Monday, November 15, 2021

Philanthropy Day

Today is Philanthropy Day, so it seems only fitting to mention my new series, The Scarred Hearts. The heroes of the four-book series are tops in their field and have more money than they know what to do with. So they form a partnership and find worthy causes to donate their money to.

In A Reckless Heart, Simon and his buddies donate to the town, purchasing land that condo developers want. Instead, with the donated money, the town is able to buy the land and build a park, including a therapy garden, which is near and dear to Simon's heart.

In Unlock My Heart (releasing March 2, 2022), Ted and his friends donate money to an inner city boys and girls club to fund their coding for kids program. This cause is special to the heroine's heart, since she learned to code in a similar type of place and it gave her a future. 

What types of causes are important to you? Please consider making a donation to them. And, if the above information interested you, click here for more information:



Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Welcome, Sarita Leone

I’m often asked where the inspiration for my stories comes from and my answer is on par with many other writers when I reply, “Everywhere.” It’s a standard answer, I know, but it’s the truth. 

Sitting on a park bench, watching children play? My mind wanders to thoughts of a sweet couple awaiting a child. As the minutes tick by, I name the couple, plan how they met, maybe give them a pet that will welcome their new addition with open arms, er, wagging tail! 

Crowded store, listening to some random woman grousing about how her husband doesn’t even notice her anymore? I see a story for her, too, complete with a romantic getaway that’s certain to get hubby’s attention. 

You see, it doesn’t take a lot to find the thread of a story. 

When The Wild Rose Press put out a call for submissions for their Christmas Cookie Series, I knew I wanted to submit a story. I mean, who isn’t inspired by cookies and romance? I certainly am!  

I’m also inspired by nature so the idea of building a romance in Alaska, where the Northern Lights dance across the sky, held great appeal. I love snow and baking, unlikely couples finding love, insightful dreams and valued family members…all of it. The ingredients for this story were right at hand and all I had to do was put all the pieces together. 

I had the best time writing Snickerdoodle Snowmen. It released on November 3 and I hope it will bring warmth to readers’ hearts. Who knows? Maybe it’ll inspire them to look up to the beauty of the night sky or even bake a batch of snickerdoodles. 

Thanks so much for having me here today!  


Author bio:

Sarita Leone loves happy endings—in life and on the page.


When she’s not busy writing her next novel, this adventure-loving yoga teacher likes to hike,

travel, and dance beneath the stars. She studies languages, enjoys making a mess in the kitchen,

and never says “no” to fun.


Finding pockets of peace everywhere she goes, this author plans to make every moment of this

journey count.


Catch up on book releases and other fun news on Sarita’s blog or Facebook page. Find her books at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Walmart, and wherever books are sold! 


Snickerdoodle Snowmen released on November 3! 


Snickerdoodle Snowmen (Christmas Cookies) - Kindle edition by Leone, Sarita. Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @ : sarita leone


Cover blurb:

Baker Kris Kringles sends snickerdoodles from North Pole, Alaska, across the globe, spreading holiday cheer like confetti. But she has a secret not dusted with sugar, and an incentive to speak with a slick journalist that isn't half-baked.

Reporter Santos Kloss hates Christmas. How could he not, with a name that makes him the butt of endless holiday jokes? He's got one last assignment to complete before he can begin a new chapter in his life, so he grits his teeth, grabs a parka, and heads to Christmas central.


Both expect the interview to be a snap, but a snowstorm, insistent sisters, and a little holiday magic have very different ideas!




“You’re the newspaper man, aren’t you?” 

Santos stopped the mug an inch from his lips and looked over the rim into the woman’s eyes. They were green—not merely hazel or a watered-down soda-bottle shade, but vibrantly colored, like the office parrot’s feathers. Polly, the newspaper mascot, looked like a beauty but swore like a sailor, courtesy of the newsmen who got their kicks from teaching the bird to talk. He’d even added some colorful Italian phrases to their feathered friend’s vocabulary.  

She stared at him with those piercing eyes so long and hard that his heart began to pound. He wondered if she read right into the truth of him. It sure felt that way. As if despite his nonchalant entrance, small talk, and even observing her figure, she realized he wasn’t some fellow off the street, in for a coffee and cookies. He resisted the urge to pull his jacket closed. 

Great. Precisely what he didn’t need. A dame with a brain, a killer attribute that never failed to stir something deep within him. 

The stirring hadn’t ever proved deep enough to keep a woman, so he tried to steer clear of romantic involvements. But damn, it felt as if she reached into his soul with those incredible eyes. 

Santos lifted his shoulders, then let them drop. He took a long swallow of joe before setting the mug on the counter. “Guilty as charged. I’m from the New York Daily, here to do a story on some cookies that I’m told are made in this shop and sent to crazy, obsessed Christmas fanatics all over the world.”

The minute he said it he realized he’d stuck his foot in his mouth. Pretty far down his throat, too.



Monday, November 8, 2021

Release Date!

I have a release date for my next book! On March 2, 2022, Unlock My Heart will make its way into the world, and I couldn’t be happier.

This book is the second in my Scarred Hearts series. The first, A Reckless Heart, released this past March.


Why did it take so long? Well, a number of reasons. My publisher, The Wild Rose Press, had a lot of books to release for the holidays, so they understandably took precedence. I had things going on that made my editing process take a little longer, too. But, it’s coming!


Unlock My Heart will follow Ted Endicott, the second of the four CAST members. He’s a tech whiz, a CEO, and hard of hearing. Abby Marlow is also a tech whiz (equal opportunity author here!), a woman with a past, and someone who wants to make it on her own. Their chemistry is explosive, but their path to romance is rocky, and I can’t wait to hear what you think.


For regular updates, join my Facebook group here! And my newsletter here!


Wednesday, November 3, 2021

It's Time, Once Again, for Amber Daulton

There are so many great books out there, but style guides are constantly changing, and it’s a good idea to stay updated on what’s growing in popularity.

For example, classics like Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice or F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby are wonderful books, but if a modern author would write in Austen’s or Fitzgerald’s verbose style, he or she might have a hard time finding publishers to contract the work and readers to read it. 

How about a more contemporary example?

I grew up in the 1990s and early 2000s, so I read romance books from the ’80s and ’90s. I based my writing style off those books, which included passive voice, head-hopping between characters, and long, tedious descriptions about unimportant items, like the heroine’s dress. After I submitted the books to publishers in the mid-2000s, I received a bunch of rejection letters or nothing at all. Sure, there were more problems with those manuscripts than just the writing style, but the style didn’t help me any either. You see, I didn’t read new, recently released books, so I had no idea the style guides had changed and that the style I learned from childhood was now frowned upon, as least for beginning writers. (FYI – the big authors who rake in six figures a year can usually do whatever they want because their name and fan-base are already so huge. Too bad that doesn’t apply to the majority of us.) My first publisher in 2012 finally set me straight, but it still took me years to outgrow what I had previously learned. When I think back on those earlier manuscripts, I shudder, but writing is a learning experience.

Nowadays, I keep passive voice to a minimum, I don’t jump between POVs without a scene or chapter break, and I only add lengthy descriptions when absolutely needed (and that’s rare).

Okay, so I’ve talked about old vs new writing styles. Let’s discuss genres. If you write romance and read in other genres like mystery or horror, that’s fine if you read it for fun. But if you read it to learn how to style and plot, then apply that to romance, you’ll probably end up with an awkward read. Romance has a different flow, different pacing, different everything from other genres. This rings true for sub-genres as well. Romantic suspense, sci-fi romance, and historical romance are worlds apart from each other, no pun intended. Remember, do your research. It’s always best to read in the genre you want to write in and learn how your fellow authors do it.

Authors and readers—Do you have any advice you’d like to add? Please leave it in the comment section. I’d love to know your thoughts.



Lies. Betrayal. A million-dollar bounty.

After an undercover mission goes awry, DEA agent Jarrett Brandt hides out in the last place he wants to be—his hometown. Now he’s stuck with his judgmental parents and the memory of his perfect brother hanging over his head. His one bright light? Marissa Reinn Brandt—his high school sweetheart and former sister-in-law.

Marissa lost Jarrett once before. No way will she let him back in; then her son offers him their guestroom. His wicked charm and smoldering stares are hard to resist, but she’ll make him work to reclaim his spot in her bed.

When his enemies close in, how will Jarrett keep Marissa and her son safe, or will he lose his shot at redemption?


– Triggers: drug use (discussed) and a brief assault of the heroine

– A Hero’s Heart is a smoking hot second chance, romantic suspense novella. No cheating. HEA guaranteed.

– Second edition. Newly revised and edited.


Tagline – Rekindling the flames of love has never burned so hot.




Marissa grabbed her plate and headed to the kitchen. How would she get through this? Better yet, how would she console her son when Jarrett left? Footsteps resounded softly behind her. The hair on her nape rose. She stuffed her plate in the trashcan and scowled at the source of her problems.

“I’m sorry. If staying here will be an inconvenience, I’ll tell Jason I can’t.”

“He’ll blame me.”

“No, I’ll say I have to go back to San Francisco for work or Montana for the ski trip. He’ll understand.”

She barked a laugh. “Have you lost your mind? He’ll scream and beg you to stay. Once you leave, he’ll cry for hours.”

“Marissa, what do you want from me? I can’t stay forever. I don’t want to hurt him—or you—I swear it, but I will leave. It’s only a matter of when, not if.”

She grasped the counter to keep steady. “I know that. Jason and I are not good enough reasons for you to give up the life you’ve built in California, and I would never ask it. I’ll understand when you go, but Jason won’t, not that it’s any of your concern. I’ll deal with his pain when the time comes.”

He cursed. “You sure know how to make a man feel like shit.”

“That’s not my intention.”

“Doesn’t change the facts.” He grabbed his phone from his pants pocket. “Am I staying here or not?”

If only she could toss him out on his ass. “You’re staying.”

“Okay. I’ll call my boss and let him know your address.”

“Fine. I’ll show you to the guestroom when you’re ready.”

“Thank you, Marissa. I appreciate it.”

She fisted her hands. “Thank Jason.”

With that, he left the kitchen.


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About the Author


Amber Daulton is the author of the romantic-suspense series Arresting Onyx and several standalone novellas. Her books are published through Daulton Publishing, The Wild Rose Press, and Books to Go Now, and are available in ebook, print on demand, audio, and foreign language formats. 

She lives in North Carolina with her husband and demanding cats. 


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Monday, November 1, 2021


Halloween has come and gone and after a year off due to Covid, I feel like it changed. First of all, the decorations. Those who chose to decorate their houses went all out. I’m talking blow-ups-on-the-roof, macabre skeleton scenes, flashing lights, the works. Sure, there were some with just some cobwebs scattered on bushes, or carved pumpkins and a few other seasonal decorations. And of course, there were those, like us, who did nothing—do actual cobwebs from spiders, and dead mums count? Because if so, I win!

But the think I noticed is an abundance of scary, creepy decorations. Life-sized, or even giant, skeletons, grotesque scenes, blood spattered sheets (I’m pretty sure that was fake blood). It’s like Halloween manifested all of the horrible “what-ifs” from this past pandemic year and people everywhere displayed their fear for all to see. I don’t know, maybe it helped them. It certainly spooked me.


As I said, we didn’t decorate, although, perhaps feeling guilty for not getting into the spirit of things, my husband put up “smart bulbs” in our outside house lights, which flashed different colors, and a large, furry spider at the doorstep. I’ll do better next year, I think.


Another way Halloween has changed? The attitudes of the kids. The little ones, well, they’re little. They don’t really understand what’s going on, other than random strangers are giving them candy. But they seemed a little more wary, a little confused by my eagerness to approach them and give them things—I don’t know, maybe my joy was scary. And even the older kids were more subdued. There were a lot more “Please!” and “Thank you!” offered. A lot more waiting each person’s turn. They also seemed to accept without question my handing out the candy rather than offering them the bowl. I guess some good has come out of this ridiculous worldwide group project.


Whatever the cause of the changes, it was nice to get back to a normal holiday. And although my doorbell rang more than it has in ages, and I answered it more times last night than I have in almost two years, Halloween was fun and I hope the kids enjoyed it as much as I did.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Spotlight on Jana Richards' Latest Book


Single dad Ben Greyson wants only to retain custody of his two stepdaughters. A dysfunctional childhood has made family the most important thing in his life. When his late wife's parents sue for custody, a desperate Ben is left with two choices – run away with his girls or marry his next-door neighbor.

Jamie Garven wants to be a mother. She's intrigued by her handsome new neighbor and falls in love with his little girls. Then Ben is faced with losing his children, and Jamie agrees to marry him for a chance at motherhood. They're determined to show the world, and the girls' grandparents, two loving parents.

Their marriage of convenience turns into unexpected love. But Ben interprets Jamie's efforts to save their family as betrayal—they could lose everything, including each other.



“Is there anything I can say to make you change your mind about running away?”

“Say you’ll marry me.”

The words were out of his mouth before he knew he was going to say them. Jamie stared at him, eyes wide.


“Marry me. You’re the only woman I’d trust with my girls.” 

It suddenly made sense. If Jamie married him he could keep his kids.

She jumped to her feet, waking one of the dogs who’d been sleeping on the couch next to her. “What kind of marriage do you want, Ben? Are you proposing something for show?”

“No! I don’t know!” He stood and grasped her arms. “If you’re asking me if we’ll sleep together as man and wife, I don’t know.”

Her mouth twisted as if she was holding back tears. “You know I love the girls, but please don’t ask me to pretend. The last few months of my marriage, all I did was pretend. I pretended I had a husband who loved me. I swore I’d never do that again.”

Ben wanted to take her in his arms and hold her. He hated doing this to her, hated making her relive unhappy memories. He was asking too much of her and he didn’t blame her for saying no.

“Please, forget I said anything.”

He’d stick to his original plan. He and the girls would disappear. He’d change their names, go someplace where no one knew them. A life on the run wasn’t what he wanted for his children, but he’d do whatever he needed to do to keep them.


“I’m sorry, Jamie.”

Ben was out the door before he could hear anymore of her objections.

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Author Bio:

When Jana Richards read her first romance novel, she immediately knew two things: she had to commit the stories running through her head to paper, and they had to end with a happily ever after. She also knew she’d found what she was meant to do. Since then she’s never met a romance genre she didn’t like. She writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and historical romance set in World War Two, in lengths ranging from short story to full length novel. Just for fun, she throws in generous helpings of humor, and the occasional dash of the paranormal. Her paranormal romantic suspense “Seeing Things” was a 2008 EPPIE finalist. 

In her life away from writing, Jana is an accountant/admin assistant, a mother to two grown daughters, and a wife to her husband Warren. She enjoys golf, yoga, movies, concerts, travel and reading, not necessarily in that order. She and her husband live in Winnipeg, Canada. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at

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Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Welcome, Julie Howard

Thank you, Jennifer, for hosting me on your blog. I’m happy to talk a bit about the inspiration for my upcoming release, The Three Widows of Wylder, a historical fiction that takes place in the American Old West.

There are three main characters in this story, as the title implies, and each gets their own chapter in alternating fashion. Early on, their stories merge as they join up to escape their pasts.

I’ve had shadows of these characters in my mind for a few years, with the overarching story inspired by a few people I know. The characters are nothing like the real people I’ve known. When a real person inspires a character, the inspiration could come from a brief conversation or the way someone views life. It could be evoked by a physical quirk or the way someone laughs at their own jokes. Often, that’s enough to get my imagination into gear.

In this story, the women have complicated pasts with secrets to hide. They band together in a disharmonious goal to reach safety. In their previous lives, these are women who would never become friends, but their plights compel them to work together.

This story is part of a broader series my publisher, The Wild Rose Press, has produced, where each book is set in the fictional town of Wylder, in the old Wyoming Territory. In 1882 when my book is set, Wyoming was truly the Old West and under a huge change. The area attracted a huge mix of people, from adventurers seeking lands to explore to ranchers to outlaws. I’ve always been intrigued with how difficult women had it during this time, and how hard they had to struggle to have any independence at all. For the most part, their existence was ruled by the men in their lives. These themes too play a large role in this novel.

The Three Widows of Wylder releases next week, Oct. 18.




Three women on the run.


After the death of her husband, Clara flees a hanging judge and seeks refuge with her brother in Wylder, Wyoming.


With secrets of her own and good reasons to flee, spoiled and vain Mary Rose joins Clara on the trek to Wyoming. Surely a suitable man exists somewhere.


Emma is a mystery. A crack shot and expert horsewoman, her harrowing past seeps out in a steady drip. She’s on the run from something, but what?


After the three women descend on Wylder, a budding romance leads to exposure of their pasts. As disaster looms, will any of them escape?





Emma stood, legs apart, one hand on the pistol at her hip. The covered wagon was the type used years ago by pioneers, before trains tamed the prairie, and they still lumbered across areas where tracks hadn’t been laid. Two women sat side-by-side, too focused on their argument to yet notice the camp they entered. Their one horse, overmatched by the heavy wagon, was damp with sweat, its mouth flecked with froth. 

“We should have stayed on the main road.” The peevish one appeared much younger, curly gold hair topped by a large straw hat. She wore a light-yellow dress with lace at her wrists and throat, a perfectly inadequate outfit for travel. “Someone could have provided directions.”

The older woman had finely-drawn features, a few strands of gray threaded through her dark, uncovered hair. Dressed in sensible blue calico, she gripped the reins too tight and the poor horse gave a pathetic shake of its head. “The whole point was to avoid people,” she sniped.

Emma strode forward and seized the reins. “For God’s sake, you’re killing him.”

The two women gaped as though at an apparition. The horse, released from harsh hands, lowered its head and halted. Its sides heaved as flies drank at its sweaty flanks.

“Whomever let you two fools handle a horse should be whipped.” Tempted to dispatch the women to hell for their cruelty, Emma rested her hand on the pistol’s handle.

They two travelers spoke in tandem. “Who are you?” and “How dare you call me a fool.”

As Emma crooned into in the horse’s ear, her expert fingers undid the buckles at its shoulders and haunches. By the time the older of the two women climbed to the ground, the horse was unhitched and Emma led it to the creek.

“That’s our horse,” cried the one in yellow. “Clara, what is that insane girl doing? She’s stealing him.”

Emma halted, shoulders stiff. She turned and pointed the pistol at the one with lace at her throat. “I’m no horse thief.” She cocked the hammer. “Apologize.”


About the author:

Julie Howard is the author of the Wild Crime mystery series and Spirited Quest paranormal mystery series. She is a former journalist and editor who has covered topics ranging from crime to cowboy poetry. She is a member of the Idaho Writers Guild and editor of the Potato Soup Journal. Learn more at













Follow her on Instagram: @authorjuliehoward 



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