Tuesday, November 25, 2014

An interview with Sandy Appleyard!

I enjoy interviewing other authors as a way to get to know the person behind their books. I thought it would be fun to find out more about Sandy Appleyard from the Great White North -- Canada! 

Welcome Sandy!

Sandy Appleyard

Here's Sandy's bio:

I'm a Canadian multi-genre author who writes both fiction and non-fiction. Writing non-fiction for me was inspired by the need to share personal life stories. Afterward, since I'd read so many fiction titles, I wanted to take a stab at it myself. I fell in love with it and the rest is history.

Can you tell us a little more about the stories you write? 

My first two memoirs are based on my own life; about struggles I've encountered that I wanted to share in hopes to spread support and understanding. The most recent of my memoirs is a humorous diary of all the funny things my kids have said since they were born.

In romantic suspense, my main goal is to blend both personal knowledge and imagination to create interesting characters and situations. The characters you'll meet are murderers and serial killers, lovers, strangers, police officers, unloving mothers, cowards and unsung heroes. 

How many books have you written?

So far there are eleven books completed but only six are published at this time.

Is there a general theme?

Yes; mystery, intrigue, passion and love...and happy endings.

Are you a full-time writer?

Very proudly so, yes.

Is there anyone who influenced you to become a writer? Perhaps a teacher, relative, friend, or favorite author?

There wasn't a particular person who inspired me to write, but a situation: too many thoughts stirring in my mind and no outlet.

What aspect of writing excites you the most?

New ideas and watching those ideas come to fruition. There isn't anything I dislike about writing; even editing births new ideas and skills.

If you could slip away for a few months to do nothing but write, where you would go?

Either California or Arkansas...your brow is lifting! Many of my stories take place in California and I've NEVER been there but always wanted to. One of my most touching stories (called 'She Only Speaks to Butterflies' - not yet published) takes place in a town within Arkansas, and I would love to visit to see if I wrote true to form. 

Can you tell us about your latest release?

Don't Mess With Daddy's Girl is a romantic suspense, and the second in a series. The book is a stand-alone novel just like the others, so if you read one you won't have missed anything. This is a story about Jessica, who is the Chief of Police's daughter, and her stock-broker boyfriend Michael. They bicker over one of his stocks, Saigon, Jessica's plight being that he seems to care more about Saigon than her. Michael gets the chance to prove his love for Jessica when she is suddenly kidnapped at a family wedding. Shockingly, once the Chief of Police begins digging into clues, he learns that his daughter's kidnapper is linked to Michael.

Stealing verbatim from one of the reviews, "The story truly has all the makings of a made for TV crime drama." That is a poignant way to describe this book. I'm a huge fan of the TV shows, Criminal Minds and Murdoch Mysteries, and much of the twists in my work are inspired from the mechanics of these particular shows.

What are you currently working on?

On my desk right now is a very touching, dramatic story about a young actress who, in her youth, falls in love with an actor, and later seeks him out. But when he falls in love and marries her, he doesn't marry the real her; just a sanitized version. After she's involved in a near-fatal plane crash, he learns who she really is, as she remains comatose in the hospital. The book is to be called, Would You Still Love Me?

When you're not writing, what do you like to do?

My children are my life. Before I became a writer I was a stay-at-home mom, and in fact, my kids, as mentioned earlier, are what inspired me to write, No Thanks, Mommy, I Peed Yesterday. Both my girls have an incredible sense of humour and adventure...no idea where they got it from ;)

It's been a joy having you here, Sandy! Your books sound incredible. Best wishes with your writing and your career.

If you'd like to follow Sandy, you can find her here:

Website:  www.sandyappleyard.com

Blog:  www.sandyappleyard.com/posts/

Twitter:  www.twitter.com/sandyappleyard

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/wordscanexpress

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5757155.Sandy_Appleyard

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sandy-Appleyard/e/B00AMRFW6S

LinkedIn:  http://ca.linkedin.com/pub/sandy-appleyard/52/19a/256/

Lisette Brodey and Desert Star!

Welcome to my blog, Lisette! It's been a while since you've been here so catch us up to what's going on in your world!

Lisette Brodey

Hi, Jan,

Thanks so much for having me as a guest on your blog again. First, congratulations on your latest book, Taming Tori, in the Texas Boys Falling Fast series.

Aside from writing, I'm always busy at my writers' chateau. I've interviewed some fabulous authors of books in various genres, and a few of them have written some interesting guest blogs. I enjoy the in-depth conversations I have with both indie and mainstream authors about writing, research, publishing, promotion, creativity, and life in general.

You've just released book #2 in your Desert series. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

Desert Star is book 2 in my YA paranormal trilogy. Like book 1, Mystical High, it is set in Mystekal, a small town in the southern California desert. As in all of my books, there is more than just one story going on, though each enhances the other. For the sake of brevity, I can tell you that the main story is that of Larsen Davis, a 17-y/o senior who is not only being bullied at school for being gay, but also at home by his own mother, Raylene. When classmate River Dalworth witnesses the abuse and intervenes, the two seniors become good friends.

When Larsen meets River's mother, Arielle, and learns she is overseeing the renovation of the Desert Theater, he shares his dream for a career on stage. Soon, Arielle offers Larsen a job as her assistant, but his mother, Raylene, is dead set against the idea of her son doing what she considers "gay work." After Raylene gets a new boyfriend, Reggie, the bad situation at home worsens and Larsen has no choice but to leave.

Now working at the Desert Theater, Larsen feels the unearthly presence of someone in the long-abandoned theater. Meanwhile, as the theater nears completion, a talent show is scheduled for opening night. As it becomes more evident that the theater may have a ghost, it also comes to light that someone may be sabotaging the renovation and the show. Is the ghost real or just the handiwork of someone with a grudge?

Opening night at the Desert Theater sets the stage for a crime, never-imagined reunions, long-awaited explanations, and otherworldly miracles.


     River was just leaving school for the day when Gina caught up to him. "Hi there, River."

     "Oh, hi, Gina."

     "I was just wondering..."

     "What? If I'm as good-looking close up as I am from a distance?"

     Gina giggled. "Well, maybe."

     Just as River was about to respond, Larsen appeared at his side. "Sorry to interrupt. I was wondering if I could speak to you for a minute. Before you head home."

     Gina looked disappointed. "Guess I'll talk to you another time, River."

     "Sure thing." River turned to Larsen as Gina walked away. "Let's go outside and hang a left. I think they spray for bullies there."

     "Ha! I think they do. Thanks, Riv."

     As soon as they walked around to the side of the school, Larsen leaned against the wall and exhaled. "Man, it's been a bad day."

     "I'm really sorry about Jax and Antonio."

     "They cornered me right after Ms. Carrow's class."

     "Sucks, dude. Sorry I wasn't there."

     "Listen, River. I wanted to thank you for standing up for me. People rarely do. I wasn't so sure Jax wasn't going to punch you out."

     "I wasn't worried."

     "I really appreciate what you did. I just don't want you to get caught up in my nightmare."

     River shook his head. "No. It's everyone's nightmare when nobody stops bullies."

     "I sure wish more people felt like you did. Wish they had your courage. I should be able to stop them without any help."

     "Reinhardt's a big guy. Antonio is a body builder. We all need a little help now and then. Just try to go home and chillax."

     Larsen looked down and kicked the dirt. "Home. That's a joke. I'm gonna tell you something, Riv, because I know I can trust you." 

     "You can. What's up?"

     "Let's just say that being at school is better than being at home most of the time. And considering I've got two jerks bullying me, that doesn't say much, does it?"

      River looked dumbfounded. "School is better than home? What's going on?"

     "I've got a mother who's the biggest bully of them all."

     "Your mom bullies you for being gay?"

     "That's about right."

Mystical High - Book #1 in the Desert series

Are you working on book #3 in the series? Care to share a few tidbits?

Yes, I am. I'm notoriously closemouthed in talking about details of my novels that aren't finished or published, but I can tell you that book 3 will be the most romance-oriented book of the series.

With the publishing world recreating itself, as a seasoned author, do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring authors?

Well, Jan, there's a lot I could say on this topic, but I'll just keep it to three pieces of advice.

1.  Write what you are passionate about, not what someone else tells you could be a "hot seller."

2.  Take your time to write and rewrite. If you rush to self-publish or prematurely submit to an agent, you'll regret it. Very likely, you wouldn't take a half-cooked meal out of the oven before it was finished just because you were hungry so don't do the same with your book.

3.  Have your book professionally edited. That said, anyone can call him or herself an editor and not have the skills to back it up. Be sure to read something that person has edited and have a small bit of your work edited so that you can see if it's a good match. Check out the person's credentials carefully. Simply having a friend or family member who is "good with English" isn't the same thing as having a qualified, experienced editor.

Thanks again for having me as your guest, Jan. It's been great!

It's always a joy to have you here, Lisette! Come back anytime.

Lisette's writing buddy, Bentley! 

You can follow Lisette here...

Website:  www.LisetteBrodey.com

Twitter:  twitter.com/LisetteBrodey

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

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2774659.Lisette_Brodey?from_search=true

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Lisette-Brodey/e/B002TBELOY/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Monday, November 24, 2014


I'm so tickled and honored to be part of The Wild Rose Press's Twelve Brides of Christmas series!!

My part of the series is titled, BIG ON CHRISTMAS!!

Here's the blurb:

Born to free-spirited, convention-shucking parents, Cassie Newman thirsts for normal. Leaving L.A. with a secret, she finds herself in Woodstock, Vermont - a town rich with Christmas tradition. She's not big on Christmas but Woodstock feels like the perfect fit. Landing a job with Stennett's Hardware, she tries to forget the world she knew, but Luke Stennett's small-town charm makes her even more aware of the life she never had.

Luke Stennett has his hands full with running the store and caring for his dad. He's attracted to Cassie but he doesn't have time for a relationship. Things are starting to go right but he harbors a secret of his own that has the potential to turn everything upside down. 

Once their secrets are revealed, will it kill the chemistry and send Cassie back to L.A.? Or will she fight for her happiness and stay firmly planted in a place big on Christmas?

To celebrate, I'm giving away some prizes.  Everyone is eligible to participate. All you have to do to be entered in the drawings is to leave a comment below. Winning names will be drawn on Wednesday morning (Nov. 26th) at 9:00 a.m. (EST) 

Here are the prizes to be given away: 

2 - $10 Amazon Gift cards
2 - Necklaces that I bought in Tennessee this summer especially for this drawing
1 - Sonomo Necklace
1 - Origami Necklace

* Every winner will also get a box of chai tea. Why? Because I'm silly that way and because my heroine in the story, Cassie Newman, drinks chai.

Good luck to all of you!



Friday, November 7, 2014

Sugar's Faith - Book #4 in the Sugar series - by Katie Mettner

When Sugar's Dance released three years ago today it was a story about faith, hope and love. Three years and three books later I ask the question in Sugar's Faith, "Faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is....?". I used to think it was love, but after journeying with Sugar through these four books I know for sure the verse should read, "Hope, love and faith, but the greatest of these is hope and faith, for without them there can be no love." It doesn't have a great flow to it, so I'm pretty sure it won't catch on. You see, Sugar has taught me that without hope there is no love, and without faith there is neither hope nor love. After spending three years of my life with Sugar I can tell you without a doubt in my mind I wouldn't be the person I am today without her. Sugar will always be part of me and I hope after you've read her story, she will remain in your heart for years to come.   

Oh, look, an antique store.” She pointed and I held the door for her. We stepped inside and I waved at the clerk behind the old wooden counter.
“Donovan Walsh! Howya?” She called, coming around the counter.
I had to look twice, but then recognized her. “Hello, Aileen. It’s been a long, long time. Howya? Are you still with Darcy?” I asked, giving her a short hug.
She looked a bit sheepish, but nodded. “We’ve been married for almost fourteen years now and have two little ones.”
“I guess it was meant to be then. Aileen, this is my wife, Tula.” I introduced them and Tula shook her hand.
“It’s nice to meet one of Van’s friends from his childhood. You have a lovely shop here.” Tula said motioning around and Aileen glowed.
“Thank you. It’s my pride and joy. Take your time and look around. Let me know if you have any questions.” She said, heading back to the counter to answer the ringing phone.
Tula turned and raised a brow at me before pulling me behind a tall dresser. “I need a sweater.”
“Are you cold?” I asked surprised.
“Yeah, it got chilly in here when your eyes met hers. What’s the story?” She asked, hand on hip.
I kissed her, just a short peck, and then looked around the tall set of drawers before answering. “That’s the girl who decided to go to the beach with the captain of the football team, rather than my grandmother’s funeral.”
Her eyes got wide and she put her hand over her mouth. “Oh, I’m sorry. Let’s go.” She said taking my hand, but I kept my feet planted.
“No, we don’t have to leave. She has no consequence in my life, Tula. If anything, she did me a favor. If I had stayed with her, look what I would have missed out on.” I said, kissing her longer this time and convincing her tongue to play a little.
Finally she broke away and snickered a little. “If you’re sure, because I would love to look around. I want to bring some things back for everyone. Something that would mean something to them, you know what I mean?”
I nodded. “I understand. Lillie and I did the same thing when we came over, but we only picked up things for ourselves. We didn’t have anyone else to think about then. It’s probably a good thing we have our own plane this time.” I winked and she clapped her hands.
“Oh I forgot. That’s right, we can buy whatever we want. Come on.” She grabbed my hand and we searched through all the nooks and crannies in the store. Tula stopped in front of a small basket and picked up a handkerchief.
“What’s this, Van?” She asked, turning to me with it in her hand.
“Oh, darling, it would be you that would find these.” I took it from her hand and held it in my open palm. “These are Irish handkerchiefs. Watch.” I laid it down on the table and pulled the ribbon, tying it in a bow and then putting my fist inside, turning it so she understood.
“It’s a baby bonnet.” She sighed and I nodded, transforming it back to a handkerchief.
“It’s a tradition to give a new mother a handkerchief like this when she’s expecting. The hat is used for the baby’s christening and then saved as a family heirloom. It’s a great tradition, luck o’ the Irish and all that.”
She took the cloth from my hand and held it to her chest. “I think we need four.” She whispered, taking time to pick out more from the basket.
“Four?” I asked. “We only need two, you and Lillie.”
She turned and had a smile on her face and tears in her eyes. “One for Lillie and me, one for Julie because I know Brent will not be their only baby, and one for Ava. She could use a little luck o’ the Irish right now.” She said her chin quivering.
When our godson Matthew was born to our friends Ava and Justin a few weeks ago he was missing his left foot. Tula felt an instant connection to him and hasn’t stopped worrying about him since.
“He’s going to be okay, sweetheart. Ava and Justin are taking him to see the specialist, and you know they won’t do anything until they talk to you.”
“I keep telling myself that, but he has a very special place in my heart. I know what he’s going to go through. I don’t want him, or Ava and Justin, to have to go through it, but I know it’s for the best.” She said, holding the handkerchief to her chest.
I pulled her into a hug, certain that the pregnancy hormones were having a firm effect on her usual, we can overcome anything, kind of attitude. “He’s got two loving parents, and Trey and Grant who are wonderful caregivers. Best of all he has you, someone he can come to when he needs to talk to someone else who understands. If you ask me, he’s an incredibly lucky little boy.” I took the handkerchiefs from her and laid the one for Matthew on the top. “But, I think Ava would love to have this beautiful gift.”
“Me too.” She finally said and I rubbed her back as she got herself back under control. “What was her name?” She asked pointing to the front desk.
“Aileen.” I answered and she approached the desk, the handkerchiefs in her hands.
“You have a beautiful shop, Aileen. I was wondering, do you have any lace? I need some to make crib bedding with.” She explained and Aileen’s eyes grew in size while my wife rubbed her tummy. I fought to keep a straight face, which wasn’t easy.
“Congratulations.” She choked out, “But no, I don’t. Kyna might have some at her quilting shop, if you want to stop in.”
Tula smiled brightly and laid the handkerchiefs on the counter. “Thank you, we’ll head there next. I’ll take these for now.”
I stood there, rocking on my heels and grinning. God, don’t ever let her change. She is mine and she is wonderful, I prayed.
She took the bag off the counter and waved to Aileen, joining me where I stood holding the door open. I slipped my arm around her waist, “You’re naughty.” I whispered in her ear. “And I love it.”

My Review:

When Katie Mettner writes a series, each book is easily a stand alone as well. She never leaves anything untied or unfinished. However, Katie leaves a trail of bread crumbs that hint there may be more to come. When I found out she was writing a fourth book in the series, I wondered what she could possibly put Tula "Sugar" and Donovan "Van" Walsh through, that she hadn't already done. Trust me, she puts her characters through a ton of stuff.

I eagerly began to read Sugar's Faith and was drawn into the love and chaos that is unique to Sugar and Van.

There are so many things I want to say about what happens in this story, but I fear I'll give too much away. Katie puts Van through the ringer with the pains of his past. In doing so, Sugar goes through the ringer too. There were times when their world was crashing down around them and I wondered if their love would survive. I wanted to take Van and give him a good shake; to tell him he's messing things up. The author has a knack for drawing raw emotion from her characters, and from her readers. I was on the brink of tears a few times. Of course, there are some fun scenes to break up the angst.

Katie effectively breathed life into Sugar who is an amputee, because she's literally walked in Sugar's shoes as an amputee herself. The issues and struggles come through crystal clear and Katie courageously shared another reality, other than physical and mental, that amputees have to deal with: devotees. You will have to read the book to understand what and who they are. I was shocked, to say the least. 

Along with the chaos and trials of strength in this story, there is a lot of joy; especially when the story comes together completely at the end. I truly feel that Sugar's Faith is Katie Mettner's best book yet. 

About The Author:

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.

Find all of Katie's books on Amazon!

Follow Katie:
Twitter: @KatieMettner
Google+: Google +

An interview with Carol Rose!

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming author Carol Rose to my blog! 

When I was preparing the information for this post, I sent Carol a note telling her that when I read her bio on Amazon I discovered she'd written twenty books, has a family, works as a therapist, and is an active member in her local chapter of Romance Writers of America. I asked how she juggles all that and maintains her sanity. I received a clever response:

Jan, let's not assume I'm sane.

LOL love it! That immediately told me Carol and I would get along just fine!

On with the interview...

Carol, can you explain a little bit about your writing style?

I always struggle to answer this because I don't have much consciousness of my style. Readers have given me everything from extravagant praise to outright indignation. Thankfully, most fall toward the more appreciative side.

You have some different and interesting titles for your books. (Here are a few: Roy's Rent-A-Hubby, Momentary Marriage, Always, The Favored One, Forgotten Father, and many more) Does naming your stories come easy?

Titles can be easy and automatic or very difficult. The writing, however, is kind of like breathing for me. Plotting is a different kettle of fish. I have to work at that.

Are there any specific messages or topics you like to write about?

While I can enjoy reading other romance genres, I really love writing about real life people dealing with real life relationships and making these work. It's kind of my thing.

If your muse gets stuck, how do you get it going again?

I watch movies, read books and take naps -- that is, I stop trying so hard.

Is there one aspect of writing you find particularly challenging and have to power through?

It's silly, but I have to make myself power through the last chapter of books. Also, action scenes can take specific effort?

Tell us something, non-writing related, that you've always wanted to do.

Live for six months in New York City. I don't want to stay there forever (I like driving too much), but I love the city.

Are you busy working on a story or do you have book #21 coming out soon?

My most recent release is Thankfully Yours (Holiday Romance Series, #3). I'm currently finishing up, Smooched -- the first in my Blue Collar Boys series. This is Case's story. The guys do architectural salvage, which fascinates me. I'm looking to release the first three books in the series next fall. 

Thanks for being here today, Carol! Come back anytime.

If you'd like to catch up with Carol and her incredible books, she can be found at these locations:

Website - www.CarolRoseBooks.com

Twitter - @CarolRoseBooks

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/carol.rose.author

Amazon Author page - http://www.amazon.com/Carol-Rose/e/B001KI1OVA/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1415382859&sr=8-2-ent