Monday, September 16, 2019

Let's Get a Move On!

Our Empty Nest Adventures have begun, and I have discovered it’s a lot less stressful getting out of the house when I’m only responsible for myself. Yeah, I know, that sounds obvious, but hear me out. 

With two girls, there’s a lot of drama in our house. There’s also a lot of prep work. So when we have plans, the conversations typically go something like this:

Husband, in front of girls: When are we leaving?
Me: X time 

½ hour before departure

Me: Why aren’t you getting ready?
Banana Girl: it only takes me twenty minutes.
Princess: I’m going, I’m going.

X time arrives. Husband comes downstairs. I’m ready. Girls are nowhere in sight.

Me: Girls, let’s go!
Banana Girl: I’ll be ready in 5 minutes.
Me: But I said we were leaving now.
Banana Girl: Oh, I thought you were building in extra time.

Princess saunters downstairs a minute later.
Me: Why are you late?
Princess: I’m done before Banana Girl.

We end up leaving 10 minutes after I wanted (even when I build in time). I’m sweating and stressed and everyone is yelling and tell me again why we do things as a family?

Now, leaving is a lot different. 

Husband: What time are we leaving?
Me: We have to be there by X and I don’t want to be rushing. So let’s leave at Y.
Husband: Okay.

Y time arrives. Husband comes downstairs. I come downstairs. We leave.

End of story.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Welcome back to Stephen King!

With the release of Glimpse, The Tender Killer, the number one question asked of me lately is: “Why a trilogy, Steve?” It’s a very good question.
Some time ago I had an idea to tell the story of four people comprising of two married couples where each marriage is not without its problems. For me the joy of writing is to create characters; ordinary, every day, flawed people, like you or I, and put them in extraordinary situations. So, I thought, what if the male protagonist is a Major Crime Cop, and he has a recent history of having an affair, for which his wife is trying to forgive and forget. Let’s pair him with a stunningly beautiful, intriguing, criminal psychologist who is married to a controlling man who doesn’t want her working with the cops. Then have them hunt a terrible, psychotic serial killer. I wanted them to come from different walks of life, and be the kind of people who are at their best when they are working with an attractive person of the opposite sex and pose the question, will they or won’t they?
In my life I’ve had the pleasure of working with some exceptional women. The relationships have been fun, flirtatious and I am still very good friends with some of them today. I found that working with someone you wanted to take to bed, but never actually acting on it, was good for not only the working relationship, but my home life as well. I would be happy to go to work, and less stressed when I got home, if that makes sense. In my life, it’s a fact I’ve have better friends of the opposite sex, than my own. 
So, that was the relationship I wanted for Detective Sergeant Richard ‘Rick’ McCoy, and Criminal Psychologist Patricia, call me Pat (everyone does), Holmes. Then throw into the mix a cold hearted, attention seeking murderer, who has a past association with Rick, who taunts him to catch him if he can, and I thought I could make it work. But, I didn’t want the book to be a trope; the kind of story with an obvious direction where the reader would think ‘yeah, I knew that would happen,’ but, how to do that? 
If I had more words, I thought, I could really delve inside the characters, and describe the inner workings of the three different relationships, and the serial killer. I could look at the trials and tribulations of the married partners of the two protagonists; what’s it like for them having their husband, of wife working with someone they really like. And then I thought what if their story was spread over three separate investigations, into three different murderers. 
Psychology, particularly criminal psychology, has always fascinated me. My daughter has a degree in it, and a good friend works in the field. What if I combined the story of my four people’s dysfunctional relationships with glimpses into the troubled psyche’s of my three killers………hmmmmm. I like to keep a book around 100,000 words. That feels about right for me to tell what I want to tell, therefore a trilogy would give me 300,000 words. Now with that amount, I could go to town.
Lots of people have asked me the question; “why a trilogy, Steve?” Well, the funny thing is that several people who have read book 3 have demanded a fourth instalment, so maybe; just maybe, this will be the first ever trilogy made up of four books.

Book 3, Glimpse, the Tender Killer is my tenth published work, and it is released on September 11th2019. Here is the link to Amazon:
Here is the official blurb:
Criminal psychologist Patricia Holmes is now a detective paired with Detective Sergeant Rick McCoy. Together they hunt The Biblical Killer, so named for the quotes left on walls written in the victim's blood. To lure the murderer out they join the Tender Nights internet dating site, openly making themselves targets. Rick and Pat have fought their desire for each other for months. Can they now survive their lust and an insane murderer intent on vengeance?
My contact links are:
Stephen B King
twitter: @stephenBKing1
Facebook: @stephenbkingauthor
I would love to know what people think of the story and I always respond to emails or messages. So, drop me a line, let me know what you think, and please, please, if you enjoy the books, leave a review – we authors genuinely need validation. 

Once they resembled scientists in a germ-free lab, the put on white latex surgical gloves, and Rick led the way through the front door, where another officer stood guard.
Inside the entrance hallway he stopped suddenly and Pat walked into his back and rebound off him. In front of them on the wall, was a message which looked as if it had been written in blood, complete with runs and droplets so that rivulets from above ran into words written below.

But You, O God, will bring them down to the pit of destruction; 
Men of bloodshed and deceit will not live out half their days

            “What do you make of that, Pat?” He asked in a hushed voice.
“Hmmm, worrying on several fronts. Some sort of God complex? Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord; that kind of thing. It’s not going to be pretty; I’d know that from the message, even if we hadn’t been told what to expect. It’s not just this is boasting; it’s a warning to others, and that, is scary.”
He turned to look, her face was flushed around the mask she wore, her eyes shone, and it was almost as if she were turned on. “What do you mean by that?”
Men, plural, more than one. Also, them, again plural. This is like telling everyone who is a liar or cheat they will face his wrath; he will kill them half way through their lifetime. On the other hand, he is saying that God, not him, is the one killing. That infers schizophrenia, and a very angry one at that. I wonder what deceit our victim is guilty of? Clearly, our Mr. Byron Banks has upset someone by being violent, or by lying to them.”
Rick shook his head in amazement, once again, she had surprised him with being able to make sense of something that could have taken him days of investigation to uncover. “Should be easy to catch him, or her then, if they know the victim well enough to know he’s a liar.”

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

My Hanukkah Story

The romance world is becoming more diverse, and Jewish characters add to the lovely tapestry of colors, religions, customs, sexual orientation and genders that today’s story depict.

As a Jewish author, some of what I write is considered “own voices.” By writing characters who are Jewish, like I am, I bring an authenticity to my stories that non-Jewish writers can’t necessarily achieve. But writing Jewish romance is more than just writing Hanukkah stories. It’s inviting Jewish characters to the table—into the small towns, the big cities and everywhere in between. It’s acknowledging there are more holidays than just Christmas—and I happen to be a Jewish author who LOVES Christmas romances, so no yelling at me, please—and that weddings don’t just happen in churches. It’s food and faith and funny anecdotes that come from years of experiencing the inclusiveness of my own religion, while also, at times, the exclusion of others.

So when people hear I write Jewish romance and they respond with, “You should write a Hanukkah story!” I smile and sigh. Although they’re only touching the tip of the iceberg, they mean well, and if people like reading Christmas stories, it stands to reason they’d like reading Hanukkah stories, too. 

With that in mind, I’m pleased to announce that I’ve written one, and that my publisher, The Wild Rose Press, has agreed to publish it this holiday season.

Since I have such a conflicted opinion about Hanukkah stories, why did I write one? Well, an author who self publishes decided she wanted to publish a Hanukkah anthology with eight other authors, and opened submissions to everyone. The stories had to be short—15,000 words or less—something I’d never done before. How in the world would I be able to develop characters, story arc, conflict and a satisfying ending in so few words? But after almost every author who knows me said I should enter a story, I did it. It was out of my comfort zone, but I was proud of what I wrote. As with all submissions, a lot depends on luck, and my story wasn’t chosen. So what to do next?

Well, I mentioned to my current publisher that I had this Hanukkah story that I’d written, asking if they had any holiday anthologies planned for next year—I really didn’t think anything was possible for this year. And after hearing about it, she told me she didn’t have one planned, but she’d love to see the story and potentially publish it on its own this year. 

This was in July. Hanukkah is in December. That’s not a lot of time, and I don’t want to publish less than my best just to make a deadline. But I trust my publisher and my editors. If they think it’s possible, they’ll do it, and it will be good. After some expanding of the plot and editing, I received a contract.

The story, Waiting for a Miracle, will be released sometime this holiday season (we’re still waiting on a specific release date) in e-format only. And despite my ambivalence about Hanukkah stories, I really do like this one. My characters don’t live in a bubble. Their neighbors celebrate Christmas, and the decorations, sights and smells are easily woven into the setting of my story. There’s a child and a pesky grandmother and food—three of my specialties—and of course a hot guy and a smart heroine.

The fact that everyone who hears I write romance with Jewish characters tells me to write a Hanukkah story means we still have a ways to go before we achieve full inclusiveness (ask any author of color and they’ll agree, as well). But in the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy this story, and I’m tremendously thankful to my team at The Wild Rose Press for once again, taking a chance on me.

Monday, September 2, 2019

The Empty Nest

I’m an empty nester now. Both girls are away at college—so far, both seem happy—and the house is big and quiet with just my husband and myself (and the dog, who doesn’t bark). We frequently pause during the day and stare at each other, joke about still liking each other, and wonder what our kids are doing.

We’ve been temporary empty nesters for years each summer while our kids were away at camp. Those summers were filled with activities and honey-do lists, and we jammed as much as possible into those seven weeks since we knew they’d be short-lived. 

But this time, it’s going to be our new normal. I’ll admit to being nervous. I haven’t been in a situation where my world didn’t revolve around my kids in almost twenty-one years. But I’m also excited, because I get to rediscover myself.

At first, I was creating lists in my head of all the things I wanted to do—clean out closets and bathrooms and stuff. Write. Visit people. But then I realized something. Entering this phase of my life isn’t just about what else there is to do. It’s also about who I am. It’s my chance to rediscover myself now that I’m older, supposedly more mature, and aware of who I am and who I want to become.  It’s the time for my husband and I to redefine our relationship as a couple, rather than as parents (not that we aren’t those, too). 

During the summer, we have our annual Rummy-Q tournament that we play each night at dinner. This year, for the first time, I won. But now that summer is over, we’re establishing new routines, like walking together after dinner on the weekends, checking in on each other during the weekdays with a call or a text—the days with him at work are long, and writing is a solitary endeavor (more on that another time). 

All of this is to say that this new stage is scary and awesome and challenging and fun. I'm excited to learn more about me. And in the meantime, how long should I go before I text the girls to find out what’s going on???

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Welcome Jayne York

Jennifer, thanks so much for your invitation. Promoting a book, especially my first book is so much more difficult and time-consuming than I thought it would be. Generous authors like you have given me a leg up into the blog-o-sphere, and I can’t tell you how much it’s appreciated. 
As I said, “If Wishes Were Horses” is my first published book. Not the first I’ve attempted by a long shot, but the first I’ve taken from spark to completion. So, in thinking about the advice I’d give to anyone attempting this journey, it would be to think long and hard before you stick your toe in the water. Be certain that the story you want to tell means something to you personally and has some value to the world at large. It doesn’t have to be great literature or send a message with a trumpet fanfare. It simply has to bring something to light. 
The spark of the idea for “If Wishes Were Horses” and the cast of characters in it came to me fully formed. The story, though fiction, contains the gritty details of some of the people who’ve influenced my life and inspired me to take action when it would have been easier to keep difficult and painful things locked away. Those are the people who truly deserve to be heard. They are all heroes as far as I’m concerned. 
But the spark isn’t enough to tell the tale. I read everything I could get my hands on to help me but found the soundest advice on construction and the three-act format came from K.M. Weiland and her suite of books as well as the blog she publishes. I’d recommend her work to anyone just starting out. Her work helped this amateur condense and refine the elements of the book into a cohesive manuscript. I’d also say that there isn’t a single author out there who hasn’t benefited from the help of fellow writers who are willing to be honest with you. Don’t settle for being patted on the head.  You must be brave enough to be vulnerable and ask for help from someone more experienced than you are. 
In closing, again to new writers, be fearless, be vulnerable, and be dogged. Keep writing and don’t give up, no matter what.
Jayne York

If Wishes Were Horses
By Jayne York
Contemporary Women’s Fiction
Published by The Wild Rose Press

I've been an avid reader and sometime writer all of my life. I've never been able to resist the draw of a good story, and that has been true in my professional life as well. I was raised as the third of three children in the Colorado high country. Early on I discovered the joy of creating handcrafted jewelry, which led to a forty-five-year career as a professional jeweler. Every customer, every piece has its own story. I've collected them like pearls in a strand, and I often use them as a jumping-off point for the tales I tell. If you're looking for me, you'll find me on the shores of a northern lake, hammering away on my latest story of love and life in the modern world. ~*~ Find Jayne online at:

Emily Converse never expected to return to Tamarack, Colorado. But she's determined to rescue her drug-addicted brother and start a new life. Standing in her way, she finds her stepfather, a powerful US senator, looming over her future like the ever-present monster he'd been during their childhood. Meeting wounded retired Navy SEAL, Michael McCandlis, is a steamy surprise in her homecoming, though he's adrift in civilian life. Together can they find a way to transform from victims to survivors?

Once upon a time, she'd run away from Tamarack like her heels were on fire, and now here she was volunteering to step back into the furnace. What was the definition of insanity? Doing the same things over and over, expecting a different outcome. Like if she managed to change, be stronger, be smarter, things would turn out better—different. It wouldn't be that simple. She downshifted the Jeep to slow for the last of the S-shaped turns on the narrow ribbon of asphalt. The road led her past the pretentious granite columns that marked her stepfather's compound. She wasn't consciously holding her breath, but a trickle of fear dribbled down her spine just the same. Her molars ground together in determination. The past wouldn't decide her present, not ever again. In spite of herself, images of her last day on his estate flashed through her mind like the herky-jerky frames of a child's flip deck animation. Fear sharpened every visual, clarified every word, enhanced every touch. She'd run down the steps, racing for her car. He'd charged after her, smelling of alcohol and fury when he tried to stop her headlong rush toward an unknown future. They'd screamed out their mutual hatred, all the bitter dregs of their time together. She smirked when she remembered getting in the lucky shove that had landed him in a heap on the ground. It had been her first glimpse that Senator Ray Domenico was not the invincible, all-powerful monster she'd known him to be.

Twitter: @JayneYorkAuthor
Facebook: JayneYorkAuthor

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Welcome to J.L. Sheppard

Riding Hard

Hell Ryders MC

Book Four

J.L. Sheppard

Genre: Contemporary Romance, MC Romance Biker Romance

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Date of Publication: August 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5092-2575-0 Paperback
978-1-5092-2576-7 Digital

Number of pages: 380
Word Count: 93073

Cover Artist: Diana Carlile

Tagline: What's luck got to do with it?

Book Description:

Biker Dave "Dodge" Roth has never cared about his bad luck with women. He has other things to worry about—paying off debt his ex accumulated and most importantly, raising his three-year-old son, Cullen. When a new neighbor moves in, his boy makes it impossible to ignore her. Hard to miss, she's beautiful, smart, sexy, perfect.

After her last failed relationship, kindergarten teacher Alexa "Lex" Millen has decided to do without men. She's bought her first home in a small town in California and remodeled it to her liking. Naturally, she's managed to move across the street from the world's biggest jerk. His son's adorable, but he won't mind his own business. If only her engines didn't rev every time he came around.

Amazon        BN

Excerpt 1
“Fine. I’ll go with you.”
Going was her best option. When he took her home, she’d tell him why she’d avoided him and why the two of them getting together was a bad idea. Of course, that’d only work if he didn’t kiss her. So her plan—she had to keep him away.
He hesitated for a moment then released her.
“I have to say bye.”
She spun and made it half way around when his fingers gripped her wrist. He tugged, turning her to him again.
“You hear what I said before, Lex, or are you deaf?”
She clenched her jaw and fisted her free hand. Then the anger burning inside her spilled. “For an entire month, I sat in my beautiful house alone. That is, in between the times I got house visits from you being a jerk. I’m very angry with you for ruining the first fun night I’ve had since moving here.”
Her face flushed with each word. That heat crept down her neck and chest. “I’ve agreed to leave with you, but I’m not happy about it. I’m not anyone you can boss or control. I were you, I’d tread very carefully because quite frankly, I’ve had it with your insults, your cursing, your caveman tactics. Bottom line…”
She shoved a pointed finger in his face. “I’ve had it with you.”
A muscle in his jaw twitched. He grabbed her wrist, pulled her hand away from his face, and squeezed. “I could control you, babe, you’d be sitting on my face.”

About the Author:

J.L. Sheppard was born and raised in South Florida where she still lives with her husband and sons.

As a child, her greatest aspiration was to become a writer. She read often, kept a journal, and wrote countless poems. She attended Florida International University and graduated in 2008 with a Bachelors in Communications. During her senior year, she interned at NBC Miami, WTVJ. Following the internship, she was hired and worked in the News Department for three years.

It wasn’t until 2011 that she set her heart and mind into writing her first completed novel, Demon King’s Desire, which was first published in January 2013.


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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Welcome to Denise Carbo

When choosing the setting for Scent of BetrayalI had a few parameters I needed to stick with because it’s the second in a series and some of the foundation had already been established in Bloodlines, the first in the Shifters of Rishardseries. It needed to be set in Europe and it had to be a place accessible by water since the European clan’s primary business is ship building. After researching I settled on Glasgow, Scotland because of its historical significance to the shipping industry. Bethany, my main character has a home in the Highlands of Scotland. It is one of the most sparsely populated areas of Europe making it a perfect place for shifters to maintain their secrets. When you add in The Kelpies, two colossal statues of horse heads which represent horse shape shifters, my choice was clear.

Blurb:Wolf shifter, Davis Campbell is on a mission. His job is to babysit a woman from a rival clan. He believes all he has to do is get her back to Scotland. What he doesn't figure on is her possibly being his mate.

Bethany Leitner, an owl shifter, has been betrayed, attacked, framed, and left for dead. Trust in herself and others is hard to find. So when her self-appointed guardian begins to bark orders, she is ready to show her talons.

Excerpt:  Davis snorted. “Yeah, well, the little peacemaker tried to get rid of me when I didn’t kowtow to Aaron and the advisor. I don’t think she fully realizes the precarious position she and her clan are in right now.”
“On the contrary, I am quite aware, which is why I don’t see the need to make the matter worse by
antagonizing everyone around me.”
Davis slowly swiveled his head to meet Bethany’s glare. She stood in the open doorway to the bathroom with her arms wrapped tightly around her waist. Her dark gaze pinned on him. She’d changed into a blue dress. It accentuated her tiny waist, skimming just below her knees, allowing him an appreciative view ofher trim legs. Her pursed lips only accentuated the pink little bow of her mouth. He couldn’t help but imaginewhat it might be like to grab a taste.
An amused chuckle sounded in his ear. “She doesn’t sound very happy with you, Davis. Are you sure you want to stay?”
“Yeah, I’m sure.”

Bio:   Denise Carbo writes Paranormal Romance, Romantic Suspense, and Contemporary Romance. She is a voracious reader, loves to travel, is fascinated by the supernatural, and enjoys figuring out the culprit of books and movies before the ending is revealed.
She has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Marketing and lives in a small, picturesque New England town with her high school sweetheart and their three amazing sons.

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