Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Welcome, Debby Grahl

I'm happy to host my fellow Wild Rose author, Debby Grahl. She's talking about the inspiration for her latest book, and giving you a sneak peek at it.

I love both the ocean and mountains. I live near the ocean, and thankfully my cousins live a few hours away in North Carolina. The idea for Mountain Blaze came to me while we were all touring the area around Asheville, NC. It was Fall, and the spectacular display of color against the backdrop of the Smoky Mountains was breathtaking. We hiked a while and discovered a scenic overlook which revealed a stream winding through the valley below.

We came upon a small ranch with cabins to rent and horseback riding. As we waited for the horses to be saddled for a trail ride, my writer’s imagination replaced the nice older man with a handsome cowboy. Now, what would be his story? As we rode through the lush woods, the air fragrant with the smell of pine, Dillon McCoy took shape in my mind.

We drove down the mountain into Waynesville. This is a great little town where I discovered Mast General. A fun old-fashioned country store, this is one of my favorite places to shop. We decided to stop in a cafĂ©, and while sipping a delicious cup of coffee, I noticed an attractive woman seated at an adjacent table. Her clothes were stylish. She looked as if she had just walked off Fifth Avenue. Once again, my writer’s imagination took over, and Diana Thompson was born. Now, what circumstances could bring the cowboy and the wealthy city girl together? 

In all my books, I like to have some type of mystery. So not only do Diana and Dillon need to meet, they must discover what outside force is determined to keep them apart and endanger their lives.


Mountain Blaze blurb: Disillusioned by his wife’s betrayal, rodeo star Dillon McCoy comes home to the mountains of North Carolina to lick his wounds. When he agrees to take over the family ranch, the Lazy M, he’s unaware danger waits.

Diana Thompson is having doubts about her engagement to Trent Sawyer. She agrees to leave Chapel Hill and spend Thanksgiving with her friend Jenn at the Lazy M. When Diana and Dillon meet, neither can deny their attraction, but both must resolve past relationships while fighting their growing desire. 

After Dillon turns down an anonymous offer to purchase the ranch, attempts are made on his life. When a body is found, Dillon sets out to discover who wants the McCoy land enough to commit murder.




Dillon smiled and Diana thought it the sexiest smile she’d ever seen. There was a slight cleft in his chin, and fine lines formed at the corners of his eyes. Diana inwardly groaned. The butterflies were back.

“I’d hold onto you. I wouldn’t let you fall,” he softly said.

With his slow southern accent, the words sounded like warm honey rolling off his tongue. The depth of his eyes and the sound of his voice mesmerized her.

The horses stood side by side. Her and Dillon’s legs touched. He leaned toward her, and the light aroma of wood smoke, hay, and his spicy cologne filled her nostrils. Diana knew what he was about to do but had no willpower to stop him. He cupped her cheek and their lips met.

Gentle at first, his lips glided over hers. He increased the pressure until she opened her mouth and his tongue slipped in. Diana moaned and wrapped her arms around his neck. His arms around her waist, he deepened the kiss. Before she realized what he was doing, without breaking their kiss Dillon lifted her from Flora and placed her across his lap.

Cradled in his arms, Diana clung to him, delicious sensations filling her. Her body came alive in a way that surprised her. The only thing that mattered was this man and this moment.

Flame moved, bringing her back to reality. Diana’s eyes fluttered open, and she stared into Dillon’s, deep with passion and need.

Buy links

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Award winning author Debby Grahl lives on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, with her husband, David. Besides writing, she enjoys biking, walking on the beach and a glass of wine at sunset. She is a history buff who also enjoys reading murder mysteries, time travel, and, of course, romance. Visually impaired since childhood by Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), she uses screen-reading software to research and write her books. 


You can find Debby at the following:

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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Welcome, Kimberly Baer!

Even a smell can spur inspiration

I write stories. I have to. My head is stuffed full of ideas, and it would explode if I didn’t get at least some of them down on paper. Inspiration comes from a variety of sources—daydreams, night dreams, my own experiences, and random things I hear about. 

Take my recently published YA paranormal novel, The Haunted Purse. The idea for that story came to me after my car keys disappeared from my purse and magically reappeared about an hour later. (Yes, I searched thoroughly. I swear they weren’t there!) 

Then there was the time I smelled an unusual smell but couldn’t pinpoint its source. That experience morphed into my previously self-published middle-grade novel The Nasal Psychic, about a boy who discovers he can smell scents from the future. 

Once when I was driving home from work, I heard a commercial on the radio that said, “Cancer is smart, but we’re smarter.” That got me thinking. What if cancer really was smart—as in sentient? By the time I got home, I had a whole plot fleshed out in my head. It became my short story “There’s something in the sewers you need to know about,” which I posted on Reddit NoSleep. (The story didn’t get all that many views/up-votes, but I had fun popping in regularly to read the comments and see how it was doing.)

As for when inspiration strikes—it often happens when I’m power-walking. If I’m at home or at work, my brain is engaged in whatever task I’m performing. But when I’m outside walking, all my physical activity is on autopilot, so my mind is free to wander. Plus, the increased circulation to my brain really boosts my creative thinking ability. I get all kinds of ideas. Not just big ideas—little ones, too. Phrases come to me, snippets of poetic language that I save in a Word document for future use. A few months ago I won a Washington Post columnist’s annual haiku contest, thanks to a spark of inspiration that struck during one of my walks. Springtime blossoms were raining down on me, and the phrase “blossoms hopeful as bridal confetti” popped into my head. I shaped that thought into a haiku as I walked, never dreaming it would end up winning a contest!

In short, inspiration can come from anywhere at any time. You just have to keep all your senses open and be willing to look (and sniff!) in the right places.

Blurb for The Haunted Purse:


That old denim purse Libby Dawson bought at the thrift store isn’t your run-of-the-mill teenage tote. It’s a bag of secrets, imbued with supernatural powers. Strange items keep turning up inside, clues to a decades-old mystery only Libby can solve.

Filled with apprehension and yet intrigued by the mounting pile of evidence, Libby digs for the truth. And eventually finds it. But the story of the purse is darker than she imagined—and its next horrific chapter is going to be all about her.

Excerpt from The Haunted Purse:


“Do you think we should tell my mom about the purse?” asked Toni.  

“No,” I said. I wasn’t ready to trust an adult. Not even Toni’s mom, nice as she was. “Your mom is like you,” I added. “Practical. It would take a long time to convince her there’s something supernatural going on.”

We went back to watching the purse. There was a moment when I thought I saw it twitch, but that might have been my imagination. 

“You could always get rid of it,” Toni said. “You know, donate it back to the thrift store.”

I considered that. “I could. But I don’t want to—not yet, anyway. This purse is the coolest thing I’ve ever owned. I want to find out more about it. I want to see what it does next.”

 She moved her eyes from the purse long enough to glance at me. “Aren’t you afraid it’ll crawl into your bed some night and strangle you with its straps?”

“No. I think it’s trying to get my attention. It’s trying to tell me something.”

“Like what?”   

I didn’t have a clue.

Buy links:  Amazon  Barnes and Noble

Book trailer


Author Bio:

Kimberly Baer is an author and professional editor who was born and raised in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, a town marginally famous for having endured three major floods. She even lived there during one of them. She currently resides in Virginia, where she enjoys power-walking on days when it’s not too hot, too cold, too rainy, too snowy, or too windy. If forced to stay inside, she’s likely to end up binge-watching one of her favorite TV shows: Gilmore Girls, Breaking Bad, Friends, or The Office.


Kim has had her nose in a book practically since birth, and she decided early on that she wanted to be on the giving end of the reading experience as well as the receiving end. Her first story, written at age six, was about a baby chick that hatched out of a little girl’s Easter egg after somehow surviving the hard-boiling process. Her recent focus has been on writing middle-grade and young adult fiction.  


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Monday, September 21, 2020

Rosh Hashanah Dinner

We celebrated Rosh Hashanah virtually this past weekend. As usual, it was a little weird, which, I guess, grammatically, makes it normal?

Services were virtual. The Rabbi prerecorded the service, including congregant parts, and at the appropriate times on Friday night and Saturday morning, we clicked the link and watched the service.


While the services were different because of the method, there were definite advantages—my sofa is way more comfortable than the synagogue seats, as were the clothes I was able to wear since no one could see me. But I missed the community, the mix of voices around me joined in prayer, and the gravity of the holiday that can only truly be conveyed in the synagogue. However, everyone involved did an amazing job creating these services, and I’m looking forward to the Yom Kippur ones.


Traditionally, for Rosh Hashanah, we celebrate with my parents for a festive dinner the night of the first day of the holiday. It’s something I always look forward to, but this year, I was conflicted. I wanted to spend the holiday with them, but I didn’t want to do anything to possibly infect them. During the summer, we’ve spent time together inside, but the temperatures in New Jersey have dropped, and dinner out in the cold is not something any of us would enjoy.


So, we came up with a plan.


Let me tell you, preparing for a festive holiday meal takes planning and coordination. Preparing for a festive holiday meal during a pandemic ups the stakes significantly.


Anytime I have people coming over, I clean my house. Usually, I stick to the areas people will see. And I firmly believe that if you enter my house and complain about its cleanliness, you become my personal maid and are responsible for raising it to your standards. 


However, in a pandemic, cleaning takes on a whole new meaning. I don’t think there was a corner or surface that I didn’t scour. I forbid my husband from using the downstairs bathroom, even going so far as to block the door with his desk chair. He suggested I just put a Post-It note on the door, but I wasn’t taking any chances.


There were four of us for dinner, but in order to maintain the six feet of social distance, we added both a bridge table and a table leaf to my dining room table, set up the chairs so that my parents faced each other on one end, and my husband and I faced each other on the opposite end. We gave ourselves the bridge table—I’m never outgrowing the kids’ table, apparently. Instead of setting the table, we put everything out buffet style on the counter.


Usually, when people enter my house, they are free to roam and make themselves comfortable. My mom always helps me in the kitchen. This time, they were instructed to keep their masks on, to sit on a specific sofa, and not to move under any circumstances. 


We all wore masks the entire time, unless we were eating. We did not spend extra time chitchatting or hanging out. We were careful not to get our germs on their food. And no matter how often my mom asked, I did not let her help with setting, clearing, or cleaning up.


I’ve never been more stressed over a meal in my life. But the hug (done masked and while holding my breath) at the end was worth it.


Don't forget, I have a book releasing next week! Eight days and counting until Whispers in Washington releases. Info here.

Monday, September 14, 2020

A Quick Getaway

 My husband and I spent the weekend in Cape May with friends. It was our first time venturing out by choice—taking the girls to college doesn’t count—since the pandemic began, and we were careful and stayed in state.


New Jersey currently has a good handle on the virus, and our friends are as careful, if not more so, than we are. We investigated ahead of time all the precautions that were being taken, and only when we were confident did we agree to go.


But we were still nervous.


It’s strange taking a trip during a pandemic. Every outing requires advanced planning. We packed our own Covid bag with wipes, gloves, and Lysol spray. Entering the bed & breakfast—which had its own precautions that made us feel completely safe—we wiped down everything in our room and sprayed the heck out of it. Yes, the coughing that ensued probably freaked everyone else out, but we knew it was from the fumes. J


Unless we were in our bedrooms, we were masked. I regretted not feeling comfortable enough to hang out inside and explore the beautiful B&B, but they had a wonderfully wide front and side porch and it was lovely and relaxing to sit there and eat or people watch or just talk. It was great spending time with other people.



Walking around town was beautiful, with gorgeous architecture and summer flowers still in bloom. And everyone, or almost everyone, was masked. We found great restaurants that had outdoor seating, did some window shopping and had a lovely time on a whale-watching boat, despite not seeing any whales. We toured the lighthouse, temperature checks and all. And avoiding crowds of people isn’t as isolating when you’re with friends.



By the time we were ready to leave, we were way more relaxed about being out of our homes. My mind stopped its racing and I almost felt normal—well, as normal as I get.


Our friends still like us—I think—and we’re planning our next vacation, although this will probably be when the pandemic is over. It gives us something to look forward to, and in the meantime, it was a nice, safe, break.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Welcome, Darlene Deluca!

 Hi, Jennifer and friends! Thanks so much for having me today.


So I had my first book release with The Wild Rose Press a couple of weeks ago. And all of the promotion and festivities took place online. No book signings or in-person parties, thanks to Covid-19.

Ditto my real birthday festivities!

Coincidentally, my book released on my 60th birthday! It was a big milestone I had intended to celebrate in a big way! When I hit that 59-and-a-half mark, I cashed out a small IRA to fund my fun times – Girls trip with a few friends. Road trip with my mom who turns 80 next week. Writer’s conference in Hawaii, and a couple of weeks someplace warm and sunny when winter hit the Midwest.

Sigh. Not doing any of it!

I’m trying not to complain too much. I know I’m not alone. A lot of people have cancelled cruises and travel and weddings and have had to skip funerals and graduations.

I’m fortunate. No one in my family or friend group has contracted the coronavirus. I know some people who’ve had it and recovered, but thankfully, no deaths. I totally understand the need for lock-downs and masks and no crowds or events. Still, it makes me sad that the year is so out of whack.

And I’m sad to have to cancel all my plans. I’m to the age where I’m not looking to acquire more stuff. I want to dothings rather than buy things, so travel and spending time with friends are at the top of the list. 

Maybe next year. Hopefully by then, I can not only celebrate my birthday and my mom’s, but also celebrate a return to normalcy! That is something I could definitely get excited about!

I probably won’t have another book release, but that was kind of a lot to heap on one day in the universe, anyway. At least this way, I was able to give my full attention to launching the new book! It’s a heartwarming romance that features likeable characters and a happy ending. I hope it offers a little escape from the troubles of the world!

Happy reading and best wishes to all!



She sees a bestseller and heartwarming keepsake; he sees exploitation. 


Book Blurb: 

Her agent warned her not to get attached to a fan. But children's book author Kristen Hanover is about to break the rules. Kristen meets a young boy who is a victim of a tragic accident and is drawn into the heartbreaking situation.

Six years ago, Reed Armstrong never imagined he'd actually become guardian of his sister's boy. Now he is, and most days he's not sure he's up to the task.

When he and Dylan meet Kristen, Reed downplays his nephew's crush on the author. But as their lives become unexpectedly intertwined, he finds himself captivated as well. Trouble is, she sells stories for a living. Does she truly care about Dylan…and Reed, or is she using them for her own career advancement?



Book Excerpt:

Reed pulled his keys out of his pocket. In the doorway, he folded his arms and leaned against the casing. “Can I ask you a question?”

Chest pounding, Kristen forced a smile. “Of course.” She took a couple of steps toward him and braced a hand against the back of the sofa.

“Is writing your only reason for being here?”

Heavy, charged air closed around her. How to answer that? Honestly, of course, but…how honestly? “Well, writing is my goal for sure. But—” She glanced around the room before looking at him again. “I’d love to ride my horse, er, Star, and spend some time with…with people I like, too.”

As he pushed off from the door, a slow grin spread across his face. “Sounds like an excellent plan.” He sauntered closer. About a foot away, he stopped. “You’re good with dinner at the main house tonight? Don’t let Dylan bully you. You decide.”

She gave a shaky laugh. That was the plan, right? She couldn’t remember for sure. Her brain was going fuzzy. “I’d love to,” she managed to say.

He leaned closer, his breath warm on her cheek. She braced herself for a friendly peck, but when her eyes fluttered shut, his lips grazed hers. Hovered there, and when she thought her legs might give out, Reed caught her arm and pulled her slightly toward him, his lips covering hers again.

Sparks exploded in her brain, and she grabbed hold of his arm. All of her senses came alive and responded to the unexpected deluge.

A long moment later, he pulled back and brushed a thumb across her cheek. “See you in about an hour.”

Kristen could only nod. As soon as the door closed behind him, she collapsed against the sofa. She ran a finger along her bottom lip. That kiss…Oh, man. The chances of her getting any writing done this weekend just dropped from unlikely to who-said-anything-about-writing?

Buy links:






Author Bio:

Darlene Deluca writes contemporary romance and women’s fiction, and likes to explore relationships – what brings people together or keeps them apart. 

Her intent is to bring to life interesting characters that readers can relate to in real-life situations that combine a little fun, plenty of drama (with perhaps a tear or two), and big helpings of friendship, love and self-discovery, and will leave readers either cheering or sighing with a satisfied smile as they turn the final page.

The Kansas City author enjoys getting lost in a good story with a glass of tea, a bit of dark chocolate and a warm, sunny beach.



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Monday, September 7, 2020

Working From Home In The Age Of Corona

 We made it through our first full week as empty nesters in a pandemic, which means we have also survived the two of us working from home.


Good thing, since the husband is home until at least January—first it was June, then Labor Day, now January. I suspect it might get pushed back farther. 


We’ve divvied things up fairly well. He gets the office with the door, I get the rest of the house. I knock on the door and only enter if he answers. He starts talking to me and I ignore him until he goes away. J The highlight of his day is getting the mail, so I let him take over that job, especially when it rains. 


In all seriousness, it’s nice having someone around. I still use Facebook and Twitter as my water cooler, but now when I want to talk to an actual person, I can talk to him.


There are only a few habits I have to hide. Like talking to myself. I think it’s a sign of intelligence. He thinks it’s weird and distracting. Also pacing, which I do when I’m working out a plot point. He hasn’t actually complained about it, but I know it would bother the crap out of me if he were doing it, so I try to only do it when he’s in a closed-door meeting (that also makes it easier for me to sneak in steps for our weekly Fitbit challenge—shhh, don’t tell him).


All in all, I think we’ve adjusted fairly well. 


But we’ll see how week two goes.


* * *


Calling all readers! Have you read all your beach reads over the summer and looking for new books to dive into this month? We’re celebrating books from all genres at N. N. Light’s Book Heaven’s third annual Fall Into These Great Reads Bookathon. 47 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. You won’t want to miss it. Bookmark this event and tell your friends:



Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Welcome, Linda Nightingale

I guess because I’ve written two books about human-like androids, my friends always email me anything to do with these sophisticated robots. We can now move on from the Houston love dolls, to China. I was aware that Japan was doing a lot of research on these human robots. However, the Chinese have upped the ante with an AI news anchor.

"This is my very first day at Xinhua News Agency," says a sharply dressed artificial intelligence news anchor. "I look forward to bringing you the brand new news experiences."

The AI "learns from live broadcasting videos by himself and can read texts as naturally as a professional news anchor," Xinhua says. Not surprisingly, some disagree about whether the news anchor is really like a human. Check out the following link and decide for yourself what you think of the English-speaking news anchor. Personally, I think he is amazing and looks very human, down to his facial movements. I would so like to see this news anchor!


According to Xinhua, the AI "learns from live broadcasting videos by himself and can read texts as naturally as a professional news anchor."

The AI was unveiled at the World Internet Conference in China's Zhejiang province and was designed jointly with the Chinese search engine company, Sogou. Unfortunately, the article by Meredith Kennedy doesn’t mention who the join developer was. 

I know a hotel in Japan used AI in its reception, although, Hotel Henn-na had to fire half of its robot staff after they began to malfunction and couldn’t handle simple tasks.  The last article I can find on the subject is dated January 25, 2019. I wonder what the final outcome was.

On Wedmesday, on the robot scene, reporting from SC.

Novelly yours,



In my two android novels, the robots are much more sophisticated. In fact, you can’t distinguish them from human. They feel like we do, react like we do, and being sold as the love for the lonely. But is that their real purpose?  Clue: No.

Love for Sale, the first in the Tomorrow’s Angels series, is on sale for $.99 for a limited time. The sequel Life for Sale is now on preorder.

Tomorrow’s Angels: Series Blurb

Mayfair Electronics has created life.

In Love for Sale, the high-tech electronics company, in black and white, offers “love for sale”. Mayfair has engineered sentient androids indistinguishable from humans. March Morgan flies to England and meets the man she has been searching for her entire life. Christian requires no programming to love March at first sight, but her past and his future soon threaten their happiness—and their lives.

In the sequel, Life for Sale, four of the Special Editions have escaped. Rebel, Christian and  March  are on the run, but they have a bigger problem than his creator's plan to destroy him. They've discovered that one of the renegades has suffered a dangerous malfunction, threatening them with more than just exposure. March and Christian must stop the insane robot before someone else dies. All the evidence points to March being the killer's next victim.


Life for Sale -

Love For Sale -

Excerpt from Life for Sale:-

Monica moved closer to Christian, holding his gaze. “You were always your creator’s favorite…it’s rumored.”

Shaking his head, he moved away from her advance. “I didn’t hear that rumor.”

Her brows shot up, but she said nothing. Her steady gaze challenged him to deny her claim.

Was what she said true? Without Damien Wills’ help, their bid for freedom would have failed. They’d have been captured and deactivated on the spot..

Monica’s sensual yet oddly hard voice jerked him back to the ocean liner. He awoke from the memory, gazing over his shoulder at the restless sea

“Why else would Dr. Wills turn off the alarm, allowing us to escape?” Monica positioned herself in front of Christian. In a bold act, she stroked his cheek. “Did Dr. Wills tell you how perfect you are?” Her shoulders moved ever-so slightly, the gesture carnally arousing. “Every day, Stefan told me how special I was.”

March flung Monica an irritated glance. Now and then, jealousy overcame his wife. Since Monica’s appearance, now more than then. He almost laughed when she captured his hand, staking her claim and warning the sexy android to butt out.

“Looks like we have another Special Edition with an independent streak,” March commented softly—the iron fist in the velvet glove. Monica had better beware.

“I have to be independent. Fending for myself alone.” Monica swept a hand through her hair, the gesture highlighting the pert fullness of her breasts.

At his side, March tensed, a distant look in her eyes. “You don’t have to be single to be alone.”

Why was Monica II acting as if she were the only person never to have found a partner? He hated that she’d reminded March of her failed marriage and the long years she felt she’d wasted. They were silent for a long moment, each perhaps considering his or her own quest for love. Christian was relieved when Daniel spoke into the growing darkness.

“Are you that unhappy?” His brother’s voice held compassion, but something else echoed behind his question. He sounded sad as Monica felt—or pretended?

“Let’s just say my life could be fuller.” Monica turned back to the rail, staring at the black sea. “What would happen if we jumped into the ocean? Would we drown?”

Christian stiffened. “No, but don’t test it. The immersion in water might cause a short circuit that would destroy you—”

“But it didn’t—” Daniel broke off when Christian raised a warning hand.

“Why do you ask such a question?” He was concerned, angry, and more than a little worried about Monica.

Daniel joined her at the rail, placing his hands on her shoulders from behind. “We both need someone to love; someone to love us.”

“Let’s change the subject,” March’s expression showed sympathy not pique. “Do we need to change for the big Welcome Party?”

“There’s plenty of time.” Daniel pulled Monica to him and hugged her. “I’m sorry things didn’t work out for you and the pilot. You’ll find someone else.”

She patted his back. “Thanks, Daniel, but it won’t work. I’ve tried.”

March smiled. “Okay, team, our mission is to find Monica’s Mr. Right.”

“I’m in,” Christian said, and Daniel raised a hand.

Monica’s expression hardened. “I don’t think it’s possible.”

After 14 years in Texas, Linda returned to her roots in South Carolina. She has 8 published novels, four of which are available from in audio. For many years, she bred, trained and showed Andalusian horses. So, she’s seen a lot of this country from the windshield of a truck pulling a horse trailer. Linda has won several writing awards, including the Georgia Romance Writers’ Magnolia Award for Excellence, the Raven Award in Anthologies, and the SARA Merritt.  Sinners’ Opera is a finalist in the 2020 Raven Awards. She loves horses, sports cars, music, reading, writing, and piano—oh, and dressing up and hosting formal dinner parties.




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