Linda Reilly | A funny thing happened on the way to the publisher . . .
Author Guest / April 17, 2017

There are so many components that go into writing a mystery. Fun characters, sneaky red herrings, a plethora of guilty-looking suspects . . . all of these have to be dumped together, shaken up, and poured out into a cohesive story. When I was writing the initial draft of A FRYING SHAME, I needed to come up with a street name. The street itself wasn’t important—simply a quick reference by the police detective as to why she was late for her meeting with Talia Marby, my main character. Normally I’d stare out the window to dream up a name, or I’d think of a street name from my childhood. I still can’t recall how I came up with “Oriole Road” that day, but it found its way into the story. A few months after I turned in the manuscript to my publisher, my husband broke his hip. During the early stages of his post-surgery rehab, we decided the time was right for us to move to a place where he’d no longer have to climb stairs. I found a promising apartment complex nearby, and decided to check it out. A newly renovated unit had just become available, with full bath…

Gayle Leeson | The Warm Fuzzies
Author Guest / April 17, 2017

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…

A Chance Interview with Susan Wittig Albert
Author Guest , Cozy Corner / April 17, 2017

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 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…

Lisa Wells | Heroes Named Jack
Author Guest / April 15, 2017

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…

Nina Croft | Why Sexy Space Stories Work for me…
Author Guest / April 14, 2017

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…

Adriana Anders | Best Small Town Romances
Author Guest / April 13, 2017

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…

Author Match with Traci Douglass
Author Guest / April 13, 2017

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

Shelli Stevens | You did WHAT for research?
Author Guest / April 12, 2017

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….

Amanda Ashby | Vacation Flings
Author Guest / April 12, 2017

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…

Vivien Jackson | Gadgets / Techno / Magical What’s YOUR favorite?
Author Guest / April 11, 2017

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….