Ali Brandon | A Close-Up Look At Black Kitties

When I first started writing the Black Cat Bookshop Mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime, our current feline companions happened to be orange tabby brothers. Not that the hubby and I hadn’t been caretakers to black cats before; we just seemed to have settled on tiger cats for the duration. But after spending so much time with my fictional black cat, Hamlet, I couldn’t help but feel that something was amiss in Cat Land.

One thing I love about our orange tabby boys is that they’re mellow guys without the “bite” of the ornery Hammy. That said, I wondered if maybe I needed a junior Hamlet of my own to help jumpstart my writing when I hit a tough spot. Sweet purring cats do not equal compelling plot points! And so, after much consideration, we adopted a brother and sister pair of sleek black felines whom we named Brandon Bobtail (he has but half a tail) and Ophelia.

But after barely a month of living with the new kitty duo, I was amused to remember something I’d forgotten over the years—that having a black cat in the house is like living with a shadow. Or, in our case, a pair of shadows! Half the time, especially in the evening, you can’t see the darn kitties until they’re almost in your lap! And heaven forbid they’re lying on a dark rug in a dark room as you come walking in. Terrible cat screeches and profound human apologies are the usual result. But the major problem with the camouflage shadow thing is that, while Ophelia is content to be a proper indoor kitty, Brandon thinks outside the house…er, box. He makes a game of trying to cloak himself in shadows and sneak past the front door whenever we let the dogs out for their evening potty break.

And when a cat wants something, he usually achieves it. Clever Brandon has actually escaped the house after dark a few times, resulting in a full-fledged kitty alert and roundup. For he doesn’t simply stroll about the front walk breathing in the night air; instead, he plays hide-and-seek in the shadowy shrubbery while we chase after him with a flashlight. One time, not knowing he’d gone AWOL, I almost had a heart attack when I found him lurking on the roof over the front door in the dark like some crazed vampire kitty. The subsequent rescue mission for that particular breakout required patience, a feathered toy, and a ladder, but all ended well.

Fortunately, we live on a dead end road in the country, so speeding cars aren’t an issue. But coyotes and big owls—heck, even alligators!—are very real hazards, so we couldn’t risk midnight kitty excursions on a regular basis. Vigilance, we realized, was key…except that some cat parents are more vigilant than others. (Ahem. Did I mention that all Brandon escapes were on the hubby’s watch?). On top of being super-alert, we needed a secondary anti-escape strategy.

And so we equipped both cats with breakaway collars complete with little jingle bells. We reasoned that, even if we couldn’t see one of them trying to slip between our feet as we opened the door to the night, we could hear them. It seemed a clever enough plan, until we realized that the little “tinkle, tinkle” of the jingle bell only sounded when the cats a) were jumping up onto the furniture or b) were rolling about on the floor, wrestling. The rest of the time—including when Brandon was in “sneak out” mode—their fur muffled sound of the bell. That, or the little stinkers had learned to walk without jangling.

At that point, we decided that the only other option was a honking big cowbell tied around their respective kitty necks. We also conceded that the cowbell thing probably wasn’t a practical alternative. So, we had to go back to the super-vigilant strategy.

And, for the time being, vigilance is working. I’m glad to say that Brandon hasn’t made an escape in recent months. But, as payback for being denied his little adventures, Brandon has perfected the “leap from the tall dresser and end with a four-paw landing on the sleeping human’s belly” cat-robatic routine. Blending as he does with the shadows, he’s long since gone invisible by the time said sleeping human leaps from the bed, now wide awake. And it’s hard to scold the little brat when I can’t actually prove he’s the culprit.

Could have been the dog, I can almost hear him saying, snickering behind one paw.

Forget the bells and the vigilance. Maybe I need to look into glow-in-the-dark paint for one particular shadow cat!

About Ali Brandon

Ali Brandon

ALI BRANDON is the New York Times bestselling author of the Black Cat Bookshop Mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime. This popular cozy series features Hamlet the cat and his transplanted-Texan caretaker, Darla Pettistone. Together, the pair work and sleuth out of Darla’s Brooklyn-based independent bookstore. Whenever a murderer is on the prowl, Hamlet and Darla are ready to pounce—and they always manage to collar the killer! The sixth book in the series, TWICE TOLD TAIL, hits the shelves on November 1.

A native Texan with a degree in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma, Ali now lives in South Florida with her hubby, four dogs, and four very spoiled cats. She’s a member of Mystery Writers of America, a former board member of the MWA Florida Chapter, and a member of the Cat Writers’ Association.

Black Cat Bookshop

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TWICE TOLD TAIL by Ali Brandon

Black Cat Bookshop Mystery

Twice Told Tail

The New York Times bestselling author of Plot Boiler takes us back to Pettistone’s Fine Books, where Hamlet the cat isn’t the only shadowy figure lurking around the Brooklyn brownstone…

As Thanksgiving approaches, Darla Pettistone is preparing for the busiest shopping season of the year. They’ve recently launched their online store, where one anonymous bidder is offering a suspiciously high price for an antique book—and Darla doesn’t need Hamlet’s special senses to know that something isn’t quite right.

However, there’s no time to think about that after Darla’s roped into helping bridezilla Connie Capello get ready for her big day. After looking at wedding dresses, Darla and Connie head to an antique store to find her “something old”—but they find someone dead instead. When Darla learns that the shop carried a copy of the book that her mysterious bidder is after, she suspects she’ll need Hamlet’s help to discover who penned the poor soul’s final chapter, before someone else is read their last rites…

Mystery Cozy [Berkley Prime Crime, On Sale: November 1, 2016, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780425261606 / eISBN: 9781101605974]

Jenn McKinlay | Catcher in the Rye could help solve a COLD case!

A cold case. Just that term makes my spine tingle and the hair prickles on the back of my neck. A mystery that remains unsolved for years due to lack of evidence or witnesses or an obvious motive always grabs me by my curiosity and just won’t let go.

When plotting BETTER LATE THAN NEVER, I knew I wanted to challenge my amateur sleuth Lindsey Norris with a cold case. Why? Well, in a small New England town like Briar Creek, a cold case would resonate for years in such a close-knit community. People would have their suspicions, families would be torn apart, and as the mystery remained unsolved so the lives of those impacted by the murder would also remain disrupted and out of order. Lindsey being a librarian with a librarian’s rage for order would definitely feel compelled to find the truth.

For me personally, the motivation to write a cold case was much like my reasoning for writing in the mystery genre to begin with — to have good triumph over evil. You don’t really get happy-ever-afters in mysteries, but in a world that is full of anger and violence, writing mysteries helps ease my outrage when a murderer walks away from their crime or when my heart breaks for the loved ones of the victims, the ones who are left to pick up the pieces not knowing why their person was murdered or who did it.

The interesting thing about cold cases, at least for me, is that while we now live in a world of instant gratification where answers can be found as simply as a DNA swab, with a cold case that isn’t always an option. A case that has run cold due to lack of evidence is a much more boots on the ground operation, where the sleuth needs to interview the key players, review the case notes, and do research, research, research! Yes, the librarian in me loves that part. Clearly, I had a great time writing BETTER LATE THAN NEVER.

catcher-in-the-rye-book-coverIf you, like me, enjoy an unsolved mystery, here’s a brief synopsis of Lindsey’s latest case: When the Briar Creek Public Library holds its first overdue book amnesty day—no fines for late returns—the volume of incoming materials is more than Lindsey and her staff can handle. In a bind, Lindsey drafts the crafternoon ladies to help check in and sort the stacks of books.

But one tardy tome catches her attention—a copy of J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, twenty years past due. When Lindsey looks up the borrower, she’s shocked to discover it was checked out to a teacher named Candice Whitley on the day she was murdered and her killer was never found.

Now Lindsey wonders if it could provide a clue to the decades-old cold case. No one noticed who brought the book back in, but could it be Candice’s killer? Lindsey is determined to catch the culprit one way or another, because justice for Candice Whitley is long overdue…

Is your spine tingling? The hair on the back of your neck prickling? Then join Lindsey and the crafternoon crew and find out what happened to Candice Whitley on the fateful day she checked out The Catcher in the Rye.

Thanks so much for letting me visit!

Happy Reading,

Jenn

About Jenn McKinlay

Jenn McKinlay

Jenn McKinlay took her first decoupage class when she was twelve years old. Since then, cutting and pasting have become a way of life. With two small children at home, she finds decoupage a fun craft as well as a very handy tool, especially when used to cover up doodles made in permanent marker on otherwise lovely furniture. And yes, they know her by name at her local Michael’s Craft Store. She is the author of three previous novels under the name Jennifer McKinlay and lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with her musician husband Chris, their two sons, two cats, one dog and one fish.

Library Lover’s Mystery | Cupcake Bakery Mystery | Hat Shop Mystery

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BETTER LATE THAN NEVER by Jenn McKinlay

Library Lover’s Mystery #7

Better Late Than Never

In the latest Library Lover’s Mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of A Likely Story, a decades overdue book puts library director Lindsey Norris hot on the trail of a cold case…
 
When the Briar Creek Public Library holds its first overdue book amnesty day—no fines for late returns—the volume of incoming materials is more than Lindsey and her staff can handle. In a bind, Lindsey drafts the crafternoon ladies to help check in and sort the stacks of books.

But one tardy tome catches her attention—a copy of J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, twenty years past due. When Lindsey looks up the borrower, she’s shocked to discover it was a murdered teacher named Candice Whitley, whose killer was never found.

Candice checked out the novel on the day she was murdered. Now Lindsey wonders if it could provide a clue to the decades-old cold case. No one noticed who brought the book back in, but could it be Candice’s killer? Lindsey is determined to catch the culprit one way or another, because justice for Candice Whitley is long overdue…

Mystery Amateur Sleuth | Mystery Cozy [Berkley, On Sale: November 1, 2016, Hardcover / e-Book, ISBN: 9780399583735 / eISBN: 9780399583742]

An excerpt from HOW TO IMPRESS A MARQUESS

Lilith adored walking about the city, rubbing elbows with its inhabitants. The rush of the metropolis exhilarated her. She delighted in mounting the top of the omnibus and gazing up at the buildings as the cumbersome vehicle lumbered through the streets. However, George wheeled about London in a lonely bubble of glass and luxury. Being inside it made her feel even sadder, as if she had been plucked from her colorful life and put in a sealed, hermetic bottle.

As she gazed out the window, her eyes burning and head aching from lack of sleep, her thoughts tangled up. Her own life fused with Colette’s.

The sultan, having finally captured Colette, bound her with silken sashes. She was his slave to do with as he pleased.

“You shall eat proper meals,” he growled in menacing tones. His brows drew down in a hawkish manner. “You’ll receive plenty of sleep each night and do calisthenics each morning.”

A shiver ran down Colette’s back at his unsavory demands. He may be the master of her body now, but her spirit would soar free from its bodily cage.

“Are you even paying attention?” the sultan demanded. Colette answered in a broken whisper, “Ahhbuhh,” and bowed her head.

“What? You’re not making sense,” the sultan spat. “This illustrates my point. You’ve beaten your wings to exhaustion because you’ve had no proper guidance. Well, that has changed.”

He seized her elbow as the carriage rolled to a stop. She tried to protest his brutal treatment, but his retinue descended upon her, ripping her from the carriage. His enormous tent was ablaze with torches.

“Show her to the parlor.” His powerful voice thundered in her ears.

Colette was taken inside the tent, ordered to wait upon plush cushions for her master’s cruel bidding, and asked if she required “a spot of tea or a biscuit.”

She tried to speak but her lips wouldn’t move. Her eyelids were closing fast. The sultan must have poisoned her. She fought to remain conscious.

She heard a female voice behind the tent door. “Lilith is staying with us! No, no. What will Mother say?”

Ah, yes, Lady Marylewick, that beautiful, perfect valide sultan—queen of the harem.

“Hush, my dear Penelope, she will hear you,” the sultan barked.

Penelope, Lady Fenmore? Why was the sultan’s sister with him and not with the harem of her husband? Those were Colette’s last thoughts before being carried away in the swift, black undertow of sleep.

* * *

George entered the parlor to inform Lilith of her waiting bedchamber. He found her collapsed on a sofa, sound asleep. Her hat had toppled from her head, freeing her auburn hair. Her lashes cast shadows on her face. A beautiful sleeping tigress. He knelt beside her and studied the lines and planes of her face. Her symmetry.

She hummed and shifted onto her side.

“Miss Dahlgren,” he whispered. He rested a hand on her shoulder and squeezed. “Lilith.”

She clasped his hand, slid it under her cheek and cuddled around his arm. Warmth flowed from her body into his.

The clock on the mantel chimed five. Parliament had begun. Outside, the long shadows of the afternoon were beacons of the coming gloaming. After Parliament, he had several balls to attend. Today’s adventure had set him behind in his estate work. He had a multitude of reasons to hurry on, but he couldn’t stop gazing at the picture she made and enjoying the tingle of his skin where it touched hers. “What am I going to do with you?”

She drew up her legs and snuggled even closer. “So tired,” she mumbled and rubbed her cheek against his arm, as if settling into a pillow.

He knew it was improper and unwise, but he wanted to feel more of her. He brushed a stray lock, the color of brandy and firelight, from her face. How could he make her mind as delicate as her nose, her manners as pleasing as her lips, and her ways as soft as her silky hair? If only he could find a way to temper her wild, disorderly nature and keep her as gentle as this moment.

He lingered five minutes longer, savoring the soothing rhythm of her breath on his face, until he couldn’t put off his responsibilities any longer.

“Come.” He tenderly gathered her up. “Let’s tuck you in bed.”

HOW TO IMPRESS A MARQUESS by Susanna Ives

Wicked Little Secrets

How To Impress a Marquess

TAKE ONE MARQUESS: Proper, put-upon, dependable, but concealing a sensitive artist’s soul.

ADD ONE BOHEMIAN LADY: Creative, boisterous, unruly, but secretly yearning for a steadfast love, home, and family.

STIR in a sensational serialized story that has society ravenous for each installment.

COMBINE with ambitious guests at an ill-fated house party hosted by a treacherous dowager possessing a poison tongue.

SHAKE until a stuffy marquess and rebellious lady make a shocking discovery: the contents of their hearts are just alike.

Take a sip. You’ll laugh, you’ll swoon, you’ll never want this moving Victorian love story to end.

Romance Historical [Sourcebooks, On Sale: November 1, 2016, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781402283635 / eISBN: 9781402283642]

About Susanna Ives

Susanna Ives

Susanna Ives started writing when she left her job as a multimedia training developer to stay home with her family. Now she keeps busy driving her children to various classes, writing books, and maintaining websites. She often follows her husband on business trips around Europe and blogs about the misadventures of touring with children. She lives in Atlanta.

Wicked Little Secrets

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A Top 10 Marie Harte Like List

Hi! I’m Marie Harte, a book lover, romance novelist, mother to two boys, caretaker of a puppy and cat (who rules the house), and was lucky enough to hit the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists in my career. Oh, and I’m a coffee addict.

I thought I’d share some of my recent favorite things, a Top Ten Marie Harte Like List, if you will. Do any of these float your boat?

  1. Strange, the movie. LOVED IT! Amazing movie even if you’d never read the comics or heard of this character. And the movie stars Benedict Cumberbatch. So there’s that.
  2. Coffee. Coffee.
  3. Chocolate, but of course. Not the cheap crap either, but a nice, flavorful truffle. Milk chocolate, preferably.
  4. Movie trailers. I could watch them all day. I absolutely love getting a sneak peak at what’s coming. Same for book blurbs.
  5. My new DVR. Yes, I went for years without one. Now I’m not glued to my TV. I love that I can fast forward through commercials too.
  6. Nothing better than taking a walk through red and yellow leaves fluttering past on the sidewalk. Or seeing snowcapped mountains in the distance, hearing the crackle the fire in the fireplace, or sipping hot cocoa while it’s cold outside.
  7. Fuzzy socks. No explanation needed.
  8. Finding a new romance series to love and reread, over and over.
  9. Getting that extra hour during Daylight Savings Time. And yes, I slept in.
  10. Release day for a new book I wrote. That never gets old.

And of those strike a chord?

I just celebrated a release day last week, November 1st. A SURE THING is my latest book and the start of The Donnigans series. This series is a concept I had five years ago, the first of the McCauley cousins to get a happily ever after. It took a while to get my McCauley Brothers published, so by default, the cousins had to wait a bit. The first cousin I’d planned on writing about will be in the third book instead. Landon, the oldest, just had to go first. :-)

Thanks for having me, Fresh Fiction!

Marie

About Marie Harte

Marie Harte

Caffeine addict, boy referee, and romance aficionado, USA Today bestselling author Marie Harte has over 100 books published with more constantly on the way. Writing romance, and in particular erotic romance, across the genres, she’s created stories set on other worlds, among paranormal creatures, and between normal men and women seeking true love.

Marie is a confessed bibliophile and devotee of action movies. Whether hiking in Central Oregon, biking around town, or hanging at the local tea shop, she’s constantly plotting to give everyone a happily ever after. Visit her website and fall in love.

Good To Go | McCauley Brothers | Wicked Warrens | The Works | Ethereal Foes | Best Revenge | Mark of Lycos | Body Shop Bad Boys | Donnigans

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A SURE THING by Marie Harte

Donnigans #1

A Sure Thing

Meet the Donnigans
With the eldest Donnigan brothers adjusting to civilian life, their younger sister constantly in trouble, and their little brother clueless about life in general, falling in love is the last thing on anyone’s mind…

Can this Bossy Badass Marine…

The Marine Corps was everything Landon Donnigan ever wanted in life…until a bullet sent him home with a medical discharge. Teaching a self-defense class at the gym is old-hat for a marine, but when he meets sexy Ava Rosenthal, his combat skills are useless for protecting his heart.

Be her Mr. Right?

Ava can take care of herself and likes quiet, bookish men-not muscular warriors who think women need to be coddled. But Landon is more than he seems, and when they come together, the results are explosive.

Romance Contemporary [Sourcebooks Casablanca, On Sale: November 1, 2016, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781492631859 / eISBN: 9781492631866]

Vanessa Vale | My Favorite Home Cooked Restaurant Meal

I really enjoy cooking, but I enjoy eating so much more!

I’ve got two boys (11 and 14) and these days, the older one can eat two Chipotle burritos in one sitting, so when I’m cooking dinner, it had better be lots of food! Since two burritos per kid can break the bank, I try to duplicate it at home. Turns out, it’s not that hard, and my 11 year old (the picky one) agrees!

So how do I make the restaurant burritos at home?

Crockpot and/or Pressure Cooker Tex-Mex meat

(yes, it’s a vague title!)

Pick a meat- Chicken or Pork

Place it in the crockpot or pressure cooker. Add adobo chiles—they’re in the Mexican section right next to the canned sliced jalapenos—from the can, depending on how much meat. I usually use about 2-3 pounds, so I add half a can. Add water to cover the bottom. Cook all day (crockpot) or about 30 minutes (pressure cooker).

Pull the meat into shreds. That’s it!

My 11 year old calls it Chipotle chicken (even if it’s pork) because he thinks it tastes the same. I sauté peppers and onions and make white rice and chop in some cilantro.

Fill your tortilla with what you like best! Top with sour cream, salsa, green chile, guacamole…and more!

Leftovers? Make nachos or quesadillas.

What is your go-to, easy to make recipe? I’d love to hear about it. Join my recipe sharing group on Facebook

A WANTON WOMAN by Vanessa Vale

Mail Order Bride of Slate Springs

A Wanton Woman

Celia Lawrence can’t show her face in her conservative, small town. First, she discovered her husband in bed with another man’s wife, and then she witnessed both their murders. While she didn’t pull the trigger, small town gossip is not forgiving and everywhere she goes she is chastised for not being woman enough to keep her straying husband at home. Eager to flee her old life, Celia heads to Colorado as a mail-order bride.

As mayor of Slate Springs, Colorado, Luke Benson is expected to set the example. Their small town is hidden away in a remote mountainous region where few women have the courage or desire to tread. As mayor, it falls to him to test out their newly passed law and share a wife with his brother. The truth is, Luke has no interest in a woman of his own, and agrees to a mail-order bride out of duty, not anticipation.

His brother, Walker, is jaded and hard after the death of his first wife and unborn child. For Walker, loving again is out of the question. But a man has needs, and he’ll eagerly take his pleasure from their new bride while expecting Luke to provide the tenderness and caring a woman expects.

A marriage based on everything but love should be doomed. But Celia, Luke and Walker discover one thing they have in common: desire. Will that be strong enough to survive the danger that follows Celia from Texas? Will desire be strong enough to teach three broken that sometimes you have to risk everything for love?

Romance Erotica Sensual | Romance Western | Romance Historical [On Sale: November 1, 2016, e-Book]

About Vanessa Vale

Vanessa Vale

Who doesn’t love the romance of the old West? Vanessa Vale takes the sensual appeal of rugged cowboys a step further with her bestselling books set in the Montana Territory. They are much more than just sexy historical westerns. By introducing sexual taboos into this otherwise traditional romantic setting, Vanessa has won the loyalty of a fan base that never knows quite what to expect with each new series.

“Montana Maidens” was the first to push the envelope with strong BDSM themes. “Montana Men” followed suit with softer themes but lots of deliciously graphic sex. “The Bridgewater Series” showcases ménage relationships because sometimes one hot cowboy isn’t enough. No-holds-barred, graphic descriptions, strong storytelling, engaging characters and breathtaking landscapes all combine to make very naughty reads.

And as a resident of Wild Wild West, Vanessa Vale finds plenty of inspiration for her work, for who doesn’t love a handsome cowboy?

Bridgewater Menage Series | Wildflowers Of Montana | Montana Men – Vanessa Vane

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Rebecca Adler | Guacamole: Too Good to Be Bad

When I set out to write the second installment of my Taste of Texas Mystery Series, I jumped at the chance to highlight one of my all-time favorite foods. Guacamole.

If you’re anything like my family you can’t get enough of this scrumptious spread. And we’re not the only ones. Americans consume approximately 1.2 billion pounds of avocados every year. On two special days those numbers soar into the stratosphere. Can you name them?

If you said Cinco de Mayo, you’re right. Now think tailgate parties, football…got it yet? If you said the Super Bowl, you’re an expert. Approximately 12 million avocados will be turned into dip on Super Bowl Sunday this year.

Guacamole, or ahuaca-mulli, and the Aztecs who created it were discovered by the Spaniards in Central Mexico in the 1500s. In fact, those explorers loved it so much they tried to recreate the dish when they returned to Spain. Alas, these delicious fruits grow best in the climate of South-Central Mexico.

The healthy avocado is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and good fats. And there’s enough fiber in this savory berry–yes, berry–to fight off hunger for up to three hours after eating only half of one for lunch.

Avocado trees were introduced to California in 1871. Recipes for guacamole began appearing in the 1940s; and by the 1950s, that fruit-bearing state was growing 25 different varieties. The rest, as they say, is history.

Delicious guacamole, the rich tradition of Tex Mex cuisine, the stark Chihuahuan Desert, and the highest mountain range in Texas are all part of the world inhabited by the characters in my new story, THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE GUACAMOLE.

I hope you’ll come and visit. Whether you swing gently in a hammock under a gigantic sky full of stars, or ride a mechanical bull named Diablo at Two Boots Dance Hall, Josie and the entire Martinez family will make you feel at home.

And they’ll cross their fingers no mysteries crop up while you’re in Broken Boot. Wouldn’t want to scare you away from a good time and all the Tex Mex, and delicious guacamole, you can eat.

¡Hasta luego!

Rebecca Adler

About Rebecca Adler

Rebecca Adler

Gina grew up on the sugar beaches of the Florida Gulf Coast. Drawn to the Big Apple by the sweet smell of wishful thinking, she studied acting on Broadway until a dark-eyed cowboy flung her over his saddle and high-tailed it to the Southwest.

Prior to writing women’s fiction, Gina always found a way to add a touch of the dramatic to her life: dinner theatre in Mississippi, can-can club in Florida, flower shop in Germany, acting school on Broadway, sweatshirt boutique on Madison Avenue, all night dive on the Lower East Side, video series in Jersey, and a giant Furskin at the New York Toy Fair, plus the occasional play and musical.

She’s currently content to pour her melodramatic tendencies into writing cozy mysteries with a hint of romance and a sweet, Southern-fried flavor.

Taste of Texas

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THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE GUACAMOLE by Rebecca Adler

Taste of Texas #2

The Good, the Bad and the Guacamole

Tex-Mex waitress and part-time reporter Josie Callahan is about to serve up some Lone Star justice in this spicy Taste of Texas Mystery from the author of Here Today, Gone Tamale.

Tourists are pouring into the town of Broken Boot for the annual Homestead Days Music Festival. Opening the celebration at Two Boots dance hall is smooth-talking country singer Jeff Clark, the ex-boyfriend of Josie’s best friend, Patti Perez. When the charming Clark woos Patti onstage in an attempt to rekindle some sparks with his old flame, Josie fears her friend will end up as just one more notch on the singer’s guitar strap.

To impress her editor at the Broken Boot Bugle, Josie and her Chihuahua, Lenny, pursue the singer to Patti’s house, hoping for an interview. Instead, they discover Clark facedown in a bowl of guacamole with a bloodied guitar at his side. With Patti suddenly a murder suspect, Josie must use her reporter skills to find out who had a chip on their shoulder—before the killer double dips….

Mystery Cozy | Mystery Culinary [Berkley, On Sale: November 1, 2016, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780425275948 / eISBN: 9780698166721]

Rina Gray | Top 5 favorite Romance Novels

Before I penned this post, I never thought about my top five romance novels, because my favorites change fairly often. I have my one-click authors, the authors I don’t even think about downloading a sample because their body of work has never or rarely disappointed me. Some are simply books that encouraged me to write my own stories. After writing down my top books (let’s just say for right now), I realized a common denominator are opposites attract, unrequited love and hero/heroine transformation. IT’S BEEN YOU, Book #2 of the Crush on You series has a little bit of everything of the things I love. I hope you like my list.

  1. Kristen Ashley – SWEET DREAMS

Kristen Ashley is a one-click author. I LOVE her voice. Her heroes are uber Alpha, and the women are a range from super sweet to hot and spicy. I was first introduced to her via the Rock Chicks Series (Rock on!) and moved on to the Colorado Mountain Series. Sweet Dreams is about a woman who leaves after her husband cheats on her with her best friends. She picks up and moves on to a small town in Colorado and goes from Corporate America to a job as a waitress in a biker bar. Tatum Jackson, who is initially rude to Lauren because of his initial bias based on her “suburbia” looks. They are complete opposites, much like Tiana and Nathan, my hero and heroine in It’s Been You, and of course, once they get over the “hate” things explode… in a good way! Also, what makes this one of her best books (in my humble opinion) is the confidence the heroine gains. She transforms and finds happiness in a simpler life.

  1. Brenda Jackson – THE MIDNIGHT HOUR

New York Time’s and USA Today Bestselling authors are just a few of Brenda Jackson’s accolades, and she has published over 100 novels. I’ve probably read most of them. However, my favorite book is The Midnight Hour, a romantic thriller about an ex-Marine turned CIA agent Sir Drake Warren who lost his fiancée during a military mission. Her death shapes him, and five years later he is bitter, a bit reckless and hell-bent on revenge. However, he eventually finds out that his fiancée Sandy Carroll (now Agent Victoria Green) hadn’t died in the mission. This book is a part of a larger Madaris series, and I’ve enjoyed every book.

  1. Francis Ray – DREAMING OF YOU

If you love a good unrequited love story, Francis Ray’s Dreaming of You will not disappoint. The heroine, Faith McBride has loved the hero, Brandon Grayson since she was a shy kid in high school. Years later, she is determined to win his love when she finds out his successful matchmaking mother has Brandon in her crosshairs. In the process of trying to “win her man.” she transforms and gains confidence in herself.

  1. Nora Roberts – TEARS OF THE MOON

This story is yet another unrequited love story, my favorite. Nora is a rock star and is one of the most successful romance authors to date. She is a master at storytelling, and when I read her books, particularly like Tears of the Moon, set in Ireland, you cannot tell me I can’t navigate myself around the villages of Ireland like a native. I’ve read countless Nora Roberts novels, but what makes this story at the top of the heap is the weaving of magic, lost love, a very practical and tomboy heroine and a musically-talented dreamer hero.

  1. Charlaine Harris – DEAD UNTIL DARK

Let me just take a moment to fangirl here a bit. I know the Sookie Stackhouse Series is typically categorized as a mystery, and yes, I agree, but I love the beginnings of Vampire Bill and Sookie, and I’m a super fan of vampires and werewolves. The setting, the dialogue. *Sigh* Bon Temps felt real. I dodged a lot of calls, had a bunch of sleepless nights…I was a literal bookworm for this series.

If you haven’t read some of these books – take a chance! They’re fun, thrilling, sexy, and well-written!

If you have read them, I’d love to know what you think. Drop me a line on Twitter or Facebook.

IT’S BEEN YOU by Rina Gray

Crush on You #2

It's Been You

Rina Gray returns with IT’S BEEN YOU, an all new Crush on You novel from Crimson Publishing. When the opportunity to land a lucrative deal and promotion results in a friendly competition that then erupts into an all-out battle of desire, Tiana Holliday and Nathaniel Lawson will straddle the line between love and war in this steamy must read Fall title releasing November 7, 2016!

Marketing manager Tiana Holliday just landed her dream job at an award-winning agency in New York City. There’s just one problem: cocky playboy Nathaniel Lawson, her old grad school nemesis, is her new officemate.

As the firm’s rising star, Nathan never had to compete for prime clients until all-work and no-play Tiana strutted into his workspace. When an opportunity arises to manage a lucrative sports car account and nab a big promotion, he challenges her to a wager: Loser does the winner’s bidding for one month. But their friendly little competition suddenly threatens to erupt into an all-out battle of desire.

As they straddle the line between love and war, they just might discover that challenging each other outside the boardroom is even more satisfying than advertised.

Romance Contemporary [Crimson Romance, On Sale: November 7, 2016, e-Book, ISBN: 9781507202180 / eISBN: 9781507202180]

Other Books in the Crush On You series

Fool For You

Sports journalist Melanie Foster has achieved most of her goals: Bomb.com job—check. Tomboy-to-smoking-hottie makeover—check. Convince her best friend, Damien Richards, to slide a ring on her finger and father her two-point-five kids—not so much. When she activates Operation: I’m Gonna Make You Love Me, she never imagines her BFF already has plans to stroll down the wedding aisle with another woman.

Damien is in the middle of crisis mode. The non-profit for young athletes at which he volunteers is in financial trouble. He’ll pull out all the stops to rescue the organization that saved his life after his career-ending injury—even if it means sacrificing his personal happiness.

But when he finally wakes up to love and the very non-friendly feelings he’s long held for Mel, it might just be too late. Damien must convince her that he’s worth the risk and turn the tables to show her he’s the one ready to be a fool for love.

Book 1 Available at: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | iTunes | Goodreads

Rina Gray

Rina Gray is one of the newest African American romance writers on the rise. She is also a digital marketing professional who discovered her love of writing in 2012. Writing has always been Rina’s passion, though initially, she tried to deny it. In college she served as the copy editor for the entertainment magazine and newspaper. During her tenure, she had the opportunity to interview various talented entertainers including Chris Rock and the cast from Reno-911.

Rina has always been an avid reader, sneaking to read her mother’s books she had no business reading i.e. Stephen King’s The Stand, It, and Anne Rice’s various vampire series. As a pre-teen, she received a load of romance novels from a family friend and from that point on, she devoured any book related to romance or horror. When she’s not writing, she can be found with her head stuck in a book, kickboxing, or dominating game night with friends and family. Rina resides in Atlanta with her husband.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon

Jus Accardo’s Top 8 Favorite Science Fiction shows

I’ve loved the science fiction genre since I was a kid. So many exciting possibilities. Alternate realities, biopunk, aliens—I want to devour it all. Today I’m here to share a list of my top 8 favorite science fiction shows (in no particular order).

  1. The Bionic Woman – This was my very first introduction to the science fiction genre and remains my number 1 favorite. When I was a kid, my mom loved this show. I grew up watching the reruns. In fact, I was so enthralled by it, I was even Jamie Summers two Halloweens in a row (not that anyone knew who that was, lol)
  2. Futurama – Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m a sucker for animation. I live for cartoons. When Futurama came along? Sci-fi and a cartoon? Um, yes please! I know a lot of people weren’t thrilled with the later stories, but I personally loved how they ended Fry and Leela’s story.
  3. The Flash – I’m loving how the story is progressing on the Flash. I still need to play catch-up on this season, but I can’t wait to see what they do next!
  4. Dollhouse – Joss Whedon can pretty much do no wrong in my eyes. Though the second season was nowhere near as awesome as the first (to me, anyway) Dollhouse has a cemented place in my heart.
  5. Fringe – I’ll be honest. This one took me a season to get into. But once it dug deeper into the alternate reality portion of the plot, I was utterly hooked.
  6. Sliders – Sliders… What’s there to say? This show was awesome – and so prematurely pulled from the lineup! The show had some of the most amazing alternate dimension set ups that I’ve seen to this day. I miss it!
  7. Orphan Black – This show gets better with each season. Tatiana Maslany is so seriously amazing, and the growing storyline has me completely enthralled.
  8. Firefly – Stellar cast, fantastic dialog—and gone way too soon!

How about you guys? What’s your favorite science fiction show—past or present?

About Jus Accardo

Jus Accardo

JUS ACCARDO spent her childhood reading and learning to cook. Determined to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps as a chef, she applied and was accepted to the Culinary Institute of America. At the last minute, she realized her path lay with fiction, not food, and passed on the spot to pursue writing.

Jus is the bestselling author the popular Denazen series from Entangled publishing, and the upcoming Darker Agency series. A native New Yorker, she lives in the middle of nowhere with her husband, three dogs, and sometimes guard bear, Oswald.

Denazen

WEBSITE | TWITTER | GOODREADS | FACEBOOK | BLOG

INFINITY by Jus Accardo

Infinity Division

Infinity

Two families,. One device. Infinite possibilities…

There are three things Kori Anderson knows for sure

One: Her army general father is way too overprotective

Two: The guy he sent to watch her, Cade, is way too hot

Three: Everything she knows about her life is a lie

Now for the three things she doesn’t know

One: There’s a device that allows people to jump to other
dimensions

Two: Cade has a lethal secret

Three: Someone wants her dead

Young Adult | Science Fiction | Romance [Entangled Teen, On Sale: November 1, 2016, Trade Size / e-Book, ISBN: 9781633754973 / ]

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Grace Goodwin

I’m actually two people! Yes, we are co-writers who share a brain… and a love for romance. Sometimes we’re like Dr. Doolittle’s Push Me-Pull You, the two headed llama, but it’s all fun!

So some of the answers below may have two responses because we can’t agree on much of anything besides hot heroes.

  1. Favorite vacation place: Hawaii and London
  2. Favorite season: Summer and Fall
  3. Number of kids: 3 and 2
  4. Name the states you’ve lived in: Oregon, Colorado, Montana, Maryland, Georgia, New York, Nebraska
  5. Favorite super hero: Wonder Woman (duh!)
  6. Favorite color: Orange and green
  7. Birthday month: October and November (party time!)
  8. Favorite holiday: Christmas
  9. Favorite flavor of ice cream: What flavor is bad?
  10. Years married: 22 and 18
  11. How do you like your coffee? Caffeinated
  12. Hair color: Blond and brown
  13. Favorite book genre: Sci-fi and Romantic Supense
  14. If you could give a hero only one characteristic, what would it be? Hotness and honor
  15. Favorite food: Anything we don’t have to cook
  16. Spicy or mild? Spicy!
  17. Favorite sports team: Broncos and Penguins
  18. Onion rings or french fries? Both!
  19. Favorite exercise: Turning the page in a book

TAMED BY THE BEAST by Grace Goodwin

Tamed by the Beast

When Tiffani is mated to an Atlan warrior believed lost to mating fever, she will stop at nothing to save him, including sneaking into an Atlan prison to seduce his beast….

Sick and tired of the dead-end path her life is taking, Tiffani Wilson heads to the nearest Interstellar Bride processing center to start over. She’s promised an amazing mate, an Atlan Warlord who will not only relish her plus sized body, but heal her lonely heart.

Commander Deek of Atlan has lost control of his inner beast and sits in an Atlan prison cell awaiting execution. Unfortunately, nothing can save an unmated male.

When Tiffani’s transport to Atlan is denied due to her mate’s unstable condition, she will stop at nothing to save him and the life she was promised. Her mate is out there, he’s in trouble, and she knows she’s the only one in the universe who can save him.

Deek and his inner beast take one look at Tiffani’s soft, lush body and know they will do anything to possess her, even if it means pushing her sensual limits or taking her over his knee. But it’s not just Deek’s tenuous hold on the beast that stands in the way of their happily-ever-after, for Deek’s descent into mating fever was no accident, and his enemies will not surrender so easily.

Romance Science Fiction [Krill Press, On Sale: November 4, 2016, e-Book, / eISBN: 1230001409376]

About Grace Goodwin

Grace Goodwin

Once upon a time, a young girl was born into an average, working class family. The wee little girl, convinced she was not an average child but was, in fact, a fairy princess, longed to leave the mundane world behind and live her dreams. She grew up, went to school, and when she’d grown too big to wear tutus and tiaras in public without drawing unwanted attention, turned to writing down her fantasies instead. Now a bit older, her fantasies have grown to include sexually dominant men who know how to ensure a woman’s pleasure. Grace believes all women should be treated like princesses, in the bedroom and out of it, and writes love stories where men know how to make their women feel pampered, protected and very well taken care of. She currently lives in Oregon where she spends her days writing, and her nights in the arms of her very own Prince.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | mailing list | Goodreads