Monday, July 13, 2020

Wild Rose Pass

. . . Cadence McShane, free-spirited nonconformist, yearns to escape the rigid code, clothes, and sidesaddles of 1880s military society in Fort Davis, Texas. She finds the daring new lieutenant exhilarating, but as the daughter of the commanding officer, she is expected to keep with family tradition and marry West Point graduate James West.
. . . Orphaned, Comanche-raised, and always the 
outsider looking in, Ben Williams yearns to belong. Cadence embodies everything he craves, but as a battlefield-commissioned officer with the Buffalo Soldiers instead of a West Point graduate, he is neither accepted into military society nor considered marriageable.
. . . Can two people of different worlds, drawn together by conflicting needs, flout society and forge a life together on the frontier?

Wild Women Authors is pleased to bring [new to us] author Karen Hulene Bartell and Wild Rose Pass, a recent release out of the Wild Rose Press' Cactus Rose line. With Karen is Cadence McShane who will go first.
Good morning, Cadence. Tell us a bit about yourself. Though I’m the daughter of the fort’s commander and expected to behave like a lady at all times, I’m a tomboy at heart, who wants adventures and challenges. I’m tired of the rounds of teas and dinner parties, Parcheesi, and pinochle, I want to cantor out the fort’s gates and gallop across the Chihuahuan Desert, a place with no prying eyes and no eavesdropping ears. I’m tired of being bridled, and I need something more to do than just fill my time. I want to accomplish something.
Where are you from? I’m an Army Brat, who’s lived from post to post all my life.
Tell us a bit about Wild Rose Pass. It is a story about Ben Williams and me. We’re two opposites of different worlds, yet we’re drawn together by conflicting needs. I want his freedom. He wants what I have—family.
What did you think the first time you saw him? I thought he was the most exciting man I’d ever met. He was unlike any man I knew. My father and every other officer had gone to West Point, but he was a mustang…an enlisted man promoted on the battlefield…and he was raised by Comanches. And the way he fills his uniform…mmm. 
Works for us. What was your second thought? He was raised by Comanches…he must be a savage.
Was it love at first sight? Extreme interest at first sight, but not love. No. love came gradually as I saw how he treated others, and how he was the only one I could speak openly with and share my thoughts.
What do you like most about him? He’s a person, who treats me as an equal and a cherished fiancĂ©e.
How would you describe Ben? He’s compassionate, kindhearted, and considerate, yet brave. He’s interested in more than military maneuvers or promotions and knows where to find natural treasures, like wild plums, pine nuts, pecans, or twinned-crystal calcite.
How would he describe you? He’d say I want new experiences, not a repetition of what I’ve always done. I want to live life, not sit idly, drinking tea and watching life pass me by. I need adventures and challenges. Freedom and independence are most important to me.
What made you choose teaching as a career?
Teaching is what is fulfills me. It isn’t a career, but I’m filling in for the instructor, who’s returned to the East coast this semester. However, these children have become my “little friends,” and when I spend time teaching them, I feel I’m contributing.
What is your biggest fear? Apaches. After seeing what the renegades have done, I’m afraid to live beyond the fort’s walls.
How do you relax? I love to read poetry, particularly Emily Dickinson and Clement Clarke Moore.
Who is your favorite fictional character?Anthony Trollope’s hero from the latest chapter of The Duke’s Children.
What is the best advice you ever received? Follow your heart, not your head.

Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to speak with us. Now we'd like to chat with Karen.
What movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer? Carolyn Keene’s Nancy Drew sleuthing novels fascinated me.
What event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel? My love of the Chihuahuan Desert and Fort Davis, Texas—God’s country!
Tell us a bit about your publisher: how did you hear about them and what influenced your decision to submit to them? Wild Rose Press, Inc. is my publisher. The title of this novel was Wild Rose Pass (an actual geographical location). I call it kismet.
What book[s] currently rest on your TBR pile? Too many to mention. I’ve fallen wayyy behind on my reading.
Lastly, what's up next and when can we expect to see it on the shelves? I’m currently working on the sequel to Wild Rose Pass, but I have a feeling Paisano Pass will be clumped with my paranormal and mainstream romances instead of my frontier/western romance series. Can’t help myself when it comes to the supernatural…

Karen brought an excerpt from Wild Rose Pass for us:

     Cadence’s fingertips grazed Ben’s thigh, and she caught her breath.
     He bristled as his gaze locked with hers. Then he inched closer, leaning into her space.
     As if magnetized, she inclined her body toward his. How will his lips feel on mine? Eager to learn, she closed her eyes, parted her lips, and waited…
     Moments passed.
      “We’d better head back.”
     His words sounded gruff and strangled. Opening her eyes wide, she stared horror-struck. Did I just make a fool of myself? Huffing, she jerked the reins. “Fine,” she called over her shoulder as she wheeled around her horse…

To purchase Wild Rose Pass,go to:
Amazon eBook:

Amazon Paperback:

Barnes & Noble NOOK Book:

Barnes & Noble Paperback:

To learn more about Karen Hulene Bartell, go to:

Monday, July 6, 2020

Happy Endings by Susan Payne

.....1874 Sweetwater was growing in all sorts of ways. New bank, new school and new houses for the families settling there joining the original ranchers. This busy town was earning a reputation for peaceful living and prosperity for everyone.
.....Will an unwanted intrusion from outsiders bring all that to an end? Would the townspeople and those in the perimeter of protection be endangered? Or will everything work out as it was meant to for the people living and loving in Sweetwater?

Wild Women Authors welcomes back Susan Payne with Happy Endings, the last in her Sweetwater series recently released out of the Wild Rose Press. With Susan is Maggie St. Michaels, local restaurant manager.

Good morning, Maggie. Please tell us a bit about yourself. “I was raised in St. Michaels Foundling Home in New York City until I graduated at eighteen. I came to Sweetwater after my sister, Callie Harrison, contacted me asking for help on her ranch. Mary Elizabeth and I came together. The two Mary’s the ranch hands called us.”
Tell us a bit about Sweetwater’s Happy Endings. “Well, I’ve been here since about the beginning of the town taking off. Right after the railroad came through and businesses began popping up. They had some, of course, but since I’ve been here, we’ve opened up a newspaper and a new bank. Our own midwife. We have an attorney and architect, photography shop, a leather smith, the wonderful Sweetwater Bakery, a boarding house, and the restaurant inside the saloon.”
What did you think the first time you saw Franklin Johnson? “I was so busy I barely had time to think much about him accept that he was helping me set up a much-needed restaurant for the workmen in town. Someplace they could get a square meal at a reasonable price.”
What was your second thought? “That he was handsome, kind and if things had been different, I would have fallen for him right away.”
Was it love at first sight? “ I felt I owed too many people for my good fortune. I needed to pay them back for helping me find a job and place to sleep. On my own, I would never have been able to manage a restaurant as I’m doing now.”
What do you like most about Franklin Johnson? “His kindness. Even when he lost his memory of me, he was always polite and helpful. A good worker and willing to do whatever needed doing. I think most in town would agree with me.”
How would you describe him? “Tall, good-looking, but then he has an identical twin so I don’t think of his looks as important as his character. In that way, Franklin tops Hamilton by a mile.”
How would Franklin describe you? “Probably as a pain in his you know what. I came into his saloon and turned it upside down. His workday now begins at five a.m. and doesn’t stop till close of business at ten o’clock or so. Then there was clean up, bed, and back to work again in the morning. That’s seven days a week. The men had to be fed three times a day so there wasn’t much rest for either of us.”
What made you choose managing a restaurant as a career? “It kind of landed on me. A couple of my sisters from the orphanage said the town needed this kind of restaurant and I was the most experienced one available. I had helped feed the ranch hands out at the Harrison ranch, was trained by Callie, and was free to do it.”
What is your biggest fear? “That I will wake-up and find this is all a dream. My job, my being with so many St. Michaels orphans, and Franklin no longer my husband.”
How do you relax? “Franklin and I like to go fishing along the Sweetwater river just outside of town. We don’t get much time, but when we do, that’s where you’ll find us.”
Who is your favorite fictional character? “Cinderella. She worked hard and got her prince. I guess she would be near the top.”
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? “Stay true to yourself. If you do then it doesn’t matter what others think. My namesake, Sister Mary Margaret, now Mother Superior, told me that along the way. We all listened to her advice and took it to heart.”
Maggie, thank you for taking time away from the restaurant to chat with us. Now it's Susan's turn under the spotlight.
What movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer? “All the old westerns, of course. Zane Grey Presents. I also spent hours listening to recordings of theater shows. South Pacific, Oklahoma, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers – I spun the stories as I listened to the songs. Made up lives for them after the play was finished.”
What event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel? “You may notice these books were all about the food. Sustenance in all forms. Cooking since that hasn’t changed all that much. My grandmother cooked all her life on a wood burning stove. Baked the best pies and cookies without a means of controlling heat. Merely knowing when to add wood or stir up embers. I never knew her to burn anything. Canned all her own food which they grew on the eighty acres she received as her wedding gift from her parents. That ability to be self-sustaining is carried through in many of my historical western stories. A way to touch those characters I write about.”
Tell us a bit about your publisher: how did you hear about them and what influenced your decision to submit to them? Wild Rose Press is exceptional in their ability to help new authors. Or authors who are under-represented. They have an ala’ carte menu that I found helped me get published and distributed. They are extremely easy to work with and don’t mind answering the newby questions.
What book[s] currently rest on your TBR pile? “So many now…I have an eclectic taste in genre. I read three and find four more. It’s never ending.”
Lastly, what's up next and when can we expect to see it on the shelves? “I have The Persistent Marquess releasing on July 15th. Also a mail-order-bride with an agenda besides marriage on her mind, Forever Kind of Woman, out this summer. A Regency Christmas anthology out in September. Also, two more westerns, The Texas Ranger and The Professor with Wild Rose Press and Montana Lineman with Literary Wanderlust by the end of the year.

Here's a bit more information about our guest author:
A voracious reader her whole life, Susan Payne loved the written word. When reading more than fifty books per month wasn’t enough, she decided to allow her mind to take flight and write all the many stories that kept intruding in her life. She blended her love of history and her love of words to create over eighty stories. All historical and centering on a couple finding love and a happy ever after together.
The author has published a series of stories surrounding fictional Sweetwater Kansas beginning with Harrison Ranch through The Wild Rose Press and Montana Lineman by Literary Wanderlust due out by end of 2020.

To learn more about Susan Payne and the stories she creates, go to:


Monday, June 29, 2020

Stranger in the Storm

     After she discovers the abusive side of his personality, Janet Mitchell leaves the professor who swept her off her feet. Will she discover the same darkness in Wes, the handsome young man who rescues her during a hurricane?
     Years before, Wes Corbett vowed not to get romantically involved again, fearing anyone close to him might be harmed by his brother William, a born criminal. Now as he weathers the storm with Janet, their mutual attraction becomes clear.
     Can he keep that vow—even though he knows William is on the loose and may be headed directly for them?

Wild Women Authors is pleased to welcome Patricia McAlexander as she celebrates the release of her debut romantic suspense Stranger in the Storm. With Pat is Janet Mitchell, herself a romance author, and female protagonist of the novel.
Hello, Janet. Tell us a bit about yourself, like where are you from? I grew up in Johnstown, New York, a city of about 11,000 in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains, an hour west of Albany, New York.
Tell us a bit about Stranger in the Storm. I’d just run away from an abusive lover in New York City and was staying at my parents’ isolated lake house on Great Sacandaga Lake to write my second novel. While going for supplies during a hurricane, my car became stuck on a country road, and a young man, Wes Corbett, pushed it out of the mud. We ended up having to weather the hurricane together at the cottage. I was glad not to be alone—not only because of the storm, but because the news on the radio reported two escaped convicts in the area.
What did you think the first time you saw Wes? When he knocked on my car window and asked if he could help get my car out of the mud, I couldn’t see him very well through the rain. I was just was so frightened and so relieved someone had come to help—that was all I could think of.
What was your second thought? Then…after I lowered my window, I noticed how handsome he was.
Was it love at first sight? No—I was too scared of the storm. I think I began to fall in love with him back at my parents’ cottage when he helped me rescue my father’s boat that had come loose from the buoy.
What do you like most about him? His thoughtfulness.
Having read the book, we agree totally. How would you describe Wes? Sexy and nice.
How would he describe you? I hope the same way.
What made you choose writing for a career? That career chose me. I’ve always written stories. I majored in creative writing in college, and had some short stories published. And so when I graduated, I was excited about getting a masters of fine arts at NYU.
What is your biggest fear? Finding out that someone I care for isn’t what he at first seems to be. That happened to me in that relationship in New York City mentioned earlier, and I knew it could happen again.
How do you relax? I sit on the patio of my parents’ cottage and drink a glass of wine while I look at the lake.
Who is your favorite fictional character? That’s a hard one, but I’ll say Scarlet O’Hara in Gone with the Wind. She’s unusual in that, although she is selfish and manipulative, in many ways she is admirable—strong, a good business woman, ready to fight to save Tara and to be with the man she loves. And though Gone with the Wind’s ending is not HEA, Scarlet does learn something about herself and the mistakes she’s made.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? My friend Dot told me, “If you’re in a bad situation, get out of it.” As I mentioned, a while back, I found myself in a very bad relationship. I hoped it would get better, but when I realized it wouldn’t, I walked. It’s not healthy to endure a situation that hurts you mentally or physically, and it’s unrealistic to hang on, thinking it will change. Hopefully you’ll learn something from the experience and the next time find a better, healthier relationship, one that lasts.
This has been a real pleasure, Janet. We wish you well in your blossoming career as a novelist and thank you for spending time with us. Now, we'd like to chat with your creator, Pat McAlexander.
What movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer? Anita Shreve’s novels have had an impact on me. She is so good at portraying the awakening of love amid dramatic settings and circumstances. My favorite of her novels is Resistance, set in Nazi-occupied Belgium during World War II. I was very happy when one of the early reviewers of Stranger in the Storm compared me to her.
What event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel? I brought several events in my private life to the novel. One was a horrific storm on the Great Sacandaga Lake when I was a child. When it was over, my parents drove to the nearby town of Mayfield—called Mayfair in the story. My sister and I sat in the back seat looking out of the windows. The devastation was amazing—roofs, trees, and wires down everywhere. An ice cream store was serving up triple and quadruple-decker ice cream cones because they knew otherwise their ice cream would melt and be wasted. My sister and I loved that! But the storm was one source of inspiration for the hurricane scenes.
Tell us a bit about your publisher: how did you hear about them and what influenced your decision to submit to them? Someone in a writer’s group I’m a member of mentioned that the Wild Rose Press was her publisher, and I thought, “Ah, maybe that would be a place to submit Stranger in the Storm.” I read some books Wild Rose had published and was impressed. Their website gave good directions on how to submit—they asked for the entire manuscript. I took the plunge, sending it on November 18, 2019 to the “Crimson” line, the one for thriller-romances. Editor Kaycee John read and annotated the first several pages and suggested that I revise, recommending that I read Revision and Self-Editing for Publication: Techniques for Transforming Your First Draft into a Novel That Sells by James Scott Bell. I found that book so helpful, especially in suggesting how to work in back story and ramp up drama. Wild Rose accepted the revision, and Kaycee was a wonderful guide as we went through the complete editing process. Stranger will be released on June 29, 2020.
What book[s] currently rest on your TBR pile? I just finished Beautiful Boy, a memoir by David Sheff describing how he and his family dealt with his young son Nic's drug addiction. Next on the pile is Tweak by Nic Sheff himself, now an adult—his version of the story.
Lastly, what's up next and when can we expect to see it on the shelves? I’m working on Shadows of Doubt, a novel about a girl who becomes romantically involved with a disturbed young man. His parents are divorced, and, alienated from his father, he’d begun dealing drugs in college. I read Beautiful Boy as background for this novel. I don’t know when (or if!) we can expect to see Shadows on the shelves, but I am very much involved in the research and writing process.

Pat brought along an excerpt from Stranger in the Storm:
           A wave of horror passed over her. It was true. Wes was the escaped convict. He had reunited with Richard Sturgess, the other convict. How he had fooled her! He was as good a performer as Jack, acting so convincingly to get what he wanted—in this case, shelter and food— then her father’s tools to free his truck.
Richard said to Wes, “Did you get the key?”
Yes.” Wes held it up, then unlocked the door and motioned them inside. He looked at the pile of clothes and the wet mattress on the floor. “What a mess.”
“I need to get dressed,” she said.
Sure, you can get dressed. But you aren’t getting out of my sight.” Wes noted her jeans, shirt, and underwear on the couch. “Here you go.” He tossed the items one by one to her, dangling her bra for longer than was necessary.
Anger boiled up in her. Snatching each item, Janet saw the blanket he had used on the couch the night before. She grabbed it and wrapped it about her like a burka. Then she pulled off her bathing suit and, rather awkwardly, dressed inside the blanket.
Wes watched her with mocking amusement. Finished, she threw the blanket aside. “Clever girl, aren’t you?” said Wes. “Now, how about getting me some dry clothes and fixing us something to eat?”

To purchase Stranger in the Storm, go to:

To learn more about Patricia McAlexander and Stranger in the Storm, go to:


Thursday, June 25, 2020

On The Make, Margo Hoornstra

Brothers in Blue: To Serve and Protect Was Never More Personal

The Brothers In Blue series, created by author Margo Hoornstra, tells of four heroes who met at the police academy and became life-long friends. The dropout, the straight arrow, the movie star and the maverick: all share a passion to serve and protect, each in their own unique way.
     On The Make is the story of Adam Pride aka Adam Hollingsworth, one-time police officer turned reluctant movie star. He’s visiting Wild Women Authors this week and we are thrilled to meet him and welcome Margo back to our blog.
Where are you from? Everywhere and nowhere. At least until I was lucky enough to meet Madison Clark and her two boys Cameron and Dak. My whole life, my mother liked to move around a lot. We finally landed in the Detroit area, I hoped for good. When she took off again, I was old enough at eighteen to stay where I was for a change and support myself. That was a long time ago.
Tell us about your book. It’s a long story how I went from being a cop to becoming an actor, so I won’t go into that now. I first met Madison Clark when I was shooting a movie on location in Colorado. She’d recently moved there for a relationship that didn’t turn out at all as she’d expected. Then the accidents started, and she always seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Turned out I needed to revert back to my police officer skills when a would-be assassin got the better of her. Though it took a long time to figure that out. She never did, and I almost didn’t.
What did you think the first time you saw Madison? Aside from the fact she had a face sent straight from heaven? I thought she was someone I wanted to get to know better. No. Not thought. I was sure of it.
What was your second thought? One thing I did not know for sure was whether I had a snowball’s chance in you know where, whether or not that would or could happen. Unfortunately, we didn’t meet for the first time under the best of circumstances. She was really, really pissed at her oldest offspring, fourteen-year-old Cameron and, by extension, me. And I was immediately determined to somehow get into her good graces. Or die trying. (Okay that last part is a little dramatic. I’m a reluctant actor after all.) However, I did risk my life more than once for her. Something I’d do in a heartbeat over and over again if, God forbid I had to.
Was it love at first sight? Now that I think about it, for me yes. Definitely, yes. However, aside from the fact she wanted nothing to do with me, at the time we first met, I was under the mistaken impression she was married. In my world, that made her off limits. Period. Which kinda blew my mind.
What do you like most about her? Her devotion to her family. Which I’m lucky enough to be part of. She’s especially devoted to her kids. All three of them. Hard to believe our precious little one’s impending arrival very nearly broke us up at the beginning. Something I shudder to think about. All I would have missed. The woman is certainly not a Black Widow in the making as she was seeing herself when we, shall we say, first became friends.
How would you describe her? Aside from being gorgeous? Sweet. Caring. Courageous. Determined.
How would she describe you? I would hope much the same way. Without the gorgeous part, of course. Nice looking maybe. I’d like to think so, anyway.
What made you choose acting as a career? I didn’t. Acting chose me. And only temporarily. I kind of fell into the acting stint when, as a police officer, I was assigned to a personal protection detail of a high-profile producer. My first love has always been law enforcement. Ironically, Madison’s first husband had been a cop too. Complete opposite of her second husband, who died under rather suspicious circumstances.
What is your biggest fear? That I might lose any part of the family I always wanted and now have. Madison and the boys. Our newest addition, the light of my life, their sister. Even my new mother-in-law Kay Carmichael. She’s a real hoot. Woman has a heart of gold and nerves of steel.
How do you relax? Living with two energetic, adolescent boys and also the light of my life, their little sister, I no longer do that, too often anyway. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade chaos for calm for anything.
Who is your favorite fictional character? Does Kyle Flynn count? He’s the cop I played in the movie we were making. Kyle sacrificed for his family too. What was left of it.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Always, always stick with the truth. It will never let you down. That from one of my Brothers In Blue. The straight arrow of our group, Vince Miller. He recently made captain. Well deserved.
Thanks for spending time with us, Adam. Now to Margo. What movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer? Not only the books, but the authors. Kathleen Woodiwiss. Phyllis Whitney.
What event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel? Coming from a law enforcement family, as well as having many, many friends in the profession, I hope I was able to convey the personal side of, perhaps a behind the scenes perspective, about those who dedicate themselves to serve and protect us. And the people who find themselves loving them.
Tell us a bit about your publisher: how did you hear about them and what influenced your decision to submit to them? The Wild Rose Press was first introduced to me by an author friend back in 2008, I think it was. I initially submitted a number of short stories to a very special editor at their Last Rose of Summer line Kathy Cottrell. She accepted each and every one of those for publication, then went on to publish my next six contemporary romance novels. When I switched to writing romantic suspense, Ally Robertson, an editor with The Wild Rose Press Crimson Rose line picked up this four-book series, Brothers In Blue.
What books currently rest on your TBR pile? Quite honestly, too many to count. For the most part, books by fellow authors. First drafts from my critique partner Jannine Gallant.
Lastly, what’s up next and when can we expect to see it on shelves? Thank you for asking. Next is the final book of the Brothers In Blue series due out sometime in 2021. On The Move features Luke Simms, the maverick of the four. Or should I say less traditional? In the previous three Brothers In Blue, Luke was happily engaged to Chelsea, a fellow officer. Kind of an example for the others to strive for. When Luke’s book opens, Chelsea, who never made it on stage, has recently walked out on him. More or less at loose ends in his personal life, Luke throws himself into an undercover assignment which would have gotten him killed if not for a very courageous woman, a former prosecutor turned matchmaker named CJ. I’m also working on a murder mystery novella. Twelve other authors are in the group. Our Friday The Thirteenth books will release on November 13, 2020. My contribution is titled Dead To Rights. In addition to the murder, it’s full of mistaken identity and second chances with the tag line – One step off the path could be her last.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Love's New Beginnings

     Charlene Walker's life as a concert pianist is in shambles. First, her grandfather died, a mugging left her with a broken arm, her boyfriend manager ran off with her savings, and now, she's learned she's inherited an apple orchard business and a partner she doesn't want or trusts.
     The last thing Logan Taylor wants is a new partner, especially a woman. He doesn't trust easily. He believes, once her arm has healed, she'll leave him and the business just like his wife did after the birth of their son.
     Over time, Charlene learns everything isn't as it appears. Forced to work together, they come to an understanding, which grows into friendship. Is it possible that they both can obtain their goals and find love, too? And then, because of another accident, news she never wanted to hear forces her to make different decisions, sending her into a new beginning.

Wild Women Authors is pleased to welcome back author Diana Stout and concert pianist turned reluctant orchard owner Charlene Walker from Diana's recently released contemporary romance: Love's New Beginnings. Charlene is up first.
Where are you from? New York City, but for the next six months, I'm living in Willow Junction, Michigan.
Tell us a bit about Love's New Beginnings. I'm a concert pianist and had to cancel a tour because I'd been mugged, ending up with a concussion and a broken arm. While in the hospital, my grandfather who lives in Willow Junction, Michigan died. I wasn't able to attend his funeral, which saddened me. Because I was inheriting his estate, I flew to Willow Junction in a private plane—all arranged by my mentor, who is also my conductor and manager for the tour I was on—my first. As a result, I brought my two talking parrots. I never liked leaving them home alone when I traveled and having just come back from a long tour where I did have to leave them, I brought them to keep me company.
     In Willow Junction, I learn I have inherited all of Gramps' personal belongings, house, business and a partner. Gramps left the business to both of us and I have to stay in Willow Junction or I will lose everything. I need the money I can get from selling the house and the business, so I don't dare leave. Since I can't play with a broken arm, it isn't that much of a hardship to stay.
     What I didn't expect was the day-to-day close proximity to Logan and that he is fighting me on selling the business. We're being forced to work together.
What did you think the first time you saw Logan Taylor? I met him at the lawyer's office that first time. He had the bluest eyes I've ever seen and that he was as tall, strong, and sturdy as a Sequoia tree. At least, that was my first impression as I sat in the chair looking up at him. Even Paul Newman would have been jealous of his blue eyes. His deep voice surprised me, and when he was nearby, he smelled of chocolate covered cherries. One wickedly handsome package.
What was your second thought? That I had met him before, but at that first meeting, I couldn't remember from where. I will remember later.
Was it love at first sight? No. Not at all. We were adversaries from that first meeting. We both want different things for the business. It's been a struggle from the very beginning.
What do you like most about him? That he doesn't give up and that every layer of him is a surprise.
How would you describe him? At first, I thought he was cold and withdrawn. Now, I find him to be sensitive and caring.
How would he describe you? Stubborn, yet helpful. A pain in his ass probably. The last thing he expected to land on his business doorstep.
What made you choose becoming a concert pianist as a career? I loved music. I grew up with a piano. I love playing as often as I can. Practicing is play. I never tire of it. And then, when I met the Maestro who became my mentor, he said I was a natural. He was the one who enticed me to do the tours.
What is your biggest fear? That I'll never get to play again. The break in my arm was a nasty break. The doctors have warned me that I might never be able to play again, but I don't believe them.
How do you relax? Normally, it would be at the piano. Here in Willow Creek, I'm going through Gramps' house, cleaning out cupboards and closets, getting rid of the things I don't want. With only one good arm, everything takes me twice as long as I'd like. Plus, I've noticed that I tire easily. No doubt because of the accident and having come off a long tour.
Who is your favorite fictional character? Anna Karenina. I like her grit.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? That gifts come in strange packages and that we shouldn't question why we receive them. It's all about what we do with them. Gramps used to tell me that all the time the summer I stayed with him. He would have said my broken arm was a gift. It was also the summer when I first met Logan.

We thank you for taking time away from the orchard, Charlene. Now, we'd like to chat with Diana.
What movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer? Growing up, I read a lot of books and watched a lot of old movies. One of my favorites, a black and white movie, was The Uninvited, a Gothic-like ghost story, starring Ray Milland. I had read the book by Dorothy Macardle. My mother, seeing me reading it, told me about the movie. I love ghost stories like The Univited and time travel stories and movies, as well. Somewhere in Time is probably my all-time favorite time-travel movie, and it was filmed here in Michigan on Mackinac Island, which I enjoy visiting. It's famous for having no automobiles, only horse and buggies in the summer and snowmobiles in winter.
What event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel? This novel is set in Willow Creek, a fictitious community in Calhoun County, Michigan. I was raised in Marshall, a nearby community setting for this novel, along with a couple of its restaurants—namely The Stagecoach Inn and Cornwell's Turkeyville. At forty, I moved to Florida, then South Georgia, but would return ten years later, first to Battle Creek, then Kalamazoo.
Once I retired, I returned to Marshall for a multitude of reasons and thoroughly enjoy being back home. For such a small community, it's a happening community with a historic downtown and the second largest historical district in the United States, with over 850 architectural buildings from the 19th and 20th century. Marshall's annual Historical Home Tour is mentioned in the book, along with a few other area events. Basically, I brought home into this novel.
Tell us a bit about your publisher: how did you hear about them and what influenced your decision to submit to them? This book was first published by Avalon Books, with whom I had already published. Today, I'm an indie publisher. Having the rights back, I changed the book's title, the cover, updated the story, corrected all the errors that the publisher missed, and have republished it through my own company Sharpened Pencils Productions LLC.
What book[s] currently rest on your TBR pile? Another pile of genre books on my TBR pile are history novels, especially those about Great Britain's royalty, anything Arthurian, and that of the Medici family. Five books that I want to read are The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory, Stonehenge by Bernard Cornwell, (both being favorite authors), The Forever Queen by Helen Hollick, The Queen's Conjurer by Benjamin Woolley, and My Just Desire by Anna Beer.
Lastly, what's up next and when can we expect to see it on the shelves? Currently, I'm still writing and editing my Laurel Ridge novella series of seven romances. After publishing the first one, and while writing the third one, thinking the second was ready for publication, I discovered I was writing myself into a corner. Not good news for the remaining stories; so, I decided to write all seven first drafts before publishing the second one—which I hope will be this fall—to ensure I wasn't making plot, setting, or time line mistakes that readers would no doubt catch.
     After that I have several projects to choose from: a historical drama based on a mid-1800 event, a mystery, a horror, or a time-travel. All four projects are screaming me first, me, me, me!


Diana brought an excerpt from Love's New Beginnings:

Out on the sidewalk, Logan waited for her.
Once she spotted him, he saw her hesitate. Charlene Walker, world-renown pianist, looked just like her publicity photos. Picture perfect. The forest green silk suit hugged her lush curves, the breeze ruffling the smooth material tight against those curves, the skirt hugging her thighs. Earlier, it'd been difficult keeping his gaze on Norton when he'd rather watch her skirt creep up her thigh. He was both relieved and crushed when she had jumped up, those legs no longer tantalizing him. Now a strand of brown hair had escaped the confines of the bun at the nape of her neck that was her signature hairdo. Every picture Charlie had ever shown him and those he saw on the covers of magazines, she always had that bun.
He wondered what her hair looked like down.
Coming out of the door and coming down the steps, she looked frail, her hand clasping the handrail in a death grip. For just an instant, he considered stepping forward and helping her.
Then he saw her lift her chin and straighten her spine, a purposeful look in her brown eyes.
He didn't want to care one hoot about this woman even if she was his partner. The first chance he had, he was buying her out. Yet, there was something about her that attracted him. He couldn't stop watching her. He felt like an over-stretched rubber band, the tension he felt inside so taut, he thought he'd snap.
With precision and grace unlike anything he'd seen before, she walked toward him, then stopped. She had to. He blocked the sidewalk.
He looked down at her. No bigger than a child, he thought, slight and obviously tired, but she looked ready to do battle. "We have to talk," he said.
"I agree," she replied. "I want to know your intentions, your plans, and what kind of influence you had over Gramps."
Logan squinted his eyes. Of all the raw, rotten—
"Right now isn't a good time. I've got to be out of the motel by noon, and it's—," Charlene glanced at her watch. "—nearly that already. The boys are going to chew me out for leaving them alone that long. Can you meet me at Gramps' house, say in two hours? It's the best I can offer."
"Fine. I've got some repairs to finish anyway." He knew he sounded waspish, but at this moment, he didn't care. He could be just as short but polite with her as she was with him.
"Good. I'll see you then." She started to move forward, but couldn't. "Excuse me."
Forced to step aside, he stared after her. Darn, if she wasn't great to look at as she walked away. He should be riled at the high-handed way she had accused him of manipulating Charlie. Fortunately, he'd had lots of practice thanks to Charlie—and Beth—on how to control his temper and how to bide his time. Charlene didn't know it yet, but she was just like the old man. Logan knew how to handle her. There was plenty of time to straighten things out. Straighten her out, too, if he had anything to say about it.