What is an auto-buy author?

It is an author who you buy their next book without reading the blurb, without caring what the story is about. They promise a great read and deliver.

I have some authors I buy as soon as they come out in hardcover: Tess Gerritsen, Allison Brennan, Philippa Gregory, and Robin Cook. I have some authors I auto-buy: Lisa Gardner, Tessa Dare, Cindy Gerard, Carol Ericson, Lynsay Sands, and a few others. I also auto-buy James Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club.

I have a brand-new auto-buy author: Jacqueline Druga. Thanks to her book 10:37 I have a new auto-buy author that I’ve been binge-buying. Her writing drags you into the story. I could imagine sitting around the campfire listening to her weave a tale. This one had amazing characters and the storyline was unique enough to keep me turning pages long after bedtime. I already had read some of her stories, but this one has made me a fan. If I weren’t already a fan, We Who Remain would have sealed the deal. Her books just keep getting more exciting and unputdownable.

Who are your auto-buy authors?

Jill James, romance author

Sugar Sprinkled Memories coming soon in the Christmas Cookies and Kisses on Main Street boxed set.

Romance – sweet or sexy?

Image by Hermann Schmider from Pixabay

My Lake Willowbee Series used to be all one series until I realized it was actually two series set in the same world of the fictional Lake Willowbee, California, nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountains. I have four books that are on the sexy side and I have four books on the sweet side with another one coming out in a boxed set this Christmas with the Authors of Main Street.



The Lake Willowbee Series – 3/5 heat level

Book 1 – Divorce, Interrupted     B005S9ZIN2
Book 2 – Dare To Trust     B007611ZVY
Book 3 – Defend My Love     B00AF3TD8W
Book 4 – The Reluctant Bride     B00KNAXUO0 (Weddings on Main Street)

The Sweet Lake Willowbee Romance Series – 1/5 heat level

Book 1 – Waking Up For Christmas     B01N2VQ4X3 (Christmas at the Inn on Main Street)
Book 2 – Baby Steps and Snowflakes     B077D1456Q (Christmas Babies on Main Street)
Book 3 – Retreat, Interrupted     B07FMBJQ63 (Summer Romance on Main Street)
Book 4 – In My Dreams     B07L355LSP (Christmas Wishes on Main Street)
Book 5 – Sugar Sprinkled Memories     coming soon!

Do you like your romance books sweet, sexy, or a little of both?

Jill James, author of the Lake Willowbee series

Jump into The Lake

Lake Willowbee, that is. I have several books set in my fictional town of Lake Willowbee in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. They are contemporary romance, set in a small town.

Click on the covers to go to the eBooks!

Divorce, InterruptedDivorce, Interrupted is Book 1 in the Lake Willowbee series. Todd and Lisa are a newly-divorced couple forced to clean out the memories of a lifetime at their mountain cabin. When a devastating flood hits, they must rely on the one person they don’t trust. Will love and memories be enough to help them survive?


Dare to Trust is Book 2 in the Lake Willowbee series. Evie is a domestic abuse survivor who doesn’t know if she can ever trust a man again, until Brady is accused of a murder the whole town thinks he committed. Can Evie trust her instincts and her heart, can she dare to trust in love?


Defend My Love is Book 3 in the Lake Willowbee series. Megan is falsely accused of embezzlement and sent to prison for 4 long years. That time with her husband and newborn child can never be replaced. Once free, can Daniel make up for lost time to rebuild his family and defend the woman he loves against new charges?


The Lake Willowbee Series is the 3 stories in one book!



The Reluctant Bride takes place in the Lake Willowbee world. Claire and Jimmy have been high-school sweethearts for 10 long years and no closer to the altar since a prom night proposal. With divorces and remarriages running rampant in her family, Claire isn’t willing to risk the good thing they have, but Jimmy wants more. Will an ambush wedding work or will Claire run away from the man she loves?

Waking Up For Christmas partly takes place in the Lake Willowbee world. The story is one of five holiday tales in the Christmas at the Inn on Main Street boxed set. Chase needs one thing for Christmas. For his comatose wife to awaken and remember all the love they shared before a separation and a near fatal car accident drove them apart. Can Chase and Darcy get their happily-ever-after holiday wish?

Enjoy the summer! Jump into the Lake Willowbee world for FREE! Divorce, Interrupted, Book 1 is always FREE!

Jill James, contemporary romance writer

Writing Space

Authors love their writing spaces. Some like organized chaos and some just like organized.

I love going to Barnes & Noble and writing. There is something about getting out of the house and sitting there among the thousands of books. It is inspiring to know somewhere a writer sat and pounded out words and they got published and now their books are on the shelves for me to look at and choose. I love being an Indie author but you can’t really sit around a website. LOL

Where is your favorite place to write and read?

Jill James, romance writer and reader

Tops in the zombie genre

I’ve been on a ‘zombie apocalypse’ kick for a few years now. I love movies, tv shows, and books. Here are some of my faves:

dawn of the deadTop serious zombie movie: Dawn of the Dead
My favorite of the ‘of the Dead movies. It features a kickass heroine, Ana, played by Sarah Polley. That it takes place in a mall is just bonus points. The characters are well-defined and the seriousness of the situation is quite clear in the storyline.

zombielandTop funny zombie movie: Zombieland
If anyone can make the zombie apocalypse funny, it is Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisneberg. The whole idea of the rules of survival is awesome and so true-to-story. Added bonus of the appearance of Bill Murray.


walking dead

Top zombie television show: The Walking Dead
Like, duh!! This is some seriously good television. The writing is awesome, the actors are stellar, and the zombies rock!!


world war zTop serious zombie book: World War Z by Max Brooks
Brooks broke the mold with WWZ. This book and his survival guide should be must-read for any zombie fan. The movie was good by itself but nothing like the book. I have to get the audiobook!!


married with zombiesTop funny zombie book: Married with Zombies by Jesse Petersen
There is not a dull moment in this book or series. Sarah and Dave are a riot, dealing with marriage issues in the midst of the apocalypse. Petersen knows how to tickle a funny bone.


central outbreak responseTop new zombie author discovered: Central Outbreak Response: Genesis by RJ Kennett
Kennett is a new to me author and he had me from page 1 of COR: Genesis. It is both a homage to the zombie books that have gone before and a unique tale all its own at the same time. I’ve been eagerly awaiting the sequel.

patient zeroTop zombie apocalypse hottie: Joe Ledger
In the zombie apocalypse, I want Joe Ledger protecting me! Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry was my intro of Joe Ledger, a man who gives new meaning to the term: hottie!! Getting the newest Joe Ledger book this week!


Do you have any zombie favorites?

Jill James, off to go work on Time of Zombies series, Book 2!

Blog The Writer – James Rollins

Books by James Rollins are my favorite “guy” books. Action, adventure, guns, shoot-outs, end of the world if we don’t save it storylines. My favorite is Subterranian. It was the most romantic “guy” book I’ve ever read. He has a new one coming out and a great 99cent read right now with a war dog. Love the video so had to share it.

Allison Brennan is back!!

I love Allison Brennan’s Lucy Kincaid and her boyfriend Sean Rogan. They are available in a new adventure in her latest, Silenced. The plot of prostitutes and blackmail is gripping and things change from chapter to chapter. But best of all, is the relationship between Lucy and Sean. I love them together. Each book brings a new depth to their relationship and growing love.

The story is a roller coaster ride of blackmail, politics, families, and the evil that men do. I loved it!!!

Jill James

Blog The Writer – Jonathan Maberry

I was watching a zombie special on the History Channel and discovered Jonathan Maberry. I decided to get his book, Patient Zero. OMG!! I was hooked from the first paragraph. I fell in love with Joe Ledger, his protagonist. I love zombie books but this was beyond just zombies. I zipped through that book, gobbled up The Dragon Factory (crying at the end of that one), and just got King of Plagues. I love the writing. It is simple and rich at the same time. Maberry is a storyteller extraordinaire.

I will definitely be reading all the adventures of Joe Ledger.

Jill James

Guest Blog – Cynthia Woolf

Today I decided to hop over to Maree Anderson’s blog. But before I left I had a nice chat with Cynthia Woolf. Enjoy a peak into Cynthia’s world and see her beautiful cover for Centauri Midnight and please leave any questions or comments for Cynthia, she will be visiting all day.

Jill: What was the idea that started your story?

Cynthia: When I was about fifteen and going through all the angst that teenagers go through, I had a dream.  One night I dreamed I was a princess from Alpha Centauri brought to Earth and raised by a family here in order to save my life.

Sound familiar?  If should.  It’s the storyline of my first book, Centauri Dawn.  The other two books in the series grew from that premise.

Jill: I love stories that come from dreams. I wrote my first manuscript that way. OK, so the question all writers get asked, are you a plotter or a pantser?

Cynthia: I’m a pantser all the way.  I do start out with a few paragraphs describing the story line but that’s all.

I keep taking plotting classes hoping that one will stick but so far…nada.  I know it would be easier on me if I plotted.  I’d end up with a lot fewer sagging middles.  But when I try to plot out the book I get tired of the story before I’ve even written it.  It’s like I already know what’s going to happen so why write the story.

Jill: I’ve heard a lot of pantsers say that. So, for a fun question, if you got a million dollar deal tomorrow, what crazy thing would you do? 

Cynthia: I’d by two first class tickets to Hawaii and stay there at our favorite resort for a month while we decide what to do with the rest of the money.  I know it’s not too crazy but what can I say?  I’m not a very crazy person.

Jill: Sounds like a crazy and fun thing to do. I could take Hawaii for a month. Wait, after a month I might decide to stay there. LOL  Readers want to know, what books did you love as a child?

Cynthia: I loved all books.  Still do.  My mother was a librarian so I had access to every book in the library, actually any book available to the library because she could order it from other libraries if ours didn’t have it.  I remember reading A Wrinkle in Time and loving it.  Also the Nancy Drew mysteries and anything by Emily Loring and Victoria Holt.  I devoured everything they wrote.

Jill: Wow! A writer’s dream come true, free rein in the library. So, along with reading, writers must have food. What is your must-have food or treat for writing?

Cynthia: When I’m home I have to have coffee flavored with French vanilla creamer.  It doesn’t matter if it’s regular or decaf as long as it has the creamer.

If I’m at Starbucks I drink a venti, skinny, Caramel Macchiato.

Jill: Ahhh, Starbucks. The nirvana of writers everywhere. Thanks for stopping by for the interview.

Cynthia’s Bio:

Cynthia Woolf was born in Denver, Colorado and raised in the mountains west of Golden.  She spent her early years running wild around the mountain side with her friends.

Their closest neighbor was one-quarter of a mile away, so her little brother was her playmate and her best friend.  That fierce friendship lasted until his death in 2006.

Cynthia was and is an avid reader.  Her mother was a librarian and brought new books home each week.  This is where young Cynthia first got the storytelling bug.  She wrote her first story at the age of ten.  A romance about a little boy she liked at the time.

She worked her way through college and went to work full-time straight after graduation and there was little time to write.  Then in 1990 she and two friends started a round robin writing a story about pirates.  She found that she missed the writing and kept on with other stories.  In 1992 she joined Colorado Romance Writers and Romance Writers of America.  Unfortunately, the loss of her job demanded the she not renew her memberships and her writing stagnated for many years.

In 2001, she saw an ad in the paper for a writers conference being put on by CRW and decided she’d attend.  One of her favorite authors, Catherine Coulter, was the keynote speaker.  Cynthia was lucky enough to have a seat at Ms. Coulter’s table at the luncheon and after talking with her, decided she needed to get back to her writing.  She rejoined both CRW and RWA that day and hasn’t looked back.

Cynthia credits her wonderfully supportive husband Jim and the great friends she’s made at CRW for saving her sanity and allowing her to explore her creativity.

You can find Cynthia at http://www.cynthiawoolf.com

Blog The Writer – Elysa Hendricks

Everyone, take a moment to welcome a great writer to the blog…Elysa Hendricks. She’s agreed to be interviewed and show off her great 99 cent book, Counterfeit Love.

Jill: Hi, Elysa. Welcome to the blog. Grab a nice hot cup of tea. Here, have some scones, sit back and let’s get started. Would you date the yummy hero of your story?

Elysa: (takes a sip of tea) Nope. I’m a happily married lady. No matter how sexy and gorgeous the hero of the story might be, and I do write them sexy and gorgeous, I don’t cheat on my husband. Besides I’ve already given him a girl and she’d slap me silly if I tried.

Jill: (giggling, munching on a scone) And well she should, you after all, brought them together. So, would you be friends with the heroine? Assuming she didn’t slap you silly of course.

Elysa: Definitely. I create my heroines as the people I’d like to be in a perfect world. And I think she’d like to be my friend as well. Though I might not be as young, smart and attractive as she is, at least she’d never have to fear that I’d steal her man.

Jill: Of course she would be your friend too. And we are as young as we feel. Have you been to any of the places you write about?

Elysa: No, not really. I did visit Texas and New Mexico when I was a teenager, but most of my research for my western historical romance THIS HEART FOR HIRE was done in the library and online. My other books take place in fictional places that I created, so in a way I have been there – in my imagination.

Jill: I like to make up towns too. It is such fun to put a street or a building where I need it to be. Next, the required writer question; plotter or pantser?

Elysa: Definitely a pantser. I’ve tried plotting out my books, but if I do that I find myself losing interest in the story. I know what’s going to happen and how it’s all going to come together, so where’s the excitement in writing it. Of course, not plotting leads me into all kinds of trouble. I have dozens of stories that are half done because I have no idea how to write my characters out of the dilemmas I got them into. Maybe I need to think about plotting at least a little bit.

Jill: LOL I’m totally a plotter and I still get my characters into dilemmas that I don’t know how to get them out of either. Okay, fun question. What wild and crazy thing would you do if you got a million dollar deal tomorrow?

Elysa: I’m not really a wild and crazy kind of girl. But a $1 million dollar deal would allow my husband to retire. Then we’d be able to move to Florida where the sun shines more and it doesn’t get so blasted cold. Oh, and I’d have a BIG party for all my friends and family, maybe take them all on a cruise. Want to be my friend?

Jill: You get that million dollar deal and I am soooo there. Thank you so much for a great time. Hope everyone enjoyed meeting Elysa. Please leave a comment and I will be giving away two (2) copies of Elysa’s wonderful book, Counterfeit Love. I loved it.

You can find Elysa and her books here:

My web site is:




Here are the links to my ebooks:







Blog The Writer – Celia Yeary

Everyone, please welcome Celia Yeary to the blog. She is the author of the book with the lovely cover on the left.

Don’t you love that cover? I can just pretend I’m sitting on my deck, watching the starry sky.

Jill: Let’s get started. Have you been to any of the places you write about?

Celia: Of all the real places, yes, I’ve been to all of them. Many of the places I write about are fictional, but always near or similar to a real town. I live in Texas and know the state very well. It’s easy to make up a town in a particular place…readers who know might think…is she writing about Kerrville? Or Amarillo? Or Blanco?

Jill: I’ve been to Texas many times over the years. Every corner of it is different.  So, who is your favorite author?

Celia: My favorite author retired by the time I discovered her books, about ten years ago. LaVyrle Spencer. I have mentioned her repeatedly, because in my opinion she was absolutely the best. Her stories varied, Historical vs. Contemporary, but mostly were set in the upper Midwest…where she lives. But she could take an ordinary group of people and write a story that would just tear out your heart, and in the end always make you sigh with love. Fantastic talent and ability.

Jill: Darn! LaVyrle Spencer retired? Boy, the things you learn in an interview. OK, fantasy time. If you got a $1 Million Dollar Deal tomorrow, what crazy things would you do?

Celia: Interesting question. Since I don’t know how to do anything crazy, I’d have to think a long time about that. Material goods don’t inspire me, I’ve traveled enough that I’m not yearning to see anything in particular, and I’m not in need of anything. But I feel compelled to think of something. Let me see…I would buy a real luxury vehicle, I would clean out my closet, hire a fashion consultant and buy a whole new wardrobe, I would go to a dermatologist and have some simple cosmetic procedure done…not to look younger…but to look brighter! And I would throw a big party somewhere like Hawaii and pay for all my close, faithful friends to come for a week on the beach. How much would that cost? I’d probably still have a lot of money left, right? More thinking…thinking…thinking…

Jill: Cool, I think you covered it all. Vehicle, clothes, party with friends. Sounds like you would have a good time with that book deal money. So, let’s go back in time for a moment. What books did a childhood Celia like to read?

Celia: Oh, The Bobbsey Twins, Strawberry Girl, the American Classics about famous Americans,  and Nancy Drew.

Jill: Nice selection. I loved Nancy Drew. I see you have a published book. How did you celebrate your first sale?

Celia: First, I cried. Then I told my husband, and cried again. Then we sat down with a glass of wine and talked about the excitement and how, at retirement age, I had written a book someone would publish for me! It doesn’t get any better than that, and friends, it never gets old.

Jill: Isn’t that the truth? Something about making your dreams come true makes you young at old, no matter how long the road took. Now, tell us all where we can get the lovely book above.

Celia: The Stars At Night is available at Amazon, Desert Breeze Publishing, and Sony.

Jill: Please let the readers know where to find you.

Celia: I can be found at my blog, my website, my group blog, and my Facebook author page.

Jill: Thank you Celia for joining me today at my blog. If you have any questions or comments, just leave them in the comments and Celia will be stopping by the blog from time to time to check them out.

Blog The Writer – Mona Risk

Everyone, join me in welcoming Mona Risk, a very talented writer, to the blog.

Jill: Hi Mona, so glad you could join me today and talk about your writing, your newest book, and you.

Jill: Let’s get started…Would you date your hero and would you be friends with your heroine?

Mona:  Oh yes, I’m always in love with the hero of my latest story. My heroines have always a bit of my character in them, so I really understand their feelings and reactions.

Jill: Great, Mona, that you but a bit of yourself into your stories. What is your must-have food for writing?

Mona: Coffee– black– and almonds to munch on.

Jill: I love almonds too – protein for brain power. What was ‘the idea’ that started your story?

Mona: All my ideas start from a real event in my life or in the life of someone I know. I never take my ideas from TV, movies, or newspaper. Real life is so much more interesting.

Jill: Real life certainly is very exciting. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, as they say.  By the way, have you ever been to any of the places you write about?

Mona: Absolutely. I only write about places I know well, to allow the reader to feel the different culture, traditions, behavior of people. Describing a place the way Wikepedia or the Internet does it will not appeal to the reader.

Jill: Glad to hear that. Your personal knowledge of a place shines in your stories.  Now that you are a published writer, what is your favorite part about the job and your least favorite part?

Mona: Immersing myself in my characters, feeling their problems, falling in love with my hero and forgetting the world while I type. The least favorite is the obligatory promotion needed to sell books.

Jill: I love being in “The Zone” too. It is hard to promo sometimes when all you want to do is write. When you have time to read, who is your favorite author?

Mona: My favorite author is one that can make me forget everything but her story. I don’t have favorite authors. I have favorite books.

Jill: So true. A great writer can take us anywhere. So the dreaded process question: plotter or pantser?

Mona:  A mix of both. I plot the beginning and the ending, and then I plot three chapters at a time.

Jill: Great way to do it. If you were only writing for you, what outrageous tales would you tell?

Mona: I always write for myself: TO LOVE A HERO and OSIRIS’S MISSING PART are both very unconventional books.

Jill: Very unconventional, but awesome reads. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Mona: I was in a hotel room in a God-forsaken city called Uman in the Ukraine on a business trip, writing a report on my workday, when I realized that this report could make a great novel! That’s when I made the decision to take an early retirement and write novels.

Jill: So great that you could do that so we can enjoy your stories. We all like other authors books as well, so what author, dead or alive, would you like to collaborate with?

Mona: Roxanne St.Claire. She’s been for a long time one of my favorite authors.

Jill: Mine too. Her BulletCatchers are yummy and to die for. So, frivilous question: If you got a $1 million deal tomorrow, what crazy thing would you do?

Mona: I think I’d give half of it to a Children’s charity, and start relaxing a bit.

Jill: Relaxing is always nice. How did you celebrate your first sale?

Mona: I took a box of chocolate and went to the hospital to celebrate with my mother. She was so happy. She read several of my books. NO MORE LIES was dedicated to her.

Jill: That is so nice. I bet she was so proud. Did you have a favorite book as a child?

Mona: Mowgly and the Jungle.

Jill: Great book. Let’s wrap up with how do you celebrate writing The End?

Mona: I close my eyes and savor the last kiss.

Jill: Ah, a true romance writer. Thank you, Mona for being here.

You can check out Mona’s writing and Mona Risk herself at:

NO MORE LIES, a lie that brings a smile or a truth drawing tears. Secrets and second chances with humor, 99 cents, http://tinyurl.com/3lenmfd

RIGHT NAME, WRONG MAN, What’s a girl to do when she whispers another man’s name in her fiancé’s arms?, 99 cents   http://tinyurl.com/85o4wg7

TO LOVE A HERO, international romance set in Belarus, 99cents, http://www.jasminejade.com/p-4094-to-love-a-hero.aspx

OSIRIS’ MISSING PART, a paranormal fantsy based on Egyptian mythology,  http://tinyurl.com/3v4hw3l

You can also find Mona, a great group of Indie authors, and me at http://ebooks99cents.blogspot.com

Website: www.monarisk.com Email riskmona@cs.com

Blog The Writer – Calisa Rhose

Please help me welcome my fellow The Wild Rose Press author Calisa Rhose to the blog.

Hi, Calisa. Glad you could stop by and visit my blog.

Hi Jill! It’s great to be here. After this past week, I look forward to kicking back and sipping wine while we talk. Ask me anything. I’m an open book (pun intended!lol).

  • Jill: What was “the idea” that started your story?

Calisa: HOME is part of a collaborative effort geared toward The Wild Rose Press by my rwa chapter about a cursed doll. I just happened to be the first one to finish and sell.

Jill: Yeah! Winner takes all.

  • Jill: What is your favorite part about being a romance writer? Your least favorite part?

Calisa: I absolutely love a fresh, new story idea. Putting those first words on paper, or monitor, is special. Right or wrong, no matter if I end up rewriting or cutting them later doesn’t matter. Those words kick my brain in gear. I hate rewrites. Edits are ok, but when I end up rewriting half the book and I have to weave any new material through the existing, or delete all traces of something removed… that’s a pain!

Jill: I hear you on rewrites. It is like writing a whole other book.

  • Jill: How do you celebrate typing “The End”?

I start on another story! There is constantly something eating at me to write so by the time I finish a project I’m ready for the next, whether it’s one I already have started or something brand new. I move to the next thing on my plate.

Jill: Ah, a nose to the grindstone kind of gal. Good for you!

  • Jill: If you got a $1 million deal tomorrow, what crazy thing would you do?

Calisa: I had to sell a horse that I raised from a colt. I love that horse and would track him down and buy him back, no matter the cost. I’m very sentimental.

Jill: What a sweet dream. Maybe it will come true.

  • Jill: How did you celebrate your first sale?

Calisa: My husband was very clever and managed to throw a surprise party for me, complete with a cake with roses and my pen name on it (Rhose).

Jill: He sounds like quite the keeper. And here is a blurb from Calisa’s latest.


What could a gypsy and a Vietnam veteran have in common?

Silvertown’s outcast, Poppy Tippen, has loved football hero Sam “The Force” Callahan forever. But he never seemed to know she was alive. Now he’s home from the war and she suddenly finds herself comforting him from the demons of “that damn war.” Is his attention merely an escape from the haunting nightmares? Or does she hold the interest of the only man she’s ever truly loved?

Sam Callahan’s only solace from the war nightmares wrecking his life comes in the unlikely form of a gypsy girl with stigmas of her own. He’s known Poppy his entire life, but there’s something different about her now. Something special he desperately wants to hold on to. Can he convince her she’s the only thing he needs to put the past behind him?


Over the next week he actively avoided his mother as he raked and watered the lawn. He’d found out the gardener had left when his mother stopped paying him, not that Sam blamed the guy. So, he would try to do what he could to fix the old place up again. Somehow, like himself, he doubted the place he’d called home would ever fully recover the ravages of wartime. It gave him something useful to get through the days before he creeped out at night.

“Sammie, we need to talk.”

He dropped his head and counted briefly before facing his mother. “Good morning, Ma.”

“Have you talked to that woman?”

No nonsense, that was Ma. He dragged in a heavy breath to stifle a groan. “What woman would that be?”

“Don’t play games with me, Sam. You know full well I’m talking about that gypsy woman who owns the doll store. Did you tell her you want the doll back?” His mother threw hands to hips. He waited five ticks. Yep, there it was. Her left foot began flapping like a fish out of water to make known her full ire at him. He almost grinned.

As he stared at her tapping foot, Sam realized he’d actually missed that trait in his mother while he’d been gone. But she wasn’t interested in reflections of days past. “No. I’m not going to get the doll. It’s better off gone if it causes you so much distress. Just forget it and let it be, Ma.”

“Forget it? Haven’t you heard what I’ve been telling you? It will only cause more problems the longer that woman has it!” She was almost yelling and Sam cringed inwardly with a glance around. She ought to keep her voice down or—

Or, what? Did he expect the VC to pop out of the surrounding sticks that had once been shrubbery admired by the whole town? Yes. He did. Damn it all. Why was it so hard for him to let go of the war he was no longer a part of? He shuffled his loafer-clad feet and sighed heavily. “What’s so special about that doll that you won’t let it go?”

His mother looked away from him as though she had a secret and twisted her hands around her ever-present hankie. “It’s bad, evil.”

“Then, why on earth would you want it back? Good riddance, I’d say.”

“No!” She backed up a step and looked up at him, lips painted the same bright red, and he vaguely wondered if she’d worn it so long it had become permanent, a tattoo. A bright red tattoo. Blood red… “It was a gift from my cousin, Helen, when I visited her in California, before she died. I already told you that. But, it’s cursed! I can’t risk anyone else suffering because of that—that thing!”

Blood red… Sam shook the image off and looked over his mother’s head toward the street.

Of all the times to wander in, he didn’t need Poppy showing up right then, while his mother was on her insane rampage about a doll.

A doll that Poppy’s mother had bought fair and square, according to Ma. Now it was a cursed doll? She’d said something about that last time she mentioned the damn thing. He was suddenly afraid his mother was losing her mind. “Son of a bitch.”

“Watch your mouth, young man. I won’t have that kind of language used in this house. Your father—God rest his soul—didn’t use that filth, and I won’t have my only son speak it.” She sounded so normal, suddenly.

“Sorry, Ma. I need to go…somewhere, for a while.”

“Get the doll.” Her voice poured from that red mouth like a warning.

He leaned the rake he’d been using before the interruption against the wood shed and tossed a wave over his head to his mother as he strode for the driveway, and Poppy. Suddenly, it took all his will not to break out in a run and just keep going. Never to stop until he was far, far away from this new nightmare his mother had introduced to him. Blood red, blood. Red, blood, red, blood, red blood.

Sam didn’t stop when he reached Poppy, but grabbed her hand and swung her around with him—took her away before his mother realized who she was. He especially didn’t need her to see the doll shop owner’s daughter.

He picked up his already fast pace until he felt a jerk against his hand and slowed down.  He didn’t want to talk. Not yet. Walk. Keep walking…fast.

“Whoa, soldier boy!” She yanked him to a stop. For a little thing, she was stronger than he’d have thought. “What’s with you? If I wanted to race I’d be a horse.”

Blood red. No talking. Walk. Her hand still in his, he gave a rough tug.

If you haven’t got a copy of HOME and need a shorter read you can buy it at The Wild Rose Press  or Amazon

Author’s Bio:

Small-town country girl Calisa Rhose lives in a semi-remote area of Oklahoma with her husband, five dogs, one cat and one horse. All of her three daughters and their families live within throwing distance. She’s a member of RWA and the local chapter OKRWA. She intends to nurture and continue to grow as an author with the help of her family and supporters.

Find Calisa at her website/blog http://calisarhose.wordpress.com

On twitter @Calisa_Rhose and Facebook @Calisa Rhose

She loves to hear from readers so drop her a line at calisa.rhose@gmail.com


Thank you for having me here today, Jill!

Calisa, it was great having you here too. Everyone, check out this great book.

Jill James


Guest – Claire Ashgrove/Tori St.Claire

Everyone, please welcome mega-talented writer, Claire Ashgrove, who also writes as Tori St.Claire.

Hi everyone!  Jill, thanks for having me today!  I’ve been looking forward to it since we talked earlier this month about the guest stop.  I hope everyone’s holidays went well.

2012 is just around the corner, and Jill invited me to stop in and talk about my new projects.  Both release on January 3rd – which has made for a crazy December, let me tell you!  I’ve been writing for a while now, but these are both my debut releases in the world of traditional publishing, and both have become series that are very near and dear to my heart.  So I’m really excited to get to share them at last.

The first is a dark paranormal romance, IMMORTAL HOPE.

As a historian, I’m fascinated with unexplained historical myth and happenings.  I’ve always been equally fascinated with the Knights Templar – long before Dan Brown introduced their fascinating history to fiction readers everywhere.  I knew, before I ever put word on paper in paranormal, that my series involved the Knights Templar.  It just took a while to flesh it out, to figure out which aspect I wanted to work with, and how I could pull the fabled knights into a paranormal romance.  Try… it took a year of almost solid research and letting things percolate before I felt prepared enough to do the base idea justice.

In the end, I chose to work with not the question of what they found (although that plays a role in IMMORTAL HOPE), but what happened to the Knights Templar.  For that matter, what happened to the entire network, not just the men brandishing swords, that totaled over forty-thousand strong and seemingly vanished overnight?

How is that possible?

Well, according to the legend of the archangels… it’s not.  The Templars are among us today.  Fighting an immortal purpose, battling for the salvation of their souls.  And for one knight, Merrick du Loire, Commander of the North American Knights Templar, salvation comes with a price…


Templar knights defied the archangels and unearthed the copper scroll, revealing the gates to hell. Cursed for their forbidden act, they forever roam the earth protecting mankind from evil. But darkness stalks them, and battles they fight bring them ever-closer to eternal damnation. One promise remains to give them salvation – the return of the seraphs.

Embittered by his purpose, Merrick du Loire must honor an ancient pact and bring peace to his cousin’s soul. When he stumbles upon history professor Anne MacPherson, he discovers she possesses a sacred artifact that marks her as a seraph. Duty demands he set aside his personal quest and locate the knight she’s fated to heal. As he struggles with conflicting oaths, Anne arouses buried hope and sparks forbidden desire that challenges everything he’s sworn to uphold.

Anne has six weeks to complete her thesis on the Knights Templar. WhenMerrick takes her to the Templar stronghold, he presents her with all she needs—and awakens a soul-deep ache, he alone can soothe. Yet loving Merrick comes with a price. If she admits she’s destined for him, her gift of foresight predicts his death.

If you’d like a preview, you can read the first chapter on my website.

But sexy knights struggling to overcome the call of evil, weren’t quite sexy enough for me.  I wanted something darker, something even more passionate, and Tori St. Claire came into being, as well as the Black Opals, and STRIPPED.

I’ve always been fascinated with the characters who walk the line between good and… not.  Many of the books I love the most have characters who come from backgrounds where they’ve seen, and done, things we’d rather not acknowledge.  And I thought, “What the heck, let’s go there.”

So I did.  The Black Opals are an elite team of CIA operatives, specialized in making threats disappear.  Only STRIPPED doesn’t begin with that life being part of the past.  Natalya is smack-dab in the middle of a mission, embedded so deeply she’s forced to sacrifice her own morals for the good of Country.  Committing acts that are only legal because of who she works for.  And even then…

But beneath all Natalya’s dark duplicity, what’s at the core of her being is heart.  When she meets a man who awakens her to all the things she’s buried (including a good deal of pleasure), that weakness threatens all she understands.  Secrets, lies, and passion – double yum!

STRIPPED challenged me on so many levels.  Beyond the fact it was my first venture into erotica, the intricacies required to write the suspense I wanted to achieve, the softness I needed to embed in both hero and heroine, and the many layers to the other players all pushed my limits as an author.

In the end, it led to…

Body of secrets…

As a member of the CIA’s elite, Black Opals, Natalya Trubachev must live a lie, working undercover as the lover of Dmitri, a Russian mob boss. His business is trafficking vulnerableLas Vegasstrippers overseas for twisted sex games. Natalya’s business is to blow the ring wide open and bring down Dmitri and his American contacts. But the stakes are raised when she learns that the next target is her own sister Kate, a dancer in the famed club Fantasia. Only now does Natalya realize how personal her mission has become, and how far she’s willing to go to complete it.

Body of lies…

The manager of Fantasia is Brandon Moretti, an undercover detective who keeps a close eye on his girls, and an even closer one on his sinfully sensual hire. For Natalya, working the club could be the break she’s been waiting for. But for Moretti, Natalya is a possible link to a killer. Only he never counted on her being so lethally seductive or so dangerous to get close to.  As every forbidden pleasure between them is stripped away, his own secrets threaten their security, but it’s Natalya’s that could destroy them both.

Again, if you want a preview, I have an excerpt posted on my website.

If you’d like to know more about IMMORTAL HOPE or STRIPPED, on January 1, I kick off virtual book tours under both pen names.  Throughout the course of both, I’ll be talking about the characters, introducing you to special players, and discussing the writerly-side of crafting both novels.  I’m also giving away Amazon Gift Cards as well.

Click the badges below, to learn the details of each.

Thanks again, Jill, for letting me drop by!  And to all of you – may your New Year be rich and bright!

~Claire Ashgrove




Thanks very much for stopping by, Claire/Tori. If you have any questions about Claire, Tori, or her blog tour, leave a comment. Or just leave a comment to say hi!

Jill James

Blog The Writer – Sue Swift/Suz deMello

Welcome Sue and Suz, who are one and the same, to the blog. Recently I interviewed Sue/Suz about her/their new books.

Jill, thanks.

You’re welcome.

Big Girls Don't CryBig Girls Don’t Cry is a secret baby story with a twist or two. To learn more, go to http://www.sue-swift.com or read this interview.

Jill:  Would you date the hero of your story?

SS: Absolutely! I’d date any hero in any of my stories. I write men I’d fall in love with. The hero of Big Girls, Dave Madsen, is a scientist, explorer and adventurer, kind of like a redheaded Mr. Spock. I love hot, smart men. If I can’t talk with a guy, it’s all over. Great conversation is as important as a great first kiss.

Jill: What was “the idea” that started your story?

SS: I wanted to write a secret baby book that was realistic, in comparison to the other secret baby books I’d read. Most of them are pretty unrealistic,  especially in terms of the heroine keeping the child a secret from the hero. I think it’s that’s pretty appalling conduct unless the father is a serial killer. Anyone who would do that is not the kind of person I’d label a “heroine.” There’s nothing heroic about that.

In my book, the H&H are separated by events, and the hero doesn’t know because the heroine doesn’t know where he is and has no way of contacting him, and vice-versa. When they reconnect, the heroine tells the hero promptly. The story therefore focuses on the renewed romance between the H&H and not on the concealment.

Jill: Have you been to any of the places you write about?

SS: Oh, yes. This particular book is set in the Yuba River Valley of northern California, a beautiful place in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. My fictitious town, Renegade Ridge, is modeled on Nevada City, a charming Gold-Rush-era town.
I think a sense of place in a novel is critically important, and tend to emphasize setting both as a writer and as an editor.

Jill: What is your favorite part about being a romance writer? Your least favorite part?

SS: I love being a writer/editor because I go to work in my bathrobe. 🙂 And when the writing is good, it’s very very good. When it’s bad, it’s rotten. If my Muse goes AWOL, it’s awful.

Jill: If you were only writing for you, what outrageous book would you write?

SS: ::twinkle:: I do write only for myself, and I’m delighted that publishers and readers want to buy what I write. And I do write some pretty wild stuff, especially the erotic romance, which I publish using the name Suz deMello.

My fave out-of-this-world romance is an erotic futuristic called Queen of Shadow, and readers can learn more about it at http://www.suzdemello.com.

Queen of ShadowThis book is set on a faraway planet, millennia in the future, which has neither tilt or spin. Thus, one face is always presented to its sun, and the other suffers eternal, freezing night. After I thought of the concept, I wondered what societies would evolve in such a place, and the book grew from that idea.

Sue and Suz, thank you so much for being with me today. You can find Sue/Suz at:  http://www.fearlessfastpacedfiction.com

Blog The Writer – Emma Lai

Today I have the lovely Emma Lai with me talking about her book, Riding Rodeo. Muy Caliente, indeed!

What was “the idea” that started your story?

While Riding Rodeo is an erotic menage, the heroine is based on a friend my sister and I lost a couple of years ago. The idea was to give her a happily-ever-after. Both my sister and I think she would have gotten a kick out of the story turning into an erotica. So, yes, I would definitely be friends with Amanda, and I couldn’t possibly date Sean because he is based on our friend’s crush–though I had to pull from my own experience with bronc to completely bring him to life.



The last person Amanda Goodson expected to walk into her bakery was Sean Cassidy, the bareback bronc rider who rode her hard one night and left without a good-bye the next day. Since then, she’d sworn off one-night stands and cowboys, but one look at the man she called Rodeo leaves her hankering for another ride.

A nasty injury ended Sean’s career and left him with nothing but time to contemplate past sins, especially the most damning one…walking out on Amanda, the one woman he couldn’t forget. Eager to right the biggest mistake of his life, he finds Amanda–and learns he has competition. Never one to back down from a challenge, he offers to fulfill her darkest fantasy–taking two cowboys for a ride.

When the dust settles, will Sean’s plan to win Amanda’s trust backfire or will she risk her heart for one more shot at Riding Rodeo?

What is your must-have food or treat for writing?

While writing, I like to have coffee or tea at hand. My favorite place to edit is one of my local Starbucks. I don’t have a drink of choice (vary between lattes, americanos, black tea, and earl grey), and I stopped eating, for the most part, the treats when I found the pounds creeping upward. 🙂

Have you been to any of the places you write about?

For the most part, only in my head. The Mates of the Guardian series spans the ages from Georgian England to five hundred years in the future, and none of it has of yet occurred in the present. I also have a story, Slave to Innocence, set in ancient Greek.

All of my contemporaries are based in Houston or in Texas, which is where I call home. So, of course I’ve been all around the area where the stories occur, but the actual locations don’t exist.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I’m a pantster all the way. I’ve tried plotting, and my attempts fail. My characters drive the story, which is probably why some wips sit untouched for long periods. It’s like there’s a hundred voices in my head, and whoever screams the loudest gets the attention.

How do you celebrate typing “The End”?

You mean I get to celebrate? I normally send it out to my CPs and then bite my nails down to nubs waiting for their more than timely responses. After which, I work in their comments, do another read through and figure out where to submit it to. Then I work up a blurb and submit. For the week or so, I return to biting my nails. Once the nerves settle, I move onto the next project.

I don’t think I celebrate until I’ve finished galleys and get the production copy. Then, I smile a lot and find people to give copies to. I’m so boring. 🙂

You can find Emma @

Website: http://www.emmalawrites.com

Twitter: @emmalaiwrites
Facebook: AuthorEmmaLai