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:

Keep in touch:
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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?

Buy links:

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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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Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Welcome, Elizabeth John

 I know Elizabeth from both The Wild Rose Press and New Jersey Romance Writers, so I'm thrilled to welcome her to my blog today! 

When I saw The Wild Rose Press was accepting submissions for their One Scoop or Two line, I thought, what fun! Ideas immediately sprang to mind. The story had to incorporate ice cream and take place in the summer near a body of water. Since I love the beach, the setting came easily to me. 

One of my favorite places is the New Jersey Shore. Although I invented a fictional town, I envisioned Long Beach Island as the backdrop, where I spent many summers. A theater and an ice cream parlor are next to each other in one town on the island. I’ve been to the theater a number of times, but not the ice cream parlor. The parlor is known for singing shows. Years ago, during high school and college, I worked at an old-fashioned ice cream parlor. We wore uniforms and sang to the customers. Memories flooded back, and a kernel of an idea blossomed into Backstage Butter Brittle.

Using knowledge gained from working in an ice cream parlor and my love of Broadway, Backstage Butter Brittle came to life. I researched how to make ice cream and the operation of dairy farms, and I followed vlogs of actors auditioning on Broadway. My goal was to add enough realistic details to immerse the reader. Too much description can be boring, so I tried to sprinkle in just enough.

I hope you enjoy reading Backstage Butter Brittle!


Her thirtieth birthday is Anna’s deadline to succeed as a theatrical performer…only six months away. A crucial audition in her hometown puts her into the path of her ex-boyfriend. After only a few minutes together, she realizes she’s missed James. More shocking is that she receives an invitation to help with his family’s summer camp theater program. Farmer James Tucker can’t believe the woman he once thought he’d marry is back in town, auditioning at the theater next to his ice cream parlor. He hopes for the impossible—that she’ll stay this time. But she wants bright lights, and he leads a simpler life. Can this reunion be their second chance at love?


The instant James Tucker heard the familiar voice vibrating through the thin walls, he recognized the angelic sound. Anna was here? Singing? He hurried to finish with a customer and raced past the party room and through an inconspicuous side door of the ice cream parlor to the adjoining building. What was happening?

He grabbed the drapery and jerked his head back. He soaked in a vision of the most beautiful woman in the world. His ears hadn’t deceived him, and neither had his eyes. Anna was here.

Her thick, red hair fell past her shoulders, styled a bit longer than when he had last seen her. Her toned body moved with the grace of an experienced dancer. 

His pulse raced. Fond memories slammed into his mind. He stayed hidden and watched her performance.

The crowd burst into applause.

Riveted, he joined in.

Anna beamed with an upturned face and bubbly laugh, but then she frowned and shook her head.

He gritted his teeth, watching Anna’s reaction when she found out she’d auditioned for the ice cream parlor. No Sherlock Holmes’ deduction skills necessary. An error had occurred, and his gut twisted. James slipped from the audition room, careful Anna couldn’t spot him. She had no idea he was part owner of the ice cream parlor. Already having had a bit of a shock, he wanted to give her a few minutes to collect herself. How would she react when she saw him?

The people cheering were right. She was magnificent. But he had known all along she was special, had since they were kids.

Her being here was perfect timing. His grandfather ran the theater’s summer camp program, and an unforeseen problem with the camp had plagued Gramps the last few days. Could Anna be the solution? James had no idea of her circumstances, but he had to convince her to stay and help, if only temporarily. He texted Gramps Anna was in town. After he entered the ice cream parlor, he gazed through the freshly cleaned front windows.

Anna sat outside on a bench with her back toward him. One arm flailed in the air, and the other pressed her phone against her ear. Her animated body language signaled her frustration.

James raced behind the counter to make her a sundae. Ice cream had always made her feel better. He scooped two heaping spoonsful of Butter Brittle into a metal dish, drizzled caramel syrup, squirted a swirl of whipped cream, arranged two chocolate chips for eyes and a cherry for a nose, and topped the treat with an upside-down sugar cone. Then he opened the front door, ready to surprise her.

She spoke into her phone. “Sylvia, can you double-check your notes? The theater is closed. A bunch of kids is auditioning at this ice cream parlor.” Her loud sigh traveled through the sea breeze. “Yes, I can hold on while you call them.”

The desperation in her voice stabbed at his heart. The cheery ice cream clown mocked him. He hid the sundae behind his back, waiting for her to end her conversation.

“The time unexpectedly changed to three o’clock this afternoon? And your new assistant didn’t think to tell you? Don’t be too hard on him. Everyone makes mistakes. At least the audition hasn’t been cancelled.” Anna’s voice quivered. “I need this. My bills are piling up. And you know the pressure I’m getting from my parents. Thanks, Sylvia.” She disconnected with a groan and rummaged through her bag. Her shoulders jiggled and heaved. She whipped out a tissue and blew her nose.

Oh, God. She was crying? James hated intruding on her private moment, but he couldn’t bear to see her upset. “Anna?”

She twisted her head. When she saw him, her tears-soaked lashes widened, and she jumped. “James? What are you doing here?”

“I saw your audition.”

She smoothed away a wisp of hair on her cheek. “You did?”

He nodded, leaning forward. “You knocked them dead. Isn’t that what they say in the acting world?”

She sniffed and cleared her throat. “You think I did well?”

“I wouldn’t say that if I didn’t mean it.”

“Thanks. Doesn’t matter now anyway. Just a mix up. I thought I was auditioning for a role in the play at the theater, but I wound up auditioning for a singing server job. Like a waitress.” She pointed toward the ice cream parlor. “The audition for the touring company isn’t until later. Something happened to one or more members of the cast. Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy to take a temporary spot, but I’m hoping they ask me to join the company after they see my magnificent performances.” She sent him an exaggerated wink.

A vein on his neck throbbed. I need you, he wanted to say. “You’ll do great, but I heard them offer you the job here,” he said instead. “Didn’t you tell me about a famous restaurant in New York City where the wait staff sing and perform? You said that was an opportunity for unemployed actors. You could always take the ice cream job, if you need the money.”

Anna tilted her head to the side and wrinkled her nose.

He couldn’t contain his smile. Whenever she had made that bewildered expression in the past, he had found her particularly adorable.

“When did I tell you about that restaurant? We haven’t seen each other in forever.” 

“You told me at our tenth-year high school reunion last year. Don’t you remember?” He never forgot a word she had said.


Purchase Links

Backstage Butter Brittle by Elizabeth John | Goodreads

Backstage Butter Brittle (One Scoop or Two) by Elizabeth John - BookBub



Elizabeth John creates tender romances with a touch of intrigue. She writes at sunrise before her busy day as an elementary school teacher. Admittedly, she’s a TV and movie junkie and has noble intentions to practice yoga daily. In her spare time, she can be found walking her two rescue dogs, researching her family’s ancestry, gardening, or relaxing at the beach with her nose in a good book. She is a member of New Jersey Romance Writers, Romance Writers of America, Liberty States Fiction Writers, and Sisters in Crime.


Elizabeth loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website:

 Social Media Links:



Twitter: @elizabethjohn34

Instagram: @elizabethjohnauthor




Monday, August 1, 2022



August 1st

Fill your eReader with a surprise! 

Is your eReader full of tumbleweeds? Do you need something to read but have no idea where to start? Let my mystery box pick for you!

Fifty-Three authors teamed up to bring you FORTY mystery bags of romance. Alpha heroes, untouchable bosses, sexy vampires, kilted pirates, and more wait to sweep you away. There will be numerous winners!

You get to pick between the three categories that interests you most: Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal

Enter whichever genre is your catnip, or go for all three if you love everything romance.

Do you want a sneak peek hint of which books are available in the bundle? Visit the giveaway page to check them out and enter.

The giveaway is sponsored by these wonderful authors:

Ellen Mint • Elizabeth Cole • Megan Slayer • N.J. Adel • Maggie Blackbird • Catherine Peace • Jordyn Kross • Katherine Grant • Suzanne Baltsar • Seelie Kay • Rachel Ann Smith • Sandra Carmel • Wendi Zwaduk • Heather DiAngelis • Sue London • Allie Ritch • Fenna Edgewood • Jennifer Wilck • Tabetha Waite • Jambrea Jo Jones • Adele Buck • Kerry Blaisdell • J.P. Bowie • Celia Breslin • AT Lander • Sadira Stone • V.J. Allison • Erin Zarro • Cass Scotka • Anise Eden • Angela Taylor • AE Lister • Katy Hunter • Elaina Roberts • Kristian Parker • Laurel Richards • E.M. Lindsey • Angela Addams • January Bain • Jemi Fraser • Rosanna Leo • S. J. Coles • Jaqueline Snowe • Megan Van Dyke • Tracy Sumner • Melissa McClone • Nicola M. Cameron • Kat Turner • Charissa Gracyk • Cassie O’Brien • Sheri-Lynn Marean • Karenna Colcroft • Makenna Holiday