Friday, February 27, 2015


The Lady of the Garter
by Marisa Dillon

Marisa Dillon will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour,

Marisa was kind enough to submit to an interview and fun photos. She was a delightful interviewee, as you will learn:

Hi, Caroline. Thank you for having me on your blog today. It’s great to be here with my hot latte to talk about steamy romance.

Where did you grow up? Locale? 

I grew up in Ohio, the Midwest, where everyone’s friendly and we can a look a stranger in the eye without being afraid. Siblings? I’m the oldest of three children, with a brother in the middle, who is a multimedia journalist and author, and my beautiful sister works at the Ohio State University in international affairs.

Married, single? Children? 

I married my college sweetheart and we have two talented sons, a graphic designer/entrepreneur who lives in Philadelphia and the other, is a 3D printing engineer who just moved to New York City. Thankfully, they chose cities that I love to visit and are only two hours away from each other by train.

Marisa's Family

Lovely to see a family involved in an activity together. Were you considered a “bookworm” or a jock? 

Actually, I was a mix of both, plus a thespian. I was lucky and had all types of friends. I was on the drill team, honor roll and was always in the high school theatrical productions.

Who are your favorite author and favorite genre? 

Johanna Lindsey, author of fifty novels in various subgenres of historical romance. Many of her titles have been New York Times best sellers. I believe I’ve read every one of them, beginning with Gentle Rouge. That was the first historical romance I’d ever read. When my two boys were little, and my husband worked nights, I needed a distraction. I could always count on a Johanna to deliver a cleverly crafted story, with strong characterization, and the happily ever after I wanted.

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

Wow, it’s hard to pick one, because writers like me love quotes. I accumulate them like some people collect baseball cards, but here’s my favorite that sums up how I feel about life:  "Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow." -- Melody Beattie. I think that is so beautifully articulated. I wish I’d written this. 

How long have you been writing? 

I was drawn to writing when my fifth grade poem was read aloud and published on the class room door as an example of what the teacher wanted. From then, I was hooked. My early writing was poetry, and then I dabbled with writing scripts for neighborhood plays that I’d staged with my friends in my garage. Later, a degree in journalism. But my career took me into television writing and marketing, where I work now. It was just in the last few years, I was able to get back to my true love of fiction writing.

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

Thank goodness for the portability of laptops. Because I don’t have to be teetered, I can write just about anywhere. I named my laptop, Myrddin, after my heroine’s gyrfalcon and I’ll take him shady side by the pool in the summer, by the fireplace in the winter or out to Starbucks, when I need a strong dose of caffeine. Sometimes, my cat, Rio, wants to help. But I’ve always wanted a crystal chandelier over an antique mahogany desk and I bet, if I created that environment, I’d be happy to write there, too.

You definitely look relaxed therewith your muse by your side. Great place to write. Are you a plotter or a panzer? 

I’m a panster. This is so opposite to how the rest of my life runs. I’m a total planning geek in my day to day, with Outlook scheduling my every move. But some of those organizational skills must be running in the background, because after the first draft is done, I finally build an outline of the story, then I start filling in more detail and enhancing the plot.

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

The inspiration for The Lady of the Garter came to me after a trip I took back in time one autumn afternoon. In Ohio we have one of the largest and most authentic Renaissance Festivals in the country.

I even dressed the part and took a ride on a warhorse. I was inspired by what I saw. The jousting reenactments, danger, romance, chivalry, comedy, comradery. It was all there and I wanted to write a story about that world.

Do you set daily writing goals? Word count? Number of chapters? Do you get a chance to write every day? 

Caroline, I do write every day, but I can’t include daily goals, word count or chapter number requirements in my novel writing because I can only do that in my spare time. My day job is working as a marketing consultant for clients who need help with advertising on television and in social media. When I’m not writing for them, I’m writing for myself. And sometimes, I go back and forth between, just to keep my mind nibble, like exercise for the body.

What do you hope your writing brings to readers? What advice would you give to unpublished authors? 

Dream big and don’t doubt yourself. Take workshops and join a local group that supports the industry. Success is not a limited commodity in the publishing world. Many authors are willing to give an aspiring writer a leg up.

A fun fact readers wouldn’t know about you. 

One of my first jobs out of college was working as a weather forecaster for a local TV station before you had to be a meteorologist. Thank goodness I didn’t have to be one then, I wasn’t great in science.

Something about you that would surprise or shock readers. 

I belly dance with a Middle Eastern dance Troupe called Roja at cultural events and festivals. It started out as an activity for me to get in shape and after I did, I fell in love with the art form. I take classes and workshops to learn as much as I can about technique and new choreographies. Caroline, you are the first blogger to get a photo of me dancing in costume.

What a fun photo, Marisa. Is your book a series? If so, how long? Family saga, other? 

I’m working on the second in the Garter series that will include a Highlander spin. I have an outline for a third full novel and a novella to round out the series.

Can you give readers a blurb about your book?

When Henry VII takes the throne, not all are loyal to the new king. Garter knight, Sir James, is charged with bringing dissenters to justice. Determined to fulfill his vows, he’s unprepared for Lady Elena, a girl from his past he’s never forgotten.

Lady Elena defies her family and disguises herself as a squire to reunite with the man she’s always loved. She might be able to wield a sword, but she still possesses a woman’s heart.

Thrust into a world of danger and family rivalry, James and Elena face the ultimate test.

Can James avenge his father’s death and find passion, or will his Garter oaths hold him to a life of service without love?

How about an excerpt:

James rubbed the back of his neck, then staggered forward. “Are you a gift from the duke? Where is my bloody squire, Edward?” he growled.
He’d obviously drank more than he’d eaten. She could smell the ale. “Your squire left when I arrived to tend to your bath, milord,” she answered. “He promised to return shortly.” 
She hoped the threat of an interruption might keep James’ intensions honorable.
That made him smile. “Is this how you tend to the bath for your guests?” His grin turned wicked. “A bath with you would give me great pleasure,” he admitted, his heated gaze boiling her blood.
“I confess there’s scarcely enough room in here for me.”
Her observation didn’t stop him from fumbling to remove his boots. Then he yanked off his breeches and shirt.
Elena sucked in a nervous breath—she loved seeing him naked. But if she didn’t take control of the situation soon, James would trap her in the tub.
“Come, you can sit on my lap,” he suggested.
She laughed louder than she should have, uncertain of what she wanted. But his smoldering gaze warmed her insides, making her wonder if he didn’t know who she was, what liberties she might take.
She wrung her hands, unsure what to do next. “Turn away and give me a moment of privacy, then I will tend to you.” She stepped out of the tub and draped herself in a towel the boys had left.
“That arse looks familiar. This is not my first time at Berkeley, girl. Pray tell, have we been together before?”

Where can readers find your book?  Here’s the buy link:

How can readers learn more about you?  I’d love to have your visitors follow me on and

Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you? I met a physic about ten years ago and he told me I would become a novelist and write fulltime. Remarkably, the first part of that has prediction has come true. I still have my day job and I still have my physic council. Stay tuned to see how it all works out.


When Henry VII takes the throne, not all are loyal to the new king. Garter knight, Sir James, is charged with bringing dissenters to justice. Determined to fulfill his vows, he’s unprepared for Lady Elena, a girl from his past he’s never forgotten.

Lady Elena defies her family and disguises herself as a squire to reunite with the man she’s always loved. She might be able to wield a sword, but she still possesses a woman’s heart.

Thrust into a world of danger and family rivalry, James and Elena face the ultimate test.

Can James avenge his father’s death and find passion, or will his Garter oaths hold him to a life of service without love?


Servants began to bustle about the hall. Men offered pitchers of rose-scented water and towels. Overflowing baskets of fresh bread and pitchers of wine were placed on the tables. Elena was ready for some mead after all she’d been through. Once the king’s taster sampled the fair, he nodded to the queen. The feast had officially begun. Nudging her brother, Elena confessed, “I was ordered out of the tent.”

“What did you expect? What kind of man do you take James for?” He laughed, raising his goblet in honor of the king.

“You tease me,” she said. “I don’t like it.”

“What did you find, Edward?”

“A foul-mouthed, dirty warrior,” she complained. “Not the sweet innocent lad I fell in love with.”

William’s eyes were filled with merriment. “Lads grow into men. Men become knights.” He studied her face. “And what of your other goal?”

“Whatever do you mean?”

“Becoming a knight,” he reminded her.

Elena gasped. The other squires stared as if they’d overheard her brother.

William chuckled, raising his cup again. “Long live the king.” The squires joined his salute.

Elena shot her brother a look of warning. How could he be so careless? Spirits. She rolled her eyes. “I admit it,” she said with defiance, keeping her voice low. “I want to become a knight. I’ve never kept that secret from you, but we both agreed I must serve as a squire first.”

Their conversation was interrupted by a woman who placed a trencher on the table in front of them.

“Peacock, venison, quail, and rabbit,” the wench announced, flashing a toothless grin.

William quickly helped himself to half the meat. Always selfish, he even chose the tenderest pieces of venison.

She glowered at him. “Will nothing change? I must accept the meager portions left after you claim the best?”

He licked his fingers, then leaned in so only she could hear his reply. “To these lads you’re just another squire. But I know what’s underneath those pants. So yes, you are still a female, and I get the best. Be satisfied there’s anything left for you to eat.”

Marissa Dillon, Author

With a degree in journalism, Marisa has spent many years writing for the television industry. As an award-winning producer/director/marketer, she has worked on commercial production, show creation, product branding and social media.

Marisa’s passion for writing began when her first-grade teacher read her poem aloud and posted it on the classroom wall. She soon followed up by writing plays for her neighborhood friends and hosting the productions in her garage.

Marisa has always enjoyed reading romance novels and now realizes a dream come true, writing romantic adventures. She lives in Kettering, Ohio, with her first love and knight in shining armor, James.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015


Summer of Haight 67
by Diane Sager

Diane will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. The more you comment, the greater your chances to win. You may follow the tour at this link:


KATHERINE RHODES has a tragic accident which sends her back in time. She wakes up as the 20 year old hippie she was back in 1967 in the Haight/Ashbury district of San Francisco. This was the period known globally as the “Summer of Love”. It’s all here, Hippies, Hells Angels, Black Panthers and the abhorrent war in Vietnam. “KATIE gets the chance to re-live this era with her friends FROG and MOONBEAM. This time she knows what to expect and tries to change things……….. Can she ?



Feeling dizzy, she shut her eyes and rubbed her temples for several minutes, running through the accident in her mind.  She remembered going down the embankment and hitting the tree.  She knew she had been in an ambulance and she remembered a slew of doctors surrounding her. Yet here she was sitting on a couch…somewhere familiar, a place she knew but couldn’t recall.

A brown chenille bedspread covered the couch.  There was a basic wooden coffee table, several antique lamps, one in the corner and another on an old table by a beveled window. The hardwood floor of the room was covered by an imitation Persian carpet.

The walls and even the ceilings were filled with posters; old bands like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Big Brother and the Holding Company, the Yardbirds, and even the Monkees.  Some were drug related, promoting marijuana, mushrooms and LSD.  Others were political, protesting the Vietnam War, even including a caricature of Lyndon B. Johnson dressed as John Wayne. 

On the ceiling directly above her was a poster of Clint Eastwood draped in a poncho, cigar resting on his lip. A pose from For a Few Dollars More.  She knew the film well.  Beside it were several blacklight posters, psychedelic peace symbols, a hookah smoking caterpillar, and an assortment of twirling colorful designs.

The television, an old tube model from yesteryear, was in a wooden cabinet covered by stickers: STP; two local radio stations, KLIV and KFRC; Champion spark plugs; bare feet and peace symbols of various colors. Beside that was a flower painted guitar case that leaned against the wall. Everything in the room was familiar. She knew this house. She had been here many, many times, so why couldn’t she remember whose house she was in?

Diane Sager, Author

Author Diane Sager was raised and resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with her awesome husband Russ, three dogs, two cats and an African grey parrot named Storm. She holds a fascination for all things macabre and has developed a deep knowledge of serial killers, vampires, zombies, the Tarot, world religions, witchcraft, horror and the occult.

However, her latest indie release, SUMMER OF HAIGHT ‘67 is none of the above albeit a little supernatural……..This story is nestled between her zombie series “EVIL VEIN” published by Permuted Press and penned under her “apocalyptic” name of D.S.Sager

A former high school teacher of emotionally disturbed and high-risk youth, Diane is now dedicated to full time writing.

Contact her at,  @celticdi on Twitter,, Author – Diane Sager on Facebook.

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Monday, February 23, 2015



Laurisa White Reyes is offering three generous prizes: A Kindle Fire HD 6 giveaway! A $100 gift card giveaway! A FREE copy of EXILE for all readers! Grab you copy of EXILE from the tab in the center of this post. For the other two prizes, see the two Rafflecopters at the end of the post after you read the blurb and excerpt. 
Crystal Keeper 1 to 3

The Crystal Keeper by Laurisa White Reyes

Fourteen years before The Rock of Ivanore

Jayson lives among the shadows of Hestoria, his sole purpose for staying alive – to protect his half of the Seer’s crystal. Exiled from his homeland for loving the king’s daughter, Ivanore, Jayson is now pursued by two opposing factions: the Vatéz (League of Magicians) who intend to use the crystal for their own selfish gain, and the Guilde, the ancient guardians of the crystal.

Meanwhile, Ivanore flees from her father to Hestoria in search of Jayson. As the Seer, she is plagued with visions of him being tortured and is determined to rescue him. When the Vatéz capture her, however, she unwittingly jeopardizes everything Jayson has vowed to protect. He must now make a terrible choice: Should he save Ivanore or save the crystal?

The Crystal Keeper trilogy is available in print or digital formats.

Crystal Keeper 1-3

Grab your FREE copy of Exile Now!


Ivanore hunched over the parchment, the tip of her quill flicking above her hand like a trapped bird desperate to escape. The tallow candle cast a cramped circle of light across the table, hardly enough to see by. If only the night would last a little longer. Perhaps then she would have enough time to write everything she needed to. But alas, time was one thing she had too little of—that and light.

An older man with long, gray-streaked hair and piercing gray eyes waited beside her. The stone bungalow, their most recent of many hiding places, boasted the barest of furnishings: the table, stool, cot—and a plain wooden chest, its key held tightly in Zyll’s fist.

A sudden thump sounded at the door, startling them both. A strand of Ivanore’s hair, gold as the candlelight, fell across the page. She quickly tucked it back into place and wrote faster.

Zyll laid a hand on Ivanore’s shoulder. “They are here,” he whispered.

Ivanore finished the document and handed it to Zyll unbound. Turning to the chest, he carefully laid the pages inside.

“Wait,” said Ivanore. “Will you keep this as well?” A flat circle of pale green crystal lay in her open palm.

“But you will need it. I mustn’t—”

“Please,” she insisted, pressing it into his hand. “I can’t risk losing this one.”

Zyll reluctantly folded his fingers around the cool stone. “Of course, milady,” he said. Then, adding the crystal to the parchment, he laid a plate of thin wood atop them both, sealing the chest’s false bottom. He closed the lid and locked it.

The pounding at the door grew more insistent. Whoever stood outside was using their full weight against it in an effort to break through.

“We must hurry,” said Zyll.

Ivanore allowed herself a quick glance at the chest, offering the briefest of prayers that the gods would keep it safe until her return. Then, taking her by the arm, Zyll led her through the low archway dividing the bungalow’s front room from the back.

A loud crash of splintering wood resounded through the bungalow. Their visitors had finally broken in.

“Find her now!” a deep voice bellowed.

Grateful for the trousers she now wore instead of her usual cumbersome skirts, Ivanore clambered onto a stool and through a narrow window, lowering herself as quietly as possible to the ground outside. Once Zyll had done the same, they stole away across the rocky field. Though the sky was black as ink, their path was illuminated by the amber glow of volcanic fissures scoring the area for miles around.

“There she is!” a man’s voice shouted behind them. The words sent spasms of fear through Ivanore. She glanced behind her and saw three soldiers emerge from the bungalow, wearing the gold and red cross of her father’s crest. They had tracked her even here, to the remotest corner of Imaness. Would Fredric ever let her be?

Ivanore stopped running. She looked at Zyll, her trusted guardian and ally these past months since she had fled Dokur, and knew her time with him had come to an end.

“You’ll watch over them until I return?” she asked, out of breath. “Keep them safe. Don’t let my father find them.”

“You have my vow,” Zyll whispered, his voice tight with emotion.

Ivanore’s eyes welled with tears as she pressed her lips against the calloused skin of Zyll’s hand.

“Go,” said Zyll. “Go now before it’s too late.”

Ivanore released Zyll’s hand and sprinted forward alone. As she ran, she cupped her hands around her mouth and let out a loud, sharp call, much like that of a hawk or an eagle. She risked another glance over her shoulder and watched as Zyll turned to face their pursuers. As the soldiers neared, their swords glinting in the fire glow, Zyll held up his hands. A horizontal bolt of cerulean lightning shot out from his palms, striking the oncoming soldiers. The men recoiled, their bodies instantly singed and bloody.

Ivanore ran on. In desperation, she repeated her call, and this time another voice called back. A dark form appeared on the horizon, silhouetted against the light of the volcanic fractures and growing larger as it approached with tremendous speed. As it neared, the creature’s massive feathered wings moved the air around Ivanore in warm, powerful gusts. Ivanore saw clearly its eagle’s head with a beak large enough to break a man in two, paired with the muscular, furred body of a lion. As she ran toward it, the gryphon lowered its head, waiting.

Behind her, the soldiers reeled in pain, but they did not forget their duty. One man struggled to his knees, grunting from the effort. Reaching over his shoulder, he slid a short bow and arrow from his pack and swiftly took aim.

Ivanore reached the gryphon and in one smooth motion hoisted herself onto its back, twisting her arms deep into the feathers on the creature’s neck. In that same moment, a single arrow found its mark in Ivanore’s shoulder. She cried out before her body slumped forward and her mind went dark. The gryphon took flight then, and in less time than it took to draw another arrow—or a breath—they had vanished into the night.

Laurisa White Reyes Author Photo
Laurisa White Reyes, Author
After spending more than a decade as a newspaper editorialist, magazine staff writer, and book editor, Laurisa finally started living her dream of being an author. She is the author of three novels for younger readers, the editor-in-chief of Middle Shelf Magazine, and Senior Editor of Skyrocket Press. She lives in Southern California with her husband and five children.

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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 and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Friday, February 20, 2015

BEAR WITNESS #BearBlast @MicheleBardsley #MasqTours

Rafe discovers too late that these killers are inhuman... 

Publication Date: February 3, 2015

Genre: Paranormal Romance

After Gretchen Myers rescues her murdered stepsister's baby, she's nearly killed in a not-so-accidental car crash. When she wakes up in a Las Vegas hospital, she's alone ... until Rafe Pearson shows up. Not only does he have the baby, but he also manages to rescue her from yet another attempt on her life.

Rafe is approximately the size of a linebacker with the looks of a GQ model. Yet, Gretchen has never seen a man so lonely. And he's never met a woman so stubborn. But while she and the baby are in danger, there's no way the former cop will let them out of his sight.

As a bear shifter who lives in a cabin deep in the woods of Mount Charleston, he has the perfect place to protect his new charges. Then the persistent hunters track down their vulnerable prey, and Rafe discovers too late that these killers are inhuman...

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Michele Bardsley writes howling good paranormal romances. When she's not writing, Michele consumes chocolate, crochet hats, watches "Supernatural," reads on her Kindle, and spend times with her awesome hubby and their fur babies. 

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Pinterest | Tsu

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015


The Wife Maker by Karey White

Wife Maker

Charlotte has spent years as the husband maker, sending every guy she dates off to enjoy marital bliss with the next girl he dates. But things have now changed, and she's determined to use her husband-maker abilities one last time--on herself. And she finally knows exactly who she wants.

Angus has loved Charlotte since they were teenagers, but he's tired of waiting for her to realize how good they could be. She's broken his heart one too many times, and it's time to move on with his life. Maybe a position halfway across the country will be just what he needs to get over her. But when Charlotte won't let him go without a fight, Angus has to decide if he's willing to let her in again or if she's too late.

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Wife Maker (1)

Karey White

Author Karey White

Karey White grew up in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Missouri. She attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University. Her first novel, Gifted, was a Whitney Award Finalist.

She loves to travel, read, bake treats, and spend time with family and friends. She and her husband are the parents of four great children. She teaches summer creative writing courses to young people and is currently working on her next book.


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Monday, February 16, 2015


A No Good Itch
by S.D. Skye

The author will be awarding a Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 + $25 Kindle GC (US ONLY) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during this tour and the Review Tour, Here. But first, here's the interview she gave for you, Dear Readers:

Where did you grow up?

Washington D.C. is my hometown and I lived in the Maryland suburbs up until I was about 12 while my mother worked for the government. Then she packed us up one day and moved us to Bellaire, Ohio, which was her hometown. I went to high school in a teeny tiny hometown with one road in and one road out. There I embraced my inner nerd, becoming an honor roll student and joining the high school band. I played the baritone and then the tuba…yes, the big one. I returned to D.C. after two years of college in Ohio, transferred schools and got a job with the FBI. I’d end up with an MBA and 20 years of experience in the U.S. intelligence community.

That's impressive. Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

Lately, I’ve become a huge fan of the memoir. I’ve read a few inspiring ones, including Steve Jobs’ biography by Walter Isaacs. So energizing. With that said, I read everything from Jane Austen to Stephen King to Michael Connelly to Terry McMillan.

What’s your favorite way to relax and recharge? 

I love warm days by the water. For me, it doesn’t get any better than going to the beach or taking a walk near a local pond. As an Aquarian, being near water definitely recharges my batteries. I love movies and good books and restaurant hopping. I keep it pretty simple. No skydiving. No trekking through the woods. I’m not an adventure girl…which would probably align with my nerdiness.

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

I love this quote from Apple’s “Think Different” campaign: “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

That’s truly me. I feel like a square peg in a round hole who sees things just a little differently than other people. And I’m just crazy enough to think I can change the world in some small way…or at least my world. That’s what matters.

Counterintelligence? I'd say you ARE changing the world! How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing since I was 7 or 8 years. My mother bought me the diaries with the little locks on them and I’ve been journaling ever since. Never had an inkling that I could be a published author but I always knew that writing was very cathartic for me. When my world got crazy and started spinning out of control, I could calm my mind down by just putting words to a page. Even now when I go back to read my journals from my younger days, the entries that don’t frighten me are highly amusing and insightful. I had something there.

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

I can write anywhere on anything if need be. I’m not one of those writers who needs to build the exact right environmental conditions to create and write. Sometimes, I may require quiet while others I may have music or the TV droning in the background. Sometimes I use my laptop and other times, I type on my desktop. Sometimes, I write in longhand using my gel pens and Moleskine notebooks. Wherever the words are flowing best on any particular day, that’s where you’ll find me.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Once upon a time I ascribed to the theory that an author could only create the best stories if they were developed organically through pantsing—allowing the story to flow. I wrote four books in another genre that way, but the J.J. McCall stories are entirely too layered and complex to leave to the pantsing. I tried that with the first book and the story had more plot holes than the south side of the moon. From that point forward I decided that I really needed to outline to avoid the plot holes.

But here’s the interesting thing I’ve found out since, outlining really works for all of my books.

Not only do they help you avoid plot holes, but they really keep you productive when your muse goes off on benders. And the key to using outlines effectively as someone who really does want to allow the story to move through you instead of directing it is to allow yourself to veer away from the outline when the story goes in an unplanned direction. So, now I use outlines, but I feel free to ignore them at any point in the story, which still gives me all the flexibility I need to allow my characters their freedom.

A good outline is tremendously helpful to me. With your amazing background, I'm sure you use real events for your stories.

Absolutely. The J.J. McCall Series is loosely based on an FBI agent I worked with in the counterintelligence program and some of the work that we did within the program. She’s an African American female agent who specialized in Russian counterintelligence and organized crime. I so admired her drive and tenacity, excelling in an area that had been largely dominated by white males. The last time I heard she was an executive at a major field office, which doesn’t happen often for female agents…let alone African American female agents, which I think attests to her exceptional service and ability.

Many of the cases are also loosely based on real life experiences I had within the program. Most of them can be found in press articles. The FBI reviews all of my books to ensure that I don’t giveaway anything classified. With that said, I’ve been allowed a lot more freedom than I expected.

Do you set daily writing goals? Word count? Number of chapters? Do you get a chance to write every day?

As of lately, I’ve been writing mostly in Scrivener, which is a fantastic writing program that was really built to ease the process of novel writing. It allows you to set up word count targets and set deadlines for each book. Then it automatically calculates the word count you need to accomplish during each writing session. I find I work best and most efficiently with deadlines.

I think we all need deadlines. At least, I do. What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

Entertainment. An escape. A period of time in life when they aren’t worried about what’s going on with life but they are wrapped up in the world I’ve created. And inside these stories I hope that they find an emotional rollercoaster with reasons to laugh, cry, think, be angry, and be left hanging in suspense, wondering what’s going to happen next.

What long-term plans do you have for your career?

To keep writing. Whether I self publish or find my way back into the traditional publishing world, whether I find more genres I feel comfortable writing in, I’m going to continue to write books and publish them. At this point, I can’t not write…and I can’t see time when I won’t be writing. It’s as if I released the Kraken. The writing bug is out of bag now. Can’t get it back inside and I don’t want to.

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

I’m outlining Book 4 – THE CRAZY ITCH, which will follow J.J. McCall and her task force as they find a mole in the Pentagon. It will pick up where the last book leaves off. I’m also working on a couple of category romances, romantic comedy and young adult, which I’ll publish under a pseudonym. So I’m quite busy.

What advice would you give to unpublished authors?

Stay true to your story. Don’t try to write to popular trends. Don’t engage in a bunch of revisions for people who aren’t vested in your work. Nothing will be more disheartening than failing because you didn’t stay true to who you are and the story you truly want to tell. I would also say that you could build a miserable career writing books that aren’t organic to you. You may find success but it seems to me that sustaining that success will be very difficult. My books and my story is proof positive that everyone can find an audience. It may not be Stephen King’s audience…or Robert Ludlum’s audience, but, then again, you didn’t write their books. Be happy with what’s yours. Create your own lanes, stay in them, and don’t worry about what others are doing. Learning this lesson is what brings me peace and allows me to persevere.

Excellent advice. What's a fun fact readers wouldn’t know about you?

I’m a total nerd girl. All things Star Trek, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Wars, Big Bang Theory, Lord of the Rings—huge fan of them. If the tuba didn’t give my nerdiness away, that should do it.

Embrace your inner nerd. ☺Share something about you that would surprise or shock readers.

I’m not a shocking person. Hmmm…when I worked for the FBI I was actually featured (briefly) on an episode of 60 Minutes due to my work on an art theft investigation (I worked art theft a couple of years before I got into counterintelligence.) I got to meet and take a picture with Morely Safer, which sits in my dad’s house. Few people know I had my 15 seconds of fame.

That's also impressive. I watch that show whenever possible. I know A NO GOOD ITCH is book three of a series. Do you plan for this to be ongoing or have you set a limit to the series?

Yes. The J.J. McCall books are a series. My fans call them the “Itch” books, which I think is pretty funny. It certainly differentiates them from other books. I had planned to only write 5 books but now I think they may go a bit longer. How much longer, I don’t know. But as I write the books, the story arc seems to call for more books and more cases before they come to an end. Especially with the twist at the end of Book 3. Plus, I love these characters.

Thank you, S.D.  And now, here's more about the latest release, A NO GOOD ITCH:

Blurb for A NO GOOD ITCH:


The FBI and Italian Mafia make strange bedfellows when a vicious Russian Organized crime figure, operating at the behest of Russian Intelligence, lands in The Big Apple. The Russian intelligence hench-man, infamously known as Mashkov, avenges the death of slain a Russian sleeper agent and accidentally hits the son of an Italian crime boss, sending J.J. and Task Force Phantom Hunter to the streets of New York. They are stepping into a possible war between Russian and Italian organized crime factions, while trying to dismantle the financial hub of the most insidious Russian illegals network in U.S. History.

Meanwhile, CIA Case Officer Grayson “Six” Chance is in Moscow trying to capture a fugitive American who has stolen White House intelligence and is planning to pass it to the Russians—putting Six in a moral dilemma he may not be prepared to handle.

And when J.J. finally learns the truth surrounding her mother's death in the line of duty, her life may never be the same.

If you enjoy this book, you will love Book 1--The Seven Year Itch (A J.J. McCall Novel) and Book 2 -- Son of a Itch (A J.J. McCall Novel).

Excerpt from A NO GOOD ITCH:


Fear, failure, and the fear of failure turned enemies into friends like nothing else in the convoluted world of intelligence and spying. No doubt the reason FBI representatives had been summoned to the Russian Embassy in Washington.

"We'll need a dump truck for the BS about to be heaped on us today," J.J. whispered to her co-case agent, Tony Donato. As the lead case agent behind the ruckus, she'd been ordered to attend the meeting, listen, and respond to nothing.

"Shhh," Tony whispered in reply. "The walls have ears."

Resident Andrei Komarov, the Russian equivalent to the CIA Station Chief in Moscow, led J.J., Tony, and Assistant Director of Counterintelligence John Nixon through the hallowed embassy halls until they reached a well-appointed conference room. It contained mahogany-paneled walls, large open armchairs, and an oversized table large enough to seat Komarov's ego and attitude, both massive in her past experience.

Komarov settled in at the head of the table, his face reddened and contorted. It was as if every word he was about to speak, no doubt carefully selected by the Foreign Minister, would sear his throat and exit his lips like sharpened razors carving him from the inside.

"We've all met before and are quite familiar with one another," Komarov began, shooting a slicing glare through J.J. "So, I'll feel free to dispense with the introductions and pleasantries since we all understand why we are here today." Her aggressive targeting of SVR officers for recruitment was legendary...or infamous, depending on which side of the table you sat. She suppressed the awe she felt. He was the personification of the Russian James Bond in looks, dress, and devoid of any semblance of accent.

J.J., Tony, and Nixon exchanged strained glances before she took a deep breath to brace herself. Komarov was about to progress through the four steps of surviving a massive operational failure.

Step 1: Admit nothing.

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AUTHOR S. D. SKYE Bio and Links:

S.D. Skye is a former FBI Counterintelligence Analyst in the Russia program and supported 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 Hansen. She has spent 20 years in the U.S. Intelligence Community.

Skye is a member of the Maryland Writer’s Association, Romance Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers. She’s addicted to writing and chocolate—not necessarily in that order—and currently lives in the Washington D.C. area with her son. Skye is hard at work on several projects, including the next installment of the series.

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