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This was received through Reading Alley in exchange for an honest review.

 

The entire story was told in first person, mostly through Candace’s POV. A portion of the book was devoted to Jack’s first person POV. This is book 1 in the ‘I Want Morrison’ series, so called because each book tells the story on one Morrison sibling. This is Jack’s story, the eldest Morrison child.

 

Candance Gleason…Candie to her dad and Jack…has finally achieved her dream. She is a new lawyer at a top firm, ready to work her way up the corporate ladder.  Just when she thinks she has it all figured out, she is assigned to…Jack Morrison.

Activist, devilishly handsome, reckless, he is the bane of his family’s empire. And a major thorn to Candance. Except now she is hired to keep him out of jail, trouble, and the media spotlight. Not an easy task for someone who delights in thumbing his nose at anything and anyone who gets in his way. Someone who seemingly lives to taunt and tease.

One the surface, this looks like a case of rich kid rebellion. It goes much deeper. Jack’s arrogance is actually a driving passion to make positive changes in other’s lives. Underprivileged people’s lives. He is not above using his privileges to aid in his quest, to help those less fortunate, those being beleaguered by his own ‘type of people’.

Ms. Harris does a fantastic job of creating Jack, a multi-layered character who has so much good to offer if one can see past what seems like obvious character flaws. What I did not care for, and what keeps my rating a little lower, is the constant use of the character’s names in dialogue. While I personally like the name Jack, and see the need to identify who is speaking to whom, I do not care to see their names each and every time they are spoken to. There are better literary tools to identify who is being talked to. This is truly a case of “less is more”.  IMHO.

Next, initially I found the whole premise of a family–specifically a wealthy, driven, family like the Morrison’s, hiring their newest firm lawyer to “babysit” their grown son a bit farfetched. If they waited, and gave him enough rope, he would surely hang himself, get jailed for a lengthy stay, and it would put an end to the activist activities that plague the family. It would be must cheaper, quicker, and easier than wasting a babysitter to keep him leashed. For that reason alone, I nearly stopped reading.

However, I am glad I kept on. The story goes much deeper than that summary. The Morrison family does not want Jack in jail, or in any trouble. To avoid spoilers, let me just say when I kept reading, and got to know the family, and Jack’s motivations, better, the loyalty and bonds between them–and the sibling rivalry–between them all became clear.

Lastly, the chemistry between Candace and Jack felt real. Their dialogue–sans the repetitive name usage–was witty and fun. The shift from irritation to attraction was gradual enough to make it believable. Candace’s move from realizing all her dreams to inheriting a pain in the butt to falling for him once she witnesses his motivations make her real as well. The pacing is great. Candace and Jack’s opposite personalities make a great mesh.

Overall, I enjoyed this book 1 in the I Want Morrison series. It is a stand alone book with no cliffhangers.

 

 

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Today Stacy Hoff is stopping by, talking about her new release, Jockeying for You. This is a fast paced, Thoroughbred racing romance.  Honestly, what can be more exciting than sexy hunks, Thoroughbreds, and racing hearts? Welcome, Stacy!

jockeyingforyou1800

 

Jockeying for You – Book Blurb
Jake Carter is on a mission—to prove his family wrong. He may have bought a troubled horse, but he’s hired Ryder Hannon, a “horse whisperer,” to get his horse back on track. She’s more than just a trainer to him, she’s the woman he’s been looking for.
Ryder Hannon, a thoroughbred horse trainer, has a big problem—fighting her fear of racing again. Her emotional scars run deeper than her physical ones. But her romantic feelings towards handsome, uber-rich, stable owner Jake Carter is a bigger problem. Is Jake truly in love with her or is he using her to get back at his smug family? ­
When Jake’s jockey gets injured, he wants Ryder to race. He knows deep down she wants to live up to her family’s legacy. So why does she keep fighting him—and her destiny—so hard?

Ok, Stacy, let’s start with some questions about the book before we move on to the nosy, pushy kind. 

What is this book about in a nutshell? Ryder Hannon is through being a jockey. Racing has left her emotionally & physically scarred. Uber-rich stable owner Jake Carter wants the impossible—getting her back in the saddle, and into his heart.

How long did it take to write? Writing JOCKEYING FOR YOU took a while. The research alone took several months, and that was before I typed my first word. After I felt knowledgeable enough about the basics of the sport, and horse racing industry as a whole, drafting the story took me about three months.

Where do you write? Photos optional— My little cave of a home-office. The room is barely bigger than an over-sized closet. The diminutive size has a positive effect—there’s not much to distract me.

denphoto

Any special reason why you chose the character names and location that you did? The character name that gave me the most difficulty was for the horse in the story, Handsome Dancer. This is because racehorse names are often a blending of a horse’s parents’ names, so I had to work out a fictitious equestrian lineage.

As for location, I chose New York’s horse-racing scene because it had tracks I could (and did) travel to—Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course.

belmont-racetrackBelmont Park, Queens NY

Describe the path to publication?

In 2013 I attended my RWA chapter’s annual writing conference. I pitched my first book, DESIRE IN THE EVERGLADES, to the founder and senior editor of Soul Mate Publishing, Inc., Deborah Gilbert. Fortunately, Debby liked my pitch and I received my contract. Soul Mate has been great to work with. I’ve been sending them my manuscripts ever since. JOCKEYING FOR YOU will be my fourth novel published by SMP.

Are you working on anything else right now?

I’m working on a new contemporary romance series, BUILDING LOVE, which is set in the construction industry. Each book is steeped in family power, drama and secrets. My heroes and heroines will face a lot of challenges in order reach their “happily ever after.” Book 1, BUILDING LOVE IN VEGAS, and book 2, BUILDING LOVE IN THE CARIBBEAN, are both already drafted, with book 1 to be released within the next several months. I’m currently sketching out the plot points for book 3, although I may decide to stop planning and just start typing because I’m a “pantser” (someone who writes by the seat of their pants).

Awesome, I love the idea of the locations. Now, how about some ice breaking questions, all the better for getting to know you:

Your favorite town/ city in the world? Why?

New York City. I may not live there now, but it will always be my home.

How did you meet your spouse/ significant other?

We were college sweethearts. We met by living in the same dorm.

If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do? Would you keep your day job (if you have one?)

It’d have to be a pretty big lottery win for me to quit my day job; I’ve got two kids who will be going to college in a few years. Paying for their education won’t be pretty.

What is your favorite past time?

Drawing classes at a local art gallery. When I focus on art, my mind is free from everything else. I find it a similar creative outlet as fiction writing.

Would you rather have the ability to be invisible or have x-ray vision?

Invisible. Imagine all the conversations I could eavesdrop! It’d give me great fodder for my stories.

How do you like to spend a rainy day?

Writing. I’m always grateful for the rain. I don’t feel tortured that I’m missing time outdoors with my family.

What one item would you grab if the house was on fire? (assume no living beings are  inside)

My Mac laptop and flash drives. I never trust the cloud.

What’s one favorite thing you do by yourself?

Beside writing and my art classes, I like to cook.

Growing up, what did you want to be?

A writer. I knew myself well. Being practical, however, I became an attorney. Now I balance both jobs.

Some quickies:

Favorite food to cook?

Bolognese sauce, which is fun to make from scratch when I have the time.

Favorite animal?

Horses (perhaps not a surprise, given my new book).

Favorite color?

Blue. I find it peaceful.

Favorite book?

Oooh, too many, but I’ll go with Diane Gabaldon’s “Outlander” series.

Favorite sport or physical activity?

Pilates. Though I exercise out of necessity, not love.

Favorite kind of music?

Anything from the eighties.

Favorite place to visit?

Venice, Italy. My husband and I visited during our honeymoon, twenty years ago. We vowed we will go back one day.

Favorite season?

Fall. The inner artist in me can’t resist the foliage.

Can you dance? Sing?

Not a whit, although I am a half-way decent artist. Still, I doubt anyone cares to watch me paint.

Which do you prefer for a second home? Mountain cabin, beach house or big city condo?

Although I’m originally from New York City, I am drawn to the idea of mountain cabins over condos. The second book in my DESIRE series (DESIRE IN THE ARCTIC) takes place in a mountain range in Alaska’s Yukon.

What dessert do you order most often?

Carrot cake.

What kind of car do you drive? Color?

A red Toyota Rav 4. (New England requires All Wheel Drive.)

What is your favorite type of art?

I love oil paintings, although I only have time to sketch nowadays.

 What three items would you take if you knew you were going to be stranded on a tropical island for a year? (enough suntan lotion is a freebie)

This is a good question for me to muse if I want to write a third book in my survival-based DESIRE series. For now, I’ll choose a fishing pole, a strong knife, and lots of canvass to make a tent and clothing.

One quote you love, that keeps you going in life?

“It is what it is.” I like the Zen spirit of this, since I’m a Type A personality.

Describe a real-life situation in which you stood up for someone/ something.

Standing up on behalf of my younger son. I constantly battle the local school board for learning accommodations due to his severe dyslexia. Getting the help my boy needs has been one of my biggest—and most important—challenges in life.

Do you believe in love at first sight?

Yes. And I’ve been married to my husband ever since.

Stacy, I love your answers, especially your challenge to be your son’s school advocate. Not easy. Horses, blue, fall foliage, all things that speak to me as well. I cannot wait to read “Jockeying for You”.

Want to know more about Stacy Hoff?

stacey_cartoon_v2

Stacy Hoff is a contemporary romance author, as well as an attorney. She has practiced law for two decades, primarily handling contracts. Romance novels have always been her secret passion. She writes her romantic stories until the wee hours of the night. Stacy lives in New England with her husband and two boys.

JOCKEYING FOR YOU will be her fourth novel. Her other novels are: DESIRE IN THE EVERGLADES (DESIRE series, book 1), DESIRE IN THE ARCTIC (DESIRE series book 2), and LAWFULLY YOURS . Her upcoming series, BUILDING LOVE, will have book 1, BUILDING LOVE IN VEGAS, out soon.

LINKS
Amazon buy link: http://amzn.to/2clOJK3
Amazon author’s page: https://www.amazon.com/Stacy-Hoff/e/B00NN0HCW8
Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorStacyHoff
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorStacyHoff

EXCERPT To Jockeying for You:

“You sure you can control a horse with a soft voice like that?” Jake asked, half-teasing.

He could tell she was sizing up his comment, whether it was a joke or an admonishment. Rather than help her out, he decided to see what she’d make of it.

“They don’t call me the horse whisperer for nothing,” she finally let out with an accompanying shrug.

He smiled. Good. She can hold her own. With Handsome Dancer, she’ll need to. He won’t explain himself, either.

“Glad you brought that up. Tell me a little about your philosophy.”

“All right. I imagine you’ve already heard a bit about how I train or we wouldn’t be talking. My approach is simple, I help the horse train himself.”

Jake felt his eyebrows furrow. “Excuse me? What?”

Ryder frowned.

One of his regular waiters approached, pen and paper already out. “Give us a minute, Robert?” Turning his attention back to her, he asked, “I’m sorry, you were explaining your philosophy. It sounded very . . . unorthodox.”

“I’m guessing you’ve seen my track record, so I’m confident unorthodox works. I don’t treat a horse like it’s some kind of four-footed magical carpet, ready to take off at our command. Horses are live creatures. They let us command them when they want to. And if they don’t, no amount of breaking them is going to win a race.”

She paused, cleared her throat, then picked up the glass of ice water in front of her and took a sip. She was peering at him thoughtfully over the rim of the glass. “It’s not as crazy as it sounds. I simply believe a horse that wants to win will do its best to do so. A horse that doesn’t, won’t.”

Click to get your own copy: http://amzn.to/2clOJK3

Stacy, thank  you for joining us, answering my pushy questions, and I wish you the best of luck with your latest endeavor.

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soulmate_heart_llc

Sizzle in the Snow Newlsetter, vol. 3

October 25, 2015

SIZZLE IN THE SNOW: A SOUL MATE CHRISTMAS COLLECTION

Eight steamy romances by eight Soul Mate Publishing authors…

SIZZLE IN THE SNOW_800x1200 (2) NEW

Available November 25, 2015!

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book corner

STORY EXCERPT!

Each newsletter will feature an excerpt from 1 author’s story from the anthology. Next up is Kim Hotzon‘s Snow Bird. (Missed the first two newsletters? Go to my home page and click on the links for vol. 1 or vol. 2.)

Standing beneath him, she caught a glimpse of his butt encased in his jeans. He wore a navy fleece jacket and a matching hat. Even dressed like this, it was evident Tony had a sculpted, God-like physique. Her pulse raced as she pictured him naked, reclining on a sheepskin rug in front of a roaring fireplace. Or wrapping a white towel around his waist as he came out of the shower . . .

Lauren was startled when Tony nearly stepped on her hand. She had been so lost in thought, she hadn’t realized he’d almost descended the ladder.

“You all right? No need to be concerned,” he said. “It’s a small job. I need to cut a piece of wood and fit it in across the hole.”

She hadn’t expected he would work so quickly. How to devise a way to keep him around longer? “I was about to make a pot of coffee . . . can I bring you a cup?”

Tony hesitated, tucking a lock of hair under his fuzzy hat. His brown eyes were liquid, kind and warm. “Sure.”
•Kim Hotzon http://kimhotzon.com/, The Snow Bird

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HOLIDAY MEMORY

Tina Susedik has a wonderful memory to share . . .

Holiday Memory OCT 15 All four of my grandparents came over from Germany after WWI, and, of course, spoke German as well as English. As my siblings and cousins grew up, we learned a few words of German.

One Christmas when my parents were particularly short of cash for gifts, my mother decided to teach my two older sisters and me to sing Silent Night in German. I was six, my two sisters 8 and 10. We sang in three part-harmony. This would have been 1958.

I remember standing in the doorway between my Grandma’s parlor and living room. We were surrounded by aunts, uncles, cousins (there were a lot of them), and my two sets of grandparents. My mom played the piano. The room was dead silent. Everyone stared at us. Then we started singing (OMG. I’m starting to tear up as I write this). When we finished, tears were running down the adults’ faces, but none more than my grandparents.

This became a tradition whenever we were at my grandparents’ farm for Christmas. One year I had a cold, developed laryngitis, and couldn’t sing. I cried and cried as Barb and Pat sang without me. We’d had this dream of becoming the next Lennon Sisters and I ruined it.
•Tina Susedik http://www.tinasusedik.com/, Operation Santa

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Oct 15 music

MUSIC CORNER

Listen up! Crystal Firsdon shares her favorite holiday song!

Music Corner OCT 15I’ve always liked my Christmas music rocked up, so I’m partial to Mannheim Steamroller. Here’s one of my Christmas favorites, Carol of the Bells.

Song Link:

•Crystal Firsdon http://crystalfirsdon.com/, ‘Twas the Crazy Night Before Christmas

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COCKTAIL CORNER

Busy wrapping, shopping, and socializing? Kick back with a festive cocktail!

candy cane cocktail

Recipe by Cheryl Yeko.

Candy Cane Cocktail

Ingredients

1 shot vanilla rum

1 shot white chocolate liqueur (recommended: Godiva)

1 shot peppermint schnapps

Candy cane, garnish

Add all liquid ingredients to cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into martini glass. Garnish with candy cane.
•Cheryl Yeko http://www.cherylyeko.com/, Christmas Eve Surprise

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Oct 15 recipe

 

And while we are on a candy cane theme, here is a recipe by Amy Deason:

Candy Cane Bars

Ingredients:

2 (10 ounce) packages vanilla baking chips

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

1 1/2 cups crushed candy canes

1 dash red or green food coloring

Directions: 1. Line an 8 inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, and grease the foil.

  1. Combine the vanilla chips and sweetened condensed milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently until almost melted, remove from heat and continue to stir until smooth. When chips are completely melted, stir in the peppermint extract, food coloring, and candy canes.
  2. Spread evenly in the bottom of the prepared pan. Chill for 2 hours, then cut into squares.

 

amy deason recipe pic

 

Now, those just look so yummy! Paired with hot cocoa and a good book, I’d be set for the night.

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A CRAFTY CREATION

If you’re feeling crafty, try this! Compliments of Ryan Jo Summers.

My DIY craft is felt snowmen. Super easy to make and fairly quick. They do not require lots of expensive items either. This would be a super project to work on with the kids.

Start with various sized bottles or jars. Mine all came from white bottles: supplements, OTC medicine, etc… Almost any round Felt snowmen part 1 NOV 25object would work. Also, white felt, black felt, orange felt. Amounts will be based on sizes of bottles and number of snowmen to be made. Lastly, glue. Elmer’s school style or hot glue are both fine.

Felt snowmen part 1

First, glue white felt around the empty bottle or jar. Then glue black felt around the top for a hat. Length will depend on overall desired size of hat. To make the hat brim, cut a hole in the center of a black felt circle slightly larger than the bottle’s/ jar’s diameter. Pull over bottle/ jar and glue in place.

felt snowmen NOV 25Lastly, add googly eyes, orange felt nose and cheeks. Tie ribbons (Christmas design or not) around hat and/or body. Use puffy paint to draw a mouth and outline the nose. If you have a tall enough snowman, glue some buttons under the mouth to indicate a torso. Viola! All done!

 

felt snowmen

•Ryan Jo Summers http://www.ryanjosummers.com/, Tamed by Christmas

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TIME TO DECORATE!

Bring out the mistletoe! CD Hersh has some great decorating tips!CDHersh-Decorate-1

Decorate your Christmas Table

Catherine loves to set a pretty Christmas table, which she changes yearly. (She has a thing for dishes.) She also loves napkin rings, which are often expensive. To satisfy her dish decorating habit, she came up with a quick and easy way to brighten up her Christmas table using last year’s Christmas cards. You have them right? Doesn’t everyone?

Here’s what you need:

Christmas cards

Clear drinking glass (which will allow you to see the pattern on the Christmas card) or other circle template. A 2 ¼ to 2 ¾ diameter works best.

A marking pen or pencil

Scissors

Craft knife

Ribbons-cord or ¼ inch satin works best. Coordinate them to match your cards or go wild with colors.

CDHersh-Decorate-2

Directions:

Position the glass or circle template on the Christmas card, choosing the part of the card you want to use as the base of the napkin ring.

Draw around the outside edge of the glass. Cut out the circle. With a craft knife cut two slots in the circle, spacing them about ¼ of the way from the edges of the circle. Thread a pretty ribbon, long enough to circle your napkins and tie a bow, through the slots. Slip the ribbon around your napkins, tie your bow, and you have a festive napkin ring for your holiday table. If you want to get even fancier, glue some lace or gathered ribbon to the back of the greeting card circle and cover it with another circle. Slit both front and back circles and slid the ribbon through. Tie the ring onto your napkin and enjoy.

Like this easy table decoration? You can adapt it using any themed greeting cards and have tailor made napkin rings for any occasion. If you add your guests’ names, the napkin rings double as name cards.

CDHersh-Decorate-3
•CD Hersh https://cdhersh.wordpress.com/, Kissing Santa

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A HOLDIAY CARDangel with basket

Beth Carter shares this delightful and heartfelt poem:

Christmas Tree Angel

Bejeweled with strands of pearls

Feathered birds and twinkling lights;

Glittering ornaments and velvet bows

Encircled our tree with delight.

Plump snowmen and toy soldiers

Carefully placed just right;

Shiny Red and Green Packages

Completed the joyful sight.

The most special gift of all

Topped our majestic tree;

A frayed, embroidered angel

Handmade by Mommy and me.
•Beth Carter http://bethcarter.com/, Santa Baby

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Whew, you made it to the end! We have a huge giveaway to go along with the release of Sizzle in the Snow, as well as a Facebook launch party. We hope to see you there. Details coming soon…

xmas girl
•Beth Carter http://bethcarter.com/, Santa Baby
•Amy Deason https://amydeason.wordpress.com/, Second Chances: A Christmas Story
•Crystal Firsdon http://crystalfirsdon.com/, ‘Twas the Crazy Night Before Christmas
•CD Hersh https://cdhersh.wordpress.com/, Kissing Santa
•Kim Hotzon http://kimhotzon.com/, The Snow Bird
•Ryan Jo Summers http://www.ryanjosummers.com/, Tamed by Christmas
•Tina Susedik http://www.tinasusedik.com/, Operation Santa
•Cheryl Yeko http://www.cherylyeko.com/, Christmas Eve Surprise

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Kim Hotzon Handsful of Ashes

RJS: Today Kim Hotzon has stopped by to talk about her new release, Hands Full of Ashes. Welcome, Kim. You have an awesome cover for your book, and a catchy title. Can you please tell  us a little bit about it?

KH: Certainly. Olivia promises to fulfill her dying husband’s wish – to scatter his ashes around the world. Wading through grief and depression, she journeys to a remote orphanage in Uganda. Living amongst the children in their threadbare surroundings, she vows to fight for the children’s lives as she begins to fight for her own. While Olivia develops a passion for humanitarian work, the lonely director of the orphanage develops a simmering passion for her. Just as time begins to heal the wounds of her heart, Olivia learns the truth of her husband’s unimaginable betrayal. She flees to the tiny country of Rwanda where her soul is reawakened with a startling new love. Olivia realizes that love always comes with a price when she is faced with a decision she thought she would never have to make. Surrounded by the rugged beauty of Africa, Olivia is determined to find true love while learning how to survive in a region left torn apart by civil war.

RJS:  Umm…that sounds  pretty mysterious. A deep plot with lots of unexpected turns, just what I love. And you picked such remote locations. Is there some reason for that?

KH: Yes, I have traveled a bit to some wonderful countries, gaining insights and inspiration.

RJS:  Tell us more! What can you share with us on a personal level?

KH: I was born in beautiful British Columbia and developed a passion for writing at an early age. My interest in people led me all over the globe, including a two-year stay in Japan and a humanitarian trip to Rwanda.

I love to write romance stories with a twist, usually involving a dangerous and dramatic backdrop. My first novel, ‘Hands Full of Ashes’, was inspired by a trip to Africa. I spent many years teaching young adults with learning disabilities at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, and I currently reside in the sunny Okanagan with my husband and two children.

author photo--Kim Hotzon

RJS: That sounds like a life that would just naturally lend itself to writing. What else do you do there?

KH: When not writing, I can be found plying the local ski hills, or getting lost in my kayak in the surrounding lakes.

RJS: It’s easy to see how your social life keeps you around people. So, where can readers connect with you and follow your sites?

KH: Readers can get in touch with me by visiting my website:

http://www.kimhotzon.com/

or follow me on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/kimhotzon

or Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6491250.Kim_Hotzon

or LinkedIn:  https://ca.linkedin.com/pub/kim-hotzon/61/9a8/675

or Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/kimhotzon/

To get your own copy of Hands Full of Ashes“, click here:

http://www.amazon.com/

Or copy & paste this link:

http://www.amazon.com/Hands-Full-Ashes-Kim-Hotzon-ebook/dp/B00S78OGUC/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1421260802&sr=1-1&keywords=Hands+Full+of+Ashes&pebp=1421260817673&peasin=B00S78OGUC

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Kim, thank you so much for stopping by today. I love your cover, the premise sounds great, your locales are awesome and your life is good. Keep it all up and we’ll be looking forward to your next book release.

Kim Hotzon Handsful of Ashes       http://www.kimhotzon.comauthor photo--Kim Hotzon

 

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Sam Wyatt cover The True One

 

I really like that cover. Welcome, Samanthya, and in a few sentences, what can you tell us about THE TRUE ONE?

His ship in splinters and his men captured, Stephen is a broken man. Yet the torture he received by his enemies is nothing compared to the torment he bears from an angel with lavender eyes.

Jennifer left England full of a young girl’s fantasies of romance and adventure. When she cares for a near death captain, memories emerge of the family she left behind. Will the passion they share be enough? He must choose – her or revenge.

 RJS: Awesome! Now, let’s get chatty shall we? Can you tell us about you and your book?

SW: Ever since I can remember, I have loved curling up with a book. Finally I retired from my day job!

S Wyatt retired

RJS: Bet that felt sweet? So what is your typical day like now?

SW: My morning usually starts with a cup of Java. If I’m lucky, hubby gets up first and brings me a cup of coffee in bed. Mmmm. What a way to greet the day!

RJS: Oh yeah, absolutely sweet. So you have tons of time to write now, right?

SW: I don’t have to tell any writer how difficult it is to find time to put words to paper, let alone create them in your mind. But I am finding I do not have the abundance of time I thought I would to contribute to my writing.

My neighbor came to my house one day and said, “We see you leave in the morning and you don’t come home. Didn’t you retire?”

RJS: Yes, to a curious neighbor, that could be suspicious. So what gives? 

SW: Between soccer games, football games and cheerleading, I’m keeping the road hot. And I am blessed to have more time with my mother.

The early hours could be anything from a lazy, relaxing, take time to dress morning—to a set the alarm, get my granddaughter to school or take mom to the doctor morning. Then there are the mornings of anticipation where I head to my laptop for a few precious moments of picking my brain. I fully expect to see smoke one of these days.

RJS:  Actually, I do see some smoke. So I’m guessing no rocking chairs in your retirement?

 SW: I love to have fun. My hubby is so silly. And his playfulness has rubbed off on me. Anything can come out of my mouth sometimes, just for fun. I’ll say things that don’t make sense, have people raising their eyebrows, or just busting out with laughter. And, at my age I still love rollercoasters. Where the heck is the top of this thing?

S Wyattt rollercoster

One of the things I looked forward to was spending more time with hubby. Cruising in our 1969 Mustang convertible is just one of the perks. And my day is not complete without a kiss from my hubby goodnight.

S Wyatt car

RJS: Now that is just plain sweet. The stuff a good romance is made of. Surely spending time with hubby inspires some good stuff for writing. What is the most important thing you have taken away from retiring and now writing full time, getting THE TRUE ONE published and having extra time for your family? To encapsulate it in one sentence, what would all that boil down to? 

SW: I’m just enjoying life.

 RJS: Beautiful. Now, on to your book. Tell us more, please…

SW: I’m thrilled to celebrate my new historical, The True One. This is the thrilling sequel of the One and Only series. Now we find out what happened to Kat’s brother.

RJS: Okay, take it away…

“The True One”      

 

Captain Stephen Radbourn accepts an intriguing proposition which results in horror. His ship in splinters and his men captured, he is a broken man. A band of rebels rescue their leader from a dungeon, taking the near dead captain with them. Fearing capture and thinking the tortured man will die, they leave Stephen in the care of a woman, who he believes is an angel of mercy. A man of passion, with a trail of satisfied maidens to prove it, he finds his heart captured by the lovely widow. But she forces him to choose—her or revenge.

 

Jennifer Faircloth departed England full of a young girl’s fantasies of romance and adventure. Her young husband dies leaving her a widow to survive alone in a foreign land. When a near death English captain is dropped at her door, memories emerge of the family she foolishly left behind. While caring for him, her curious imagination turns to an overwhelming awareness she cannot deny. He must flee for his life and he takes her with him—back to England—back to the family she’d deserted. She wants her family to forgive her, but she wants Stephen’s love even more.

 

RJS: Now that just begs to be read. I can’t wait to get my copy. To find Samanthya, please visit her website here: http://www.samanthyawyatt.com

 In the meantime, please enjoy an excerpt from The True One: 

He was dead.

He had to be. For serenity enclosed him. Fresh air cloaked him. A cloud of softness wrapped him. Comfort would mean he’d gone to heaven, when he had been destined for hell. Slowly, Stephen became aware of soreness, then stinging, then blinding pain. Sure signs of hell.

The lilting voice of an angel drew him to an unbelievable place of calm. The honeyed sound soothed his mind to a state of ease. Alleviating his anxiety. Diminishing his pain. The most enchanting dream he’d ever held.

He opened his eyes with excruciating sluggishness. The first glimpse of light splintered his skull with a sharp stabbing. He slammed his eyes closed with a long groan. He’d been denied sunlight for so long, he thought never to see the light of day again.

His insides still stuck to his backbone. He breathed as deeply as his broken ribs allowed, then grounded his teeth over the agonizing ache. Slashing pain shot through his jaw stirring more memories. Oh yes. That had been broken too.

A bed? He took a moment to grasp his surroundings. Unfamiliar hands. Gentle hands. He thought he’d felt movement at one time, dreamed he was in a wagon.

Flashes of torture penetrated his skull—men with curved knives and jeweled handles, shackles, a pit for a prison cell. He struggled with the bonds squeezing him when the sweetest sound of an angel pulled him from the dark fog. Reassuring hands swabbed a wet cloth over his feverish skin and coaxed him to swallow. Blessed relief to his parched lips. Now he lolled in a bed.

With a sense of unease he pondered his situation, wondering what state of play brought him to this consequence. He inhaled, taking in pleasant air. No stench. No slimy creatures. Where was he? At this point he didn’t care. As long as he no longer suffered the Raj’s torture.

Slowly, and more cautious this time, he lifted one lid to a narrow slit. The swelling around his eye had gone down considerably. He glanced down to find a hand-sewn quilt, like the ones his mother made. Definitely a bed. Which also resembled his English heritage. Had he somehow been transported back to England?

He rolled his head against the pillow’s softness. His mind wandered restlessly through a mirage of shadows. His ribs were on fire. He searched the room. A window stood open and the thin covering wavered as if the wind blew gently to make it dance. A crude piece of furniture beyond the bed with items scattered about. To the right a door. He wondered who was on the other side. Friend or adversary? He closed his eyes for a moment, seeking relief. Ignoring the pain in his skull, he turned his head to the right and saw the delicate creature in his dream. An angel of mercy, with dark hair falling about her shoulders. Long sweeping lashes brushed velvety cheeks. Instant awareness surged through his body. At least the devils hadn’t killed that part of him.

On the heels of that thought, he wondered if she were a maid or the wife of some possessive husband. If she were his wife—perish the thought—he would never leave her alone in any room with a strange man, incapacitated or no. Especially not in close proximity of a bed.

And he was naked. Bare as a new baby’s bottom.

 Thank you, Samanthya for joining me today! I wish you best luck with your new book.

The True One’s link: http://amzn.to/1uSAlFl

To buy it now:  http://www.amazon.com/True-One-Only-Book-ebook/dp/B00R3POS7G/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1418823211&sr=1-1&keywords=the+true+one

Samanthya Wyatt is also on facebook, goodreads and amazon.

Samanthya Wyatt

 Buy links:

http:amzn.to/1lEk2Qy                        http:amzn.                                          http:amzn.to/1mhTqw4

 

 

 

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12 days cookiesWelcome to Day One of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Today is all about sharing a dessert recipe. While I absolutely love cookies, one of my favorite things to bake is cakes, especially chocolate layer cakes. I love finding and trying new recipes. When I lived in the north, it was largely for self preservation as the warmth of the oven helped heat the house. Now, living in the south, it’s more pleasure based.

Recently, I stumbled across this awesome looking recipe for Fudgy Salted Brownies.

12 days fudgye salted brownies

Not quite layers of moist cake, but still decadent. I have yet to try it, but it’s only list.

Ingredients

2 sticks (1 Cup) unsalted butter                                                                                                        8 oz. bittersweet chocolate (60% cacao), coarsely chopped, such as Ghiradelli                      1 1/4 cups (6 1/2 oz.) all-purpose flour                                                                                             1 teaspoon baking powder                                                                                                                  1 1/2 Tablespoons Cocoa powder                                                                                                  3/4 teaspoon kosher salt                                                                                                                    2 cups (14 oz.) granulated sugar                                                                                                       4 large eggs at room temperature                                                                                             2 teaspoons vanilla extract                                                                                                           fleur de sel

Directions

1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan with butter, line pan with parchment paper leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides.

2. Melt butter and chocolate in a medium heatproof mixing bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth.

3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt in a small mixing bowl.

4. Whisk together sugar, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl, then pour in chocolate mixture (from step 2), whisking until combined well. Whisk in flour mixture (from step 3) and transfer batter to baking pan. Smooth out the batter with a spatula and generously sprinkle the surface with fleur de del.

5. Bake until the top is shiny, the sides have begun to pull away slightly from the pan and the center has puffed up but is still slightly jiggly (a wooden toothpick or skewer would not come out clean). About 45- 50 minutes.

6. Cool brownies completely in the pan on a wire rack. Gently transfer brownies from the pan to a cutting board using the parchment sling and remove paper. The edges will be quite crisp. For fudgy brownies through and through (and a neater appearance) trim away the edges before cutting into squares. Discard trimmings or share with someone who prefers crisp, chewy brownies.

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Now, properly armed with something for our sweet tooth, here is something for our hard-to-satisfy reading habit.  My guest for Day One is Jeanne Hardt.  Her book is  called From the Ashes of Atlanta.

Jeanne cover

 

After losing his Atlanta home and family to the war, Confederate soldier, Jeb Carter, somehow wakes up in a Boston hospital. Alone, desperate, and with a badly broken leg, he pretends to be mute to save himself from those he hates—Yankees.

 Gwen Abbott, a student at Boston Women’s Medical College, is elated when she’s allowed to study under the guidance of a prominent doctor at Massachusetts General. While forced into a courtship with a man she can scarcely tolerate, her thoughts are consumed with their mysterious new patient. If only he could talk.

 Two strangers from different worlds, joined by fate. Perhaps love can speak without words and win a war without a single shot being fired.

Jeanne hardt

Buy link on Amazon. http://amzn.to/1zzDiim

Website address (blog) : www.jeannehardt.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/JEANNEHARDTAUTHOR

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/jeannehardt

Twitter: @jeannehardt

 

OK, check back tomorrow for Day Two of the Twelve Days of Christmas!

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AVAILABLE THIS MONTH FROM SOUL MATE PUBLISHING: 

                                          A Mighty Good Man Rebecca Neely

Rebecca Neely is visiting us now, and she so thoughtfully brought us a Mighty Good Man.

Rebecca, first, welcome to the blog. Now, we have all heard a good man is hard to find. Some swear it is true. But you found one, or at least your heroine did.  This sounds interesting.

It is. This is my blurb, which I am happy to share: +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Hank Jerry…

Her personal and professional life on the skids, a family emergency forces her to return to the small town, and the aunt, she left behind. 

Jack ‘Gent’ Darcy…

Fresh out of prison, he’s bent on cutting ties with the Creds, but when you’re a war counselor in a national gang, they don’t let you just walk away.

Injured and on the run, Jack lands on Hank’s doorstep, and makes her a proposition she can’t refuse: write his story about life inside one of the most powerful gangs in the country.

It’s simple – she’ll get her career groove back, and he’ll bury the gang, then disappear – his version of freedom.

Only problem is, they can’t help falling for each other, and they’ve both got something to hide that could blow up in their faces.

With time running out and gang enforcers closing in, will the trust they’ve forged survive the ultimate test?

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Yes, that’s definitely attention-getting. Where can we learn more?

At Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rebecca-E-Neely/740166889351411

And at Twitter

https://twitter.com/RebeccaNeely1

And my website of course, http://www.rebeccaeneely.com

buy here:   http://tinyurl.com/ld7poze

A Mighty Good Man author pic Rebecca Neely

What was the inspiration for your hero and heroine’s story?

Until I was about sixteen, my family ran a Mom and Pop restaurant, serving up homemade spaghetti and meatballs, soups and He-man breakfasts. I grew up there, working, cooking and eating, and meeting all kinds of interesting people. That hallowed place is long gone, but lives on in my memory, and inspired me for the setting in A Mighty Good Man. It’s a cool, retro style diner, and that’s where a lot of the action takes place.

The heroine, Hank Jerry, is a tough talking, twentieth century broad. The hero, Jack ‘Gent’ Darcy, is a strange combination of gentleman and hood. Together, they smooth out each other’s rough spots, and rough out some of the smooth.

I think all writers form impressions everyday they carry into their writing at some point or another, even years later. For example, about two years ago, when I was out to breakfast one morning with my family, our waitress struck me as a character, physically. She was a young woman in her early twenties, with dishwater blond hair bordering on dredlocks, tattoos on her wrists, slender, skin tight jeans, wearing Ugg boots – the perfect combination of grit and polish. I already had ‘Hank’ in my mind, and it’s like I was looking at her that morning. I love those kinds of moments.

Yes, I am always on the lookout for random, ordinary things that anyone else would miss, but we can capture and use.

The idea for Hank and Jack’s story had been part of my imagination for several years before I got to write it. Above all, I wanted the story to be a fast read, one that people could escape to while they waited for their kids to finish soccer, or sat in the doctor’s office, or were stuck in the airport. I’ve always loved short stories, and I aspired to that in telling this story.

Have you always wanted to be a writer? If not that, what would your dream career be? 

I think I’ve always been a writer at heart, though I segued into Accounting (yikes!) for about a decade. Rows and columns seem to be the antithesis of creativity, but organization is something I’m good at, and really helps me to get my arms around a story.

No doubt, organization is key for successful writing. Do your characters tell their own story or do you pretty much have it all planned out when you start writing? (Do you have the ending in mind at the beginning or are you surprised?) 

For me, like most things in life, nothing is completely cut and dried. When I started writing Jack and Hank’s story, I had certain ideas about what would happen in the story, but as I wrote, things morphed and changed, and I welcomed that. I don’t want to box myself in, but I definitely like to have a framework.

I work out a lot of plot problems and come up with ideas while I’m walking, which I try to do daily. Something about the physical activity and the change of scenery really seems to ‘percolate’ ideas for me. I’ve had many ‘aha!’ moments during my walks. I’m sure people see me talking to myself and think I’m crazy.

With the fact most everyone it seems is going around talking on their phone headsets or speakers, not so crazy for us.   

How does your writing—and published!– life compete with ‘the real world? (work, home, family, friends, etc…)

I’m a single mother, and my 12 year old daughter keeps me busy, with activities, homework – and all the things that keep a mother busy. Sometimes, trying to carve out writing time is challenging, but I know at some point, I’ll get it, and I try not to fret about it too much, because my daughter is my priority above all. I don’t write every day, but often, I’m writing in my head, or coming up with ideas, and taking down voice memos on my smart phone as things strike me. After a few days, all that creativity gets stored up and comes gushing out the next time I sit down to write.

Bonus question– what’s next for you? WIP? I am currently working on a paranormal romance. That’s out of my comfort zone, and that’s one of the reasons I wanted to do it. I wanted to do something totally different than what I had before, and keep challenging myself. At the same time, it’s a story that was begging to be told, and I followed my instinct on that.

What kind of snacks or motivations do you keep handy to keep you going? I adore cheese and crackers, and I always keep a really good quality hunk of cheddar on hand. That’s my savory. I’m not a chocaholic, but more of a cookie monster. I love a good cookie. That’s my sweet!

What is your idea of a perfect writing day? Get my daughter off to school, maybe stop by this fantastic local bakery and get a cheese Danish, come back home and have a second cup of coffee, and write new material for a few hours. I enjoy huddling by the furnace on a cold, rainy day, with a pen and paper, before I get to the laptop. It’s very satisfying, for it to be just me and my story – kind of like the boy in the movie, The Never Ending Story, who’s reading his book all alone, in the forgotten attic of his school.

The most satisfying thing for me as a writer is to have started with a blank page, and at the end of the day, to have written a few really good pages, that sometimes, took a turn I didn’t expect, and wound up being even better than my original idea.

Yes, that is a satisfaction I think we live for.  How do you handle the edit process? As you go, day by day or in chunks or some other method?

I like to let what I write one day steep for a bit, then come back to it the next day, or even days later. Often, I’ll see a way to arrange it I hadn’t thought of, or recognize a plot hole I hadn’t seen before. Then, I edit and word smith to my heart’s content. Often, when I’m editing, I find new connections, and ways of adding emotional depth, and that gives me ideas for upcoming scenes, and ways of fleshing out previous scenes.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned since you’ve become a published author?

Patience. After I sold my first book, I think I put a lot of pressure on myself to quickly follow up with a second. However, I found out that trying to force myself to write is counterproductive, and in general, just no fun. I’ve learned to have more patience with myself, and my creative process. Ideation, creation, sculpting a story is hard work, but I know it comes with time, and I put my faith in that.

Awesome. I appreciate your thorough answers. I am willing to guess lots of us writers see ourselves in some of your processes, methods and schedules. You can bet I’ll be checking out A MIGHTY GOOD MAN. Before you go, could you please toss us a quick teaser, just to whet our appetites?

Sure, how about this?   ~~~~~~~

From the shadows behind the dumpster, a man emerged and limped toward her, clutching his side, his chest heaving, clouds of his breath hanging in the April air.

“Hide me!” he gasped.

“What the hell?” Heart pounding, Hank retreated a few steps and threw her cigarette to the ground. Blood, bruises, panic—all of it oozed from this man who’d materialized like smoke.

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

Rebecca, thank you for dropping in today. It’s been a great pleasure and I am sure A MIGHTY GOOD MAN is also a Mighty Good Read. I can’t wait to read more about Hank and Jack.

 

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