Monday, June 30, 2014

Sandra Nachlinger's on my blog today!

It's a joy to welcome author Sandra Nachlinger to my blog today!

Before we hear about her awesome books, here's a little bit about Sandy:

Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Sandy has been writing one thing or another since childhood. She still has diaries from her school days, one of which inspired her first book I.O.U. Sex, co-authored with Sandra Allen.

Besides Dallas, Sandy has lived in Irving and Beaumont, Texas; Miami, Florida; and now Washington State. During her years in the work force, she was employed by a “wildcatter” oilman (a real-life J. R. Ewing); a plastic bag factory; a NASCAR race track; a CPA firm; an electric utility; and a bunch of other less interesting places. Her stories have appeared in Woman’s World magazine, Sasee magazine, and local publications. People tell her she still has her Texas accent, but she thinks they’re the ones who talk funny.

When not writing, Sandy likes to quilt, read, sew, garden, take photos, lunch with friends, and (like Granny in her most recent book, Bluebonnets for Elly) spend as much time as possible with her granddaughter. She also enjoys eavesdropping on conversations at restaurants, parks, and other public places, so be careful what you say around her. It may end up in her next book!

Pour yourself a cup of coffee, sweet tea or whatever relaxes you on a hot summer day and enjoy Sandy's answers to my questions.

Q: Sandra, can you tell us about your current book? 

A: Here's a brief blurb:

     When Elly Macauley moves to Shannon Ridge, Texas, she expects to fill her days helping her grandmother -- doling out medications and running errands. Still smarting from her fiance's betrayal, the last thing she needs or wants is a man, especially a good lookin' one. She's been down that road before. But then she meets Derek White.

     Derek's wife left him without a word, and he's reluctant to make the same mistake twice. He still doesn't understand why Jeannette left him, so how can he explain that to another woman? And can he be sure he's legally free? But Granny Macauley's granddaughter sure is tempting.

     Granny says some things come along only once and you have to grab them while you can. But when Elly and Derek's pasts invade the present, they'll have to decide whether to take a chance on love or protect their hearts.

Q: Were there real life experiences that inspired this book?

A: The book's plot is completely fictional; however, the setting is definitely from real life -- even though a town named Shannon Ridge doesn't really exist. Growing up, my family had a cabin on Lake Texoma, located at the Texas-Oklahoma border. We went there almost every weekend -- fishing, swimming, hiking -- and I came to know and love the area. When I started writing Bluebonnets for Elly, that's where I wanted Shannon Ridge to be. It helped that I have a good friend who lives near Lake Texoma now. She read through my manuscript and brought me up-to-date on details I'd forgotten.

Q: Our characters surprise us sometimes. Certain traits, habits, ways of dealing with things, and more, can emerge that we hadn't planned on when we started our story. Did this happen with your characters, Elly and Derek?

A: I expected this to be a love story about Derek and Elly -- and it is. But Elly's grandmother kept intruding. So she became an integral part of the plot, which is something I didn't plan. She was more like a friend to Elly than you might expect a grandmother to be -- not an authority figure at all. In fact, Granny Macauley is much more daring than Elly. I think she adds warmth, humor, and realism to the book, and I had a lot of fun writing abut the relationship between the two women.

Q: When writing Elly and Derek's story, were there moments when they got the best of you? By that I mean, did you laugh or cry or want to put them in a headlock until they behaved the way you wanted them to?

A: Yes! Derek kept being too nice. I wanted to shake him and make him reveal his dirty secrets. He's still a really good guy, but it took a while before he'd finally tell me about his past.

Q: Did you know the ending before you started their story? Did it change or stay the same the closer you got to the end?

A: I really wish I could be one of those authors who outlines her books and sticks to a plan. That would be so efficient and save so much time! Unfortunately, it just doesn't work that way for me. I have a general idea of how the story will go, but I get to know my characters as I write about them. I go off on tangents and explore possibilities, some of which work out and others that don't, and I think up things that could go wrong for them as I go along. Since I write romances, I know the story is going to end with happily-ever-after or happy-for-now, but I'm never quite sure how my hero and heroine will get there. To me, that's what make romances fun to read and to write.

Q: Can you tell us about your other books? Is there another book on the horizon?

A: My first book, I.O.U. Sex, was co-written with Sandra Allen. It's the story of three women, friends since junior high school, who make a pact to track down their high school boyfriends decades after graduation. Like the three women in the story, Sandra and I have been friends since 8th grade and have remained close ever since -- but we haven't tracked down our old boyfriends!

I'm currently working on a couple of books, but it's way too soon to tell much about them. They both take place in Florida (where I lived for 18 years), and they're both post-chicklit stories.

Q: Could you share a snippet from Bluebonnets for Elly to whet our appetite for more?

A: Sure! Here's a scene you might enjoy. By the way, Derek is a landscaper so he knows all about armadillos.

     Derek strode around the truck and opened Elly’s door, then took a large picnic basket from the truck’s storage bin. Together they walked down a well-worn path. Winding beneath overhanging branches, they made their way through a stand of cedars. Their clean, fresh scent made Elly think of summer.

Derek squeezed Elly’s hand and whispered, “Shhh.” He nodded toward a patch of wild greens growing near the path. Leaves rustled and within seconds, an armadillo scuttled ahead of them, its armored body hobbling along on short stubby legs. It paused, studied the two humans for a second, and then disappeared into the underbrush.

Derek nodded toward the retreating critter. “A nine-banded armadillo—the official small mammal of the State of Texas.”

“No kidding?” Elly giggled. “They’re weird little animals, aren’t they?”

 “Sure are. They won’t hurt you, but they can cause plenty of trouble for landscapers, rooting up plants and digging in lawns.” He tugged Elly’s hand and led her farther down the path.

After about ten minutes, Derek stopped and pulled a red bandana from his pocket. “From here on out, you’re blindfolded.”

Elly laughed. “You don’t have anything kinky in mind, do you?”

“Not at the moment, but don’t tempt me.” He folded the bandana into a triangle, draped it across Elly’s eyes, and tied a knot at the back of her head. “No peeking.”

      Derek grasped her hand firmly and guided her along. He stopped at times, warning Elly to lift her foot for a tree root or to veer left or right to avoid a rock. At times she leaned against him, relying on his firm grasp and steady voice, giving him the trust he’d shown he deserved.

After a few more minutes, Derek stopped, took her hand, and curled her fingers around a branch. “Hold on here while I take care of a few things.”

The swoosh of wind in the trees, accompanied by the calls of birds, surrounded her. A woodpecker hammered away in the distance, and a sweet earthy scent made her wrinkle her nose. With her eyes covered, sounds and scents seemed more intense and closer than before. Even the buzz of insects seemed loud in her ears. A warm breeze brushed her cheeks and ruffled her hair. Then she smelled Derek’s clean soap scent and sensed his presence beside her.

When he loosened the blindfold, she blinked and squinted in the dappled light.

Thank you for being here today, Sandra! It's been great getting a glimpse of who you are and what you write. You're welcome back to my blog anytime. 

Dear readers and fellow authors, you can find out more about Sandra and her books here:

Sweet Cravings Publishing -

Amazon -

Barnes & Noble -

Twitter: @SandyNachlinger

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

My Writing Process blog hop!

I was tagged by two lovely authors, Katie Mettner and Uvi Poznansky for the Writing Process blog tour. Thank you, ladies!

I had three questions posed to me about writing. Grab a cup of coffee, or beverage of choice, and I'll try to answer them without putting you to sleep (the caffeine in the coffee will help *grins*)

Here goes...

What am I working on?

Easy answer. A lot of you are familiar with my Texas Boys Falling Fast series. Married to Maggie (Book 1: Tysen's story) is out and so is Keeping Kylee (Book 2: Quinn's story). So onward to Taming Tori (Book 3: Jake's story). I'm not too deep into Jake and Tori's story, but I'm plugging away. Every day their personalities grab me and a little more is revealed. Upfront: Jake is quietly sexy and an all-around nice guy. Tori is boisterous and beautiful, but she is a pain in everyone's neck. By the time their story is finished, Jake will deserve a medal. 

How does my work differ from others?

Spontaneous answer -- my writing voice. I think that's a biggie that separates one author from the other. Our personalities come through our characters without us making a special effort for that to happen. Since we're all unique, those writing voices couldn't be more different.

The not-so-spontaneous answer -- my view on love, romance, and life in general, sets my work apart from others. How I feel about those important elements makes all the difference in how my characters think, react, and handle the conflicts I throw at them.

Why do I write what I write?

Corny answer -- Contemporary romance chose me, instead of the other way around.

Still-corny-but-better answer -- I believe in true love and happily-ever-afters. I've made up love stories in my head for as long as I can remember. Every story that I've either thought about or wrote about has the couple immersed in conflict. They have to work to get the ultimate prize: love. 

I like to read all genres, but writing contemporary romance is a good fit for me because I can take bits and pieces of the things stored in my head and make a story.

Thank you for popping in to read about my writing! I'm always happy to share what I love. 

Here's a little bit about the 2 gals who tagged me. They both are incredible authors. 

Katie Mettner grew up in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and moved to the Northwoods where she now resides with her husband and three children. Katie writes spicy Christian romance and is the author of The Sugar series and The Northern Lights series. Her stories are a reflection of her love for family, intricately woven with life experience. When the gales of November blow early you can find her at the computer with a cup of joe working on her next adventure.

Check out her Amazon page:

Uvi Poznansky is a California-based author, poet and artist.
She earned her B. A. in Architecture and Town Planning from the Technion in Haifa, Israel. During her studies and in the years immediately following her graduation, she practiced with an innovative Architectural firm, taking a major part in the large-scale project, 'Home for the Soldier'; a controversial design that sparked fierce public debate.

At the age of 25 Uvi moved to Troy, N.Y. with her husband and two children. Before long, she received a Fellowship grant and a Teaching Assistantship from the Architecture department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where she guided teams in a variety of design projects; and where she earned her M.A. in Architecture. Then, taking a sharp turn in her education, she earned her M.S. degree in Computer Science from the University of Michigan.

During the years she spent in advancing her career--first as an architect, and later as a software engineer, software team leader, software manager and a software consultant (with an emphasis on user interface for medical instruments devices)--she wrote and painted constantly, and exhibited in Israel and California. In addition, she taught art appreciation classes. Her versatile body of work can be seen online at It includes bronze and ceramic sculptures, oil and watercolor paintings, charcoal, pen and pencil drawings, and mixed media.

Uvi published two children books, Jess and Wiggle and Now I Am Paper. For each one of these books, she created an animation video (see Author Videos at the bottom of this page.) She won great acclaim for her novel, Apart From Love, and for her poetry book, Home (in tribute to her father. Her collection of dark tales, Twisted, and her Historical Fiction book, A Favorite Son, are both new age, biblically inspired books. Rise to Power (the first volume in her new series, The David Chronicles) has just been published.

Check out Uvi's Amazon Page:

** To keep this Writing Process blog hop going, I'm tagging:

Sharon Saracino

Suzanne Rogers writing as S. G. Rogers

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

An interview with Marcia Carrington!



Thank you very much Jan, I’m very happy to be here!


Marcia Carrington writes about the human condition, exploring what makes people tick, but in an upbeat and optimistic tone. She is an interested observer of popular culture, and fan of cinema from all eras and countries, especially from the 1930-1970's. She loves the movies and actors of the Hollywood silver screen, but has an express partiality to films from the major studios of this era such as Columbia, MGM, Fox, Paramount, RKO, and Universal.

Marcia is also a long-time soap opera viewer, watching daytime, and night time serials from a very young age. She is also a food connoisseur, with a particular love of chocolate and coffee. The morning coffee has always been a staple for Marcia, and something which she cannot do without. There is just something about the fresh aroma early in the morning, and anytime for that fact, which proves irresistible.

Q:  Marcia, you've written several books and recently published a new one. Can you share your excitement about this new book? Maybe give us the first paragraph to hook us.

A: I have written a mixture of short stories, novel and novella thus far, but BLAKE’S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION is my first novelette. It revolves around a ten year high school reunion, and the reactions of the participants to each other after this extended period. My intention is to make it a roller-coaster of emotions for the reader through the actions, and reactions of the characters, and I hope that readers enjoy the ride. The following is the first paragraph of the story:

Blake Matthews was at home, adjusting his red-colored tie in front of the mirror. He was dressed in a snappy black suede suit, beige shirt, and wore his comfortable leather brogues with flair. After finishing with his tie, he picked up the invitation to his high school’s reunion, which was taking place tonight. On the invitation, it had clearly inscribed, in beautiful calligraphic print:

“Dear Blake,
You are cordially invited to the 10th anniversary reunion of Campbell Vale High School, which will be held at the Madison Grand Hotel on the 9th February, 2013.
Please RSVP your intention to attend by the 1st January, 2013 for catering purposes.

We hope to see you there.

Brittany Barker and the High School Committee of 2003
Dress: After Five”

Q: Where is the setting(s) for your book?

A: The main setting of the book is the fictional Madison Grand Hotel, where the Campbell Vale High School reunion of 2003 will be taking place. The majority of the action takes place in this locale, with the remainder occurring in the private homes of the characters.

Q: If you had to give your book a heat level, what would it be?

A: In terms of the conflicts which flare up between the characters during the course of the story, I would rate the heat level as 3 out of 4. The romantic scenes are more subtle in character, but feature much double-talk and innuendo that reflects the characters, especially Brenda Backus. Again, I would rate this as 3 out of 4.

Q: If Hollywood producers snapped up your book to make it into a movie, and they asked who you thought would play your characters, who would you choose?

A: I would like to see Ryan Reynolds in the lead role of Blake Matthews, as I feel that he has the range to portray the handsome, but highly complex lead character Blake. Jacqueline MacInnes Wood, a talented actress from daytime serial The Bold and The Beautiful, would be wonderful as the tough, but alternately tender Alexandra Masters. As for the lead female role of Brenda Backus, Jessica Simpson stood out in terms of my exposure to her movie work. I think she would be a standout as the way-out, sassy, but ultimately needy Brenda.

Q: What are you hoping your readers take away from your book?

A: My overall intention is that readers find the story and characters entertaining, and funny. In a deeper sense, though, I hope that readers recognize the characters as three-dimensional people who, despite their overt flippancy at times, are both very real, and identifiable.  

Q: Could you share one of your favorite scenes from the book?

A: I especially love the scene where Brenda Backus reacts to Blake Matthews after not seeing him for ten years. She finds it extremely difficult to comprehend how he has changed from the person she once knew, and has transformed himself, both physically, and in character.

Thank you so much for being here, Marcia! It was a joy to introduce you and join in the celebration of your new release! Wishing you continued success with your books!

Thank you so much Jan for the opportunity of being on your blog and meeting your readers, it is much appreciated!