Please join me in welcoming USA Today bestselling author Donna Fasano to Conversations today! Donna is here to let you know that book 6 in her Ocean City Boardwalk series, The Wedding Planner's Son, is on sale for only 99¢ for a limited time! So be sure and check out the cover and blurb below! And don't forget to check out her bio too and get to know Donna Fasano.
THE WEDDING PLANNER'S SON
Tawny McNealy is a driven, high-achiever who fully expects to someday take over and run the family accounting firm. But when an attempt is made to use her as a pawn, Tawny flees to the only place she’s ever felt truly free and happy—the beach.
Jack Barclay spends his summer days creating romantic seaside weddings for lovers. His laid-back attitude has served him well over the years. He feels stressing out about work only causes a person to miss the best parts of life.
Jack and Tawny are as different as sea and sky, but the fascination they find in each other’s company can’t be denied. Can they withstand the crazy twists that fate tosses their way?
USA Today bestselling author DONNA FASANO is a three-time winner of the HOLT Medallion, a CataRomance Reviewers Choice Award winner for Best Single Title, a Desert Rose Golden Quill Award finalist, a Golden Heart finalist, and a two-time winner of Best Romance of the Year given by BigAl's Books & Pals Review Blog. Her books have sold 4 million copies worldwide and have been published in two dozen languages. Her novels have made the Kindle Top 100 Paid List numerous times, climbing as high as #1.
What others are saying about Donna's books:
"...complex, funny, and realistic..." ~Wilmington News Journal
"Could not help myself from reading excerpts to my husband and friends. This book is well written, the characters are real, everyday folks. It is very easy to identify with them. Donna Fasano is a talented author." ~Elizabeth M. Caldwell on Amazon
"...a fast paced riotous look at family life today. Donna Fasano is right on target!" ~Donna Zapf, SingleTitles.com
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Please join me in welcoming author Patrick Burton to Conversations today! Patrick is here to talk about his novel, Father Figure: Healing Child Abandonment! So be sure and check out the cover and blurb below! And don't forget to check out his interview too and get to know Patrick Burton.
Father Figure: Healing Child Abandonment
Ronnie Whelms has taken a great pride in the fact that his education in Child Psychology has allotted him the luxury of giving back to his community. His current case, sixteen year old David Jones has the not so rare situation of being raised by his mother and step-father. While David can appreciate the fullness of family with them, he can’t help but desire the closure he needs from a relationship with his biological father. Knowing that David’s biological father has no more interest in him other than the final child support check, Ronnie has every intention of championing the mending of their relationship by getting them back to what a biological father and son is truly supposed to be. There’s only one problem…..Ronnie has his own new found abandonment. While on her death bed, his mother lets him know that the man he has called father all of his life is not his real father. With his world now up-side down, he finds himself outside of his textbook resolve to dysfunctional families. It will take the navigation of David’s case in conjunction with a deep, dark family secret held by a long distance relative in order for Ronnie to truly come to grips with his abandonment issues.
Interview with Patrick Burton
How did you get started in the writing field?
While at ECPI Tech I had a ten page paper due with only a couple of hours in which to turn it in. I finished it within 45 minutes, turned it in and thought to myself, “I will be lucky if I get a 50% on this paper.” Not only did I get 100%, my instructor told me that this was one of the best papers that he had read of the ones turned in. I couldn’t help but laugh as I confessed to him that I rushed putting the paper together. It was then that he told me that he thought that I had a real talent for writing and that I should consider doing it professionally. I was going through a separation at the time so I had already written some of my emotions down. The process had already begun but it was my instructor who made me take it seriously.
How did you come up with the storyline for Father Figure: Healing Child Abandonment?
Father Figure Healing Child Abandonment is the result of watching my step-children coming in and out of the home with the many disappointments of broken promises from their biological father’s. For a small portion of my life as a child, I also experienced these disappointments. As I have conversations with men in my age group or younger, there is a common trend of fathers not being present in the home. I wanted to create a platform in order to allow men who would normally be introverted on the subject, to have a way to open up dialog.
Where does your creativity comes from?
I view everything that I encounter in life as having the potential to be some type of story. I find myself always saying, “That would make a good book.” I am always interested in the process of translating emotions like happiness, hurt, anger and tears rolling down someone’s face into the written form. It’s very unique form of transformation of energy. Life in itself is a huge book waiting to be written.
What are your writing techniques like?
My first two books are narratives as will be my third book. They all consist of backstory and flashback techniques. My mindset around my fourth book is to write it in first person. Each book, in my opinion deserves its own consideration for either a single technique or a combination of multiple techniques.
How many books have you written so far and when can we expect your next book to be published?
I have written two books, Mrs. Limbsy? and Father Figure: healing Child Abandonment. I am currently working on my third book, titled Why We Sleep with Married Men. This should be out in 2017.
How important do you think authors supporting other authors is?
I feel that author support is very important. A good network of likeminded people can only enhance the potential of the individual author. Some things are necessary to go through by yourself for single evolution but you can’t supplement the value of a good support system.
Who is your favorite author (s) and why?
Herbert Harris (Twelve Universal Laws of Success) I had the pleasure of meeting him while at the Maserati Dealership in Raleigh, NC and in addition to his very inspirational, well written book he was very liberal with information and reaching back to give me a wealth of his life experiences that he knew I would embark upon as a young author. His life is worth writing and he has contributed to the reasons that I write.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors wanting to write a book?
My advice to anyone who wants to write is to write exactly what’s in their heart. Don’t be deterred by people who do not understand the gift that God has placed inside of you. Invest in yourself, because if you don’t believe in yourself, nobody else will. Align yourself with people who share your goals so you can learn from each other. Study your craft so you can contribute and inspire people who will read your art. Have fun when you are writing and enjoy the process of creating and this way you will never regret the finished product.
What do you enjoy doing on your spare time when you aren’t writing?
In my spare time I like to work out in the gym and spend time with my family.
Patrick Burton was born in Raleigh, NC and raised in Enterprise, AL. He is the author of two books, titled Mrs. Limbsy? and Father Figure Healing Child Abandonment. He has also written a screenplay for an independent filmmaker. His third book, Why we sleep With Married Men, is due to come out in late 2017 and he promises many more great intriguing subjects in the future. He attributes his passion for writing to his mother, who taught English during his childhood days. His cultural diversity is a result of his time spent in the United States Marines, traveling abroad and gaining an appreciation for life outside of his immediate circle of life. He enjoys time spent working out in the gym, time with his beautiful family and of course, writing books, movies , poems and any other form of written communication that stands to be a voice for anyone who would not otherwise be able to speak to a genre.
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Please join me in welcoming USA Today bestselling author Dale Mayer to Conversations today! Dale is here to reveal an excerpt from her upcoming Sleeper Seals romantic suspense novel, MICHAEL'S MERCY, set to release on October 3rd. So be sure and check out the cover, blurb and excerpt below! She's also offering readers a chance to win one of five advance reader copies. You'll find the Rafflecopter contest entry form below the excerpt. And don't forget to check out her bio too and get to know Dale Mayer.
When things go bad, in Michael’s world things go horribly, terrifyingly bad.
It’s been a year since hardened Navy SEAL Michael Stanton walked away from his career. He never thought to go back, but then his former commander calls with the news that an old friend was murdered while undercover – and he needs Michael’s help.
Knowing the next dead body might be his, Michael takes his friend’s place at the home of a terrorist. His official mission is to find all he can to bring the man’s operation down. His personal mission is to find out who murdered his friend.
Mercy got the job as a maid that her sister had last held – just before she disappeared. With the police lacking leads and interest, Mercy decides it’s up to her to find out what happened. Inside the huge home, she meets Michael and becomes immediately suspicious ... and immediately attracted.
When they collide in the worst way possible, she realizes he's not who he seems either.
Can they each find the truth about their objectives and about themselves? Or will the terrorist get wind of the traitors in his midst and take care of them before they can take care of him?
Each story in this multi-author branded series is a standalone novel and the series can be read in any order.
Welcome to Michael’s Mercy, book 10 in Heroes for Hire (and Sleeper SEALs #3) reconnecting readers with the unforgettable men from SEALs of Honor in a new series of action packed, page turning romantic suspense that fans have come to expect from USA TODAY Bestselling author Dale Mayer. This book is part of the continuity series SLEEPER SEALS.
Excerpt from MICHAEL'S MERCY
She pulled back from Michael’s embrace, hating that lassitude overcoming her, wanting to stay nestled close to him. “What about the rest of the night? Do you think I should return to my place?”
He shook his head. “Hell no.”
She frowned. “I left my toiletry bag in the bathroom.”
“Is it that important?” he added quietly, “It’s past 10:00 p.m. curfew.”
The two stared at each other as if across an impasse. Then she shook her head. “It’s not, but I don’t want to leave anything of me behind. I know that doesn’t sound right, but it feels right to say it. There is something so very wrong about this place that I want to make sure I take away everything that’s me.” He raised an eyebrow at that, but he didn’t mock her, for which she was grateful.
“In the morning I’ll walk over with you, and we’ll get it.”
“And what is your excuse?”
“I wasn’t planning on using an excuse,” he said. “If I have a lady stay for the night, I always make sure she gets home safe.”
She frowned at him.
He raised a hand when she went to argue and said, “No arguments. We need sleep.”
“Ha, like I could sleep now.” She walked back into the bedroom, the sheet falling slightly. When she’d dashed from the bed, she’d pulled the straps of her bra off her shoulders. She quickly pulled them back up. In her panties and bra, she tossed the sheet back on the bed and remade it. “We’ve already destroyed your bed tonight.”
“So no reason we can’t destroy it again, is there?” he asked with a devilish note in his voice.
She shot him a smirk. “You should be so lucky.”
He pointed to her shirt, still over the camera.
He quickly divested himself of his jeans while she watched, her heart speeding up at the bulge in his underwear. She deliberately closed her eyes and pulled the blankets up against her shoulders. Because the truth was, she did want to roll over and welcome him into her arms and rip up the sheets. But that was hardly the best idea right now.
And she’d never want an audience.
She lay there pondering the ins and outs of relationships as he got into bed behind her. She held her breath as the bed swayed as it took his weight. Finally, she rolled over and whispered, “I don’t think the bed can take any more shenanigans as it is.”
He gave her a startled look, then a shocked laugh. “I’m not that heavy,” he whispered in protest.
She chuckled but hopped out and stood, looking at the bed frame. She motioned him out of the bed. “Get up and help me lift this mattress,” she murmured.
Obediently he got out of bed and checked out the footboard and underneath the mattress frame. Cracked, he mouthed.
He held up a finger and then pointed at an odd crack in the frame. He bent over the footboard. She scrambled around the side of the mattress where she could take a look. Something was jammed in there. Michael pulled out his tools.
“It must be from the way you sat down,” she whispered, her tone flirty.
Michael muttered, “Like hell.”
She grinned, but her eyes were sharp as she watched him pull out dog tags.
Pain whispered across his face.
She knew instinctively they were Sammy’s dog tags. And there was nothing she could do to help him through this moment.
He dug in again with his tools for anything else, and, sure enough, a slim USB key fell out.
He snagged it and put it with the dog tags, checked to make sure the little hiding space was completely empty, then as quietly as possible, they replaced the mattress and remade the bed. When they were back in bed, he plugged in the USB to his laptop and took a good look at what Sammy had stored there.
Photos of the cave that Michael had been in tonight and of the men unloading crates of weapons and crates of C-4 explosives. A man stood off to the side, holding a semiautomatic machine gun, dressed in jeans and a black T-shirt. The second photo was of Freeman, the owner of the estate, standing beside one of the open trucks and speaking to somebody else Michael didn’t recognize. It looked like packets of money were handed over, but the photo was too far away to make that distinction. He studied the photo.
She squeezed his hand, knowing Michael was also dealing with the loss of his friend.
With a smoldering look in his eyes, he leaned over and kissed her. But not just a kiss of Hey, how are you? or a kiss of Hey, we’ll get through this. This was a kiss of Holy shit, I can’t wait to hold you in my arms and devastate your self-control. Most definitely it was a promise. For later. The trouble was, she wanted that promise now. She didn’t want to wait.
What if something happened to her, like to her sister? Life was too damn short for waiting until she knew somebody better. What a fraud she was. She wanted this man any way she could get him. But what she didn’t want was to have him while somebody else was listening in. Decision made.
Dale Mayer is a USA Today bestselling author best known for her Psychic Visions and Family Blood Ties series. Her contemporary romances are raw and full of passion and emotion (Second Chances, SKIN), her thrillers will keep you guessing (By Death series), and her romantic comedies will keep you giggling (It's a Dog's Life and Charmin Marvin Romantic Comedy series).
She honors the stories that come to her - and some of them are crazy and break all the rules and cross multiple genres!
To go with her fiction, she also writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening and the US mortgage system. She has recently published her Career Essentials Series. All her books are available in print and ebook format.
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Please join me in welcoming author C.A. Wittman to Conversations today! C.A. is here to talk about her memoir, Synanon Kid! So be sure and check out the cover, blurb and excerpt below! And don't forget to check out her interview too and get to know C.A. Wittman.
SYNANON KID: A Memoir of Growing Up in the Synanon Cult
"I told you mothers do not matter here. We are all your mothers. Isn't that better than just having one?"
An ordinary weekend becomes surreal when Celena's mother, whom she has not seen for years, returns to claim her. Told that she is going to visit a place called Synanon, six-year-old Celena leaves her native Los Angeles on a bus for a secluded ranch setting in Northern California where the residents are strangely bald and dressed uniformly in overalls.
Coming to realize this eerie institution is to be her new home, Celena is ultimately forced to develop a new strength of being to protect herself against the abusive school demonstrators, the troubled children, and the chilling thought that she and her mother might never leave.
C.A. Wittman's daring memoir is a coming-of-age story about growing up in a cult, the unconditional love between a mother and daughter, and how that love helped a young girl to grow and flourish against the odds of her distorted childhood.
Excerpt from Synanon Kid
“When will I see Theresa?” I hoped that using my mother’s name would produce the desired effect of getting some information from Linda. Instead, the pleased smile left her lips, her mouth tightened with disapproval.
“The sooner you are used to being apart from Theresa, the better. I told you, mothers do not matter here. We are all your mothers. Isn’t that better than just having one?”
I did not want a group of mothers I didn’t know. My mom, Theresa, loved me. It showed in her eyes and body language. But after our reunion, she was gone again, replaced like a pair of shoes. I did not know what to say to Linda, who coldly demanded that she, in a sense, was now my new mom. A feeling of terror came over me. I clenched my fingers into my palms to fight back the tears that filled my eyes.
“When we have another game, you can talk about it,” Linda said. “That’s when you get out your feelings.”
I took a deep breath, not daring to move.
“Tell Sophie ‘Thank you,’” Linda said.
I couldn’t speak. Afraid that instead of words there would be just an uncontrollable wail, I held myself very still.
Linda gave me a minute. “It is important when someone shows you how to do something properly that you thank them.”
“Thank you,” I whispered.
Interview with C.A. Wittman
What is Synanon?
Initially a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program, Synanon was founded by a man named Chuck Dederich in Santa Monica California in 1958. Over time Synanon evolved into an experimental lifestyle community. During the cult’s development, helping people recover from drug and alcohol addiction became just one of Synanon’s many objectives as it expanded into environmental consciousness, clean living, philosophical studies, racial integration and experimental childrearing. This “new” paradigm of collectivist and socialist structure attracted more than just dope fiends; college graduates, white-collar professionals, celebrities and wealthy donors also flocked to Synanon. These new members, called lifestylers, looked to Synanon as a kind of utopia. Synanon properties would grow to expand beyond Santa Monica, to Marin County, San Francisco, Oakland, and Visalia, California. There would also be property in Lake Havasu, Arizona, New York, and Berlin, Germany.
Over time the organization grew corrupt and violent. Chuck, once a maverick for positive change, devolved into an egomaniac, wreaking havoc on his members’ lives through unyielding commands often issued from his selfish whims. These dogmatic orders would have detrimental effects on Synanonites. Ultimately, the community would return full circle, residents succumbing to the abuse of alcohol and drugs that earlier members had once fought so doggedly to overcome. Synanon fell to its demise in 1991.
How do people get involved in cults?
There are myriad reasons people become involved in cults. Often the attraction to a particular peripheral movement has to do with an individual's growing discontentment regarding either the social norms and status quo of the greater society as a whole or rebellion against change within the society that the person deems threatening, immoral, or evil. Other times, an individual is not looking to join any particular group per se but becomes curious and enticed by a cult through attending a lecture, weekend seminar or sermon put on by the organization. Many people who have dedicated years of their life to cult living fall under the latter group.
The late Margaret Singer, who was a clinical psychologist, and professor at the University of Berkeley, studied cults and coercive persuasion. In the literature she produced on her theory of thought reform, she outlined six conditions:
- Control over a person's time
- Creating a sense of powerlessness
- Keeping a person unaware of what is going on and how he or she is being changed one step at a time
- Creating a closed system of logic and an authoritarian structure that permits no feedback and refuses to be modified except by leadership approval and executive order
- Manipulation of rewards, punishments, and experiences in such a way as to inhibit behavior that reflects a person's former identity
- Manipulation of rewards, punishments, and experiences to promote learning the group's ideology and belief system and group approved behavior
There have been other psychologists who have studied this subject extensively outlining their own...
How do you feel toward your parents for bringing you into Synanon?
My father was never involved with Synanon, other than attending some of the free parties open to the public at their Santa Monica head quarters, The Casa Del Mar Hotel. Although my father introduced my mother to the Synanon club scene, which the community created to recruit new members; he was not a good candidate for their recruitment efforts. Content with his religion, family and American society in general, he was firmly rooted in mainstream life and tended to distrust counter-culture type movements and ideology. My mother, on the other hand, was very open to new ideas and exploring alternative lifestyle experiences and spirituality. Because my mom suffered from bouts of depression, feeling isolated, and had very little help from her family or my father as a single mom, Synanon appeared as a bright beacon of hope for her.
Considering my mother’s circumstances and the fact that she made sure I knew she loved me in the corrosive environment of the anti-parent-child rhetoric, which the Synanon school adhered to, I, fortunately, did not develop any ill will or bitterness toward her.
What was it like to grow up in Synanon?
As a girl, when people asked me where I grew up, I would say a ranch in Marin, not knowing how to explain my past. The first time I told someone that I came from Synanon and tried to describe the commune, I was eleven. The question had been, "why is your hair so short?" The child who'd planted herself in front of me demanding to know what I was all about, found my story so preposterous she'd called me a liar. Many years later when I was eighteen, I wrote a short story about an incident I had experienced in Synanon for a creative writing course. The assignment had been to write about a memorable time in your life. When my teacher read my paper aloud to the class, several students were confused thinking it was a science fiction piece rather than autobiographical.
I still find it difficult to describe what it was like to grow up in Synanon. When I reminisce, there is a dreamlike quality to my memories, a feeling of having slipped into another world for a time that no longer exists today and is no longer relevant. My Synanon childhood was a rigidly scheduled, militaristic up bringing during the week while on weekends and vacation we children enjoyed a vast amount of freedom and autonomy to roam and do what we liked on the ranch where we lived.
What happened to you and your mom after you left Synanon?
We left the commune with my mother's husband and his daughter and settled in Santa Cruz where we joined another commune for one year. I have written a second book about our experiences detailing the challenges and triumphs of re-integrating back into mainstream society.
When did you decide to become a writer?
From the time I can remember I have loved to read. As a child, I enjoyed telling stories to my friends. I was probably eight years old when I began to write. A few years later, I wrote my first hundred-page novel, a love story between a teen-couple named Sandy and Joey. I wrote throughout my young adult years regularly, however, when I became a mom, my writing dwindled down to the occasional few pages here and there. I have been lucky in the sense that I've known from a young age what my passions were, and have followed through on my interests. Becoming a published author has been a goal of mine from the time I was nine and sent off one of my short stories to a publishing house. Now that I have reached that goal, I am working on creating more books and building my writing business into a financially sustainable career.
What do you like to read?
I am an eclectic reader. For most of my childhood and younger adult years, I read fiction predominantly stories about day-to-day trials and tribulations in life, supernatural stories, horror, and thriller suspense. In my mid-twenties, I ran a family owned bookstore/postal center and gravitated toward non-fiction, small business books, and memoirs, and still later, sociology, science, economics and travel writing, interspersed with regional romance novels and Mary Higgens Clark's mystery novels. Lately, I have enjoyed reading all of Liane Moriarty's books, Emma Straub’s, The Vacationers, Elena Ferente's novels, Han Kang's The Vegetarian, The Stranger, by Albert Camus and re-reading Sophie Kinsella's older works, Remember Me and The Undomestic Goddess.
C.A. Wittman grew up in Northern California. In 1993 she moved to Maui Hawaii where she raised her children. Synanon Kid is her second book. Currently, she resides in Los Angeles with her husband, Frank.
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