Thursday, December 31, 2015

A glass of white year in review!

The house is quiet. I have the Best of the Temptations playing in the CD player. At my fingertips (besides my keyboard) is a glass of white Merlot. I'm feeling especially sentimental right now as I reflect on how things went in 2015.  

Sipping my wine, I find myself smiling. Things didn't go exactly according to plan; they seldom do. But it was a good year nonetheless. I finished my Texas Boys Falling Fast series with NOT WITHOUT NANCY. I've had a few requests to write Sam Bright's story. He's the bartender friend throughout all four books. I'm seriously considering breathing life into Sam and adding book #5 to the series. I have a tiny seed of an idea planted in my brain for his story. We'll see if it sprouts.

(Cover art for books by Tugboat Design - 4 book graphic by Lisette Brodey)

This year I took a risk with my first women's fiction story: NO SWEAT PANTS ALLOWED - WINE CLUB. It got mixed reviews. Some readers could relate to the 4 women in the book - Elaina, Tawny, Grace, and Steph. Others thought their moving in together to deal with their new circumstances (finding themselves in their 40's and suddenly single), was a bit unrealistic. I'm proud of this book. It made me laugh a lot while writing it. There were some heart-wrenching moments as well. The title may sound a little off-putting, but for those who haven't read the story, you might change your opinion when you realize how the title came to be.

(Cover art for book by Tugboat Design - Graphic with corks by Lisette Brodey)

I was asked early in the year to be part of the Magical Weddings boxset. It was a great experience. I met some sweet authors and had fun writing my part of the set - LOVING LINDY.

(Cover art for Loving Lindy was by Tugboat Design)

At the end of July, I attended my first writer's conference in four years - Indie Book Fest in Orlando. I'm not going to lie, I was a little nervous. I didn't know any of the authors. I'd said an occasional hello or commented on some of their posts on the IBF Facebook page. To my joy, everyone at the conference was so welcoming and sweet. I learned a lot while there, stepped out of my comfort zone, and made some great friends. I'm attending again in 2016.

Speaking of stepping out of my comfort zone, I did something new regarding book signings - I sought a new venue in craft and vendor fairs. As it was my first time, I wasn't sure what to expect (i.e. how much traffic would come through, would folks actually stop and talk and be interested in my books, etc.). I'm happy to report that the 4 fairs I took part in was a complete success!! I met some terrific people, signed a lot of books, and realized how many local folks love to read and discuss books!!

I'm happy to share that I finished writing WILD GOOSE CHASE in November and signed a contract with The Wild Rose Press for it to be published sometime in 2016. I've had a peek of the cover art but I have to keep it under wraps until a later date.

2015 wasn't all rainbows and roses, but mostly, it was incredible!

I want to extend a great big THANK YOU to my family, friends, neighbors, everyone I've met on Facebook and Twitter and at book signings. I'm glad you're a part of my life!! ♥

May 2016 be filled with peace and love for all of us!!


Thursday, November 19, 2015

DRAWN APART - Book #3 in Lisette Brodey's Desert series

It’s a pleasure to welcome friend and author, Lisette Brodey, to my blog with the newest addition to her Desert Series – book #3 – DRAWN APART.

Before we get to the particulars of this incredible work of heart, let me introduce you to the woman behind the book.

Lisette was born and raised in Pennsylvania. After high school, she moved to New York City where she attended Pace University and studied drama. After ten years in New York, several of them working in the radio industry, she moved to Los Angeles where she held various positions at Paramount Studios in Hollywood and CBS Studio Center in Studio City, CA. Back on the East Coast, she worked for many years as a freelance writer, specializing in PR and the entertainment industry. In 2010, she returned permanently to the Los Angeles area.

She’s the author of six novels: Crooked Moon (General/Literary Fiction); Squalor, New Mexico (Coming-of-Age/Literary Fiction); Molly Hacker Is Too Picky! (Women's Fiction/Chick-lit), and The Desert Series (Mystical High; Desert Star; and Drawn Apart).

In addition to her six novels, two of Lisette’s short stories are published in an anthology: Triptychs (Book 3, The Mind’s Eye Series.)

In January 2013, Lisette edited and published a book of her mother's poetry (written 50 years earlier): My Way To Anywhere by Jean Lisette Brodey.

Lisette blogs, hosts guest bloggers, and interviews fellow authors on a weekly basis at her Writer’s Chateau.

Now that we know a little more about Lisette, on with the interview…

Q: Lisette, can you tell us a little bit about the three books in The Desert Series (book #1 - Mystical High, book #2 – Desert Star, book #3 – Drawn Apart)? The theme? Although there are three novels, can they be read as standalone books? Cliffhangers?  

A: Hi, Jan. Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog.

The Desert Series takes place over a span of six years in a town called Mystekal in the Southern California desert. One of the lines I use to describe the series is this: It all began in a dying desert town when the past came back to join the present.

All the books work as standalone novels and there are no cliffhangers. It’s really important to me to give readers a satisfying ending to every book. However, because it is a series, the stories feature the same characters, though new ones take center stage in each book. There is a span of approximately two years’ time between each book, and thus I feature the recurring characters to reflect their maturity and personal growth. For this reason, many of the stories within each novel are more poignant and meaningful to those who have read the previous books.

Q: The series is YA paranormal. Care to share a little of each paranormal element within each book?

A:  Well, I don’t want to give too much away, but I can tell you that there are new paranormal elements in every book. Everything starts in Mystical High, when sudden paranormal activity begins both at Mystekal High (dubbed “Mystical High”) and around the town. The two main characters in this book, Jessie and Jinxsy, are best friends. Each girl is going through her own family problems when seemingly random and bizarre incidents begin to happen. After a string of shocking events expose explosive secrets, the answers to decades-long mysteries are revealed.

Desert Star features River Dalworth, who makes his debut in Mystical High as Jessie’s younger brother. River is brilliant, funny, and a talented artist. Confession: he was my very favorite character to write. River is now a senior at Mystekal High. As the book opens, he steps in to defend a new student, Larsen Davis, who is being bullied by two other seniors for being gay. Larsen is grateful to River and confides in him that the biggest bully is the one at home—his mother.

Eventually, Larsen goes to work for River’s mother, Arielle, who is in charge of renovating The Desert Theater. I don’t want to give too much away, but I’ll just tell you that a lot begins to happen as Larsen finds his way in the theater that has been abandoned for 40 years. Opening night at the Desert Theater sets the stage for a crime, never-imagined reunions, long-awaited explanations, and otherworldly miracles.

In the final book, Drawn Apart, there is a very different tone. One of the main characters is Avalon Martelli, a student from Jersey City, NJ who was introduced in Desert Star. Avalon’s entire family now lives in Mystekal. A senior, Avalon is only weeks away from graduation when her best friend, Stephanie Lambert, is rendered unconscious and unresponsive after a car accident. Stephanie, a self-proclaimed “hopeless romantic” and “poetry geek” is forever talking about finding her soul mate. As she lies comatose in the hospital, Stephanie’s mom and friends pray for a miracle. Avalon knows her best friend would never die without meeting her soul mate.

Q: I love the title for book #3 – DRAWN APART. It’s unique and stirs curiosity. Would you tell us about the motivation for this book?

A: Thank you, Jan.

For the third book in the series, I wanted to do something very different. I wanted to introduce parallel elements that are not present in the two previous books. I also wanted the last book to be centered on romance. The title, Drawn Apart, actually has two meanings. I’d love to say more but … just can’t give too much away!

Q: We want the readers to feel what’s happening in our stories, but when we’re writing them, they stir lots of emotions in us as our characters develop and the plot thickens. When you were writing DRAWN APART, what kind of emotions did you go through?

A: Oh my goodness, Jan. What a tough question! This book was very emotional to write. The series became more heartfelt and personal to me as it progressed. While I can’t get into detail about it all, throughout the writing of the entire series, so many bizarre events in my own life mirrored the ones I was writing about. Just so many strange things happened.

For one, while I was writing Desert Star, a friend and I drove from Los Angeles (where I live) to the desert area around Palm Springs. Though it seemed like looking for a needle in a haystack, we were hoping to find an old desert town with an abandoned theater. I wanted to get a photo of one to use on the back of my book.

Well, imagine our surprise when the first thing we saw in the first old town we visited was an abandoned theater, looking exactly like the one I was writing about. Not only was the theater abandoned, but the entire block was, too. Looking at the photo, one might think I found it and wrote a story around it. But no, it was the other way around: I was writing the story and found the theater. But maybe I should say that the theater found me.

Anyway, that’s one of many things that happened. It’s been quite an emotional time.

Q: I’m in awe of authors who write in multiple genres. You’re one of those authors. Could you share a little bit about why you choose to write in more than one genre?

A: For the most part, I never chose to write in different genres per se. I only chose to write stories that happened to fall into different genres. The first novel I wrote was Squalor, New Mexico, a 1970s coming-of-age story shrouded in family secrets. (This novel, by the way, takes place in East Coast suburbia, not New Mexico.) The odd title is explained on page one.

After writing Squalor, New Mexico, I was stunned to learn that I had written a novel that was classified as YA. Technically, I suppose it is, as the main characters are teens, but that never entered my mind when I wrote it. For the purpose of promotion, I classify it as Coming-of-Age/Literary Fiction. Also, while many young readers have enjoyed it, I believe the book’s biggest fans are ones who grew up in the pre-technology age.

Crooked Moon, an emotional story about two childhood friends reuniting, again, was simple a story I wanted to tell. Friendship is a theme that is very important to me, and an integral part of every novel I have ever written. This novel has been classified as literary fiction/women’s fiction. Again, the genre labels bother me because in no way is this a book for women only.

Molly Hacker Is Too Picky! is the only book that I wrote specifically for a particular genre. Every time I’d walk into a bookstore (remember those?), the preponderant number of titles on the New Releases table was always chick lit/women’s fiction. And so, I chose to write a romantic comedy. It was great fun and I love Molly and her friends. However, despite it being a well-received book, it’s doubtful that I’ll write in this genre again.

Additionally, I did something for this book I haven’t done for any others. I blogged as Molly for eight months and, because the character is a newspaper reporter, I interviewed all types of creative people as Molly, too. Readers can get to know Molly via her blogs at:

Q: You’ve given us a bit about all three books in the Desert series. Tell us specifically about DRAWN APART? What would you like us to take away from the story? Can you tell us about the ease or difficulty in wrapping up the series?

A: I think the most profound message in DRAWN APART is that much in life is not always as we perceive it to be. It is like a multi-faceted gemstone, and we don’t always see all sides of it at one glance.

I felt a great deal of sadness wrapping up the series. I’ll really miss the characters, but they’ll live on in my mind where I will create futures for them. But another part of me is excited to go back to the literary fiction genre and move on.

Q: Would you whet our appetite for DRAWN APART with the blurb and an excerpt from the story?

A: Sure, Jan. Thank you.


When Avalon Martelli and Stephanie Lambert meet at the start of their junior year at Mystekal High, they form an instant connection. Stephanie is from South Jersey and Avalon from North Jersey, and they both feel out of place in the Southern California desert. Aside from having a home state in common, they each possess a talent for art and the heartbreak of a broken family. Avalon has the gift of sight, where the future is sometimes revealed in her paintings, while Stephanie’s drawings are all about forever love. As Stephanie, a self-described poetry geek and hopeless romantic, talks about past lives and eternal happiness, Avalon denies she’s in love with her best guy friend, River Dalworth, who is attending art school in Los Angeles. Only weeks before graduation, Stephanie is in a car accident and falls into a coma. Devastated, Avalon believes it is all her fault. The night before, she had painted Stephanie with her head against the steering wheel—and hadn’t told her. She confides this to River, who has come home to be with her, but he can’t convince her she’s not to blame. Avalon loudly proclaims to the universe that she no longer wants her gift, but River warns her she may receive another one in its place. Avalon and her family, along with Stephanie’s mother, pray for a miracle. River tries to console her, but she finds his presence difficult, knowing he has someone else who “just might be the one.” Trying to push her own pain and disappointment aside, Avalon keeps vigil for her best friend, hoping that Stephanie will wake up and have her greatest wish fulfilled— the meeting of her soul mate.


“Freakin’ A!” Avalon winced as she tugged on a strand of her long green-and-blue hair stuck inside the door of her locker.

“Hey, are you okay?” Seeing Avalon’s awkward position, the stranger standing beside her realized what had happened and put her backpack on the floor. “Oh, no; you closed your locker on your hair!”

With her head cocked awkwardly to the left, Avalon looked at the girl she had never seen before. “Am I a dummy or what? Yeah, this is what I get for having long hair and not paying attention. Not exactly the coolest thing to do. I just don’t want anyone to see me like this. It doesn’t take much to give some people a reason to mess with you, you know?”

The girl smiled and moved closer, holding the ends of her own long hair in her hands. “See this hair? I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t been traumatized a few times. One time, about three years ago, it got stuck in the car door, and I didn’t realize it until we were at an intersection, and some guy started honking and pointing to my hair while he and his friends were cracking up. That was fun—not. My mom was driving and even she was in stitches. Nice, huh?”

Avalon laughed. “That’s a funny story. At least you could drive away and never see them again, right? These kids will just stay put and torture you.”

The girl glanced down the hall at the other students. “No worries. I’m going to stand right here and block their view. Just open the locker and pull your hair out. I promise, it’ll be our secret forever.”

Avalon quickly turned her combination lock, successfully getting her hair released from the locker’s grip. “You’re okay. Thanks. Are you new here? Are you a junior, too?”

“Yes and yes. I’m Stephanie Lambert, and you are so not from California with that accent.”

“Nope. I’m Avalon Martelli, and you’re so right. And you’re not from California, either.”

Stephanie giggled and scratched her head with a smile. “Hmm. I’m guessing New York.”

“Pretty much so. Jersey City. Right across the Hudson. And you?”

“South Jersey. Cherry Hill.”

Avalon leaned against her locker. “Nice to meet you, South. So, what brings you to Mystekal? This is a weird place to move to. You’ve got to have a story, right?”

“Sure do, North. Wish it were a nicer one.”

“Oh, sorry. I didn’t mean to pry.”

“You’re not. I don’t mind telling you. Maybe it’s because I feel like I know you. Anyway, the short and not-so-sweet story goes like this: my dad went to Paris on a business trip and never came home. Met some young French chick who loved on his … well, you get my drift, turned into a prick, and with one big kick … left my mom and me at the curb. Then he put up a sign, ‘Do not disturb.’”

“That sucks, but you’re funny. Do you always talk so poetically?”

“Only when I feel comfortable with the person I’m talking to. I really love poetry, but I don’t tell many people that. And just for the record, I don’t consider what I just spit out to be poetry; it was plain old rhyming. I have better taste than that and way more respect for poets.” She paused and looked curiously at Avalon. “I gotta tell you, it’s just weird, but I really do feel like I know you.”

Q: Now that you’ve completed the series, where will your muse take you next?

A: My next novel will be a story that is very dear to my heart. It began as an unfinished short story that I starting writing at age 17. Over the years, it became a one-act play and then a two-act play. I know the characters very well and it’s about time that they find their way into a novel. It’s a very character-driven story and is in the literary fiction genre. I’m 27K words into the book and can’t wait to get back to it.

Also, I’m slowly working on a book of short stories which all take place in the same location.  

If you’d like to follow Lisette and her writing career, you can find her here:

Blog: Lisette's Writer's Chateau -

*Hit the ‘follow’ button on her Amazon page while you’re there*

You can also hit the ‘follow’ button on Lisette’s website, too.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Brides of Christmas: Volume One

The Wild Rose Press has done something sweet for Christmas this year with the Twelve Brides of Christmas series - they've taken the twelve individual stories and divided them into four volumes with three stories in each.  

The Twelve Brides of Christmas series is loosely based on the English Christmas carol the Twelve Days of Christmas. Each author was given a day from the song and wrote a story pertaining to that day. 

For volume one:

Jan Romes - Big on Christmas (Partridge in a pear tree)

Barbara Edwards - Late for the Wedding (Two turtle doves)

Fleeta Cunningham - Till the World is Safe For Dreams (Three French hens)

Blurb for Big on Christmas:

     Cassie New left L.A. with a secret and finds herself in Woodstock, VT - a town rich with Christmas tradition. She tries to forget the world she knew but the small-town charm makes her even more aware of the life she never had.
     Luke Stennett doesn't have time for relationships. Things are starting to go right but he has a secret of his own that could possibly 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?

Blurb for Late for the Wedding:

     Despite an impending nor'easter, Heather Green sets out for her twin sister's wedding with the dress, cake, and favors. As the snow piles up, she wrecks her car in an accident.
     Driving a tow truck, Nicholas Burnes has the task of helping Heather. When the storm closes the roads he ends up offering her shelter. Warm and rested, Nick and Heather explore their attraction for each other, only to part when he delivers her to her sister's wedding. But weddings breed weddings...

Blurb for Till the World is Safe for Dreams:

     Dreams were put on hold when the bombs hit Pearl Harbor, including Kay and Jeremy's wedding plans. Now he's half a world away, and Kay is spending her days in a war plant, forging bonds with other women who worry and wait. Then she receives news that Jeremy has life threatening injuries. Will he come back? If he does, will he be the same? Will the world ever be safe for dreams?

If any of these stories sound like something that might touch your heart, you can find Volume One here: 

The Wild Rose Press


Barnes and Noble

*Volumes 2, 3, & 4 will soon be released to add to the collection* 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Even a "Meh" can be good!

Regarding leaving a book review...

I'm on quite a few writing loops and one thing comes up often - the lack of book reviews. My take on the subject is that many readers don't wish to leave a review because it makes them feel like they're back in school and they have to write a book report. A few readers are happy to share what they liked, didn't like, what worked, what needed some depth, which emotions (if any) the author was able to draw from them with the story. That's wonderful feedback! Reviews don't have to be long. They can be a few words. Regardless of length, each review is as good as gold - even the ones that say the story was "Meh!" Yep! Even the not-so-good reviews help an author. They keep us grounded and possibly make us a better writer in the long run.

Regarding the rating given to a book... 

As a reader, do you only navigate to stories that have four or five star ratings? I don't. I consider books to be like movies when it comes to ratings. Some movies that are ripped to shreds by film critics, I find enjoyable. On the flip side, some films given two-thumbs up, aren't my cup of tea. The same goes for books. I read the blurb and sometimes an excerpt before I choose to read or not read.

Regarding well-known authors...

A certain author (who shall remain nameless) had and is still having quite a bit of success with what has been called mommy-porn. If you look at the reviews and ratings for her trilogy - both good and bad - the numbers will blow you away. Did the number of reviews play a huge part in her success. Yeah, buddy, they did! 

If you're not comfortable leaving a review under your name (and that's fine if you're not)...

Did you know you can change your screen name in Amazon to leave a review simply as an Amazon Customer or other name of your choosing? You surely can. When you're in your Amazon account, click the review button. At the top right hand corner you'll get the option to change your name. Again, if posting anonymously is how you'd rather do it, we're good with that.

This may sound corny but...

YOU have magic in your fingertips! Make good things happen for the authors who try their best to help you escape reality with their hard work!


Muahhhhhh! (You've been blog-kissed!) 



Friday, August 28, 2015

An interview with author and Duke University professor, Julie Tetel Andresen

It's my pleasure to welcome Julie Tetel Andresen to my blog!

I asked Julie five questions. Before we get to them and to her answers, I wanted to share a bit about this multi-talented author:

Julie has written about language and love for more than 20 years. A professor of linguistics at Duke University, she's also written more than twenty romance novels and novellas. Before moving to publish exclusively on the Amazon Kindle library, she was published by Fawcett Crest, Warner Books and Harlequin. Her novels cross many sub-genres of romance, including mystery, contemporary, BDSM, motorcycle club, and historicals.

Julie loves to travel, and has lived for extended periods in Germany, France, Romania, Vietnam, and Mongolia. As a child, she had a passion for playing the piano, and transferred that passion as an adult into writing romance novels and scholarly books about language. For Julie, writing essays in foreign languages is like playing scales and arpeggios as a warm-up exercise for writing in English.

Now that I've given you a insight into who Julie is, it's interview time.

Your love for the written word and language is apparent in the number of books you've written and also that your day job is a professor of linguistics at Duke University. When did you discover this incredible passion?

My passion for language goes all the way back to when I was five years old. I shared a room with my sister, and at night, when we went to bed, I would tell her all the new words I had made up that day. Then, somewhere along the way, I discovered there were languages with the words already made up, and I thought that was marvelous. I didn't have to invent new words anymore. I could just go learn other languages!

My favorite book as a kid was Dr. Seuss's On Beyond Zebra. I still love different alphabets. The most intriguing is Georgian. Last year when I did an around-the-world trip, I made sure to stop in Tbilisi, Georgia mostly to see the signage in the streets (as well as the Great Caucasus mountains to the east). I wasn't disappointed.

As a multi-genre author, do you find one genre easier to write? Which one is the most difficult?

No genre is easy to write, although I think some authors have good ears for particular ones, such as the Regency, and they stick with that. In my case, I've been eclectic and have made my way through the various subgenres of Romance, tuning my ear to their different melodies.

I liken myself to the Rolling Stones who I've always admired for trying their hand at all the subgenres of rock: anthem, ballad, hard, blues, honky-tonk. They even did disco.

So I've written: Americana, BDSM, contemporary, Motorcycle Club, medieval, MMA, paranormal, Regencies, Scottish Highlands, along with a Western. I've even written a historical murder mystery romance (Suspicious Hearts).

The hardest for me have been paranormals. My three paranormals -- The Blue Hour, The Crimson Hour, and The Emerald Hour -- are intricate, too intricate for some readers. However, those who like them really like them.

Can you describe your writing style? (i.e. Is your writing voice fast-paced and funny, or deep and angsty?)

My writing style varies with the subgenre I'm writing. My contemporary, DeMarco's Café, is fast-paced, because that's what's required. My first medieval, My Lord Roland, is slow (in a good way, I hope), because the pace of life was very slow back then.

I love comedy. And Heaven Too (set in the 17th century England), and Swept Away (set in 17th century Caribbean) are comedies, and I hope readers get laughs from both.

You've traveled the world and have lived in some exciting places. Have any of those incredible locales become settings for your stories? If so, could you share some examples?

In 2012 I lived for six months in Vietnam. I loved every minute of it. A few months after leaving Saigon, I woke up one day and started writing my Forest Breeze trilogy: Tied Up, Captured, and Knocked Out -- all three set in Saigon. I surprised myself only because I was about to start writing something else when these stories seized me, and that was that. Third, Knocked Out, is new this month, available on Amazon.

Bucharest, Romania where I spend summers is a location in The Crimson Hour, as is Hong Kong, which I've visited. I love Rio, and it is a location in The Emerald Hour along with London. I know Paris really well, and it figures in The Blue Hour.

If you were to mentor an aspiring author what tips would you offer?

If I were to mentor an aspiring author, I would say, "Honor your vision." This advice is both wonderful and excruciating.

It's wonderful because it gives the aspiring author exactly what he or she needs: encouragement to write the story they want and need to write.

It's excruciating because an author's vision may not coincide with current trends in the marketplace, and so the work might not find a ready audience which can be discouraging. However, writing to trends is a bad idea, because trends change, and it may well change in the direction of what you wanted to write in the first place, while you've been wasting your time and talent on something you didn't have in your heart. So you have to follow your vision whose emotional center is your heart.

In my case, honoring my vision has been wonderful because I have indulged myself in a vast exploration of the Romance genre.

It has also been excruciating because I've known for 20 years that the way to make it in the commercial publishing industry is to establish yourself in a particular genre and to consistently write in that genre.

I sometimes think: "Lucky is the author whose vision matches market trends and whose imagination produces consistent stories a given audience can easily recognize!"

Then I have to remind myself to honor my vision, which just happens to be - for better or for worse - eclectic.

Thank you for being here today, Julie, and for sharing who you are and what you do. I am in awe of your talent and drive, and I wish you continued success in your writing. Please come back again. We'd love to hear more about the great stories you're writing and planning to write. I may never get to the wonderful places you've been and will visit in the future, so I'd be happy to 'visit them vicariously' by having you tell us about your journeys. Until then, take care and keep the creativity flowing.

To learn more about Julie...

Her Amazon author page --

Twitter -- @JTAbooks

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


Small snippet from...

No Sweat Pants Allowed - Wine Club
"I scoffed when Corbett jabbed me about turning forty. I was fearless and ready to embrace  my prime. 'Bring it on' I'd said. I swear at the stroke of midnight on my fortieth some crusty old goat sprinkled me with geriatric dust and my eyesight blurred."
~ Stephanie Samuels

Monday, July 27, 2015

Author Spotlight - SHARON SARACINO

I've recently had the pleasure of reading the 3rd book in the Max Logan series and thought I'd spotlight, Sharon Saracino and the main character of the series, the incredible Maxine "Max" Logan. 

Don't you just love when an author breathes life into a character in such a way that the character feels real? It takes considerable talent and the ability to fully know who that character is. In this series, Max is a self-deprecating woman trying to find her balance now that she's divorced. A lack of balance, however - by way of a slip in the shower - starts the action. Max's world spins out of control but her quick wit and snarky attitude propels the story and kept me reading to find out what she'd get herself into next. The 3 books are filled with funny one-liners, tender moments, and there's serious love at stake. 

Sharon put a paranormal spin on things that also held my interest. While the titles include the word 'death', Max's journey to happily-ever-after isn't based on grief, but rather the opposite - pulling herself up and allowing her heart to find love again, despite some unusual circumstances.

Here's a bit about Sharon --

She's a Certified Registered Rehabilitation Nurse who lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, son, and two loveable dogs. When she's not caring for her patients and family, or writing incredible stories, she can be found enjoying photography and genealogy. Oh, and she likes to brew limoncello. (If you check out her blog I believe you'll find a recipe for limoncello) Intrigued by Italy, she's visited twice and dreams of one day making it her home.

If you'd like to check Sharon out further, you can find her here:

On Twitter at:

On Facebook at:

All of her books can be found on her Amazon Author Page at:

Book #1

Book #2

Book #3


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

An interview with the writing duo, Rob and Joan Carter!

It's a pleasure to welcome the writing duo, Rob and Joan Carter as my guests!

It’s exciting to have you here,for several reasons – you write a different genre than I do, the titles of your books draw attention right off the bat, your stories sound amazing, I’ve never had co-authors on my blog, you live in the sunshine state and the graphics you use on Twitter are absolutely amazing. I thought it would be great to find out more about the Carter novelists! So welcome, Rob and Joan.

Let’s get to the Q & A right away:

Q:  I’ll start with an easy question. How long have you been writing?

Rob: I started writing in Junior High School while under the influence of JRR Tolkien. Unfortunately my first venture was rather similar to his amazing work and, well that didn’t go anywhere. At the same time I experimented in the poetry realm. With the advent of raising a large family, my writing endeavors took a back seat but Joan and I continued to write scripts for plays and other articles for our church. Finally after everyone left the nest, we were able to bring our first novel to completion in 2013.

Joan: I began writing at the age of 6. I wrote, directed and starred in an Easter play when I was in the first grade. I lived in a small town and the whole town came to see our performance at the local school. There was even a article written about it in the local newspaper which my mother kept until the day she died. I continued to write short stories, plays and skits through all my school years. As Rob said above, writing took a back seat until we had finished raising our family. Rob and I did write skits, plays, articles, etc. while our children were growing up. I also wrote women’s Bible studies and Sunday school lessons.

Q:  Writing isn’t easy. Do you find it easier or harder to write as a couple? Have you been doing this so long that you know where each other is going with a thought without needing clarification?

Rob: It’s definitely easier to do as a couple. With the  the O’Rourke series, I take the lead on the story line and Joan follows closely with her ideas and where the story line should go. Then when we are finished with the first draft we do two more rewrites and edits together and sometimes a third. Joan definitely has the eye for editing and keeping our perspective in line.

Joan: I really enjoy writing as a couple. We don’t always know where each other is going with a thought but we play off each other’s ideas very well. Rob would have the characters eating hamburgers, French fries, steak and baked potatoes all the time. He’s never met a salad or a vegetable (except a potato) that he liked. So when Siobhan complains to Ryan that he needs to eat more vegetables and fruit – that’s all me. When Ryan orders Martinis and pitchers of Margaritas – that’s all Rob. If you are wondering if that happens in our real life, well yes it does. Also Siobhan constantly punching Ryan on the shoulder may or may not happen in our real life. Rob thinks of things that I would never think of and vice versa.

Q: You write crime novels, more specifically the O’Rourke series. Have you always loved thrillers and investigative stories? Can you tell us a little about the research that goes into writing these type of stories?

Rob: I have always liked detective stories and especially the old fashioned type from the 1940’s and 1950’s. My favorite author in that style is Max Collins. His Nate Heller series is historical fiction. I don’t have the patience to research to that degree so you won’t see that in the O’Rourke series. I do however research all the hi-tech aspects of our books. Bioprinting was and still is an eye opener. Human body parts are being reproduced by 3D printers and they are close to replicating human tissue and arteries (Yikes!). I also draw upon my own experience in air traffic to help in the aviation portions of the books.

Joan: I love to read. I have always been a fan of mysteries. I love historical fiction and especially historical mysteries. I also enjoy science fiction, dystopian novels and cozy mysteries. Did I just say mysteries a few times? I have always loved them so that was definitely why I chose the mystery genre. As far as the research goes - I love it! I am always researching what a C.I.F.I. would or wouldn't be able to do (Certified Insurance Fraud Investigator). I have also researched the hierarchy in the FBI, the type of mobile crime units they use and which agent would be called in for which crime. Just about everything our characters do I research to see if it is a feasible action. Actually I have looked up so many criminal acts and what the punishments would be, I sometimes worry I might be on a watch list somewhere. For example, I looked up what countries didn't have extradition treaties with the U.S. (now that doesn't look suspicious does it?) 

Q: You’re both very involved in the promo part of being an author. Who comes up with the wonderful meme’s or graphic art you use on Twitter and Facebook? Can you show a few so my readers know what I’m talking about?

A: We both work on the publicity part. A friend has helped with some of the graphic art we use. Most of our graphics we have put together ourselves. We use readily available apps and our own or royalty free pictures. 

Q: You currently have Bioprints, Flash Zombies and Clone Drones in the O’Rourke series. Will there be a book #4?

A: We are currently working on a complete overhaul of our first novel Bioprints. When we complete that project we’ll start book 4. We have ideas brewing in our heads already and even some notes jotted down. 

Q: Could you share some excerpts or favorite passages from your books?

A: Excerpt from the Bioprints rewrite:

Malibu, California……..three weeks earlier…..

A black sedan waited silently in the darkness just off the beach access road. The partial moon cast a glow on the relentless surf on the beach down below. The driver waited patiently for the call that would set things in motion that couldn’t be stopped. Shortly after midnight, the silence was broken by his buzzing cell phone. Slightly startled by the call that he expected, he answered the call.


“Delete the target,” a deep voice instructed and the line went dead.

Excerpt from Flash Zombies:

Oakbrook Mall, Oakbrook, Illinois…

It was a bright spring afternoon in northern Illinois. A tall, handsome, dark haired man with a pencil thin moustache strolled into the high end Mason’s Jewelry store. The store had several locations in the Chicagoland area and was perhaps one of the oldest and most respected jewelers in America. Dressed in a jet black Hugo Boss suit with a light blue shirt and thin red tie he was not at all out of place. He asked to see the Harry Winston collection in order to select a bracelet for his wife. The sales clerk was delighted to show this obviously qualified gentleman the most exclusive and expensive display in the store.

The brightly lit case was located in the back center part of the store. It was surrounded by six evenly placed security cameras. As he looked over the selection of sparkling bracelets, he asked to see the two on the rotating stand. The seven inch platinum and diamond bracelets were each close to thirty carats. Taking out a pair of reading glasses he examined them very closely, admiring them as he set them down side by side on the blue velvet cloth.

The sound of a buzzing cell phone broke the pensive silence. The man reached in his pocket and took out his phone. Typing in a response to the text, he also selected an app. Two keystrokes later, he glanced up at the security cameras and watched as they all winked off. No one else seemed to notice.

Excerpt from Clone Drones:

Chicago, Illinois suburb...

A full August moon bathed the northern Illinois landscape in a soft ghostly light. The security guard, at the entrance to the exclusive collection of imposing homes, yawned as he monitored the video feed from numerous cameras. Tirelessly keeping watch on the sleeping residents, the electronic eyes maintained their vigilant task. The walled and gated community was surrounded by a county forest preserve and was designed to offer the utmost in privacy and security.

A Senator resided in one of the stately homes. On this evening the Senator's wife had already fallen asleep as he finished the last chapter of his crime novel. He put his book on the shelf and poured himself a nightcap before making his way upstairs for the night. Glancing at the security panel he made sure everything was secure.

His normal routine, when he wasn't in Washington, was to sit out on the massive balcony and enjoy a cigar with his Scotch before retiring for the night. This evening was no exception. He made his way out to his evening retreat to relax and clear his mind. Pleased with the way his novel had ended, he exhaled a large cloud of smoke that drifted slowly out over the railing and hung in the still night air. A few minutes later, as he thought about tomorrow's busy schedule, he noticed the smoke begin to ripple from below the balcony rail. 

Soon the smoke cleared away with a whisper of sound as a small black box with rotors on top appeared hovering in front of him. The Senator stood rubbing his eyes in disbelief. Suddenly a small panel retracted on the front of the box and two muffled shots hit him in the chest. He looked down as blood began pouring out and soaking his shirt. Grabbing his chest he turned and stumbled toward the bedroom door. Another muffled shot from behind dropped him in his tracks.

On the other side of the balcony railing the flying black box retreated silently into the darkness. 

Q: When you’re not writing, what do you like to do for fun or to unwind?

A: We both love our children and grandchildren and spend most of our free time with them. Last year we took a family vacation in the Blue Ridge Mountains. We rented a huge cabin high in the mountains. There were beautiful views from every room, a hot tub, a pool table, four indoor fireplaces, four decks and one outdoor fireplace. We went hiking, took a scenic train trip and visited an orchard. Every night Joan did Bigfoot whoops off the deck to the delight of our grandchildren. This year we are renting a beach house on the Atlantic coast for all of us. We also like to do paranormal investigating, traveling, cruising and camping. 

A word from Jan:

Rob and Joan are incredible authors who are incredibly helpful to other authors. Their generosity comes in many ways. One of the big ways is by BROWSE for BOOKS (Formerly AHA – Authors Helping Authors). It’s a cool site. Check out the carousel.

It’s been a pleasure having Rob and Joan as my guests. If you’d like to learn more about them and their books, you can follow them here:

Twitter for Rob:


Twitter for Joan: