going to be sucking someone off later for that score. You choose. I’m outta here.” The screen door slammed behind her.
     Hazel’s words brought Tori back to reality. She quickly rummaged through the coffee-table drawers grabbing what she could. She found a PlayStation, some DVDs and two DSs that had been left plugged in to charge, a dead cell phone, knickknacks from the mantel, and a printer. She scurried down the steps and ran around the corner.
     Hazel was waiting for her two blocks down, bumming another cigarette from a corner store regular. When she saw Tori, her face broke into a delighted smile.
     “Nice choice,” she said. “Here, I got you a loosie. Ha, I see you got that printer. We should be able to get at least ten for that.”
     “Yeah,” said Tori, as she and Hazel walked along the busy street. “It was a waste to leave it behind.”
      They arrived at Barry’s, who ran an illegitimate pawnshop from his apartment. He bought everything from electronics to furniture, anything you needed to get rid of.
     Hazel pressed the buzzer and they waited. Tori had never been inside Barry’s apartment. She had only waited outside many times when Oscar brought him some hot merchandise.
Barry opened the door. He was tall and had to weigh close to four hundred pounds. He was dark-skinned and his face was covered with a thick beard. He wore black tinted sunglasses even though there was no sunlight in the room. He blew a thick cloud of cigar smoke into Tori’s face. Hazel slipped past him and went inside. Tori stood at the door and peered into the apartment.
     “You coming in?” he asked.
     “Umm no. I’m going to stay outside. Let Hazel know when she gets back.”
     Tori made her way back outside. After three attempts to get a cigarette from someone, a teenage boy finally gave her one. As she puffed the nicotine in the cool air, she mentally counted how much Barry might give Hazel for the merchandise. Even though he was known for low-balling, Tori calculated there should be at least fifty dollars’ worth of stuff in her bag alone. If Hazel had as much as she did, which she did, that would be another fifty. Split down the middle and it would be fifty apiece. It would be enough to buy five bags. Not bad for ten minutes’ worth of work.
     And I was able to do it without O.
     Tori paced in front of the building and flicked her cigarette.
     Damn. What’s taking this chick so long?
     As if on cue, Hazel came out of the building flashing a bunch of ten-dollar bills.
     “How much we get?” Tori asked, her eyes never leaving the cash.
     “A hundred. I tried to get more but you know that cheap-ass wasn’t going for that.”
     Tori laughed loudly, as she had calculated that amount earlier in her mind.
     “What’s so funny?”
     “Nothing. Nothing. Give me my half and let’s go cop from Blue over on Wilson.”
     “Blue be having that good dope for real,” said Hazel taking a sniff.
     “Yeah, when he got it. That dude be on some other stuff sometimes.”
     “I know, right? He a fake-me-out dealer.”
     Tori stood over Hazel’s kitchen counter and inhaled the heroin she had copped from Blue. The sink had an annoying leak that hit the dishes with a loud, wet plop every second. The doors from the cabinets were missing and roaches boldly scuttled by.
     Hazel shared the one-bedroom with her daughter, sister, and her son. Hazel’s daughter was turning five and could barely speak or say her ABCs. Hazel’s plan was to say that she was special-ed so she could receive more money from the state. In addition to the Section 8 for housing, she received food stamps and cash assistance.
     “Yo, I gotta be out Hazel. Thanks for that hook up.”
     “No doubt, catch you on the block.”
     Tori resumed her search for Oscar along the streets of Brooklyn. Chasing Oscar and heroin had become her daily and nightly routine. The sun would fall and rise again before she laid her head down to rest.

Missy B. Salick is a new author who has written her first novel, Claiming Jeremiah. Her fictional memoir on foster adoption is drawing a hefty buzz, and the online release date was April 7, 2013 (May 4 in paperback). The novel is small in size, but contains a powerful message. “Children in foster care need a place to call home.”  Salick, a foster care advocate, wrote this book based on her personal journey of foster adopting her four-year-old son.

Before self-publishing, Claiming Jeremiah, Salick spent several years as a freelance business writer for Fortune 500 companies such as: Shearman & Sterling, KPMG, Deloitte and many more. She also had a stint with song ghost writing.  Salick’s experience in the entertainment industry stems from working with entertainment companies and media including Violator, MBK, Village Voice and more. As the founder of J.J. Autumn Publishing, her publishing company is geared towards highlighting urban fiction dedicated to special causes and community awareness projects.


What inspired you to write Claiming Jeremiah?

A: I was inspired to write Claiming Jeremiah after I experienced the foster adoption process with my son. My son was a family member who entered foster care and I wanted to prevent that from happening as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, due to legal and state laws it was harder than I thought. I did research, reading several books and articles on what I could do to stay positive and to learn more about the process. While I found several books about the technical information I needed, I couldn’t find any that illustrated a positive story and outcome.

I wanted more than just information. I wanted to experience the roller coaster ride of someone else’s journey to give me hope. And the stories that were hopeful seemed too good to be true. I wanted the bad along with the good. I wanted the truth. While foster care isn’t always a beautiful and positive subject to speak about, I believe it is a subject that needs more public attention drawn to it in the media and from those who have experienced it from both sides, both the children and the parents. I kept a journal of my own personal trials and tribulations and that lead to the birth of Claiming Jeremiah.

How long did it take to complete from start to finish?

A: I started the novel a year after my son arrived. Once I started writing I couldn’t stop. I would say it took me a couple of months. However, once I finished and reread it, something was missing, it wasn’t complete. I put it down for a year and returned to it after that time, once I had had time to grow, not only in my writing but also as a human being. This story is so personal that I knew the timing and my mindset had to be perfect. After I picked up the pen for the second time it took me about three to four months to complete.

What was the toughest part about writing Claiming Jeremiah?

A: The toughest part about writing Claiming Jeremiah was the character development. It was very important to me to capture each character the right way. The reader needs to be able to experience not only what it is like being each character, but also to get the information they needed to foster a child in care. For instance, from the first chapter you easily understand Jordyn and what she is about. However, with Tori, she is a much more complex character. From the first pages, you see her confused, scattered, and being a heavy drug user who has left her two-hour-old newborn in a hospital stairwell. The normal reaction would be to dislike her character. Tori is misunderstood, however, and I wanted to reveal what it would be like to walk in Tori’s shoes. What causes her to do this to her body, to herself, and to her children? What’s the driving force behind her actions? These are all questions I wanted to explore and give some shape and impression of to my readers. More importantly, I wanted to show her other side and not make her out just to be the villain.

Do you intend to write a second book?  Is this the first in a sequel?

A: Yes, I definitely intend to write another book. Claiming Jeremiah tells the beginning stages of what it’s like to go through the process of fostering a child. The next book will give you more information on what happens when the child is in your home and the stages of adoption.

You are still very young—at what age did you begin this process, and what has it been like being a young foster (adoptive) mother?

A: I began this process when I was twenty-four years old. I must say it has been a rewarding experience. Never in a million years would I have thought I would be doing this, yet alone at this age. It’s funny, because when my husband and I go to trainings or into the agencies we are always the youngest ones there. We usually get bombarded with questions and then praised for our actions.

As a foster parent, since you have witnessed some of the challenges involved in all the red tape, what are some solutions that you can offer?

A: Each situation is different. You have to find what solutions work best for you. For me, I was dealing with two states and therefore had to deal with four different agencies: the ICPC of each state and each state’s local agency. It was a nightmare. My solution was to make sure nothing fell through the cracks. Each day I was constantly e-mailing or calling someone for a status update. My advice would be to find out what the hold up is or what you can do to make the process move faster and more smoothly. The caseworkers have so many cases and things going on, it’s easy for them to get sidetracked. I’ve learned they care as much as you care. If you show extra incentive, they will too.

Why did you start writing?

A: Writing has always and will always be a part of my life. Writing is my comfort zone. Nothing brings me more peace and assurance in my life than writing. There is no judgment when my pen hits the paper. To me it’s my time to be free. I can say what I want, wear what I want, be whom I want. Writing keeps me sane. When I write I have the opportunity to let go and express myself.

What’s your next project?

A: My next project is the sequel to Claiming Jeremiah, but I am also working on a short novella that is currently Untitled at the moment. My readers will get to see a different side of me after reading Claiming Jeremiah. This novella is going to be a romantic comedy.

You are new to the writing industry; what can your readers expect to see from you?

A: My readers can expect to never expect the same thing. I am a prolific writer and my mind tends to come up with stories in various genres. One day I can feel romantic, the next day like a thriller, then inspirational, and so forth. Every day and every story won’t be the same.

Find the author:
Twitter: @meetmissy24
Instagram: @awriterzlife
Publisher: www.jjapublishing.com
Email: jjapublishing@gmail.com

Buy the book:

On Conversations: #author Cheryl B. Dale

Please welcome author, Cheryl B. Dale to Conversations today! She's here to talk about her Paranormal Gothic Romance novel, The Warwicks of Slumber Mountain.

Lisa ~

The Warwicks drift in and out of their mountaintop mansion like wraiths. People whisper they’re different. Maybe witches. Cross them and your children sicken, your garden withers, your dog dies.

Then Lindy rescues Gareth Warwick from drowning. And ends up loaning out her soul.

Almost eighteen, Lindy hears Voices from distressed animals that others don't. But she isn't crazy. She's a clairaudient.

After fleeing her stepfather's abuse, she lives with her grandmother at the bottom of Slumber Mountain owned by the mysterious Warwick clan.

Lindy avoids them until one night her Voice leads her to save Gareth from the lake. When she takes him home, his aunt plies her with tea that brings weird dreams. Then his aunt proposes a trade: Lindy will receive fame and fortune in return for loaning her soul to the Warwicks. They need her clairaudient ability to communicate with the mountain.

It’s wrong to give away her soul, but Lindy wants desperately to be like other people, untainted by her past. Maybe if she’s successful, someone like Gareth can love her.

In an erotic twist, Gareth takes her into the heart of the mountain and brings her back. But she’s dreaming. And it’s only a loan. She’s not really giving away her soul.

EXCERPT (after Lindy rescues Gareth and brings him to the mountaintop mansion):

     Too late now. Consigning my bad vibes to purgatory, I drove the pickup into a well-lighted garage hewn out of solid rock. Several cars were already parked there, and he had me pull up beside a large Mercedes. When I cut off the engine, an eerie quiet descended.
     Trying to vanquish claustrophobia, I briskly opened the door. “Can you get out okay?”
     He could and did. He was also able to lope without staggering to the elevator.
     So he couldn’t be as drunk as he pretended even if he did still smell of some potent brew.
     Since I didn’t have to get too close, it didn’t matter. I would see him inside and leave.
     On the elevator, the lights faded unexpectedly. From his corner, Gareth picked up on my panic.    “Not as tough as you make out, are you?”
     “I’m tough enough to deal with you.”
     His mouth twitched. “The lights dim automatically so you can look out at night. Behind you. See?  Most people like the view.”
     I turned. The back of the elevator was glass, revealing the driveway’s last turn among the trees. On one side, the town twinkled in the distance like fairy lights while on the other, moonlight reflected off the black lake far below.
     Pretty view but not reassuring. My heart pounded as we inched upward. By the time we emerged into a massive hotel-like lobby, I was ready to turn tail.
     The scent of roses blasted us, not unpleasant but strong. From a porcelain vase on a low table in the middle of the spacious room, two dozen or more oversize roses fanned out to spread their heavy perfume. I’d seen red roses before, but never ones like these. They looked as unreal as they smelled, with huge petals perfect ovals and bright blood-red. They could have been conjured up from some magical greenhouse, but they suited the surroundings.
     Goose bumps rose.
     “Come on,” Gareth urged. “Right over here.”
     My unwilling feet lagged after him toward a fireplace at one end, tall enough to hold an upright man and wide enough to hold four or five men standing shoulder to shoulder. A pair of wing chairs faced it. A small fire blazed though it was September, and Georgia Septembers are seldom cold.
     “Why in the world do you need a fire this time of—?”
     A form, wild and shaggy and screeching, erupted from its hiding place beneath a bombé chest.
     It shot toward us.
     I jumped back. “Ohhh!”
     A flowing apparition rose from one of the chairs behind the squealing creature. A human scream pierced the air over the cat’s cries.
     I bolted. Smack into Gareth’s shoulder.
     He, giving his strangled laugh, caught me. His arms closed around me cautiously until he held me fast.
     “Let me go!” The darkness and the mountain that had unnerved me on the way up were nothing compared to the attacking beast and the banshee behind it.
     “It’s all right.” Gareth’s grip tightened. “Auntie El, it’s me,” he called over my head. He gave me a reassuring shake and murmured, “Come on, Lindy. It’s only Grandmama’s cat scaring my aunt. He loves picking on Auntie El and Auntie El can’t learn that screaming just makes him worse.”
     I barely understood him. His hold did not lessen as I struggled.
     He was warm and solid, and I stopped fighting him.
     The punch on his breath mingled with remnants of spice aftershave and clear lake water.
Forgetting humiliation, I slumped against his chest as his words sank in. His hand might have caressed my hair, but the sensation was so feathery-light that perhaps I imagined it.
     My own sob yanked me back to reality.
     I never cried. And Gareth Warwick mustn’t think I needed him for any reason whatsoever.
     I straightened and pushed him away.
     For a fraction of a second, his arm remained outstretched as if to embrace me again.
     Another step back quelled the temptation to let him.
     The cat, a huge white beast with powder-puff fur, wound about Gareth’s foot, its previous wild screams muted to a loud purr. Its candid gaze seemed to say, “Why no, don’t blame me. That had to be some other cat howling at you just now. I’m much too nice a cat to do anything like that. See how well-behaved I am?”
     “Gareth, stop that beast’s mewling and make him go away,” the apparition commanded.
     Gareth spoke to her with the same calm he’d used to quiet me. “All right, Auntie El. He’s leaving. There was no need to scream like that. You’ve scared Lindy.”
     Lindy. I hadn’t told him who I was. I wasn’t about to remind him of that long ago summer.
     “I’m not scared and I didn’t tell you my name.” I put more distance between us.

Find The Warwicks of Slumber Mountain on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, MuseItUp, and Smashwords.
Cheryl B. Dale’s first published book, a Harlequin/Silhouette romantic suspense, was made into a TV movie. An updated and revised edition is now available for eReaders. Since then she’s published a hardback light mystery and several eBooks including three romantic mysteries, and this gothic with paranormal elements.

Reading is her only hobby. A lazy disposition means she doesn’t enjoy cooking, cleaning, gardening, or anything else that takes much effort.

Her guy and two cats share her space. One cat watches television with the guy. The other reads with her.




On Conversations: #NewRelease from #author Kristine Mason

Please welcome romance author, Kristine Mason to Conversations today! She's here to talk about her latest release, Pick Me, a reality TV romance.
Lisa ~

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, reality shows are on just about every network. I’ll admit there are some that I can’t get enough of and there are others that leave me scratching my head…Honey Boo Boo anyone?

I’m not about to bash reality shows. How can I when I’ve just launched the first book of my Reality TV Romance series? Reality shows have given me inspiration. Let’s face it. The majority of these shows are likely scripted. The producers know how to gain ratings. The “reality stars” know that appearing on these shows could potentially launch their careers. Yes, I realize I’m generalizing, but…anyone remember Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt?

I came up with the reality show Pick Me while I was writing Kiss Me, a sexy love story about a woman in search of a “friend with benefits.” I loved the concept of Pick Me so much, that I had to
write a book involving the show.

To help save the TV reality show, Pick Me, from cancellation, Valentina Bonasera swaps her position as the show’s Production Assistant, to play the role of Bachelorette, only to discover Bachelor Number One, rancher and sports agent, Colt Walker, happens to be her one and only one-night-stand she’d snuck away from six months ago.

Colt had never forgotten the hot, sensual night he’d shared with Valentina, or how she’d left him without so much as a note or her contact information. He’d spent months searching for the woman who’d given him a night he couldn’t forget and thought he’d never see again. Now that she’s in Dallas, he’s determined to make her his…

Here’s a short excerpt from the opening scene of Pick Me:

  Colt’s entire body went slack. Thank God this was almost over. One more question, one more half-assed answer and he could quit for a bit. His ranch was calling him, and with the answers he’d given the so-called lovely bachelorette, he doubted she’d pick him for her first date. If everything worked to plan, he’d have at least a few days reprieve before he had to face the cameras again.
     “Okay,” she said. “Let’s start with Bachelor Number Three. What is your ideal first date?”
     “Um, I’d take you to a nice restaurant. Maybe find a local fair or carnival. We could walk around and stuff.”
     Conscious of the cameras, Colt carefully shifted his gaze to Brad. Was this guy for real? Maybe the muscle-bound vegan was trying as desperately as he was to avoid being the first date. With his golden, pretty boy looks, and all of those muscles on top of muscles, Colt bet Brad auditioned for the show hoping to break into acting or modeling, not for love.

     The bachelorette cleared her throat. “O-okay. And you, Bachelor Number Two?”
     Trent tossed his long, poker-straight hair over his shoulder. He waved his hands, and the tattoos lining his arms became a blur of black, red and blue. “Dinner, then we’d hit the clubs, where we’d rock all night. Pa-pow,” he finished and did a quick encore to his earlier air drum set.
     Good Lord, where did they find these guys? The only reason he’d ended up on the show was because he’d lost a bet, and Macavey’s niece worked in the casting department. Pick Me’s casting people must have chosen Trent and Brad for some sort of shock factor. Trying to pair either a wannabe rocker or a muscle bound blockhead with this woman just seemed wrong. On so many levels. Then again, the bachelorette was probably a former beauty queen using the show to enhance her career, so what did he care?

     “Wow,” she said with another raspy chuckle, and Colt had to admit, he liked the sexy, teasing quality of her voice that held a hint of a Midwestern accent. “Ah, let’s move on to Bachelor Number One. What is your ideal first date?”
     Excitement pumped through his veins. Now he had the opportunity to free himself from the show’s nonsense for at least a few days. But he would have to lay it on thick. Otherwise he’d end up stuck in Dallas longer than he wanted.
     “Welp,” he purposefully drawled, hoping the tone would add to the backcountry hick persona he’d decided to go for. “I’m really into huntin’, and just bought myself a varmint rifle I’ve been itchin’ to try out on the coyotes terrorizin’ my fillies. So I was thinkin’ you and me could head out and do some shootin’.” He thought about adding that he’d bring a picnic basket filled with beer and beef jerky, but that seemed a bit over the top. “If we bag one of those critters, I’ll even have Ol’ Red, the local taxidermist, do his magic and you’ll have yourself a work of art you can display in your livin’ room.”
     The silence that ensued made him want to burst out laughing. Especially when he pictured the director splicing in sound bites of chirping crickets. Yeah, after that answer there was no way she’d pick him for the first date. Hell, there was no way she’d pick him period.

     After a pause long enough they could have taken a commercial break if the show was live, she cleared her throat. “Really? A varmint riffle? I’ve never shot one of those. Did you go with a twenty two caliber or a twenty five?”
     “Twenty two.”
     “A Hornet or a Remington?”
     “With a tri-muzzle break?”
     The woman actually knew about guns? He shook his head. You’ve got to be kidding me. He’d thought bringing on the good ol’ boy, gun toting talk would have been a surefire way of keeping her from picking him. But it appeared his plan was about to literally backfire on him.

     “Yeah, it has a tri-muzzle break.”
     “Hmm. Interesting. I shoot left, is that a problem?”
     “N-no,” he stumbled over the word when he caught the bald headed director waving his arms in the air.
     The music kicked up, and Shepp broke in, silencing anything else he had to say about the rifle.
     “Okay, Val,” Shepp began with unnecessary drama. “You’ve asked questions, received answers...now, it’s time for you to decide which one of these bachelors will receive the coveted first date.”
     “You mean right this second?” she asked, and the audience laughed. Colt couldn’t help cracking a smile, too. She sounded as if she didn’t want to make a choice at all. He almost felt sorry for her. She had her pick of a tattooed wannabe rocker, a blockhead Neanderthal, and a gun toting hillbilly. Oh well, he thought, that’s just the price she’d have to pay for her fifteen minutes of fame.
     “Val, I need an answer,” Shepp said as if this were a life or death situation. “Who will you choose?”
     The studio darkened, then spotlights shifted over the stage. “Will it be Bachelor Number One?” Colt squinted when the beam hit him square in the face. “Or Bachelor Number Two.” The light focused on the rocker, Trent, then zipped to Brad. “Or Bachelor Number Three?”
     Music infiltrated the studio as the lights flitted back and forth, to him, to the other bachelors. All the while, he kept thinking...don’t pick me.

Find PICK ME on Amazon and Barnes and Noble 
and KISS ME on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Sony, and iBooks

I didn’t pick up my first romance novel until I was in my late twenties. Immediately hooked, I read a bazillion books before deciding to write one of my own. After the birth of my first son I needed something to keep my mind from turning to mush, and Sesame Street wasn’t cutting it. While that first book will never see the light of day, something good had come from writing it. I realized my passion, and had found a career that I love.

When I’m not writing contemporary romances and dark, romantic suspense novels (or reading them!) I’m chasing after my four kids and two neurotic dogs.

You can email me at authorkristinemason@gmail.com or find me on Facebook!

On Conversations: #NewRelease from #author Linda Barrett

Please welcome the amazingly talented author, Linda Barrett to Conversations today! She's giving away an ebook copy of her latest book, Family Interrupted, to one lucky commenter. 
Lisa ~

Thanks for inviting me to guest post on your blog, Lisa. I’m delighted to be here chatting about books, writing, and…well…life.

My current release, Family Interrupted, is my fourteenth book, but my very first indie published one.  Who knew I’d grow up to be not only a writer but a publisher as well?  That’s what independent publishing is. Authors are now publishers, too. We are definitely living in exciting times! But as true as that statement is, I know and you know that at the heart of this writing business is the story. Readers and writers care most about the story,  no matter who publishes it. So now I’ll share two stories with you. One that I wrote, and one that I lived.

Family Interrupted is the story of a family in crisis. Here’s the blurb so you can see for yourself:

Guilt and blame.

Shaken by tragedy, the Barnes family has fractured. Mother. Father. Son. Each dealing with theh pain separately and alone. Holding fast to guilt and blame. Real or imagined.

Claire, an artist who finally follows her dream and encounters a nightmare. Jack, a home guilder who thinks he can fix anything—except what matters most. And Ian, a teenage son to be proud of. Until he moves out. Fifty miles awy from the darkness at home.

On the verge of divorce when their son’s new life goes terribly awry, Claire and Jack are forced to re-examine their lives in order to save their marriage and heal a family that, according to Ian, “has gone to hell.”

What will they have to do to find the road back?

My stories provide an emotional roller-coaster ride. Laughter, tears and characters you’ll remember. Just as with the Superromances I wrote for Harlequin, Family Interrupted has all those hallmarks. So, get ready to care about the Barnes family. You may have to grab a tissue, but I promise you a satisfying ending.  

Now for the story behind the story –

Writing Family Interrupted saved my sanity. When the book was only partially finished, I was diagnosed with breast cancer--for the second time. You know how your brain freezes when you hear bad news and you stare until your eyes burn? Well, that about sums up my initial reaction. Fear. Primal, unadulterated fear. I was certainly not ready to die. I have kids and grandkids not to mention the best guy in the world.

When I found out I wouldn’t die, I cried with relief. And then learned that living would require a big fight, bigger than the first time around. For this bout with the disease, I’d get more chemo, undergo major surgeries requiring decisions that would change my life. I’m sure everyone reading this can imagine the possibilities. Let’s just say, I now call myself a neutered cat J   

So how do you keep your sanity when you’re living in an insane world? You latch onto normal routines as much as possible. You continue to watch favorite television shows. You continue to see friends. You continue to go to work as much as you can. Twelve years ago, the surgery was minor, and I continued to teach classes throughout my treatment. Teaching saved my sanity then.

This time, I depended on writing. Writing was and is a big part of my routine. When I sit at the computer to focus on the story, my own life disappears as I become each of my characters and enter their world.  This profession gifted me with forgetfulness an hour at a time during the most trying time of my life.

In a few months, you can look for a memoir about my experiences with this disease. I haven’t decided on the final title yet, but in my head I hear: Breast Cancer and Me: Tales of a Two-Time Survivor.  Is it too long? Titles are tough. If you’ve got ideas, let me know. I’ll consider all suggestions.

If you want to learn more about me, please visit at: www.linda-barrett.com

Lisa and I are members of OnFireFiction, a group of authors with lots of stories to tell in a variety of genres to suit every taste.  You can catch up with us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/OnFireFiction

Thanks for taking the time to visit. Hope to see you soon.

Linda Barrett

Linda Barrett grew up on New York City, earning a B.A. and M.S. at Hunter College. In her teaching career, she first worked with children and then with adults, preparing them to take the GED exam. To keep herself from getting bored during long New England winters, Linda began writing romance fiction. Her emotional stories have earned many industry awards through Romance Writers of America including the Holt Medallion, the Award of Excellence, the Write Touch Readers' Award among others. Linda and her husband live in Florida. They have three grown sons.

TEMPTING FATE by Lisa Mondello makes the #USATODAY #Bestsellers List!

It never gets old when you find out your book is a bestseller.  TEMPTING FATE - Fate with a Helping Hand Box Set has made the USA TODAY Bestseller's list.  To say I'm excited is a major understatement.  This never gets old!

Order Your Copy from:

Amazon:  http://amzn.to/110l3kS
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/YQkdsA
Kobo: http://bit.ly/ZeqIoL

3 full length Contemporary Romance novels by USA Today Bestselling Author Lisa Mondello

"ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU is a warm and wonderful romance just right for the season." Susan Mobley Romantic Times Magazine

"A grandmother who goes skinny-dipping in public, a mother who plans
a wedding when there isnt one, and Caras reluctant boyfriend, the hapless Roger, bring life to this romance...THE MARRIAGE CONTRACT is a very entertaining read." Sunnye Tiedemann Romantic Times Magazine

From readers:

"Hilariously Funny!"


"Warm and witty!"

"Couldn't put it down!"

"Warm and wonderful characters."

"The best book I've read in years!"

Book 1

Sometimes fate needs a little hand...

Santa Claus is going to have a rough season... Lauren Alexander is raising her daughter alone. Abandoned by her family for her decision to keep her daughter Kristen, she has done a pretty good job for the last six years. Or she thought she had. That's why she is crushed when little Kristen gives up her wish for a toy or goodie and instead asks Santa for a present for her mother. She wants Santa to bring a Daddy. Delivering Daddies isn't Santa's bag.

But this Santa has a plan...

Kyle Preston knows what it is like to be abandoned too. Luckily he found the support of loving adoptive parents and has turned himself into one of the most successful Real Estate developers in town.

Building a house is easy. Building someone's trust is a whole other story. But with a little helping hand, a little Christmas magic can make all the difference in the world.

Book 2

"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?

Book 3


Jonah Wallace knows what it's like to grow up without love. Despite having more money than the Queen of England, his childhood was cold and stale as he grew up in boarding schools. He's dedicated his life to helping homeless and displaced children find the love and support they need by creating the Haven House Foundation, work that resulted in him being Knighted by the Queen.

Now that he's living in America, his work is going along just fine...until his grandfather gives fate a little nudge by insisting he take a wife before he can inherit.

Coffee shop owner, Maggie Bonelli, is pregnant and the baby's dad has gone AWOL. She knows too well the pain of growing up without a daddy. So when Jonah Wallace comes into her shop proposing marriage for a year, she takes him up on his offer, even if it's only for a year. Live in a mansion and give her baby a name and a daddy to call his/her own. But can they keep their perfect arraignment strictly business...or will fate's helping hand bring them love at last?

On Conversations: Interview with SAMMIE SAYS... #Author Shiana

Please join me in welcoming author, Shiana to Conversations! Shiana's fabulous story SAMMIE SAYS... is definitely worth checking out!

More about Shiana

Shiana, known as Lesa Jones was published back in 2011 with her very first book. She’s a mother, writer, CEO of Purple/Blaquk Rose Publishing. She was born in Jackson, Mississippi and now resides in Milwaukee, WI with her two girls Nesa and Nellie. When Shiana isn’t writing or running her business she is working as an Administrative Medical Assistant part time. She enjoys reading, writing, crocheting and spending time with her family.

Shiana discover the passion for writing when she was just a little girl. She used writing as a way to escape her childhood. With the abuse going on in her home life, writing was the only way that she could go beyond the horror she lived. As she grew up reading and writing took a whole new meaning for her. Growing up as a trouble teenage she never knew she had it in her to write books until one day she finished her very first book and received great feedback from family, friends and teachers.

Shiana had to postpone her love of writing and school for many years due to taking care of her oldest daughter that was born with a liver disease.

She proved herself and family to be wrong as she went back to school finishing school and getting her associates degree in Apply Health and Science. During school as a way to release stress she found the love of writing again and started back developing stories beyond her imagination.

Shiana enjoys being versatile with her writing and going beyond just one genre. 

Get to know Shiana:

1. Can you tell your readers about who you are and why is writing your passion? 

Well Shiana is my pen name Ellisa Jones is my real name I am a Mother, Writer, CEO, Crochet Designer Administrative Medial Assistant wow the list goes on.

I had my first book published in 2011 under my other pen name Lesa Jones. I am now CEO and author of my own company called Purple/Blaquk Rose Publishing LLC that I am just starting. I was born in Jackson, Mississippi, but now I live in Milwaukee, WI with my two girls Nesa and Nellie.

I enjoy writing it’s a creative way for to me to take myself into another world through my writing. I like to introduce my characters in a way to make my readers fall in love with them. Once my readers fall in love with them; I then put my characters through drama then I pull them out of the drama. It’s exciting to live through the eyes of a fictional character and to have readers go through the journey with me. 

2. What inspired you to become a writer? Why? 

As a child, I never thought I would become a writer; I wrote stories as a way of escaping my home life. I wrote in a journal and as a teenager, I wrote plays, short stories just to have been doing something besides staying in trouble, but I did enjoy writing. I put myself in trouble through my writing. I read a lot growing up from urban, street, mystery, horror, and true crime. I used to think that those authors did a fabulous job, but I didn’t think I had the dedication in believing in myself to go beyond just the short stories I wrote. I felt that I would not be able engage my readers and keep their attention through a whole book I feared that. But teachers and friends kept telling me I could and that my work was good.  I never thought that, years later that I would have made that into a dream then a goal. Now that I have I enjoy and love writing and will continue to write as much as possible. 

3. What are some ways you tend to market your work to help you get a whole new set of audience? 

I really enjoy the footwork in my city actually getting out and talking to people one on one. I like to get new readers that never read a book in their life, but are willing to read my book. When I am marketing my work I notice when I have contests for upcoming models to grace my book cover this helps me to gain them as a reader as well as their family and friends. Having an actual person on my cover that I can talk to it helps to get my books in the model’s hand and in their city where it may be harder for me to gain those readers. I don’t exclude online networking either, but putting the foot work in and actually making my presence known does help me to market my work one on one. 

4. What are some inspirations behind your characters in Sammie Says? How did you come up with them? 

Wow, well Sammie was actually named after a close friend of mines name Sammy he’s a male, but I wanted a girl as my man character. The inspiration behind Sammie was I wanted to tell a teenager’s girl story dealing with life. Sammie’s life is very crazy she has a racist grandma, crack head mom and her daddy is a hard working struggling man that is trying to keep his family together. Due to Sammie being mixed she has it bad in both worlds neither the whites nor the blacks are excepting her. Peer-pressure I have her faced with a lot of what teenagers go through now days.  Sammie’s story just took a role of its own and I let it play out having my readers become very emotional because of all I put Sammie through and also have my readers dislike a few people.

How I came up with them was I wanted to add a bit of what goes on in the real world into Sammie’s story. From the struggles of living from house to house, to the racist grandma, to her having a father that actually want more for his daughter that he’s willing to do whatever he has to do. 

5. Do you like to see yourself as writing one type of way or do you consider yourself to be versatile? 

Very versatile I don’t just write one genre. Like my short stories Kitty Box 1&2 those are my first erotic stories. Boy Toy is urban fiction, Taurus: She’s a Beast is street fiction, V (Vee) Target is what I consider to be urban fiction, street fiction, urban mystery. Sammie Says is urban mystery and urban fiction. Also Kitty: Twist ‘n’ Turns I did something different with this book I took Kitty out of an erotic tale and gave her a storyline this one I consider to be erotic, urban fiction with a little thriller to it.

I am very versatile in my writing I enjoy thinking outside of the box and have my readers in awe and not able to predict what’s going to happen. 

6. What is more important to you, characters or plot development? 

Well of course I want my readers to get to know my characters to be able to feel their pain and understand them. I also want my readers to be able to understand where the story is going and how I the writer will get my readers there. Throughout my story I want my readers to continue to get to know the ups and downs to my characters as the plot thickens. So I really can’t pick one over the other because I never want a reader of mines to ever say that they couldn’t picture my story as they read then that means I didn’t develop my plot well enough. I also never want my readers to ever say that they didn’t feel any connection either happy or mad with one of my characters. That will tell me that none of my characters caught my reader’s attention. What is a story without the both of them? 

7. What advice would you give a new writer? 

Research, research and more research know what you are getting into. Understand the business, and no you won’t make millions off your book. Understand that your books won’t sell just because you stamped your name on a book cover you actually have to put yourself out there talk to readers, bookstore owners go to book festivals other author’s book signings. Ask questions to other authors just because one author didn’t give you the answer there are more that are willing to help you. 

8. How can readers contact you and where can your books be purchased?

You can find Shiana books on Amazon in paperback and Kindle and Barnes and Noble a few in paperback and Nook, also on Kobo.


Sammie tells you a vivid story of her life being flipped upside down taking you on a journey you won’t ever forget. From her childhood with a racist grandma to her dopefiend mom to being daddy’s little girl. Her daddy finds a new way of hustling that would lead to lies, blackmail and even death. Sammie goes from the hushful, naive little patsy girl to a deranged girl with a gun strapped to her hip. Sammie will have you on the edge of your seat as she tells her tale of the many twists and turns in her life. At least that’s what she says, or is she just blowing smoke?
I hated daddy’s car, but I needed to go and his car was the only way for me to get there. With that one driving lesson, I was hoping it paid off that night as I started up daddy’s car. I prayed deep down that he didn’t hear the loud wreck of his car.

I parked two blocks from my destination as I placed my gun into the pocket of my jeans. Happy that I remembered the area and the right house I made my way up to the house as I stood outside the house looking up into the top floor rooms. I found a white vine fence that sat on the side of the house going up to the window that I believed to me my destination.

I climbed up as I stepped into the window seeing I was in the right room. A figure lie in the bed with a white blanket pulled up coving the person’s head. I knew I was in the right room because of the décor and the pictures on the walls let me know.

I noticed the clock that was on the nightstand read 3:47 a.m. I tipped toe over to the side of the bed as a pillow fell to the floor from the bed. I made sure that the person under the blanket didn’t see me as the person moved about under the blanket.

I picked up the pillow and held it tightly in my left hand as I pulled out my gun holding it in my right hand.

I moved in closer to the person in the bed as I whistled a little and said, “Hey, hey,” The person moved as she opened her eyes wide with a shocking expression.

“Don’t say a fucking word,” I threaten placing the gun to Brenee’s head as she closed her mouth biting on her tongue.

“You just can’t seem to get the picture Brenee. Moore isn’t yours anymore you messed that up so why you keep coming around?”

Brenee licked her lips as she tried to speak, “Naw don’t say anything because you don’t have shit to say that I care to hear. I will keep you away from him for good though.”

I placed the pillow over her face as I put the gun right over the pillow and shot Brenee two times in the head.

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