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Brenda Whiteside: Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll (Contest)
Monday, September 28th, 2020

The 1960s were turbulent and passionate and colorful. Since the first time I put pen to paper, about thirteen years ago, I’ve wanted to write a story set in those vibrant days. But until recently, every time I tried, my efforts seemed weak and whimsical at best. And then I visited a town I’d all but forgotten about.

In the Black Hills of central Arizona (yes, I said Arizona), Jerome hangs on the side of a mountain as it has since the mining days of the 1800s. Once known as the wickedest town in the west, Jerome all but died out in the 1950s. The population dipped to under 100 people. Then the hippies discovered the abandoned homes and buildings and settled in to create a ghost town full of art and wine. No new buildings are allowed within the city limits unless they are constructed on existing foundations and must resemble the surrounding buildings. Jerome looks much like it did in the 1920s.

Me in a haunted hotel in Jerome

I love this place. Jerome became my fictional Joshua. The inspiration came alive for me, and The MacKenzie Chronicles resulted.

In the pages of the first book, Secrets of the Ravine, I was able to tell a 1960s story of those early hippie settlers that has an impact on the mystery that unfolds in today’s world. Each of the three books will tell the story of one of the MacKenzie siblings whose parents met in the 60s hippie heyday, stayed in Joshua, and raised Magpie Muse MacKenzie, Harlan Muse MacKenzie, and Elidor Muse MacKenzie. Dad Frank Harlan MacKenzie is an artist of metal and wood. Mom Susie Muse is a mystic, empath, aura reader, with all of the wonderful mind-expanding fascinations of the 60s. Their children have inherited both artistic abilities and mystical talents in varying degrees. Those gifts will help them solve murder and mystery in each book.

Do you believe in intuition? Empathic vibrations? How about clairsentience (“clear feeling,” describes someone who receives intuitive or psychic information through their tactile sense and emotions)? I do and have had some real-life experiences. Care to share yours with us? Please do. We’d love to hear.

Contest

I’d like to invite you to read the first chapter of Secrets of the Ravine. Find it on my web site here: https://brendawhiteside.com/secrets-chapter-one.

Give me a one or two-sentence review right here, and I’ll enter you in a drawing to receive an eBook. No matter what you think, you have a chance to win. Let’s leave it open for a week, and I’ll draw a winner on October 5th out of those who comment about the first chapter.

Secrets of the Ravine

When a ringer for her long-dead love walks into her life the same day skeletal remains are found at the edge of town, Magpie MacKenzie can’t ignore what the universe is telling her…solve the mystery, or become the next victim.

Lawyer Zack Peartree’s life is orderly and entanglement-free until he visits purportedly haunted Joshua, Arizona, and meets free-wheeling shopkeeper Magpie. Despite experiencing troubling visions and odd moments of déjà vu, Zack’s instantly drawn to Magpie and to the unsolved murder which troubles her so.

Using clues from her father’s past and Zack’s déjà vu moments, Magpie and Zack race to solve the mystery, avoid a murderous fate, and to discover their future…together.

BUY LINKS:
https://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Ravine-MacKenzie-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B08GPRFJBT/
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Secrets-Ravine-MacKenzie-Chronicles-Whiteside-ebook/dp/B08GPRFJBT/

About the Author

Brenda Whiteside is the author of suspenseful, action-adventure stories with a touch of romance. Mostly. After living in six states and two countries—so far—she and her husband have decided they are gypsies at heart, splitting their time between Central Arizona and the RV life. They share their home with a rescue dog named Amigo. While FDW is fishing, Brenda writes.

Visit Brenda at https://www.brendawhiteside.com
Or on FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/BrendaWhitesideAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/brendawhitesid2
She blogs and has guests: https://brendawhiteside.blogspot.com/
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003V15WF8
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3972045.Brenda_Whiteside
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/brenda-whiteside
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brendawhitesideauthor/

Blathering a Bit & Open Contests! (New Contest, too!)
Saturday, September 26th, 2020

Open Contests and Giveaways!

Before I start blathering, be sure to check out these contests & giveaways!

    1. Get your FREE Love in Lockdown stories! — Get FREE stories!
    2. Reina Torres: WEDNESDAYS (Contest)Ends soon!! Win a FREE book!
    3. Diana Cosby: Update – Diana Cosby’s Romance Reader’s Build A Habitat For Humanity House (Contest) — Ends soon!! Win a mug & a tote!
    4. Puzzle-Contest–and many prizes to win!! — Win an Amazon gift card!
    5. Michal Scott: Return to the Thrilling Days of Yesteryear (Contest) — Win an Amazon gift card!

Blathering

Blathering’s a great word, don’t you think? I remember reading it often when I read Regencies.

So… I’m still typing one-handed. Probably will for the next month. I’m back to editing. I’ll try some speaking into my phone and sending myself messages to get some of my own pages written. My back’s much better. I’m standing straight again, instead of bent over. Lovely progress.

The weather has cooled too much to swim, so I’m not quite as resentful of my predicament as I could be. Silver linings!

I really need a haircut. I think I’ll ask the 16-year-old to watch some YouTubes… I’ve been letting the gray grow out. Well, I have silvery streaks, which I like. I wish the rest would turn quickly. I’ll be fashionable then.

The fam is pretty tight and adjusted to life in lockdown. Online schooling is challenging with four kids who need help and monitoring. The local high school football team is quarantined for positive tests, so our kids are ahead of the game. I can’t imagine having schools open and close and open and close without administrators deciding it just makes better sense to transition everyone. Less liability and constant jiggering for them.

We do takeout a couple of times a week, pick up groceries in front of the local grocery store, and do all our other shopping online. We have special “events”. Tonight, the older kids are having a friend over for a “star party” outside, and then they’ll light a fire in the fire pit and relax. The fire pit was an early lockdown project!

So, that’s what’s happening with the Devlin fam. What have you all been up to? Comment for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card! 

Melanie Jayne: Lessons from My Mother
Friday, September 25th, 2020

A few days ago, was the anniversary of my mother, Betty’s, death from cancer. I’ve worked through the stages of grief. I celebrate her life and all that she taught me. Like most, I didn’t appreciate her lessons until years later. I’m going to share the top three with you.

#1—Compliments. We are not given a finite number of compliments. Give them often and spread them far and wide.

I work part-time in a beauty salon in my small town. They don’t really need me; clients can make appointments online, and there are only two stylists working at a time (due to COVID-19). They keep me around because I compliment freely. I praise the stylist’s work, the outcome, shoes, jackets, the sunny day. I say it all. The best part is that it makes me feel better to see a person’s face light up.

In the Writing World—I compliment often. I send messages to authors that I’ve never met when I discover their book and enjoyed it. I respond to posts that make me think or feel. It is an easy way to network, and I’ve made great connections that started with a simple comment.

#2—Pick Your Battles. Why waste energy on something you will never win?

I remind myself of this every day since it is election time. Especially, when I see posts on social media. I do my best not to engage, however, my “snooze” button is getting a workout. The only thing I can say is that if a person is acquiring their news from a Facebook post as their only source—I’m not sure that they can be educated.

In the world of Romancelandia, there is a battle brewing weekly or so it seems. I have not returned to twitter since the RWA debacle; I can no longer handle the vitriol. I do admit to following some of the interactions, but I rarely enter the fray. I will comment on the never-ending trademark filings for commonly used words.

I try to follow Rule #2 because fighting a battle takes energy and emotion. My goal is to use my energy on my writing, and if there is any leftover, then dusting my old house.

#3—Acceptance.  No one is perfect so why should we expect our friends to be?

You might be jealous—I have a friend who is the authority on everything. She is – just ask her.

I’m a part of a group message where we share our day to day victories and fails, our news, and our concerns. If I post that a friend received a cancer diagnosis—she’s had three this week. A mention of how you called somebody to express your sympathy at the loss of their parent—she tells you how you did it incorrectly. Somebody had a kitchen fire—she’s lived through two and the damage was much worse.

It’s exhausting and sometimes very frustrating. However, she has many good points, so I choose to overlook her responses, or I try to. I know I cannot change her, nor do I have the time to try. Yes, she can be an annoyance, but I’ve become used to her and I now “prepare” myself for her responses.

I could also go on about Betty’s rules concerning no white before Mother’s Day or after Labor Day—Take that Vogue! Her belief that you should never offer a beverage without a napkin. If you give a purse or wallet as a gift, you should always stash some coins and a dollar in it for luck. And finally, good-byes should take at least fifteen minutes.

My hope is that this fall you might try to incorporate one or more of Betty’s lessons into your life. It will enrich yours and others.

I’m Melanie Jayne/M. Jayne, and I write Romance. I live on a grain farm in central Indiana with my husband and our mastiff, Duncan Keith. I’m a huge sports fan and cannot wait for SEC football to begin. I have a deep attachment to The Real Housewives franchises and daytime court shows.

My books incorporate true stories from life and many of my characters are over the age of 35. My heroines are usually larger than size 16 and never apologize for their love of food and dislike of diets.

About the Author

Melanie Jayne/M. Jayne lives on a farm in Indiana with her husband and Duncan Keith her mastiff supervisor. She is addicted to trashy TV and TMZ.com. She writes The Novus Pack Series featuring a human psychic who lives amongst werewolves and several Contemporary Romance Series that feature characters over the age of thirty-five.

You can learn more about me and my writing here:
https://www.facebook.com/MelanieJayneAuthor
www.ReadMelanieJayne
on Twitter @1MelanieJayne
https://www.bookbub.com/authors/m-jayne
https://www.bookbub.com/authors/melanie-jayne
readmelaniejayne on Instagram

Puzzle-Contest–and many prizes to win!!
Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

A Pandemic, multiple hurricanes—and now “zombie” storms? Yeah, add my personal woes of a broken finger that has me typing one-handed (with all the accompanying whining & typos) and a lower back that’s still keeping me walking like an old woman, and I’m ready to volunteer for the first mission to Mars! Short of that, I’ll settle for a bucket of Tramodol and some mindless, upbeat TV (I’m starting Wizards of Waverly Place).

Enjoy the puzzle, but be sure to check out the HUGE list of still-open contests you can enter below it!

Contest

Solve the puzzle then tell me what you “see”…for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card!

Some of these CONTESTS end after today!

  1. Landra Graf: Sci-Fi Television Shows (Contest)Last day! Win a FREE book!
  2. One Craptastic Night — Puzzle ContestLast day! Win an Amazon gift card!
  3. Get your FREE Love in Lockdown stories! — Get FREE stories!
  4. Down-cast (snarky pun intended) and a Puzzle Contest!Last day! Win an Amazon gift card!
  5. Reina Torres: WEDNESDAYS (Contest) — Win a FREE book!
  6. Diana Cosby: Update – Diana Cosby’s Romance Reader’s Build A Habitat For Humanity House (Contest) — Win a mug & a tote!
Bernadette Jones: Building the Aspen Gold village!
Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020

Hi! My name is Bernadette Jones and I’m one of seven authors in the Aspen Gold Series.

I thought you might like to know what it’s like writing in a multi-author continuity series. It’s a blast! It’s also hard work.

Some series are set up on a thread, such as stolen artifacts. The first author starts the storyline then hands it off to the next author who pulls the idea a little farther and hands it off again. Another popular premise is a baby series where every book has a baby, finds a baby or adopts a baby. Or maybe the binding factor is they all have a ranch or were in the secret service together. You get the idea.

We chose to build our series around a family and a town. The nucleus of the Aspen Gold Series is the founding family of Spencer, Colorado. Jakob Spencer is the patriarch of the Spencer family and owner of Aspen Gold Lodge, an exclusive retreat. Each of the first six books was based on Jakob Spencer, one of his children or a grandchild. Each author was (and still is) tasked with having a tie back to the main family or the town where cousins and friends still live. Many of the characters are coming home to their roots.

My first book started with Hunter Jakob Lawe, one of the grandsons. He made friends that now surround his minor nucleus. Cheryl St John started with the Cavanaugh cousins. Each of the authors is gradually forming their own entourage of characters, but we all meet up in the town of Spencer at the bank, grocery store or coffee shop.

An extension of the premise for a series of books is the voice or type of books that will be written. For instance, in some series all the stories are sweet romance or romantic suspense, perhaps paranormal. Going back to our town concept, we decided that towns are a little bit country and a little bit rock-n-roll. Our authors and town are sweet, homey, dangerous, sexy, diverse, and even a touch paranormal. Basically, real life.

Fun! Yes, but this is also where the work comes in because it’s not just about family or our own individual books. Now we have hairdressers, doctors, policemen, firemen, lawyers, bartenders, waitresses, school kids, dance instructors. Did I mention we have two grocery stores, a cupcake shop, a candy store, an ice cream shop, two diners, a donut shop, a sub shop, fine Italian dining, two banks, three art studios…

We have a town populated with over 320 named characters. Think of it as if we were working together to build a village with interconnecting plastic blocks. Each of us needs to know what the other is doing. How do we manage that?

Next time, I’ll tell you about the Town/Character Playbook. Until then, come visit Spencer, in the Aspen Gold Series. Books thirteen and fourteen will be out later this year, and we already have a full schedule for next year.

Lonely Eyes

There is an art to pursuit.

Keira is running out of time. The handsome stranger with a dragon tattoo says he can keep her safe, but he doesn’t know the demons on her trail… Will her mysterious past lead her to escape, or drag her back to living hell?

Owen Strong has suffered tragedy, but he’s made a new family in Spencer, Colorado—one he will protect at all costs. When he finds determined Keira Hoa, she rouses more than just trouble. Looking into her lonely eyes, he sees that everyone’s in danger.

But she’s come to the right place. He’s the monster hunter.

Get your copy here!

About Bernadette Jones

Romantic Suspense Writer, Never Give Up-er,
First Wives Club-er, Lifelong Dream Achiever & Mom

Bernadette Jones has been making up stories since she learned to read on her daddy’s lap. She has imagined casts of characters everywhere she’s called home: Texas, Oregon, Washington, South Dakota, Nebraska, Illinois, Massachusetts, and now New York.

Books and music filled her life as she, her dad and two brothers traveled the country. She would sit in the back seat of the car—her older brother always got to ride shotgun—listening to the current music on the radio, looking out the window and spinning a story based on a phrase she’d heard in the lyrics. As you can imagine, traveling the country, the music changed from state to state, as did the stories. To this day, she enjoys a wide variety of music and book genres.

After a career in corporate writing, she’s decided to settle down and put pen to paper doing what she loves. Living the dream in her NYC apartment with her canine companion, she’s bringing her stories and characters to life.

You can find Bernadette at:
https://www.bernadettejones.com/
https://www.bernadettejones.com/newsletters
https://www.facebook.com/BernadetteJonesAuthor/

N.J. Walters: Burning Ash (Excerpt)
Monday, September 21st, 2020

The Forgotten Brotherhood is my latest series. This is a truly diverse group of characters. It’s been challenging, maddening, and downright fun at times to watch their stories unfold. Now BURNING ASH, book three of the series, is finally here!

Who are the Forgotten Brotherhood? They’re a group of paranormal assassins, the misfits that other paranormal creatures fear. They aren’t the monsters lurking under the bed. They’re the ones that kill them. They live by a strict code: Kill only those that truly deserve it and let their gods sort them out. Kill them before they kill you. Never, ever betray a fellow assassin.

Burning Ash
Forgotten Brotherhood, Book 3

No one is more surprised than Asher, one of the oldest vampires on Earth, that he’s attracted to vamp hunter Jo Radcliffe. She’s smart, a talented slayer, and she’s gorgeous. Something about her pulls at him, like no one ever has before. For a man, whose name strikes fear in everyone––this is something new and intriguing. And quite possibly deadly, if she discovers his secret.

Jo has two things in common with the handsome Asher––they are both slayers and someone is messing with them in a very-much-trying-to-kill-them way. She’s not so happy about joining forces with a dude she doesn’t know. But he’s sexy as hell and really good at his job as one of the Forgotten Brotherhood, whose business it is to execute misbehaving paranormals.

She knows she’s bait in a larger plot to harm Asher and the Brotherhood. And there is nothing he won’t do, no line he won’t cross, to keep her safe––which may be the weakness that destroys them both.

Excerpt from Burning Ash

“Who the hell are you?” she demanded of the tall, lean man who was still mostly in the shadows. Whoever he was, he was dangerous, maybe even more so than the creature she’d just beheaded. He’d come out of nowhere and snatched the crossbow bolt out of the air like it hadn’t even been moving.

A shiver raced down her spine.

Dressed all in black, he blended with the dark. She hadn’t known he was there until he’d deliberately come forward. And she always had total situational awareness. It was a matter of survival.

Her profession had a very high mortality rate.

A nudge of his foot sent the vampire’s head rolling back toward the body. The undead would need to be burned if he didn’t start disintegrating soon, but she was keeping her distance from the man in black.

“Asher.” He gave her a half bow. “And you are?”

A quick shake of her head. “You don’t need to know.”

“That hardly seems fair considering I saved your life.”

“It didn’t need saving,” she asserted. “I’d already moved.”

“True,” Asher conceded. “You’re fast, but I didn’t know that. I should get points for the attempt.” He sauntered out of the dark and fully into the candlelight. The flames flickered over his face, exposing a strong jaw, straight nose, and high forehead. His blond hair was pulled back in a short tail at his nape. His skin was olive-toned or tanned, hard to say. Piercing brown eyes stared at her.

Good looking was much to tame. Handsome didn’t fit either. There was something dangerous and predatory lurking beneath the surface. Primal. Compelling. Yeah, that was it.

It was time for her to leave.

“While I appreciate the assist, I’ve got this.” She jerked her head toward the door, hoping he’d take the hint.

A ghost of a smile flickered on his full lips before it disappeared. “I’ve got nowhere I need to be.”

“Great,” she muttered.

His laugh slid down her spine, a whisper of heat. Her nipples puckered and rubbed against her bra. Uh. No. The last thing she needed was some kind of fatal attraction. Because he was one of two things—a fellow hunter or another vampire. Neither of which were good for her.

“Come now, I’ll help you clean up this mess. Then we can get a cup of coffee somewhere, maybe talk.”

“It’s almost one in the morning. Nothing around here is open.” God, she was tired. She just wanted to fry this vampire and leave. Usually they disintegrated fairly quickly. This one was taking his sweet time. He either wasn’t truly dead yet or he was very young. The older they were, the quicker they turned to ash.

Ash.

“Your name is Asher?”

He inclined his head. “At your service.”

Buy Burning Ash:
Entangled Publishing: https://entangledpublishing.com/burning-ash.html
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08FGV7C9Q/
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/burning-ash-n-j-walters/1137455950
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/burning-ash
iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/burning-ash/id1527096039

About the Author

N.J. Walters is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has always been a voracious reader, and now she spends her days writing novels of her own. Vampires, werewolves, dragons, time-travelers, seductive handymen, and next-door neighbors with smoldering good looks—all vie for her attention. It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to live it.

Visit me at:
Website: http://www.njwalters.com
Blog: http://www.njwalters.blogspot.com
Newsletter Sign Up: http://eepurl.com/gdblg5
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/N.J.WaltersAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/njwaltersauthor
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/NJWalters
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/njwalters
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/n-j-walters

Aimee Brown: Nora Ephron is my inner voice…
Sunday, September 20th, 2020

It was the summer of 1993, and I was fifteen years old when Sleepless in Seattle came out in theaters. I honestly don’t even remember trailers on TV for it, so I don’t remember ever anticipating seeing it, but my parents liked going to the movies as a family and this was the one they chose that weekend. I remember a lot of the movies we saw when I was in high school because back then, there was no internet, no Netflix, no streaming shows of any kind. If it wasn’t on cable or out at the Blockbuster, you didn’t see it. Some of the movies I sat through just because it was something to do, were not my favorites. The Bodyguard (first date I ever went on!). Death Becomes Her. The Nightmare Before Christmas (second date I ever went on and he didn’t even want to see it…). Hocus Pocus (this was magical in the theater!). The list goes on and on. But in the summer after my Freshman year of high school we saw one movie that stuck with me for ever and started me on a spiral of nineties romcom watching that has stuck with me to this day.

I had never heard of Nora Ephron before that day at the theater. But her words mesmerized me from the moment the first line was spoken. Every piece of the film fell together in a way that sunk so deeply into my soul I knew I would never be the same. I fell in love with the characters, the music, the story, the setting, and the romance. I laughed. I cried. I swooned. It filled my heart with joy and made me a believer in love from a young age even more so than Disney ever did for me as a child. I’m not even gonna lie, I wanted to marry me a Tom Hanks. Who freaking didn’t?

As a child I was never that kid dreaming about what I was going to do when I grow up. I honestly cannot remember a single moment in my childhood where I even really sat down and thought about what I wanted to do as a career. I became a mom incredibly young, at the age of nineteen, and stayed home with my children throughout their younger years. When I was sick of watching A Bugs Life or Veggie Tales for the five thousandth time, I would watch romantic comedies. I would buy a DVD every time we went grocery shopping. Father of the Bride 1 & 2. You’ve Got Mail. While You Were Sleeping. It Could Happen to You. I could list a hundred that I seriously know all the words to. But Sleepless and Seattle will forever hold a special place in my heart.

One day after watching the movie, my kids went down for a nap. I think I was about twenty-seven at this point. For some reason, I sat down at my computer and started writing. That ‘story’, if you could call it that, was such a mess. But it was full of the magic that Sleepless in Seattle brought me and even though it would never be published and was lost some years ago when that computer died, the feelings I had when I wrote that book were the same I had way back in 1993 when romcom came into my life. I knew right then and there I was a romantic comedy writer.

Twenty-seven years ago, I had no idea that all these years later Nora Ephron would somehow become my inner voice, pushing me to write my very own romcoms and allowing other people to publish them and read them. It is amazing to think that a woman I have never met, never spoken to, and will literally never know, inspired my entire career. And to her, I am forever thankful.

Love Me Like You Do

A runaway bride. A handsome stranger. Two pasts to put behind them.

Parker is ready to marry the man of her dreams. But he isn’t ready to marry her. When she’s dumped moments before walking down the aisle, she didn’t expect to run into the arms of a handsome stranger. The southern drawl, the dreamy eyes, she can’t fall for another man after being left at the altar – can she?

When Liam agreed to go on yet another blind date, he didn’t expect his escape would lead him to the emergency room with a runaway bride. She might have just been left at the altar, but he’s immediately drawn to her fiery spirit, kind heart and beautiful smile. Liam’s got a whole host of problems and a past that’s haunting him, now can’t be the time to fall in love, but Parker might just be the one to break down his barriers and let him live a little – if she’ll let him in.

Will these two strangers allow serendipity to force them together, or will their fears keep them apart?

From the bestselling author of The Lucky Dress comes a story about love, finding yourself and living your dreams.

Universal Amazon link: mybook.to/LoveMeLikeYouDo

About the Author

Aimee Brown is a writer of sweary, swoony romantic comedies set in Portland, Oregon. She writes closed-door romance (NO sex scenes, light kissing) with humor and crude language. She spends much of her time writing, raising three kids (who are all nearly grown now), binge-watching shows on Netflix and obsessively cleaning and redecorating her house. She’s fluent in sarcasm and has been known to utter profanities like she’s competing for a medal.

Aimee grew up in Oregon but is now a transplant living in cold Montana with her husband of twenty+ years, one of three children, and far too many pets. She is a lot older than she looks and yes, that is a tattoo across her chest.

Aimee is very active on social media. She’d love to have you stop by and say hi!

Aimee’s links:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AimeeBWrites
Facebook: https://facebook.com/AuthorAimeeBrown
Instagram: https://instagram.com/AuthorAimeeB
Website: https://mfeoromance.com/