Nan Reinhardt, Author

Grown-up love stories, because we’re never too old for a little sexy romance…

Celebrating Indiana Romance Authors: Jillian Jacobs

January11

One of the best parts of joining Romance Writers of America was meeting so many genuinely nice people. One of my very favorites is Jillian Jacobs. Jill is not only a great writer, but she has given tirelessly to our Indiana chapter of RWA. I had the pleasure of working with her on our mini-conference a couple of years ago and I was so impressed with her energy and how easily she just got everything right. I’m excited to introduce her to you now.

In the spring of 2013, Jill changed her solitary path and became a romance Writer. She’s been reading for years, so she figured writing a romance would be quick and easy. Nope! With the guidance of Romance Writers of America, she’s learned there are many “rules” to writing a proper romance. Being re-schooled has been an interesting journey, and she hopes the best trails are yet to be traveled. You’ll see bit of her husband in her Paranormal series, The Elementals, as he’s a chemist and has to answer all my, “Could this really happen?” questions.  Three things about Jill: She’s a Tea Guzzler, a Polish Pottery Hoarder, and lover of all things Moose.

Jillian is also the co-founder of Healing with Words—a not-for-profit agency established for healing survivors of abuse, addiction, trafficking, and prostitution. Writers on The River, an author event in Peoria, Illinois is hosted by Healing With Words. Proceeds from this author event go to two fantastic charities: Thistle Farms and The Center for Prevention of Abuse. The event also hosts over 80 romance authors. Tickets and more info available at www.writersontheriver.weebly.com

You’ll find Jill hanging out all over social media, so stop by and visit:

Website: www.jillianjacobs.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GreenMooseProd

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GreenMooseProd/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/JillianJacobs

Amazon author page: http://bit.ly/JillianJacobsAMZAuthorPage

Tell us about your books, Jill.

Thanks, Nan. I’m really happy to be here today. So many books exist out there, and you probably already have favorite authors and favorite reads, but here is a way to give a new author a try without breaking the bank. Here are three 99 cent reads and one at $1.99. Give me a go!

If you like suspense-driven romance, try my O-Line series, beginning with Ember’s Center at only 99 cents. Each book in this series can be read as a stand-alone but are most enjoyable read in order.

http://bit.ly/EmbersCenteriBooks

http://bit.ly/EmbersCenterAMZ

http://bit.ly/EmbersCenterBNNook

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/ebook/ember-s-center

If you like paranormal romance, try my Elementals series, beginning with Water’s Threshold at only 99 cents. This is a three-book series that should be read in order.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1wOqeXg

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/WatersThresholdBN

Kobo: http://bit.ly/WatersThresholdKobo

iBooks:  http://bit.ly/WatersThreshiBooks

If you like contemporary romance, try my novella series, beginning with For April at only 99 cents. This is a two-book series.

http://amzn.to/2q1VgeB

http://bit.ly/ForApriliBooks

http://bit.ly/ForAprilNook

http://bit.ly/ForAprilKobo

If you’d like to read something a little hotter, try Insider, which is part of The Fidelity World but can absolutely be read as a stand-alone. This book is listed at $1.99.

http://amzn.to/2np0L9f

Celebrating Indiana Romance Authors: A.D. Ellis

January9

I’m continuing my January salute to Indiana Romance Authors today with author A.D. Ellis, who is an Indiana RWA chapter sister. I haven’t had much of a chance to get to know A.D. very well yet, so I’m pleased as anything to have her here with me today. I asked her to talk about writing M/M contemporary romance because it’s a topic I know nothing about and I confess I’ve always been curious about how women write gay male/male stories. A.D. is an award-winning independent author. She is also a wife, a mother of two, and an inner city alternative education teacher. So without further ado, I’m turning the blog over to A.D. Ellis.

Thanks, Nan. I’m glad to be here. I thought I’d share a typical conversation when people find out what I write:

Random person: “Oh, you’re a writer? What do you write? Anything I would have read?”

Me: “I write romance.”

Random person *looking sly*: “So, like Mommy Porn?”

Me *taking a deep breath and smiling*: “No, like romance novels. Actual stories.”

Person: “Yeah, but like it’s mostly sex, right?”

Me: “No, my books are actual stories with a plot. Romance and possibly sex are part of the story, but not the only part.”

Person: “So, what made you start writing romance?” *curls lip in disgust at the word*

Me: “Romance is what I love to read. I started writing contemporary romance because it’s what I knew. But, I soon figured out that my niche is male/male romance.”

Person *frowning*: “Male male? What’s that?”

Me: “Gay romance. Love stories with two men.”

Person *squirming and curling lip in extra disgust*: “Oh, really? That’s…interesting. Why did you choose to write that?”

Me: “Well, it’s sort of a long story. I wrote a child character and I knew from the moment I penned him that he was gay. His name was Sawyer and he had a twin named Decker. At the time, Sawyer and Decker were just two child characters I thought I’d never see again. But, later, when I decided to continue the Torey Hope series, I realized I’d need to stay true to Sawyer and that meant his story would be a male/male romance.”

Person: “Why not just write him straight. Like pretend he was the girl or something.”

Me *attempting not to roll my eyes*: “Because that wasn’t being true to Sawyer. I wouldn’t make a real friend or person hide who they are so why would I make my character?”

Person *looking at me in disbelief and confusion while nodding*

Me: “So, I reached out to readers for any who would be willing to help me with making a realistic male/male story. One dear reader introduced me to her son and the rest, as they say, is history. He’s now one of my dearest friends and I, thanks to reading A LOT of male/male romance and asking even more questions, fell in love with the M/M romance genre. Ten male/male romance novels later, I’m still in love with the genre and going strong with the stories.”

Person *crinkling brow*: “But, are you gay?”

Me *smiling politely*: “No, I’m straight. But, thanks to my friends, my questions, and this journey, I understand a lot more about gender and sexual fluidity than I ever would have dreamed. And, I’m a hopeless romantic. Who doesn’t love a great love story? I don’t care if it’s guys, girls, or aliens, I love love and want nothing more than to see people safe, happy, and loved.”

The conversation usually goes a couple different ways after that. Some people are offended or disgusted or whatever and back away quickly. Some people excitedly want to know more about the books I write because they love romance or “have a gay friend who would just love this.” It’s great when the conversation turns to more questions, curiosity, perhaps some minds being opened. I adore when I find someone who loves to read. It’s even better when they love to read romance. If they love M/M romance? Well, I feel like I’ve found my soul mate.

Truly, though, I don’t ever mind answering questions about what I write. I can’t exactly explain WHY I love the M/M genre. But, I also can’t explain WHY I love Brussel sprouts or nacho cheese on my pizza. I just do. I love chocolate, hot tea, sweet wine, pulled pork, pizza, and naps. Throw in some romance, especially between two men, and I’m a happy girl. It’s who I am.

Readers who also love reading about love can find my contemporary romance and male/male romance titles on my website http://www.adellisauthor.com.

My books are on Amazon (author.to/ADEllisAmazon) and the contemporary romances are also on iBooks, Nook, and Kobo.

Readers can connect with me on social media:

Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/ADEllisAuthor

Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/adellisauthor

Instagram- http://www.instagram.com/adellisauthor

 

Celebrating Indiana Romance Authors: Lisa Caviness

January6

Wow, this whole Celebrating Indiana Romance Authors has already been such a charge for me! Today, I’m excited to welcome Lisa Caviness, a charming writer, whom I got to know a little better when we both spent a few days on retreat with some other writers at Turkey Run State Park a couple of years ago.

As a lifelong reader of an eclectic pool of books from mystery/thrillers, science fiction, contemporary romance, and the classics, Lisa has never been without a book on her nightstand. Like many writers, she started crafting stories as a child. She and her sister shared a room as kids and many nights before they fell asleep, Lisa would make up stories. She never wrote them down but after awhile they had their favorite characters and adventures. That began her love of story making. As an adult, life took a front seat to writing, as she happily gained a husband, kids and a career, but the urge to write never wavered. In 2013, she advanced from dabbling to making a go of becoming a serious, published author. She joined Romance Writers of America, took classes, and met some wonderful friends who shared a common goal. Through it all, she’s learned that writing is truly a journey and that path is sprinkled with knowledge, light bulb moments, tears, triumphs, and great friends who tell her when she’s been brilliant and when she needs to go back and try again. Lisa lives in central Indiana with my husband and three children.

NAN: Lisa, so happy to have you here today.

LISA: Thank you for the opportunity to appear on your blog. I’m so excited to be here!

NAN: Tell us what you are currently working on or promoting.

LISA: I am currently working on Book Three of my Order Series, entitled Order of Rage. In this book, Sloane, the granddaughter of the founder of The Order, has escaped her family and started a new life with a new identity. The story begins when her carefully constructed life is compromised at the same time she meets a handsome FBI agent.

NAN: What genre(s) do you write in?

LISA: I write romantic suspense and romantic thrillers.

NAN: What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

LISA: Don’t stop writing, even when you think everything you’re writing is pure crap. Also, take advantage of every learning opportunity available. Always remain open to learning new things.

NAN: What are your three favorite books?

LISA: It’s hard to narrow the list to three but here are a few of my favorites: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, and Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.

NAN: If you could have a conversation with one person living or dead who would it be?

LISA: I’d love to meet and have a conversation with my maternal grandfather. Because he died when my mother was only three, she doesn’t have many memories of him. When my grandmother was still alive she didn’t like to talk about him and I believe it was because she was so heartbroken. I have pictures of my grandfather, but who he was is a mystery.

NAN: What are you currently reading?

LISA: I just started reading The Secret Keeper, by Kate Morton. I was sucked in from the start and have especially enjoyed the author’s ability to paint a picture. The underlying mystery is like bait and I can’t wait to see how the book ends.

NAN: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

LISA: I’d tell myself not to be afraid to go for it. Failing and learning are all pieces of the process.

NAN: Is there a theme/message underlying your book(s) that you hope comes across?

LISA: I love writing about people who overcome impossible obstacles. Something about watching a person go through their darkest times and emerge stronger and better, gives me hope. My goal is to take a hero/heroine and bend them until they almost break then move the characters through sort of a metamorphosis from which they will burst through at the end a better version of themselves. I use the vehicle of the romantic suspense genre to hopefully illustrate this theme.

NAN: What obstacles, if any, have you encountered in being a writer?

LISA: I consider myself newbie writer and on a daily basis I battle confidence issues. I try not to measure myself against other writers but I’ll admit to succumbing on occasion. In an industry of constant measuring and critiquing, it’s easy to get bogged down in negativity. I tend to allow the positive comments (although I’m immensely grateful for them) to be overshadowed.

Time management and productivity are also obstacles I struggle with. Balancing my author life and my personal life is a huge issue. I’m in a continuous search for the right mix.

NAN: What show have you recently binge-watched?

LISA: I recently binge-watched Stranger Things. What a great series!

You can find Lisa on social media:

Website: http://www.lisacavinessauthor.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LisaCaviness1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lisaCavinessWriter

Amazon Author page: http://hyperurl.co/lqr3zk

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14668568.Lisa_Caviness

 

 

The Order Series

Order of Fear, Book One

Marissa Nash, ballet dancer turned accountant, has decided to call off her wedding after discovering her fiancé’s philandering ways. Dr. Justin Tanner is the best man and suffers from PTSD after his medical unit in Iraq is attacked. Justin also has feelings for Marissa but has buried them since she is involved with his best friend. The action starts when Marissa returns from a business trip to find her fiancé, David, dead. After Marissa survives several attacks, she and Justin begin to unravel David’s selfish deeds, placing them on a collision course with The Order, an evil organization led by a wicked, vengeful woman. Marissa and Justin must grapple with their growing feelings as time ticks down to a fiery climax.

Excerpt (Chapter 1)

By the end of this day I will no longer be a bride about to marry.

Marveling at the majestic mountain scenery, Marissa climbed aboard the hotel’s airport shuttle and sank into the only vacant seat. She glanced out at Salt Lake City’s early morning crisp blue sky, gripped the straps of her purse, and inhaled. Despite the reputation of smelly air from the bacteria decay in the Great Salt Lake, Marissa’s lungs escaped putrid intrusion. The kinetic scene–vibrant and hopeful–stood in total contrast to her mood.

My day begins surrounded by the beauty of the Wasatch Mountains and will end in the

demise of a four-year relationship.

Calling off her wedding triggered a lengthy list of decisions and activities. Three items competed for the top spot on Marissa’s unavoidable to do list: grieving the death of her relationship, chiding her stupidity in falling for David in the first place, and finding a new place to live. Her heart rattled in response to the immense change. Home would no longer be her “can’t wait to get to” place.

Find Order of Fear at these retailers:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2sXKYBK

Kobo: https://www.smarturl.it/OrderofFearKobo

Barnes and Noble: https://www.smarturl.it/OrderofFearBN

iTunes: https://www.smarturl.it/OrderofFeariBooks

Smashwords: https://www.smarturl.it/OrderofFearSmash

 

Order of Malice, Book Two

Armed with a new identity, Reid Patterson plans to join the FBI hoping to right the wrongs of The Order, a sinister faction controlled by his murderous, biological family. Foster care psychologist Holly Babson, dreams of a life where her escaped convict father and the memories of her sister’s horrific death are both locked away. Reid and Holly’s worlds collide with the diabolical force of The Order, and a cold-blooded plot orchestrated by an unknown foe. Together, they must fight for their lives while learning to trust their hearts.

Excerpt (Chapter 1)

The jagged three-inch scar on Holly’s neck itched.

A sure sign of—something. A chill snaked through her spine, landing on a familiar sensation.

Must be more tired than I thought.

She fought against removing her hands from the wheel and grinding them into her fatigued eyes, but she dared not for fear she’d dislodge her drying contacts. As snowflake bullets attacked the car, she squinted through the overworked windshield wipers, swishing back and forth in rapid succession. The time was 8:15 and the dark sky further limited her vision.

“Right here, Dr. Babson,” her sullen passenger said.

Holly nodded and pulled the car to the curb. The aging neighborhood with ranch style houses, reminded her of Hill Valley from the Back to the Future movie. Early December meant lots of gaudy cheer with most of the houses adorned with illuminated Santas, reindeer yard figurines, and hundreds of blinking lights. Holly’s gaze swept to their destination, Ken and Cindy Reingold’s house, which stood in darkness like the missing tooth among a row of shiny, white ones.

Find Order of Malice at these retailers:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2rWDS0t

iTunes:  http://smarturl.it/OrderofMalice.iTunes

Smashwords: http://smarturl.it/OrderofMalice.Smash

Kobo: http://smarturl.it/OrderofMalice.Kobo

Barnes and Noble: http://smarturl.it/OrderofMalice.BN

 

Lisa also has a short story included in the Lake House Anthology.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0768F8N15/

iTUNES:  https://itunes.apple.com/…/book/the-lake-house/id1225033012…

 

 

 

Celebrating Indiana Romance Authors: Cheryl Brooks

January4

I’m delighted to introduce you to another amazing Indiana romance author, who also happens to be one of my critique partner and another of my dear friends, Cheryl Brooks. A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Cheryl is a former critical care nurse who resides in rural Indiana with her husband, two sons, two horses, three cats, and one dog. She is the author of the ten-book Cat Star Chronicles series, the Cowboy Heaven series (two books and one novella), the Soul Survivors trilogy, the four-book Unlikely Lovers series, and several stand-alone books and novellas. Look for The Trouble With Star Travel, the first book in her new Cat Star Legacy series from Sourcebooks in September 2018. Her other interests include cooking and gardening. Cheryl is a member of RWA and IRWA. I had a chance to interview her this month–enjoy! Oh, and be sure to find all her social media information at the end of this post, as well as an excerpt from Echoes from the Deep.

NAN: Welcome, Cheryl–so glad you could join me!

CHERYL: Hi Nan! Thanks for inviting me to your blog!

NAN: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

CHERYL: Many authors would probably answer that question with the day they finally got “The Call” from an agent or editor. I believe it begins long before that.

Of all the stories I worked on when I was in my twenties—and there were several—I can’t recall actually finishing any of them. It wasn’t until much later (and the acquisition of a word-processing computer) that I wrote “The End” on a book. That was the point at which I was able to print out the manuscript and actually have someone else read it. Anyone can start writing a book. It takes a writer to finish one.

NAN: Do you think a writer should write every day?

CHERYL: It’s probably a good idea to get into that habit, but it isn’t always possible. Life gets in the way, and a break now and then is good for the creative soul. Sometimes I write better when I have limited time—a deadline or even that hour before something I want to watch comes on TV. That being said, unless you’re one of those who’ve plotted out your entire story before you ever start writing (I am not one of those people) you don’t always know exactly what’s coming next, even with a deadline approaching. Sometimes a story has to percolate a while before it’s ready to flow again.

NAN: What is the hardest thing about writing a series?

CHERYL: When you create a world, that world has certain rules, people, and places. If that world is the setting of an entire series, keeping track of the details is tough. Many writers keep a sort of handbook for the series because relying on memory doesn’t work very well. I always have a copy of my books on my desk and the digital files in my computer so I can search a word or a character. Even so, I once changed a character’s hair color in a later book because I remembered her as a blonde when she was actually a redhead. To date, no reader has ever brought that to my attention, so I’m guessing she probably should’ve been a blonde from the very beginning.

NAN: Have you had to make sacrifices for your writing, and if so, what are they?

CHERYL: Writing a book takes an unbelievable amount of time, which makes time the obvious sacrifice.  One by one, and for various reasons (some not related to writing) I’ve given up horseback riding, singing and guitar playing, my nursing job, and reading for pleasure. I still watch some TV in the evenings, but there was a time when even I stopped doing that. At some point, I realized that taking a break from the writing was good for my mental and physical health. For the past year, I’ve been trying to lose weight and get more exercise, so some of my writing time had to be sacrificed for that.

NAN: What sets you apart from other authors in your genre?

CHERYL: There are two things that set me apart from the majority of paranormal romance authors. First off, my heroes are not the typical alpha male, be they human or super-sexy alien. They’re strong and capable, but they’re still more beta than alpha. I don’t like the alpha male type, so I don’t write them.

Secondly, there is humor in my writing. Some readers have been surprised to find humor in my erotic or paranormal romances. Some have even questioned whether it was intentional. Of course it was! When I read a book or watch a movie, I’m doing it to be entertained, and for me, that includes laughter. If a story is all darkness and angst, I feel let down, even if the good guys triumph in the end. I want to experience romance, passion, and excitement, but there is room for so much more than that in a good story.

NAN: What show have you recently binge-watched?

CHERYL: Season 3 of Broadchurch is an easy series to get sucked into because not only is it well-written and acted, it takes an entire season to solve the crime. By the time you reach the last episode, you still aren’t positive whodunit. Season 2 of The Crown is another good one. I binge-watched Season 1 when I had the flu last winter and got hooked on it. In many ways, Queen Elizabeth’s story relates to our story because the events that shaped her world also shaped ours.

NAN: How do you keep sane as a writer?

CHERYL: There are times when I don’t believe I’ve been entirely successful at maintaining my sanity, and it’s possible that most writers are a little crazy to begin with. Nobody in their right mind would spend as much time as writing requires with so little remuneration. Also, what you write is an integral part of who you are, where you’ve been, and what you hope to become. Sharing that with the world takes a certain amount of daring, egotism, courage, and, yes, insanity.

NAN: Tell us what you are currently working on or promoting.

CHERYL: I’m currently writing the second book in my new Cat Star Legacy series, which is a “Second Generation” spinoff of my Cat Star Chronicles series. The first Legacy book, The Trouble With Star Travel, won’t be released until September, so I’m still promoting my Soul Survivors trilogy. This series is based on a dream I had about being in a plane crash, and the story grew to become a paranormal romantic suspense trilogy that follows the lives of three women who survive the crash only to discover that they’ve somehow acquired the spirits of those who perished. It’s different from anything I’ve ever written, more mystery than romance, and the heat level is down considerably from my other works, but the stakes are so much higher. As it happens, book 1 of the trilogy, Echoes From the Deep, is on sale right now for just 99 cents. Here are some buy links if you’d like the start the series at this great low price. All three Sole Survivors novels are available in both print and e-book formats, so I hope you’ll hustle to your favorite book retailer and get started!

Echoes From the Deep Buy Links

Amazon https://tinyurl.com/y7vxc27c

Barnes & Noble https://tinyurl.com/y9yjnsf8

iTunes https://tinyurl.com/yddjbcx3

Google Play https://tinyurl.com/y9jllvcm

Smashwords https://tinyurl.com/y7lotx9d

Kobo https://tinyurl.com/y7vevgoc

Soul Survivors Book 1: Echoes From the Deep:

Jilted by her fiancé, Jillian Dulaine elects to go on her honeymoon alone. When her plane dives into the sea, she survives with the help of the souls of three women who perished in the crash.

London Times reporter Ranjiv Tenali, suspects that his mother sent Jillian to him as a potential wife and begins falling in love with her despite his suspicion that she carries his mother’s soul.

Jillian is strongly attracted to Ranjiv, but she soon realizes her task is not only to solve a ten-year-old murder that was witnessed by one of her extra entities; she is also part of the Earth’s plan to save itself from mankind’s destructive nature.

Excerpt from Chapter 1:

After what seemed like an eternity, the lights slowly brightened. Jillian heaved a sigh of relief as the seat belt light came on and the announcement was made regarding their approach to the British Isles. Someone handed her another tray with juice and a muffin.

Ah, yes, a continental breakfast.

Odd, on a flight to London. Or maybe it wasn’t.

She had just taken a bite of the dry muffin when the plane shuddered, first rising and then falling through the air—straight down in a nose dive.

Plates and trays went flying. Screams sounded all around her. Her own tray flew up and hit her in the face. Oxygen masks deployed, but the rate of descent flung them against the ceiling rather than allowing them to dangle within reach. Overhead compartments exploded, their contents now deadly missiles. Blood splattered on the seat in front of her. She glanced at Anna, whose mouth was open in a frozen scream. Kavya clutched her chest, her eyes wide and staring in blank terror.

Were they over water or land? She had no idea. Either way, with such a steep, rapid descent, they were doomed.

I’m going to die. Right here. Right now.

Seth would read the headlines and know he’d made the right choice.

For some ungodly reason, that thought sent her off in a peal of hysterical laughter—laughing harder than she ever had in her life until tears flowed from her eyes.

She tried to lean forward and couldn’t. In fact, she could barely move at all. In a crash, you were supposed to lean forward and clasp your hands behind your head. That was the “crash position” wasn’t it? The best she could do was to clutch the top of her head with both hands. Not that it mattered. She was going to die anyway.

Someone shouted something about seat belts and life jackets. A flight attendant, perhaps. Due to her study of the emergency procedures card, Jillian knew precisely where her life jacket was. Not that she would ever be able to actually reach it. Not that it would make any difference.

This was no gentle glide to the surface, no floating freefall that suggested that anyone might survive. Her life didn’t pass before her eyes the way everyone claimed it would when death was imminent. All she could see was the bloodstained surface above her head. The plane shuddered again, the screaming engines and screeching metal joints drowning out the cries of the passengers—or perhaps no one had enough breath left in them to scream. She certainly didn’t. The air had been stripped from her lungs, as though a heavy weight on her stomach had forced her diaphragm into her throat.

She tried to think about her mother, her sister, and the sadness they and the loved ones of everyone aboard the plane would feel. Kavya’s son, Ranjiv, who would never see his mother’s face again, never hear her voice or feel her arms around him. So much loss. So much death.

Including my own.

The impact was so horrific it should have snapped her neck, or at the very least collapsed her spine. The crushing pressure from her seatbelt nearly cut her in half, making her heave up what little she had eaten. Seawater gushed in, quickly filling the fuselage, proving that they had indeed been flying over the ocean.

Too late. Now completely submerged, Jillian held her breath in a futile attempt to remain alive. People were dying all around her. She witnessed their death throes and tasted the blood and jet fuel mixed in with the seawater, still not quite believing she wasn’t dead.

I’m okay?

For the moment, perhaps, but probably not for long.

Through the eerie underwater silence a voice that was strangely calm amid the chaos spoke to her. “Unbuckle your seatbelt, Jillian. You’re going to make it.”

With barely enough light to see, she turned toward Kavya. Her eyes were open and staring, but were now completely lifeless.

“Tell my son I love him. Now, go.”

Cheryl Brooks Contact and Social Media Links

Website http://www.cherylbrooksonline.com/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/cheryl.brooks.963

Facebook Author Page https://www.facebook.com/cherylbrooksauthor/

Twitter https://twitter.com/CherylCatMaster

Blog http://cherylbrooksauthor.blogspot.com/

Email cheryl.brooks52@yahoo.com

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/752898.Cheryl_Brooks

Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/cbcatmaster/

 

 

 

Celebrating Indiana Romance Authors–Liz Flaherty

January1

I made a promise to myself that I would make a sincere effort to blog more in 2018, although I think there’s a very good chance I don’t have all that much fascinating to say. So I thought it would be fun to introduce you to some of my sister romance authors here in Indiana. January is Indiana Author month here at nanreinhardt.com, and our first author is not only one of my very favorite romance authors, she’s also one of my very best friends. Friends, I give you Indiana Romance Novelist, Liz Flaherty.

Hi, everybody, and thanks, Nan, for inviting me to be your first-out-of-the-gate Indiana author on your blog. It’s such a cool idea, and I can’t wait to see who else shows up.

Just when I was about to ask her what she wanted me to write about, Nan said, “Why don’t you tell them what it’s like to write sweet in a not-so-sweet world?” (Do you have friends like that who know what you’re thinking pretty much before you do? Handy, isn’t it?)

After my first book, Always Annie, came out I got a letter from a woman that was so vitriolic about the fact that I not only cursed, I included sex scenes in my trash heap of a book. I sent her money back. So did Kensington. She came out pretty well on that deal. At least one reader stopped reading The Girls of Tonsil Lake on the first page and has steadfastly refused to pick up another Liz Flaherty book because I used the Lord’s name in vain. A few others have declined to read any of my later books, including A Soft Place to Fall, an inspirational, because the earlier ones had the aforementioned love scenes in them.

On the other side of that coin, there are those who feel compelled to make fun of sweet romance. The word “cheesy” floats around a lot, the old accusation of “formulaic.” (It’s genre fiction—of course it’s formulaic. Thank goodness.) I hear “It’s so unrealistic” a lot, yet no one denies that life issues are addressed and dealt with in sweet romance. Or, if you want to get away from life issues, sweet is a great place to find romantic comedy.

I get resentful. Yeah, I do. But no more resentful of ones who disparage sweet romance than I did of the ones who denigrated the hotter stories I used to write. (I know they weren’t really hot, but they did have good, fun sex, and they did have cusswords.)

I love writing for Harlequin Heartwarming. I don’t miss writing love scenes because they’re not something I need in a book, whether I’m reading or writing it—it’s the story and relationship that draw me and keep me in the pages. I admit, I miss swearing a little—sometimes “daggone it!” just doesn’t cut it—but it’s fun coming up with non-offensive oaths. My latest is “going south in a brown paper sack.”

What it boils down to is that no matter what I write, I’m going to tell the best story I can, about people the reader cares about. If one of my books makes a better day for someone whose world is definitely not-so-sweet, it’s done its job. And so have I.

My latest Heartwarming is The Happiness Pact, a return visit to Lake Miniagua. I’m including an excerpt from Chapter One. I hope it makes you want to come back for more! The water’s cold at the lake now, but it’s still an inviting place . . .

“What if this woman you care about has a career? What then?”

He put an arm around her shoulders and spoke patiently, just as though she were a small and not-too-bright child. “I do believe two-career families flourish all over the world, even on the shores of Lake Miniagua, Indiana.”

“What if she doesn’t want kids?” What if this woman he cared about was like Libby? She wasn’t going to think about that. Not on her birthday. Or his. For this day, her secret would just stay in the dark place she kept it.

He hesitated, and she sensed his withdrawal. It was as if a cold breeze shot between them, leaving gooseflesh on her arm.

When he spoke, his voice was stiff, as chilly as the air outside the windows that looked out over the six hundred frozen acres of Lake Miniagua. “I don’t know. I don’t have all the answers. You asked me what my wish was, and that was it.”

He had been her friend her whole life. When no one asked her to dance in the seventh grade, he had—and he’d seen to it his friends followed suit. When she’d had her appendix removed during freshman year, he’d brought her homework and helped her do it. Her mother died when she was fifteen, and he’d supported her through all the stages of grief—over and over again—until she could bear it. Her father’s suicide a few years later had thrown her right back into the maelstrom of mourning, and Tucker had been there for her again even though life had dealt him some hurts of his own.

He’d bought her the telescope that time. “See the stars?” he’d said. “They’re still there. Wish on them if you want, but they’re their own reward. No matter what happens, the stars will guide you to a safe place. You’ll be able to see Venus up close and talk to her whenever you like.” He’d never laughed at her assertion that Venus was indeed her guardian planet—and feminine in the bargain.

Seventeen years later, most of which he’d lived in Tennessee, she still wished on stars, talked to Venus, and counted on Tucker to be there if she needed him. The least she could do was try to make this one wish come true for him.

“I’ll help.” She nodded and smiled thanks at Mollie when the bartender topped off their cups. “I’ll introduce you to women. I know you better than most anyone, and I see people every day. What are your specs?”

“My what?” The coolness was gone, but now he looked befuddled.

“You know, specifications. Blonde? Brunette? How old?”

He shrugged, and she knew the I-don’t-care gesture was legitimate. While Tucker had dated a lot of beautiful women, he’d dated even more who weren’t.

“You know me as well as I know myself,” he said. “If you want to play matchmaker, I’ll go along for…oh, say six months. Provided.”

She raised an eyebrow. “Provided?”

“Provided we use the same six months for me to grant your wish. You introduce me to prospective wives and mothers to my children and I’ll introduce you to adventure. What do you say?”

She arrowed a look at him. “I say you had one too many of those hot chocolates.”

Liz Flaherty thinks one of the things that keeps you young when you quite obviously aren’t anymore is the constant chances you have to reinvent yourself. No better way than writing a book! Her next release will be Nice to Come Home To, the third visit to Lake Miniagua, in August of 2018.

Liz would love to hear from you at lizkflaherty@gmail.com or please come and see her at http://www.facebook.com/lizkflaherty

 

 

Last 3 Days!

December29

ONCE MORE FROM THE TOP, book 1 in the Women of Willow Bay series is just 99 cents for the next three days. Don’t miss this chance to start the series at a great price!

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The Happiness Pact

December1

Break out the champagne or the chocolate or both, mes amies, I’m celebrating! My BFF, author Liz Flaherty, has released a brand new Harlequin Heartwarming romance today! The Happiness Pact is now available at book retailers everywhere, including Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I’m so excited about this story and not just because I got to read it pretty much before anyone else did, but also because it takes us back to Lake Miniaqua and the group of friends we met in last year’s Every Time We Say Goodbye. I love Liz’s writing beyond words and I always hate it when I finish one of her books because I want to stay in her world, so I’m delighted we’re back in Lake Miniaqua, Indiana.

The fine line between BFF and happily-ever-after…

Tucker Llewellyn and Libby Worth—strictly platonic!—realize they’re each at a crossroads. Tucker is successful, but he wants a wife and kids: the whole package. Libby knows that small-town life has her set in her ways; the tearoom owner needs to get out more.

So they form a pact: Libby will play matchmaker and Tucker will lead her on the adventure she desperately needs. But the electricity Libby feels when they shake on it should be a warning sign. Soon the matchmaking mishaps pile up, and a personal crisis tests Libby’s limits. Will Tucker be there for her as a best friend…or something more?

And here’s a shot of the book in progress! This was last summer when we were in Michigan and Liz was working on it. Don’t miss this one–hurry over to your favorite book retailer and grab THE HAPPINESS PACT and settle in for another gorgeous and touching read by the amazing Liz Flaherty.

 

Still Rollin’ Along

November16

Liz and Nan’s big Madison adventure continued today, but our adventurousness sorta stayed in the fiction realm. We went to breakfast, then came back to the hotel and set up in the lobby to write. We stayed put there, each of us writing and occasionally stopping to share a paragraph or ask one anothers’ opinion or discuss a word choice. Or even, ask for a word! We ended up skipping lunch and writing from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It was amazing–I got a fabulous start on novel 1 for Tule and Liz–ta da!! Liz finished her book that is due to Harlequin Heartwarming on December 1!! YAY!

At 4, we closed up shop and headed to town to wander a bit–we needed to walk and breathe fresh cold Indiana air. Then we headed to the Key West Shrimp House for an early fish supper. It’s been a great writing day. Liz is delighted to have put The End to the first draft of Cass’s story and I’m pleased as I can be about the great start I have on Colin’s story. Now, we’re just hanging out in our cozy hotel room–a fire in the fireplace and the gray, gloomy day out of sight and out of mind.

It was good for me to be down here with Liz, writing and keeping my mind occupied. Today would have been my dear Dee’s 62nd birthday. All day, I’ve been thinking of her and remembering when I was down here with her when she turned 55. We had a great time at the Clifty Inn. Man, do I miss her.

But all in all, with the lovely hotel, delightful folks we’ve met, and the successful writing we’ve gotten done, we’re declaring this Writer’s Retreat a complete success! Now, we’ve got to decide where we’ll go next . . . stay tuned!

 

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Rollin’ . . . Um, Writin’ on the River

November15

Hey, it’s Liz and I just took over Nan’s computer! It’s Wednesday, and I gotta say, we have written a ton of words here on the river. This afternoon, we came down to the dining area of the hotel lobby and have been here for a couple of hours. Nan’s talking about thousands of words and I’m saying “yeah, yeah, yeah….”

Liz at Lanthier WInery among the 100s of Christmas trees!

It’s been a rainy day–good day to write.

We’ve been winerying, coffeeing, and writing. It is fun. There is homesickness around the edges of the fun, always, and it’s kind of like the best of two worlds. It’s a good time traveling with a good friend and eating at all different kinds of restaurants that wouldn’t thrill our husbands, but the other side is going home to where our hearts are.

For now, though, we have more wineries and more words to roam through and discover. Hope you’re enjoying our trip! 🙂

 

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On the Road

November14

We had a great day in Madison! Spent the day wandering around–fun late lunch at a coffee shop in town and then two wineries for tasting. Loved, loved The Ridge–a little winery tasting room right on the Ohio River. Delish wine, lovely hostess, and beautiful view of the river. The Ridge is actually the winery I was thinking of as I imagined the Flaherty brothers’ tasting room on the river. It lived up to all my expectations. I’m excited to use this little river town as the basis for my stories.

Liz says it’s been a fine day and she is so right. Somehow, we are the best of traveling companions. She’s crazy about our hotel, which has turned out to be such a delightful place. And she loved the Ridge Winery! We met a lovely couple of folks who were so jacked to meet “real romance authors.” We took full advantage, of course, and showered them with swag and a complimentary book each. Fun!

Right now, we’re sitting on the second-floor sun porch of the Riverboat Inn, watching the Ohio and eating our impromptu supper of cheese, crackers, bread and summer sausage and apples. We’ve had our complimentary glass of wine from the little bar downstairs and it may be time to write for a while. Here are some pics from our day–more tomorrow! Here are some pics of the day…enjoy!

 

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