Wednesday, February 27, 2013


One of the few bad things about writing books is that authors sit staring at our computers most of the time. I spend eight to ten hours a day at my lovely computer station in my nice pink cave. I love it my time there. If I’m not writing, I’m promoting on social media. Worse, I’m one of those who hate, loathe, and despise exercise. Other than walking on my treadmill while I watch a segment of HGTV, one thing I’ve found that I do like is Tai Chi. Even a klutz like me can do the slow, controlled movements of Tai Chi. Don't confuse this with defensive martial arts or even gentled down yoga. Tai Chi is an ancient exercise practiced in China. One of our beneficial imports. ☺ So, I have agreed to let a more knowledgeable person post about this ancient form of centering the body and mind. Here’s my guest, nurse Pam Johnson:

The Body Benefits Of Tai Chi
By Pam Johnson

Young man practicing Tai Chi
Photo from iStock

Tai chi is a great way to achieve total mind and body balance. Unlike strenuous exercise routines, tai chi is a gentle way to relieve stress while getting your body in shape. Often referred to as "meditation in motion", tai chi uses slow motion, slow impact exercises to get your body into optimum shape. Just like with meditation, tai chi also uses breathing techniques that help to balance the mind while balancing the body. If you are curious about the benefits tai chi can have on your body, here are some of them.

- Strengthen Muscles. Tai chi is a great way to strengthen your muscles. When you incorporate a tai chi exercise routine in your day to day life, you will begin to build muscles and therefore increase your body strength.

- Body Balance. As you age, your body begins to lose its coordination and balance. Tai chi helps to build this balance, which can be especially important to older individuals. When your body has better balance, you will be better equipped to protect it from injuries that can occur from a painful fall because you won't be as apt to fall.

Tai Chi can be practiced almost anywhere
at almost any age
Photo from iStock
- Flexibility. Body flexibility is important in so many ways, and tai chi can help you acquire both upper and lower body flexibility. When you are flexible, you will suffer less injuries due to strained and torn muscles. Flexibility is very important to the overall health of your body.

- Mental Balance. When we think about the health of our bodies, we often fail to recognize the fact that mental health is just as important as physical health. Since tai chi involves meditation, this form of exercise can help to strengthen and calm the mind which can lead to an overall higher level of mental health.

- Improves Health Conditions. Tai chi is great for fighting off numerous health problems and diseases. When you practice tai chi on a daily basis, you can help your body fight off illnesses like heart disease, arthritis, breast cancer, Parkinson's disease, stroke, hypertension, and certain health conditions that affect the bones. If you want to improve the health of your body so to help avoid these medical problems, you may want to consider incorporating tai chi into your daily exercise routine.

- Stress. If you find that you are overwhelmed by stress, practicing tai chi may actually help to cut down or all together eliminate stress from your life. Because it involves meditation and balancing of the mind, tai chi is great at fighting off the negative side effects associated with stress.

As you can see, tai chi has numerous health benefits for both your mental and physical health. Unlike certain exercise techniques that are not good for all people, tai chi is a form of exercise that can be beneficial for almost anyone. Just like with any exercise techniques, it is best to speak with your doctor before incorporating tai chi into your daily exercise routine. If you want to eliminate stress, improve health conditions, improve body and mental balance, strengthen muscles, and improve flexibility, you may want to consider giving tai chi a chance. You will most certainly be happy that you did.

Author Pam Johnson has been a nurse for several years. She facilitates tai chi classes for those whom would benefit from them. She received her nursing degree from one of the Best Master's in Nursing Degree Programs in the country.

Thanks, Pam. 

And while you're considering where to sign up for Tai Chi, why not read my latest book? You can find BLUEBONNET BRIDE here:

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, February 25, 2013


Kari Lee Townsend, Author

Please welcome Kari Lee Townsend to today's blog. Kari lives in central New York with her understanding husband, her three busy boys, and her oh-so-dramatic daughter.She is the National Bestselling Author, Agatha and RT Reviewer's Choice Award nominee for her Fortune Teller Mystery series. Kari also writes romance under the name Kari Lee Harmon. Small towns, mystical elements, quirky characters, and a few chuckles along the way are what her books are all about.  

Caroline: Please share something about your childhood.

Kari: I have an older sister and a younger brother, and we grew up all over the place with a dad who was in the air force while we were young. Eventually he retired and became an air traffic controller for the FAA, so most of my older years were spent in northern New York. I have always loved to read, but I also grew up playing soccer and being a cheerleader J I am now married for almost 24 years with four fabulous children of my own: 3 teenage boys and 1 darling diva.

Caroline: You’re an eclectic writer. Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

Kari: I write both mysteries and romance, as well as some YA, so I have a lot of favorite authors. Basically, I love to try new things in both my reading tastes and with what I write. Pretty much anything with humor and romance is a must for me, even in my mysteries. I especially love Janet Evanovich and Donna Andrews.

Caroline: What’s your favorite way to relax and recharge? Hobbies?

Kari Relax…what’s that? I repeat, I have 4 kids J When I do have the rare occasion to relax, I love bubble baths, a great book, candlelight, country music, and Pinot Grigio. As for hobbies, I am a picture fanatic. So if you’re ever at a conference with me, look out! Can you say candid camera? Haha.

Caroline: Do you have a favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life?

Kari: You know, I love when people actually do have quotes they love, but I really don’t. I love a lot of quotes, but always forget to write them down and then mess them up when trying to retell them to someone. Basically, I think life is way too short to do anything other than live, love, and laugh hard…there’ll be plenty of time to sleep later. And one of my friends always says, “When life hands you lemons, reach for the tequila and call me.” I want to enjoy this crazy ride we’re on to the fullest for as long as I can, and I am always up for trying new things. Never EVER let fear stand in your way.

Caroline: Great advice. How long have you been writing?

Kari: A very long time. It took me 14 years to get published, but then my agent landed me two 3-book deals within 5 months of each other. All because I finally “got” it, and quit reworking my baby to death, and tried new things. But I don’t think those years were a waste. I think everything happens for a reason and makes us who we are. I probably couldn’t have handled the demands of publishing before it happened since I was a little busy having babies and getting my bachelors and then masters. We get what we want when we’re ready for it, and not a second before J So when success comes your way, enjoy it, people. Because you never know when it can be taken away just as quickly.

Caroline: Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?

Kari: For years, the only time I had free to write was during “nap” time. To this day I accomplish the most after lunch and before the kids get home from school. I am not a night owl, so I get up really early to get the kids off to school. During that time, I check email (have coffee), check social networks (have coffee), check blogs (have coffee)…you get the picture. And then I am sick of sitting, so I make myself exercise (most days), then shower, pick up house, figure out dinner, and finally after lunch, I am ready to write. I need silence, a diet coke or pepsi ( I actually switch when I’m bored) and my laptop. By 3pm the kids are home, and I’m ready to play mom, wife, taxi, etc. until 8pm when I’m ready for that Pinot!

Caroline: Are you a plotter or a panzer?

Kari: I always used to be a panzer, but with my mysteries, I find I have to be a plotter. At least a partial plotter. I love the thrill of writing by the seat of my pants. But I also know I need suspects and clues and red herrings, and I can get way off base if I don’t have some overall idea of where I’m going. I tend to figure out some “main” crucial things that I need to happen, and then I plot as I go. About 3 chapters at a time, so those crazy twists and turns can still inspire me and keep me excited as they pop up throughout the book.

Caroline: I think that makes you a plotzer. Do you use real events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration for stories?

Kari: I am a people watcher. I love to study dialogue, looks, quirks, etc. So bits of those always go into my books. Sometimes news clips or articles in a newspaper will make me think, “Wow, what a great idea!” And still, other times I actually model a character after a real life person on purpose. Take Granny Gert for instance. She is modeled after my late Grandmother Gertrude in her looks, but a lot of her funny actions are so my mom! I love the idea of immortalizing them, and plan to do that with my husband’s Grandma Tootsie in the next book. She is 98, lives alone, and is a total spitfire. I think Granny Gert needs a new friend!

Caroline: I’ve used my mom and her sister in a few of my books. Do you set daily writing goals?

Kari: A long time ago I learned to figure out exactly how fast I write, and then figure out a schedule that worked for me. I write 4 pages an hour for about 3 hours a day. In a perfect world, that would be 12 pages a day. I am realistic and know that really means about 10, which in my mysteries is one chapter. I write Mon through Fri 5 days a week, so that’s 50 pages a week, or 5 chapters. I take the evenings and weekends off because, I repeat again, I have 4 children. When I’m being good, I follow this schedule, so it really only takes me about 6 to 8 weeks to write a book, and then another month to polish. When I’m not being good, I go on writing marathons and finish a book in 3 weeks. So not pretty, people! Not to mention I am getting way too old for that, so you can probably guess what this new year’s resolution was…stick to the damn schedule!

Caroline: That should be all writers’ resolution. What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

Kari: If my readers walk away saying, “Wow, I didn’t see that coming,” then I have done my job. I want to keep them guessing. If my readers walk away also saying on a dreamy sigh, “Awww, Sunny and Mitch are so cute together. I really hope they make it,” then I am pleased. If my readers walk away saying all of that with a smile on their face and a chuckle as they add, “That scene about (fill in the blank) was sooo funny,” then I am tickled pink. I love a great mystery, a bit of romance, and a chuckle or two along the way.

Caroline: That’s my idea of a great book. What long-term plans do you have for your career?

Kari: The market is crazy right now. Scary, yet so exciting. I plan to be everywhere. I think it’s important to take risks, try new things, and diversify yourself. I want to continue to write traditional books like my cozy mysteries, self-publish books like my romances that I’ve poured my heart and soul into, and be with more than one publisher at a time. It took me way too long to get published to ever put all my eggs in one basket. Cliché yes, but oh so true.

Caroline:  Would you like to tell us what you’re working on now?

Kari: I am working on my next Fortune Teller Mystery, PERIL IN THE PALM, as well as my next self-pubbed romance, book 2 of the Comfort Club Series, and yes, book three of my YA Digital Diva series. And I’m having a ball every step of the way.

Caroline: What advice would you give to unpublished authors?

Kari: Never EVER give up! But…don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and try something new. You never know what you might be good at unless you give it a try. And never spend all your time trying to “fix” your baby. Have something else in case an editor says they love your writing but what else do you have. You always want to have “something else.” And finally, figure out realistically how many pages you can write a week so you won’t agree to something you can’t produce. Be honest with yourself, and then stick to whatever you set aside as your writing time. The only people who don’t get published are the ones who quit. If you want it badly enough, it WILL happen. You just have to keep at it and pay attention.

Caroline: What’s a fun fact readers wouldn’t know about you?

Kari: My hubby is this totally fit body builder guy, yet I am the adrenaline junkie of the family and will try anything dare devilish like sky diving, hang gliding, zip lining, scuba diving, bungee jumping, etc. Yet I am scared to death of rodents. Can’t even look at a dead mouse or rat. Truly petrified. Love country music, yet love hard rock, too. And LOVE to read Scottish Historicals, but don’t have what it takes to write them.

Caroline: What’s something about you that would surprise or shock readers?

Kari: I’m not really shocking, sad to say. I was pretty much the boring, ultimate good girl, but I have the exact life I’ve always wanted and couldn’t be happier. I have been with my husband since I was 18. We didn’t marry until 21, and no, we didn’t have our oldest child until we were 26 J He just makes me laugh and still does. And he and all our children are Catholic, but I am Methodist. Gasp…shocking! That’s about it, folks.

Caroline: Is your book a series?

Kari: This is the 3rd book in the Fortune Teller Mystery series, and I have at least 3 more planned. Hey, you never know. I guess I’ll wait and see what the characters tell me they want. When they say they’re done, then they’re pretty much done. Then again, readers are very persuasive people. And I love making sure my characters grow and develop. I know the mystery is the focal point, but I hate it when the leads act exactly the same in every book. Oh, and all of my Fortune Teller books focus on a different psychic tool, which keeps things interesting and gives me something new to research and learn about. Not to mention an immortal cat that adds a lot of mystery and fun in every book.

Caroline: Can you give readers a blurb about your book?

Kari: Here’s the blurb for TROUBLE IN THE TAROT

For psychic Sunshine Meadows, sometimes fortunes can be deceiving…
Lately Sunny has been experiencing a period of big opportunity: her business in Divinity, New York, is thriving, and Detective Mitch Stone has finally agreed to take Sunny on a date. But thanks to her clairvoyant abilities, Sunny knows better than anyone that life deals out bad cards along with the good. When Sunny agrees to read tarot cards at the annual summer Solstice Carnival, she meets her Granny Gert’s “arch nemesis” Fiona Atwater, and is overcome by a vision of Fiona in a violent argument. Sunny knows trouble is brewing when Granny and Fiona start having squabbles all over town. But the fighting comes to a head when a local baker gets run over by a big white Cadillac—and Granny and Fiona are found at the crime scene. Sunny knows she should step aside and let Mitch handle the investigating, but she’s not about to ignore her visions and leave her granny’s life in fate’s hands…

Caroline: Sounds like fun. How about an excerpt?

Kari: Here’s the excerpt for TROUBLE IN THE TAROT:

“The cards predict a very long week ahead of us, Morty,” I said as I laid out my fortune-telling supplies on a table inside the gazebo in Mini Central Park.
My big, white, beautiful, arrogant cat scowled and gave me a look—as much as a feline can give a look—that said, Duh! Ya think?
How did I let her talk me into this?” I asked.
Cat or no cat, his scowl deepened, and I swore I could see the brow he didn’t have arch sky-high.
“Fine. Not me, us,” I added, making a set of air quotes. “And don’t give me that look, mister. You can’t say no to her any more than I can.”
I shook my head at the ridiculous traditional, turban-style fortune-teller hat she’d tied to his head because I’d refused to wear one. I was a real psychic and simply used fortune-telling tools to help interpret my visions. I didn’t care to add to the stigma already attached to my profession.
As usual, Granny was clueless and made it clear she thought I was being silly. She thought Morty looked adorable and that his attire added to our authenticity. I didn’t have the energy to argue, so I’d let it go. At least it was an improvement over the god-awful bow ties she usually dressed him up in.
Morty rolled his jet black eyes, leapt onto the railing, and stretched out in the early morning sunshine. I could see he would be absolutely no help whatsoever.
Just peachy.

Caroline: Where can readers find your books?

Kari: If you go to my website, I have a book page for my mysteries with all the buy links for the latest book here

Caroline: How can readers learn more about you?

Caroline: Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you?

Kari: Just that I love to hear from new readers, so drop me a line at and I promise I’ll get back to you. Also that I wish you the best of luck in whatever your endeavors might be. Happy reading J

Friday, February 22, 2013


Today please welcome author Deanne Wilsted and learn about her latest release, UNTANGLING THE KNOT. This book sounds like a fun read, and who doesn't love a romance? Deanne will be offering a $10 gift card to either Amazon or B&N (winner's choice) to one lucky person who leaves a comment today. Please remember to leave your email address with your comment if you wish to be considered for the giveaway.

Deanne Wilsted

“I did what?”

Twenty-eight year old Gabriella Bessu is St. Therese’s meticulous wedding ceremony coordinator. So the fact that she has mistakenly signed her newest couple up for an annulment, rather than a wedding, sends her Catholic guilt into overdrive.

But who can blame her? The groom is gorgeous and his two kids tug at Gabriella’s heart in a way that overcomes all her best intentions. Before long she’s in over her head, fixing her mixed-up plans and helping the children and dad come to terms with their haunting grief for the mother and wife they lost years earlier.

Can Gabriella untangle her own fears and accept the messy life that God has handed them? 

 Gabriella heard Mandy’s screech all the way down the corridor. Oh no! That didn’t sound good. She’d sort of thought Mandy appeared wound up when they had first arrived at the office but she couldn’t imagine what would have made her explode like that.

She didn’t have to wait long to find out. Seconds later, Mandy stormed into her office pointing a piece of paper at her like a gun. Within moments, Ryan and Fr. O’Shea followed her through the door, Ryan seeming confused and Fr. O looking apologetic.

“There is no way . . .. I can tell you, NO WAY that Tina would have said I was not ready to get married. This is beyond crazy.” She turned to Fr. O’Shea and waved her arm in Gabriella’s direction.

“Okay, let’s slow down a little, honey.” Ryan tried to calm her. “We need to find out what happened from Gabriella.”

He studied Gabriella questioningly, but she could only stand mute, shaking her head.

“Bri, you took Tina’s statement, right?”

Gabriella nodded her head.

“Did she say anything to you to make you think”—Fr. O. stopped and gently took the paper from Mandy’s manic grasp—“that Mandy might not be prepared for being a wife or mother.”

Author Deanne Wilsted and Friend


With an English teacher for a mom, DEANNE WILSTED, grew up reciting conjugation instead of nursery rhymes. Now, forty years later, she's sharing that special skill through her writing and her mothering. Her first book, a contemporary romance called BETTING JESSICA, was released October 2011. Her second Novel, UNTANGLING THE KNOT, is due out in February 2013 from Soul Mate Publishing. She is currently marketing her third book for publication and writing her fourth, fifth and sixth while blogging about the crazy stuff she overhears while writing.

Author Follow Links –
Amazon author page -

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Thanks for stopping by to help me celebrate the release of the third book in my Men of Stone Mountain series, BLUEBONNET BRIDE. It's true that I'm more than a little biased, but I love this book. This is Joel's story, the eldest brother who has been head of the family since the death of their parents. 

To add to the celebration, I'll give away a free copy of this book to one person who comments on this blog.


He’s a by-the-book Texas sheriff; she’s on the run from a murder conviction...

When a tornado provides Rosalyn with the opportunity to escape the gallows, she collects her daughter Lucy and flees. They travel far enough West that Rosalyn believes she’s gone to the ends of the earth. She hopes she and Lucy will be safe in this remote North Texas town where she embarks on a new life as a dressmaker. If only she could avoid contact with people, especially the handsome sheriff who pops up every time she turns around. She fears either she or her chatterbox daughter may slip and reveal too much.

Joel Stone has been content with his life, even if it’s not the one he’d dreamed. His younger brothers are married and living nearby, his aunts have moved to Radford Springs, and he is respected for the efficient job he does as sheriff. When he meets the new widow in town, his instant attraction staggers him. She appears uninterested, but he is determined to win her hand in marriage. 

But life doesn’t turn out the way either Rosalyn or Joel plan. They overcome temporary obstacles, but what of the secret she protects? Can he save her from the gallows?


When the stage was out of sight, Joel ambled inside the hotel. James rested a hip against the reception counter while the lady newcomer instructed the porter about her luggage. The desk clerk leaned over the open register staring as if he’d never seen a woman before.

Her sultry voice floated like music. “I want these two trunks stored downstairs, please, but the valises and boxes will go up in our room.” She raised her veil.

Joel removed his Stetson and gazed into her eyes. Eyes that were like warm coffee. Eyes so tempting he could have leaned over and lapped them up. He caught himself before he actually bent toward her. 

“Is something wrong, sheriff?” She stood straight, one arm around her daughter.

Flustered at being caught staring, he stammered, “No ma’am. Welcome to Radford Springs. I’m Sheriff Joel Stone and you’ve met our preacher, James Billings.”

“Pleased to meet you both. I’m Mrs. Dumas and this is my daughter, Lucy.”  

She pronounced her name “doo-mahh” in the French way, and her voice mesmerized him. A nudge from James waked him from her spell so he could answer. 

“Sorry about that fellow gaping at you earlier. Caught him cheating at cards. Forced him to leave town. Want you to know we keep a nice town here.” What the hell was wrong with him? He rattled on like a windmill in a storm.

“I see. He won’t be returning then?”

“Not while I’m sheriff.” Joel thought she appeared relieved. Probably she was dog-tired from her trip. “Will you be staying here long?”

“My daughter and I might settle here. We’ll know in a few days. Now, if you’ll excuse us, my daughter needs to lie down. I wouldn’t mind a bath and then a week’s sleep myself.”

“Let me know if I can help you in any way.” Like washing your back, drying you off. Joel wanted to slap himself. He struggled to push thoughts of her bathing from his mind. 

James smiled at her. “The hotel dining room has the best food in town. Shall I have them bring you and your daughter up a meal? I believe roast beef is served today, and there’s usually cobbler of some kind.”

“Which explains the heavenly aromas. We would appreciate your kindness, Mr. Billings, if you could have two meals sent to our room. Now, gentlemen, please excuse us.” She turned and guided 

Lucy up the stairs.

Joel still stared at her as if mesmerized. 

James clapped him on the shoulder. “Come on, Romeo. Let’s get some lunch before your eyes fall out of your head or flies take up residence in your mouth.”

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, February 18, 2013


The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back by Sariah Wilson 

Everyone knows how all those fairy tales go. The princess gets beautiful, nabs her prince, falls instantly in love, lives happily ever after and leaves her evil stepsisters in the dust.

But what happens when you’re the ugly stepsister and your obnoxiously perfect—read pretty, smart, and, worst of all, sickeningly nice—stepsister is dating the charming, tall, devastatingly handsome guy you’ve had a thing for since you were nine years old?

Quirky, artistic and snarky Mattie Lowe does not lead a charmed life. Her mother is constantly belittling her on Skype. Mercedes, the school mean girl, has made it her personal mission to torment Mattie. But worst of all? Her stepsister Ella is the most beautiful, popular girl in school and is dating Mattie’s secret longtime crush, Jake Kingston.

Tired of being left out and done with waiting for her own stupid fairy godmother to show up, Mattie decides to change her life. She’ll start by running for senior class president against wildly popular Jake.

Ella can keep her Prince Annoying. Mattie’s going to rule the school.

And no one, not even a cute and suddenly flirty Jake, is going to stop her.



“My top pick of 2012 YA… This book is just. plain. fun.”

~Jordan McCollum, author of Saints & Spies and I, Spy

“Sariah Wilson's new book, The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back, is hilarious…What follows is a story of fun and romance with some good non-preachy life lessons thrown in.  The voice in the main character, Mattie, makes the whole thing.  I thought it was definitely a book I'd recommend to anyone with teenagers or who just want to read a good teen romance.”
~Julie Coulter Bellon, author of All Fall Down and All’s Fair

“Sariah [Wilson] has written one of the funniest stories I've read in such a long, long time. I literally couldn't put it down. Yes, my poor Kindle's battery died and I was attached to a short power cord, contorted in a very uncomfortable position while I read to the end…. Sariah Wilson captured the back-biting, insecure, hormone-driven, clique-riddled high school atmosphere so perfectly you'd think she never grew up. I dare you not to laugh as you read this witty and oh, so, romantic story.”
~Debra Erfert of Windows into Writing

“Sariah Wilson writes like the best of/most popular YA teen fiction/teen romance authors - Sarah Dessen, Jennifer Echols, Susanne Collins, Cassandra Clare.  She sucks you in and never lets you go.  I finished the ~194 novel in one night because I just couldn't go to sleep without knowing the ending!  I hope that Sariah comes out with more novels, I know I'll be re-reading this one all the time!  She's extremely talented and needs to be talked about.  I highly recommend The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back! to anyone (over the age of 12) who wants a YA novel that's a real modern-day fairy tale.”

~Hilary at Novel d’Tales

“This was such an entertaining story! I shouldn't have started reading it so late in the evening, because I didn't want to put it down to go to sleep…This is a book I can see myself reading several times. It's a fast, clean read with great characters, and I highly recommend it.”
~Andrea of Literary Time Out

The book is wonderful.  It’s quirky and fun.  The story makes you laugh and you fall in love with the characters right from the beginning…This is a well-written book.  It is one that will make you smile and sigh as you remember your first love.  And it has a moral…be yourself, believe in yourself and maybe, just maybe, your fairytale will come true.  Pick up this book.”
~Ana of The Book Hookup

Author Sariah Wilson

Sariah Wilson has never jumped out of an airplane, never climbed Mt. Everest, and is not a former CIA operative. She has, however, been madly, passionately in love with her soulmate and is a fervent believer in happily ever afters—which is why she writes romance. The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back is her fourth happily ever after novel. She grew up in southern California, graduated from Brigham Young University (go Cougars!) with a semi-useless degree in history, and is the oldest of nine (yes, nine) children. She currently lives with the aforementioned soulmate and their four children in Utah, along with three tiger barb fish, a cat named Tiger, and a recently departed hamster that is buried in the backyard (and has nothing at all to do with tigers).

Tour Schedule

Book Blast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 3/5/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Mine is the last name on the Rafflecopter. Whew! What a list.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to comment and let us know in the comment whether you have added extra entries.


Friday, February 15, 2013


No, folks, S. D. Skye is not a victim of the seven-year itch. She has a new romantic suspense titled THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH, the first of her J J McCall series, and will share it with us today after I grill, um, I mean ask her a few questions. S.D. Skye is a former FBI Russian Counterintelligence Program Intelligence Analyst and supported several key cases during her 12-year tenure at the Bureau. She has personally witnessed the blowback the Intelligence Community suffered due to the most significant compromises in U.S. history, including the arrests of former CIA Case Officer Aldrich Ames and two of the Bureau's own--FBI Agents Earl Pitts and Robert Hanssen. She has spent 20 years supporting counterintelligence, intelligence, and military missions in the U.S. Intelligence Community. 

S.D. will be awarding a Kindle Fire to a randomly drawn commenter at the end of the tour. (US/CANADA ONLY)

Now to cross-exam her:

Caroline: Tell us something about growing up and your deepest personal secrets.

SD: I’m one of the Washingtonians who was actually born in Washington. But I spent my high school years and my first two years of college as a Buckeye in a small town in the Ohio Valley. That’s where my mother and her family were from. It was culture shock for a city girl, but I loved my time there. 

In school, I’d like to think I was a cool nerd, as I was an honor roll student without a pocket protector. But I think the fact that I played the tuba in the band puts me squarely in the bookworm/major nerd category.

Now, I’m a single mom of one precocious…I mean er…precious 12 year old son who has somehow managed to trump me with his sense of humor and perfect comic timing. Funniest kid I’ve ever met…said the biased mom.

Caroline: All moms should be biased toward their kids. Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

SD: My tastes are completely random and eclectic. I read everything from Jane Austen to Stephen King. I used to be a major chick lit fan but I haven’t found one in a long time that hasn’t irritated me. Now, I read a lot of non-fiction, biography type books. I like reading how people overcome challenges in their journeys to success. In fiction, I’ll read any book with an engaging character and a story that won’t allow me to put the book down. If I can’t put it down, I won’t put it down.

Caroline: Don’t laugh at the next question, since you have a preteen: What’s your favorite way to relax and recharge?

SD: I haven’t had the occasion to do much relaxing and recharging in a few years. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve had a vacation since I started my writing career. I’ve been on a writing and promoting bend ever since the writing bug bit. But when I do relax, I’m a true Aquarian in that I love to be near the water. Not necessarily in the water, but I love the sound of the ocean. I also like taking long drives and howling to the radio. The noises that emanate from my mouth could not constitute singing.

Caroline: Oh, I also have to sing when alone. Otherwise, people come running to see how badly I’m injured. ☺Do you have a favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life?

SD: Experience is the only teacher that gives you the test first and the lesson later. This is the story of my life, a text book lesson in learning from error and trial. I should be the smartest person on the planet, but I’m not even close. But I’m much smarter than I used to be, so I’m making progress.

Caroline: Great quote. How long have you been writing?

SD: I’ve been writing since I was about 7 or 8. My mom used to buy me those diaries with the key lock on them. I’ve been keeping journals ever since. Every now and then I’d go back and read my entries and I truly cracked myself up. My entire writing career is based on a self-indulgent need to make others more entertained by laughing at my life than I am. For some reason I kept talking myself out of writing a book though. Gave myself a lot of excuses, like “I don’t have a degree in English,” or “No one will ever read it.” When I hit the big 4-0, somehow I got the courage to do it. I wrote my first novel, after a break-up, in about four months. I haven’t looked back since. 

Caroline: Journaling is a good habit for writers. Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude?

SD: Even though I have an office with a door (a luxury to many writers), I mostly write at my dining room table. My office sits on the back my house so I get little natural light in there, and sunlight energizes me. I’m one of those people who get depressed during the winter months because of the shorter days. But light pours through my dining room window so I’m at home there.

My writing conditions change depending on my mood. Sometimes I need quiet, other times I need white noise. Sometimes, I can write with music. Other times I can’t. As of late, I’ve been in this weird phase where I can only write if Harry Potter movies are playing in the background. My 12 year old son is enjoying this phase. I love Harry and have read all the books, some twice, but I’m looking forward to getting over this.

I have two laptops and two desktops, but I mostly use my dining room desktop because it has a 23 inch screen and I’m blind as a bat.

Caroline: Do you use real events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration for stories?

SD: Absolutely. Every book I’ve ever written contains little pieces of me. THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH, my current release, is actually based on an FBI agent with whom I worked during my 12-year tenure at the FBI.
Caroline: Wow, 12 years in the FBI is very impressive. Do you set daily writing goals? Do you get a chance to write every day?

SD: Since my job involves writing, I have no choice but to write every day. But I usually go with the flow. Some days, I might write for 12 hours and others I may write for 12 minutes. Some days I might work on my novel, and other days, if I feel a little blocked or short on ideas, I might work on one of my blogs or promotion. Baby steps or big steps, my primary goal is to make progress and move forward.

Caroline: That’s all we can do, isn’t it? What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

SD: Entertain, enjoyment, lots of laughter, and maybe a few life lessons. I think all of my books contain all of these elements, some to a greater degree than others.
Caroline: What long-term plans do you have for your career?

SD: I plan to write until I have no more stories to tell, and I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Ideas are constantly coming to me and if I cloned myself twice I’m not sure I’d have time to get them all written.  Right now I have a slew of crazy people running around in my head that are begging to have their business shared with complete strangers.  I will indulge them for as long as I can.

Caroline: Would you like to tell us what you’re working on now?

SD: I’ll be spending the next two years finishing up the J.J. McCall FBI Series. In book two, SON OF AN ITCH,  Russian intelligence plants a bug in the White House Situation Room walls and J.J. has to identify the culprit who helped them.  In the meantime, J.J.’s nemesis plots to kill her and defect to Moscow. It’s turning out to be fun book to write, lots more romantic tension in the sticky triangle, a few love scenes (can’t say who is involved),and I’m not sure I could come up with a more exciting ending. Can’t wait until it’s done.

Caroline: Sounds like a terrific book and I love the title’s word play. What advice would you give to unpublished authors?

SD: First, don’t try to follow trends. Write the story that is in your heart and soul to tell. Secondly, don’t get hung up on making perfect first drafts. They are supposed to be crap and everything can be fixed. If you want to have a successful career, the key is to FINISH.

Caroline: What’s something about you that would surprise or shock readers?

SD: If you’re not shocked by now, I’m pretty sure nothing else in my life story would do the trick.

I was once on the news show 60 Minutes and got my 15 seconds of fame. They did a feature on an art theft case that I supported while I maintained the FBI’s National Stolen Art File, before I got into counterintelligence. That same week I was featured in U.S.A. Today for the same story. I know what you’re thinking…art theft too? Yes, I’ve had a pretty storied career.

Caroline: You have had a career to keep you writing for a lifetime. Can you give readers a blurb about your book?

SD: Her Family Was Vexed With a Generational Curse. Now for Lie Detecting FBI Spy Catcher J.J. McCall, the Truth is in The Seven Year Itch.

FBI Special Agent J.J. McCall is a born lie detector who recruits foreign spies to catch American traitors. She and co-case agent Tony Donato have lost two of their most critical Russian sources in the past two years, and they may lose another in just a few short days if they don’t catch him, The ICE PHANTOM, a rumored insider spy more insidious and elusive than Ames and Hanssen combined. They suspect he might be burrowed deep inside FBI counterintelligence—and his body count is going up.

Drawn into an unsanctioned mole hunt, they have a week to catch him, save a key source’s life—and their own. While J.J.’s lie detecting ability helps them narrow down the list of suspects, the lie she tells to herself may help the ICE PHANTOM defect to Moscow and get away with the murder of the man she loves.

Skye's debut FBI Series, filled with mystery, espionage, romance, and suspense, will keep you burning through the pages until J.J. catches the very last spy.

Caroline: How about an excerpt?


Monday Morning in Moscow…

Mikhail Polyakov was murdered in a Solntsevskaya-owned cottage located in Lobnya, a small village just outside Moscow. It was a Russian organized crime death chamber. A hulking Mafioso known only as Maskov hovered over his mangled corpse. The ax in his massive hand dripped with the blood of a traitor. He would not live to betray his country another day. In the safe house basement, he lay on the concrete floor. A pool of crimson surrounded him, and his flesh had been gashed and hacked beyond visual recognition; death’s stench thickened the air. In order to serve its only noble purpose, his right hand, which bore a crescent-shaped birthmark, was left untouched.

A sliver of light shone through an undersized window revealing the wicked grin that parted the executioner’s cigarette blackened lips. Colonel Anatoliy Golikov. A Russian intelligence officer, he was a member of a cadre of Russian Foreign Intelligence Service—SVR officers—from the First Department. His professional mission had been recruiting people who sold U.S. secrets, but his personal mission was to kill anyone who betrayed the Motherland.

His skinny eyes, slight frame, and borderline gaunt face colored him weak, but his iron-fisted will and suffocating persona made him a man few crossed. Even fewer had lived to brag about it if they had. The son of a former hardline KGB General who executed Russians spying for the West, he’d filled his father’s sadistic shoes well. Left nothing in his wake except a trail of dead American sins against Russia.

Caroline: Where can readers find your books?

SD: SEVEN YEAR ITCH, a JJ McCall Novel, is available in print and ebook from Amazon at:

Caroline: How can readers learn more about you? 

SD: My website is:

Don't forget to  leave a comment to qualify for SD's generous drawing of a Kindle Fire. You can increase your chances by following her tour and commenting at each stop. Her tour stops are listed on her website, given above.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Wherever you are, I hope your sweetie and you have a wonderful day. Hero and I celebrated a day early with a lovely dinner at a local restaurant.

Hero and I have both been working diligently on my next release, the third in the Men of Stone Mountain series, BLUEBONNET BRIDE. In addition, we are updating some of the first covers we attempted to make them a bit more appealing to readers. That's what writers' lives are about: pleasing readers!

With each book, we want you to love the cover, love the story, and wait eagerly for the next release. So, Hero is trying very hard to make my books as visually appealing as possible while I try just as hard to make the story as appealing and interesting as possible.

And now to announce the winner of my part of the FIRST'S BLOG HOP.

M Lawson is the winner of a kindle copy of BRAZOS BRIDE. I'll be emailing her to let her know. In the meantime, please keep reading my blog and commenting.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by during the FIRSTS BLOG HOP February 10-13. This is the first year for this blog hop. I hope we do it again, don't you?

Now, here's a peek at my new cover for the novella HAPPY IS THE BRIDE. I wrote this novella for an anthology in 2004 and recovered the rights to it in 2011. I self-published it, but was never truly happy with the cover. We used an historic church near us, that is privately owned and a setting for local weddings. Unfortunately, the church doesn't photo well because it's not in a very pretty setting. Over the years, a fire station and other buildings have crowded it. I think the photo below is much nicer.

Although this is only a novella, we decided to also offer it in print on Amazon.

Next week I'll give you a peek at BLUEBONNET BRIDE and its cover. Poor Hero went through three covers before our "consultants" approved a final cover. In case you wonder who the consultants are, they are other writers. The book will officially release on February 25th, but I might be able to give away a few copies before then.

Happy Valentine's Day. Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, February 10, 2013


Today launches Marketing For Romance Author's first Blog Hop. First in more way than one: The theme is "Firsts" -- the first kiss, the first love, the first loss, whatever is first in the story. Join us for three days of fun excerpts, contests, and giveaways. Details about giveaways are on each author's site.

I'm giving away a copy of BRAZOS BRIDE, Men of Stone Mountain Book One. This book celebrates several firsts. BRAZOS BRIDE is the first romance in which I've used poison. Hope Montoya is the first woman Micah Stone has ever loved. Micah is the first man Hope has ever trusted. Their kiss is her first. (He's too gallant to say whether or not it's his first kiss.)

One disaster after another plagues the couple.

Here's the BRAZOS BRIDE blurb

Hope Montoya knows someone is poisoning her, but who? She suspects her mother was also poisoned and knows her father was murdered. Who wants her family eliminated? She vows to fight! She realizes she won’t last the eight months until she turns twenty-five and her uncle no longer controls her or her estate. Never will she be dominated by a man as she was by her father, as she has seen her mother and grandmothers dominated. If she marries, she gains control now, but only if she weds a man she can trust. Only one man meets her requirements. Can she trust him to protect her and capture the killer...but then to leave?

Micah Stone has been in love with Hope since the first time he saw her. But he was accused of her father’s murder and surely would have hung if not for his two brothers’ aid. Most in the community still believe him guilty. But the drought has him too worried about water for his dying cattle to care about his neighbors’ opinions. When Hope proposes a paper marriage in exchange for land on the Brazos River and much needed cash, her offer rubs his pride raw. His name may be Stone, but he’s not made of it. He can’t refuse her for long, and so their adventure begins. He and Hope have to stay alive and discover the killer before they become victims in the deadly assaults.


She savored a bit of the stew, then bit into a fresh biscuit covered with syrup. Closing her eyes in bliss, she chewed slowly. “Oh my, this is wonderful. Never have I tasted better stew. And these biscuits are light enough to float away.”
Bert blushed and lowered his head. “Thank you, Miz Stone.”
Micah’s dimpled smile demonstrated his appreciation for her comment. Why should that please her so?
Hope learned more about their struggle for water, how they'd hauled barrels of it from some spring a good ways off on Zach's land, apparently their only remaining dependable source of water.
She remembered her father’s angry reprimand and the blow he’d delivered when she’d suggested he install windmills on their land. Her eye was swollen and purple for days, but he told the servants she’d fallen against the door. They knew, of course, and wouldn’t look at her until the bruises faded. She pushed the sad memory aside and returned to the present. Did she dare make a suggestion to Micah?
She gathered her courage. “Have you thought about a couple of the Mitchell Self-Governing Patent Windmills? I saw an ad for them and plan to install them in several spots on my land.”
Excitement gleamed in Micah’s eyes. “Hey, I saw an ad also, and I’d love to have them. Until now, I haven’t had the cash.”
He’d planned the same thing. And he didn’t appear to resent her suggestion. She wanted to shout with glee. He actually respected her opinion, and didn’t say a woman had no business thinking such thoughts. “Oh, well, maybe we can get a discount on the freight and cost if we order together.”
Zach nodded. “Good idea, Hope. I wouldn’t mind a couple of them myself, soon as we get your and Micah’s problems settled.”
They talked about where the windmills would be placed and guessed how long it would take them to arrive. All through their discussion, Hope was treated as if her ideas were equal to those of the men. Their response surprised and soothed her. Maybe this arrangement would work for everyone.
Micah laid his spoon aside while Bert served up the pie. "I need to talk about something less pleasant. Someone tried to kill us last night." For a minute everyone stopped talking and stared at Micah. The only sound was a horse’s nervous whinny.
Bert cocked his head toward the window and paused as if listening to the horse, but it quieted so he resumed serving. Everyone forked up the pie while Micah explained about the ordeal.
"Sheriff know?" Joel asked between bites.
Micah nodded. "Surprised me. Acted halfway decent about it. Said he'd keep investigating, but don't suppose anything will come of it. Without a witness, it could be anyone."
"So what's your plan, Cap’n?" Slim asked.
Micah swallowed and said, "I'm leaving you and Bert in charge here. For months now someone’s been poisoning my wife. You know her father was murdered, and now someone's tried to kill us. We have to be on guard all the time. You two are charged with taking care of this place while the rest of us take care of my wife." He dug into the last of his pie.
Slim looked indignant. "Poisoning a purty lady like Miz Stone? Low down sidewinders!"
"You’re right about that.” Micah pushed his plate aside. “Tomorrow you can start the cattle toward the river. One of us will stay at the Montoya ranch with Hope so she's always protected, but the other two will be over to help."
Always protected. She repeated the words in her head while she nibbled at her pie. The words reassured her and she looked at each of the men at the table. She might not have her home to herself, but safety in numbers popped into her mind. She no longer faced danger alone. Things would be all right now.
Bert asked, "Reckon I ought to go cook for you? I could make sure no one messed with Miz Stone's vittles."
Zach smiled apologetically at Hope as if he'd known she should have been included in the decision. "Our two aunts will arrive soon to help our new sister, maybe today if they caught the stage."
Micah said, "You're badly needed here, Bert, to look after this place."
Bert actually smiled. "Me and Slim can do it, cain't we?"
Slim nodded and started to say something, but another horse whinnied and this one sounded alarmed. Slim frowned and sniffed the air. "You smell smoke?"
Micah sniffed at the same time. "Something burning, Bert?"
"Nope, I done put the fire out on account of how dry it is. Covered it good with dirt." He rose and ambled to the window.
"Lord A’mighty, the barn's afire!"




"This was one of the best books I have read for a while."

"I really liked this mystery/romance."

"Well written, flows nicely, and has an interesting plot."

"A wonderful story, memorable characters, and a great read."

"I could almost taste the dust and heat."


"Firsts" blog hop starting at midnight FEBRUARY 10TH through midnight FEBRUARY 13TH! 
40 authors from  

Click here and ride our ribbon!

Here's what you're supposed to do, as I understand the blog hop. Go to the above link, and leave your comment to enter my drawing for a copy of BRAZOS BRIDE. I don't understand how it works either, but I've been assured it's magic. Or technology. Or something. Feel free to leave a comment here, too. That will guarantee you're entered in the drawing just in case magic goes awry.

Thanks for stopping by!