Welcome SPIRITED Author Mary Behre

ImageI’m so pleased to welcome my friend, author Mary Behre, today. She’s celebrating the launch of her wonderful debut novel, SPIRITED. I loved this story and blazed through it on my Kindle last weekend. What a terrific read! To celebrate, Mary will be giving away a copy of SPIRITED and a “swag bag”. Just leave a comment and your email for a chance to win.

Now, here’s Mary:

Hi Tara! Thank you for having me as a guest on your blog today. This whole week has been so amazing,  I appreciate you inviting me to continue my launch celebration here.

Mary, please tell us a little about your story.

A reluctant psychic and an no-nonsense cop thrown together by ghost on a mission when her purse is found in the hands of his dead informant. SPIRITED has it all… humor, suspense and a psychic love-connection.

All Jules Scott wants is to live a normal, quiet life—preferably one that doesn’t include ghosts. Jules’s ability for communicating with the dead means needy spirits always find a way to draw her into their otherworldly drama. When one implicates her in a series of deadly crimes, Jules is forced to entrust her paranormal secrets to the person least likely to believe her, the super-hot cop who also poses a danger to her heart.

 He’ll do whatever it takes to catch her.

Detective Seth English can’t get distracted from the big case he’s working on, not even by his alluring new neighbor. He doesn’t believe that Jules had anything to do with the string of robberies-turned-murders that he’s investigating, but when she keeps showing up in all the wrong places, including some scintillating fantasies, his gut tells him she knows more than she’s letting on. To solve his case, he’ll need to expose what the sexy redhead is hiding— but the truth could threaten more than the budding attraction between them…

ImageI love this story…it drew me in from the first page! And Seth is such a wonderful hero. Mary, if you could bring a fictional hero to life, which one would it be? Heathcliff? Mr. Darcy? Mr. Rochester? Tarzan? Captain Mal? One of your own heroes?

Oh my, Captain Mal, definitely! I’m a huge Firefly fan. I saw the show for the first time, ten years after it aired and loved it. I’ve put the Blu-Ray on my wish list for my birthday this year. LOL

He’s one of my favorites…I devoured an entire season of Firefly in a day on a snowy weekend when my hubby was out of town. Firefly episodes are like potato chips  🙂 The fact we both adore Captain Mal doesn’t surprise me in the least. Great minds, you know! But what’s one thing about you that would surprise readers?

Like Jules I have a distinctive tattoo that I got in honor of my older sister. The tattoo is of a pink ribbon with a Celtic symbol for the feminine goddess in the center. If you see me at a conference ask me about the tat, I proudly show it off.

What an original idea!

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Oh, that’s easy. Virginia Beach. I moved there when I was twenty-two and never wanted to leave. In fact, I loved the Tidewater area so much, I used it as inspiration for the setting for SPIRITED. The Tidewater area is what the locals refer to the cities of Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Suffolk, Chesapeake and Portsmouth. Tidewater is actually not on a map. Locals of the five cities often work in one city, live in another, go to concerts in another, plays in another, and dinner in another. But beta readers of my first book, showed me they didn’t understand why locals would leave their own city for food. So Tidewater was born as the fictitious city that had it all.

I’m missing Tidewater, too. I grew up in that area and lived there most of my life until two years ago, when we traded the beach for the mountains of Pennsylvania. Now it’s on my “gotta get there” list at least once a season.

Mary, as a writer, what’s your favorite inspirational quote?

My favorite writing quote is from the sci-fi spoof, GALAXY QUEST. “Never give up. Never surrender.”

Do you follow sports? Favorite teams?

I’m a Baltimore fan all the way. I’m Orioles fan (baseball) and a Ravens fan (football). I love that the Ravens color is purple. My favorite color. So all season long, I wear my Ravens’ gear. The Orioles color is orange. I wear that color as little as possible. Only birds look good in orange. LOL

Hmmm…I’m a Steeler gal…looks like we might have a little Flacco/Big Ben rivalry going on here…

Thanks for being my guest, Mary! It’s been a pleasure to host you. Where can readers find SPIRITED?

Here are buy links to three major retailers:

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Spirited-Tidewater-Novel-Mary-Behre-ebook/dp/B00EOAS0BS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1388161462&sr=8-1&keywords=mary+behre

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/spirited-mary-behre/1116561037?ean=9780425268612

Books-A-Million: http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Spirited/Mary-Behre/9780425268612?id=5649170482822

Don’t forget to leave a comment and your email for a chance to win a swag bag. We’ll announce the winner on Thursday, March 20…Happy first day of Spring!

Here’s a little more about Mary:

Mary Behre is the lone female in a house full of males and the undisputed queen of her domain. She even has the glittery tiara to prove it. She loves stories with humor, ghosts, mysteries and above all else, a good romance. When not writing, she enjoys reading, gluten-free baking, and hanging out at the beach with the most important men in her life, her family.

Her debut paranormal romance, SPIRITED (Tidewater Novel #1) was an award-winning manuscript before it sold to Berkley Sensation. The Tidewater Series is mix of humor, suspense, and a psychic love-connection. The first three stories are about three sisters separated years before in the foster care system. As they search for love, each other, and a way to live with their psychic abilities, they’re tossed into the middle of mysteries that only their unique gifts can help solve.

Welcome Author Lane McFarland

Cameron coverIt’s my pleasure to welcome my friend, author Lane McFarland. Lane’s steamy Scottish historical romances debuted earlier this month on Amazon…readers are gobbling up these touching and passionate stories. Lane’s here with a character interview of the heroines of her romances, Cameron and Heather. Welcome, Lane. Please tell us a little about your stories.

Thank you for having me, Tara. I’m excited to tell you about the first two books of my series, The Daughters of Alastair MacDougall. Before I published Cameron and Heather’s stories, I took one last opportunity to interview the sisters. I’d like to share my visit to MacDougall Castle in Kilmarnock, Scotland.

It was late at night when I arrived. Large torches blazed bright into the darkening sky. Solid battlements, secured behind grey stone, ran across the outer gates surrounding the fortress. Guards patrolled the ramparts, ready to drop the portcullis and defend the castle at a moment’s notice.

The carriage rattled across the wooden bridge, through a large worn gate and past guardhouses on either side. We pulled to a stop in the bailey before the stone steps leading to the keep. I tugged my wrap around my shoulders, climbed the steep stairs and knocked on the heavy oak door.

A gust of brisk air swirled in the front hall as Fergus greeted me. “Welcome to MacDougall Castle, Mistress McFarland.”Heather cover

“Thank you, Fergus. It’s nice to be back.”

“Please come in, and I’ll show ye to the solar.”

I stepped into the dimly-lit hall. He lifted the cloak from my back and escorted me down the corridor. More torches secured in brackets lined the damp passage, their flames flickering in a cold draft.

He opened the solar’s worn door and swept his arm in the direction of the chairs positioned before the hearth. “Make yerself comfortable by the fire. I’ll let Mistresses Cameron and Heather know ye’ve arrived.”

I scooted into one of the massive wooden chairs, holding my hands out to the warmth radiating from the golden flames. Nerves strung tight, I couldn’t help but wonder what the MacDougall women thought of the stories I had just written about them. While rummaging through my briefcase for my notebook, the sound of footsteps and feminine laughter drifted from down the hall.

“Mistress McFarland,” Cameron said as she slipped into the room with Heather close behind. “What a pleasure to see ye again.”

I stood and smoothed shaking fingers down my skirt as Cameron extended her hand in greeting. Once again, I was struck by the women’s beauty. Cameron’s long dark hair and green eyes were in stark contrast to her sister’s blonde tresses and deep blue eyes. Friendly smiles lit their faces.

“Please call me Lane. I thank you for seeing me on short notice and at such a late hour.”

“Gracious, ye’re always welcome,” Heather said, grasping my hand. “Please have a seat.”

Rena, the cook, entered carrying a tray of warm spiced cider and her sweet cakes. She smiled and handed me a mug.

“Thank you.”

The woman nodded and shuffled from the room.

“What can we do for ye?” Cameron asked, sipping the drink.

“I hope you’ve had a chance to review the books I wrote about you and your families.”

Heather leaned back in her chair. “Aye, we appreciated yer just account.”

Relief poured over me and I relaxed. “May I ask a few follow up questions? I want to ensure I have correctly depicted your stories.”

“Certainly. Heather and I will try to answer whatever questions ye have.”

I flipped open my notebook and addressed Cameron. “When I first visited, you were experiencing difficulties. Would you describe that hard time in your life once more?”

She stiffened slightly.

Heather reached over and squeezed her sister’s forearm.

Cameron smiled sadly. “It was indeed a difficult time. Mum had been so ill. I couldn’t find a cure for her wasting sickness. When she passed, I felt like a failure.” She shook her head. “It took a long time before I wanted to continue learning the healing arts.”

“But you did,” I added.

Her eyes gazed at me, the light from the flames in the hearth flickering in the green depths. “Aye, I could not stop my passion to heal the sick and injured.”

“What of the feud with the Grahams? Did it play a role in your decision to continue?”

She scoffed. “There was always some kind of skirmish or prank they played on each other. Inevitably, someone was injured. Poor Fergus still has limited use of his arm.”

“That was about the time Laird Graham kidnapped you, wasn’t it?”

“The very time. As a matter of fact, I was collecting medicinal herbs for Fergus when Robert snatched me. He was bent on revenge. Ye see, he found his younger brother and his elderly captain with my da’s arrows jutting from their backs.” She exhaled through her nose. “Who could blame him for his actions? He had just sealed a truce with my da and was hurting over the brutal attack and outright betrayal.”

“You struggled with escaping or staying with the Grahams. Did you make the right decision?”

The corners of her mouth tugged up. “I did.”

“What, if anything, would you like to change about your life?”

“If there was anything I’d like to change, it would be the continued conflict with the English. We’re on constant alert, forever fearful of attack. I pray someday we will live in peace.”

“Thank you, Cameron.” She smiled, and I turned to Heather. “I would ask the same of you. When I first met you, you were in a bit of a dilemma.”

“Aye, before Mum passed, I promised her I would help Da run the castle and protect the clan. It was a time of unrest. I couldn’t trust our neighboring Scots. Too many scoundrels lurked, waiting to pounce on us at the slightest opportunity. I had to keep them at bay.”

“Ye led your father’s warriors into battle.”

Her blue eyes narrowed. “I had no choice. I had to keep the clan intact while holding off those who plotted to overtake our land.”

“What about Alec—I mean Laird Campbell? Could you not trust him?

She sat straighter, her shoulders squared. “I no longer knew him. It had been many years since we last met. I couldn’t take the chance he would betray Da’s confidence.”

“What do you mean?”

“Da suffers an affliction of the mind. If other clans got word of it, they would storm in and overtake our clan. I had to protect his secret.”

“Alec had secrets of his own, didn’t he?”

Heather’s fingers fidgeted in her lap. “There were rumors he had failed his aging father and clan.”

“But you were attracted to him. That must have been difficult for you.”

Her eyes blinked and her gaze dropped to the floor. “It was indeed a hard time. My heart screamed to turn to him. It would have been so easy.” She smiled. “He was handsome and strong, leading his men into battle and caring for his people.”

“How do you feel about your life right now? What, if anything, would you like to change?”

“I echo my sister’s sentiments on the rebellion, and understand all too well what it entails to protect the castle and the clan. We will forever be on constant alert.”

A log rolled in the fireplace and red sparks flitted up the chimney. “I wish things were different for you. That is a difficult way to live.”

Cameron nodded. “Aye, but we make do.”

I hated to leave, but the hour grew late. “I thank you for your time tonight. I won’t keep you any longer.”

After shutting my notebook and tucking it away in my satchel, I stood. Cameron and Heather escorted me down the corridor to the great hall.

Fergus ambled toward us. “Ye are leaving already, Mistress McFarland?”

“Aye, it’s time for me to be on my way. I have two books to publish.”

After our visit, I released the first two books about Alastair MacDougall’s daughters, Cameron and Heather. They are available on Amazon in eBook, with printed format offered soon. I plan to publish Lindsey’s story late spring 2014, with Elsbeth’s book to soon follow.

Author Bio:

Lane McFarland is a southern girl living on top of a mountain in North Georgia, and is most happy when surrounded by family and friends. When not writing, you can find her hiking with her husband, or fiddling around in her flower and vegetable gardens, feeding the birds and watching black bears and deer. Lane is blessed to have a wonderful son—her pride and joy, her buddy who, along with her husband, have made her life complete.

Lane’s debut novels, CAMERON and HEATHER, are the first in The Daughters of Alastair MacDougall books. Set in late thirteenth century Scotland, this series tells the stories of Laird Alastair MacDougall’s four independent and oftentimes, headstrong daughters coming of age in a country fraught with war and feuds amongst rival clans. Follow his daughters as their lives become intertwined with four fierce, rebel highland warriors bent on eradicating the English soldiers from their homeland.

Cameron is available at Amazon, Smashwords, Bookstorewithoutborders

Heather is available at Amazon, Smashwords, Bookstorewithoutborders

Guest Author Cari Davis – Happily Ever After: Reality or Myth?

Cari DavisI’m pleased to welcome my friend, fellow author and critique partner Cari Davis. Cari writes suspenseful historical romance set in the exciting years of the California gold rush. Welcome, Cari.

Last month, my brother married a terrific lady who I am lucky to have as a sister-in-law. The two are so perfect for each other that it’s hard to not believe they were meant for each other. This wonderful union started me thinking about the proverbial Happily Ever After (or HEA) and my love/hate relationship with romance novels.

I spent many years doubting the existence of real HEAs. I was convinced that the whole concept was a myth perpetuated by Disney films and romance novels. And, yes, I was one of those people. I turned my nose up at the mere thought of reading romances. But can you blame me? My mom and dad got divorced when I was four, and between the two of them, I’ve had five stepparents. If that weren’t bad enough, when I looked around at my friends’ parents, I saw even more broken families or couples that stayed miserably together for the sake of the kids.

Yet, despite the jaded cynicism, there lurked a rose-colored-glasses optimist. This Little Miss Pollyanna in my psyche seemed to always steer me in the direction of stories with happy endings and the occasional dreaded romance novel. (Whenever I was caught reading said novels, I was quick to explain that I had run out of better books to read.)

When I started writing and realized all the stories in my head were love stories, I was forced to admit the truth – I love romances and the promise of the HEA. I was also forced to take a long hard look at what I believe and why. How could I write believable characters with believable happy endings unless I did indeed see the reality of HEAs?

After stripping away the emotional baggage of coming from a broken home and burning away the illusion of everything being light and happy, I was left with the realization that both good things and bad things happen. There are relationships that end in divorce or are cut too short by tragedy. There are people who settle for an unhappy relationship because they’re afraid of being alone. There are people who are desperately seeking Mr. or Mrs. Right. But there are also people who have found their soul mates as well as people who have found their HEA in a life of being single.

It has taken a long time, but I have finally learned that regardless of where a person is on the spectrum, HEA is within their grasp. Sometimes it means making difficult but necessary changes. Sometimes it means just altering how you perceive things. Instead of seeing the glass is half-empty, allow yourself to see that it’s half-full.

I’m going to go on a bit of tangent, but I promise it’s related. Fifty years ago this week, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. In August of 1963, he stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and shouted out to the world his dream – his vision of a perfect world. A utopian world. All these years later, have we achieved his dream? Of course not. Is the world a better place because he stood up for his dream? Absolutely.

Since then, through the perspective of time, we can look at all the ways in which we as a nation have failed. Or we can look at all the ways in which we’ve succeeded. It’s the same in our personal lives. Do we wallow in our bad luck and misfortune? Do we succumb to settling for less or accept that tragedy is inevitable? Or do we find the courage and strength to dream, to hope, to love?

And that, my friends, is what a romance novel is all about. That is why, despite my embarrassment, I’ve always been drawn to a good romance, and why I’m compelled to write them. They are a lesson on how to choose happiness despite the obstacles, a map to finding our own Happily Ever After.

Welcome Guest Author Gina Danna

Her Eternal RogueIt’s my pleasure to welcome author Gina Danna to the blog today. She’s going to tell us a little about her latest release, Her Eternal Rogue, a scorching paranormal romance. Gina’s graciously offering an e-book to one lucky commenter. Be sure to leave your comment by Saturday, July 6. The winner will be announced by Monday, July 8.

Welcome, Gina. Please tell us about Her Eternal Rogue.

Alexander Barrington flees his tyrannical uncle for the open seas where he becomes a ruthless pirate who turns vampire.

Captured and sentence to hang, a fate he must avoid to keep his vampire self hidden, a reprieve comes if he rescues Lady Lavinia Sinclair from the French pirates and returns her to her fiancé in England.

In this Vampire Diaries meets Pirates of the Caribbean, Alexander falls for the woman who makes him feel human and alive, but can he really have her without exposing what he is – a thief, the undead? The damned?  Refusing to taint her innocence any further, he erases her memory of him and vanishes into the night but can he really exist without her?

Wow, that is going to be a terrific read. Now, tell us some things about your future releases, Gina.

Love my debut – Her Eternal Rogue (Regency w/ paranormal twist) but also excited about my release next April – Love & Vengeance (Ancient Rome – gladiators!) & next June – The Wicked Bargain (Regency – about a male courtesan).

Who would you cast to play your hero and heroine in an adaptation of your story?

Hard to answer – got the heroes figured out. For Her Eternal Rogue, Alexander was fashioned after Ian Somerhalder (Damon Salvadore – Vampire Diaries) & my gladiator in Love & Vengeance was Channing Tatum <sweet!>

If you could live during any era in time, when would that be? Why?

Probably America, 1861 & probably in Deep South – my mother’s family was from the South, Mississippi at that time. Why? I’m very drawn to the American Civil War. It changed this nation – I teach college US History & the War is the focal point to my classes – how settling in the US pushed us towards this calamity and how the after-effects are still around even today in 2013.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Rome. I’m ½ Italian (Sicilian actually) My family migrated from Northern Italy down to Palermo, Sicily before my grandfather came to the US.

What’s your all-time favorite movie? Why?

Tough Question – I have a lot, but probably Gladiator. It is a fascinating time in history, the Roman Empire.

Do you follow sports? Favorite teams?

Fave is a tie: Horseracing (love the Triple Crown & the Breeder’s Cup – wanted to be a jockey) & Baseball – ST. LOUIS CARDINALS!!!!!!!!! (Hey, I live in Cardinal-Nation!)

Thanks for stopping by, Gina. I’m sure one lucky reader will be thrilled to win a copy of Her Eternal Rogue.

Her Eternal Rogue is available from Amazonhttp://bit.ly/HerEternalRogue

You can check out Gina’s web page at: http://ginadanna.com

Welcome Guest Author Morgan Wyatt – The Power of a Name

Morgan WyattIt’s my pleasure to welcome Morgan Wyatt today. Morgan’s the author of sexy romances with alpha heroes and strong, independent heroines. Help Morgan name her new hero for a chance to win a $10 Starbucks or Amazon gift card…suggest your choice in the comments below. The winner will be chosen at random and announced on Monday, June 10.

Welcome, Morgan!

Never underestimate the power of a name. Back a few years ago when I was dating I met men who often didn’t use their given name. They weren’t married or in the witness protection program, either. Instead, they were attempting to project an image with one word.  We usually decide on how we will interact with someone in less than ten seconds.  Depending on the person, you decide if they will be a friend, an enemy, a lover, or unimportant in your future.

Think about this the next time you go somewhere. Often you make eye contact with other people, but immediately look away because the people do not hold any significance for you.  Before we meet people, we often hear their name and form an impression.  Your co-worker or friend wants to fix you up with her cousin. How would you react if his name were Lawrence?

Immediately you might think the name sounds stuffy or old. You might picture a man with muttonchops sideburns smoking a pipe. Worse yet, he’d insist that you call him Larry. You end up saying that you will be out of town that weekend.

The same friend ever anxious to promote your love life, informs you that her husband’s brother  Hannibal is single. You murmur your apologies as you try to control your shudders. Unfortunately, movies have tainted names like Jason and Damien too.

Other names just have low energy. It is hard to get excited about someone named Eugene, Wilbur, Elmer or Harold.  It brings to mind an earnest young man trapped in the fifties.

Ambiguous gender names are sometimes confusing too.  It is hard to consider a fellow named  Sydney, Robyn or Cary as very hetero when they  share the same name as your girlfriends.

Therefore, I am back to the men who pick a name for their dating profile to attract women. Different names attract different women. Alexander may want to be perceived as a more social animal and goes with Alex. Daniel opts for Dan, which he thinks sounds more rugged.

Women can carry off exotic names, while most men can’t. A  survey that polled sexy male names listed relative common names including David, Michael, Sean, Clint and Brandon.

Never underestimate the power of a name. I wanted to like a character name Pea in a novel I read, but it was difficult. It wasn’t her real name, but an insulting nickname. Her refusal to use a decent name made her a weak character.

Naming our villains take more subtlety. Disney got away with naming one of its villainess, Malevolence, which is a very cool name. It would be the equivalent of naming one of our mean girl characters, extraordinarily bad girl.  Accept that there are things Disney can do that we can’t.

Time matters too when naming your character. I decided my hero Dr. Brad Korman in GONE sounded too old for his age. I renamed him Ryan in honor of Ryan Gosling. Just a name change made his appearance change too in my novel. He was always a good guy, but now he went up a few degrees on the hotness scale.

Next time, you think names  don’t matter. Remember all the men trying to find dates who transformed Carl into Adam or Norman into Edward. My husband’s name is Scott, which definitely influenced me when deciding if to date him. Scott is a strong, authoritative name, while retaining some playfulness.

As for me, I am always on the search for the perfect hero and heroine names. My newest WIP in the paranormal series features a college student named Nora who finds her destiny a hundred years in the past. What do you think a good name for her romantic interest should be? ( I am not totally stuck with the name, Nora,  either.) Winner wins a $10 Starbucks or Amazon gift card (winner’s choice.)

A taste of Dangerous Curves:Dangerous Curves Cover

Wolfe Jackson is hot on the trail of a domestic terroristic who has been causing havoc and panic by blowing up factories. The trail, although sketchy, has led to a convention in the Midwest. Is it a false trail? Wolfe is unsure, but he knows that a certain blonde named Krista bears investigating.

Krista Harlow finds her life as a principal dull. So bland in fact, she thinks attending the annual principal conference might enliven it. She even harbors secret romantic aspirations. As a principal, she must keep everything strait laced and buttoned down, but that was before she was mistaken for a corporate saboteur and possible murderer.

Wolfe initially approaches the suspect by pretending he knows her. Krista plays along, proving she’s either devilishly clever or she’s really interested in him as a man. The road to restore his credibility is full of dangerous curves.

An excerpt:

“Rachel, didn’t you hear me calling?” He stepped closer and put one hand on her arm, sending an arc of electricity through her body.

This is where it got difficult. How well did Rachel know him? If they’d been lovers, she would know him very, very well—definitely well enough to remember his name.

“So sorry, handsome,” Krista purred. “I was thinking about the dress I didn’t buy.”

“Sounds like you. Have you had dinner yet?” He watched her with one expressive eyebrow lifted.

“Um…no.” Krista had doubts about how far she should go with the Rachel thing, but she needed to eat sometime. Why not have dinner with him? Oh sure, it would be a hardship to have dinner with Mr. Stud Muffin.

He cupped her elbow and guided her in the direction of the steak house where the aroma of mesquite-flavored beef enticed shoppers. There was a significant wait so they moved to the bar. A few people called out greetings as they entered. She listened closely in effort to catch his name. Krista was sure his name wasn’t buddy or friend—no help there. He ordered oversized margaritas for both of them. Krista was about to tell him iced tea when she remembered Rachel might love margaritas.

“Wolfe, Wolfe Jackson. You don’t remember me, do you?”

His grin was devastating against his tanned skin. He reminded Krista of a pirate, the swashbuckling type as opposed to the peg-legged ones. She was lost. Perhaps someone would scrape her up as she melted at his feet. Krista shook her head since talking was more than she could handle at that moment.

“We met at my cousin’s wedding, Samuel Levinson. I believe he married your friend Ruth, or is she your cousin?” Wolfe placed his hand over hers on the bar.

Krista nodded eagerly at the verbal lifeline he’d thrown her while she tried to ignore the heat radiating from his hand. “She was, um, is, my friend. I don’t see her much since I moved.” He might wonder if she never talked to her cousin. Krista gulped the margarita in an attempt to alleviate the sudden heat streaking through her body, but the alcohol raised her body temperature instead. Not one of her better ideas. The liquor singed her empty stomach like three-alarm chili, while giving her an air of flirtatiousness she normally lacked. She remembered why she didn’t drink—she couldn’t hold her liquor.

The bartender lingered nearby and asked if they needed anything. Krista looked Wolfe up and down boldly and knew she had everything she needed. Wolfe’s wink caught her unawares, and she almost slipped off the stool. In a flash, he was beside her, wrapping an arm around her waist. For an instant, she leaned into him, inhaling the smell of sandalwood, soap, and a hint of gasoline. Then she remembered she was supposed to be sitting on a stool not oozing all over him like a melted ice cream bar and jerked upright. What kind of girl was Rachel? Krista was secretly hoping Rachel was a touch fast. Fast sounded superb.

A little about Morgan:

Morgan K Wyatt, raised on a steady diet of superheroes, believed she could fly at a very young age. After using trees, barn lofts, sliding boards, and even a second story window as launch pads, she found her flying skills were limited to fast and downward. By the age of nine, her dreams to be a superhero needed some modifications, which caused her to turn to writing and horseback riding as alternatives to flying.

At the age of twenty, she had another chance at superhero greatness as being one of the few female soldiers trained for combat. The fact that women will be able to serve in combat soon indicates that all the witnesses to the grenade incident have retired. The grenade incident didn’t prevent her two sons or daughter-in-law from enlisting in the service. Having different last names probably helped.

Morgan recently retired from teaching special needs students to write fulltime, instead of in the wee hours of the night. With the help of her helpful husband and loyal hound, she creates characters who often grab plot lines and run with them. As for flying, she prefers the airlines now.

Welcome Guest Author Abigail Sharpe

Abigail SharpeIt’s my pleasure to host author Abigail Sharpe on the blog today. Abigail’s going to give a free e-book of Who Wants to Marry a Cowboy to one lucky commenter (Restrictions apply – please see note at the end of this post). Welcome, Abigail. Please tell us a little about your story:

In the bestselling tradition of Lori Wilde…

SOMETHING BORROWED, SOMEONE NEW . . . Who Wants to Marry a Cowboy cover

There’s nothing florist Ainsley Fairfax won’t do to help her sister get the love of her life-even if it means taking her place on a bachelorette weekend at a Wyoming ranch so Cecelia can sail off with the man of her dreams. Ainsley is determined to spend the time keeping her head down and her heart safely tucked away-until an encounter with the ranch’s hunky owner gets her heart-and steamy desires-to bloom . . .

Riley Pommer doesn’t want to be lassoed into any relationship. But with the family ranch in dire straits, Riley knows his sisters’ crazy plan to turn the ranch into the setting for a dating competition-and using Riley as the bait-is the only thing standing between them and foreclosure. But the rules of the game change the instant Riley lays eyes on the spirited Ainsley. Now, as others try to stampede over their love, can Riley prove to Ainsley that true love is a prize worth fighting for?

Available now from Forever Yours.

Now, a little more from Abigail:

If you could bring a fictional hero to life, which one would it be? Heathcliff? Mr. Darcy? Mr. Rochester? Tarzan? Captain Mal? One of your own heroes?

Okay, not Heathcliff because I wouldn’t be able to understand him.  Wuthering Heights was required reading in high school and I would have rather done the dishes than read that book.  I could NOT get through that dialect!  Ugh!  Not Mr. Rochester, because he was a selfish bigamist.  (How popular is THAT opinion?)

Bring on Captain Mal or Castle.  Or just Nathan Fillion , even.  But only if he’ll massage my feet.

I’d go with Captain Mal, too…Nathan Fillion would do just fine, too!

Abigail, What’s your favorite quotation?

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” Dr. Seuss

You’ve landed in Oz…Which would you rather possess: flying monkeys or Toto?

A dog that I can drop kick* or monkeys to do my every bidding and can take me places?  Yes, please. *I’m not saying I would.  I’m just saying the dog would probably rather eat my socks than help me travel.

What’s your all-time favorite movie? Why?

Too many to mention, but I’ll pick the more unusual ones (as in, not Princess Bride):  Philadelphia Story and Noises Off.

Philadelphia Story is a fabulous classic with Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and Jimmy Stewart.  There’s one scene where Jimmy is drunk and I giggle every time.

Noises Off was originally a play.  The movie is about a group of actors performing a play and what goes on backstage.  Again, there is much laughter when I watch this movie.  When you’re backstage at a show you have to remain quiet, so some of the movie is just some good ol’ physical comedy.  It has a stellar cast, including Carol Burnett, Christopher Reeves, and John Ritter.  Sardines!

I adore the Philadelphia Story…I love old Katharine Hepburn movies, and Cary Grant had some awesome performances. I’ve neer seen Noises Off, but it sounds terrific. I’ll have to check it out.

Do you follow sports? Favorite teams?

I was a HUGE fan of the Celtics in the 80s, the era of Larry Bird (though my favorite player was Danny Ainge).  The talent on that team was amazing.  I love watching Sox games when the fans start chanting “Beat LA!”  Now I follow the Florida Gators (Orange!  Blue!) and Jacksonville Jaguars.  I have high hopes for the next year!  Don’t taunt me.

Okay, I won’t mention I’m a black and gold gal…

If you could wake up stranded on a desert island with one celebrity hunk (actor, athlete, musician, etc.), who would it be? Why?

Let’s go with Ty Pennington.  Because he can build us a boat to take us off the island!  I know I’m a transplanted Floridian, but instead of the beach, I’d rather be in a deserted cabin in the woods (though not the one from the movie) with a river nearby and mountains in the distance.  Thank heavens you’re not interested in THE Cabin in the Woods…too scary!

How can readers find you on the web?


Twitter: @abigailsharpe

Facebook:   Facebook.com/AbigailSharpeBooks

Thank you for having me here today, Tara!  I’ve enjoyed these non-standard interview questions.

Thanks for being my guest today. You can tell I’m a little warped from these questions…by the way, I’m a “flying monkeys” gal, too!

Don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the drawing for a free e-copy of Abigail’s new book, Who Wants to Marry a Cowboy. The winner will be announced on Monday, May 20.  *Restrictions: This book may only be gifted to residents in the United States (it’s a “rights” thing) and your comment must be posted by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, May 19 to be eligible for the drawing.

Sheldon and Amy: A Love Story

Love story – the term evokes thoughts of romance and passion, and, I dare say, sex. Modern romance is not shy about depicting the physical aspects of love, whether that romance is on-screen, on television, or between the pages of a book (or on the display of an e-reader). My own books depict love in its many forms, including the intensely carnal. And yet, one of the most touching love stories I’ve seen in recent years is the tale of Sheldon and Amy…yes, that Sheldon…and that Amy…the well-known characters on television’s The Big Bang Theory.

Now, I have to issue a disclaimer of sorts: I am a devoted fan of The Big Bang Theory. I look forward to each new episode – the fresh, witty writing, the terrific chemistry of the ensemble cast, and the brilliant performances of Jim Parsons and his fellow cast members draw me in. So, it’s quite likely that I’m biased. One of the aspects of the show that appeals to me the most is the evolution of Sheldon Cooper’s character over the course of the show. While still a most unconventional personality, Sheldon has grown through his interactions with his peers, especially those of the opposite sex. His interactions with Penny are priceless, depicting the impact of their friendship on Sheldon’s academia-centered personality, while the introduction of Sheldon’s girlfriend, Amy Farrah Fowler, has provided the opportunity to add a layer of tenderness to the character one might never have predicted in the first year or so of the series.

For those of you who are not familiar with the series, Sheldon Cooper is a genius, a scientific prodigy, but a man who’s had little interest in people in general and less interest in forming any bond with a woman. And yet, Sheldon has fallen for Amy. In his own unique way, Sheldon demonstrates his devotion to Amy in ways that are foreign to his nature and bring him out of his comfort-zone. Last week’s episode (May 9) was quite touching, as Sheldon displayed a quiet tenderness and dignity toward Amy that I found extremely moving. I won’t spoil it for you if you haven’t seen it yet, but I will tell you that Sheldon’s respect for Amy’s feelings was one of the most beautiful portrayals of love I’ve seen on television or in film. He’s stretching past the boundaries he’s lived with his entire life, not because he’s forced to, but because he genuinely wants to make Amy happy. And isn’t that really what love is all about? Caring about the one you love, giving of yourself, and treating your loved one with dignity and respect – those are key elements of true and enduring love. Sheldon demonstrates those qualities for Amy in ways that are both funny and touching. I, for one, am rooting for Sheldon and Amy, and I applaud Jim Parsons and Mayim Bialik for bringing this love story to life with comedic tenderness that makes me cheer for each new development in Sheldon and Amy’s slowly percolating romance.

Are you a Big Bang Theory fan? Share your thoughts on Sheldon and Amy or another love story you find touching and tender. I’d love to continue this discussion.

Welcome Guest Author Hildie McQueen

I’m pleased to welcome Hildie McQueen today. She’s here to share an excerpt from her new release. There’s a terrific giveaway, too! Here’s a little about Where The Four Winds Collide:

Where the Four Winds CollideAdeline Buckley escapes her abusive father only to find herself in a brothel, on a stagecoach to the untamed west and married to a stranger, all in that order. Plotting another escape becomes harder, the more she gets to know her new husband.

Jackson Pruitt didn’t expect a secretive mail order bride to show up the same week cattle rustlers absconded with a large part of his herd. The bigger surprise was the loveliness of the woman. Why would a beauty like her need to travel so far to marry?

Jackson and Adeline learn that secrets and marriage do not go hand-in-hand when both of their pasts comes knocking and both have to come to grips with the reality, that sometimes trust comes only after you lose it all.

~Excerpt and Giveaway~

This is your home now, Adeline,” Jackson told her, watching her closely for a reaction. “We were married earlier this afternoon. You are my wife.”
The color drained from her face and she froze, her spoon halfway to her mouth. He feared she’d faint again so he jumped up and went to her. The action startled the woman, who yelped and leaned away from him, only to topple over. Both she and the chair landed on their sides on the floor.
When Jackson tried to help her up, she scrambled to her feet and moved away from his reach.
“Married?” The shock in her voice made him wonder if the woman was mad. Surely she remembered signing the documents before the judge?
“Yes, Adeline, the judge explained it all to you before you signed the papers at the hotel. Do you not remember?”
“I…” her widened eyes met his and he fought the urge to reach out to reassure her. “I thought it was a dream.”

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Hildie McQueenHildie McQueen loves storytelling and unusual settings, pair that with humor and you’ve got an idea of what her writing is like.

She makes sure action, intrigue, and sizzling romance add up to a story, her readers won’t soon forget. Her favorite past-times are traveling, shopping and reading. She resides in beautiful small town Georgia with her super-hero husband Kurt and two unruly Chihuahuas.

Visit her blog at www.hildiemcqueen.com

Edgar Allan Poe – A Tribute

Edgar Allan PoeThree roses and a half-bottle of cognac – a fitting toast to the man who created a literary genre, contributed to the development of short stories as a literary form in American literature, and created macabre images that have spawned countless nightmares, influenced literature and served as the inspiration for . For sixty years, an unknown visitor (or perhaps, visitors), clothing positioned to obscure his identity, ventured out to Poe’s grave during the wee hours of the night to drink a toast and leave the flowers and liquor at his grave. Visitors from across the country journeyed to Baltimore to witness what had been an annual event from 1949 until January 19, 2010, when the  Poe Toaster failed to show. The Poe Toaster’s absence leads one to wonder if the Toaster has passed away, taking the mystery of his identity with him forever.

How fitting that the so-called Poe Toaster (and his conspicuous absence) should be shrouded in mystery.  Edgar Allan Poe was known for his literary mysteries and created the detective fiction genre decades before Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created Sherlock Holmes.  His life clouded by tragedy and cut short at the age of forty under mysterious circumstances from a cause that has never been determined, I imagine the man whose stories of horror and mystery changed American literature would have richly enjoyed the aura of mystery surrounding a simple bottle of cognac and a few cut flowers laid on his grave.

I’ve always been fascinated by Poe’s works such as The Murders in the Rue Morgue and intrigued by the notion that a modern day pro-football team, the Baltimore Ravens, bears a name inspired by a poem penned by Poe long before football became a national obsession. Poe’s works have inspired hundreds of movie and television works (he even has a page on the Internet Movie Database – not bad for a man who died in 1849), and I have to admit to enjoying corny Vincent Price movies loosely based on Poe’s works – in some cases, it seems only the title was used.  Poe’s death was as mysterious as his works, and he’d certainly experienced tragedy and heartbreak. I won’t bombard you with details on Poe’s life. Suffice it to say his life might have provided fodder for a melodrama. Orphaned as a young boy when his actress mother died and his actor father abandoned his family, he was taken in by a family that raised him but never adopted him. Eventually disowned by his foster family, Poe foundered at college and in the Army, lost a brother to alcoholism, and buried his young wife after two years when she succumbed to tuberculosis. By the time of his death, he was believed to be drinking heavily and exhibiting erratic behavior. Despite these woes, Poe harnessed his literary genius to create an enduring legacy.

He wasn’t a conventionally handsome man, but there was definitely a dark, penetrating quality to his eyes. Poe wasn’t tall (Army records list his height as 5’8” ), and he was definitely not the man to bet on in a bar fight. But his moody genius would have made him quite intriguing. And possibly quite passionate.

So, here’s my question – would a man like Poe have made the cut as a romantic hero? While the vast majority of romance heroes are undisputed alpha males, the beta male offers an undeniably unique appeal. Edgar Allan Poe could be considered a beta male. Intelligent, prone to star-crossed romance, the type of man to use a pen rather than a sword – just the kind of man a strong woman could engage in a battle of wits and claim lasting love as his victory…intriguing possibilities, indeed. It’s fascinating to imagine what might have happened if Edgar Allan Poe had met a woman who was his intellectual equal, and equally fascinating to consider the plot possibilities of a hero with Poe’s moody romanticism. Hmmmm…do I feel a story forming???

Author’s Note: This post is an update of a previous post by my literary alter-ego, Victoria Gray. Victoria writes American-set historical romance, but she’s on hiatus right now and assured me she wouldn’t mind if I reposted this tribute 😉