Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Welcome Back, Julie Howard!

 What’s it like writing a series? 

 The End. Those are bittersweet words to an author. Finishing a novel, of course, is a moment of celebration. The plot has come to a close and subplots tidily concluded. Though the characters’ lives may continue on in memory, their story has ended.

I can think of so many novels I wish had never ended: Pride and Prejudice, Wolf Hall, anything by John Steinbeck, and, yes, even War and Peace. As long as Tolstoy’s book is, I could have read more.

With an author, this sense of loss can be similar. This is the flip side of the bittersweet moment. After the celebration, the realization sinks in: I will no longer spend my days with these characters in mind. Our time together is done. And that is the joy of writing a series. While a particular story arc may be completed, the main characters can go on to have more adventures or be entrenched in further mysteries.

I’m midway through my second series. The first, the Wild Crime mysteries, consists of three books. Each has their own mystery and complete story, but together, the three books tell a broader story of the heroine, Meredith Lowe. Each book can read as a stand-alone story.

Spirit in Time, which released this month, is the third novel in my Spirited Quest mysteries. I have five books in mind for this series, but who knows at this point; there could always be more. The main character in this series is Jillian Winchester, who writes a ghost-themed blog. There are lots of possibilities for her around the world. So far, she has been in Vermont, Australia and California. Each story is a stand-alone novel, but there is a broader story being told too, as Jillian yearns for connection to family members killed in an accident long ago.

The fourth book is taking shape in my mind and I’m definitely not ready to let my characters go. I plan to start the next book later this year and I’m already looking forward to spending time with them again, sort of like having a reunion with good friends.

Here is more about this new release, Spirit in Time



 Time is not on her side.




Time travel isn't real. It can't be real. But ghost-blogger Jillian Winchester discovers otherwise when an enigmatic spirit conveys her to 1872 to do his bidding. 

Jillian finds herself employed as a maid in Sacramento, in an elegant mansion with a famous painting. The artwork reveals another mystery: Why does the man within look exactly like her boyfriend, Mason Chandler? 

Morality and sin live side by side, not only in the picture, but also within her. As her transgressions escalate, she races the clock to find the man in the painting, and hunt down a spirit with a disconcerting gift. 

But will time be her friend or foe?





“Are you a ghost?” A young girl stood where the guard had been only minutes before. She spoke matter- of-factly, her dark eyes alive with curiosity. 

The house was still whole, she was alive, and the world hadn’t ended. Jillian scanned the room for damage, then blinked. This must be a dream. The long dining table—bare just moments ago—was now laid for a meal. Glasses sat upright, forks and spoons lined up in perfect order, and a tall flower arrangement appeared unscathed. A crystal chandelier above the table remained perfectly still. 

The guard and Asian man were nowhere in sight. 

The girl, dressed neatly in a calf-length white pinafore embellished with pink ribbons, didn’t appear rattled by the cataclysmic jolt. 

“What happened?” Jillian asked, still crouched on her knees. “Are you okay?” 

“You don’t belong here. Mother will be angry.” 

Even though the floor had ceased to shake, the roiling continued in her head. Might this very real looking girl be a spirit? Most apparitions wavered in some manner, their appearances paler and less there than the tangible world around them. This child appeared solid in every way, from the tips of her shiny chestnut hair to the toes of her lace-up black shoes. 



About the author:

Julie Howard is the author of the Wild Crime series, and Spirited Quest. 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, editor of the Potato Soup Journal, and founder of the Boise chapter of Shut Up & Write. Learn more at













Follow her on Instagram: @authorjuliehoward 



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Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Welcome, Judith Sterling!

Please welcome my fellow Wild Rose Press author, Judith Sterling! 

Inspiration for My Hero and Heroine

            There’s a lot of me in my hero and heroine, Griffin Nightshade and Margaret, Lady Ravenwood. He’s loyal and teaches history. She’s intuitive and has “spirit journeys” while sleeping. Both have perfect pitch. The same is true of me, on all counts. But I didn’t realize how closely my characters resembled my parents until I finished the manuscript.

            Maybe I didn’t want to see the parallel. After all, the book has sex scenes, and most of us cringe when we think of our parents doing the horizontal mambo. Of course, if they hadn’t done it, we wouldn’t be here, but you know what I mean!

            Like Griffin, my dad was a concert pianist. (Yes, he has perfect pitch too. That’s where I get it from!) He met my mom in college, when she sang professionally on the side of her studies. The two of them performed in USO tours overseas and for TV on The Ed Sullivan Show and The Mike Douglas Show. So naturally, my character Margaret can sing. Margaret also has strong intuition and loves gardening, just like my mom.

            Perhaps the strongest similarity between my protagonists and my parents is the soulful, abiding love they share. The latter have been married for 55 years, and they’re still in love. Neither knows how they’d survive without the other, although they’re so strong, I know they would. I feel privileged to have had them as role models. Because of them, I married late (at age thirty-two), for I’d accept nothing less than a true soulmate. Is it any wonder they served as inspiration for my story?

Return of the Raven (The Novels of Ravenwood, Book Five)

By Judith Sterling


Book Blurb

Margaret, Lady Ravenwood, is trapped in a loveless marriage and firmly entrenched in the medieval world. Along comes Griffin Nightshade, a historian from the future whose soul resonates with hers. He persuades her to return with him to the 1950s, but heeding her heart means courting danger from a curse that could spell her doom.

Haunted by his parents' sudden deaths, Griffin knows all too well the pain born of love lost. He guards his emotions, but Margaret delves deep and goes straight to the soul. She's hard to resist…and harder to set free.

The heart's desire and history's demands don't always agree. Yet true love is eternal.



Dressed in blue-striped pajamas, Griffin stood in front of his bed. His gaze shifted back and forth between two books. Usually, he was a decisive reader, but tonight was different. He’d had Margaret on the mind the entire time he perused the library shelves, and even now, the sound of her bathwater filling the tub next door plagued his focus.

Nevertheless, he’d narrowed the choice to two books: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles or Dennis Wheatley’s The Devil Rides Out. He’d read both before and enjoyed them immensely, so he couldn’t go wrong with either one.

So what’s it going to be? Murder on the moors or black magic on Salisbury Plain?

Margaret’s clear-toned voice penetrated the wall between their bedrooms. She was humming the first part of the sonata he’d played tonight. Not only did she have an ear for language; she also had one for music. She had perfect pitch, too, as did he, which allowed him to discern that she hummed the exact same notes he’d played on the Steinway. Her singing voice was just as lovely as he’d imagined it might be.

His brow furrowed. He had no business imagining anything about her, least of all her naked body slipping into a warm bath and—

Stop! He huffed and rubbed his mouth with his hand. Then he refocused his attention on the books for the umpteenth time. Come on now. Murder or magic? Magic or murder?

“Griff!” A note of panic tinged her voice.

Meg! In trouble!

He dashed into the hall and into her bedroom, then flung open the bathroom door. She stood in the bathtub, clad in bubbles whose brethren spilled over the side of the tub onto the floor. Luckily, the white foam covered all but her neck, head, and one shoulder.

“There’s too much of it.” She gestured to the mess and sent a cluster of bubbles flying through the air.

“I can see that. Are you hurt?”

“No, just unnerved. They kept building and building until I feared they might cover the entire chamber.”

“First, let’s turn off the water.” He reached into the sea of foam, found the faucets, and twisted each one in turn. “How much of the soapy liquid did you use?”

“The whole bottle.”

His eyes widened. “Well, that explains it. Only a small amount is necessary.”

“When Hannah showed me how to use it, she simply turned the bottle upside down to demonstrate pouring. I assumed all of the liquid was needed.” With a rueful expression, she looked around her. “Obviously not.”

She was adorable. And underneath those bubbles, she was nude. Time to go!

“Well, I’m glad ʼtwas nothing serious. I’ll just be going now.” With an about face, he headed for the door.


Uh oh. What does she want now? He turned back around.

“I must know something, and you’re the only one who can help me know it.”

A warning bell pealed in his mind and urged his heart to quicken its pace. “What do you want to know?”

“Earlier, you called me attractive, but you haven’t seen all of me.”

Only by the grace of those bubbles! Did she intend to bare all? No…modesty would prevent that. But the look in her eye—that steady gleam of determination—made him nervous. “Surely you don’t mean—”

“I do. All of my married life, Evoric has mocked me and deemed me unappealing.”

“To him mayhap.” Or eunuchs. Otherwise…

Adamantly, she shook her head. “To all men. Or so he says.”

He is such a sleaze. “He’s just trying to make excuses for his own failure.”

“That may be, but I’ll never know for certain unless you look upon me yourself and give me your honest opinion.”

Dear God. How did I get myself into this mess? “I really think ʼtis better if—”

“Griff.” Her violet eyes pleaded with him. “I know I’ve asked a lot from you, but I need this. Otherwise, I’ll wonder about it the rest of my life.”

How could he deny her the chance to rebuild her self-confidence? He took a deep breath, pushed it out, and braced for what would come. “Very well. Show yourself to me.”


Buy Links


Amazon UK

Amazon CA

Amazon AU

Barnes & Noble


Author Bio

Judith Sterling is an award-winning author whose love of history and passion for the paranormal infuse everything she writes. Whether penning medieval romance (The Novels of Ravenwood) or young adult paranormal fantasy (the Guardians of Erin series), her favorite themes include true love, destiny, time travel, healing, redemption, and finding the hidden magic which exists all around us. She loves to share that magic with readers and whisk them far away from their troubles, particularly to locations in the British Isles.

Her nonfiction books, written under Judith Marshall, have been translated into multiple languages. She has an MA in linguistics and a BA in history, with a minor in British Studies. Born in that sauna called Florida, she craved cooler climes, and once the travel bug bit, she lived in England, Scotland, Sweden, Wisconsin, Virginia, and on the island of Nantucket. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and their identical twin sons.


Social Media Links

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Monday, February 15, 2021

Orange Is My New Favorite Color

I don’t like the color orange. If you’ve seen my skin tone, you’ll probably understand why. When people push me miles beyond my limits, the knowledge that I don’t look good in orange is sometimes the only thing that prevents me from committing murder.

 But I’m chasing orange.


My book, Learning to Love, is on sale for 99 cents. I paid for a few advertisements and announcements, and suddenly, this little book that has sat in the thousands for most of it’s time, rose in the Amazon ranks. It was like the Little Engine That Could, steadily climbing. And when I looked at the rankings last night, it was #19 in Jewish Literature. And less than 1,000 in contemporary romance.


Me, who literally about 10 people know, had a book that was climbing the Amazon ranks. So of course, I went nuts. And asked everyone I knew to help it keep going. Because if it hits #1 it gets a “Best Seller” orange banner—see, now you know why I suddenly like orange.


Well, it hasn’t hit #1, but it did hit #9 for a brief time, which is also amazing! So if you’re one of the people who helped it shoot toward the top, THANK YOU! And if you were thinking about buying it, now is the perfect time—seriously, what else can you buy for 99 cents that will give you a couple of hours of laughs and happiness? I dare you to tell me. J

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Welcome, Margot Johnson!

 For many years, I worked in a busy corporate environment, and I left a leadership role in human resources and communications to focus on writing. Now instead of guiding employees, I create characters who have minds of their own! 

After my first book LOVE TAKES FLIGHT was published, I received a card that says Dream Big & Work Hard. Displayed near my work space, it always inspires me. I believe in that motto, and I like my characters to share the same outlook as they work through challenges mixed with fun. 

LOVE LEADS THE WAY draws on my experiences at work and at home. The story is fiction, but my heroine, Tessa, and I share much in common. I’d love to have lunch with her and compare notes on office gossip, single parenting, family quirks, and cute golden retrievers. One key difference is I didn’t meet my handsome husband at work! 

In the story, Tessa coaches Mark in leadership, but they both need lessons in love! I hope you have fun with these clashing coworkers as they discover where love leads. 


Single mom Tessa runs a successful leadership program at work and supports a mother with dementia. She can handle any challenge in her jam-packed schedule as long as nothing spins out of control…especially her feelings.

Engineer Mark is an expert on pipelines at the same company, but his interpersonal skills need a makeover. Advancing to an executive job requires enrollment in a leadership course he doesn't think he needs.

When their professional and personal issues entangle, life at the office gets a lot more complicated. Romance is impossible…or is it?


“Tell me what you know about Leadership Camp.” Tessa worked down the list of standard questions she always used to screen candidates for the program. Just because Mark earned executive endorsement didn’t mean he could skip the usual selection process. She remained alert for signs of his infamous, clipped attitude.

“I’d rather you describe it.” He gripped the chair arms.

“I’ll get to the details.” Tessa sipped water. His abrupt tone was just short of snappish. With a full hour booked, she wouldn’t rush through the process. “I always like to hear what people know about the program. If your learning expectations are way off my expectations, we have a challenge on our hands.” She plunked a palm on the table and flipped it for emphasis.

“I really have no expectations. Liz and Don recommended it.”

“You must have picked up things from the class alumni?” She took time to breathe and examine his expression. Staring out the window, Mark’s eyes were icy pellets.

“People say the course is a big time commitment and starts with a retreat for a few days at an actual camp. The group meets four days a week for three weeks.”

Tessa nodded. “Yes, what else?” She fixed on his blue eyes.

“I gather you play games. Sometimes, people cry.” He raised his eyebrows. “I heard the class produces results. The people who participate are often the next ones to get promotions.” Mark swept a hand through the front of his hair.

“Oh, I see.” Tessa sized up his commitment. He appeared more human with a few hairs out of place. She had yet to see him smile. Under the surface, he either held a natural reserve or a trace of arrogance. Whatever the cause, no doubt, he was anything but excited.


After the devastating loss of her husband, Erin Humphrey is rebuilding her life. She runs the Canine Corner dog kennel in Moose, Saskatchewan. Then a prairie blizzard strikes just as Erin’s family arrives for the weekend, followed by a handsome but a difficult client, Drew Dixon.

A daring jet pilot, Drew is a magnet for Erin’s young son Noah, upsetting Erin who is terrified of flying. Drew is at a crossroads because of a career-threatening mistake. Despite an icy start, the couple warm to each other, sparking an undeniable attraction. But will their secret fears keep Erin and Drew’s love from soaring?


Margot Johnson grew up in a family of writers and is the author of two novels. 

Her newest book is Love Leads the Way, a sweet office romance that brings together clashing coworkers who are leaders at work and at home. They unlock new feelings as they deal with challenging work, single parenthood, and mothers with dementia.

Love Takes Flight is her first novel, a fun, sweet romance between a daring jet pilot and a woman who owns a dog kennel business. This feel-good story explores themes of trust, resilience and pursuing your dreams. 

Before turning her focus to writing, Margot held leadership roles in human resources and communications. When not writing, she connects with family and friends, volunteers with the SK Writers Guild, and walks at least 10,000 steps a day (unless it's minus 40!). Her beloved golden retriever Sophie is the real-life inspiration for her loyal canine characters. 

Margot lives with her husband in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Margot Johnson, Author 

Monday, February 8, 2021

Braving Civilization

I braved the outside world today for my physical. My doctor told me I’m “great.” Last year, she told me I was “perfect,” but that’s because she also had my blood test results in front of her. This year she didn’t, so I’m going to assume my perfection is coming…as soon as I brave the lab to get it done. There’s something about going to a lab during Covid that freaks me out a little. But I suppose, if I managed a doctor’s office, in a medical building, with an elevator, I can handle a lab appointment. 

That was my big outing today. It’s weird what I now consider an “outing.” It was on my calendar, and what with the phone confirmation and filling out forms electronically, I managed to remember that I had the appointment, which is a huge improvement over my schedule-keeping lately. But I planned for this. I actively worked out in my head what time I needed to wake up, how much time I needed to get ready, and generally put way more focus on what I was going to do than I ever have in the past. I guess nonchalance is another casualty of life in a pandemic. 


Their parking is usually a nightmare, but this time it was easy to find a spot. I guess extreme pandemic scheduling has its perks. The nurse was kind enough to let me remove my snow boots before stepping on the scale. Even he recognized that they would add at least five pounds to the number. I kept waiting for the doctor to make a comment, but I’m assuming that she has decided that pandemic weight is its own separate entity, and as long as I haven’t gained an entire person, I’m good. Or should I say, great. 


I rewarded myself with coffee afterwards. And I now feel way less guilty about my planned Dunkin Donut run on Valentine’s Day. But until then, no more outings, at least for a while.


Hey, Learning to Love is on sale for 99 cents until Feb. 19. If you've been waiting, now is the perfect chance to grab your discount while staying safe indoors!

Friday, February 5, 2021

Welcome, Jayne York

 Jennifer, thanks so much for hosting me. The support of dedicated authors and bloggers like you is valued and appreciated. You're a godsend.

You asked me to write a short bit about what inspired me to write Midnight Acquisition. I've got to tell you it's a story that's been brewing in my imagination for quite some time. In my 45 year career as a jeweler, tales of misidentified gems are rampant. There's Grandma's topaz that turned out to be a yellow beryl, Aunt Hattie's black coral beads that were actually Bakelite, and a million more. Perhaps the most poignant are those stories of inherited jewels that encompass the heart of their family.

"Midnight Acquisition" tells the story of just such a stone. But more than that, it tells the story of those people surrounding a fabulous, mysterious piece of history and the extraordinary lengths they'll go to possess it. The story's crux involves the emotional entanglement of two people separated by class and moral code—the thief and the good girl. Their longtime attraction explodes back to reality when he is forced to use her as the easiest route to the jewel or face death at the hands of a sadistic madman. 

There's sizzling chemistry, fast-paced action, and intrigue—something for everyone.

Take a chance, take an adventure. You won't be disappointed!

I can't resist the call of a great story. As the child of a world-class machinist and a frustrated artist, I learned early on the joy of creating handcrafted jewelry. Each piece, like every customer, has its own tale to tell. You'll find them, collected like pearls in a strand, inside my steamy contemporary romance and edge-of-your-seat romantic suspense novels. Like my one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry, the heroines in my books are rare, desirable and priceless. Their hearts can only be won by sexy, formidable heroes. ~*~ Find me online at:





Blog:’s On My Mind


Twitter: @JayneYorkAuthor

Facebook: JayneYorkAuthor

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Juliette Rochambeau was heartbroken when the boy she loved ran from South Carolina. Fifteen years later, she returns to her hometown to appraise her family's historic gem-encrusted necklace. Becket Ford is a thief whose regret over leaving Juliette behind tears at his heart. His remorse, however, must take a back seat when a sadistic puppet master forces him to use their connection to steal the necklace or die trying. As they both vie for possession of the priceless jewels, lingering desire and emotion from years ago explode back to life. But escaping a madman and finding a future free of their past may just be a fantasy…



"Hello, Jules." His lips quirked up, and she took a hesitant step toward him as if he'd pulled on an invisible thread. A swarm of bees erupted in her chest. He stood, and she couldn't help herself; she took him in from hair to soft leather loafers. Their gazes locked. His startling gray eyes should have been cool given the color, but the emotion swimming in their depths held her fixed in place. Riveted. The silvery center rimmed in a blue so dark it was nearly black, and thick lashes, a lush sable brown like the roots of his hair. This Beck was as familiar as home and at the same time different as night from day. Gone was the boyish promise of good looks, and in its place, a devastatingly handsome man. The shoulders she used to love were broader, his waist honed. The flat stomach she'd caressed with curious, questing fingers was now an impressive six-pack of muscle revealed by the cling of his T-shirt. His chest, when he drew in a deep breath, strained the white fabric. Her body seemed to disconnect from her mind, and the power of speech deserted her. When she finally mustered the wherewithal to reply, her voice resembled the grate of a rusty screen door. "What are you doing here?" She cleared her throat. "I mean, hello yourself. I didn't know you were back in Charleston." She fought the urge to sling herself across the distance and jump into his arms. Her fists clenched to drag back control. Pull yourself together, Juliette. He trashed your stupid heart and didn't think twice.