Monday, September 19, 2022

Cooking As A Love Language

According to experts, there are five different love languages: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. That may be true. But I have another one, and while I'm not an expert, I think it's a valid addition--cooking.

I cook to express my love for those around me. Not feeling well? I'll make you soup. Had a tough day? Let me cook you a nice dinner. Celebrating something? I'll bake cookies. It's how I show those I care about that I love them.

Today, I'm baking for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. The round challah is for our Rosh Hashanah dinner. Our table is smaller this year, since neither of our daughters can join us, but we'll still celebrate with my parents and welcome in the new year. And since our daughters won't be home for the holiday, I'm sending them their own Rosh Hashanah sweets, applesauce cake. It's my mom's recipe, with some modifications to accommodate the girls' tastes. Cooking for love only works if I make something they will want to eat. 

I include a lot of food in the books I write, too. Food tells a lot about a person--do they prefer savory or sweet, are they a chocolate person, do they cook or order in, does it bring back memories or make new ones?

In my upcoming Harlequin romance (September 2023), the story takes place over Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Food plays a huge role. In fact, the hero is a Jewish deli owner who has taken over the family business. And of course, he makes the best challah in town.

So tell me, do you agree that food should also be a love language? Why or why not?

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Welcome Back, Kathleen Gallagher!


Spotlight Love’s Encore by Kathleen Ann Gallagher



Desire wins the lead role.

Sadie Layne, a creative and motivated high school drama teacher, is grateful for second chances. After surviving breast cancer, she embarks on a celebratory trip to LA with her two best friends. Sadie never expected to run into the handsome and charming Vince De Carlo in the hotel lobby. She hasn’t seen Vince much since they worked together in a theater company years ago. Their meeting interrupts her plans and reminds her of the life she left behind.

Vince, a struggling actor and cover model, is in LA to promote a television pilot. His old attraction to Sadie is stronger than ever. He never forgot her, even though a trusted friendship and a scripted kiss was all they’d shared.

The reunited pair give in to temptation, but reality soon collides with lust as strong doubts about their blossoming romance get in the way. Sadie dreads facing her defeat as an actress, and Vince doesn’t think a struggling actor like himself is capable of providing the accomplished teacher with what she deserves.

Will the couple find a way to keep their sizzling romance alive and build a future together? Or will their uncertainty win the lead role and smother the flames?






Sadie shook off the nerves, straightened her posture, and sucked her stomach in. Her new motto was taking chances and living life to the fullest. Here goes. She slowly approached her old theater partner. Hopefully he’d be happy to see her, and she wouldn’t make a fool out of herself in the middle of an upscale hotel. Her heart picked up speed and a hot flash hit her hard.

“Hi, Vince. I’m surprised to run into you here.” She offered a big smile. Relief washed over her when his expression brightened. Hopefully he didn’t notice her schoolgirl jitters.

“Sadie Layne. I can’t believe it.” He smiled back at her and held his hands out. “I haven’t seen you since the reunion last year.”

“I know. It was great to get together with the old gang. I can’t believe we graduated over ten years ago.”

Small talk was a good start for now. Vince leaned in and gave her a friendly embrace. She hadn’t expected that. He held onto her shoulders as he pulled back and stared intently. Goosebumps formed on her arms. She tried to hold it together and appear calm, but her insides jumped around like popcorn in a microwave.

“What brings you to LA?” Vince asked.

“I’m here on vacation with my friends.” Her stare locked onto his heart-shaped lips and she shivered.

His huge smile and the admiring way his sexy blue eyes took on a gleam gave her an inkling that he was pleased to see her too. Who knew? He’d never expressed an interest other than a friendship. They did enjoy each other’s company and they had a lot in common, but she had her doubts about being involved with a fellow actor, even though she’d had her longings. She’d heard horror stories about relationships in the business. Her work had been more important than a love affair.

Although, she did recall the passionate punch in his kiss. At the time, she thought it was his great acting skills. Could it have been real? She’d never forgotten when another classmate, Monica Sears, had cornered her and drilled her about the details of the love scene in the show. She’d always known why. Vince was one sexy dude.

“It’s awesome to see you, Sadie. You look beautiful.” He gave her a long, hard stare and flashed his pearly white smile. A dimple appeared on his cheek, and it took her over the edge.

The same adorable grin. Her head spun, and she took a few deep breaths. “You too.” She reached into her bag and took out the cover flap with his picture on it. “When did you start modeling?”

He crossed his arms and chuckled. “Oh, you found out my dirty little secret?” His cheeks took on a reddish glow. “I got involved with the industry a couple of years ago. It got me through in between gigs,” he admitted as he shrugged.

“I think you’re a natural. Your pose made me want to read the story.” His shirtless chest had a lot to do with her interest, but she’d keep it to herself. “What is this you have here?” Sadie pointed at the poster, trying to steady her trembling fingers. She’d like to believe her excitability was due to the anticipation of the trip, along with the long flight. But she knew that wasn’t what had caused it.

The earthy scent of his cologne floated her way, and she’d had enough of this distraction, but she’d be polite. She was in LA to celebrate, not fool around.

“It’s a pilot show we’re pitching, and I scored the male lead.” He curled up his fist and pumped it. “Yes! Can you believe it? We’re filming the pilot episode tonight, and we’re looking for audience members to fill the theater,” he said, his expression beaming with pride. He took on a stance of confidence with his feet planted firmly on the floor, legs slightly spread, shoulders back, and his head high. You’d think he was a serviceman about to salute an officer.

“That’s fabulous. It looks like you’re finally on your way,” she cheered, and offered him a congratulatory hug. He held onto her for a few minutes, and she didn’t expect to enjoy it so much. Was her teenage crush turning into something much more?

“Why don’t you try to come to the show tonight? I know it’s short notice and you probably have plans, but if you can make it, it’d be great.” He tilted his head, and she couldn’t resist those alluring gray-blue eyes. “Sorry, I don’t even know who you’re here with. When did you get in?” Vince took a step back.

Out of the blue, this handsome, muscular, and confident looking man had caught her off guard and filled her head with naughty visions. Sadie held back a grin. She’d kept her cravings hidden when they’d hung out. Besides, it probably would have destroyed their friendship and ability to work together. But Sadie had to admit she loved his pouty lips. Everything about Vince oozed sex appeal.

“I’m here with my friends, Jill and Millie, on vacation,” she said.

“Well, think about coming tonight. I’d appreciate your critique.” He handed her the show’s info packet. “That is if you don’t try to change the script. You used to improvise. I remember the time Miss Nolan stormed out of the room when you changed your lines.” With a gleam in his eye, he laughed.




Kathleen is originally from New Jersey, but currently resides in Southwest Florida with her husband and her Coton de Tulear, Luc. She has been writing stories since she was a young girl. When Kathleen is not dreaming up a plot for her next romance, she enjoys performing in community theater. You might also find her relaxing on one of Florida’s pristine sand and sparkling water beaches.  Kathleen loves meeting her readers, and she is extremely grateful for their continued support. Love’s Encore link. Amazon Twitter Blog Facebook


Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Welcome Back, Mike Torreano

 Inspiration for White Sands Gold


Inspiration for the story came from a conversation with a friend of mine, who said, “I’ve got the idea for your next book.” He then spun a tale of hidden gold—thousands and thousands of bars underneath a mountain north of Las Cruces, New Mexico. He’d been exploring the area for years.

Me: “How’d this gold supposedly get there?”

Him” No one knows for sure, but there are several different theories.”

Me: “When was this supposed to have happened?”

Him: “No one knows that, either, but legend says the gold’s been there for centuries.”

Me: “How come no one’s found it?”

Him: “Folklore says someone did, and that he brought some of the bars up in the 1930s. But he met an…uh…untimely death. No one’s seen anything since.”

Me: “Who shot him and why?”

Him: “Good question.”

So I went home and did an online search. When page after page about the fabled gold popped up, I created a few twists, crafted some interesting characters, and had my next western mystery, White Sands Gold, set in New Mexico Territory, 1890.

Mike Torreano has a military background and is a student of American history and the Old West.
His debut western mystery, The Reckoning, set in South Park, Colorado in 1868, was released in 2016 by The Wild Rose Press. The sequel, The Renewal, also in South Park, 1872, was released in 2018. His third western, A Score To Settle, was released October 2020, also from The Wild Rose Press. White Sands Gold is his latest western mystery, and was just released by Wild Rose. He has a coming-of-age novel, Fireflies At Dusk, set during the Civil War, and his short story, The Trade, a tale of the Yukon Gold Rush, was his first published work in 2014.
Mike’s written for magazines and newspapers for many years. An experienced editor, he’s taught University-level English and Journalism. He’s a member of the Historical Novel Society, Pikes Peak Writers, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, Western Writers of America and several other writing groups. He brings his readers back in time with him as he recreates life in mid-to-late nineteenth century America. He and his wife, Anne, live in Colorado Springs.


New Mexico Territory, 1890


In a hidden cavern, a fortune in gold bars sits alongside an ancient relic. 


To find her treasure-hunting brother, Lottie Durham enlists the help of an easygoing lawman who she can’t stand-at first. When a mysterious  woman known only as Ma asks her to join the relic’s guardians, Lottie’s world spins. Why her, and should she take on this solemn obligation?


Twill, leader of the secretive guardians, has sworn a vow to protect the centuries-old religious relic. Regrets bedevil him and his dedication to his oath is repeatedly tested. If he breaks his promise, he’ll fail Ma, the one person he’s never wanted to let down.


Will a looming raid by a band of determined killers be the end of the guardians, the gold, and the relic?


Lottie lowered to the damp ground, which brought the deputy down as well. She fought the urge to look his way. She was alone in the desert wrapped in a semi-bear hug with a man she met yesterday. She eased a hand to her holster and picked the leather loop off her hammer. Probably didn’t need a gun to protect against someone who’d already saved her life, but…in case he tried something.

The deputy snugged his hat lower and shut his eyes. 

“Hold on, cowboy. We can’t be sittin’ here just sleepin’. I mean…you oughta be talkin’ to me, reassurin’ me. How about it?”

He two-fingered his hat up a touch. “You seem to be able to take care of yourself fair, you should probably be reassurin’ me.” He glanced sideways at her, his face not more than a few inches away. 

That same half-smile that had been so irritating somehow didn’t look so annoying anymore.


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Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Welcome, DV Stone!

Standing The Gap

Several years ago, I took the NaNoWriMo challenge. November is National Novel Writing Month. Thirty days-fifty Thousand words. Long story short, I accomplished the task only because of writing what I knew. What did I know?

I’ve been surrounded by blue uniforms, okay, sometimes black, for forty years. Some with stripes, some without. Some have helmets, and some don’t. But all have one thing in common. They willingly give of themselves twenty-four hours a day, three hundred sixty-five days a year. Leave the family gatherings on holidays. Snow, ice, temperatures either too hot or too cold. They protect, rescue, and often pick up the pieces of someone’s life.  

Early in the 1980s, I began my First Responder life as a professional and volunteer Emergency Medical Technician. One of my strongest memories is responding to a call in my coverage area. My partner and I were the only all-female crew at the time. The tones went off, and so did we. A short while later, a simple unconscious male became a potentially violent situation. The man woke, and people from all the housing around us came out and egged him on to strike out at us. My partner got rolled by him, but I was able to radio for help. Let me tell you, I was never so happy to see red lights and blue uniforms.

First Responders, from EMTs to Firefighters and Law Enforcement, have a special bond. When things go south as they often do, we count on each other to protect, minister, and save each other from tricky situations. 

One of my long-term positions was as an EMT in an NJ State Prison. In 1994 I married a Correction Officer and volunteer Firefighter. Now we’re both retired.

My first book Rock House Grill was the fifty-thousand-word novel I alluded to above. It’s considered romantic suspense and has, you guessed it, EMTs, paramedics, and police. The second book now under contract is titled Jazz House. Police Officer Michael Machau is the main character. 

Michael is a composite of so many officers in my life. He’s honorable, compassionate, and kind. He loves friends and family. He goes above and beyond to help his community. In today’s climate, so many believe the opposite. One evening, in a chat with other authors, another writer stated she was researching in a county jail. She said she was more afraid of the cops than the inmates. I called her out on it because if we don’t as a society hold people accountable for their reckless vernacular, they can influence others. 

You know, not every cop is great. Neither is any EMT, Firefighter, or citizen. The fraction of a percent who are, unfortunately, are the ones we hear about. That’s what makes the news, news. Because the other ninety-nine percent are a Michael Machau. Honorable, compassionate, and kind.

Shh, I’m going to tell a secret. I know you. Most of you anyway. You love, care, and run to danger every day despite the world’s ugliness. You make a difference even when others don’t or refuse to see it. Through my writing, sorry but I’m going to out you, tell the world you all are big teddy bears. Many are grizzlies on the outside, but inside, where it counts? Koala bears.

Though I no longer respond to calls (I gave it up quite a few years ago), the blue uniform continues to be a constant in my life. My son is now a correction officer as well. Many of our friends still suit up every day. Hubby is a Life Member of the fire department and, until last year, still taught fire prevention in the local schools. Me? I tell stories about superheroes. Ones who don’t wear capes but uniforms. Who don’t leap tall buildings but rush into those buildings. Who when others are running from danger, run to it.

Thank you to all those who stand the gap. Protecting, serving, consoling, and keeping the rest of us from harm.


Jordan Vasilakis is on the run, living under an assumed name. After a disastrous marriage to a notorious Greek business tycoon, she flees to the States and starts rebuilding her life. But her ruthless husband is determined to destroy her…once he finds her.

Michael Machau is drawn to the new singer at Jazz House restaurant, but the guarded woman is harboring dangerous secrets. The dedicated police officer may have to risk more than just his heart to forge a connection with the woman he knows as Madeline Cielo, especially when he discovers she’s living a lie.

Worlds collide. Lies entangle. Survival, much less love, is in question. They must quickly distinguish friends from enemies or risk losing everything—including a future together.


Short Excerpt

Jordan scrambled to the other side of the limo. 

“You sing good tonight.” He scrolled through his phone. 

“Yes, Kyrios.” 

Outside the window, massive cruise ships docked in the port. Happy older people made their way up the gangplanks toting bags filled with souvenirs, while the younger ones debarked dressed for the nightlife. Sparkly sequins flashed like diamonds as one young woman twirled on the pier. 

God, how had she come to this life? She willed her hovering tears not to fall. Kyrios wouldn’t approve. 

When she was offered a place in the touring group ten years ago, she thought it was the beginning of great things. Standing in the cabaret with the lights shining down was her dream come true. When she was the woman in the sparkly dress. 

Until he showed up. 

Each night, Kyrios Vasilakis, Greek business tycoon, sat at the front table watching her. Yes, he was older but so very handsome. Dark hair with silver at the temples, he cut a dashing figure in his black suits. 

Jordan began to sing to him. It was the beginning of the end. After a whirlwind romance, she found herself a prisoner in marriage to a brute.

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Author Bio

D. V. Stone is an award-winning, multi-genre, traditionally and independently published author. She writes books people want to read. Whether romance or fantasy, her stories are about the importance of friends and family. About overcoming obstacles while doing it with humor.

Around the Fire is a popular weekly blog where she introduces both established and new authors giving an insider’s look into their lives and books as well as tidbits about her own life.

After retiring, she is now a full-time author and incorporates her life experiences into her books. 

A former Emergency Medical Technician, she volunteered in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. At the same time, she worked as a professional EMT in a women’s state prison. She was the proprietor of a coffee shop, and a small restaurant/ice cream stand in the years that followed. The years following were as a manager in an animal emergency hospital, while her last position was in a human medical office.

When not behind the wheel of 2Hoots—a 41 foot long 13.2 feet high 5th Wheel camper, she rambles around town in Northern New Jersey in a white Camaro. She also loves travel and history.

D.V. is wife to an amazing husband, mother to one son, and not your average grandma to three beautiful grands. A woman of faith, she believes and trusts in God. 

“My greatest pleasures are spending time outside with friends and family, cooking over the open fire, sipping a glass of wine, and reading.”

Hali, her rescue dog, always reminds her to let readers know, “Woof, woof.” Which is loosely translated as support your local animal rescue.

You can find out more about D. V. by following her on Social Media.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Busy, Busy, Busy!

 It’s been a little while since I’ve blogged. I’ve been busy writing and editing. With two contracts signed—one for a three-book deal with Harlequin, and one for the third book in my Scarred Hearts series with The Wild Rose Press—I haven’t had a lot of time to do anything else. 


Here’s what’s happening:


My Harlequin editor sent me back my developmental edits on the first book in my series with them. Developmental edits are on the substance of the story. As she told me when she accepted my manuscript, these were light. I spent a lot of time going over them and making sure I understood what she was asking me to do. I sent those change back to her last week and I’m waiting on the next steps.


In the meantime, I have a full book proposal and the first three chapters of the second book in that series due this week, so I’ve been finishing those up. I wrote the proposal a while ago, but anyone who knows me knows I am incapable of writing to an outline (or a proposal)—not if you want the kissing included!—so having written the first three chapters, I now have to go back and change the proposal to match. 


In between all of that, I received my contract from The Wild Rose Press for the third book in the series I’ve promised them. This is going to be Caleb’s story. He’s different from any character I’ve ever written—he even has tattoos! And, my editor sent me her first round of edits, which were also light, so I sent those back to her after a day or two. Hopefully this book will release in January.


I’m excited and stressed and trying to keep everything straight. But these are good problems to have, so back to my editing cave I go!


PS. I have several social media events going on as well, so if you’re interested, click here and  here.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Welcome, Heather Alexander

My inspiration for writing goes back to childhood. I wanted to follow in my mom’s footsteps. She loved writing short stories and poetry and encouraged me to write. The very first time I “knew” I was a writer at heart, I was in the sixth grade. All the students in that grade had to write an oath for our Olympic Day competitions. As it turned out, I came in first for the oath, and during the opening ceremonies, everyone had to recite my oath, the way they do at the real Olympics. It was a big thrill for me as a kid. 

After that, I dabbled with poetry, but it wasn’t my thing. In high school, I wrote a lot of short stories because I liked the idea of creating different characters in a variety of situations. Early on, I got hooked on romance novels, and eventually, started writing my own. I must have written a dozen novels, but they were never published. One of these days, I may dust them off, give them an overhaul, and see what happens.


Because I love time travel so much, I got hooked on this one particular show (Quantum Leap, for those you remember). I had an idea about the main character getting caught in a time warp that threw him back to the French Revolution where he was about to beheaded if his sidekick (Al) didn’t save him, so I wrote a teleplay for it. The producers liked my concept; however, they had just canceled the show. I entered the script into a writing contest judged by Oliver Stone, and I was a Top 10 winner in the TV script category! 


For Wrapped Around My Heart, I came up with the main characters long before I wrote the story. I knew I wanted Emma to travel back in time and find the man of her dreams only to be whisked back to her present time. One of my favorite times in history is the Old West, so I thought, “What if Emma receives a letter from her nineteenth-century self?” How cool would that be? 


Heather Alexander began writing as a child, inspired by her mom who loved to write fiction and poetry. Putting pen to paperor rather fingers to keyboard— she began writing in the genres she lovesromance, time travel, and sci-fi. When she’s not writing, Heather enjoys spending time with her family, especially her beloved fur babies, Emma and Rascal.

Her novel Wrapped Around My Heart from The Wild Rose Press makes its worldwide debut August 29, 2022. She is currently working on the next two books in The Kincaid Brothers Series.

For more info on Heather, visit her website:

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Savvy New York designer, Emma Cole, inexplicably falls through time and into the arms of the most intriguing man she’s ever met—Wyatt Kincaid, a hunky cowboy living in 19th century Montana. Their attraction is instantaneous, but the secrets they each carry may keep the two apart.


When a mysterious string of fires set off a chain of events, the couple must come together to uncover the perpetrator.


Fate brought them together through time, but will their love be strong enough to keep them united through the centuries?

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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Spotlight on Kathleen Gallagher's Night Magic

 NIGHT MAGIC by Kathleen Ann Gallagher 



Secrets can put a halt to happiness, unless you free yourself of fear.

Krista Winter is in need of legal counsel. Several years ago, she was forced to flee her life as a teacher in New Jersey after being shunned for practicing witchcraft, and her past is about to catch up with her.

Jon Bartolo is a dedicated attorney. His days are spent serving his clients with their struggles, and his nights are spent in agony, lost in a world between life and death. His mother, who died three years ago, lurks in his house, suffering from a curse for eternity, without a final resting place.

A smoldering fire ignites between Jon and Krista almost immediately, however, he’s sure his secret would frighten any woman away. An afternoon escape brings them closer, but doubts linger between the love-struck couple.

Burning questions about how to fuse their futures together with so much of their past still clouding the future becomes a heavy burden that they’re both trying to bear on their own.

It will take a touch of magic if there’s any hope in sight.




It never crossed her mind he’d be so good looking and oozing with sex appeal. She’d pictured an older, average looking man, not the person who stood in front of her. Where has he been hiding? Krista zeroed in on his wide shoulders and the girth of his chest. It was as if the sky broke open and delivered her dream man in a pretty package. She nearly forgot why she came in the first place. Krista tried to focus and remain professional. She stood and fumbled with the strap on her purse. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Ms. Winter.” His deep and welcoming tone helped calm the tension that traveled through her body. He reached out and shook hand, his touch gentle, and a powerful, magnetic surge hit her hard, zipping all the way down to her feet. “Please, make yourself comfortable,” he said in a pleasant, yet authoritative manner, and pointed to a beautifully carved chair with a burgundy upholstered seat. With a confident stride, he made his way behind the massive desk and sat. He caught her gaze and smiled. Her heart thumped as she followed his lead. Settled in front of him, Krista cleared her throat and bit the side of her lip. Grandma Angie had taught her how to tell if a man was attracted to her. Late night chats about how she met her grandfather and words of wisdom from a loving relationship stayed in her memory, and she kept that advice close to her heart. There was no denying her attraction to the handsome lawyer, and it was strong. Fear of failure had ruled Krista’s heart since the breakup. 



Kathleen is originally from New Jersey, but currently resides in Southwest Florida with her husband and her Coton de Tulear Luc. She has been creating stories since she was a young girl. When she is not dreaming up a plot for her next romance, Kathleen enjoys performing in community theater. You might also find her relaxing on one of Florida’s beaches dreaming up her next romance novel.  Kathleen loves meeting her readers, and she is extremely grateful for their continued support. 




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