Sheri Velarde

Today I have Sheri Velarde as my guest talking about her new book, Code Black. Here’s what she has to say about why she wrote a zombie book.


Zombies. We all know about them and we all fear them to some degree. The big debate is usually what is more fearsome, intelligent zombies or mindless horde zombies? For me it is a mixture of both, but I chose more of the hordes of zombies for Code Black. Why? Because of how they turn into zombies, how they are infected. I based this all on one of my real fears, losing myself to a disease. To get a bit personal, I have multiple sclerosis, a neurological disease and my greatest fear is someday not being me. That is the starting point for my zombies, though of course I combined it with something completely different. It’s scarier if anyone at any time can become infected and lose themselves don’t you think? Because seriously, who wants to continue to live if all sense of self is gone, if you are a mindless monster? To me losing that sense of self is what is really terrifying about zombies, though eating people doesn’t sound too pleasant either! lol


A disease that can destroy the entire fabric of society, how can one face down such odds?

Sara lives on Key Largo, a place she knows she should have left after the last hurricane, but she can’t quite walk away from it. When warning sirens go off, she fears for the safety of her home more than anything else. That is, until she realizes that something much more than severe weather is heading her way.

When her own government blows up the only escape to the mainland and her neighbors begin to attack one another, Sara learns she can only depend on herself. With the aid of her uncle and Cameron, a National Guard soldier helping her along the way, she is on the run for her life. Harsh realities she never thought she would have to face are now part of her life. Can she do what it takes to survive, or will she always be on the run and wondering what might have been?


“What the hell do you mean ‘the bridge is closed’? Something odd is going on here. We’ve never had the National Guard here for an evacuation, and you are telling me that you just expect us to wait it out here on the island and not ask questions? I heard the warning sirens. We are supposed to be evacuating! Let us through!” Sara demanded, trying to push past the mass of muscle in a National Guard uniform blocking her way.

“I’m sorry, ma’am. We have orders that no one is to cross the bridge. No one is allowed to enter Miami,” the officer said, not budging an inch.

“I just told you that the evacuation sounded, e-v-a-c-u-a-t-i-o-n, and you’re telling me that we can’t leave? It’s probably a late hurricane, and you expect us all just to hope we make it through that here in the Keys? We need to get to the mainland!” Sara threw up her hands in frustration. The memory of the last hurricane which destroyed her family home remained clear in her mind. She should have moved after her family had lost almost everything, but something held her in Key Largo.

“It is not a hurricane warning, ma’am. Please go back to your home and you will be fine.”

Just then, the officer’s walkie-talkie went off. “Miami has been lost. Move everyone away from the bridge. We must prevent the spread and contamination. This is a Code Black. Repeat, this is a Code Black. All civilians must be moved a safe distance from the bridge. You have five minutes.”

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Twitter handle: Sher_V



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The Scandalous Proposal of Lord Bennett

My guest today is Raven McAllan. She is letting us all know about her new book, The Scandalous Proposal of Lord Bennett!

Raven photo smaller pic May 15 copyHi everyone. It’s great to be here and talking about my latest book, The Scandalous Proposal of Lord Bennett.
It’s my debut novel with Carina, out on 22nd of September on Amazon and Kobo, and up for pre-order before then. I’m more than a little excited. As every publishing house works in different ways, it’s been a steep, and thrilling learning curve. I’m enjoying every second of it.
I fell into writing Regency romance almost by accident. I’ve always been fascinated by that era, by the undercurrents and the secrets that filled the ton and the way people behaved, and decided I’d like to see if I could put some of the machinations and romance into words.
Let’s hope I’ve succeeded.


To have and to hold?
Reluctant debutante Lady Clarissa Macpherson has never forgotten the forbidden kiss she shared with notorious rake, Lord Theodore ‘Ben’ Bennett, all those years ago. Even now, he’s the one man who sets Clarissa’s pulse racing and her skin tingling – no matter how hard she tries to ignore it!
Yet, when Ben rescues her from the unwanted advances of a drunken Lord at a society ball, she finds herself in a most scandalous predicament – engaged, to the most eligible bachelor in London!
Wedded? It appears so, but bedded? Clarissa demands more from her marriage than simply surrendering to her new husband’s sexual desires, especially when she realizes she’s falling deeper in love with him every single day. Ben must prove that she’s the only woman for him – and surrender his heart!
Yet resisting her new husband’s delicious seduction may prove the hardest thing Clarissa has ever done…
A wee tease…
‘All the gardens were my mama’s favourites when she was alive.’ Stupid. After all, how could they be if she were dead? ‘She would have said exactly the same with regard to the staff. I’ll make a note to let them know.’ He experienced the usual sharp pang of loss that hit him whenever he thought of his long-gone mama. She had passed when he was at Eton, and Ben still experienced the loss, as if it were the day before. ‘I feel they may be neglected somewhat. I’m sure she – I – would be happy for your input.’
Her sigh stirred the hairs on his neck.
‘You don’t like the idea?’ He’d thought she’d be pleased. Truly the way a woman’s mind worked could be a mystery. For one fleeting moment Ben had a vision of his last mistress. Her mind worked in one way only – calculating what was in it for her. He had parted company with the fair lady when her demands began to be inappropriate. Right from the start he’d told her it was a temporary liaison and, whatever she’d thought, he’d had no intention of altering the status quo. And now he was married? Ben had an uneasy feeling life might not be the same, even though he thought he and his wife had come to an understanding.
‘The gardens?’ he prompted Clarissa when it seemed she wasn’t going to answer.
‘Oh yes, the gardens. Perhaps.’ Her offhand, indifferent tone of voice irritated him. The knock on the door came as a welcome relief. Ben was out of his depth, and he didn’t like the sensation.
He liked the news even less.
‘What do you mean, some idiot’s driven into my coach?’ He roared the words, and blinked rapidly, as if the gesture would change the declaration uttered by the harried footman in front of him. ‘How the hades did you let that happen?’
Clarissa placed her hand on Ben’s arm. How he stopped himself from shaking it off, he had no idea. He glanced at her impatiently. She stood her ground and returned his perusal.
‘My lord, have you never heard the expression do not shoot the messenger? Scraptoft here is only relaying what’s happened. He is neither responsible for it, nor able to alter the chain of events. He’s told you about the accident, and you need to go and see for yourself what’s to be done.’
The footman flashed a grateful glance in her direction and Ben gritted his teeth. She was right, of course, but he didn’t like to be reminded of it in such a fashion.
‘Of course, my dear, you are, as ever, correct.’ He cursed the defensive tone.
‘I accept your apologies and acknowledgement, my lord.’ The words and intonation were dulcet, the look in her eyes not so. ‘I will arrange for our food to be delayed until your return.’
Ben nodded curtly. ‘Thank you.My apologies, Scraptoft. It is, of course, not your doing. Forgive me – I was somewhat perturbed.’ He gestured to the man to precede him, and turned back to his wife once the other man had left the room.
‘I trust you can entertain yourself while I’m away?’
Her eyes filled with mischief, and he could have sworn she choked back a laugh.
‘Of course, sir. I have a book.’

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Madeline Martin

Madeline Martin is my guest today! Her new Highland book, Possession of a Highlander, is the second in a series of three books.


1. What is your educational background? I went to Flagler College in St. Augustine, FL and majored in Business Administration with minors in Economics, Political Science and Accounting. For my day job, I run reports and work with SQL. Writing is my passion :)

2.  Looking at your website, you seem to be very active. What are your goals for biking, running, etc? Aw, thank you :) I really just love to work out. I’m addicted to that post-workout rush. I guess, if anything, my goal would be for my daughters (AKA the minions) to see how much I enjoy working out and want to follow my example and get joy from being healthy and active as well.

3. Why have you decided to concentrate on Scottish Highlands romances? I started reading Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series when I was on maternity leave. Suddenly all those stories roiling around in my head took on a Scottish slant. So when I started really sitting down to write a full novel, that’s what came out.

4. How many books do you plan to write in this series? How are the books related? Do each of the books stand alone, or do they need to be read in sequence? There are three books in this series: Deception of a Highlander, Possession of a Highlander and Enchantment of a Highlander - the last one is the only one not available yet. They’re linked through the heroes, but very loosely so and can all be read as stand alone without issue.

5. When can we expect book 3, and what will it be about? Enchantment of a Highlander is Alec’s story (he’s my super alpha male and I LOVE this story so much) comes out January 19th. I’m including the Goodreads link if anyone wants to read the blurb and add it to their ‘Want to read’ list


Back cover blurb:

Brianna Lindsay’s grip on the inheritance that is rightly hers hangs by a thread. If the town finds out her father has died, Brianna will be forced into marriage with her loathsome cousin, Lord Robert, and will lose all of Edzell Castle and its lands. To protect her home, she’ll have to trust a complete stranger, a brooding Highland barbarian who sweeps into Edzell with a small retinue and insists on replacing her Captain of the Guard. He proves his worth by defeating her men and she has no choice but to accept his offer.

Though his motives are suspect, Colin MacKinnon has nobility in his blood and good intentions in coming to Edzell. He seeks his own kingdom, one to rival his father’s, and sets out to conquer Brianna in the best way he knows how—with seduction.

Brianna never thought of all the wealth she protects, the one thing she has left completely vulnerable is her heart. Colin never thought that of everything he stands to achieve, he might have to face the unexpected pain of loss. Together, they must navigate a treacherous world of spies and intrigue, of legacy and fidelity, of love and betrayal, to find what is truly worth possessing.

Here’s an excerpt of Possession of a Highlander – it’s short and sweet, but I love it:

He caught her hand mid-swing.

Just one look.

She stopped, and her warm gaze rose to meet his.
Her face was flushed beneath fair skin, her lips pink.
Just one touch.
He brushed the curve of her cheek with his fingertips, down her jaw to the delicate line of her throat. She tilted her head back and her lashes fluttered closed.
Her lips were mere inches from his.
Just one kiss.
His heart slammed in his chest. His breath came fast.
He grasped the back of her neck and threaded his fingers through her silky hair. If he was going to allow himself only one kiss, he would relish it.

Buy link:


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Scott Wieczorek

My guest today is Scott Wieczorek, a professional archaeologist working in the American Middle-Atlantic region. He has written numerous short stories and several full-length novels ranging from science fiction to paranormal mystery to horror. In addition, he writes reviews of books by Independent authors. Samples of his work are available on his blog at

I’ve always had an interest in archaeology, so I was fascinated with Scott’s answers to my questions. And when I read the excerpt from his book, Witness Through Time, I knew I had to read this book! You can read the blurb and excerpt at the end of this post.
1. You are an archaeologist. Tell us a little about your work. Old, Native American sites, or historical sites?
As I mention in my bio, I am a professional archaeologist working in the American Middle Atlantic Region. Through my career, I have excavated various historic and prehistoric sites from basic shovel-testing surveys to full-on data recoveries with units and block excavations. The ages of artifacts I have recover range from 50 yrs old to 10,000 years. One of the few times that Indiana Jones was right is when he told his students that most of the work in archaeology take place in the library rather than the field. The excavation, though the most fun, is generally one of the smallest parts of an archaeological project. Research, analysis, and report writing make up the bulk of the work. It really takes a special kind of person dedicated to research and writing to be an archaeologist. For me, the writing is my favorite part.

2. How has your profession influenced your writing, or has it? Have you incorporated any sites or anything from it into your writing?
Working as an archaeologist has, in fact, influenced my writing in several ways. First, it proved to me that I could write a long manuscript. After all, if you can write a multi-hundred page report at single-space, 11 pt. font on 8.5×11 sheets, then a 70-80,000 word manuscript is not so daunting. Secondly, it opened me up to working with professional editors. Editing is a key component to writing. A rough draft is almost never good enough. There is always polish needed. And that is what editors do. They take something good and make it great! As far as incorporating an archaeological site into my writing, I actually do have a manuscript in process that involves a site I investigated for my Master’s Thesis.

3. You had a church sponsored book signing with some proceeds going to the church, yet you write about zombies and demons. How do you deal with those two different elements in your writing as well as in your life?
It’s a funny thing you mention this. The book involving angels and demons, titled Awakening, actually has lots of religious underpinnings and puts both creatures as two factions of the same race of creatures known as Daimones. One faction seeks to enslave humanity, the other to protect it. Our parish rector loved the story so much, she actually offered up the book signing as an event for the church’s 150th anniversary. It was a great honor. With regard to zombies, they are a biological manifestation. For those who have read Byron: A Zombie tale, the zombies have little to do with religion, and a lot to do with bacteria and microorganisms. As far as religion and science in my own personal life, I don’t see that they are diametrically opposed. After all, everything may have started in the big bang. But what created everything in the first place? What put it all into motion?


Witness Through Time Blurb:

When Glory Parker moves to the bucolic locale of Cragg’s Head Cove, Maine, she uncovers a mystery that has remained unsolved for more than fifteen years—the disappearances of four college students with the perpetrator still on the loose. As the mystery unfolds around her, she becomes aware of her strange new ability to pierce the veil of time. Can Glory solve the mystery before more people disappear?

Witness Through Time Excerpt:

The glow of her headlights caught a gleam of metal ahead in the distance. A car was pulled over to the roadside. Could it be Jim? Did he decide not to head in to the station, but to wait for her? As she approached, the car came more clearly into view—definitely not Jim’s.
Parked askew, it appeared the driver had pulled over in haste. The car’s headlights remained on, but its taillights sat dark. She couldn’t understand why someone would drive and abandon a car in such a dangerous way at night.
Against all her instincts and better judgment, she pulled off the road, grabbed her cell phone, and shut off her car. As it sputtered to a stop, it became apparent the other driver hadn’t turned his engine off. Had something terrible happened? Its occupants couldn’t be too far away. She reached into her center console and removed a flashlight before stepping out into the chilly night air.
She dialed Jim’s number, hoping he still had his cell phone handy, but groaned at the dead air against her ear. A glance at the screen told her all she needed to know—no bars. How could that even be? She’d just received a text from Jim mere moments ago. She sighed, debating whether to drive a little further up the road to find better reception, or a phone booth. But something tugged at her; people probably needed help, and she couldn’t just leave them here. With a shiver flitting up her spine, she stuffed the phone in her pocket and closed her car door.
As she stepped toward the embankment, the hackles stood on her neck. Something about the whole scene seemed wrong. Except for the low idle of the car, an eerie solitude settled about the place; not even the tree frogs croaked their mating songs in the night.
A scream pierced the stillness. She knew the sound—it didn’t belong to any kind of animal; it belonged to a woman. She pulled her phone from her pocket. She dialed Jim’s number again—still no reception.
Whipping her flashlight around, she pointed it to where the sound came from. Of course, it needed to be down the embankment. She slipped her phone into her pocket again; she would check for reception again later.
With a deep breath, she made her way down the steep roadside to the leaf-littered forest floor below. A quick examination of the slope as she went revealed another fresh path cut through the leaves, and snapped branches. Someone had crashed through here at high speed. Another scream caught her attention—a female voice, and definitely in trouble. Glory broke into a sprint, following the voice. She ran through the woods, branches whipping her face and brush grabbing her ankles.
“Somebody! Help me!”
The girl’s scream sounded loud and clear. Something crashed in the leaves ahead, followed by a groan and sounds of struggle.
“Let me go, you bastard.” The girl’s voice echoed through the woods.
“Shut up!” The angry voice belonged to a male.
As her feet crashed through the leaves, she heard something like a meaty thud.
Glory stopped dead in her tracks, reached for her phone, and dialed 9-1-1. She pressed send—nothing again. Crap! She must still be in a dead spot. The irony struck her. If she didn’t do something soon, then this would certainly be a dead spot for the girl. She needed to help—one way or another. Glory crept up, extinguishing her flashlight. She followed the sounds of struggle pierced by the girl’s sobs and squeals.
“Yeah,” said the male voice, “you go ahead and cry. Ain’t nobody gonna help you.” Glory could hear from the sound of his voice that he was enjoying himself.
The girl wailed, her voice carrying through the barren trees. The sharp clap of an open-handed slap echoed through the dark. Another wail flew into the night.
Glory could see the pair on the ground. The mousy young brunette girl lay on her back with a young man of average build atop her. He wore a backward baseball cap and Glory couldn’t see his face. They wrestled around as he tried to pin her hands at her sides. She wriggled her hand free and tried to punch him, but he grabbed her wrist, trapping it again.
She scanned the ground for anything she could use as a weapon. Ten feet to her right, lay a long, thick branch, about four-feet in length. Her heartbeat thrummed in her ears. Sidling like a crab, she slid her phone in her pocket and picked it up, creeping toward them.
Before she could reach them, though, the male straightened up, bellowing in pain. He clutched a hand to his face. Blood covered one of the girl’s hands.

Here’s where you can buy a copy of Witness Through Time:

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Conquest of the Heart

I am so happy to have a great new cover for my book!




Her people conquered his country. How can they overcome the distrust they feel to find love?

In 1067 England, Madeline, a Norman, wants a big, brash, never-defeated-in-battle, Norman knight. What she gets, by order of the king, is a wiry Saxon who once studied for the priesthood instead of warfare. But is this gentle man she is falling in love with entangled in the rebellion now sweeping the land?

Ranulf wants to marry the girl next door. What he gets, by order of the king, is a lush, strong Norman woman who just might be a spy reporting his every move. He wants her in every way a man can possibly want a woman. But can he trust his heart to a woman who might have been sent to root out the struggle for freedom his people are engaged in?


He let his gaze travel back to his bride walking stiffly, reluctantly, toward him. For once, Ranulf felt speech was beyond him. She was so much more than he had expected. So beautiful. So clean. She  glittered like a bright jewel in a dung heap. For Etherby, no matter how much he loved it, was not much better than one right now.

If only he could say to this magnificent woman, “Go away. Come back in a year. Give me time to build the castle the king has ordered, tear down this rotting hall, teach cleanliness to servants to whom filth is a way of life. Then you won’t have to grit your teeth and square our shoulders as if going into battle as you come to wed me.” But it was already too late. She was here. The wedding was now. And he felt as randy as a billy goat.

He would begin building the king’s castle immediately. The work would distract him from Lady Madeline’s seductive lure. She would find no treason with which to fill the king’s ears, and, like his mother’s attitude toward his father, he was sure the lady would be glad not to have him in her bower, not the way he felt now, the things he wanted to do to her.

Buy links for Conquest of the Heart


Barnes and Noble:





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C.D. Hersh

SERIES TITLE: The Turning Stone Chronicles
GENRE: Urban fantasy, Paranormal Suspense Romance

Owen Todd Jordan Riley has a secret. He’s a shape shifter who has been hunting and killing his own kind. To him the only good shifter is a dead shifter. Revenge for the death of a friend motivates him, and nothing stands in his way . . . except Katrina Romanovski, the woman he is falling in love with.

Deputy coroner Katrina Romanovski has a secret, too. She hunts and kills paranormal beings like Owen. At least she did. When she rescues Owen from an attack by a werebear she is thrust back into the world she thought she’d left. Determined to find out what Owen knows about the bear, she begins a relationship meant to collect information. What she gets is something quite different-love with a man she suspects of murder. Can she reconcile his deception and murderous revenge spree and find a way to redeem him? Or will she condemn him for the same things she has done and walk away from love?

This book brings to life Owen’s story a year after the loss of his best friend whom he thinks was killed by Rhys Temple. This book also continues with Alexi’s and Rhys’ story, which began in The Promised One as they took their places to become the long awaited bringers of peace to the Turning Stone Society.

Three ancient Celtic families. A magical Bloodstone that enables the wearers to shape shift. A charge to use the stone’s power to benefit mankind, and a battle, that is going on even today, to control the world. Can the Secret Society of shape shifters called the Turning Stone Society heal itself and bring peace to our world?

Find out in the series The Turning Stone Chronicles:
Book three of The Turning Stone Chronicles “Son of the Moonless Night” currently available in eBook on Amazon at:

Book one of The Turning Stone Chronicles “The Promised One” currently available on Amazon in eBook: and paperback:
When homicide detective Alexi Jordan is forced to use her shape shifting powers to catch a paranormal killer, she risks the two most important things in her life—her badge and the man she loves.

Book two of The Turning Stone Chronicles “Blood Brothers” currently available in eBook on Amazon at:
Shape shifter Delaney Ramsey’s daughter is missing, and she is bound by honor to protect the man she suspects of the deed. To bring him to justice, she must go against her code, the leader of the secret shifter society, and the police captain she is falling for.

Excerpt from Son of the Moonless Night:
A crash in the alley stopped Katrina Romanovski mid-stride. Like the October mist swirling in off the lake, her gypsy blood stirred sending her intuition into high gear. Something unnatural was happening.
Go see what’s wrong. She heard her father’s voice as clearly as if he stood next to her.
On the heels of his words came her mother’s pragmatic warning in clipped British tones. You know what curiosity killed. Katrina pushed the ever-present warning aside. Mom never approved of Dad’s supernatural hunts and even less of his drawing her into them.
Pulling the oversized cross she always wore out from under her shirt, Kat looked around for a weapon. Please, not a vampire. I hate vampires! A piece of wood sticking out of the trashcan at the front of the alley caught her eye.
Grabbing it, she broke the end off into a sharp point. The mist-filled air filtered the light from the single bulb over one of the alley doorways. The wind swirled the loose trash around making a quiet approach difficult. Sidestepping the paper, with the stake in one hand and holding the gun she took from her purse in the other hand, she crept into the alley.
A roar echoed against the buildings, the sound nearly sending her running. That roar wasn’t a vampire. It sounded more like an animal. Kat inched closer. In the yellow pool of light from the back door of the building, a black bear, over seven feet tall, reared on its back legs and swung its paw at the man standing at the edge of the light. He crashed to the ground, shirt torn open from the slashing claws. Blood covered the fabric, and he clasped his left hand over his shoulder to stem the flow. The bear bent toward him, teeth bared in a smile. A wicked smile.
Kat aimed her gun, but before she could pull the trigger, a shot rang out. The flash of gunpowder lit the face of the injured man. The blast reverberated against the buildings. With an enraged bellow, the bear staggered backward against the wall. Shaking his head, the animal dropped to all four paws. Weaving like a drunk, he lumbered toward his attacker. The man took aim again, shooting the animal between the eyes. Animal and human collapsed on the dirty, littered pavement.
As she started to move forward, Kat’s gypsy senses crawled over her skin like angry red ants. As she slipped back into the shadows, the bear shed fur. Changing size. Then, finally, turning into a man.
Shape shifters. Her stake wasn’t any good against them, and her bullets weren’t silver. This one appeared dead anyway. Had the wounded man seen the shift? Tossing the stake aside, she paused by the shifter and quickly moved to the wounded man. Out cold. Still human.
When she touched him, his eyelids fluttered open. “Did I get it?”
“The bear.”

hersh_smallC.D. Hersh Bio:
Putting words and stories on paper is second nature to co-authors C.D. Hersh. They’ve written separately since they were teenagers and discovered their unique, collaborative abilities in the mid-90s. As high school sweethearts and husband and wife, Catherine and Donald believe in true love and happily ever after.

Together they have co-authored a number of dramas, six which have been produced in Ohio, where they live. Their interactive Christmas production had five seasonal runs in their hometown and has been sold in Virginia, California, and Ohio. Their most recent collaborative writing efforts have been focused on romance. The first three books of their paranormal romance series entitled The Turning Stone Chronicles are available on Amazon.

Where you can find CD:
Soul Mate Publishing:
Amazon Author Page:

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On Respect and Research

Welcome to Janis Susan May/Janis Patterson today! She has an amazing story to tell! How many writers can say they not only visited Egypt, but stayed on site at an archaeological dig?


On Respect and Research

by Janis Susan May/Janis Patterson

The late comedian Rodney Dangerfield built an entire career on the trope that he ‘didn’t get no respect.’ It made him both rich and famous. Lucky him. It doesn’t work that way for most of us.

Writers ‘don’t get no respect’ – that is, if we’re genre writers. Literary writers whose work is often impenetrable and convoluted are lionized, and if they’re dead almost sainted. People who write the books people actually like to read – romances, mysteries – are regarded as a not-too-bright stepchild.

“When are you going to write a real book?” is a question we hear a lot, especially when we publish in electronic versions. “Why don’t you write something of lasting value?” is another. The one that makes me grind my teeth, however, is “I know I could write a book if I just had the time.” Or, “What a way to steal money! Just churn out a couple of books a year and you’re set.”

It’s a wonder some poor writer hasn’t just snapped and done one of them in with a cocktail fork or whatever else sharp is handy.

Another problem is the fact that when we’re writing, we are usually at home, and if we’re at home, we’re fair game. People who would never demand that we leave a regular job to go lunch/shop/hang out/watch their children/whatever have no compunction about demanding it when we work from our home. “You’re just writing – you aren’t really working,” was something I used to hear a lot – back when I answered the telephone!

Fielding these barbs and putdowns has become almost second nature to writers; some of us laugh all the way to the bank, but a lot of us just hold on to our dreams with grim determination and a rictus smile. Even after some 30 books I was one of the latter, until this last trip to Egypt.


Dr. Dirk Huyge, a dear friend and a great help on my last summer’s release THE EGYPTIAN FILE, and I had been talking about doing a mystery set in the reputedly haunted dig house at El Kab, roughly halfway between Luxor and Aswan. Civilians never get asked to stay in dig houses, so when Dirk suggested that The Husband and I come stay for a few days, we jumped at it. I knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to say nothing of a great research opportunity, but didn’t realize that it would be an incredible boost to my ego!

The dig crew was wonderful – friendly and welcoming and as sweet as could be. I had heard of some of them before – they are each well known and multi-published in their various fields, and each one of them had a very impressive alphabet soup of degrees after their name. As I don’t have any kind of a degree I was more than intimidated by them.


One morning I all of a sudden had the idea of how the book should start. Creeping out of bed so as not to wake The Husband, I grabbed my computer and tiptoed into the common room where everyone worked and ate. Then I started to write. I wrote for most of the morning – we write when the muse grabs us, don’t we? – and only towards lunch was I aware that all of them (those who worked in the house and those newly returned from the field) were moving around more than usual. And all seemed to be moving behind me, very slowly, and somewhat surreptitiously taking a great interest in the words that marched across my computer screen.

It was only when one whispered to another in awe-struck tones, “She’s writing a novel while we watch!” that I realized why. They were impressed! These well-educated, well-published professionals were overawed by my oft-ridiculed storytelling. Seldom have I felt so appreciated or admired. As a gift to them I broke a cardinal rule and allowed anyone who wanted to read the first chapter when it was completed. Normally no one – not even The Husband – sees my work until it is finished.

The ones who did read it were impressed. One even marveled at my speed – 2,000 words in less than a day. (She should see what I can do when I’m in my office, alone, under a hard deadline!) She was working on a doctoral thesis and said 200 words a day were good for her. I told her it was easier for me because, aside from a framework of actualities, I didn’t have to bother with facts! I could create my world the way I wanted to.


Whether she wrote fiction or not, she was a writer and she appreciated what I was doing. So did the others. Genre fiction is not easy to write, despite what the ‘I could write a book if I wanted to’ crowd says. After seeing some of the things that are out there, though, maybe I should say GOOD genre fiction.

Remember, if you have published a book, even a not-so-perfect one, you have done what 90-odd percent of the population has not. You have finished a book. You have created a world and populated that world and created a series of events, all out of nothing but imagination and caffeine. Whether you have been published by a trad publisher or self-pubbed, you have survived the tests of editing, artwork and the grind of publicity. Best of all, you have (hopefully) the final validation of complete strangers buying and reading your book. That is an awesome achievement!

So, what do we say to the ‘why don’t you write a real book crowd’? Probably nothing we could say would make them happy, but I really don’t care about making them happy. And, as I am told on occasion I can be sharp-tongued and snarky, I just smile and tell them when they get their book finished and published, then we can talk about how ‘easy’ it is. Small-souled of me, I know, but oh-so-satisfying!

Writers ‘don’t get no respect’ from people? Believe me, that’s the people’s problem, not ours. We know what we’re worth. Or we should.

All photographs ©2015 Janis Susan May Patterson


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In His Corner


Why I Chose a Boxer as a Romantic Hero

By Vina Arno

The commercial success of the recent fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao attests to the enduring popularity of boxing. The welterweight bout, which Mayweather won, generated $400 million in pay-per-view sales and more than $72 million in live-gate ticket sales. It broke all records of revenues for a boxing match.

My debut romance book, In His Corner, happens to be about an Olympic gold-medalist boxer who gets knocked out at first sight by the ER doctor who treats his cut. I’ve been asked more than once whether Manny Pacquiao has anything to do with the subject of my book. Yes and no.

Boxing Inspiration

Pacquiao, a champion in eight different weight divisions and one of the world’s best fighters today, is Filipino. I’m Filipino-American, so naturally, people wonder if Pacquiao is the reason I chose a boxing hero.

In my book, Tommy “the Juggernaut” Raines is three months away from turning pro when he falls hard for the beautiful Dr. Siena Carr. The immediate inspiration for the Juggernaut is not Pacquiao, but the British actor, Tom Hardy, whose extraordinary performance as a cage fighter in “Warrior” blew me away. Hardy was so convincing as a mixed martial arts fighter in the 2011 movie that former heavy weight champ David Haye challenged Hardy to get in the ring with him.

The character’s intensity and physical prowess inspired the romantic hero in my book, but I made him an Olympic boxer instead. I was a child when “Thrilla in Manila”—the famous boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier—was held with great fanfare in the Philippines. The event left a tremendous impression on me, especially the larger-than-life Ali.

Then there’s my compatriot, Pacquiao, whose career I’ve been following. Indeed I was more familiar with boxing than mixed martial arts, thanks to the Pac-Man.  So, why did I choose a boxing hero? It was all of the above. That’s how inspiration works sometimes.

In His Corner, Book Excerpt

Dr. Siena Carr went straight to the sink, her back to the patient. She dropped the clipboard on the counter and washed her hands. When she turned around, she gasped. “What are you doing?”

The Juggernaut was undressing. Before she could say another word, he was naked. A glorious sight that sent her heart racing and her face burning. Did he know that he looked like a sculpture by Michelangelo? Except for the tattoo on his right shoulder, this man was David incarnate.

She looked away abruptly, grabbing the clipboard. She didn’t even know his name! She looked at his paperwork. Tommy Raines. “Mr. Raines, please put on your clothes.”

She continued scanning his form. Occupation: boxer. Age: twenty-two. Weight: 160 pounds. Height: six feet. Blood type: O positive. No pre-existing health conditions. His temperature and blood pressure were normal. Reason for ER visit: a cut sustained from sparring.

She faced him. Thank God, he was clothed again.

“Sorry about that,” he said. “I thought you’re supposed to check me out.”

Did he just saycheck him out? “Mr. Raines, this is an ER, not a bar. I don’t check out patients. Do you mean to say check up?”

He smiled. “Yeah, check up.”

“I’m going to take care of your cut, but I’m not doing a checkup. If you need one, you should go to your primary care doctor.”

“I don’t like doctors. I avoid hospitals and clinics as much as possible, but my cut kept bleeding even after I showered. So here I am.”

Buy Links

In His Corner by Vina Arno, published by Lyrical Press/Kensington Publishing (April 2015), is available at:

Barnes & Noble

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Kensington Books






About Vina ArnoCindyFazziakaVinaArno-small

Vina Arno is a pen name used by Cindy Fazzi, a Philippine-born American writer who has worked as a journalist in the Philippines, Taiwan, and the United States. Her short stories have been published in the Snake Nation Review, Copperfield Review, and SN Review.

Read this Forbes article about Vina Arno

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Raven McAllan

Raven McAllan has been a guest here before. Now she has another book out and I thought it would be nice for everyone to get a look at it.

Taken Identity



Thank you for offering to host me on your blog today. Even though this is all about someone stealing your identity I promise I won’t steal yours. (I may use your name in a book though.)


When the devastatingly handsome Gray turns up on her doorstep looking for his wife, and calling said wife by Jules name, Jules wondered briefly if she’d landed in an alternative universe. She knows she’s not his wife, and so does he. But apparently someone with her name and history is.

Is it a case of coincidence or did his missing wife ‘borrow’ Jules’ life?

Even though the dominant Gray sends her knickers aflame with just one look, with a missing wife in the equation, Jules knows there’s no chance of finding out what else he could achieve.

There’s only one thing to do—unravel the mystery and try and keep their hands off each other in the meantime. The first may well prove far easier than the latter.

A wee tease…

“Well, Mr Reynard.” She spoke in a brisk fashion, as she did her best to emulate his tone and pace and show none of the tension he invoked in her. Unfortunately—and no doubt he’d see it as a weakness—she had to squint slightly to bring him into focus. It wouldn’t be a pretty look. She’d taken enough selfies sans glasses or contacts to know that. She peered at him closely to bring him into focus. “So, how may I help you?”

Even without twenty-twenty vision, Jules was now close enough to see and decide the glance he gave her was along the lines of one you might give a not very bright child. She gritted her teeth, determined to show nothing of how she felt. Which was like a particularly unpleasant bug under a microscope.

“Well?” she prompted him in as pleasant a voice as she could manage. When she’d gone to answer the door, Jules hadn’t had time to put her shoes on and the old stone floor of the cottage’s hallway wasn’t warm. It would have been oh so easy to shiver, except she thought it would project a wrong image. She was not scared. Allegedly.

“I wish to speak to Julia Frayne.”

Sheesh, is he a robot or something? Stuck on one sentence? “You are speaking to Julia Frayne. Oh, for fucks sake, hold on a sec.” She remembered her old glasses, the ones she wore for gardening, were in her jacket pocket and if she stretched out, she should be able to reach them.

She managed and shoved them on her nose. All her suppositions were correct. A tall, dark, dangerous sex on legs specimen of manhood was filling her doorway. A very pissed off one.

The expression on his face would have frozen molten lava. Even more now, she wished she was wearing fuzzy slippers and a warm jumper. The look as well as the nip in the air didn’t make her feel comfortable in her thin, strappy and long, floaty skirt. Julia risked a brief glance downward and groaned inwardly. Just as she thought, her nipples had responded to the chilly atmosphere and pushed at the silky material covering them. Even though she was getting mighty sick of the guy, one of Miss McMurty’s expressions floated into her brain and she gave a stifled laugh. Sticking out like hat pegs, lovey. She crossed her arms over her chest and ignored the fact she was annoyed that her action looked defensive.

“You think something I’ve said is funny?” he asked with a frown on his face. “I beg to differ. This is no laughing matter. Impersonating someone—or purporting not to know what I’m referring to—isn’t something to smirk about. You are not Julia Frayne. And neither are you pregnant.”

Jules knew her jaw dropped, and she stood and stared at him, mouth open. At last, she found her voice.

“Half correct,” she said, pleased her tone was almost as frosty as his. “I can assure you, I am most certainly the former, and have been for close to thirty years. Equally, I am certain I am not the latter.”

For goodness sake, she thought in disgust, I sound like his clone with a stick up my ass. Very proper!

“Prove it,” he said.

The challenging tone made the hairs on the back of her neck stand upright, and Jules lost her temper. It was a rare occurrence, but when it happened, friends and relatives knew to duck. As her parents had often said, she lived up to the red-haired virago scenario when necessary.

“Certainly. I’ll fetch my passport.” She slammed the door shut, obviously taking him by surprise, as he made no move to stop her. Damn it, I wish I’d trapped his balls in there. Or at least his toes. Arrogant ass.

The doorbell rang almost immediately, seemingly invested with his impatience. Jules grinned to herself. She’d bet his finger was jammed on the buzzer, and it would stay there until she reopened the door. Let it, she had more things to worry about—like who the hell was he looking for? The bell began to ring in short staccato buzzes. Well, Mr Whoever-you-are Reynard, you canbloody well wait, Buzz Colonel Bogey and whistle, and if you hurt your finger, well, tough. I’m putting my lenses in before I face you again. In addition, I’ll maybe just wave my passport through the window.

It only took a few minutes for her to put in contact lenses, swipe the mascara brush over her pale eyelashes—she really must remember to book an appointment to get them re-dyed—retrieve her passport from a drawer and return to the front door. Nevertheless, in the short time she was away, the noise of the doorbell continued non-stop. At this rate, the battery will stop before he does, she mused, as she stopped in front of the mirror and checked just what her uninvited caller might see when he looked at her.

Typically Celt, she thought ruefully as she eyed her red corkscrew curls, green eyes, pale skin that never tanned properly and the myriad of freckles sprinkled over her nose. Never was she going to be a page three girl—Thank goodness. But, as her mother used to say, “What you’ve got is all yours!” Her strappy vest was now covered with a long, fluffy jumper, and her feet had striped socks on. Not haute couture but warm and serviceable.

Jules checked that her dad’s old, sturdy golf umbrella was tucked away in its usual place in the hallway—for poking her visitor, if need be—then slipped the chain on before she opened the door as far as the security measure allowed. A foot immediately inserted itself into the gap.

“Congratulations,” Jules said sarcastically. “A bit slow last time, weren’t you? But be warned, Mr Reynard, that’s as far as you’ll get. An expert fixed this chain. Now, if you look to the window on your right, I’ll show you my passport.”

Jules could almost hear his teeth grinding. Too bad. She had no intention of handing her passport to a stranger. For any reason. She moved to the side of the door where a small window brought a little more natural light into her otherwise darkish hallway and pressed the photograph page of her passport to the glass. Her—what? Intruder? Unwanted visitor? —moved slightly, without taking his foot from the door opening and leaned toward the glass. After long seconds, he stood back with a bewildered expression. He blinked, and tiny lines radiated out from the corners of his eyes. Then he shook his head.

“Ah…” he stopped speaking and shrugged.

“Satisfied?” Try as she might, Jules couldn’t keep the satisfied note out of her voice. “I, Mr Reynard, am I! Julia Frances Frayne. Spinster of this parish. Do you need anything else?”

“Yes, actually. I want my wife. Julia Frayne.”


If that has interested you, here’s the buy links

Thanks for reading,

Love Raven x

Oh and just to tell you a bit about me…

Raven photo smaller pic May 15 copy

Well what can I say?

I’m growing old disgracefully and loving it.

Dh and I live on the edge of a Scottish forest, and rattle around in a house much too big for us.

Our kids have grown up and flown the nest, but roll back up when they want to take a deep breath and smell the daisies so to speak.

I write in my study, which overlooks the garden and the lane. I’m often seen procrastinating, by checking out the wild life, looking—only looking—at the ironing basket and assuring tourists that indeed, I’m not the bed and breakfast. That would mean cooking fried eggs without breaking the yolks, and disturbing the dust bunnies as they procreate under the beds. Not to be thought of.

Being able to do what I love, and knowing people get pleasure from my writing is fantastic. Long may it last.        (my page)             (author page)


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McKayla Schutt

McKayla Schutt’s new book, Imprinted: The Change, will be out May 27. Here’s a sneak peek!



Kindra has to decide if she is going to stay a human or change into a werewolf.
Judden is ready to help Kindra adjust to the pack no matter what her choice.


Become a werewolf or stay a human, Kindra kept thinking over and over again in the hot shower while the shampoo in her hair slowly dripped down her back. In the next hour, her and her twin would tell their mates they were ready to make the change to become werewolves. Her nerves grew stronger about being accepted into the pack. Her hands massaged her scalp under the hot water while she thought back to her last job. She winced, remembering her boss telling her to leave. The reason for getting fired was “It wasn’t a good fit,” and since she was an intern, her boss didn’t need a better reason. The job before that was close to the same end, making Kindra wince again. Every job she had taken in the last year had ended in disaster because she didn’t make friends quickly. Her mom told her all she had to do was be open to people, but that didn’t come easily to Kindra until Judden.
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