Monday, July 27, 2020

Paddling Along

Some things never change.


When we first moved into our current house, the Princess was three and Banana Girl was six months old. About six weeks in, I was playing with Banana Girl on the floor and pulling her into a sitting position from lying down, when I heard a crack and she started screaming. Just as the wails got even louder, the Princess yelled, “Mommy, someone peed on the floor!” and my phone rang.


The phone call was from an old family friend, checking in to see how everything was going. Well, I’d just dislocated my daughter’s shoulder (the pediatrician assured me it happens all the time and not to worry, and yes, she was fine as soon as the doctor popped it back in), and the “pee” was my washing machine flooding the entire lower level—I think I would have preferred the pee. But sure, I told our friend, we’re doing great, how are you? 


I didn’t want to make a big deal out of anything, so I just pretended everything was fine. Because, you know, if you pretend hard enough, it will be true.


Fast forward to the other day. I’m on the phone trying to catch up with a friend—every time one of us calls the other one, we have to run to handle some crisis. At the same time, the exterminator shows up, because THIS time, we have a wasp’s nest in our attic vent that for SOME reason, our gutter guy didn’t want to touch. The exterminator needs to come into the house to access the hive, and all of a sudden I have to find my mask and figure out how to clear out the Princess’ closet enough for him to reach the attic, while at the same time, guarding against Covid. Banana Girl is in the process of driving through flooded roads and calls me to keep her calm—stop laughing. And in the meantime, the Princess is on the phone with a family friend (different one) arranging to be a tutor to their sons in the fall. They want to say hi to me, because for some reason, they like me. I love talking to them, but um, there’s a lot going on. 


So I hang up (again) on my friend, smile into the FaceTime call while moving stuff in the Princess’ closet and wondering if the bees get angry, how many will fly into her room and how loudly will she yell? I try to follow the FaceTime conversation while balancing my phone and reassuring Banana Girl that yes, she’ll know if her car breaks down because it will stop (or blow up, but I don’t tell her that), but next time, please don’t drive through the water on the road.


I’m pretty sure I touched my face at least five times, asphyxiated someone with the Lysol spray, and answered the totally wrong question posed by my family friends.


But, you know, I’m fine. We’re fine. It’s all fine. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Welcome, Mona Sedrak

I'm happy to host Mona Sedrak, a fellow Wild Rose Press author, today. She's talking about her latest book, Gravity.


Gravity is a heart-warming story of two individuals from remarkably differing backgrounds that are inexplicably drawn to one another, forming a strong friendship and falling in love–– despite the odds against them. The story depicts the beautiful Middle Eastern culture I was raised in and its many traditions as well as some of its challenges. Readers will identify with this story, no matter their background because it speaks to and awakens the human heart. 


Gravity is about tolerance, acceptance, understanding, and forgiveness. Finally, it is a story of love and hope. When I started writing Gravity several years ago, I couldn’t have predicted how relevant it would be today. At the end of the day, I want readers to understand that although we may be different, as members of the human race, our similarities out-weigh our differences and love is the universal language that binds us.  







Gravity: A force pulling together people and hearts. 


After being shunned by her Middle Eastern family, medical assistant Leila Solomon struggles to build a life for herself and her child. Landscape photographer Aiden Stone built a career seeing what others miss, and the second he meets Leila, he is drawn to her unassuming beauty and fragile strength.


Leila cannot defy the gravitational forces pulling her toward Aiden and to the family who cast her out. To build a future with Aiden, she must face the past but is she strong enough to resist being pulled back into the family fold?



Author Bio

Mona Sedrak lives in Cincinnati, Ohio and works as a university administrator and professor. Although she has co-published two academic books, she is now writing mainstream fiction and women's fiction. She is an avid reader and is probably Audible's best customer. 


Writing and reading fiction is her escape from reality.


Mona lives with her husband of 30+ years, a geriatric maltipoo, and an Amazon Parrot named Pretzel. She binge watches too many shows to count and she loves fine brandy.













He smiled, took a step back, and met her gaze. "I'm a fairly easy going guy, but I have my quirks. One of them is my persistence. When I see something I desire, I go after it with relentless tunnel vision and focus. I chase the elusive. Often, others can't see what I do, or they're simply not brave enough to take risks, defy gravity, and uncover and unleash what's hidden. But do you know what I find each and every time I trust my gut, put in the time, and do the work?" 

"What?" she whispered, entranced by his voice and his molten eyes.

"Heart stopping, raw, wild, and unimaginable beauty.” Aiden grinned. “I'm a landscape photographer. Photography is not only what I do. Photography is also who I am. Through the lens of my camera, I see what others think only exists in dreams and movies. I believe. I commit. If you decide to come inside, I'll show you what I'm talking about." He spun and strode the door.

Aiden said his piece and issued a challenge. Leila could walk away or cross the threshold and take a chance, praying this time her heart wasn’t trampled. She chewed on her lower lip. Even if she walked away, Aiden wouldn’t. The man would track her down.

Standing, Leila paced. She was out of her element––stuck between two worlds. Too Americanized, she didn’t fit into the Egyptian culture. Yet, she wasn’t American enough.






Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Welome to DV Stone!

Jennifer, thank you for inviting me here today to talk about my latest release, Rainbow Sprinkles. This novella is part of my publisher, Wild Rose Press’s summer series called One Scoop or Two. 
When the call for submissions came out, I thought I’ve got this. I used to own a small restaurant and ice cream shop. But Rainbow Sprinkles became more. As I began writing the story of Gloriana Jones, my sister came to mind. Like the character, my sis too, became widowed at an early age. And while this is in no way biographic of her story, I’ve dedicated it to her. 
It deals with a second chance at romance. The main characters Gloriana Jones and Nathan James, both lost their spouses. They are now ‘seasoned’ adults and dealing with the concerns of meeting and dating someone after many years. Guilt, self-esteem, and worry about how things work now.  Something I believe many of us struggle or struggled with. 
But the two get a little otherworldly help along with two drooly Bassett Hounds and a cast of characters you will come to love as I have. I hope your followers will enjoy an uplifting story, whether at the beach, lake, their backyard or nearby park. 
Thank you again for allowing me into your world
D. V. 

Retired and widowed Gloriana Jones is forging on with the plans she and her late husband dreamed of—bringing joy and happiness, one ice cream cone at a time, to Lake Unami. But bad weather is drowning her dream. A trip to Upstate NY is bittersweet for Nathan James. He is excited to see his first granddaughter but without his wife he's lonely. When his car breaks down, he heads to the only light he can see, an ice cream shop. With aid from a heavenly source, electricity sparks, but will the two weather the summer storms and find love a second time? Or will their hopes and dreams melt away?

“Do you mind if I wait until the tow truck gets here?” He plucked the wet shirt away from his chest with the long fingers of one tanned hand. “It must be electrical, even the radio stopped working.” 
“No, you're welcome to hang around as long as you need.” Gloriana riffled through a cardboard box under the counter, pulled out an extra-large t-shirt, and tossed it to him. “Here you go. The restroom is through there.”
Mr. Gorgeous beamed a perfect toothy smile. “Thanks. I'll be right back.”
When he disappeared into the hallway, and the door clicked shut, Gloriana fanned her face. What the hot fudge was wrong with her? “Coffee. Make coffee.”


Hi, my name is D. V. Stone. I am a multi-genre author of two independently published books. Felice, Shield-Mates of Dar is a fantasy romance. Agent Sam Carter and the Mystery at Branch Lake is a mid-grade paranormal. Recently, Rock House Grill was released by Wild Rose Press. I also host Welcome to the Campfire and A Peek Through the Window, both weekly blogs. Here’s a little more about me.

Born in Brooklyn, D.V. Stone has moved around a bit and even lived for a time on a dairy farm in Minnesota before moving back east. Throughout her wandering, she always considered herself a Jersey Girl. She met and married the love of her life, Pete—a lifelong Jersey Man, and moved this time to Sussex County. They live with Hali, a mixed breed from the local shelter and their cat Baby.

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Monday, July 13, 2020

I Need A Door

There are four of us working from home these days. My husband’s been doing so since mid-March. He retreats to his home office, shuts the door, and does his thing, coming out occasionally for something to drink or eat, or occasionally to say hello (or give me a kiss, which prompts the girls to go, “ewwww!”). We can hear him talking on the phone and typing—he’s a LOUD typist—and the dog’s nose is permanently out of joint for not being able to retreat there in the mornings as she used to do. 


Banana Girl is balancing three internships from her bedroom. We’ve moved a table and my desk chair up there, but most times, depending on what she’s doing, she’s working from her bed. We hear her occasionally. She has a habit of texting me for food, drink or information. My Fitbit is happily recording my extra steps as I run to do her bidding.


The Princess is parked at the dining room table with me. She has her two computers, coffee, ear buds and random stuff spread out. She usually remembers to switch seats when she Zooms so that the rest of us—namely me—are not visible to her work people. And she occasionally steals borrows my desk chair from her sister, although that requires me to go upstairs and get it, and then go back upstairs and return it.


The fourth one of “us” is me. I’ve been working from home forever. I have a desk in the living room, but it’s not my favorite place to be when I’m trying to be creative. And now that it has no chair (see above), it’s even less of my favorite place to be. I’ve always moved around the house, depending on my mood and my location needs. I’m considerably more confined now.


Don’t get me wrong. I love the togetherness, and I also am really enjoying witnessing the Princess’ professional demeanor—no, I’m not paying attention to what she’s doing or saying, but I do get to hear the change in her tone of voice when she talks to other people, and see the clothes she wears for her Zoom conferences. It’s something I would never get to witness if she were working on site. 


However, it’s impossible to write kissing scenes when I’m sitting next to my daughter. It’s impossible to keep the creative momentum going when I’m getting texts asking for assistance, and I’m the only person with enough freedom to provide that assistance. It’s impossible to convince anyone that yes, my presence on social media is truly for marketing purposes, so when you’re talking to me, you’re actually interrupting my work. 


It also means I have to “people” significantly earlier in the day than I’m used to. 


I’m the one without the door. I could go upstairs and close the bedroom door and work there—until the Princess decides she needs to pace and our room has the perfect amount of floor space (if you saw her room, you’d understand why that’s not an option). Not to mention that Banana Girl would turn on the heat if I hadn’t expressly forbidden her from touching the upstairs thermostat (yes, even during July), and the Princess likes the upstairs to feel like the Arctic, pre-climate change. I could go down into the basement, but it’s cold down there and the ceiling creaks with everyone home and walking around over my head—or should I say, pounding. For skinny people, they make a lot of noise. 


So I still wander, but my wandering is usually confined by who else needs to be somewhere. And the dog and I give each other looks as we look longingly at where we’d like to be.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Welcome, Barbara Burke

I always say we fall in love with our brains, not our bodies. A lot of romances focus on the physical manifestations of attraction. The hero and heroine are so hot for each other that they’re swept away by passion and act in ways that seem to go against all the tenets they hold true as well as the constraints of society. Not that I have anything against being swept away by passion! But if you want something to last there has to be more to a relationship than just being caught in the moment and losing the ability to think straight. 

And that was the jumping off point for my latest romance. Could I write a romance in the twenty-first century that had about as much sex in it as a Jane Austen novel and still keep the reader’s interest?

Counterfeit Viscountess is the story of a man and a woman, Christopher Hawkins and Caroline Saxon, who must pretend to be married in order to save her reputation. To do so, of course, they must seem to be living together, but while they share a roof, they definitely don’t share a bed chamber. In fact, when Christopher is brought to realize what a vulnerable position Caroline is in – she’s completely in his power, a risk she had no choice but to take - he vows not to touch her. Even a kiss would ruin everything. It’s a situation that grows increasingly difficult for them as the story progresses and they find themselves more and more attracted to each other. But a promise is a promise.

So, through the course of the novel Caroline and Christopher slowly fall in love, using their brains, not their bodies and they leave it up to me, the author, to figure out how to untangle the mess they’ve gotten themselves into. I thoroughly enjoyed doing so.

What happens when they both start wanting a real marriage?


Practical Caroline Saxon must travel to London for the season, when all she really wants is to stay in Ireland and breed horses. But a carriage accident leaves her unchaperoned at a posting inn.

Dashing Christopher Hawking just wants a bed for the night. He didn't expect to find it occupied by a beautiful woman or to be caught sneaking out of her room. In the light of day, a London-bound member of the ton finds them together. 

Attraction flares between the two in spite of themselves. But how will they save Caroline's reputation and calm the storm of the ton's gossip?


When they were alone again and the tea distributed, Christopher and Caroline did their best to explain to Eleanor the events of the morning and the evening before.

Eleanor listened without interruption, contenting herself with the occasional raised eyebrow as her only commentary on the convoluted tale. When they had finished she turned to Christopher and remarked, "I must say, it seems quite foolish to have allowed Annabelle Winthrop of all people to discover you. She's a complete pea goose and she won't take kindly to Miss Saxon's appearance on the scene. She's been setting her cap at you forever."

"I didn't exactly do it on purpose," Christopher was stung to reply.

"On purpose or not, it's got you into a great deal of difficulty which could have been avoided if you had taken more care."

Recognizing the signs of temper on Christopher’s face, Caroline interjected quickly. "Indeed, Lord Saxon did everything he could. If not for his quick thinking, we would have already come to ruin. You really cannot blame him for the presence of Miss Winthrop in the same inn where we were staying."

"Nonsense, I can blame him for anything I wish. I've been doing it since he was a baby and very handy it's been as well. It's one of the only advantages of having a younger sibling."

The fond smile she bestowed on her brother precluded any sting Caroline, less used to the ways of siblings, might have imagined such a comment implied, as did Christopher’s bland acceptance of her outrageous assertion. Though she had watched, and frequently envied, the comfortable, if often fractious, interaction between the brothers and sisters she’d played with as a child, she clearly had much to learn about family relationships when adulthood was achieved.

“However, I suppose there’s nothing we can do about it now,” Eleanor conceded, magnanimously. “But mind, Christopher, I’ll expect you to take a great deal more care the next time you break into a respectable woman’s bedroom.”

Author Bio: 

Barbara Burke’s peripatetic life means she’s lived everywhere from a suburban house in a small town to a funky apartment in a big city, and from an architecturally designed estate deep in the forest to a cedar shack on the edge of the ocean. Everywhere she’s gone she’s been accompanied by her husband, her animals and her books. For the last ten years she’s worked as a freelance journalist and has won several awards. She was a fan of Jane Austen long before that lady was discovered by revisionists and zombie lovers and thinks Georgette Heyer was one of the great writers of the twentieth century. She lives by the philosophy that one should never turn down the opportunity to get on a plane no matter where it’s going, but deep down inside wishes she could travel everywhere by train. Ironically she now lives on an island that doesn’t have any trains at all.

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Monday, July 6, 2020

Celebrating Christmas in July

Calling all holiday-themed readers! It’s more than evergreens and twinkly lights at N. N. Light’s Book Heaven’s fourth annual Christmas in July Fête. 39 Christmas/Hanukkah-themed books featured plus a chance to win one of the following:


Enter to win a $50 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card

Enter to win a $50 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card

Enter to win a $25 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card

Enter to win a $15 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card

Enter to win a $10 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card


I’m thrilled to be a part of this event. My book, Waiting for a Miracle, will be featured on July 9. Wait until you read what I love most about the holidays. You won’t want to miss it.


Bookmark this event and tell your friends:

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Welcome to Sadira Stone

Tell us about what you write (short stories, novellas, novels, non-fiction)?

I write steamy contemporary romance set in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. My Book Nirvana series, published by The Wild Rose Press, centers around a quirky bookshop in Eugene, Oregon. All three books are full-length novels and can be read as standalones. Gelato Surprise is my first novella. Honestly, I thought keeping a love story that short would be nearly impossible, but it wasn’t that difficult. 


Under my own name, I write cozy mysteries and creepy short stories—think The Twilight Zone—but so far only one creepy short has been published. I’ll get to the rest of them eventually, but right now I’m having too much fun writing romance!


What was your inspiration for Gelato Surprise?

My publisher, The Wild Rose Press, put out a call for beachy summer reads involving ice cream. I immediately remembered a scene from Würzburg, Germany, where I lived for seventeen years. There’s a lovely formal garden behind the Baroque palace, and in summer an old Italian gent sold gelato there. He’d always greet my daughter and me with a hearty “Ciao, bella!” He became the model for Salvatore Verducci, owner of a gelato shop in my fictional Washington State beach town, Ocean View. (I grew up on Verducci Drive.) Sal’s gorgeous Italian-American nephew Matteo is the love interest in Gelato Surprise. 

For the setting, I had fun combining various Northwest beach towns—Ocean Shores, Long Beach, and Seaview WA, Cannon Beach, OR, and more. There’s something so endearing about a kitschy beach town with its go-kart tracks, mini-golf, arcades, fudge and saltwater taffy shops, cheesy souvenir shops—all that noise and flash contrasting with the broad, windswept beach. I even incorporated one of my husband’s favorite spots, Beard’s Hollow, near Seaview. In the book it appears is Ivan’s Hollow. 


Any new projects on the horizon? 

I’m working on my first indie project, a Christmas romance set in a neighborhood tavern in Tacoma, Washington, where I live—the town, not the tavern! This series will be my usual realistic, steamy contemporary romance, and each story will feature a holiday celebration in Bangers Tavern: St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, 4th of July, Halloween, etc.

Author Bio: 

Ever since her first kiss, Sadira’s been spinning steamy tales in her head. After leaving her teaching career in Germany, she finally tried her hand at writing one. Now she’s a happy citizen of Romancelandia, penning contemporary romance from her new home in Washington State, U.S.A. When not writing, which is seldom, she explores the Pacific Northwest with her charming husband, enjoys the local music scene, plays darts (pretty well), plays guitar (badly), and gobbles all the books. Visit Sadira at

Visit Sadira on All the Socials!





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Back Cover Blurb:

Forty-two-year-old divorcée Danielle Peters ends up alone on her family's annual beach vacation. Maybe time to herself is exactly what she needs. That and gelato from her favorite ice cream shop. But when the owner's intoxicating young nephew offers more than sweet treats, she's tempted to indulge in a hot summer fling before returning home. 

Thirty-one-year-old Matteo Verducci craved a fresh start to mend his broken heart, and he's found almost perfection in Ocean View, where he scoops gelato by day and crafts furniture by night. But when a sexy older woman stops to sample his wares—Mamma mia! He only has two weeks to convince her their passion is more than a delicious surprise.


Ciao, bella.” The unfamiliar voice snapped her reverie.

“Oh, uh.” She stammered at the gorgeous young man smiling behind the counter. Dark, curly hair, wide, lush-lipped mouth, cleft chin covered with dusky scruff, and espresso-brown eyes that twinkled with flirtatious mischief. Broad shoulders filled out his tight black T-shirt beautifully.

Like a scene from a Fellini movie, everything around her slowed and blurred as his gaze slid down her body before returning to her eyes. His glossy eyebrows flicked up, a flirtatious salute. “Welcome to Paradiso, signora. Tell me, how can I serve you today?” With his ice cream scoop, he waved toward the Italian ices. “Something tart to soothe the heat? Limone or mandarino? Or perhaps something richer.” He leaned onto the glass case and rested his perfect cleft chin on his fist. “Cioccolato fondenteZabaglioneTiramisu?” Rolling off his tongue, the words sounded far more like seductive foreplay than dessert options.

She swallowed hard, took a step back, and tugged her collar away from her suddenly sweaty chest. “Uh—so many choices. I can’t decide.”

His teasing smile widened, slow and sure. “Then place yourself in my hands. Just tell me how many scoops and let me surprise you.”

She was helpless to resist. “Okay. You choose. Two scoops, please.” She cleared her throat and found a bit of courage. “I place myself in your expert hands.”

Was that a blush darkening his sculpted cheekbones?

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