Cheryl Brooks



I first met Cheryl when she spoke at my writers group. I met her a second time when I paid a visit to her writers group. I enjoyed her company and have enjoyed her books. Her latest, Captive, is one of her Cat Star books. You can read them in any order, but I’ve enjoyed reading them in order, beginning with the first in the series, Slave.

A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Cheryl Brooks is a former critical care nurse who resides in rural Indiana with her husband, two sons, one horse, two cats, and one dog. She is the author of the Cat Star Chronicles series, the Cat Star Legacy series, the Cowboy Heaven series, the Soul Survivors trilogy, the Unlikely Lovers series, and several stand-alone books and novellas. Her other interests include cooking and gardening. Cheryl is a member of RWA and IRWA. Visit her online at or email her at

Cheryl Brooks
“Cat Star Legacy”
“Soul Survivors”
“Cowboy Heaven”
“The Cat Star Chronicles”
“Unlikely Lovers”



Captured as a gladiator prospect by beautiful renegade Klara Tavock, Moe Tshevnoe finds romance when he joins forces with his captor to spearhead a revolution.


She stole his freedom… He captured her heart

Moriconthan “Moe” Tshevnoe finds an outlet for his anger when a brawl breaks out in a dusty barroom on Haedus Nine. He joins in the melee with enthusiasm, until he is taken prisoner by a beautiful Zetithian woman with electric blue eyes.

Forced into hiding by the cruel tyrant who covets her, Klara Tavock must do whatever she can to survive. Impressed by Moe’s pugilistic talent, she captures him, intending to sell him as a gladiator slave. But there’s something about this sexy Zetithian she simply can’t resist.

The attraction between them is powerful and undeniable, but when Moe and Klara join forces with the local rebels, they trigger a revolution that could destroy them all…

Or set them free.



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Mellanie Szereto


Mellanie Szereto is an amazing author. She is generous with her time serving as president of her local RWA (Romance Writers of America) chapter, and stepping up to fill a position for RWA national when a need arose.

Check out her latest books, and some of her backlist, too!



The Homegrown Café Book Club series:

The women of The Homegrown Café Book Club are over 40, single, and loving it. Fate, however, has a different plan with a younger man for every last one of them.

Makin’ Bacon (The Homegrown Café Book Club 1) Available in ebook! Audiobook coming soon!

Heroine is 42; hero is 35.

Divorcée Tate Madison wasted fifteen years of her life with a liar and a cheat. Now she’s returned to her hometown to open The Homegrown Café, find a sperm donor, and spend time with her family and new friends. Encouraged by her fellow middle-aged book-club buddies, she begs a favor from her younger brother’s best friend—father the child her ex-husband denied her. Complications abound when she discovers she’s attracted to the man who wasn’t supposed to be more than an anonymous profile at the clinic.

Pig farmer Jim Cochon knows all about in-vitro fertilization, but he’d rather do things the old-fashioned way with the irresistible redhead he’s wanted to marry since he was five. Too bad she refuses his proposal the morning after their attempt to make a baby. He’ll have to convince her second chances are worth taking when happily-ever-after is at stake.


The Farmer Takes a Husband (The Homegrown Café Book Club 2) Available in ebook! Audiobook coming soon!

Heroine is 47; hero is 39.

Organic farmer Riley Fenniman is happily single at forty-seven and refuses to acknowledge an attraction to her younger accountant, let alone surrender to it. Unfortunately, a legal catch in her farm’s ownership and a health scare give her no choice in the matter. The women of The Homegrown Café Book Club have the perfect plan to ensure Riley’s cousin can’t get his greedy paws on her legacy, but it includes a husband and two pubescent girls.

CPA Deacon Jeffries has carried a torch for his favorite client for over a year, but she would probably sooner light him with it than return his affection. She makes an offer he can’t refuse to save her farm, one that makes his wish come true and gives his daughters the mother they need—except for lessons in dropping f-bombs. When the secret she’s keeping reveals itself, he’ll have to choose between self-preservation and love.


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The Butcher and the Baker (The Homegrown Café Book Club 3) Available in ebook! Audiobook coming soon!

Heroine is 43; hero is 37.

After six broken engagements, butcher Petra Lochsley wants nothing to do with men and romance. Her hobbies include throwing axes, discussing books and having raunchy conversations with her middle-aged friends, and eating the occasional Boston cream doughnut—when the flirtatious baker doesn’t insist she prostitute herself for the decadent pleasure. One game of tongue hockey is enough with the guy she used to babysit. So what if he’s hot and is a good kisser?

Baker Auggie Hofmeier didn’t mean fall in love with or accidentally marry the butcher, but his heart seems to know what it’s doing. Besides, his new wife invited him home for a wedding night and more, that is, until the conniving interference by The Candlestick Maker, the old man who owns the shop he and Pet both want to buy, threatens their happily-ever-after. What’s a knave to do?


When Harry Met Wally (The Homegrown Café Book Club 4) Ebook and audiobook coming soon!

Heroine is 50; hero is 40.

Widow Wallis Danforth is looking for a little companionship now that her special needs daughter is becoming more independent. That’s all. Nothing complicated. Unfortunately, dating apps have yielded nothing but jerks and perverts—so many that she’s written a one-act play about her misadventures. But will she be able to resist the younger man who sweeps her off her feet and wants to play all the male roles in her production, including himself?

History teacher Harry Kreiger never believed in love at first sight until he witnessed his Princess Charming putting her rude date firmly in his place—out the door of The Homegrown Café. Dancing lessons and starring opposite his heart’s desire turns them from strangers to friends. But when friends become lovers, he’ll have to pull out all the stops to convince Wally that love is more important than age.


And Baby Makes 2½ (The Homegrown Café Book Club 5) Ebook and audiobook coming soon!

Heroine is 45; hero is 38.

Marriage and children aren’t in the cards for family law expert Georgina Swofford, but that didn’t stop her from butting in just enough to ensure her friends from The Homegrown Café Book Club found happily-ever-after. Hers will have to be fake—with the man she almost bankrupted in divorce court five years ago. A pretend engagement to help him gain custody of his nephew will make them even, won’t it?

Hermit Oscar Banyan prefers solitude after the high-profile divorce that nearly cost him everything, including his freedom. But payback backfires when living together with his attorney for appearances’ sake costs him more than his ponytail and shaggy beard. Playing house becomes a little too intimate to deny his feelings, and convincing her to stay will take more than sleepless nights of sharing a bed and parenthood.



Mellanie Szereto







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The Hate You Give


The Hate U Give by [Angie Thomas]

To get this book on Amazon: click here

With Black Lives Matter in the news so much, I decided to read this book. It was written in 2017 about a Black girl who witnesses the police shooting of her good friend. It delves into how the Black community, and the white community react, about the protests, the rioting, and how she feels about it all. It reads as if it were written today, after all the protests over the death of George Floyd, but it was written three years before his death. Which indicates to me that Floyd’s death is nothing new, that this has been going on a long time, that the problems of the Black community have been easy to ignore–until now.

This book gives real insight into the mind of a Black teenage girl and the world she lives in. I highly recommend this book!

About the author:

About Angie Thomas

Angie Thomas was born, raised, and still resides in Jackson, Mississippi as indicated by her accent. She is a former teen rapper whose greatest accomplishment was an article about her in Right-On Magazine with a picture included. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing from Belhaven University and an unofficial degree in Hip Hop. She can also still rap if needed. She is an inaugural winner of the Walter Dean Myers Grant 2015, awarded by We Need Diverse Books. Her debut novel, The Hate U Give, was acquired by Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins in a 13-house auction. Film rights have been optioned by Fox 2000 with George Tillman attached to direct and Hunger Games actress Amandla Stenberg set to star.
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Maggie Mae Gallagher


The Fixer Upper

Abby Callier is more in love with Shakespearean heroes than any real man, and she’s beginning to wonder if there is life for her outside the pages of a book. It doesn’t help that her esteemed parents tend to view her as they would one of their science experiments gone wrong. On the eve of finishing her dissertation, she escapes her staid existence to live in the house she inherited from her Great Aunt Evie in the small town of Echo Springs, Colorado. Because, let’s face it, when a woman starts comparing her life to horror films, it might be time for a break.

Sheriff Nate Barnes believes in law and order and carefully building the life you want. In his spare time, he has been remodeling his house in the hope that one day it will be filled with the family he makes. But Nate doesn’t like drama or complications and tends to avoid them at all costs. And yet, when Miss Abigail Callier, his newest neighbor, beans him with a nine iron, he can’t help but wonder if she might just be the complication he’s been searching for all along. It doesn’t hurt that he discovers a journal hidden away by the previous tenant and decides to use Old Man Turner’s advice to romance Abby into his life.

Abby never expected her next-door neighbor, the newly dubbed Sheriff Stud Muffin, to be just the distraction her world needed. The problem is she doesn’t know whether she should make Echo Springs her home, or if this town is just a stopover point in her life’s trajectory. And she doesn’t want to tell Nate that she might not be sticking around—even though she should because it’s the right thing to do, the honest thing—because then all the scintillatingly hot kisses with the Sheriff will come to an abrupt halt. Did she mention that he’s a really great kisser?

Praise for The Fixer Upper:

“Maggie Mae Gallagher writes with warmth and a wonderfully compelling voice – I loved The Fixer Upper!” NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR HEATHER GRAHAM


“Maggie Mae Gallagher makes the reader forget the actual words on the page so they can just enjoy the story as it unfolds.” Nancy Berland, NBPR, Inc. President

Amazon Print
Indie Bound

Social Media:

Twitter: @magmaegallagher

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Vina Arno


Vina Arnois the pen name of Cindy Fazzi, a Filipino-American writer and former Associated Press reporter. Finder Keeper of My Heart, published by Painted Hearts Publishing, is her second romance book. Her romance debut, In His Corner, was published by Lyrical Press in 2015.  Her first literary novel, My MacArthur, will be published by the Sand Hill Review Press in 2018.

Book Blurb

EMMA MUNROE, a Juilliard senior, snags a plum role on Broadway a few weeks before her twenty-first birthday. She travels to Hawaii with her best friends to celebrate. When she gets lost in a jungle during an impromptu hike, she happens upon a waterfall—and a naked hunk bathing underneath it.

When she finds out his name is AVERY BELL, she’s dumbstruck. She believes she’s meant to love someone named Avery. It all goes back to a message in a bottle she found when she was nine, a letter written by a soldier called Avery to his sweetheart named Emma. He’d written it in the aftermath of the Pearl Harbor attack during World War II. Since then, Emma has been searching (and saving her virginity) for her own Avery.

But Avery Bell is as mysterious as he is irresistible. Emma learns about his family secrets and bitterness. In the course of this vacation, an accident and a tragic death will shake both of them to the core. Her singular faith in him—her unwavering belief in love and destiny—proves to be his saving grace.

Book Excerpt:

Emma jogged for the next few minutes. Another brook, then a dry creek, before she faced a second switchback. Shit, she was lost! She slogged along, her legs now aching. Then a faint sound of water. Late July in Hawaii was hot and humid, but the temperature had turned cooler the closer she got to the source of the rumbling water.

It turned out to be a waterfall, partly blocked by overgrown grasses. She descended to the swimming hole and parted the tall weeds with both hands to get a full view.

Omigod! A naked man stood underneath the waterfall, his back to her.

Well, hellooo, hottie. She stood across from him, frozen and mesmerized by his beautiful body—tall build, broad shoulders, toned arms and legs. He braced himself against the water crashing on his face by gripping a boulder with each hand.

All of a sudden, he turned around, his eyes shut. Before she could hide, he stepped out of the cascading water. When he opened his eyes, his gaze shot straight to her. He cupped both hands over his groin.

“I’m sorry!” She swung around. “I’m lost. I need your help.”

He didn’t respond, and she didn’t dare look. Two, maybe three minutes passed.

“Hello? Are you still there?” she shouted without glancing.

“You can look now.” He stood several feet away, dressed in khaki cargo pants and a burgundy T-shirt marked MIT. He carried his hiking boots, socks, and a backpack.

“I’ve been lost forever.” She puffed out her cheeks and blew a gust of air. “You have no idea how happy I am to see you. I didn’t mean to intrude.”

He was probably a few years older than her. He didn’t appear embarrassed after getting caught buck naked, only annoyed.

“And your name is?” he snapped.

Okay, definitely pissed. “Emma Munroe—like Marilyn Monroe, but with a u.” She wanted to shake his hand, but didn’t get a chance since he perched on a big rock and proceeded to put on his socks and boots. When he rose, his dark eyes bored right through her.

He extended his hand. “I’m Avery Bell.”

“Avery?” She shook his hand, dumbstruck. Omigod! She had waited half of her life to meet someone named Avery—ever since she’d picked up a message in a bottle bearing that name.

He gave her a quizzical look.

She cleared her throat, composing herself. “Avery. I love that name.” My soul mate’s name is Avery. Could he be the one she’d been looking for?

He arched an eyebrow, like, really? He hauled his backpack over both shoulders. “How can I help you?”

“I need to get out of here.”

“How did you get here in the first place?”

“How did I get here?” she echoed like an idiot. Her self-confidence withered fast. She described the picnic on the beach and the hike up to the trail’s entrance. “I should have stayed put to wait for my friends, but my curiosity got the better of me. I chased the roosters and turkeys, plus I might have zoned out a little bit. I thought I was retracing my steps. I honestly don’t know how I got here.”

He nodded. “You’ve walked about four miles on the trail. Actually, you were probably not on the Muliwai Trail. You probably followed a fake trail. We’re a couple of miles away from Waimanu Valley.”

“You mean Waipio Valley?”

“I mean Waimanu Valley.”

She’d never heard of the place before. He walked up the weedy slope toward the trail.

She followed him. “Can you help me get out of here?”

He stopped, so she paused, too.

He turned his face to her. “I can take you to Waimanu Valley. I’m camping there.”

“Really?” Hope surged in her chest. He’s got to be the one.

Purchase Links


Connect with Vina Arno on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+

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K. D. Rose


I’ve never hosted a poet on my site before. K. D.  Rose’s poetry is all about life today, our world, our problems. And for an extra treat, there is a short story at the end of the book!

rose two

K. D. Rose is a poet, essayist, and author. K.D. was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in poetry for There are Species of Stars Yet to be Seen. K. D.’s book, Inside Sorrow, won Readers Favorite Silver Medal for Poetry. She has written books in multiple genres. Her poetry, essays, and short stories have been published in Word Riot, Chicago Literati, Poetry Breakfast, BlazeVOX Journal, Ink in Thirds, Northern Virginia Review, The Nuclear Impact Anthology, Stray Branch Magazine, Literary Orphans,Maintenant Contemporary Dada Magazine,Lunch Ticket Arts and Literary Magazine, The 2016 Paragram Press Anthology, Eastern Iowa Review, Bop Dead City, Santa Fe Literary Magazine, Hermes Poetry Magazine, Slipstream, Wild Women’s Medicine Circle Journal and The Offbeat Literary Magazine.

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Timeless Surrender

author photo 2


History branded him a coward. Prophecy labeled her his destruction. Some legends are born of lies. Others begin when the lies end. And not everything remains myth…

“If you could live forever, what would you choose to live for? I chose power…”

Born of darkness and raised on revenge, Mordred Lothian spent an eternity fighting for the honor of a woman who had none. Free of her hatred, his only goal is to pick up the pieces of betrayal and attempt to forge a new life in a world that never wanted him.

Raised by one of Hollywood’s most scandalous actresses, Jenalyn Rhodes knows true illusion begins when the end credits roll. Damaged by the one person who should have protected  her most, she is determined to have no master and only one mistress: Herself.

Thrown together to stop an ancient evil hell bent on vengeance, can the sacrifice of one be the salvation of the other?


The man let out a low sound of displeasure. “I said, you have five minutes to convince me to hire you. I have another meeting.” His tone rang with a crisp peevishness which set her on edge.

Not a hello, sorry I kept you waiting, anything?

She didn’t take any guff from anyone. She slid back into her seat, staring up at him as she folded her hand and placed them on the table. “Let’s do something different. You have five minutes to convince me why I should want to be hired by you.” She smiled tightly.

“I’m sorry?” His large eyes darkened a shade.

“You very well might be.” She needed this job but damned if she needed his attitude. Guess those rumors were spot on, you misogynist tool. “Lack of planning on your part doesn’t constitute an emergency on mine. And to be fair,” She pointed out icily, “Your people called me.”

He frowned, crossing his arms defensively over the massive muscled perfection of a chest. “Meaning?”

“I took it to mean you wanted me.”

He razed her with a slow, insolent look.

She wrinkled her nose. “Yeah. No. Simmer down. I’m simply saying while I need this job, you and your people came calling to me.” She rose, grabbing her folder and reaching for her purse.

“What are you doing” He barked.

“Uh, leaving Captain Obvious.”

“Aren’t you interested in the job?” His frown darkened.

“Yes. But we’re obviously off to a bad start. I’ve got a filter free mouth and you’re probably looking for someone to do their job while drooling over what you dictate. I’m thinking it’s not going to make for a good working environment.”

“If I planned on having you underfoot, then I’d agree. But this project doesn’t require a lot of one on one with me. I need someone who knows what they’re doing, can bring the job to completion within a reasonable timeframe and doesn’t need me to hold their hand. I also have no issue when people speak their minds.” He gave her another look, holding his hand out. “Resume?”

Seriously? Her mouth hadn’t run him off?

She sat back down, bringing out her resume and handing it over. He took it, reading it through silently before arching a brow curiously.

“You worked at EFX? Downtown?” He pressed.

She nodded slowly. “Yep.”

“Did you work with Sabrina Foxworth?”

She partially perked up at the mention of her best friend. “Frequently. Do you know her?”

He didn’t answer right away, merely stared at her. Hard. “I’ve heard of her.”

“She does amazing work.”

He fell silent again, regarding her with the oddest look. Curious and calculating, his deep blue eyes delved into her unblinking ones, creating a spasm of shivers to tap dance along her spine. Sexual attraction or her natural instinct reacting to his overt alpha male arrogance and superiority?

Maybe both?

As job interviews went, Jennie figured this one ranked slightly lower than getting a Brazilian with duct tape. Or having habanero tipped enemas. Why am I here again?

Oh, yeah. That’s right. I have an aversion to starving to death.

“You understand what the job entails?”

“You need a web site designed.” She paused slightly. “I’ve seen the one you have up in place now and to be honest, it’s third rate and clunky. Give me a couple of weeks and I can have one set up which will guarantee more hit site visits and larger scope of visibility on cross platforming. I’ve got mad skills with server configuration and can install anti hacking security programs.”

“I’ve acquired two more land bids with plans to develop luxury apartments from the ground up as well as renovating four more buildings on both coasts. Incorporating future acquisitions will be a necessity. Do you offer website maintenance?”

“To be honest, I’m better at creating than maintaining. My follow through tends to keep on the windy side of care. But I do know several web administrators with reasonable rates if you’d like referrals.”

“What makes you think you’re qualified for this job?”

“Because a project of this magnitude is actually child’s play to me. If you’d actually read through my resume, you’d see that.”

“Best work quality?”

“I perform under pressure quite well.” She boasted assuredly.


“Okay.” She squared her shoulders, coughing once. “Bum-bum-bumbumbumda…”

She swore she saw a fleeting grin tug at those firm lips.

Oh, score. He got it! Must be a David Bowie and Queen fan.

He remained stoic. “Why do you want this job?”

“I’m allergic to unemployment.”

“Medically diagnosed?” He drawled, arching one brow.

“Yes, I looked up the symptoms on Web MD.”


“With Web MD?”


“I’d love to. When do I start?” She quipped.



Books2Read Universal Link:



author photo 1

Author Bio:

Born on the planet Gallifrey in the constellation of Kasterborous,I am the illegitimate love child of Han Solo and  Daenerys Targaryen. Rescued by Gandalf shortly before my home planet was destroyed in the last days of the Clone Wars, I was raised in relative obscurity by my foster parents, Severus Snape and Pippi Longstocking. At the tender age of 113, I inherited the best little whorehouse in Texas and it’s been rumored that I am bringing Sexy Back. A self- confessed chocoholic, I’ve been engaged to Willy Wonka for several years despite gossip surrounding millionaire Bruce Wayne and myself.

And clearly, I practice delusion on a daily basis.

Fact is nowhere as fun as fiction!

Growing up, I could be found nearby falling down rabbit holes, catching second stars to the right, and stepping through wardrobes into mysterious lands and countless adventures. When those stories ended, I made up her own and kept going. This later on translated into a strong passion for writing that has helped keep my feet on the ground while my head stayed firmly in the clouds.

My first brush with romance novels came at the tender age of 8 when I filched a Barbara Cartland dog eared paperback from my unassuming aunt and fell into a world of magic, wonder and entirely innocent G rated writing. (Seriously, the farthest Dame Cartland ever took any romantic scene was a chaste kiss and that generally didn’t occur until the very end.) I went on to greedily consume Johanna Lindsey, Jude Devereaux and Anne Rice when older.

Now, I’m a middle aged woman with moxie, no shame and a vivid imagination who loves to write and share her crazy with the world. Her future plans include, hopefully, buying a lovely Scottish castle and convincing Queen Elizabeth I that I’d make a fab addition to the Royal Family.

I live in Southern California, a stone’s throw from Disneyland, with my family and the most ridiculously spoiled pets anyone could imagine. My goals are simple: Keep reading, keep writing and never lose the determination to make life as random, quirky and beautiful as it can be.

Torie James Social Media Links:

Blog and Website:



Instagram: @queenofsquee


Amazon Author:



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In the Weeds

I first “met” Mark Ozeroff when I edited his first book, Days of Smoke, for Asylett Press. In the Weeds, is his second book and it is well worth the wait!


In the Weeds by Mark Ozeroff is a story of a Vietnam veteran working through his own brand of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the early 1970’s. Sometimes gallant and heroic, Slats Kisov often does more than just bend the rules and the law. But through it all, he retains his own morality, which includes helping the weak and helpless without thought of his own personal loss or gain.

This one-man vigilante wrecks havoc on those who trample the rights of others and he does so with a huge helping of humor. I laughed out loud on every page. In the Weeds reminded me of M.A.S.H. Lots of humor even in the midst of war and ugliness.

Slats is far from perfect, however. He learned to smoke “weed” in Vietnam, and sees no reason to stop when he comes home. It is more than a comfort to him and, as a pilot, he sees no reason not to “help” out a family who grows marijuana by flying loads of their crop into Florida.

Ever at odds with the local police chief over civil rights, brutality, and the cop’s downright stupidity, Slats eventually gets into big trouble with the law. While watching helplessly as other veterans succumb and spiral downward, inviting death rather than live with their PTSD, Slats maintains his humor. Through the support of a girlfriend, the weed growing family, an airplane, and a little girl, Slats learns to deal with his own demons and stop his own self destructive life-style.

In the Weeds is heavy on the flying aspect of Slats’s life, providing details about flying and airplanes that only an experienced pilot could supply. But those details are well-written and interesting. Any pilot will greatly appreciate this book. Mark Ozeroff twists the English language more than Slats twists the law to provide a read that, although troubling at times, never lets up on the humor. I highly recommend this book.


IN THE WEEDS is a humorous ‘70s tale of gas, grass, ass…and Vietnam. Slats Kisov is an Air Force pilot who returns to the US a changed man, suffering from undiagnosed PTSD. Slats just thinks he’s addicted to the adrenaline of combat flying, so for excitement he starts smuggling the occasional load of marijuana into Florida from the Bahamas. He is aided in this venture by the Morales family, moral people…who just also happen to be money launderers, gun molls, and poetry-spouting bulimic Cuban pot farmers.

About the author:

Mark Ozeroff holds an MBA and a Commercial pilot license. He is a ravenous reader, one who believes that fiction can sometimes tell a more profound truth than history. Mark may be the most undisciplined author since Jack Kerouac – he writes slower than a glacier descends a fjord, and his first drafts are rougher’n forty-grit sandpaper. Mark’s debut novel earned a gold medal from the Military Writers Society of America…just in time for his first publisher to go belly-up. So he relocated to California, to lick his wounds and write IN THE WEEDS.
Buy links:
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Alexandra Christian has started a new series!  The first book in the series releases on Apr. 13, 2017. Here’s a blurb, a bit about Alexandra, and a sneak peak excerpt! Enjoy!

Naked Teaser

AUTHOR BIO Alexandra Christian is an author of mostly romance with a speculative slant. Her love of Stephen King and sweet tea has flavored her fiction with a Southern Gothic sensibility that reeks of Spanish moss and deep fried eccentricity. As one-half of the writing team at Little Red Hen Romance, she’s committed to bringing exciting stories and sapiosexual love monkeys to intelligent readers everywhere. Lexx also likes to keep her fingers in lots of different pies having written everything from sci-fi and horror to Sherlock Holmes adventures. Her alter-ego, A.C. Thompson, is also the editor of the highly successful Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series of anthologies.

A self-proclaimed “Southern Belle from Hell,” Lexx is a native South Carolinian who lives with an epileptic wiener dog and her husband, author Tally Johnson. Her long-term aspirations are to one day be a best-selling authoress and part-time pinup girl. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and Broad Universe—an organization that supports female authors of speculative fiction.


Following a brutal act of vengeance, MI:6 agent Macijah St. John is left grieving for his slaughtered family and agrees to participate in a secret government experiment that gives him a magnificent and terrible power.  Now he’s a mercenary spy that solves problems for the right price.  His latest job puts him in the path of the greatest catastrophe yet—a librarian.

Phoebe Addison’s life is a disaster. Crippling debt, a non-existent social life, and being the town librarian is hardly the glamorous existence she’d always dreamed of. But when her sister Jessica, an interplanetary archeologist, gets herself involved with a psychotic billionaire bent on world domination, Phoe is about to get more excitement than she bargained for.



Caught in the Rain

There is no situation that can’t be made worse with the addition of heavy rain. Phoebe stumbled down the path behind St. John, her sensible pumps sinking into the squishy ground with every step. His long-legged strides weren’t particularly fast, but she was practically running to catch up. She was also trying to pull a bulky suitcase behind her without much luck. Finally she ran over a large rock, tipping the case over and taking her with it. She sat down hard on the wet ground, the standing water in the grass splashing up and peppering her with a spray of muddy freckles. “Damnit!” she cried, wanting to throw herself down and have a kicking and screaming tantrum. Instead she took off one of her shoes and threw it as hard as she could. It whizzed past St. John’s ear, and he finally turned.

“Problem?” he asked, strolling back toward where she sat in the grass.

“Can you slow down a minute, please?” Her tone was teetering on annoyance. Couldn’t he see that she was having trouble? So much for the politeness of the British.

He stared down at her, his arms crossed over his chest. “Actually, no. We need to get as far away from that crash site as soon as possible and you to that spaceport so I can be on my way.”  He looked over the assortment of items that had fallen out of the case as it tipped over. “Got any trainers in there?”

Phoebe looked up at him like he had suddenly lapsed into Chinese. “What?”

“Trainers. Shoes. Like shoes you wear for running.”

“Oh. Not really, no.”

“Jeans? A jumper?”

“No. I didn’t think I’d be trekking through the forest,” she replied, taking his offered hand and letting him pull her upright. She limped over to where she had thrown her shoe, searching the grass.

“Is there anything in there that’s helpful or important?”

“Well of course,” she replied. “My clothes and toothbrush… anti-bac hand lotion…” She continued listing off all of the things as she pulled her discarded shoe back on. Heaving a sigh, he grabbed the suitcase and slung it as hard as he could over the ravine.

“What are you doing?” She could feel the pressure of angry tears behind her eyes as she watched all of her worldly possessions take a header down the bank, spilling her delicates over the dirty ground. How dare he have such disregard for her personal property! Not to mention that the items in that suitcase were her security blankets. There might not be anything of value or anything “helpful,” but there were things she needed! A picture of her family, her allergy medicine… her copy of Gone With the Wind. Phoebe started to run after the case, but St. John held her back. She beat her fists against his arms and chest. “Let me go! That’s my stuff! I need it!”

“Your stuff is slowing us down. Look, I said I would help you, but I’m not a bellhop or a hero! If you’re going with me, you play by my rules.”  He looked up into the sky and let her go. “Come on… it’s nearly dawn.”

She watched him go, starting to reconsider her pleas for his help and then realizing that she had little choice but to follow him. They were now so far off the beaten path that she’d never find her way out. Steeling her jaw and giving a last glance back to where he’d thrown her suitcase, she started walking. Despite his growling, he did slow the pace a little so that she could keep up.

As they walked on and on, the trees rose up around them in an ominous canopy that nearly obliterated the early morning light of dawn. She could hear the stream that ran along beside them at the bottom of the ravine. It was hard to believe in their world that places such as this still even existed. It was almost desolate, but beautiful. Watching him as they walked, she slowly realized that St. John seemed almost as distressed as she felt. By now they’d been walking for hours, and in that time he’d become increasingly irritable. After several attempts at conversation, Phoebe had just given up and walked beside him silently. But his mood was starting to make her worry even more than she had been already.

“So… you don’t really seem like the normal space traveler,” he said, surprising her by breaking the silence. St. John shifted the backpack from one shoulder to the other. “What’s taking you to New London?”

“What? Oh… yes. My sister,” she replied. “I’m going to visit her.”

“Interesting,” he replied blandly.

Her heart pounded in her chest. She didn’t fully trust St. John and wasn’t sure that she should reveal her true intentions. Anyone could be working for Machine. Maybe he had been sent to keep an eye on her. Phoe was a fan of James Bond, so she had spent many an hour watching spy movies. He could be some kind of operative that was just waiting for an opportunity to steal the medallion and leave her broken body in the woods. And of course there was the werewolf thing. “Not really. I mean… it’s just a visit.”

“Well considering that no one really lives on the space colony unless they’re either filthy rich or a scientist of some sort. Judging by your clothes, you don’t appear to be particularly wealthy. So that leaves scientist.”

“She’s an archaeologist,” Phoebe answered. “She works for the Interplanetary Union, looking for natural resources and such. I’m a librarian.”

“I didn’t know those existed anymore. Libraries, I mean.”

“In small towns mostly, I suppose. I mean, I used to work for a digital archive in New Orleans, but I… I didn’t really like it there.” She bit down on her lip, wishing she could take it back. Her brain whirred, already constructing the story that she would tell him when he asked why she’d left New Orleans. Everyone asked why.

To her surprise, St. John just nodded, glancing toward the lightening sky again.

“What about you?”

“What about me?” he parroted.

“Well… what do you do?”

“I… I’m not really sure how to describe what I do. I’m a problem solver, I guess.”  Given the things Phoe saw in his backpack, his problem solving skills must involve heavy artillery.

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Betty Bolte

My guest today is Betty Bolte, a sweet, generous writer who has hosted me on her site more than once! She has a bit of family history to share and would love to hear some of yours in the comments. Welcome, Betty!

Betty Bolte-July 2013


Rocking Family History

In my latest release, Undying Love, Meredith’s grandmother’s favorite seat in the plantation house was her gooseneck rocking chair. The reason for this particular piece of furniture to have such a central place in the story stems from my own life. See, sitting in my family room is a blue gooseneck platform rocking chair that is older than I am. In fact, my dad bought the chair for my mom when she was pregnant with me.Gooseneck Rocker-2016 (1)

Originally, the upholstery featured a pattern (flowers or country scene, I think) but decades later my mom had it recovered in a blue velour fabric. Why is it called a gooseneck rocker? If you look closely at the photo, you’ll notice that the wooden handles of the arm rest are carved to look like a goose bent to touch its bill to its throat. Here’s some background on their history:

As you can imagine, this chair holds many, many memories for me. It’s always been part of my life. My dad used to nap in this chair, legs outstretched, hands folded on his stomach as he snored in the afternoon. He and I loved to pull pranks on each other. While he napped, I’d untie his shoes and tie them together, giggling the entire time. When he awoke, he’d always act surprised and miffed, but of course he anticipated, even expected, the joke.

My mom, too, spent a lot of time in this chair, rocking as she crocheted, or sitting still while she worked on cross-stitching the top of a quilt or a picture as a gift. In fact I have a crewel embroidered picture she did of a train station with train in honor of my grandfather who worked as a railroad engineer. She also used to occasionally sit in it while she ate potato chips and sipped on a cold beer while she watched her favorite shows on TV.

As a kid, I was prone to poison ivy, and I can recall clutching the gooses to keep me from scratching the bumps and clusters up and down my calamined arms. I also rocked my children in this chair, read to them, cuddled them when they suffered with a cold. Like mom, I’ve crocheted and snacked in it. After all these decades (5 and counting) it’s still a comfortable place to relax.

In Undying, this type of chair plays a significant role:

Meredith paced through the house until she stopped at the wide doorway to the sewing room. Max had told her Grandma died in her rocker, head back, eyes closed peacefully as though taking an afternoon snooze. Meredith paused, mentally inventorying the contents of the room. Sunshine filtered through the sheers covering the oversize double-hung windows. A cut-glass bowl of lavender-and-mint potpourri sat on an antique table, a spiderweb glistening between the bowl and the wood surface. Two floral-print gooseneck-handled rocking chairs faced the windows, lace doilies pinned to their headrests. Meredith envisioned her Grandma taking her final nap in the chair farthest from the door. The same chair the woman had occupied every Sunday afternoon of Meredith’s childhood to do her mending for the week, or to add stitches to one of hundreds of gifts in celebration of a new baby or birthday or other milestone event.

Grandma didn’t know what Meredith had endured. What would she have said if she were here? How would she have handled the loss of two dear loved ones in such a tragic way? The horror followed by anger and grief was beyond her ability to describe to people who had not experienced it, and even more difficult for them to grasp.

Meredith swallowed the emotion threatening to sprout tears. The past was dead, just like Willy. Just like her Grandma. She could not permit herself to relive it. She could only press on with her life as she knew in her heart that Willy would want her to do, and pray for the day she joined all those who’d gone before her.

Of course, Meredith has a long life ahead of her before she’ll realize that eventuality. But with the history of this style of chair in America, and my own personal history associated with one, it seemed only fitting to include one or two in my story. Do you also see how I wove my own view of the chair into Meredith’s reality without it being my reality? No lace doilies ever graced my chair, for example. Usually crocheted afghans…

It’s your turn. What family heirlooms do you treasure? Or hide? Talk to me…

Undying Love by Betty Bolté


Release Date: January 10, 2017


When architect Meredith Reed inherits her family’s plantation after the devastating loss of her own family, she must choose how to move on with her life. Keep the plantation? Not a good idea. Sell it? Better. Turn it into a memorial park? Better yet. But can she go against her family traditions and the hunky but irate lawyer?

Max Chandler needs two things to complete his life plan: become a senior partner and find his soul mate. He’s due a promotion once his legislation to protect the county’s historic properties is approved. The wife part he finds more challenging, having never met the right woman. If only the talented, attractive, aloof Meredith didn’t want to destroy the very property he cherishes.

While Meredith struggles to reconcile her past and future, will she learn a lesson from the spectral Lady in Blue in time to save both her family and home from destruction?

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Betty Bolté writes both historical and contemporary stories featuring strong, loving women and brave, compassionate men. No matter whether the stories are set in the past or the present, she loves to include a touch of the paranormal. In addition to her romantic fiction, she’s the author of several nonfiction books and earned a Master’s in English in 2008. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Historical Novel Society, the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and the Authors Guild. Get to know her at, signup for her Newsletter, or follow her on Facebook.


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