Friday, August 26, 2016

Getting to know author Sylvia Hubbard

I'm happy to welcome Sylvia Hubbard to Journeys with Jana for an interview. Let's find out more about this talented romantic suspense author, shall we?

Where did you get the idea for your new novel, Tanner's Devil

I was researching another novel and came across street doctors and loved that I could put a woman in the place of a “profession” little knew about, but with a past. I loved the tainted imperfect woman kind of story that was not looking for love but found the most perfect man for her. Combining her past, with this story line, I created Tanner’s Devil.

Why did you choose this genre?

I’ve always loved the romance suspense genre since I was in my twenties. When I was young, I fell in love with romance the moment I stole a Johanna Lindsay book from the library (which I later replaced when I was in my thirties because I didn’t want to go to hell). Yet, I didn’t want just a straight romance. Growing up in Detroit, I never saw a straight romance in real life and because of what I know being an urban girl, going romance suspense was the only way to go.

Was there anything unusual, any anecdote about this book you’d like to share?

Love is never perfect, but it’s the imperfect people who try to fall in love make love perfect.

What was the most difficult thing about writing this book?

Making Devlin face his past as well. He’d been put on a pedestal by everyone and as his life is falling apart, he comes to realize maybe everything he’s meant to believe even about himself  is not true. He needs Tanner’s voice as much as he needs her love to see the truth.

Do you have any unusual writing habits?

I hand write my stories before I type them. I’ve used electrical pens to keep track of my writing because I kept losing pieces of paper. I also must have it loud and not quiet, like some writers. Due to the fact that I am a single mom and I needed the noise the kids made to make sure they weren’t hurt, now that they are grown, I continue to need a lot of noise outside of my head in order to hear the quiet voice of storytelling in my head.

What do you want readers to come away with after they read your book?

Imperfect people need love too.

What genre have you never written that you’d like to write?

I’ve love to write sci-fi and hope to do a three part book on YA Sci-Fi with a religious twist called The Trinity soon. I want to incorporate faith, fallacy and fiction for those who have forgotten about mercy.

Do you have any words of advice to beginning writers?

Never stop; Even when times get hard, even when life is throwing everything at you that you could never imagine, don’t stop believing in your dreams of becoming a published writer.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I’m definitely a pantser. I can’t write an outlines because I’ll never finish writing the whole story. Just looking at a blank piece of paper, gets my juices running and I’ll just start writing.

How many books do you have under the proverbial bed? Will they ever see the light of day?

Ten actually. Six I started outlining and never finished, which is why I know I’m a pantser and four are just synopses that have a full story lines that I just need to sit my butt down, push past the fear of disappointing my readers and just get it done.

What’s one thing that your readers would be surprised to learn about you?

Readers would be surprised that I have no idea how a story ends until I write it. I never let myself know the ending until it’s time to get’er done. I love the tension, passion and fun of learning things out like it’s brand new – pushing those feelings on the page for the readers to feel as well.

What’s your favorite time management tip?

Write everything down. It’s the worst thing a writer doesn’t do and I’ve learned I need to do this even more as I grow as a writer.

I couldn't agree more, Sylvia. I forget everything unless I write it down. What’s your favorite thing about being a writer?

I’m not alone for listening to the voices in my head and that readers love reading the stories I have insanely come up.

Tell us a bit about you. Where do you live, and how long have you been writing?

I live, work and love Detroit, Michigan. According to my mother, since I was six I used to tell lies to her all the time. After whooping me within an inch of my life, as a further punishment I had to write the lie down and then come back and retell her the lie so I could be embarrassed. My pain turned into my passion and I stopped lying (which now I have very little friends), but I write down my lies all the time (and get paid for it.) Thanks Momma.

If you could get rid of something in your life that would give you more writing time, what would it be?

Facebook. I think you could agree.

Probably. What genre is your favorite to read?

The same genre I write. Like I said I don’t believe just romance happens when someone falls in love. Dealing with drama and suspense while falling in love is so much more exciting.

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

Reading and researching for my next book and Netflixing by myself.

If money were not an object, where would you most like to live? Why?

I’d still live in Detroit, buy a larger house with a couple of vacant lots and proclaim it the HubVillage where my family and friends can come like a retreat to relax. I love this city.

How can readers reach you or find you online?

Tell us a little about your current work in progress.

Beautiful asks the question what would you be willing to do to be beautiful? A young promising innocent researcher vying for the love of her father meets two men who will do anything to prove she is more beautiful than she realizes. I’m live storytelling this book on my blog at

If I was a first time reader of your books, which one would you recommend I start with and why?

I would start with Mistaken Identity Part One. It’s a standalone novel that will certainly help you break the barriers of what you’re used to reading and draw you into my world, while making you hungry for more.

Thanks for visiting with me, Sylvia!

Author Bio:

Sylvia Hubbard knew she’d wanted to be a writer of romance long before she knew there were black writers in the world. Weaving stories magically as a summer past time to writing stories to get through the humdrum of school, she was able to create something from nothing.

Today, she has independently published over 30 books, is the founder of Motown Writers Network and The Michigan Literary Network, CEO of HubBooks Literary Services, runs over five blogs on a variety of subjects, hosts The Michigan Literary Network Radio Show and is a happily divorced mother of three children in Detroit, Michigan.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

#NewRelease - RACHEL from Caroline Clemmons

Today I'm joined by historical western romance writer Caroline Clemmons, who is here to talk about RACHEL, the newest installment in her Bride Brigade series. I'm intrigued to learn what terrible secret forces Rachel to flee her home in Virginia for the wilds of Texas. Please welcome Caroline Clemmons!

Thank you, Jana, for hosting me as your guest.

I’m excited to announce the fifth book in my Bride Brigade series, RACHEL. This series has been a lot of fun to write. Tarnation, Texas is a small town with no young single women and many suitable bachelors who wish to wed. A young widow travels East to recruit seven young women candidates for marriage who will live in her home until they choose the man for them. So far, Josephine, Angeline, Cassandra, and Ophelia have wed. Now it’s Rachel’s turn to find her true love.

Here’s the blurb for RACHEL:

A shameful past…

Rachel Ross’s secret haunts her. She joins other women leaving Virginia for Texas, object matrimony. Vowing never to trust again, she is rebuilding her life. She likes the dusty little town of Tarnation and is attracted to Zane Evans. Her past has made her extremely cautious, but she allows him to court her.

Zane Evans is a former Pinkerton agent who wants to forget all he saw in that profession and in the war and create a good life in Tarnation, Texas. He has carefully planned his future. When he meets Rachel, he is instantly attracted but is puzzled by her reluctance to reveal anything personal.

One event reveals her past in a spectacular way. Will Zane forgive her silence?

Here’s an excerpt from RACHEL:

Mama glanced from Hannah to Rachel. “I’ve fixed you a place in my sewing room. Your clothes and things are already there.”

Not even allowed to return to her former room? Scooping up her valise, she turned and fled to the sewing room. “Fine. At least I’ll have privacy.”

Patrick followed and caught up with her before she closed the door. “Dahlia and I’ve been scouring our brains since I learned of our parents’ plan. I may have a solution.” He handed her a folded newspaper page with one advertisement circled. “What do you think?”

Rachel read the item:
Young women of good character desiring to go west for the purpose of marriage may apply for an interview between ten and four o’clock in the afternoon from April 5th to 10th at the Grand Hotel, Richmond, care of Mrs. Lydia Harrison.”

“Good character? This Mrs. Lydia Harrison might not agree I qualify.” She reread the item as she mulled over the implications. Texas was hundreds and hundreds of miles from Richmond.
“Regardless, I’ll go see Mrs. Harrison at ten tomorrow.” She hugged Patrick. “I knew I could count on you, dear brother.”

“You’ll have to thank Dahlia for that advertisement. It wasn’t in the parts of the paper I read.”

All her plans for the future had changed. Instead of welcome from her family, she was ostracized by all but her brother. In her head, she saw the wisdom of her father’s edict. In her heart, she was far too crushed for reason. She wouldn’t remain a second longer than necessary to find a solution.

Patrick leaned a shoulder against the door jamb. “I’ll take off work again to go with you and be certain this woman isn’t a con artist soliciting young women for objectionable purposes.”

Rachel was able to force a smile though her heart had frozen solid. “No, Patrick, thank you for coming for me and for being the same fine man I remember, but I should do this alone. The ad says ‘for the purpose of marriage’ and I’ll be sure of the details before I commit—if she even chooses me.”

“At least let me give you a few dollars to pay cab fare there and back and enough to buy lunch if you’re out then.” He opened his wallet and removed several bills, which he pressed into her hand.

She gazed at the amount. “Ten dollars? Patrick, this is too much.”

He backed away as he held his hands palm facing her. “You don’t know what expenses you’ll have. I’ll worry enough without thinking you have no resources.”

She dropped the cash into her purse. “Thank you. You’re the dearest brother who ever lived.”

His cheeky grin cheered her. “I must modestly agree with you.”

RACHEL is coming soon. Check Caroline's Amazon page for more details.

About the Author

Caroline Clemmons is an Amazon bestselling and award winning author of historical and contemporary western romances. A frequent speaker at conferences and seminars, she has taught workshops on characterization, point of view, and layering a novel.

Caroline and her husband live in the heart of Texas cowboy country with their menagerie of rescued pets. When she’s not indulging her passion for writing, Caroline enjoys family, reading, travel, antiquing, genealogy, and getting together with friends. Find her on her blog, website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google+, WattPad, Shelfari, and Pinterest.

Click on her Amazon Author Page for a complete list of her books.
Subscribe to Caroline’s newsletter here to receive a FREE novella of HAPPY IS THE BRIDE, a humorous historical wedding disaster that ends happily—but you knew it would, didn’t you?
She loves to hear from her readers at

Monday, August 22, 2016

Clothes Make the Character with Akaria Gale

I've got a fun post today with fantasy author Akaria Gale. Her character Onomato tells us all about her wardrobe. Welcome Akaria Gale and Onomato!

I've got the best fashion sense in Heaven. Ask anyone. My style is bright colors and fun fabrics. I really admire the Lolita scene. Minus the parasols. Why block all that delicious sunlight? On a typical day relaxing Earthside, I'll wear a black and white striped A-line dress with neon tights and black patent leather Mary Janes. Fun and functional, ya know? Humans might label me an Elegant Gothic Lolita. I think it fits because I do wear a lot of black, but also like to keep it classy.

I'm also a huge fan of big name designers. Some like to wear unknowns, but not me. The key is to get something original by one of these guys. Vera Wang is the best. She always makes time to create two or three unique pieces for me each year. Don't tell anyone, but that woman is celestially inspired. And no, I am not her Muse. I wish!

Even us Elites have to wear a uniform on the job. I'm not a fan of the plain white tank and baggy pants we wear on official business. No color. No ruffles or fringe. No jewelry. Boring. I get around it by braiding shiny adornments in my hair. Raguel, the archangel who created me, gave me beautiful violet and white colors, but no shiny. Charouth got shiny. Am I jealous? A little, but she's my bestie. Besides, what I lack in glitter, I make up in flair.

Onomata appears in Angel's Awakening and Blood Awakening. She patiently awaits her turn to take center stage and tell her story.


Following the Incident on Fifty-Seventh Street, humans scattered, demons thrived and the City That Never Sleeps was in a coma.

When she asked him for help to find her missing blood donor, Kissera never guessed what Lucifer would demand in return. Amidst the violence of a Netherworld insurrection threatening to spill Earthside, a new love unfolds.

Kissera's got cold steel and iron determination on her side. How far will she need to go to retrieve what's rightfully hers? When you play with Lucifer, someone's bound to get hurt.

Blood Awakening releases September 2016.


After a disgraceful two thousand year demotion, Charouth is a heartbeat away from regaining her status as one of Heaven's Elite angels. Her final mission: to retrieve five rare artifacts and prevent Satan's escape from Hell. A formidable task that becomes nearly impossible when Azazel, Satan’s top relic hunter and her ex-lover, joins the quest.

Bloody confrontations with the worst the Netherworld has to offer land her further away from redemption than ever, forced to choose between duty or desire. Two thousand years ago, their passion defied Heaven and Hell. Will love blossom again, or will ancient allegiances tear them apart forever?
Angel's Awakening is on sale at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo.


Dawn kissed the sky as Charouth slunk back to the West Village townhouse. She quietly shut the front door then collapsed against it. Each time she saw Azazel her mind went spinning in fifty different directions. She put a finger to her lips. They still burned with the intensity of his kiss. She closed her eyes, savoring the memory.

“I hope you’re thinking about the new Vera Wang collection and a not certain demon.” Onomata bounced down the stairs and into the kitchen, pigtails flying.

Charouth straightened up, composed herself, and followed her friend.

“How’d the auction go?” Onomata asked while slicing up a pan of baklava cooling on the counter. No knife for her. She preferred the lazy angel way of channeling energy through a fingertip and slicing it that way. Charouth grinned. Such a showoff.

Charouth grabbed a piece and bit in. Sweet honey trickled down her throat. She licked her lips. Good. Not as good as Azazel’s kiss, though.

“Fine. I have a lead.”

“Goodie! Tell me.”

“This vampire runs an antiques place in Soho.”

Mata’s face twisted in disgust.

“She’s got an impressive collection of ancient texts.”

“What’s she got that we don’t?”

Charouth shrugged. “That’s what I’m going to find out.”

“How’d you get her to talk?”

“Complimented her shoes, of course.”

Onomata beamed. “I told you. Didn’t I tell you?”

“Yes, you were right.”

Charouth came up behind Onomata and slid her arms around her waist. She leaned her head against Onomata’s back, sinking into the softness of violet and white feathers. Onomata reached back to caress her head.

“What’s going on, sweetie?”

Charouth swung around to face her. “I don’t know if I can do this. Remiel asks too much. I’m not good with demons. That’s Graph’s thing.”

“He has faith in you. So do I. This is your chance to come back. He wouldn’t set you up to fail. He wants you back with us. You can do this.”

Bless her heart. Onomata was always her biggest cheerleader. That angel had enough optimism to fuel an entire legion.

“I’m not sure.”


Charouth shook her head. “It’s not as simple as I thought. Being Earthside is,” she paused and took a bite of baklava. “Strange. Too many distractions.”

The sweet and nutty goodness brought back memories of Azazel seductively licking honey off her body, tongue lapping at sun kissed skin. Her cheeks warmed.

“Whoa girl. Whatever you got goin’ on in your head? I want some.”

“It’s nothing. Being around all those demons has got me flustered. I’m gonna take a bath.”

Onomata tilted her head to the side, violet eyes filled with concern. “Whatever’s going on, you can tell me.”

“No, I can’t.” Charouth’s shoulders slumped, wings dragging on the floor. It killed her to keep secrets from Mata after all that they’d been through together at the Library working for Zagzagel or serving the archangels. How many millennia of having each other’s backs, yet she couldn’t tell her friend that she was falling for Azazel all over again. That she’d never gotten over him. Onomata would be furious, and she’d be right. “I’ll be fine,” she said ascending the stairs. “Probably need more sun. Energy’s running low.”

Onomata grunted her disapproval. She knew something was up. How could she not? 

Author Bio:

Akaria Gale lives in Brooklyn with her husband, children and a disgruntled cat. She is a native New Yorker, slow cooker enthusiast, hard cider advocate who occasionally finds time to write about the secret world right underneath our noses. One day she hopes to give winter the middle finger and become a beach bum.





Friday, August 19, 2016

#InterviewFriday with Victoria Pinder!

Today I'm talking to contemporary romance author Victoria Pinder about her new release ELECTING LOVE. This book's subject is one rarely seen in romance novels - politics. Let's find out more!

Where did you get the idea for your new novel?

Electing Love was a book where I could talk about politics but only in a romance novel. The hero was running for office. Perfect. I taught AP US Government every year of my life for a decade. I have a lot of knowledge on how elections run. As a writer we’re not to talk about politics on social media but I spent my life studying politics. So it’s hard to say ‘don’t talk about what you know the most about.’ I get not alienating readers but I’m also a government teacher and I know more about how it works than anything else, and my job is to share my knowledge. So it’s like one part of me cannot speak publicly about the other part of me. With Electing Love I wrote a book where the character, Gerard, is running for politics. Now I could infuse real life into the novel.

What genre have you never written that you’d like to write?

My father said I will never be a real writer until I write a murder mystery. When someone dies in chapter one, then I’ll be a real author. He meant it as a joke but then again he did give me the Agatha Christie books to read as a young girl. While I love a good mystery, I’ve not written one yet.

What comes first for you – plot or character? And why?

Once in a while there is a plot idea that comes to me, but 99% of the time it’s a character. I cannot write anything without the characters. Now some inciting incident might make my mind wonder ‘who would be involved with that?’ and then I figure out who that person is. Once I have a clear character in mind, then it’s easier to construct the character journey.

What book for you has been the easiest to write? The hardest? The most fun?

The easiest to write was Daniel and Kate’s story, Borrowing the Doctor. Kate was very clear in who she was right up front. With Electing Love, Nicole revealed things more dramatically as she’s an actress. She kept things personal for a while so she was harder to coax out of her usual facade.

Do you write in the same place every day or do you like to change it up?

I like to write in the same place. I used to write on my couch in the corner but my husband bought me a recliner. So now I use the recliner, all the time. It’s my base to sit and think and write.

Tell us a bit about you. Where do you live, and how long have you been writing?

I live in Miami now though I grew up in Boston. I still consider Boston where I am from, but Miami is different and fun. I’ve lived here for 13 years full time, so it’s been a long time. I’ve always written in my life, but I started the romance journey seriously in 2010. I knew NOTHING so I had a lot to learn.

How do you think your life experiences have prepared you for writing?

How does life prepare us for anything we do? We get to experience different things and get to be exposed to things that we never expected. This changes us, despite what we say. The old saying ‘you lie down with dogs, you get fleas’ is a negative way of looking at who you spend your time with influences your life. I tend to float in life and everything that happens helps me grow and change as a person. It’s just part of the journey we are all on.

What did you want to be (occupation-wise) when you were a child?

I wanted to be an astronaut as a girl. However the whole 20/20 vision ruined that dream. I think the rules changed but then NASA doesn’t exist anymore. So I can’t plan on being a starship captain and I had to make other plans.

How do you choose the names and physical characteristics of your characters? Do you base them on real people?

On real people, NO. Absolutely not. However if someone does something interesting or upsetting around me and that incident makes me wonder, it can make it into a novel.  So how do I choose names and physical descriptions? I don’t know about names. It comes when I’m learning my character and who they are really. I could not write The Zoastra Affair until I understood the main character was Ariel and she was completely misunderstood by me for almost a year. Once I understood she was a good person then the novel came together. (I had thought her the villain.) As for physical descriptions, my mom is blonde and blue eyed. I have brown hair and brown eyes. As a girl she hated to buy me blond dolls and told me ‘you’re beautiful’ all the time. I remember my mom always said we are all different looking but beauty comes from within. So I always remember that the most important part of any character is her personality.

How can readers reach you or find you online?

The best way is to sign up for my newsletter. You can get a free copy of Returning for Valentine’s Day in exchange for signing up.

Tell us a little about your current work in progress.

Actually I’ve been working on my Morgan series a lot. I have one more book in the Collins brothers series that I intend for 2017, but the Morgans have taken over my thinking. The first book is set to release September 19th, Secret Crush, in the House of Morgan series. I’m currently working on book 5 of that series. The Morgan family have a lot of family drama that comes with the billions.

What’s your tagline? Why did you choose it?

Bold Women and the Brainy Men who love them.

I wanted to capture a sense of who I actually write. I can’t write stupid men and I certainly don’t like to read or write about women who whine all the time but do nothing to fix themselves. I read once that in romance the heroine has to be someone who would be your reader's best friend. If that statement is true, then I have to write for women I respect and admire. She’s not perfect, but my friends and I generally have a 'you only get one life so make it count' attitude. So a trait my heroines all have in common is a take charge, bold attitude.


Gerard Collins is running in the election for Massachusetts U.S. Senator. He put his name on the ballot to help his FBI agent brother crack a crime family. But the masquerade gets more complicated when his Campaign Manager insists that he’s going to need a political wife.

Movie star Nicole Burns aka Nicole Wyland makes millions staring in romantic comedies, yet she’s never been in love. She left Cape Cod to escape her family and sought to pretend to be anyone else other than Nicole Burns. She goes back home to figure out who she is.

When she saw Gerard Collins was running for office, she intended to confront him over his part in
her sister’s mental breakdown. But sparks fly and helping him win is far more interesting to her, and her sister’s complicated past stops becoming a barrier to romance. He’s nothing like what she thought, and the fake engagement is becoming excitingly more real the longer she stays.

Buy Link:


Author Bio:

Victoria Pinder grew up in Irish Catholic Boston before moving to the Miami sun. She’s worked in engineering, after passing many tests proving how easy Math came to her. Then hating her life at the age of twenty four, she decided to go to law school. Four years later, after passing the bar and practicing very little, she realized that she hates the practice of law. She refused to one day turn 50 and realize she had nothing but her career and hours at a desk. After realizing she needed change, she became a high school teacher. Teaching is rewarding, but writing is a passion.

During all this time, she always wrote stories to entertain herself or calm down. Her parents are practical minded people demanding a job, and Victoria spent too many years living other people’s dreams, but when she sat down to see what skill she had that matched what she enjoyed doing, writing became so obvious. The middle school year book when someone wrote in it that one day she’d be a writer made sense when she turned thirty.

She’s always been determined. She is amazing, adventurous and assured on a regular basis. Her website is

Member of Florida Romance Writers, Contemporary Romance, Celtic Hearts and Savvy Authors.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Magic Time with Liz Flaherty

It may be a little early for Christmas (132 days to go if I counted correctly), but the time seemed right for a little Christmas magic. Liz Flaherty is with me today to talk about her anthology with Harlequin Heartwarming. Welcome Liz Flaherty!

Magic Time

Before every scene, actor Jack Lemmon used to say, “It’s magic time.” It’s a mantra I haven’t exactly made my own, but I like to borrow it from time to time because writing is…well, magic. But I never wrote about magic. Not really, anyway. So where did the title of my novella, The Magic Stocking, come from?

Well, if you’re part of a group within a group—we call ourselves Pods—that includes Shirley Hailstock and Tara Taylor Quinn, once you get done going around shrieking about actually sharing a book cover with them, you start paying attention to what they say. And they were talking about Magic. Our anthology within A Heartwarming Holiday is called Magic Moments and we hope reading our stories gives you some wonderful moments.

Speaking of magic, Christmas Town, Maine, has plenty of it to offer. There are 15 stories this year and it’s killing me that I haven’t read most of them yet, but there are young ballerinas dancing the Nutcracker and Navy SEALs and old friends going into business…what could possibly be better! The writers are all Harlequin Heartwarming authors who are USA Today, national bestselling, and award-winning authors.

Each set of three novellas shares characters and storylines! This collection of PG-rated holiday romances are all set in Christmas Town, Maine, a location introduced in the 2014 Harlequin Heartwarming release Christmas, Actually. A Heartwarming Holiday will bring you laughter, tears, and happily-ever-afters. Like Mr. Lemmon said, it’s Magic Time.

Book 1: Once Upon a Holiday by Anna Adams, Anna J Stewart & Melinda Curtis
Book 2: Holiday Heroes by Leigh Riker, Tara Randel & Cari Lynn Webb
Book 3: 24 North Pole Lane by Carol Ross, Amy Vastine & Cheryl Harper
Book 4: Magic Moments by Tara Taylor Quinn, Shirley Hailstock & Liz Flaherty
Book 5: Nutcracker Sweethearts by Dana Mentink, Roz Denny Fox, & Amie Denman

If this boxed set appeals to you, look for our previous holiday anthology: A Heartwarming Christmas.


And don't forget, included in A HEARTWARMING HOLIDAY is an exclusive coupon worth $1.00 off any Heartwarming title from  Who doesn't love heartwarming romances?

Author Bio:

USA Today bestselling author Liz Flaherty lives in Indiana with her husband Duane. They have three grown children, three children-in-law, and the Magnificent Seven--their grandchildren, who are perfect. When Liz isn’t writing, she sews and frets because she thinks she should be writing. It should be noted she never thinks she should be dusting, sweeping, or cooking. She loves traveling, reading, and eating what other people cook.

Friday, August 12, 2016

#NewRelease Judith B. Glad and FLORENTINE ENCHANTMENT

I'm very happy to have my friend and editor Judith B. Glad as my guest once more. Her Regency romance, FLORENTINE ENCHANTMENT, releases today. She's here to talk about how she "recycled" this story. Please give Jude a warm welcome!

Recycled stories aren't the same as recycled books. They are stories that, for one reason or another, have fallen out of print (e- or p-) and are left to languish unread.

We writers hate to see our books go unread. It's not just the royalties (although I admit they are nice), but the fact that we had something to say, a story to tell. We wanted to share it with someone. Lots of someones, preferably. And when the story is no longer out there to be read, it's kind of like seeing an old friend disappear.

So we do what we can to clean them up, polish away the dull spots, give them new clothes, so to speak. Or not.

Perhaps all they need is some misspellings corrected. A slight change in wording here and there. More explanation--or less, since many of us learn how to say something better and in fewer words as we mature as writers. And once in a while, we realize that a story we told a few years back wasn't really the whole story. That's true of several books by a favorite author of mine. She wrote some really good stories to fit the page count set by her publisher. They did well, but then the publisher discontinued the line and so they were no longer available. When offered the opportunity to bring them back into print, she chose instead to expand them, enrich them. And because she's a talented storyteller, the longer books are not merely longer, but ever so much better.

Of course, there are other kinds of recycled stories too. Ever see the musical "Kiss Me Kate?" It's really Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew. The film classic Ran is King Lear moved to Medieval Japan. The Cinderella story isn't just a Brothers Grimm folk tale, but a recurrent theme in many folk tales around the world, both before and since the Brothers added it to their collection. Clearly the notion that a poor-but-good person can sometimes triumph over adversity speaks to people of many cultures.

All of the examples above qualify as recycled stories, both the ones that were merely tweaked or greatly expanded and the ones that are retold in a different guise.

There's one hazard when an author sets out to recycle a story, though, especially if there is a change of titles or cover. Readers don't like to buy a book and then discover it's one they already had. I've done it myself, and wasn't happy about it. The first time or two it happened, I was mad at the author, but after a while I realized I should have read the book description better, or perhaps looked at the information on the back of the title page (where you should find a publishing history). Good advice, and one I try to follow. But not too long ago, I ordered an ebook and when I started reading it, I realized I already had it in paper, with a different cover, a different title. I honestly can't say what the difference is, but as I read the newer version I realized that it was somehow better, more satisfying.

In other words, it was a story worth recycling.

I've got a novella releasing today that's a recycled story. Eventually the rights were returned to me and it sat in a folder on my computer for a couple of years. Then one day, while I was doing a little disk-cleaning, I ran across it. Read it. Decided that with some editing and some rewriting, it could be a better story, especially since I had actually been to the places described, instead of relying on photographs and written descriptions, as I had when I initially wrote it. I hope my readers will agree.


Orphaned in Florence, Lucy Raymond takes the only employment she can find, that of a castrato assistant to an art and antiquities dealer. But as she grows into womanhood, her masquerade chafes, for it allows none of the romance she craves.

In her loneliness she often visits the Piazza della Signoria, where she gazes at the magnificent sculptures and dreams impossible dreams. Until one day, when she is overcome by loneliness and the oppressive heat, she faints at the feet of an enormous sculpture, only to wake in the arms of its living embodiment.

Allowing herself to be seduced is the last thing Lucy should do. But Vido is warm and vital and the living image of David, so how can she resist?


I let my gaze drift past the loggia, seeing but paying little attention to the Cellini bronze, the Donatello marble, the other works of supreme artists. The massive sculpture of Hercules was only part of the scenery, unimportant to me. It was David my eyes sought, David I drank in the sight of.

He stood across the piazza on his black marble pedestal, foursquare and firm. I walked toward him, ignoring the crowd, the babble of a dozen languages around me. As I drew near, I raised my chin, letting my gaze linger over his feet, strong white feet, able to walk all day and into the night. His ankles were slim, yet sturdy, his calves well shaped. I saw the veins in his calf, the sinews connecting lower leg to knee. His legs were long, lean, sturdy.

Have I told you of his magnificent body, of the strength of his arms, his legs? Of the beauty of his naked chest, his uncovered shoulders? Do you know what a real man looks like, how the muscles lie close to the body, so that every movement becomes a symphony in efficiency? His right leg holds him upright, while the left relaxes. His left arm is lifted, holding a sling, with which he will defend himself--or me--from harm through the long, dark night.

My mouth dried at the thought, butterflies fluttered in my middle. I imagined his hands on my shoulders, his fingers touching my cheeks, my eyelids, my lips. I felt his mouth upon mine, not cold like stone, but hot. Wet. His tongue invaded me, swooped between my teeth, tangled with mine.

My knees grew weak. I trembled. The smoldering warmth flared into flame, consuming me. Perhaps I cried out.

"Signorina, you are ill." A strong arm encircled my waist, a hard body supported me.

I smelled sweat and tobacco, a faint aroma of wine, as I was lowered to the pavement and propped against the pedestal supporting my love.

The eyes staring into mine were brown, soft like a doe's, ringed with thick, long lashes of sooty black. The face was familiar--like so many I saw daily in the streets, a poor replica of my David's. The hand cupping my cheek was hard with callus, but gentle, tender in its touch.

"No, I am not ill," I said, but my voice betrayed me. It quavered with the aftermath of my helpless passion.

His smile was quick, fleeting. "Of course you are not ill. Merely overcome with beauty. I saw you, saw how you could not take your eyes from...him...from David." He glanced upwards, a quick lift of his head. "He is indeed one to make a woman tremble, no?"

"I love him," I said, then bit my tongue. "I mean, I love the artistry, the beauty of the sculpture. It is incomparable."

"Sì. But he would be much prettier were he flesh and blood. Here, let me help you stand. I will give you wine and bread and you will feel much better."


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Thursday, August 11, 2016

In the Spotlight: D. Dominik Wickles

D. Dominik Wickles joins me today to talk about her romantic suspense novel HONG KONG TREASURE. Welcome!

A deadly Philippines typhoon stole Annie's memory. Now, can a handsome Chinese stranger save her from the danger she has forgotten?


Deshi Han, a martial arts actor and director, thinks a serious relationship would hamper his career. On a charity trip to the typhoon ravaged Philippines he agrees to take a young American woman back to Hong Kong to rest and regain her memory.

Once back in Hong Kong, Deshi reluctantly allows the woman he names Annie, to accompany him on the movie sets and on his trips across China. Despite his attempts to remain aloof with Annie, a romance develops between them.

Meanwhile, Annie is troubled by nightmares which allude to a danger lurking from her past and someone on Deshi’s crew is trying to sabotage their budding romance. As Deshi is forced repeatedly to disrupt his work schedule to protect Annie, it serves to confirm his belief that careers and relationships don’t mix.

But when it looks like Deshi will lose Annie, and he risks everything to save her, will it be too late?


Leyte Province in the Philippines. Her running steps echoed from the walls. Would he catch her? It meant white slavery if he did. Slamming open the kitchen door, she burst out of the hotel despite the typhoon ravaging the eastern coast. The destructive winds and rains were buffered in the alleyway behind the hotel, but she still had to fight for each step away from the man she knew was just behind her.

Without warning, massive walls of water rushed into the alley from both ends. The sixteen-foot wave scooped her up and battered her against the buildings. When the storm surge receded, she lay bruised and unconscious beneath a mass of water-logged debris.

“I’m told there are eleven buildings, besides this church, serving as shelters,” Father Donovan said. “I haven’t left here since the typhoon hit four days ago. Is the damage extensive?”

“Yes. Very. Many people with no homes, no food,” Deshi Han replied.

Father Donovan put his hand on Deshi’s shoulder. “You brought much-needed food and supplies. Your movies are loved but your charity work is well-known here in the Philippines. I thank you. You are truly doing God’s work, my son.”

Deshi watched as a volunteer passed out the blankets he had brought, which would help to cushion the pews they were using for beds. He shook his head. “I wish I do more.”

“Perhaps there is something …” Father Donovan began.

“What, Father?” He followed the priest to a courtyard. A young woman sat beside a storm-crushed rose bed. Deshi guessed her to be American, in her early twenties. “Who she, Father?”

“No one knows, not even her.” Father Donovan tilted his head to the side and sighed. “She has no memory of anything before the typhoon. One of the doctors informed me that she just needs rest to regain her memory.”

Deshi watched the girl slowly gather the broken branches from around the few unharmed plants. A child about five years old ran up and tapped her on the shoulder. The young woman’s solemn face broke into a smile as the child led her away toward another section of the church.

Father Donovan turned to Deshi. “But she won’t get that rest here. She has nightmares and cries for the orphaned and injured children. I’ve prayed for someone to claim her and take her away from here.”

“We delivered the supplies to the kitchen.” Jun Chew, Deshi’s assistant, spoke in Cantonese as she approached them.

Deshi turned away from the doorway, nodded at Jun then called to his business manager, “Where the next shelter, Paul?”

Paul Wu shook his head then responded in English. “We have distributed all the supplies we brought, Deshi. That is all we can do today.”

“Besides,” Jun continued in Cantonese, “we have to get back or you will be late for the senior citizen center opening.”

The supplies had gone so fast. They had only been to six of the eleven shelters and there were so many people still in need. “Maybe one more thing I can do today,” Deshi said with a sigh. “Father?”

The priest’s right hand clutched the large cross at his neck and he smiled. “Yes, my son?”

“I will take her.”

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Author Bio:

D. Dominik Wickles is the pseudonym for Romance author, Diane T. Wickles. Diane has always been overly curious and loves to try new things. Some of her interests have included studying martial arts, getting her degree in Criminal Justice, ice skating, traveling and of course, writing stories. Her career path has taken her from bank teller to probation officer to computer instructor to library clerk to author.

She has explored many genres including horror, humor and mystery publishing several short pieces on various online magazines. Diane’s books always have a happy ending but the road to that point is rife with mystery and danger. She is a member of Pennwriters and is active in two local writing groups.

At her home in northwestern Pennsylvania, she talks to her cat, reads 2-3 books at a time, constantly searches for new vegan recipes and creates her characters. In her spare time, she loves camping and building dollhouses.

Contact her at: ddominikwicklesATgmailDotcom

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Monday, August 8, 2016

Kris Bock - Clothes Make the Character

Kris Bock joins me today with a post about her character's clothes. I always find that what people - and characters - wear says a lot about their personality and the way they feel about themselves. Kris gives us some insight into her character Camie from The Skeleton Canyon Treasure. Take it away, Kris!

Clothes Make the Character Monday with Kris Bock

The Skeleton Canyon Treasure stars Camie, a reader favorite from The Mad Monk’s Treasure, which revolved around her best friend. Camie is brilliant, though her academic career is checkered, and she loves the outdoors – hiking, rock climbing, and mountain biking. Her casual clothes reflect her personality and the lifestyle of a small New Mexico town.

In this stand-alone novel, Camie gets drawn into an adventure by Ryan, an oversized geologist who claims he’s searching for his missing uncle. He needs Camie’s help, so the two of them try to decipher a series of clues in the uncle’s journal, which leads them to the Southeast corner of Arizona. In this scene, they’re camping out with Camie’s tough orange cat, Tiger.

… They worked well enough in tandem as they prepared dinner on her camp stove, but an awkward stiffness had replaced the laughter of their graveyard adventure. Tiger was the only one who seemed at ease as he prowled the campsite, seeming to check that everything was in order. By the time the pizzas had baked and they sat down to eat, the discomfort had the weight of a living thing.

   Finally Ryan broke the silence. “Can I ask you something?”

   “Shoot.” She licked tomato sauce off a finger.

   “You’re obviously a genius.”

   She made a face. “I don’t really like that word.” It was as often an insult as a compliment.

   “Whatever you want to call it, you have plenty of brains. But people are going to see how you look, how you dress, and not expect you to be brilliant. I’m not criticizing, but why don’t you dress, well, more brainy, to give people a better idea of who you are?”

   She sat up straighter, resisting the urge to pull her jacket closed over the cleavage revealed by her tank top. “So, what, I should wear a button-down shirt with a pen protector, put my hair into a bun, and wear glasses I don’t need?”

   A smile tugged at his lips. “Stop, you’re turning me on. Okay, granted, nothing short of major plastic surgery is going to make you anything less than gorgeous. I’m not suggesting you go to extremes. But if I worked in the corporate world, I’d wear a suit to fit in. Dress for success, dress for the job you want, not the one you have. That kind of thing.”

   “You may also have heard of don’t judge a book by its cover?”

   “Sure, but you know people do. That’s the world we live in.”

   “How about live for the world you want, not the one you have? People shouldn’t judge me by my appearance. It’s not my fault if they do. I’m going to wear clothes I like, that I find comfortable, and anyone who doesn’t like it can screw off. Besides, how do we change stereotypes if we always give in to them?”

   He gave a soft grunt that might have been agreement, skepticism, or merely acknowledgement. They ate in silence for several minutes. Camie knew she’d made her point, but she couldn’t help thinking of all the other things she might have said. She remembered the times teachers had accused her of cheating, or of having a boyfriend do her work, because they couldn’t believe she was smart enough to do that well by herself. The times when boys tried to impress her by offering to help when she didn’t need it, when she was smarter, stronger, better than they were. And their offense – even anger – when they realized the truth.

   Tiger, who had been snuggled next to her side, seemed to sense her emotions. He rose, yowled, and stalked back and forth with his tail puffed up in agitation.

   Camie was about to burst out with another rant, when Ryan spoke. “I want to apologize.”

   “Then do it,” she snapped.

   “Okay, I’m sorry I suggested you should change to please anyone else or make their lives easier. It’s unreasonable and I was stupid to say it.”

   She studied him suspiciously.

   “And I should’ve known better, because I do understand what you mean,” he said.

   She raised an eyebrow. “Oh, because you’re so pretty people think you’re dumb?”

   He grinned. “Exactly. Okay, not that, but people make assumptions about me because of my size. Some men immediately get all defensive, like my existence is somehow a threat to their masculinity and they have to do and say dumb things to show how tough they are. And women, well, some women are interested in me because I’m big.”

   Camie stared at him. Was he actually blushing? The shadows cast by the electric lantern made it hard to say for certain.

   Ryan hurried on. “But a lot of them are intimidated, or even scared. Women will cross the street to avoid walking too close to me. I don’t ever want a woman to feel threatened, or a man for that matter. I know I could use my size to intimidate people, but I don’t.”

   “Not ever?”

   “Well … only when someone deserves it. Shoot, I kind of loomed over you the night we met, didn’t I? Well, you have to remember, at that point I thought you might have something to do with my uncle’s disappearance.”

   “And now?”

   He hesitated for a fraction of a second too long. “Now I trust you, of course.”

   She shrugged off his doubt. It wasn’t like she’d laid out her whole heart and mind to him either. Instead she focused on what else he’d said. Things started clicking in Camie’s head. “So you try to make yourself less threatening, smaller, like when you were leaning on the counter at the museum to get closer to Marie’s eye level.”

   He nodded.

   “And you hide behind your charm too.”

   “I guess I should be glad you think I have charm.”

   “Oh, you have buckets of it.”

Blurb: The Skeleton Canyon Treasure

Camille Dagneau – beautiful, brilliant, and prickly – isn’t quick to trust, especially when a strange man has broken into her machine shop at night. Ryan McGloin insists he’s merely looking for his missing uncle, who has disappeared while hunting for a lost treasure. He believes Camie is the key to finding the treasure, and his uncle. Camie can ignore the attraction she feels, but she won’t pass up the chance for an adventure.

Following the clues in the missing man’s journal will take Camie, Ryan, and the feisty cat Tiger on a trail through New Mexico and Arizona. They’ll investigate the Tombstone graveyard at night, uncover clues in museums, and ultimately explore Skeleton Canyon, where rumor says nineteenth-century cowboy bandits secreted their treasure in a cave. To rescue Ryan’s uncle, they’ll face steep cliffs, twisty tunnels, and worse dangers in human form, but trusting each other may be the biggest challenge. And they’re running out of time ….

If you love suspense and romance, don’t miss this gripping adventure! The Southwest Treasure Hunters novels include The Mad Monk’s Treasure and The Dead Man’s Treasure. Each novel stands alone in this series mixing action and adventure with romance.

Author Bio:

Kris Bock writes novels of suspense and romance with outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes. The Mad Monk’s Treasure follows the hunt for a long-lost treasure in the New Mexico desert. In The Dead Man’s Treasure, estranged relatives compete to reach a buried treasure by following a series of complex clues. Whispers in the Dark features archaeology and intrigue among ancient Southwest ruins. What We Found is a mystery with strong romantic elements about a young woman who finds a murder victim in the woods. In Counterfeits, stolen Rembrandt paintings bring danger to a small New Mexico town.

Read excerpts at or visit her Amazon page. Sign up for Kris Bock newsletter for announcements of new books, sales, and more.

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Thursday, August 4, 2016

#NewRelease with Barbara Barrett

KEEPING IT CASUAL by Barbara Barrett released August 3, 2016. Barbara is a fellow Wild Rose Press author, and I'm pleased to showcase her newest release today. Please welcome Barbara Barrett!


Talent manager Alex Appleby needs Geoff McKenna's help. Her vicious client is threatening the reputation of Alex's television-star father if Alex can't convince her stepsister to go along with the client's demand.  Alex turns to Geoff to make the case to her sister.

Geoff has his own proposition for Alex. Thus far, his case of multiple sclerosis has been mild, but he’s unsure of his future. When his girlfriend pushes for a stronger commitment, he enlists Alex as his new pretend love interest so his girlfriend will break things off. 

When they discover they actually are attracted to each other, they agree to keep things casual, since Alex is only in town briefly and Geoff isn’t interested in anything serious. But fate intervenes as their feelings deepen. Alex must decide whether to relocate to Iowa from LA, and Geoff must place faith in his future. 


Around a hundred miles, he turned onto I-29 to go north.

He pulled off at the first exit and headed for a fast food place. This had been fun. Best time he’d had in days. He sat back and slapped his thighs.

Alex returned an “I-told-you-so” look.

In response, without giving it further thought, he gripped her shoulders, brought her toward him, and kissed her.

When he released her, she breathed out, “That was unexpected.”

“For me, too. But not at all unpleasant.”

She remained only inches away, her breath grazing his face. Her eyes didn’t leave his. Without uttering a word, she invited him to return to the scene of the crime. So he did. Big time.

When she didn’t back away, he increased the pressure on her mouth, drew her closer, his arms encasing her, his right hand massaging her back. His left hand remained at her waist, awaiting its destination.

Though spontaneous—yeah, there’d been some kind of vibes going on since Pella, but it wasn’t like they’d been flirting or engaged in more serous sexual byplay—neither seemed shocked nor turned off by their actions. It was like they’d both been waiting for some sign from the other since the day they first met.

When had he last made out in a car? Not since college. Maybe even high school. Forgotten how the intimacy of front seat lip lock could give a guy such guilty pleasure. Could send his insides into overdrive, even in broad daylight.

Broad daylight. Right. Get control of yourself, man.


Author Bio:

Barbara Barrett spent her professional career as a human resources analyst for Iowa state government, and that training has stayed with her in her writing of contemporary romance fiction. Now retired, Barbara spends her winters basking in the Florida sunshine and returns to her home state of Iowa in the summer to “stay cool.” Married to the man she met her senior year at the University of Iowa, they have two grown children and eight grandchildren. Keeping It Casual is her seventh romance novel published by The Wild Rose Press and her third and final one in the “Matchmaking Motor Coach Series.” Her previous works include: And He Cooks Too, Driven to Matrimony, Saved by the Salsa, The Sleepover Clause, Tough Enough to Tango and Seduction on Wheels.  

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Monday, August 1, 2016

Kryssie Fortune in the Spotlight!

Kryssie Fortune is my spotlight guest today, with a blurb and an excerpt from DOMINATED BY THE DRAGON, Book one in her Doms of Dragon Island series. Welcome Kryssie!

A former super soldier turned dragon demon must choose between his soul mate and saving the world from a nuclear winter.

The British army’s nuclear testing bonded a dragon into Flynn Hemsworth’s soul. Military scientists vivisected and tortured him until he escaped two years later. Although he’s never aged, he’s been alone and on the run for almost six decades. When he prevents a naked woman from being the prize lot in a coven’s slave auction, he realizes she has an unexplored submissive streak.

Hope Mathews—a sassy blonde with killer keyboard skills—is a strong independent woman. When Flynn prevents her being sold to a demon, she discovers she enjoys spankings and light bondage.

Together Hope and Flynn must shut down a coven of black magicians, rescue kidnapped demons, and stop a black ops nuclear missile hitting the UK. Even if they manage all that, Hope’s the granddaughter of a billionaire while Flynn’s still on the run from the military who want to dissect him again. Can they find common ground and build a life together?

Reader Advisory: Contains explicit language, a virginal heroine who discovers she enjoys spanking and bondage. Add in some serious dragon demon loving, light the blue touch paper, stand back, and watch the sparks fly.

PUBLISHER NOTE: Paranormal BDSM Romance – 63,094 words. BDSM, Exhibitionism, Orgies and Spanking. 

He needed to grab the women and get out of here. Once he’d stashed them in the safe house he’d warded earlier, he’d come back and teach the slavers about blood and pain. His dragon purred at the thought.

He despised slavers and black magic. Hell, he hated anything magical and weird—himself included. Thanks to the military and their sick experiments, he’d become danger, death, and destruction—at least temporarily. His inner beast roared again. “Free me. Let me play with them until they beg for mercy.”

He slicked his hand through his damp curls. His beast stretched inside him and unfurled its claws. Its fire scorched through him, feeding his anger and warming his body. The rain fell harder, making the ground muddy under foot. High on sex and violence, the crowd didn’t care.

When Flynn saw Hope shiver, fury whipped through him. He’d tie a knot in the snake demon’s tail; then those hyena demons were going down. Still human, apart from the ever-present purple glow in his eyes, he charged. The spectators gasped. Pebbles dislodged by his wild attack rolled down the hillside. The hyena demons howled and leaped forward. One lunged for his ankles. The other went for his throat.

The snake demon stood aloof and made a soft, sibilant hiss. Flynn’s fist smashed into the hyena’s face. Its distressed yelp roused the crowd.

“Take him,” one spectator shouted.

“Twenty quid on the hyena shifters,” another yelled.

From the rear of the circle, another called, “Ten on the human.”

“Come on, big guy”—a would-be witch fingered her clit—“take him.”

A woman at the front of the crowd cooed, “Yeah, kill them then come play. We’re willing and sooo good.”

“Kill! Kill! Kill!” the crowd chanted.

One hyena clung limpet-like to Flynn’s legs. Almost, he toppled into the mud. Instead, he staggered but stayed stubbornly upright. His beast roared inside him. It wanted to wrap those hyena demons in a sheet of flame and send them straight to Hell.

Flynn heaved one leg free. His steel toecap pulverized the hyena’s jaw. The other hyena leaped for his throat—again. Didn’t work the first time, pal. What’s up? You got learning difficulties?

Flynn’s fist crunched into its face like a battering ram. It howled and retreated, blood pouring from its nose. It leaped again. Flynn spun aside, as graceful as a ballet dancer. The hyena’s claws barely missed his eyes.

A grab of a hyena wrist. A twist that stretched tendons and misaligned joints. Shards of bone poked through its flesh. Its earsplitting yowl made the spectators gasp. The hyena demon staggered toward the woman tethered on the stone slab.

Flynn’s beast roared and demanded its freedom. He ignored it, flexed his muscles like a well-toned athlete, and made a standing leap onto the altar. He landed with one foot either side of Sleeping Beauty. The hyena demon with the pulverized cheek wrapped its arms around one of his legs and yanked hard. Bloody thing’s hanging on to my leg like it wants to hump it. Well, hump someone else, pal.

Flynn’s boot squished into its right eye. It collapsed, muscles twitching. Finally, it lay still and whimpered. Its pack mate growled in fury. Broken wrist forgotten, it leaped for Flynn’s throat. Again? Time to find a better attack mode, laughing boy.

Flynn clotheslined the hyena midflight. Its larynx crushed beneath his forearm as its jaws snapped shut on empty air. The hyena demon dropped as though he’d shot it. It lay in the mud, chest heaving. Flynn leaped from the boulder, grabbed the demon’s neck, and twisted until he felt vertebrae shatter. Its eyes glazed, and it whined a brief lament before its head flopped to one side. Its tongue lolled between its lips, limp and lifeless.

One hyena down, one to go. Then for the snake.

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Author Bio:

If you love sexy vampires, possessive werewolves, muscular Fae, and ancient Gods, then Kryssie Fortune's your girl. She grew up climbing trees and playing with imaginary dragons. Now her dragons live in her books. Kryssie's a Yorkshire lass, who lives within driving distance of Whitby - the home all things paranormal and strange. A chunk of Curse of the Fae King is set there. It's also where Bram Stoker penned Dracula.

Her husband says she's part cat - always curious. He's probably right, but she'd rather be part dragon. A serial dieter and coffee addict, Kryssie reads read anything she can get her hands on. Her pet hates are unhappy endings, and a series where the books end on a cliff hanger.

Kryssie's books are hot and explicit, but the plot always comes before the sex. Since she writes erotic romance, she guarantees a happy ending.

Kryssie is active on social media and loves to here from her fans.