Wednesday, January 18, 2017

INTERVIEW WITH TERRA KELLY!

Hi there! I’m so excited to be here. Thank you, Caroline, for the opportunity. This is a perfect distraction in between my writing time. I’m currently working on the fourth book in my Winters Family Series. Plus, I’m preparing to rebrand the first three books in that series. Lots happening. 2017 is off to a perfect start!  

Please tell us about growing up.

I grew up in a very small town in Michigan. The town is called Freeland and it only has one stop light. When I lived there we had minimal restaurants, and McDonald’s was the highlight for us all. I haven’t lived there in over 20 years, and the town has grown so much … lots more restaurants now, too. My family and I were pretty close, especially my sister. My Sister and I always did something together, she even let me hang out with her friends in high school. The highlight of my adolescence is all the family trips we took in our motorhome. We traveled all over the U.S, and had many laughs.

Terra and her husband


I’ve been married for 19 years, been with my best friend for 22 years. We met when I was just 19, crazy how time flies when you’re having fun. We lived in Tucson, Arizona for 15 years, and now currently Charlotte, North Carolina. We have three furry babies that make our life complete (one dog and two cats).





I've never seen a photo of a more contented cat than the tiger one above. Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

That is tricky. I love too many. My favorite genre is contemporary romance and mystery/thriller, but lately I’m a huge fan of some non-fiction books, too.
Favorite authors: Susan Mallory, Jill Shalvis, Bella Andre, Clive Cussler, Steve Barry, Joanna Penn, Tim Grahl, Jeff Goins, Nick Stephenson, and many more!

I met you on Nick Stephenson's Facebook group. When you’re not writing, what’s your favorite way to relax and recharge? Hobbies?

Relaxing with my hubby is the best, we love watching movies, sports, and TV series. I’m also a food blogger (www.cafeterrablog.com) and love creating new recipes. My husband and I even create recipes together which is awesome. I also love yoga to recharge after sitting and writing, or walking my dog to get some story ideas happening.  

How long have you been writing?

My story is unique and long, you can read about it here and here. I definitely didn’t start out with the intent to have a writing career. At 13 while vacationing in New York City, I decided I wanted to be a disc jockey on the radio in New York. I had that plan all the way up until I met my future husband. I did get to work as a disc jockey in Michigan, and still have fond memories of that experience. BUT New York never happened, instead we trekked all the way to the opposite side of the country. I’m a believer that life takes you on paths for a reason. Mine led me to this career, and when I hit publish in November 2014 that changed everything for me. I wouldn’t change anything about my past, I loved all the adventures. Since November 2014 I have published six books and have grown so much as an author. I love everything about this career.

Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?

I have a super long list of issues with my back, so sitting at a desk is no fun. I have a lazy boy and TV tray that is my writing space (it’s not pretty, but definitely keeps my back happier). I have a MacBook Air and it’s loaded with so much love. I have my iPad and iPhone synced up to the drives, so I can access my writing anywhere. Thank goodness for technology. I actually write better in silence. If my husband is home, I take my hearing aids out for silence … so he can still watch TV. Having a TV on is not distracting for me, because when in the zone I don’t even register it’s on.  

Are you a plotter or a panzer?

Answer: Definitely a panzer. I will write down my thoughts for a story idea in Evernote. Then just start writing and let it create itself.

Do you do your research before you begin a new project, or as you go along?

For my last book I did some research before, and then as I went along. It was a mobster book, and I wanted to try to keep it as realistic as possible. For my steamy contemporary, no research is really needed, except for the recipes I create for each book.

Tell us about your writing schedule. Do you set goals? Do you write daily?

That’s funny you ask that. So, just this month I am officially able to say, I’m a full-time author entrepreneur. In the past I would write tons to get a book complete, then just write here and there. I didn’t have any daily writing habits. Now, this month I’m working on changing my habits by participating in a 31-day writing challenge. It really is only for me to get a better habit set in place. My goal is to write daily and to get at least 1.5k to 3k completed for each session. For goals, I didn’t have any. Now, I have created a production plan through March 2018, and have already got myself set to achieve everything on the list. I plan to publish three books and one short story in 2017. I would love to up that number in 2018, but remember, I didn’t have a writing background, so I want to make sure I produce solid content and keep growing. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon after all.

Tell us something about yourself that might surprise readers.

I have a severe hearing impairment. Something that started when I was born and gradually got worse. I was always nervous to get hearing aids and how people treat me (in school I was teased for not being able to hear things). Well, in October 2016 I was given the gift of hearing, thanks to my parents. I love my hearing aids and love listening to all the beautiful sounds most people take for granted. For 41 years I managed through life by reading lips, that’s how bad my hearing was. Most didn’t even know I had an impairment, because I could read lips that good. My parents taught me when I was born to read their lips when learning to talk.

What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

Happiness. Excitement. Hunger (since I put recipes in my books). I write from the heart, which I think most authors do. I share stories that include things about me, just snippets. So I hope readers will be able to relate, and find peace and happiness when they finish a book.

My feelings, too. What advice would you give to unpublished authors?

Well, if you read the blog post I shared up above about my writing past- I would say, don’t ever listen to bullshit. Seriously. I let someone tell me I was a poor writer and should find a different career … AND I believed them for a long time. Overcoming that was a long road, but now the shining light is reading messages from readers who tell me they adore my books. The messages I receive from readers warms my heart every day. If you have a story to tell, tell it. If you’re nervous to publish, STOP, and just publish the damn thing. Someone out there wants to read your story, trust me. Oh, and make sure to start building your email list from the very start, that is the holy grail for authors and building our audience.

Tell us about your latest release.

My latest release was December 6th- It was the second book in my romantic suspense series, Torn Pieces. I started writing contemporary romance that was more on the steamy side. I know I kind of played it safe and definitely felt too nervous to jump out of my comfort zone. Then my author friend challenged me to try suspense, so I did. Now, I find my readers like my suspense maybe more than my other books. I have also fallen in love with writing suspense, and made TAKE THIS PAIN AWAY more suspenseful and less on the romance. Now that I ventured out of my comfort zone, there is a serial killer suspense/thriller series in the works. It does pay to expand your wings and fly.




TAKE THIS PAIN AWAY (Torn Pieces: Book Two) Synopsis: Finley Scott devotes his life to the Emergency Task Force, Toronto, and it's what he loves. So when being asked to go undercover to protect a woman from the biggest mob boss Toronto has ever experienced, he doesn't hesitate. Giano Nesta stops at nothing to get what belongs to him and yet, Finley is ready to be the savior Letizia will need.

Letizia Magrino lives in St. Cloud, MN, has her own bakery, and nothing to worry about but a cupcake bake-off she wants to win. That is, until her life comes crumbling down when a mob boss starts hunting her. With nowhere to hide at home, she starts running with the help of Finley and his crew. But too many lies made her distrustful of people around her, so how can she believe that Finley will protect her no matter what?

With her life turned upside down, can Letizia and Finley find a way to escape all the horrors-and find the happy ending they desperately seek?

How can readers learn more about you?

I’m a marketing nerd, hence why I run three blogs, ha! You can catch me on social, email, website, wherever you choose.

Terra Kelly, Author
Terra loves walking her dog, snuggling with her two cats, and relaxing with her amazing hubby. A steamy romance book is never far from her grasp, and 2:00 a.m. seems to be the sweet spot to finally put a book down and sleep. She laughs loudly, smiles often, is a bit of a klutz, and tries to always find the positive in everything.

Writing was not on the list of must-do’s for her career, but she always had stories swirling around her mind. Now, today she couldn't imagine her life without writing. She enjoys writing when the mood strikes, and will stay up late to get all her thoughts out.

When she's not writing, she’s creating recipes, and learning all about bourbon and wine. Terra has had a food blog for over six years, at www.cafeterrablog.com. That’s why you will find serious food love in each of her books. She considers herself a bourbon and wine lover. Each book will express her love for both types of alcohol, along with beer thrown in the mix. 

She loves hearing from her readers, please stop by one of her social sites and say hello!


One more thing: Something to look out for in March 2018, I will be publishing my first cookbook/romance book. The story takes place at a family wine vineyard, so the recipes will be infused with wine love.


Thank you so much for letting me share a little about myself today! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

THE RISE OF MISS NOTLEY BY RACHAEL ANDERSON

the-rise-of-miss-notley-gr




The Rise of Miss Notley by Rachael Anderson

To escape an undesirable match, Miss Notley must give up her riches for rags.

When Miss Coralynn Notley’s father barters her off to the first titled gentleman to come along, she realizes she must flee her home or be forced to wed a despicable man. Driven by desperation, she applies for the position of housekeeper at Tanglewood Manor, the home of the handsome Mr. Jonathan Ludlow.

The moment Jonathan sees Miss Notley, he is intrigued. She is far too young and inexperienced for the position, yet there is something about her that that inspires a certain hope within him. Does he dare offer her the position of housekeeper or will doing so result in catastrophe?

The Rise of Miss Notley is the delightful tale of a mysterious gentleman and a determined young woman, caught together in a web so tangled it begs the question: Will they ever get out?

Coming February 2017

add to goodreads



Rachael

Author Rachael Anderson

A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can't sing, doesn't dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.


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$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Ends 1/25/17

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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Monday, January 16, 2017

A JAKE RIVETT THRILLER, FLASH CRASH, BY DENISON HATCH



Flash Crash
by Denison Hatch

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GENRE:    Thriller

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FLASH CRASH Blurb:

When a rogue quantitative programmer intentionally crashes the gold index, it seems that Wall Street's worst nightmare has come true. In truth, the crisis has just begun.

Across town, an armored truck filled with $120M of gold bullion is hijacked by an ingeniously crafted electromagnetic crane and seemingly driven into thin air.

Programmer David Belov discovers that his virtual "Flash Crash" was simply a required stepping stone towards the largest physical gold robbery in history, and that's he's been framed for the resulting chaos, the lives of his beloved wife and son on the balance...

With brooding, hardboiled detective Jake Rivett and the NYPD's finest operators from the Major Crimes Division actively seeking to locate and arrest David, and other, darker elements nipping at his heels, David is forced to confront his own past in order to have a future.








FLASH CRASH Excerpt:

Suddenly there was a faint whooping noise in the distance.

“Did you hear that?” David asked.

“No. Do you hear me?”

David pulled Marina in for an embrace. “You have to trust me. I know what I’m doing . . .”

“He’s a scorpion.”

“What?” David asked as he scanned the horizon, searching for the source of the mystery vibration.

“Your mom’s favorite story. I’m sure you remember. A frog needs to get across a river, and there’s a scorpion sitting there at the riverbank. The scorpion helpfully offers to carry the frog on his back. So the frog says to him, ‘Well you’re a scorpion. Why should I trust you? How do I know you won’t just sting me?’ And the scorpion answers, ‘Because you have my word. I promise that I won’t bite you.’ So the frog takes the ride. And just as the two of them are about to reach the safety of the other shore, the scorpion suddenly stings the frog. As poison runs through his body and he lays there dying, the frog asks the scorpion one final question: ‘Why’d you do it?’ And the scorpion says, ‘Because I’m a scorpion.’ Vlad’s stung you before. And he’ll sting you again.”



   

Denison Hatch, Author

Denison is a screenwriter and novelist. He has a number of feature and television projects in development, including his original screenplay, Vanish Man, which is set up at Lionsgate. A graduate of Cornell University, he lives with his wife and a big dog in a little house in Hollywood. He is presently working on the third Jake Rivett thriller.



Purchase Flash Crash on Amazon:





GIVEAWAY INFORMATION

Denison Hatch will be awarding a copy of Flash Crash (U.S. only) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. 

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Friday, January 13, 2017

IS NANCY S. WIKARSKI THE NEW DAN BROWN?



The Sage Stone Prophecy
by N.S. Wikarski

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GENRE: Adventure, Mystery

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THE SAGE STONE PROPHECY Blurb:

Where do you hide a mysterious artifact that could change the course of history? You scatter clues to its whereabouts across the entire planet. Five objects buried beneath the rubble of lost civilizations point to the hiding place of the fabled Sage Stone. A secret society and a fanatical religious cult vie against one another in a global treasure hunt to claim the prize. The Arkana wants to preserve it for posterity. The Blessed Nephilim wants to exploit it to create a terrifying new world order. Only one faction can win. More importantly, only one can survive.




THE SAGE STONE PROPHECY Excerpt:

Alma Jones slowly eased the SUV over the causeway at Cahill’s Crossing.

Cassie gulped. She leaned out her window to gauge the height of the water. Even though the tires were only submerged about half a foot, the current was swift. She didn’t want to imagine crossing this land bridge with a flash flood racing under the wheels.

“You told us to look out for salties,” Daniel said, barely above a whisper. “What’s a saltie?”

“Good goddess, man!” Griffin’s tone was exasperated. “None of us want to know that!”

“There’s one.” Alma inclined her head to the right, both hands firmly gripping the steering wheel.

Her three passengers scanned the water on the driver’s side.

“Please tell me that’s a tree trunk floating out there,” the Pythia implored.

“No,” Alma demurred. “It’s a saltwater crocodile. Saltie for short though they don’t spend much time in salt water. They prefer watering holes—billagongs as we call them. The males can run six meters in length.”

“Translation?” Cassie turned toward Griffin.

“Six meters would be roughly twenty feet.” As an aside to the others, he explained, “She’s taken a firm stand against the metric system.”

“Freshies or freshwater crocodiles are much smaller and they eat fish not humans,” Alma added. “The salties are the ones to watch out for. Your American alligators are nearly as big but they aren’t always looking for a fight. Salties are natural-born brawlers.”

“Has anybody died at Cahill’s Crossing?” Daniel asked.

“Yet another fact we don’t want to know,” the Scrivener grumbled.

Nancy Wikarski, Author

"There's a 52% chance that the next Dan Brown will be a woman ... or should we just make that 100% now?"
--Kindle Nation Daily

Nancy Wikarski is a fugitive from academia. After earning her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, she became a computer consultant and then turned to mystery and historical fiction writing. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, the Society Of Midland Authors, and has served as vice president of Sisters In Crime - Twin Cities and on the programming board of the Chicago chapter. Her short stories have appeared in Futures Magazine and DIME Anthology, while her book reviews have been featured in Murder: Past Tense and Deadly Pleasures.

She has written the Gilded Age Mystery series set in 1890s Chicago. Titles include The Fall Of White City (2002) and Shrouded In Thought (2005). The series has received People's Choice Award nominations for Best First Novel and Best Historical as well as a Lovey Award for Best Traditional Amateur Sleuth.

Her seven-book Arkana Archaeology Mystery Series is a #1 Amazon Bestseller. Titles include The Granite Key (2011), The Mountain Mother Cipher (2011), The Dragon’s Wing Enigma (2012), Riddle Of The Diamond Dove (2013), Into The Jaws Of The Lion (2014), Secrets Of The Serpent’s Heart (2015), and The Sage Stone Prophecy (2016).






GIVEAWAY INFORMATION


The author will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.



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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

HER GENTLE HEART BY REINA TORRES #MontanaSkyKW



Today, please welcome Reina Torres to the blog. Reina and I met while working together in Debra Holland's Montana Sky Series Kindle World.

Reina, please tell us about growing up.

Growing up I was an only child and the youngest of any of my cousins, most of them lived outside the state, so I was always felt a little lonely until school. And when I went to school I discovered that I had a stutter, a BAD one. The other kids would tease me so I stopped talking in class to save my feelings. So I read. A lot. A lot LOT! But I learned to stop stuttering so much thanks to an amazing speech therapist who taught me that people don’t stutter when they sing. So when I’d get nervous, I'd just pretend that I was singing my words and it would be easier.

All that reading didn't go to waste! I spent most of my free time in school in the library. In fact, I'm still friends with those amazing ladies now!

Reina Torres, Author

Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

How much room do I have? 

Let's start with way back when… Louisa May Alcott was the first author that kept me up all night, flashlight under the covers, and dead to the world tired the next day! Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys competed with Little House. And from there it was whatever I could get my hands on. As an adult, I think my gateway drug to romance was Julie Garwood. And then I went on to so many authors…

As for genres, I love reading and writing, Contemporary, Western Historical, Regency, Paranormal… seems like I have a bit of identity crisis as a reader and writer! But I do read other subgenres too.

That sounds as if you described me. LOL When you’re not writing, what’s your favorite way to relax and recharge? Hobbies?

When I’m not writing I love to do handicrafts! I'm a costume designer by trade with a degree in technical theater, so I love to sew. And contrary to popular belief… math is necessary! I would be lost and broke if not for math skills to determine yardage. And for a while, when we lived in Las Vegas, we were Civil War reenactors. My son was regularly ‘borrowed’ by President Lincoln to play his son… but while we enjoyed it, when my young son learned that ‘Papa’ was dead, we had to explain playacting/reenacting in some detail, that the sweet man who ‘played’ President Lincoln was just fine! Phew!

What an impressive degree. You must have interesting stories to tell about your work. How long have you been writing?

My first experience with books was as a child. I'd draw picture books. Telling a story in pictures and then I would tell my family the story behind the drawings. Then in elementary school, when I didn't have dance class after school, I would wait for my mom at her office. I'd sit at the typewriter in the breakroom and pound away at the keys creating stories of a pair of intrepid teen detectives based on my love of Nancy Drew and inspired by friendship with my best friend. I wonder if those stories were any good. But I remember being so excited to ‘see’ them on the page. There were a few times that I got to use my creative writing in school, what a joy!

Years later, while I was writing fanfiction for a Western Television show, that was the first time I shared my writing with the ‘public’ and it was that time and experience and encouragement from the readers that gave me the idea of writing my own original stories and work toward publication.

I started to submit short stories to magazines and anthologies under a different name and have been published in Western, Weird Western, Scifi, Steampunk, etc. But my heart has always been firmly in Romance, so here I am.

Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?

I prefer to write in a comfy chair, on my hand-me-down laptop, but most nights if my son is working the nightshift I will sit in the parking lot when I wait to pick him up and type on my phone... like I am now. I need noise. Music is good. Or a tv show or movie on Netflix that I know really well. It's like white-noise. I'm not tempted to watch because I’ve seen that episode of Xfiles or West Wing a hund- err, a few times!

But when I edit, and this is what my friends think is really crazy, I need to have Hell’s Kitchen on... something about Gordon Ramsey screaming “It’s raw!” or “Bloody Hell!” seems to make the editing process less painful.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Goodness… umm… neither… both? It's a process for me. Sometimes I start with a plot or a scene idea. And then I start typing a plot summary, that usually ends up with who scenes in it, because the voices are too loud, and I’ve learned if I ignore the voices they get stubborn and silent. Never a good thing!

But I'm always ready for a plot to go off the rails! Be flexible! But have a purpose! I guess that could be my writing motto.

I agree—have a roadmap but prepare to take side trips along the way. Do you do your research before you begin a new project, or as you go along?

Sometimes reading gives me the idea. I have a massive collection of Old West, Victorian, Edwardian, Civil War era, etc. research books. When I say massive I'm not joking. I don't need a bedside table or book shelves, they are their own pieces of furniture!! So sometimes a random blurb under a picture will create a story in my head.

But for research during a book, unless it’s a complete Stop Sign, I just insert a note in the manuscript and look it up later. Saves time and keeps the work moving.

Tell us about your writing schedule. Do you set goals? Do you write daily?

Writing schedule… whenever, where ever I can fit it in. Waiting in a car, at the doctor’s office, in the car before my physical therapy. My goals consist of deadlines, I wish I could break it down better than that, but that ends up being frustrating more than anything else. But I do try to write daily. It's too easy to skip another day once you’ve skipped one.

Tell us something about yourself that might surprise readers.

Well, I've already mentioned the Civil War reenactment stuff, that's usually good for a shocked stare. But I guess I could tell you that I’ve been a Flamenco dancer. I even performed while I was pregnant with my son, until about six months in when he decided to move to the music, making it too dangerous for me to do any ‘turns’ because his movements would throw off my balance.

I’m impressed. I love watching Flamenco dancers. Your son moving to the music is too funny—although I’m sure it wasn’t to you at the time. What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

Warmth, a smile, a feeling like you’re part of the story. When I wrote my first two Sweet Historical Westerns, I was very conscious of my memories of Little House on tv. I wanted to bring that cozy warmth to my books. A number of my readers contacted me to say that they had the feeling they were back in front of their tvs watching the show. What a thrill to hear that! I think my first real crush was Almonzo Wilder. **sigh**

I'm also writing contemporary romances as well, and seem to have a focus on small town love stories. What strikes me about both sub-genres is that the love between my characters isn't in a bubble. Their love story is affected by their community, the people that care for them in their town. And I like that feeling.

I do, too. What advice would you give to unpublished authors?

Tell the story in your heart. Believe in love and friendship. And work. Hard! Be better every day. Don't be complacent. There is always room for improvement! I look back at my writing from twenty years ago, then ten, five… even January of 2016 and it's great to see the change.

If we don’t change, we stagnate. Tell us about your latest release.



HER GENTLE HEART
December 15, 2016
Amazon Link http://a.co/9eXjyo4


A snowed in train brought her into his life. His stubborn ways put walls between them. When the snows let up, will they go their separate ways or will he warm to Her Gentle Heart?

Hampton Wells has been working hard at one train station after another, biding his time until there’s a job for him to be the guy in charge. Trouble is, he’s been hiding an important secret from his friends and his boss. And now, temporarily situated at Sweetwater Springs during a snow storm, his secret is about to be revealed and threaten his job. Or, he could let down his walls and ask for help. But that’s not really the kind of man that he’s been.

Rosina Valero was a young woman in search of her place in life. She lost her teaching position when the school closed for the winter and boards the train to travel to other towns looking for work. Heavy snowfall holds her up in Sweetwater Springs, but snow's not the only thing that needs to melt when she unwittingly discovers Hampton’s secret. Will he accept her help, before it's too late?

When two people who are falling in love are destined to go in two different directions, can anything bring them back together?


An excerpt of HER GENTLE HEART:





Very romantic! How can readers learn more about you?

Website/Blog – www.reinatorres.net





Monday, January 09, 2017

INTERVIEW WITH NAN O'BERRY #MontanaSkyKW

Readers, today please welcome Nan O’Berry. Nan and I met while working with Debra Holland on her Montana Sky Series for Kindle World.

Nan O'Berry, Author


Please tell us about growing up. Siblings? Locale?

Thanks for having me, Caroline. I can tell you that growing up as an only child along the Elizabeth River, in Virginia Beach that I loved books. A lot of my books were, of course, about horses.  I think I’ve been in love with them ever since I was born. Somewhere in my mother’s photos there is a snapshot of me on a pony with a huge French bonnet.

I grew up in a small neighborhood, where everyone knew everyone. Our parents would sit on the porch and watch us move from yard to yard in play. It was a great place to live. I have so many fond memories of it. But, in 1968, we moved west. Not far, but to a tiny town in western Tidewater. Why? Well, we bought the second horse. My dad figured, the neighbors didn’t mind the first one, but the second one in an acre lot would be hedging our bets. So, we packed up and on January 1st of 1968 we moved to a five acre site complete with a two stall barn.

I always wanted a horse, but that’s because I didn’t realize how much care they required. When our daughters got horses, I learned. ☺Were you the shy kid or the tomboy? Married, single? Children? Share anything that lets readers get to know the real you.

I think for the most part I was more of a tomboy than my mother would have liked. I climbed trees, played ball, but at 5 p.m. I had to come in bathe and put on a dress for my dad’s arrival. When we moved to the farm, I did the grass cutting, the hauling of the manure, painting, etc. But I was still in charge of making sure my room was cleaned.

I tried to make sure my children had that same understanding as they grew up. I have three children, a daughter and two sons. We’ve raised dogs and cats. My youngest boy was in FFA and we have bottle fed cows. Right now, our small farm houses 2 horses, some 30 chickens, 8 ducks, 4 dogs, 2 cats and one very spoiled bovine named Esmeralda.

Some days, I love sitting out in the pasture just watching the horses and cows in the field. For me, that’s relaxing.

Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

On those rare days when I’m not writing, I like to curl up with my favourite authors. Marin Thomas, Debbie Macomber, Hope Ramsey, Lori Wilde, for contemporary company.

 When I’m in a historical mood, I journey over to Paty Jager, Debra Holland’s Montana Sky series to read and dream.

I’m not much on horror, but I do enjoy a good cozy mystery from time to time. I read Nancy Naigle and Grace Greene. Love those small town settings.

When you’re not writing, what’s your favorite way to relax and recharge? Hobbies?
For me as a writer, it’s hard not to be engaged in something. But my grandchildren keep me entertained. I enjoy knitting, crocheting, and quilting when I get the chance. Sometimes it’s best to sit and talk to good friends over a cold glass of sweet tea.

Getting together with friends always energizes me. How long have you been writing?

I really can’t remember not writing. I loved Nancy Drew and the Black Stallion series growing up. So I’d play at writing and make up silly stories. Then in high school, it really started getting serious. I would write stories for my friends to read and we’d giggle and think of outlandish plots for the characters to be confronted with. Then in 2000, a friend of mine suggested that I really strive to be published. With her urging, I began to pursue this side of the arts.

I really do enjoy creating characters. I am as excited as the reader to see what will happen and were these ideas will go.

Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?

I can say I write anywhere. I take a notebook with me wherever I go. But when I transcribe my work, I’m usually sitting at my kitchen table or at my desk in the den. I had a PC but I wore the poor thing out. I’m saving now for a new one. I am using a lap top at the moment.

But all of my stories are handwritten in notebooks. I pack those notebooks away in boxes labelled year and genre.

Are you a plotter or a panzer?

I’m a hybrid. I have to begin by writing the back flap, what I want the reader to know. Then I begin to think in terms of length, what will happen where. How to weave in my clues and where to put those important black moments. As we all know, true love doesn’t run smoothly. I have to think in terms of what might keep them apart and how they would go around it to find their happy-ever-after.

Do you do your research before you begin a new project, or as you go along?

Yes, I do research. I think any writer worth their salt feels they have to know something about the subject they are writing on. I will let the readers know that I write under a pen name as well as my own. Tessa Berkley has a few contemporary and historical books out but they are a bit more sensual.

Right now, Tessa is working on a romantic, mystery, historical based on the Texas Rangers. I have two notebooks full of information that will be weaved into 4 novels for The Wild Rose Press.

For Nan, I’m working on two historicals that involve the pony express as well as some contemporary romances. So it’s a very busy day and often requires more than one hat.

You sound incredibly busy. Tell us about your writing schedule. Do you set goals? Do you write daily?

Writing is a verb. So, yes, I do write daily. I set goals for myself at the end of every year. I spend a week with my mentor and over the phone and through emails, we discuss what we want to accomplish for the year. She keeps my nose to the grindstone. She taught me how to look at the length of a novel and divide it by the number of days I want to spend working on it. Say I have a 45 thousand words story. I want that done in two months. I’d basically eyeball it and set my goal at 1000 words per day. That gives me some wiggle room for “interruptions” work to pay the bills job and helping the family. I also must remember that I want to put the work or story away for a few days before looking over it and sending it to an editor.

My pet peeve and I am guilty of it from time to time, is taking one more than I can chew. Sometimes I have to push right up until deadline in order to finish. That means, sigh, I don’t get the deep edits I so love.

I believe we’re all guilty of that, don’t you? Tell us something about yourself that might surprise readers.

I’m not sure what will surprise readers. I’m an old home body. I do love coming home. When I’m home, I’m in charge. I can work as long and as hard as I want too.  Perhaps, my surprise might be that I have been married for 42 years. Yep, got married at 19. We haven’t decided who gets the medal yet so, it’s a work in progress.

What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

To my readers, I hope to bring you a romance that makes you sigh. To give you a story that allows you to laugh and connect to the hero and heroine. I want you to feel as if you were part of the story urging them on to find true love.

Perfect Answer, Nan. What advice would you give to unpublished authors?

To those who are unpublished. Never ever stop writing. No story is complete until the hero and heroine have had their final say. Don’t let anyone tell you that idea is dumb.  Read. Write. Question yourself. Learn in a community that supports your talent. But never, never ever, give up.

Great advice! Tell us about your latest release.

In December, I released a short novella for Debra Holland’s Montana Skies Series called ANGEL IN HIS POCKET.

A holiday miracle is needed to save the Angel in His Pocket.

Samuel McClure is content to work on the Circle K. When his boss, Preston Kincaid, sends him to pick up an Appaloosa mare and colt as a holiday surprise for his wife, he doesn’t expect to find the woman of his dreams riding the train to Cheyenne. While he reminds himself they are only thrown together because of the journey, his common sense cannot over rule the desire of his heart.

Angelica Jones has a hard task at hand. She knows how unpredictable life can be. Her sister passed away in childbirth taking the baby with her. Now, her brother-in-law has entrusted her to take her niece, Emma Donaldson to live with her parents in the Wyoming Territory. When a handsome cowboy joins them on the jaunt to Ft. Ellis, Angelica fears her heart may take a tumble.

When snow and ice block the path of the train, Samuel McClure knows he must come to their rescue. He will move Heaven and Earth to rescue the Angel in his pocket



Here’s an excerpt of ANGEL IN HIS POCKET for you to enjoy.....

“Look! Cowboys!”
Angelica Jones bent her head down next to her niece, Emma Donaldson and watched the movement of riders and buggies that lined the dirt filled Main Street of Sweetwater, Montana. They were a long way from the Olympic Peninsula that Emma called home. The train rocked as the engineer applied the brakes and slowed the great iron beast to a stop in front of the low yellow building that held a sign proclaiming the town’s name. A hiss of steam followed. It’s dense white cloud obscuring their vision.
“Can we get out and walk around?” Emma asked?
Angelica reached out and stroked the thick dark hair so reminiscent of her late sister. “I don’t know, Emma. There may not be enough time?”
Emma’ deep blue eyes bore into Angelica’s. “You can ask the conductor, can’t you, Aunt Angelica?”
Caught between a rock and a hard place, Angelica could only surrender. “Wait right here.”
Rising, she made her way down the center aisle to the rear of the coach where the conductor stood, looking at his pocket watch.
“Pardon,” Angelica interrupted him.
The conductor turned. His dark suit and hat in contrast to the snow white hair that showed beneath his cap. Seeing her move toward him, the he doffed his cap out of respect and his face broadened into a smile.
“Miss Jones, everything all right with the little girl?”
Angelica glanced over her shoulder to check on her niece.
“Yes.” She turned back. “I was wondering how long our layover at Sweetwater would be? I thought I might stretch Emma’s legs a bit.”
His smile faded just a bit. “I am afraid we are stopping only long enough to pick up some passengers. Our schedule is very tight with the holidays coming up so soon.”
“Not to worry.” Angelica smiled. “I completely understand. I admit I am in a hurry to get home to Cheyenne. There is no place like home for Christmas.”
“No ma’am, there sure isn’t.”
“Well, thank you again.”
“My pleasure.” He gave a nod and using his thumb closed the lid on his pocket watch, and then slipped it away into his vest pocket. Opening the door that connected to the platform and the next coach, the conductor disappeared.
“Well, can’t blame me for trying.”
Angelica made her way back to Emma.
“Can we? Can we?” Emma seemed to bounce upon the plush upholstery of the Pullman car seat.
“I’m sorry, Emma. The conductor says out stop won’t be long, maybe next time.”
“Oh.”
Emma’s crestfallen face looked to the floor. Angelica’s heart ached as she watched the little girl’s mouth turn down. She scooted back against the plush seat and sighed audibly. “Next time.”
“That’s right,” Angelica whispered. “We’ll just look out the window and see lots of cowboys. There will be more when we get to Grandpa’s.”
Emma glanced back and smiled. “I’d like to see more cowboys.”
“Me too,” Angelica replied.
She watched as Emma pressed her forehead against the glass, to stare out at the movements beyond the coach and for once in her life, Angelica wished there was a magic potion that cured the loneliness in the child’s eyes.
Feeling her pain, she concentrated on the images beyond the coach’s windows. An elderly woman in a gray dress, her dark jacket pulled closed against the wind, carried a wicker basket from the station house. She spoke to the conductor who pointed to the train. She gazed at the windows, her wire-framed glasses perched precariously on the edge of her nose. For a moment, their gazes locked and Angelica was given a warm and gracious smile. She couldn’t help but smile back for the expression was so similar to her mothers.
As she made her way toward the steps, Angelica noticed the skeins of brightly colored yarn protruding from the safety of the basket. The image reminded her she could have passed the time by engaging her fingers on a worthwhile endeavor such as crocheting or knitting. “Ah, well, lesson learned,” she whispered aloud.
Two cowboys drifted toward the platform. One tall, his fleece lined jacket broadening his shoulders. His gray hat pulled down low across his face leaving only his square jaw visible. Yet, for so little to be seen, he appeared to have complete control of the scene. His sauntering motion gave a hint to his confidence. He inclined his head toward the second man beside him as he listened to the instruction being departed. They paused. She watched his jaw muscles tighten. Then, he gave an understanding nod and the second cowboy handed over the carpetbag valise. They exchanged a firm handshake. The tall cowboy nodded and moved along.
“Is he coming with us?” Emma’s voice broke through her thoughts.
“Hm?”
Angelica shifted her gaze to the tiny face of her niece.
“I’m sorry, what did you ask?”
“Is he coming? The cowboy, is he coming with us?” Emma whispered her excitement barely under control.
“I don’t know,” Angelica replied.
Emma brought her hands together in delight. “Oh, I hope so. He can sit right here.”
She pointed to the vacant seat across from them.
“Well, that’s very generous of you, Emma. But, I suspect cowboys like to be alone.”
“Well,” she ignored her. “He might.”
Angelica grinned. “Yes, he might. Then, he can tell me about horses and Indians.”
At least, her niece’s optimism couldn’t be squashed. Deep down, she hoped the cowboy might take the seat too.
“He might.” She gave her niece a sobering glance. “If he does take the seat, you will not pester him. You will be respectful. Understand?”
Emma’s eyes widened and her face took on an innocent look.
“But if he wants to talk, I can listen, can’t I?”
Angelica couldn’t hide the giggle that left her lips. “Yes, you can listen.”
“Goodie.”
Emma turned back to the window. Her fingers clutched the window frame. “Oh, oh no!”
“What?” Angelica became alarmed.
“He’s gone.”
Angelica felt her heart sink as she scanned the platform. Disappointment made the thrill of the moment vanish like the morning mist. The cowboy had disappeared. Her gaze searched the platform to no avail. With a sigh, she sat back. “Well, I guess that ends that.”
The door to the coach opened and the swirl of cooler air slid past their ankles. Soft footsteps moved along the aisle and Angelica swung her gaze around. The woman with the basket of yarn carefully made her way toward them. Spying the empty seat, she paused to take a breath.
“May I?”
Angelica caught Emma’s beseeching look, urging her to say no. She gave her a sharp glance and the child gazed at her shoe tops.
“Of course, please join us.”
“Thank you.”
Angelica swept her skirts tight against her legs and allowed the woman room to settle in.
“Thank you again.” She said as she plopped her basket down beside her. “I’m traveling for the holidays.”
Angelica nodded. “We are too.”
“Oh, good. Visiting family?”
Emma nodded. “I’m going to meet my Granddaddy.”
“We’re traveling toward a small town near Cheyenne. It’s Emma’s first trip. My name is Angelica Jones.” She held out her hand.
“I’m Lucille DeWitt. Most of my friends call me Lucy. I hope you will too.”
They shook hands.
“Is Emma your daughter?”
Angelica shook her head. “My niece, Emma Donaldson.”
“Oh nice and your first train ride to boot. What an occasion.” Lucille smiled. “I’m going to see my first grandchild. Saved up my egg money for the ticket and brought along some knitting. I plan to make a sweater and some booties on the trip.”
“Booties?” Emma questioned.
The older woman chuckled then addressed the child’s question. “They’re similar to heavy socks and will keep her baby feet warm and toasty.”
“Oh,” Emma nodded as if she understood.
“How about I let you pick out a color?”
Emma sat forward. “Can I?”
Angelica caught the older woman’s wink, then, nodded. She watched as the little girl scrambled over to the seat and began to look through the basket. Maybe, she mused, this trip won’t be as bad as I thought.
The train jerked as the long metal flywheel caught the shafts that gave them a turn. Emma’s face turned to Angelica’s as her eyes opened wide.
“Hold tight,” the older woman whispered and mimicked Emma’s expression. “Here we go!”
The wheels jerked once more and the coach rolled slowly forward. Gathering momentum with a deep chug, the coach strained as if it didn’t want to leave the security of the station. A deep cloud of dark smoke rolled past their window followed by the low long whistle. The coach moved a bit faster. Behind them, the door opened once again. Thinking nothing of it, Angelica expected the conductor to walk past. As the footsteps grew closer, the hair along the back of her neck tingled. Something soft brushed past her arm.
“Pardon, ma’am.”
The soft southern twang did not belong to the conductor. Angelica’s mouth went dry as she gazed up into a pair of the palest blue eyes she’d ever seen. Her lips parted in surprise.
The cowboy she’d observed earlier on the platform tugged at the brim of his hat. Out of the corner of her eye, she caught Emma’s gasp.  She watched as he moved to the seat just behind Lucy and Emma. He tossed is bag onto the upholstery and settled in beside it.
“The cowboy,” Emma gasped.
“Sh.” Angelica hushed the child. Yet, her heart jolted with each bump of the rails. She couldn’t take her eyes off of him. She watched unashamed as he lifted his hand and tilted his hat forward, then drew his arms around his chest, seemingly to sleep. The temperature in the coach suddenly seemed to rise twenty degrees.


BUY LINK for ANGEL IN HIS POCKET: Should you like to read more, please feel free to check out this book on Amazon

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