Monday, December 28, 2015

To My Andy

A week ago today we buried my nephew Andrew James Doran.
Many many people came to the wake and funeral to honor him: members of the high school football team he loved to coach; his students and their parents; classmates from high school and college.
And of course his immediate family, my brother Pete and sister-in-law Alice, his sister Suzanne and her husband Kasey, and a raft of cousins. 

Through it all the love Andy had for his family, children, students and the community shown like a beacon of the way a good and honorable man conducts his life.

The world is a better place for having had Andy in it. Our family is infinitely better for Andy's humor and imagination.

Hope you're having a blast wherever you are now, pal. Look down on us once in awhile and give us one of your grins.

Love you,
Aunt Kathy 

Monday, December 21, 2015

A Semi-Precious Christmas

     On a bright, crisp December morning, jewelry store manager, Peridot Keaton-Jones, arrives at work expecting to find her beloved uncle, Marty. Instead, she’s greeted by the muzzle of a gun pressed to her temple. When thugs assault her, threaten her life, and steal thousands of dollars worth of jewelry, Peri can only pray her uncle is late for the first time in his life.
     Christopher Lane is a TV news cameraman in the right place at the right time. He witnesses the heist, calls the police, and offers help when Peri needs it most. She can't deny her attraction, but is he really her hero, or is he just after a story? 
And with Christmas right around the corner, can Peri and Chris avert a holiday disaster?
     To start off Christmas week, Wild Women Authors is pleased to welcome back Jan Elder and Peridot Keaton-Jones from Jan's holiday release, A Semi-Precious Christmas. We'll start with Peri.
Where are you from? I was born and raised in central Maryland and I still live in the same town I grew up in. Why would I want to leave a place that makes me happy?
Tell us a bit about A Semi-Precious Christmas. Now there’s a story! Let me tell you how my day started awhile back. A couple of weeks before Christmas I was opening up the jewelry store where I’m the manager. I was just minding my own business when, suddenly, the cold steel of a gun pressed hard against my temple. Then a gloved hand covered my mouth and said, “Keep your mouth shut and turn off the alarm. We won’t hurt you if you play nice. All we’re after is the jewelry.”
Well, as you can imagine, I was scared out of my mind. It’s not every day your life is threatened. But that’s how I met Chris. So in the end, it was a good thing.
What did you think the first time you saw Chris Lane? My first thought as he stood at the door to the shop in the middle of the robbery was “for goodness sake, man, get down before this psycho shoots you.”
Makes sense to us. And your second thought? Well, he caught my eye because he was really cute, but what I noticed even more was his adorable little girl, Maggie. Chris’s first thought was to get her to safety when he saw the thugs. Men who are good fathers make me misty eyed.
Did you feel it was love at first sight? Not exactly, but there was certainly interest. Still, I couldn’t help but wonder why he was going out of his way to help me. Cynical, huh? I’m working on that.
What do you like most about Chris? It would be hard not to like a guy who swooped in and rescued me. He’s just that kind of guy—the one you can’t help but be aware of because he’s thoughtful, kind, smart, oh yeah, and cute!
How would you describe him? Chris is also the type of guy who endures the embarrassment for wearing a hideous purple tie just to make his five-year-old daughter happy. He laughs a lot and doesn’t take himself too seriously. I like that in a man.
How would Chris describe you? He calls me his honey bunny. Makes me smile.
What made you choose managing a jewelry store as a career? My uncle Marty owns the story. And hey, my name is Peridot, the August birthstone. Where else would I work? It’s a blast selling beautiful things to happy customers.
What is your biggest fear? I’ve always wanted to be a mother and have kids. I guess I’m afraid that’s never going to happen. At least I was. Before Chris. Okay, I’m blushing now.
How do you relax, Peri? With a slammin’ good book, two warm cats, and a hot cup of tea.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Ever see the TV special, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”? There’s just something about seeing Rudolph mooning over his true-love Clarice that makes me get all squishy inside. Goofy to be romantic over something as simple as that, huh? And the Island of Misfit toys? That’s a Christian message if I ever heard one.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? God knows what He’s doing so relax and let him take the wheel.
Terrific advice to end this part of the conversation. Thanks, Peri. Now let's talk with Jan about what movies or books have had an impact on her career as a writer and why. When the movie, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, did so well at the box office, it reminded me that the world really does love a good romance. When I made my first attempt at writing a book six years ago, romance spilled from my fingertips—ok, the words stuttered and stopped with the occasional gush—so I write what makes me happy.
What event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel? I got the idea for the book from an incident featured on the local news. Right down the street from where my husband and I live, thugs robbed a high-end jewelry store, getting away with thousands of dollars worth of jewelry. We stopped by a few days later and the saleswoman [whom we’re friends with] told us the whole story, including her terror at having a gun pointed at her face.
     I got to thinking how I would feel and react if I were in the same situation. I put myself in my friend’s shoes and tried to relive the moment. What thoughts ran through her mind when confronted with her own mortality? What kind of people were the robbers? Had they been in jail before? Had they hurt anyone else? Everyone has good sides and bad sides. I wanted the reader to wonder, was there any good in them?
Tell us a bit about your publisher: how did you hear about them and what influenced your decision to submit to them? A few years ago, I was meeting with a few other ACFW members (American Christian Fiction Writers) and a fellow writer mentioned that Pelican Book Group was searching for authors. When I got home, I found that Pelican/White Rose publishing has a lovely website with a terrific handy-dandy info all about their requirements.
     I was fortunate that they decided to publish my first novella, Manila Marriage App, and later, I noticed they also had a Christmas Extravaganza line. I read a few of the holiday books to get a feel for what they were looking for, and sat down to write my own Christmas story. Writing A Semi-Precious Christmas, was lots of fun. And hey, I got to research jewelry. How much fun was that!
     As an aside, if you are a writer, Pelican is still taking submissions. You might want to check it out! If you are a reader, check out the whole line of Christmas romances. Good stuff.
What project[s] are you working on now? I’m working on edits with Prism Book Group for my third book, Love, Lies, and Fireflies—release date 9/2/16. LLF is a full-length contemporary Christian romance novel with elements of suspense. I had a fine time writing some of the scarier scenes (but not too scary.) Can’t wait until September!
What's up next for you? I’ve started a new book tentatively titled, A Semi-Sweet Romance, set in a chocolate shop. Speaking of fun research…!

To purchase “A Semi-Precious Christmas”, go to:

To connect with Jan, go to:

Monday, December 14, 2015

Hunted and Stalked and Romanced . . . Oh My

This week Wild Women Authors features hot agents on explosive cases in the FBI Heat series, Hunted, Book 1:
     Catching bad guys in San Diego’s underworld isn’t just FBI Special Agent Ben Alfren’s job, it’s his life. He doesn’t have time for a serious relationship, doesn’t want one either. So when he meets his sexy new neighbor, Amber Jollett, he has nothing more in mind than unwinding with a glass of wine, a romantic walk on the beach…and maybe a hot fling.
     But Amber is more than he bargained for. Hunted by an obsessed ex-boyfriend, the fiercely independent nurse chooses fight over flight for the chance at a future with her hot, blue-eyed neighbor. When she gets caught up in Ben’s plans to rescue five kidnapped women, their lives get entangled and their attraction flares into passion. But they’ll learn that in this dangerous game of cat and mouse, real love can save—or doom—them . . .

Kat and I are pleased to welcome author Marissa Garner and Amber Jollett from Hunted, Marissa's latest release from Grand Central Publishing. First up is Amber.
Where are you from? I grew up on a farm near Topeka, Kansas.
Tell us a bit about Hunted. It’s a sexy, edgy romantic thriller. While I was being hunted by my obsessed ex-boyfriend, my hot neighbor, FBI Special Agent Ben Alfren, was hunting for five women who’d been kidnapped by a drug cartel. When we met at a party, I never imagined that I’d be going undercover with him to find those poor women or that he’d insist on helping me take down my stalker. It was so exciting that I felt like I was in a movie.
What did you think the first time you saw Ben? I felt that “hottie” was an understatement. The guy is definitely GQ material. 
Good one. And your second thought? I wondered if he could actually be one of those rare non-creeps. You know, the kind of guy you drool over in romance novels.
Did you feel it was love at first sight? Absolutely not. I’ve been running from my ex-boyfriend, Jeremy Nelson, for so long that the idea of love or even romance seemed pretty foreign.
What do you like most about Ben? He’s passionate about everything he does.
How would you describe him? Ben is smart, caring, brave, and OMG handsome.
That always helps but how would Ben describe you? He thinks I’m really strong and smart for staying one step ahead of Jeremy for two years.
What made you choose nursing for a career? I love helping people.
What is your biggest fear? I was always afraid Jeremy would catch me.
How do you relax? I read romance novels.
Odd, that's how we discovered romance novels—working the night shift in the surgical Intensive Care Unit. A well written Harlequin was a great way to stay awake during those endless hours of watching cardiac monitors. But we digress; who is your favorite fictional character and why? Sorry, too many to name. I also can’t pick one favorite book.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Thanks for this, Amber. It's Marissa's turn now. What movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer and why? I’ve read dozens of romantic suspense novels by Sandra Brown, Linda Howard, Brenda Novak, Lisa Jackson, Allison Brennan, Anne Stuart, and other fantastic authors. I learned something about writing from every single book.
What event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel? I have a mild phobia about bridges, but I’m not going to reveal how it affected the story. No spoilers!
Tell us a bit about your publisher: how did you hear about them and what influenced your decision to submit to them? My editor at Grand Central Publishing requested the full manuscript of one of my stories when it won first place in a writing contest. After she decided to acquire it, she asked if I had anything else. I was shocked when she also bought the other two books in the series even though they weren’t written yet. I still think I’m dreaming.
What project[s] are you working on now? I’m working on Targeted (Book 2) edits and writing Wanted (Book 3). Targeted is a “ripped from the headlines” story about a female FBI agent who infiltrates a terrorist cell to prevent an urban bombing. In Wanted, an FBI agent teams up with the woman who left him at the altar, and they work together to stop the sabotage of a nuclear power plant.
What's up next for you? After Targeted and Wanted are published in early 2016, it’s going to be hard to decide what to do next. There may be additional books in this FBI Heat series. I sure hope so. And I’d love to publish The Baby Trap, Book 2 in my Hawaiian Heat series. I also have a paranormal romantic suspense that I like to describe as Indiana Jones and Lara Croft join forces with Ghost. So many stories, so little time…
BONUS OFFER:  Check out the $25 Amazon e-Gift Card giveaway I’m running on my Facebook page and website. Good luck!
Marissa brought along an excerpt from Hunted:
     The man in the gray hoodie was watching her. Amber Jollett couldn’t see his face, but he was the right height and build. Even from the opposite street corner, the intensity of his stare bored into her. She shivered despite the sunny morning.
     Her focus never wavered as she slid behind two people. The man’s head turned with her movement.
     The traffic light changed, and the crowd surged forward. Amber’s hand dug into her purse until it gripped reassuring metal. Weaving between bodies, she moved to the outside edge to put as much distance as possible between her and the man before the other pedestrians passed on the street. With each step, her heart beat faster.
     Halfway across, the man reached up, pulled back the hood…and smiled. Straight black hair. Almond-shaped eyes. Asian features.
     Not him.
     Amber’s knees went weak with relief.
     Not him. Not this time.
     A car horn blared. She jumped and spun around to find a taxi idling a few feet away, its driver gesturing impatiently for her to get out of the way. Waving an apology, she scurried across the street. She found a spot out of the pedestrian flow next to the corner of a building. She needed a moment to quiet her nerves.
     She braced her hands on the knees of her pastel pink nurse’s scrubs, inhaled deep breaths, and released them slowly. Fear began to fade as calm returned.
     Damn you, Jeremy Nelson. I want my life back.
     Amber grimaced and closed her eyes. It was starting all over again. Two years had passed since she’d broken up with her obsessed boyfriend, but he continued to stalk her. Restraining orders and calls to law enforcement had proved useless. Now she alone was responsible for her safety. She’d lived in Coronado, across the bay from San Diego, for only two months. But two or three months was the amount of time it normally took for Jeremy to find her. From now on, she would have to be on constant alert. The worst part was imagining him wearing every hoodie, hiding in every shadow, or following in every vehicle. Usually, she didn’t wait for an actual sighting—that would be too late. No, she couldn’t hesitate. Once her instincts told her he was closing in, she had to move on. She cringed.
     How much longer will I be hunted?
This has been an experience and we're so glad Marissa was able to join Wild Women this week.
Veronica Lynch and Kat Doran
To purchase Hunted, go to:

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

Sunday, December 6, 2015

A Unique Grade School Teacher

This week, Wild Women Authors is pleased to welcome Pamela S. Thibodeaux and Carson Alexander from In His Sight a romance, released by the Pelican Book Group. Welcome back Pamela.
First, a bit about In His Sight:
Grade school teacher Carson Alexander has a gift—a gift that has driven a wedge between him and his family. Worse, it’s put him at odds with God. Feeling alone and misunderstood, Carson views God’s gift of prophecy as the worst kind of curse…that is until he meets Lorelei Conner, landscape artist extraordinaire, and perhaps the one person who may need Carson and his gift more than anyone ever has.  
Lorelei Connor is a mother on the run. Her abusive ex-husband has followed her all over the country, trying to steal their daughter. Distrusting of men and needing to keep on the move, she’s surprised by her desire to remain close to Carson Alexander. Through her fear and hesitation, she must learn to rely on God to guide her—not an easy task when He’s prompting her to trust a man.
Can their relationship withstand the tragedy lurking on the horizon?
Carson, what did you think the first time you saw Lorelei Connor?
After the indignation over her attitude toward me, I thought she was exactly the woman I’d been looking for all my life.
Good one. And your second thought? That she was incredibly beautiful.
Did you think it was love at first sight? Maybe…for me anyway. Lorelei had to learn to trust me before she could admit to any real feelings between us though.
What do you like most about her? Her unwavering love and devotion to her daughter Laurel, who is in my sixth grade English class and who happens to sort of be my niece.
How would you describe her? Raven hair, crystal-green eyes like her daughter’s, finely-chiseled features, ivory skin, with a mixture of fire and ice in her veins.
How would Lorelei describe you? I’m an average sort of guy with light brown (she calls it caramel colored) hair and hazel eyes. I’m an avid cyclist so pretty much stay in shape.
What made you choose teaching for a profession? I just love children. Watching them grow and helping them learn is a big thrill for me.
What is your biggest fear, Carson? That I’ll never be truly accepted for who I am or what I know. You see, I have psychic abilities and although I always use them for the Lord, people tend to think I’m a hoax, make fun or shy away when I tell them something. I tried to shut down and deny this ability after my parents died but it all came rushing back the minute I saw Laurel coming to class the first day of school. Now I only hope Lorelei doesn’t freak out or bolt, because I may be the only one to save her and Laurel from the danger fast approaching.
How do you relax? Riding my bike is the best form of relaxation I know.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Patrick Jane of the TV series, The Mentalist. He is just so clever at the way he uses his abilities.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? My sister told me I should stop rejecting my gift as a curse. God has a reason for blessing me with these premonitions, these prophesies…whatever they are. And to stop fighting Him and let Him show you what to do, and how to use them for His glory and my/others’ good.
What an interesting characters! Let's talk with his creator, Pam Thibodeaux. What movies or books have had an impact on your writing? I am an avid reader since early childhood and a hopeless romantic all of my life so suffice it to say many, many books have impacted my life. Nora Roberts is my all-time-favorite author in secular romance while Francine Rivers, Karen Kingsbury and a whole bunch of Pelican Book Group authors impact my writing!
Tell us a bit about your publisher. How did you hear about them? What influenced your decision to submit to them. Tell us a bit about the submission process. How long did it take from query to release?
In His Sight was the first book I completed for Pelican Book Group/White Rose Publishing after my husband’s death in 2009. I had started the story as a contest entry but was unable to finish it due to his illness and death. I had this feeling that if I did not complete that story I may never write again. So I did in early 2010 and it was published later that year.
What book are you currently reading? I recently finished The Horse of My Heart anthology compiled/edited by Callie Smith Grant.
What's up next for you? I am working on a novel which I hope to complete soon and learning/attempting to write screenplays from my books.
Thanks for bringing another multi-layered character to Wild Women, Pam We really enjoyed Carson.

To learn more about Pamela S Thibodeaux and the stories she creates, go to:
Twitter: @psthib

To purchase In His Sight, go to:
Pelican Book Group