Gayle Leeson | The Warm Fuzzies

Comfort food and holidays typically give us a nostalgic or sentimental feeling. In SILENCE OF THE JAMS, Amy Flowers wants her Down South Café to offer the residents of Winter Garden, Virginia, comfort, hospitality, and a sense of home, especially during the upcoming Independence Day Festival. She’s baking extra cakes and pies, and she’s also keeping the refrigerated display case stocked with family-size containers of sides for her customers to take home and enjoy during their picnics and reunions.

Like Amy, I grew up in a small town like Winter Garden. Our big deal of the summer was when the carnival came to town. My cousins, brother, and I would plan for it as soon as we saw the first flyer announcing when the carnival would arrive. We started deciding what we wanted to ride, wondering who else among our friends might be going, and talking about what we wanted to eat. The food was part of the celebration. I looked forward to the caramel apples. Others had their appetites whetted by cotton candy or funnel cake. I liked to get the apple just before I left so I could enjoy it on the way home while clutching some pitiful little stuffed toy I’d won—in reality, paid far too much for—playing some game. The apple was another way to prolong the evening, and the toy would remain a reminder throughout the coming year.

In SILENCE OF THE JAMS I wanted to embody some of that excitement in Winter Garden’s Independence Day Celebration. The town is small, so they don’t have the budget to do a lot throughout the year. They have large celebrations for the Fourth of July and for Christmas, so the townspeople really get involved and enjoy themselves on those two occasions. Naturally, food and tradition play a large role in contributing to the “warm fuzzies” for the townspeople. In addition to Amy’s cakes, pies, baked beans, potato salad, cole slaw, and macaroni salad prepared for Down South Café patrons, the barn dance features a buffet with pork ribs, fried chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, a variety of salads—Cobb, pasta, fruit—and every kind of dessert imaginable. Who wouldn’t want to take part in Winter Garden’s Independence Day Celebration?

So, tell us, what foods and the traditions they bring to mind are your favorites? Please share a memory with us!


Down South Cafe #2

Silence of the Jams

In the latest Southern cozy from the author of The Calamity Café, small-town chef Amy Flowers can’t take her freedom for granted when she’s served up as a murder suspect…

It’s Independence Day in Winter Garden, Virginia, and the residents are gearing up for their annual celebration. The Down South Café is open and flourishing, and Amy Flowers is busy making pies and cakes for the holiday. The only thorn in her side is Chamber of Commerce director George Lincoln, who is trying to buy the café so he can tear it down and build a B&B on the site.

When George collapses while eating at the Down South, everybody assumes it’s a heart attack—until the autopsy declares it to be poisoning. Now, it’s up to Amy to prove her innocence before her liberty is lost.

Includes delicious Southern recipes!

Mystery Cozy [Berkley Prime Crime, On Sale: April 4, 2017, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781101990803 / eISBN: 9781101990810]

About Gayle Leeson

Gayle Leeson

Gayle Leeson is a pseudonym for Gayle Trent. I also write as Amanda Lee. As Gayle Trent, I write the Daphne Martin Cake Mystery series and the Myrtle Crumb Mystery series. As Amanda Lee, I write the Embroidery Mystery series.

I live in Virginia with my family, which includes her own “Angus” who is not an Irish wolfhound but a Great Pyrenees who provides plenty of inspiration for the character of Mr. O’Ruff.

Down South Cafe


A Chance Interview with Susan Wittig Albert

Every now and then I go for broke—take a chance that the biggest names in the industry will answer my requests for an interview. I’ve never been disappointed. 😉 Like a few months back when I asked Susan Wittig Albert to sit down at the Cozy Corner and answer a few questions. She quickly responded and was open and candid with my sometimes-nosey questions. I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did!

About Susan Wittig Albert

Susan Wittig Albert

Susan Wittig Albert is the award-winning, NYT bestselling author of Loving Eleanor (2016), about the intimate friendship of Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok; and A Wilder Rose (2014), about Rose Wilder Lane and the writing of the Little House books.

Her award-winning fiction also includes mysteries in the China Bayles series, the Darling Dahlias, the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter, and a series of Victorian-Edwardian mysteries she has written with her husband, Bill Albert, under the pseudonym of Robin Paige.

She has written two memoirs: An Extraordinary Year of Ordinary Days and Together, Alone: A Memoir of Marriage and Place, published by the University of Texas Press.

She is founder and current president (2015-2017) of the Story Circle Network and a member of the Texas Institute of Letters.

China Bayles | Darling Dahlias | Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter


Kym: Welcome to the Cozy Corner, Susan! Congratulations on reaching the 25 book milestone with your China Bayles Mysteries. (That doesn’t include the short stories with China that are an added bonus for readers along with all your other novels!) Did you ever think you would write so many books about one character?

Susan: A long-running series wasn’t on my radar back then (1992). I had written Nancy Drew mysteries, and Nancy had been around since 1930. But adult mysteries featuring women sleuths (PIs and amateurs) were a relatively new thing, and I don’t think any writer could have predicted how far they might go.

Kym: On your website, it clearly states that your Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter mystery series was only meant to be eight books. Have you set a stopping point for the China Bayles series as well?

Susan: I chose eight books for the Cottage Tales because I was interested in a particular 8-year period in Beatrix Potter’s life: 1905-1913, from the year she bought her farm in the Lake District to the year she married her country lawyer. But China will go on as long as readers enjoy her adventures and as long as I have the energy to discover new ideas for her mysteries. I can see several new projects on China’s horizon.

Kym: Looking back, what changes in China would you have least expected when you started the series in the early 1990’s?

Susan: Wow. Interesting question! I originally had in mind a character more like Kinsey Milhone, unattached, with no children. But once the series had gone past four books, I had to start thinking about a long-term arc for the characters’ development—and for China, of course, that meant some sort of long-term commitment to McQuaid. In addition, the real region in which the fictional Pecan Springs is located has undergone massive development, which has affected the storylines of the books in important ways.

Another thing I couldn’t predict was the interest in herbs and plants. This seemed like a small niche when I wrote that first book, and I wondered if it was transitory. But readers’ interest in plants has continued to grow, and that has influenced the direction of the series.

A third huge change I could not have predicted in 1992 was the Internet, which completely altered the way the books are researched, written, distributed, marketed, sold, and read. Just one quick example: the Web offers me research resources that expand the development of plot, setting, characters—and make the books deeper and richer and much, much more interesting. This is a truly significant issue that deserves more attention than I can give it here—just want to note that this is major, major.

Kym: In THE LAST CHANCE OLIVE RANCH, you dedicate the book to your husband and talked about your efforts to grow olives in the Texas Hill Country. How are the olives coming?

Susan: Not very well, I’m afraid. We’re just out of a 5-year drought that affected our irrigation here. Now that we have a new, deeper well, I could do a better job with the olives—especially because climate change is producing warmer winters. But my initial plantings didn’t do so well. :-(

Kym: Did your ‘olive ranch’ inspire a little bit of your latest novel, or was there something else?

Susan: My olives, not so much. I was more interested in learning about the fraudulent marketing schemes that produce “bad” (adulterated) olive oil. There were several big stories on that topic in the news at the time I was writing that book. The olive industry in Texas is growing, and that was part of what pushed me into writing the book. It’s predicted that, in a few years, olives will be as important to the Texas economy as grapes/wine. Who knew?

Kym: You wrote two Nancy Drew mystery novels in the 1980’s under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene by yourself and three co-authored with your husband Bill. (I may have to go back and read them!) Can you tell us what that experience was like?

Susan: Bill and I also wrote books in the Hardy Boys series, too. From that experience, I learned what it’s like to write formulaic fiction and to work with editors who want you to stick to the predictable formula, since that is what sells those books. I also had to learn to write quickly and write to editorial expectations. If you don’t, you don’t last long. I also learned quite a bit about the publishing and agenting business—that’s proved helpful later, as I moved into adult fiction and now into indie publishing.

Working with Bill helped me to be a better listener and to be willing to work with ideas that didn’t originate with me. When you’re writing with another person, it helps to check your ego at the door.

Kym: You’ve written countless books in the young adult/middle grades fiction genre. Have you experienced a difference in the reactions of youthful readers/fans compared to fans of your adult-age novels? Do you have fans from your young adult books who’ve graduated to your adult-age novels?

Susan: Back in the day (this was in the late 1980s) there was very little fan interaction with young adult readers. The editors would sometimes forward fan letters, but I worked in about a dozen different series over five or six years, and never once went on tour. And since I was writing under a variety of series pseudonyms (Carolyn Keene, Franklin W. Dixon, Susan Blake, etc), readers then don’t know me now.

I do often meet readers who have been China fans from the beginning, though—and we always share a good laugh at being a whole quarter of a century older now than we were then!

Kym: I know I find it challenging to work alongside my husband for one project on the house, yet you and your husband, Bill, have written as a team under the pseudonyms Robin Paige, Caroly Keene, Susan Blake, Franklin W. Dixon (Hardy Boys), and Nathaniel Payne. How did the two of you make it work? What was the biggest challenge?

Susan: I’ve been writing all my life. When I married Bill, I had already written a dozen books, all of them (except for one Russian translation) written alone. Bill had co-written many computer projects, so he had some background in collaborative work. But both of us had to consciously learn how to make the best of the other writer’s ideas, how to plan the work and manage our team time, and how to deal with the physical text (this was long before Track Changes). Overall, the biggest challenge was learning how to use both our skills to best advantage to make each book better than the one before. As I look back over the 12-year Robin Paige series, I’m glad to say that those books got better (and the work got easier) as the series went on.

Kym: Your research is phenomenal—from your historical mysteries to your historical fiction novels, like your latest—THE GENERAL’S WOMEN, which released March 7th, 2017, I am amazed at the amount of research you put into your work. What book/individual was the hardest to research and why?

Susan: That’s hard to say, really, because each project has been unique and uniquely difficult. But for me, that’s the real payoff—the exciting part of the work. Some examples:

I didn’t know anything about Medicare and hospice fraud when I started BLOOD ORANGE (China Bayles #24), so I had to figure out what the best research sources were and how to find them.

When I began planning THE GENERAL’S WOMEN,, I was intimidated (overwhelmed, really) by the massive amount of material available on Eisenhower; I had to learn what was important and how to whittle it all down. For Kay Summersby’s post-war life, on the other hand, there was very little: I spent a LOT of time doing research in American newspapers (and learning how to access online newspaper archives).

For LOVING ELEANOR, I had to travel to the Franklin Roosevelt Presidential Library and read selectively through 3,300 letters—plus the biographical material on the Roosevelts.

Kym: What can we look for next from you?

Susan: China will keep on keeping on: #26 (QUEEN ANNE’S LACE ) will be published in April, 2018. The 2019 book (#27) will be DEVIL’S TRUMPET. I’ve decided to move the Dahlias series from my traditional publisher to my own indie imprint, Persevero Press. I’m working on the first of three more books in that series, to be published later this year or early next. In addition, I have two more biographical/historical novels up my sleeve: one of them involves Gertrude Bell, who worked in British intelligence in the Middle East before, during, and after WW1. Another project involves the women around FDR.

Kym: Can you tell our readers how to reach you on social media?

Susan: My website: . You’ll find my links to my other sites (blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) there.

Kym: Thank you for joining us at the Cozy Corner!

Susan: Thanks for including me!

Kym: Tell Bill I love his turning!

Susan:He says, “Thank you!”

Until next time, get cozy and read on!

Kym Roberts
Kym Roberts is a retired detective sergeant who looks for passion, mystery and suspense in every book she reads and writes. She can be found on the web, on Facebook at Kym Roberts (author) and on Twitter @kymroberts911. Fatal Fiction, A Book Barn Mystery is available now and . A Reference to Murder and Perilous Poetry available for Pre-order!


China Bayles

The Last Chance Olive Ranch

In this exciting new mystery from New York Times bestselling author Susan Wittig Albert, China Bayles fears for her husband’s life as an escaped convict targets him…

Max Mantel, the killer McQuaid put away years ago, has busted out of the Huntsville prison and appears to be headed for Pecan Springs. McQuaid knows there’s only one way to stop the vengeful convict—set a trap with himself as bait.

China wants to stay by her husband’s side and keep him from harm. But McQuaid insists that she get out of town and go to the Last Chance Olive Ranch, where she’s agreed to teach a workshop on herbs.

When China and her best friend arrive at the ranch, she learns the owner, Maddie Haskell, has her own troubles. She inherited the ranch and olive oil business from the late matriarch, Eliza Butler, but Eliza’s nephew is contesting the will.

While China throws herself into helping Maddie, McQuaid’s plan backfires when Mantel executes a countermove he never saw coming. Now McQuaid’s life is not the only one at stake—and this time may really be his last chance…

Mystery Cozy [Berkley Prime Crime, On Sale: April 4, 2017, Hardcover / e-Book, ISBN: 9780425280034 / eISBN: 9780698190283]

Late night calls always lead to trouble….

Lisa Wells | Heroes Named Jack

Sometimes I worry about my characters. Actually, I spend a lot of time worrying about my characters. How can I not? I torture them for at least three-fourths of the pages in a book before giving them their happy ever after. In my Off The Wall Proposals series with Entangled, all of the books have the heroines name in the title, so I worry that my heroes feel slighted. I asked Jack, the hero in THE ATTRACTION OF ADELINE, if he feels slighted, and here is his answer:

Me: “Jack, I’m sure you’ve noticed that Adeline’s name is mentioned in the title, but yours isn’t. How does that make you feel?

Jack: “Are you kidding? With a unique name like Adeline, she needs the extra lime-light to be remembered. But my name is famous. JACK. I have like the best name ever for a hero.”

Me: “Really? How do you figure?”

Jack: “Have you not done your research? Jack is a famous name to give heroes. For instance: Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean. Jack Ryan in Clear and Present Danger. Jack Shephard in Lost. Jack Skellington in The Nightmare Before Christmas. Jack Dawson in Titanic. Jack Stanfield in Firewall. Jack Torrance in The Shining. And that’s just a few.”

Me: “Wow. I had no idea. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised you’ve done the research into your name. That’s something your character would do.”

Jack: “I did more than research famous Jacks, I researched the actors who played famous Jacks. Did you know that: Jack Nicholson, Steven Seagal, Harrison Ford, Leonardo DiCaprio, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Douglas, Keanu Reeves, Matthew Fox, Keifer Sutherland, and Johnny Depp have all played the part of a famous Jack in movies and television shows?”

Me: “Nope. Didn’t know that. Why did you research the actors who played Jacks?”

Jack: “You know, in case THE ATTRACTION OF ADELINE becomes a Hallmark Channel movie, I wanted to be on top of all of my options on who should play me?”

Me: “Oooh, I would love for your and Adeline’s story to be a Hallmark Movie. That’s one of my favorite channels. Which actor did you decide on?”

Jack: “I wasn’t sure, so I asked Adeline. She thought we should go with someone fresh to play me. Someone hunky and cute and smart and funny.”

Me: “You left out nerdy.”

Jack: “Nerdy! Who are you calling nerdy?”

Me: “You are just a little bit nerdy, but in a very sexy way that women love.”

Jack: “Well, when you put it that way. Okay. Adeline’s supposed to be making me a list. You know her and her lists.”

Me: “Oh, I know. She’ll laminate it and everything. Maybe while we wait for her list, some of the readers could reply and give us an idea of who they think should play you in a future movie.”

Jack: “That’s a great idea. I can’t wait to see who they come up with.”

Who do you think could play the perfect Jack if THE ATTRACTION OF ADELINE hit the big screen? Convince me your actor is the best person to play Jack and you’ll win a $10 Amazon gift card.



<a href=THE ATTRACTION OF ADELINE” width=”300″ rel=”share” >

The Proposal: Adeline Rigby will live with Accountant Jack Foster and pretend to be his fake fiancée for one month in order for him to seal a promotion to partner. In return, Accountant Jack Foster will intimately tutor Adeline Rigby in French before she leaves for Paris where she will fulfill her dream of attending Le Cordon Bleu.

The Terms:

1. Maintain distance. Three get-to-know-you dates before announcing their engagement will be tempting enough.

2. No kissing. Okay, fine. Three kisses. Maybe four. And neck kisses don’t count.

3. No touchy feely stuff. Or at least not too many public displays of touchy-feely stuff.

4. No sex.

5. All right, all right. One night of sex in order to be a believable engaged couple.

6. Two nights of mind-blowing sex to make sure first night wasn’t a fluke.

7. Absolutely, positively, no falling in love.

Romance Contemporary [Entangled Lovestruck, On Sale: April 10, 2017, e-Book, ISBN: 9781544692364 / eISBN: 9781633759503]

About Lisa Wells

Lisa Wells

Lisa Wells always knew there would come a time in her life when she’d pursue her dream career as a romance author. This is that time. Before this moment, she’s enjoyed a rollercoaster journey called – The Middle School Counselor – Dramas, Dreams, and Destinies.

After many years of working with teenage girls, she knows when one comes in baffled because another girl hates her, the first question to ask is – “”Did you steal her boyfriend?”” Nine times out of ten the answer is some form of, “”Yes but….””

While Lisa enjoys working with adolescents, she writes for adults. Her books contain: Sex, Scowls & Sass.



Nina Croft | Why Sexy Space Stories Work for me…

Last year, my fabulous publisher, Entangled Publishing, brought out a new imprint; Scorched (Beyond your Wildest Fantasies!) and I was asked if I would like to write something to submit. I thought long and hard—and finally decided I’d love to write a really hot space opera romance. Which is how my April releases, Ruby Robbins’ Sexy Space Odyssey, came about.

Some of my favorite books as a teenager were science fiction: Frank Herbert, Robert Heinlein, Arthur C Clark, Isaac Asimov…. But romance was usually lacking in the stories, and it was rare to find a science fiction book where the focus was on the love story. Not so anymore.

Personally, I love stories that combine genres, but science fiction and romance is probably my favorite mix. At first sight, and to those not familiar with the sub-genre, they may seem like a bit of a mismatch, but dig a little deeper and there are a whole load of reasons why the combination works.

Bad boys in space.

I first fell in love at the age of eleven. His name was Han Solo and he was a space pirate. My tastes haven’t changed a lot since then. Plus, growing up, I dreamed of being Doctor Who’s assistant (I still do in fact) and of course, he’d fall madly in love with me. Finally, more recently, my devotion to Han has been severely tested by my attraction for Captain Mal Reynolds… among others. So I’m predisposed to love sci-fi romance.

But there’s a reason most of my love affairs (imaginary at least) have been with ‘space men’. I adore a bad boy hero, and space men, whether human, alien or something else entirely, can be the ultimate bad boys; living on the edge of civilization, boldly going…. Pirates, bounty hunters, cops, gun fighters (albeit with a laser pistol rather than a six shooter.) In sci-fi romance, there’s no limit but your imagination to what your hero can do and be, and this is certainly the case with Killian Sharpe, hero of Rescued by the Space Pirate.

Kick ass heroines

I want heroines who match their heroes. And in sci-fi romance, more often than not, they more than match their male counterparts. In fact, the heroine is just as likely to be the pirate or the bounty hunter, and just as likely to rescue the hero as vice-versa. Ruby, my latest heroine, might start off as a shy accounts clerk but she ends up a strong woman more than capable of saving the universe.

Opposites attract

I’ve always loved romances that focus on people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. I enjoy the clash of different beliefs and discovering how couples overcome those differences to fall in love. Mixing science fiction and romance allows you to push that premise to the limit, bringing together people from not only different backgrounds but also different planets and even different species. The possibilities are endless.


I think one of the reasons people love to read romance is to be carried away to exotic locations, and the opportunities for that in science fiction are unending. Space ships, different galaxies, Earth of the future, even Earth of the past (if you happen to come across a time machine.)

Any time

People often think of science fiction as happening in the far future, but it could take place at any time. Who doesn’t want to know what the world will be like ten years from now, or a hundred or a million.… Or maybe we’ll take a trip in that time machine and visit a long ago era. We can walk with the dinosaurs or meet a real live pirate.

So, while sci-fi romance can provide a fantastic combination of adventure and passion, for me, both as a reader and a writer, the real appeal is that the possibilities are as endless as the universe itself.

Have you read any sci-fi romance, and if so what do you love the most? If not, why not? Leave a comment for a chance to win a paperback copy of the complete series of Ruby Robbins’ Sexy Space Odyssey.

Rescued by the Space Pirate
Kindle iTunes/iBooks Kobo Google Play

Stolen by the Space Pirate
Kindle iTunes/iBooks Kobo Google Play

Saving the Space Pirate
#3 iTunes/iBooks Kobo Google Play

About Nina Croft

Nina Croft

Growing up in the cold, wet, north of England, Nina Croft spent a lot of time dreaming of faraway sunnier places and ponies. When she discovered both, along with a whole load of other things, could be found between the covers of a book, her life changed forever.

Later, she headed south, picked up the perfect husband along the way, and together they volunteered to work in Africa. There they discovered a love of exotic places and a dislike of 9-5 work. Afterward they spent a number of years travelling (whenever possible) intermingled with working (whenever necessary.)

Eventually they stumbled upon a remote area in the mountains of southern Spain and the small almond farm they now call home.
Nina spends her days reading, writing and riding her mare, Gencianna, under the blue Spanish skies—sunshine and ponies. She reckons this is proof that dreams really can come true.

Babysitting a Billionaire | Things To Do Before You Die | Dark Desires | The Order | The Melville Sisters | Heart of Fire | Storm Lords | Sisters of the Moon | Laws of Segregation | Beyond Human | Cutting Loose | Ruby Robbins’ Sexy Space Odyssey


A few days ago, in a galaxy right here…

The earth faces total annihilation and one young woman signs up for a mission to rescue humanity. Only she ends up getting rescued herself, by a gorgeous space pirate. And the sex is out of this world!


Ruby Robbins’ Sexy Space Odyssey #1

Rescued by the Space Pirate

Hopeless romantic, Ruby Robbins spends her days as an accounts clerk, and her nights with her head in the stars, dreaming of space adventures in the arms of an alien…or two. Then one day, she’s approached to help her country by going undercover…in space! She jumps at the chance and before she knows it, she finds herself in the cargo hold of an alien slaver ship.

Space pirate, Killian Sharpe owes a lot of money to some very bad people. So when an anonymous employer offers him a tidy sum to extract one Ruby Robbins from a slaver ship, it sounds like easy money. But once he sets eyes on Ruby, he knows he’s in over his head. Not only is she breathtakingly beautiful—she refuses to be saved.

Luckily Killian hasn’t met a woman yet who could hold out against him for long….

Romance Science Fiction [Entangled, On Sale: April 3, 2017, e-Book, ISBN: 9781633759190 / eISBN: 9781633759190]


Ruby Robbins’ Sexy Space Odyssey #2

Stolen by the Space Pirate

After a brief, but magical interlude with a couple of stunningly gorgeous space pirates, Ruby is back with the slavers, and her mission is on target. Now all she has to do is stay out of trouble, be a good little slave, and let her tracking device lead her allies from Earth straight to the slavers’ center of operations. Hopefully, before anything really nasty happens.

Protecting Ruby is becoming a habit for Space Pirate, Killian Sharpe. When he learns the slavers’ final destination, he knows there’s more at stake than just Ruby’s mission to save mankind. Because he’s going home. This time, saving Ruby might cost him his life…

Romance Science Fiction [Entangled Scorched, On Sale: April 10, 2017, e-Book, ISBN: 9781633759206 / eISBN: 9781633759206]


Ruby Robbins’ Sexy Space Odyssey #3

Saving the Space Pirate

Killian Sharpe, is in over his head. One minute, he’s a notorious space pirate with a price on his head. And now, he’s suddenly become one of the good guys. How did that happen? He can only think of one reason – sexy, spunky Ruby Robbins.

Ruby is thrilled that her mission is almost over. Not only will she have saved her planet, but she’ll finally be able to live happily ever after with the space pirate of her dreams.

But a tragic twist suddenly puts everything into jeopardy. And it’s up to Ruby, with Killian at her side, to change to world for good this time. She can only hope they both survive the ordeal…

Romance Science Fiction [Entangled Scorched, On Sale: April 17, 2017, Hardcover / e-Book, ISBN: 9781633759213 / eISBN: 9781633759213]

Adriana Anders | Best Small Town Romances

What is it about the small town romances that hits us in the feels? On a day like today (it’s dark and rainy outside), I love diving into some unknown corner of America, where the characters are eccentric, the heroes are hot and the lovin’ is… well, steamy. I’ve got a few favorites I always go back to—stories where the town is as present as the people in it. These are the other small town romances—not the bright, sweet ones you might expect to encounter, but the gritty or the sexy or the ones you just can’t seem to forget.

  • Susan Elizabeth Philips is the queen of the small town romance (okay, she’s the queen of a lot of things). What I love the most about these books is how seldom she pulls her punches. DREAM A LITTLE DREAM is a great example of how she digs right into the heart of some tough, real emotions and drags us readers right there with her.
  • Sarina Bowen’s True North series (starting with BITTERSWEET) shows us so many facets of the beautiful Vermont countryside. These books are lovely and heart-wrenching and very, very sexy.
  • Zoe York is another author who gives good small town. In fact, her LOVE IN A SMALL TOWN might well be the perfect place to start.
  • Victoria Dahl is so good at these quirky small town characters! In TALK ME DOWN, an erotic romance writer arrives in tiny Tumble Creek in search of inspiration. Luckily for us, the police chief provides it… in spades.
  • Before penning darker erotic romances as M. O’Keefe, Molly O’Keefe gave us fun, sexy romps in the tiny town of Bishop, Arkansas. WILD CHILD brings together a mayor, a reality star turned author, and a town on the verge of bankruptcy. It’s the perfect blend of sweet, sexy, and tear-jerkingly real.
Under Her Skin

What do you look for in a romance? Does small town always equal sweet or do you like yours a bit spicy? Tell us below to win UNDER HER SKIN, the first book in the Blank Canvas series.

BY HER TOUCH by Adriana Anders

Blank Canvas #2

By Her Touch

He Will Always Bear the Scars

Undercover cop Clay Navarro left the Sultans biker gang a changed man. Its ringleaders may be awaiting trial, but he wears the memory of every brutal act he was forced to commit tattooed across his skin. He doesn’t have space in his messed-up life for anything gentle—not now, maybe not ever.

Dr. Georgette Hadley is drawn to the damaged stranger’s pain, intimidated but intrigued by the warmth that lies beneath Clay’s frightening exterior. But when the Sultans return looking for revenge, she finds herself drawn into the dirty underbelly of a life forged in violence…that not even her touch may be able to heal.

Romance Contemporary [Sourcebooks Casablanca, On Sale: April 4, 2017, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781492633877 / eISBN: 9781492633884]

About Adriana Anders

Adriana Anders

Adriana Anders has acted and sung, slung cocktails and corrected copy. She’s worked for start-ups, multinationals and small nonprofits, but it wasn’t until she returned to her first love—writing romance—that she finally felt like she’d come home. Today, she resides with her tall French husband, two small children and fat French cat in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, where she writes the dark, gritty, emotional love stories of her heart.

Blank Canvas


Author Match with Traci Douglass


Contemporary and Paranormal Romance full of wit, humor, and heroes and heroines willing to risk it all for their happily ever afters.


Quirky romance writer seeks readers for her stories about love and loss and the courage to make all your dreams come true. These worlds are populated by wounded heroes with a score to settle and heroines who take no crap and dish out sarcasm like today’s blue-plate special. Deep inside, however, these people want what we all do—kindness, acceptance, tolerance, and love.

What I’m Looking For in My Ideal Reader Match:

  • Someone whose idea of a perfect date is a sexy man, a feisty woman, and copious amounts of chocolate and eighties movie references.
  • Dreams of a love that will last forever and the perfect foot massage.
  • Falls in love easily with hot, brooding, sometimes snarky men.
  • Likes fast-paced, emotional stories bursting with action, romance, and humor.
  • Doesn’t mind the occasional open-door love scene.
  • Enjoys everything from paranormal alpha brotherhoods and motorcycle gangs, to sleek, sexy billionaires, hot docs, and the occasional blue-collar hunk next door.
  • Loves to laugh and have fun.
  • Thinks the ideal vacation would be cruising America with the Winchester brothers or tracking tornados with a storm chaser crew.
  • Has a penchant for Disney movies, Star Wars, Marvel and the romantic comedy genius of Sandra Bullock.

What to Expect If We’re Compatible:

  • Frequent books and novellas from yours truly
  • Lots of cuteness, fun, and giveaways through my newsletter and Facebook.

About Traci Douglass

Traci Douglass

Thrilling Tales of Suspense, Fantasy, and Happily Ever Afters…

USA Today Bestselling Author Traci Douglass writes fiction bursting with romance and action, usually mixed with a healthy portion of fantasy, urban edge and/or snark. Her stories feature sizzling heroes with quick wits and dark pasts and smart, independent heroines who always give as good as they get.

Blood Ravagers


BLOOD VOWED by Traci Douglass

Blood Ravagers #3

Blood Vowed

Reverend “Rev” Walker, expected some backlash after he foiled The Council’s attempts to overthrow the Blood Ravager Biker Gang. What he hadn’t expected was to wake up in the last place he ever wanted to see again—a dank cell of The Council’s Siberian dungeon. Drained and chained, he faces certain death if he can’t escape from the hellish prison. Now, his only means of escape depends on him accepting help from a fellow prisoner, a woman whose very existence is a lie and the only one capable of awakening Rev’s long-dormant heart.

Claire Deveraux is Dygarian, a race of shadow-shifters who have been slandered and hunted to extinction by The Council. But Claire has used her years of enslavement well, reading her captors’ secret texts and hearing their whispered secrets. Now, after being locked up for a crime she didn’t commit, she plans to use her knowledge of the dungeon’s maze-like interior to gain her freedom, or die trying. Then a new prisoner arrives, a man Claire has dreamed of and knows in her heart is her destined mate, if only she can break through his walls.

On the run and threatened from all sides, will Rev and Claire learn to trust each other and their growing feelings for one another before it’s too late?

Romance Paranormal [Tule Publishing, On Sale: April 12, 2017, e-Book, ISBN: 2940157413934 / eISBN: 9781946772077]

Shelli Stevens | You did WHAT for research?

Sometimes when I’m writing a book, I love to find a way to make it more authentic. Like when I recently wrote a rodeo romance, I hopped in my car and went on a road trip to find a rodeo. With my book GROUNDS FOR SEDUCTION, I think I went above and beyond for some of the research. My heroine opens an espresso shop, so I actually signed up, paid for, and attended a class on how to open your own espresso stand. It almost made me want to ditch the book and go into coffee! Not really, but it was super informative—plus the Seattle area is a little inundated with coffee.

I also did another class, which I only signed up for because a friend asked me to go with her. It was a little shocking, maybe blush-inducing, but I did it. What was that class? Strippercize. That’s right. How to strip. Are you blushing yet? Because I did. But it was actually a lot of fun, and a great workout. A lot of it reminded me of belly dancing. And it ended up working perfectly in a scene for my book. Here’s an excerpt from GROUNDS FOR SEDUCTION.


Obviously, Gabe was working, because he was dressed in his police uniform. Gun, badge, tight pants, and all. And, Lord, he looked good in it.

“Don’t you have some bad guys to chase or something?” she queried with false innocence. “Or if this is your break, shouldn’t you be at the local donut shop?”

“Out to draw blood this morning, aren’t we, Maddie?”

And he still insisted on calling her Maddie. She forced a smile. She might be trying to get him into bed, but that didn’t mean she had to forgive him for Sunday night.

“Can I get you anything?”

His eyes darkened, and she realized she’d said the same thing to him on Sunday. And look what it had led to.

“I want to apologize,” he admitted after a moment. “Again.”

“All right.” She gave a slight nod and then her smile widened. “Let me make you a mocha.”

There was a flicker of panic in his eyes and she reveled in it as she started to prepare the shot for his drink.

“I thought you had some other girl working with you,” he asked, an obvious attempt to sound casual. “Someone else who was making the drinks?”

“Oh, yeah.” She gestured out the door. “She’s on her lunch and just ran to get food. But you seemed to like mine on Sunday?”

She’d meant her statement to have a double meaning, and he must have noticed it.

“Well, I sure as hell liked your outfit better on Sunday.” His voice had dropped an octave as he took a step closer to the counter.

“Aprons are practical.” She added chocolate syrup and the grated chocolate to the drink. “I’m impressed. I thought I might have scared you off after what happened.”

“You kicked me out.”

“You deserved it.” She handed him the mocha. “I made it to go. I’m sure you have a route to be patrolling or something.”

He took the mocha with a tight smile and reached for his wallet. “How much do I owe you?”

“It’s on the house.”

“Maddie—Madison,” he corrected. “I just wanted to make sure there weren’t any hard feelings about Sunday. I mean, I don’t want this to affect my relationship with you and your family.”

“Oh, it won’t.” She put on her most saccharine smile. “I have no problem with having you—my brother’s best friend—give me an orgasm. Even if you seem to. And I have no plans to tell my family about it, either. So, look at that, we’re fine.”

He seemed skeptical. “So all is forgiven and forgotten?”

“Yes and no. Yes, you’re forgiven.” Madison stepped out from behind the counter and took the few remaining steps that separated them. “And, no, nothing’s forgotten,” she whispered against his ear, pressing herself against him.

“Maddie.” He groaned.

“I see, or feel, that I missed out on quite a bit Sunday.” She stepped back and smiled. “You are nowhere near being forgotten.”


Seattle Steam

<a href=GROUNDS FOR SEDUCTION” width=”200″ rel=”share” >

Madison Phillips is focused on making her new coffee shop a success. She also wouldn’t mind if the sexiest cop in Seattle, Gabriel Martinez, would start seeing her as more than just his best friend’s little sister. When her shop gets robbed and she’s the only one who can identify the increasingly violent Espresso Bandit, Gabe’s there to keep her safe. Having Gabe act as her personal bodyguard is certainly no hardship, and Maddy’s ready to try anything to tempt him into providing some hands-on protection.

Romance Contemporary [Entangled, On Sale: March 27, 2017, e-Book (reprint), / ]

About Shelli Stevens

Shelli Stevens

Shelli is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author who read her first romance novel when she snatched it off her mother’s bookshelf at the age of eleven. One taste and she was forever hooked. It wasn’t until many years later that she decided to pursue writing stories of her own. By then she acknowledged the voices in her head didn’t make her crazy, they made her a writer.

Shelli is a true pluviophile (lover of rain) and currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two daughters. She writes various genres of romance, but is most known for her contemporary series such as Holding Out for a Hero, The McLaughlins, and A is for Alpha. She’s a compulsive volunteer, and has been known to spontaneously burst into song.

Seattle Steam


Amanda Ashby | Vacation Flings

You know how it is. The sun is hot, the drinks are cold and wearing a bikini and hot pants is a legitimate dress code. And then you meet the cute guy (because guys always look cute when they have a tan) and before you know it, romance is blooming. Well, that’s how it is in the movies and books.

But in real life vacation flings (or holiday flings as we would say in my neck of the woods) aren’t always that easy. For a start, there are the logistics. What if you both come from different countries? Or, even share a common language. And then there is the honeymoon effect to consider. When you’re on vacation, you don’t normally have any of the responsibilities that come with your regular life. It’s so much easier to be present moment and carefree, but as soon as you step back into your real world, bills, deadlines and family obligations can reappear in a flash.

All of which my current heroine Bec Watson discovers after meeting the gorgeous Lincoln Mathews when she was in Italy. But her vacation fling gets cut short when she discovers Lincoln wasn’t who he says he is. Made worse by the fact that her fling isn’t the only souvenir she’s taking away with her. She’s also pregnant and about to discover what happens after the vacation is over.


Sisters of Wishing Bridge Farm #2

The Wedding Planner's Baby

Free-spirited Bec Watson was never having children­––until she is. No way she’s ready for this, and she’s not going to tie-down the father, not even (especially!) if he’s secretly an English Lord. She’s doing this solo, which means she needs help from the one place she swore she’d never return…Wishing Bridge Farm. Home.

Lincoln Mathews has never known love, only responsibility. And now his family home and business is at jeopardy unless he finds a solution. Fast. Their idea? Marry for money. But the girl who stole his heart is carrying their child. His first mission? Follow her to Wishing Bridge Farm. But soon he’ll have to choose between duty to his relatives and love for the real family he never thought he could have.

Romance Contemporary [Entangled Bliss, On Sale: April 10, 2017, e-Book, ISBN: 9781544709307 / eISBN: 9781633759091]

About Amanda Ashby

Amanda Ashby

Amanda Ashby was born in Australia but now lives in New Zealand where she writes romance, young adult and middle grade books. She also works in a library, owns far too many vintage tablecloths and likes to delight her family by constantly rearranging the furniture. She has a degree in English and Journalism from the University of Queensland and is married with two children. Her debut book was nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award, and her first young adult book was listed by the New York Public Libraryʼs Stuff for the Teen Age.  Because she’s mysterious she also writes middle grade books under the name, Catherine Holt and hopes that all this writing won’t interfere with her Netflix schedule.

Sisters of Wishing Bridge Farm


Vivien Jackson | Gadgets / Techno / Magical What’s YOUR favorite?

I love gadgets, bonus for futuristic technomagical ones. If a given gizmo could conceivably appear in both a James Bond film and a Bruce Sterling story, it is sure to twitterpate my fangirl heart. So of course my hero for WANTED AND WIRED had to be plugged in. But this is a romance, right, so less gore and more hotness.

Which of made me think of cars. My first car was a 1966 Mustang (4-barrel 289), and I loved the way that girl roared when she topped out. So, keeping that feeling in mind, the manuscript and I played a bit of what-if.

  • What if Heron, the hero of WANTED AND WIRED, had a really, really fast car?
  • A supercar, in fact?
  • And he could switch between wireless and manual control of that car?
  • What if the car was both armored and armed?
  • What if the control mechanism for the weapon was disguised as a gearshift?
  • But also, because Heron is integrated with the machine, what if that gearshift served other sensory functions for my control-freak, technologically modified dude?

Well, then it might be the hottest car in the history of hot cars.

And heroine Mari? Gets to ride shotgun.


After a while, Mari shrugged and settled down into the leather seat, facing forward. “Well, I’ll work on the bloodthirsty, but it’d be a damn shame if I reformed completely, ’specially before I get to test out your cannon here.” She nodded to the gearshift, still unwilling to let it go.

Out the wing-shaped windows, the desert stretched endless and black with no feds in sight, but she knew they were out there, looking for her. Hunting her. Being prey didn’t feel so stark as long as she had a weapon in her hands.

Especially this weapon. She cricked her index finger, and the emplacement shifted, responding perfectly to her touch. The barrel was way too short for a conventional load at this caliber. Might be electromagnetic. Whatever its inner workings, she was pretty sure it was fully integrated with the car.

And so, she suspected, was Heron.

Mari firmed her fist on the gearshift, slipping her palm down to the base. A corresponding twitch fluttered over his jaw.

Holy crapfire. He felt it.

Felt her grip on the stick, felt her shifting the cannon. Felt her palm tracing in metal the shapes she would like to be making over his body. The certainty bloomed simultaneously in her mind and between her legs.

“You’ll have your chance in about seven minutes.” His voice was tight, clipped.

No way could they be thinking about the same thing. She bit her lip to keep from smiling. “Eh?”

“We don’t have any live targets right now, but we will shortly. My inputs are showing a roadblock up ahead. Their lasers are hot, but our shielding will hold. We will be in range within six minutes.”

She panned her gaze across the desert. She couldn’t see anything yet, which wasn’t surprising considering how fast they were going. But she did discern a shift in the pattern of the black sand horizon, a shudder of shapes. She leaned forward until her forehead mashed against the windshield and turned her head to look up.

She had to let loose of the gearshift when she moved, and she thought she heard Heron sigh. Regret or relief?

But she didn’t have much time to ponder, because right up there, smack-dab in front of them but up in the air, the sky looked a whole lot darker than it had any right to be. No stars, just black, a giant black, and headed right for them.

“Um, Heron? Remember when you said that we were safe from everything but the hand of God?”


“Don’t look up.”

Win a copy of WANTED AND WIRED, just tell us your favorite super hero / enhanced vehicle!

WANTED AND WIRED by Vivien Jackson


Wanted and Wired

A rip-roarin’ new snarky, sexy sci-fi paranormal romance series with the perfect balance of humor, heat, and heart. Now that Texas has seceded and the world is spiraling into chaos, good guys come in unlikely packages and love sprouts in the most inconvenient places…

Rogue scientist • technologically enhanced • deliciously attractive

Heron Farad should be dead. But technology has made him the man he is today. Now he heads a crew of uniquely skilled outsiders who fight to salvage what’s left of humanity: art, artifacts, books, ideas-sometimes even people. People like Mari Vallejo.

Gun for hire • Texan rebel • always hits her mark

Mari has been lusting after her mysterious handler for months. But when a by-the-book hit goes horribly sideways, she and Heron land on the universal most wanted list. Someone set them up. Desperate and on the run, they must trust each other to survive, while hiding devastating secrets. As their explosive chemistry heats up, it’s the
perfect storm…

Romance Science Fiction [Sourcebooks Casablanca, On Sale: April 4, 2017, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781492648161 / eISBN: 9781492648178]

About Vivien Jackson

Vivien Jackson

VIVIEN JACKSON is still waiting for her Hogwarts letter. In the mean time, she writes, mostly fantastical or futuristic or kissing-related stories. When she isn’t writing, she’s performing a sacred duty nurturing the next generation of Whovian Browncoat Sindarin Jedi gamers, and their little dogs too. With her similarly geeky partner, she lives in Austin, Texas, and watches a lot of football.



Abbie Roads | The Twelve Perks Being a Writer

Being a writer in today’s market is harder than it’s ever been. You have to be a social media guru—you have to be constantly marketing and promoting and available to your fans. All the while working on your next novel. It’s tough to not get overwhelmed by all the demands. But the rewards of being a writer are many!

The twelve perks of being a writer:

  1. There is something amazing about creating a world and characters. It’s like an alternate reality inside your head where you get to dictate every single thing that happens or doesn’t happen. You are Master of the Universe. Well, the universe in your mind.
  2. Sometimes the words flow like water and you just know they are pure golden goodness. That feels great.
  3. There’s a weird writer’s high that some authors get when they are creating. It’s like being in the zone—or so into your book—that you lose track of time and space. Eventually, you emerge back into a reality that seems foreign compared to the world in which you were just immersed.
  4. Connecting with other writers who are as weird as you are is like finding your home. They get you and the quirks of being a writer like no one else.
  5. If you’re home writing all day, it’s the best feeling in the world to wake without an alarm. Most writers roll out of bed, grab a cup of coffee, and start pounding on the keyboard. Pajamas, bed head, no make-up—that’s what writers normally look like. There’s something freeing about not having to get showered and dressed and go to another location for work.
  6. Seeing your book’s cover for the first time is an amazing experience. It makes the story and the characters more real in some way.
  7. There is nothing quite so awesome as having someone leave a good review of your book. Or contact you directly to tell you that they stayed up all night reading. Or even sending you a message with some of their favorite lines! Or creating fan art! Those things are a balm for all the sorrows that go along with writing.
  8. Creating a moment in time that doesn’t exist, but feels so real that you swear it does. It’s almost like reality and fantasy blur in those moments and it’s hard to tell the difference. In a good way. Not in a you-need-to-go-to-the-nuthouse way.
  9. A lot of writers are introverts. I know I am. I could go weeks without talking to anyone and not even miss it! I love social isolation. It feeds my soul. Writing is my happy place!
  10. Meeting readers who talk about your characters like they are real people is awesome. It shows that you created a fictional person that reader’s care about.
  11. Revenge on paper—not in real life—is sweet! Writers often name their villains after people who’ve done them wrong. In my books, unlike real life, my villains always get the justice they deserve.
  12. Being so invested in your own characters that you cry along with them through their sorrows, but also rejoice with them during their triumphs.

Here’s some questions for your readers:

Have you ever sent an author fan mail?

Tell me about a character that was so well written that you almost forget they are fictional.

Answer either question below to be entered to win a bundle of books from Abbie: RACE THE DARKNESS and HUNT THE DAWN

SAVING MERCY by Abbie Roads

Fatal Truth #1

Saving Mercy

First in a chilling new paranormal romantic suspense series from award-winning author Abbie Roads

He’s found her at last

Cain Killion knows himself to be a damaged man, his only saving grace the extrasensory connection to blood that he uses to catch murderers. His latest case takes a macabre turn when he discovers a familiar and haunting symbol linking the crime to his own horrific past-and only one woman could know what it means.

Only to lose her to a nightmare

Mercy Ledger is brave, resilient, beautiful-and in terrible danger. The moment he sees Mercy, Cain knows he’s the one who can save her. He also knows he’s beyond redemption. But the lines between good and evil blur and the only thing clear to Cain and Mercy is that they belong together. Love is the antidote for blood-but is their bond strong enough to overcome the evil that stalks them?

Romance Suspense [Sourcebooks Casablanca, On Sale: April 4, 2017, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781492639237 / eISBN: 9781492639244]

Keep a nightlight handy for this dark thriller

About Abbie Roads

Abbie Roads

Abbie Roads, the author of the Fatal Dreams series, is a mental health counselor by day and a writer by night. She lives in Marion, Ohio.

Fatal Dreams