Monday, August 1, 2022

From Brick & Darkness

 The most powerful wishes aren’t said with words.

        Bax always fantasized something remarkable would happen in his life. So when a decrepit man with glowing purple eyes offers him a ring intended for his estranged father, Bax accepts.

The ring speaks to Bax in a dream, tempting him with a vision of a powerful djinn. Desperate to make his fantasies a reality, Bax unleashes a creature called Ifrit, but soon learns this djinn isn't what the ring led him to believe. Feeding off the depths of his subconscious, the sinister demon fulfills what he thinks Bax wants by manipulating, threatening, and murdering.

With everyone he loves in danger and a trail of crimes pointing back at him, Bax must scramble to solve the puzzle that will banish Ifrit forever.

 Wild Women Authors is pleased to feature debut author J. L. Sullivan and From Brick & Darkness, a YA paranormal/fantasy, recently released by the Wild Rose Press. First up is Baxter (Bax) Allen.

Tell us a bit about From Brick & Darkness. Well, a creepy old dude shows up outside of my building one night wanting to give this ugly ring to my dad. Oh, and by the way, my dad left Mom and me when I was two. Haven’t seen him since. So like an idiot, I take the ring out of curiosity. Then, when I’m showing it to my best friend, we discover that if you rub it, a genie is unleashed. That’s when my life started spiraling out of control.

What are your plans for a future profession or career? I’m not sure. Mrs. Bronson--my school counselor--says I need to start thinking about colleges even though I’m only a sophomore. I think maybe I’ll get into video game design. Make a totally kick-ass game like Archer Annihilation.

What is your biggest fear? Speaking in front of people. I hate it. I have this thing where I pass out when I get too nervous. My mom calls it an episode. Doctors say that it may go away any day or it may never go away. Isn’t that a great diagnosis to get from your doctor?

Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Superman. Who’s cooler? He has the best superpowers because he can pretty much do anything. But he still does the right thing with his powers, and people love and respect him for it.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received? “Always have a plan.” My best friend Jason always says that, and he always has one. I try, but sometimes I remember to have a plan after I’ve already jumped into the middle of something.

Thanks for taking time to speak with us, Bax. Now, we’d like to chat with your creator, J. L. Sullivan.

Which writer or character[s], from either books or movies, [or both] have had an impact on your writing? While I’m drawn mostly to fantasy and horror young adult books, I always try to channel a bit of John Green when I’m writing. His books are straightforward contemporary YA, but his characters are so deep and compellingly flawed, that they make you keep reading when the plot of the book may not be something you’d typically read. So I always try to create that depth when developing characters to keep my magical storylines grounded in reality as much as possible.

With regard to research, where did you start for this novel? Did that lead you down different paths, thereby changing the original concept? I began this journey wanting to write a fairy tale retelling. I researched Grimm tales and eventually started reading One Thousand and One Nights, which is the source of the original Aladdin story. However, when I started writing From Brick & Darkness as an Aladdin retelling set in a modern American city, the work evolved further and further from the source material. It still has djinn at its core, but eventually, my novel grew into something vastly different from Aladdin’s Lamp. So when people ask if this is a retelling, I usually say it’s a very very loose retelling.

Tell us a bit about your publisher. How did you hear about them; what influenced you to submit to them; how is the submission process; what is the turn-around time from date of query to date of release? The Wild Rose Press attended a writers' conference in St. Louis in early 2021 where they were accepting pitches. I went to sign up, but their spots had already been filled, so I decided to submit to them through their website. I explained I wanted to pitch at the conference but had missed my opportunity. They liked my query and eventually, I signed with them in May of 2021. From signing until the release date, it was right at one year.

What are you reading right now? I just started the Witches of Vegas by Mark Rosendorf, another Wild Rose Press author. I think he’s on the third book now, but I’m just starting his series.

What's next for you? I am hard at work on a sequel to From Brick & Darkness that goes further into the djinn-verse that Bax and his friends opened. I’m excited to bring back characters from the first book, introduce some new ones, and more importantly, feature lots more magic gone wrong.

J. L. brought an excerpt for us: 

Neck bones popped as his head rotated toward me, his face eclipsing the rays of the streetlight. His irises were dull purple, glazed over with a foggy film, and deep-set wrinkles radiated from the corners of his eyes like arrows drawing attention to them.

A shudder caused the keys to slip from my hand and clank on the ground. My face burned with shame that the poor man’s appearance had startled me. My rudeness would have disappointed Mom.

“I’m sorry, but really—” I snagged my keys.

His hand slithered out of the brick-colored sleeve as his arm rose, trembling as he strained to hold the weight of his own limb. Gloved in loose, veiny skin, his skeleton hand had yellowed fingernails so overgrown they grew in on themselves like curly birthday ribbons. As his fingers unfurled, he revealed a ring nestled in his palm.

It was large. Too large. The ring resembled the toy jewelry Jason’s sister played with or something from a Halloween costume. Grimy gold with a single dull purplish jewel that matched his eyes.

His hand trembled under the heaviness of the ring. “Take it.”

Shifting my backpack to my other shoulder, I took it. “What is this?”

The corners of his thin lips curled into a grin as a gust of warm, dry wind cut through the chilly October night and swirled around me.

 To learn more about J. L. Sullivan and the stories he creates go to:

Twitter: @jls_author

Instagram: @JLS_author

Facebook: @jlsullivanauthor

 To purchase From Brick & Darkness, go to:






Thursday, July 21, 2022

Tangled Promises by Linda Trout

      Widow Melody Rose has already lost one man whose job involved guns and violence. She swore she’d never put herself through that again. At first Sheriff Jake Bennett wants nothing to do with the taciturn café owner, but Melody intrigues him. When a stalker targets her, he’s determined to protect the woman he has fallen for. But can Melody overcome her greatest fear and save the man she never dreamed would claim her heart?

 Wild Women Authors is pleased to feature author Linda Trout and Tangled Promises, a contemporary romantic suspense recently released by the Wild Rose Press. With Linda is café owner Melody Rose who will go first.

Good morning, Melody. Let’s begin with where you are from. I’m from Rock Ledge, Arkansas, which is a quiet little town in the middle of the Ozark Mountains. It’s so small you’d almost miss it on a map, but I wouldn’t trade this place for the world.

Tell us a bit about Tangled Promises. Let’s just say this is about letting go of the past and accepting what’s right in front of you, even when that something, or someone, is the total opposite of what you thought you wanted. I’d get lost in a big city like Chicago, yet he thrives there. Why he chose to move down here is beyond me. Maybe he’ll eventually open up and take me into his confidence. I sense there’s a lot more to his story than simply wanting a fresh start somewhere new.

What did you think the first time you saw Sheriff Jake Bennett. He  walked in the door of my café, he drew everyone’s attention, including mine. New to town, he’s tall, dark and hard to miss.

Tall, dark and handsome is always a fave with us, What was your second thought? Not only was he wearing a uniform and badge, but also had an impressive size gun strapped to his hip.

Hah! Good one. Do you feel it was love at first sight? Mercy, no! Didn’t you just hear what I said? He wore a gun. I lost my husband to gun violence and want nothing to do with them, or even people in law enforcement for that matter.

What happened next? Once I looked past the gun, and his reserved exterior, I found he has a kind heart and is a good man. He makes me feel safe and cherished. Plus, did I mention he’s sexy as all get out?

You sort of hinted at that aspect of his overall picture. How would you describe Jake? At first, he was really standoffish, but it didn’t take the big city cop long to adjust to our small town way of life. At least I think so. He keeps a lot to himself, so I wonder what he’s thinking most of the time. However, I know firsthand that he’d lay down his life for yours. That’s the type of person I want to be around.

How would Jake describe you? At first, he would’ve said a cactus would’ve been more welcoming than I had been. In fact, I barely spoke to him. Well, until the plane crash that is. He saved my life that day, so after that I think we both saw each other in a different light. I feed him a lot better now, too.

What made you choose operating a cafe for a career? It wasn’t my first choice. Or my second. It had been my husband’s dream after he got out of the army. We signed the papers to buy the Tangled Rose Café the day before he was murdered. All of our money was tied up in the place, plus I wanted to fulfil his dream, so here I am.

What is your biggest fear? I think not being able to move forward with my life, and forever being alone scares me the most. Seeing my husband shot in front of me had a paralyzing affect in more ways than one.

How do you relax? Relax? Ha. What’s that? Actually, I do have a secluded place outside of town where I go. There’s a stream, lots of trees, and best of all, it’s quiet. I can breathe. Being around people all day wears on my nerves, so going out to the creek, kicking off my shoes and wading in the water soothes my soul.

Who is your favorite fictional character? Scarlet O’Hara. She didn’t let life beat her so far down she could never get up again. I keep envisioning myself standing on a hill with my fist raised in the air and proclaiming my intentions to survive.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received? My great-aunt once told me to never change; to always be myself. Now if I can figure out who I am, that’ll be a piece of cake. 😉

This has been very enlightening, Melody. Thank you. Now we’d like to chat with Linda.

What movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer? One of the books that really spoke to me was Widow’s of Wichita County by Jodi Thomas. It’s a women’s fiction and the characters each stepped beyond their own previously conceived idea of who they were to become new selves, to pick up the pieces of their tattered worlds and become better women and move forward. I haven’t had a severe tragedy in my life like the five women in that book did, but it showed me what a person can do if they want it bad enough, like publishing.

Is there an event in your private life that you were able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel? I grew up in a small town and brought some of my experiences to this book, like when my father was burned in a house fire and all the other farmers left their fields to bring in Dad’s crops. That’s the sort of thing people do in small towns, support each other. Of course, the downside is everyone knows everyone else’s business. By adding those factors in, it gave the story a sense of realism.

Tell us a bit about your publisher: how did you hear about them and what influenced your decision to submit to them? A friend told me about The Wild Rose Press several years ago. Later, I met the owner at a writer’s conference and was impressed by how personable she was. She truly cares for all of her authors. I’ve been very pleased with the company.

What book[s] currently rest on your TBR pile? I have several authors that are automatic go to reads. (Don’t we all have those? The people we read regardless of the books title simply because we know we’ll come away satisfied?) Currently I have Claiming Her Texas Family by Jolene Navarro and A Double Dose of Happiness by Teri Wilson at the top of my TBR pile. Can’t wait to dive into both books.

Lastly, what's up next and when can we expect to see it on the shelves? I’m eagerly awaiting the release of the second book in the Rock Ledge series, Shattered Promises. Release date is slated for October 10, 2022.

 Linda brought an excerpt for us:

Jake stopped and wrapped his arms around her trembling body as she buried her face in his shirt. Her hands continued to flutter. A low keening sound from her broke his heart.

Her knees gave way completely and she sagged against him. Jake scooped her into his arms and carried her far enough that the fog enveloped them, distancing them from the sights and sounds of the crime scene. She leaned against him, her soft body reminding him she was all woman.

He stopped at a pickup and sat on its tailgate, holding Melody on his lap. He’d witnessed a lot of traumatized people over the years, but to see the pain of this always in control, tough, take no guff from anyone business-woman put a little crack in his cop-armor.

Melody turned into his chest, her shoulders shaking, as she silently cried. He didn’t speak, just gently rocked her until her tears were spent.

Finally, she took a deep breath and pulled away…her face puffy…her nose red. “I hate guns,” she whispered.

“I’m not too fond of them myself.”

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








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The Wild Rose Press:




Monday, July 18, 2022

Return to Wylder by Maria Imbalzano

 Is it ever too late to come home?

         The untimely death of EJ Hampton’s father kills her dream of practicing law with him in her hometown of Wylder. Heartbroken, she now has two weeks to organize the practice for sale. When she meets her father’s millionaire client Dylan Addison, he is demanding and entitled—yet his charisma captivates her.

         Dylan is under pressure to renovate the Wylder Hotel before his father pulls the plug on his project. He needs EJ’s expertise, but she is bent on returning to her life in San Francisco despite the fireworks between them. EJ walks a tightrope trying to balance Dylan’s needs against her own, but doing so is far more complicated when emotions get in the way.

 Wild Women Authors is pleased to welcome back New Jersey author, Maria Imbalzano as she celebrates the release of Return to Wylder, a contemporary romance which is part of the Wylder West series out of the Wild Rose Press. With Maria is attorney Emma Jane (EJ) Hampton. As is our usual custom and practice, EJ . will go first.

Good morning, EJ. Thanks for taking time away from your practice to speak with us. Let’s begin with where you are from. I’m originally from Wylder, Wyoming, but I left my hometown when I went to college, then law school, and now live and work in San Francisco.

Tell us a bit about “Return to Wylder”. This is the first contemporary in the Wylder West Series published by The Wild Rose Press.  Most stories in this series take place in the late 1800s, in the fictitious town of Wylder, Wyoming. Since I write contemporary, I brought it forward, but still use some of the landmarks from back in the day, like the Five Star Saloon, the Vincent House Hotel and Restaurant, and the Wylder Hotel.

What did you think the first time you saw Dylan Addison? Just before arriving in Wylder, I had read about Dylan in a business magazine during my flight. He works for his father’s redevelopment company in Chicago and exuded the persona of the millionaire playboy, with a different woman by his side in every photo. When I got to my dad’s law office that morning, the first appointment I had was with Mr. Addison. He was tall, broad-shouldered, and extremely handsome—definitely the icon from the magazine but minus the woman of the day—looking every bit as gorgeous and wealthy as he had in print.

Isn’t that always the way. So . . . what was your second thought? His smile seemed to ooze satisfaction, and I feared he was arrogant, entitled, rude  and demanding, given the legal work he had just laid at my feet.    

Was it love at first sight? Definitely not!

Totally understandable. Is there anything to like about him? I eventually saw a more vulnerable side to him when he shared his dream of helping small towns regenerate. He was in Wylder to renovate the Wylder Hotel which he had purchased recently. His goal was to make a difference in people’s lives, not merely work to add more cement to big cities.

How would you describe Dylan? He’s not at all like the entitled son of a millionaire business owner I’d expected. He’s kind, and caring, and down to earth. Yes, he wants top notch legal representation and he wants it now. But that’s because his father threatened to pull the plug on his project if the permits weren’t obtained by the end of the month. If that happened, his goal of helping Wylder, first with a five-star hotel and second with other renovations that would bring the town more tourists and therefore more revenue, would come to an end.  

How would he describe you? Loyal to my mother, independent, driven, and helpful in bringing him into the fold of the community so they would embrace him as one of their own. He would also say that I lost my way. For the past six years, I’ve been representing huge developers like his father, build new or bigger high-rises in a city already full of them.

What made you choose the law for a career?  My father was a lawyer, and when my sister and I were young, we always talked about going to law school and joining our dad in the practice. It was our dream.

What is your biggest fear?  Not being accepted by the townspeople of Wylder. My father was a pillar of the community. Everyone loved and respected him. He helped those who couldn’t afford his services just as rigorously as those who could. Stepping into his shoes would be next to impossible.

With this daunting sounding goal in mind, how do you relax? I work a ton of hours at the law firm in San Francisco. But I do play on a recreational volleyball team once a week and hike with friends some weekends. That’s about it for fun. I also coach the moot court team at Berkeley Law—not exactly relaxing but fulfilling.

Who is your favorite fictional character?  Anna from “Frozen.” The unconditional and powerful love between Anna and her sister, Elsa, saves the day.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received? It came from my nemesis, Adam Coulter, the permit officer in Wylder. When I argued that he should grant the permits Dylan needed to begin renovations on the Wylder Hotel without a variance, he told me that he and my father worked together to get things done. I, on the other hand, had been trying to get around the rules and had no working relationship with him. I was an out-of-towner who apparently lacked the nice gene. If I wanted to follow in my dad’s footsteps, I’d better learn how to curry favor with the locals by immersing myself back into the community. And be nicer.

Uh huh. Good luck with further encounters with Mr. Coulter. Now we’d like to chat with Maria beginning with What movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer? The books that I loved reading and made me want to write romance were those by Judith McNaught. My favorite book of hers was called “Perfect.” But I did love all her books. On the other hand, a Danielle Steele book I was reading, made me utter the words, “In bet I could do this.” I was annoyed with the way she would explain something on page 100 and then again on page 103. We are not stupid readers.

Is there an event in your private life that you were able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel? I am a retired divorce lawyer, and the two things I brought to this book were my inner thoughts about working with a difficult client—biting my tongue and explaining calmly and rationally why a client’s position may not be the best position to put forward. Also, there is a need to work collaboratively with those who can help you—even an adversary.  

Tell us a bit about your publisher: how did you hear about them and what influenced your decision to submit to them?  In order to get my manuscript in front of the big publishing houses, I needed an agent. I had one at one point, but I didn’t feel like she was working very hard for me. Once I fired her, I was back to square one, so I had to find those publishers who would look at un-agented submissions. The Wild Rose Press was one of them.  I had heard good things about them, so I submitted. And the rest is history. I’ve been with The Wild Rose Press since 2013 and find them excellent to work with.

What book[s] currently rest on your TBR pile?  I downloaded “The Thorn Birds” recently. Although I had read it years ago, I remember loving it (as well as the movie), so I want to read it again. [I’d also add to the list] “Verity” by Colleen Hoover and “Pack Up the Moon” by Kristin Higgins.

Lastly, what's up next and when can we expect to see it on the shelves? I am working on book 4 of my Sworn Sisters series (Women’s Fiction with strong romantic elements), tentatively called “Sworn to Collide.”  This is Denise’s story- one of four girlfriends from high school, who is now in her 30s and dealing with an upheaval in her marriage. Her husband of ten years has been transferred to Boston, after she just got back into the workforce, having had three children (one of whom is adopted and has leukemia). They agree that she will stay in Princeton for the balance of the school year while he moves to Boston, but other problems arise to thwart her upcoming move. There marriage may not survive their conflicting goals as well as other possible love interests.

          In addition to “Sworn to Collide,” I recently pulled out of my drawer a manuscript I had written 15 years ago called “Island Fever.” I spent two months re-working it and polishing it to a shine. The heroine is a prep school teacher from Princeton who gets suspended because of an edited video that was posted by someone else on Facebook. While waiting on the investigation, she contacts a colleague who had started an environmental high school in the Florida Keys, and she takes a semester job there. While teaching in paradise is one thing, she must also participate in the outdoor activities such as kayaking, fishing, camping and snorkeling-none of which are part of her repertoire. This is a fish out of water story as well as an enemies to lovers story.

Maria brought along an excerpt for us:

        I slipped out the front door and breathed in the cool, spring, evening air. The town was quiet, with most businesses locking their doors at six during the week.

       My father’s office was right next to the Wylder Hotel, a place I now knew intimately after reviewing the entire file including the architect’s rendering. I stood before the front door, which held a sign—Closed Temporarily for Renovations. A dim light shone through the empty lobby, its faded green-velvet couches and linoleum-tiled floor proving its age. This hotel had seen better days.

        When I was a child, this was the place where all my relative’s weddings had been held. It’s where my parents had thrown my high school graduation party. Now it was a sad, empty relic. A relic that Dylan aspired to turn into a jewel.

I startled when the front door opened. Dylan emerged. “EJ, what are you doing here?”

       “I was just leaving work. Heading back to my mom’s. But first I decided to take a stroll around town to get the kinks out. I’ve been cooped up in my office for hours.”

        A look akin to sympathy played across his face. “Almost everything is closed.”

       “Yes. A little different than San Francisco.” I took in the spiral notebook he was carrying with various papers hanging out at intervals. “Were you coming up with more legal work?”

       He chuckled. “No. I got the impression this afternoon you’ve had it with me.”

       Uh-oh. And here I’d thought my poker face had been on display. “No. That’s not true. I’m sorry if that’s the impression I gave. I’ve just been overwhelmed with everything there is to do.” I sighed. “For some reason, I thought it would be easier. You know, a small-town law practice should have small-town legal issues.”

       “And it doesn’t.” His amused look at my erroneous theory struck a chord, and guilt over my prejudice swarmed through me.

        “I’ve been biased living and working in San Francisco. Thinking that I’m counseling first-rate clients who have much more significant problems than those I’d experience if I came back to work with my dad. In the two days I’ve been here, I can see that the legal work, while on a smaller scale, is just as important.”

       “Good to hear. I wouldn’t want you to minimize my needs.” A grin accompanied his words, softening the barb.

       Not likely with your constant hovering.

 To purchase Return to Wylder go to:


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Wednesday, July 13, 2022

The Case of the Missing Botticelli

 Wild Women Authors is pleased to have author Marilyn Baron with us, talking about The Case of the Missing Botticelli, her most recent release out of the Wild Rose Press.

Tell us a bit about The Case of the Missing Botticelli. In this cozy mystery set in Florence, Italy, art detective Hadley Evans and her sexy Carabinieri boyfriend, Luca Ferrari, hot on the trail of a missing masterpiece, discover a cache of stolen Nazi art in a Venetian villa and encounter an enemy with a link to an evil past.

What made you choose an art detective for your protagonist’s profession? I’ve always been interested in art since I studied art history during college when I lived in Florence, Italy. A number of my books feature stolen Nazi art, but this is the first one where stolen art is the major theme of the novel. And this is my first cozy mystery.

Knowing what you know now, if you had it to do over again, would you stick with being an author or do something different? I majored in Journalism in college and started out in corporate public relations, then started my own public relations firm, so I’ve always been a writer. If I had it to do over again, I would have started writing fiction seriously at a younger age, but I’m definitely where I want to be.

Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Berlin police detective Bernie Gunther in the Bernie Gunther Series by Philip Kerr, because he’s multidimensional. He’s hard bitten, unsuccessful in love, but he tries to do good. I also love William Kent Krueger’s Cork O’Connor series about a Minnesota sheriff.

What is the best piece of writing advice you ever received? Finish the book. You can always edit a bad manuscript, but you can’t fix a blank page.

With regard to research, where did you start for this novel? I love Italy and I have visited the country many times. I built on my interest and background in art history from when I studied it in my senior year of college in Florence, Italy. I last traveled to Florence in 2019 to revisit my old haunts and returned to the Uffizi Gallery, which figures prominently in the book. I decided to feature my favorite artist, Sandro Botticelli, and my favorite painting of his, “The Birth of Venus,” which I first saw at the Uffizi. I had featured Botticelli in another one of my novels, The Widows’ Gallery, so I was familiar with the artist. I’m fascinated by World War II, so I decided to combine my favorite themes in my first cozy mystery.  

Tell us a bit about your publisher. How did you hear about them; what influenced you to submit to them; how is the submission process; what is the turn-around time from date of query to date of release? With more than 500 authors and 3,500 titles, The Wild Rose Press is a special publishing house, founded in 2006 by two published authors that caters to writers and is focused on author and customer satisfaction. I’ve been fortunate to have the same editor since I started publishing with them in 2012. She’s edited my books in a variety of genres. Turnaround time varies depending on a number of factors. I may have one book out a year, or two and I’ve had as many as four. I have 19 books or short stories with TWRP and 28 works of fiction in total.

What are you reading right now? I’m an avid reader. I’m in two book clubs and I’m the former co-chair and currently on the steering committee of Roswell Reads, a one-city, one-read program, as well as the Atlanta Authors committee. I’m also a reviewer with The Book Review Crew, so many of the books I’m reading now aren’t even published yet. I’ve read too many good books to list just a few. However, I do have some favorite authors, including William Kent Krueger;  Philip Kerr; Nora Roberts (J.D. Robb); Jane Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick); Kristin Hannah; Diana Gabaldon; and Lisa Scottoline. My favorite book of 2021 is Eternal, by Lisa Scottoline. My favorite themes to read are art theft and World War II.

What's next for you? The first in the Massimo Domingo Mystery Series, included two books—The Case of the Missing Botticelli and a bonus—The Case of the Vanishing Vermeer. I’m currently working on Book 3, The Case of the Forgotten Fragonard. Botticelli, Vermeer and Fragonard are three of my favorite artists.


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Monday, July 11, 2022

Chatting With Roxanne Dunn

 Wild Women Authors is pleased to have author Roxanne Dunn stop by for a chat today. And, she’s going to tell us about her work in progress.

So . . . Rox, what are you working on? It’s titled [for the moment] The Queen of Persia Heist.

Cool. What’s it about? When smart, young, Parisian investment advisor Chloe Duval steals the Queen of Persia diamond from Alexander’s Museum of Ancient Art in Istanbul, she becomes entangled in the hidden world of cultural treasures trafficking and loves the high-stakes game. But when she’s accused of murder and the one person she holds close to her heart is kidnapped, she must decide which is better, love or diamonds, before it’s too late.

With two books for Wild Rose Press under your belt, where did the idea for this novel come from? Chloe came to me in the middle of the night, fully formed, and demanded that I tell her story.

Is there anything particularly difficult about writing this book? Three things. First of all, I have no control over what Chloe does. I have to wait for her to reveal what she’s going to do next.

Secondly, there is a dangerous, lucrative trade in stollen cultural goods, and police forces around the world are dedicated to finding and repatriating such property. I love learning about various law enforcement agencies and their jurisdictions, but it takes time.

The third challenge is that it is set in Paris, and poor me, I’ve had to make a couple of trips to ensure accuracy. My latest fact-finding mission included a two-hundred-euro high tea in an expensive hotel. I wanted to observe people who came and went, the staff, their uniforms and manners, and the discretely-dressed security detail.

Going to Paris for high tea. Must have been tough. When might this story about Mademoiselle Chloe be completed? I’ve given up predicting the day I’ll be able to send it to my editor. Chloe will tell the story when she’s ready, and she hasn’t realized yet that she has some tears to shed before it’s over. Nor does she know she is about to be accused of murder.

Do you need any help convincing her to start behaving? Here are three questions I’d love to have readers answer:

1.   1. Which title would you be more likely to pick up in a bookstore: The Queen of Persia Heist, or Murder Richly Deserved?

2.   2. Knowing what you do about Chloe, which title is more fitting?

3.  3.  Do you have favorite books with characters like Chloe, and if you do, what makes you like them?

You can answer right here on the blog by clicking on “comments,” or send answers to me via my website:


Like the champ she is, Roxanne brought along an excerpt to help readers choose the new title:

Honoré St. Lazarre propped himself up on one elbow and brushed his fingertips down my arm. “You are not sleeping.”

“No.” I hardly ever slept before three, but he didn’t need to know that.

He smoothed my hair back off my face. His breath whispered across my cheek. “A problem, perhaps?”

“No.” The fact was, I felt more alive at this time than at any other part of the day.

“Financial difficulties?” He dropped a kiss on the end of my nose. “I can understand. It takes a large amount of money to maintain an apartment, especially one so spacious, with such a view.”

I turned onto my side, my back toward him, to hide my smile. “Honoré, you are fishing.”

“Fishing? Is that an American term? Canadian, perhaps?”

He spoke French beautifully, but if he was Parisian by birth, as he claimed, so was the man in the moon. I laced my fingers through his. “You know perfectly well what I mean.” I, at least, was French Canadian.

My mother came from a small, very French village south of Montreal. As a teenager, she was so thin a man with normal-sized hands could span her waist, and she had a slight limp, which made her an unlikely suspect when guests at big conventions “lost” their jewelry. At the age of thirty, single, a talented cat burglar with a young daughter and the Quebec police hot on her trail, she took a job at the Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island; about as far away from Quebec as she could get without leaving the country. She married an American dentist she met in the gift shop and moved to Washington State, taking along a suitcase full of purloined diamonds, sapphires, and pearls.

I already knew that I would follow in my mother’s footsteps.

Honoré nuzzled my neck. “You wound me, Chloe Eugenie Duval.”

“Désolée—sorry.” Not. Although, for a moment, I was tempted to share my secret with someone besides Baguette, my dog. But I’ve learned the hard way that giving in to temptation carries the risk of long, disapproving stares from the judge and even longer nights locked up in a cold, gray, concrete cell.

A bit about today’s guest author:

The author of Murder Unrehearsed and Murder Undetected, Roxanne Dunn has studied writing in Paris and Seattle and writes the galley column for Pacific Yachting magazine.

She lives on an island in the Pacific Northwest where she volunteers as a writer for Wild Orca, an organization committed to saving the endangered Southern Resident killer whales and leads weekly beach cleanups.


Her previous books are:

Murder Unrehearsed, the story of Heather Shelton as she learns the pain of betrayal, the price of truth, and the mystery of love.

Murder Undetected, the story of two women, one driven by selfish desire, the other by selfless love.


Links to website and where to buy:


Social Media:


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Friday, July 8, 2022

Morning Tryst by Ellen Parker

 For a few short minutes, as the sun inches above the horizon, the day is full of hope and promise.

During a San Francisco visit, photographer Serena Carter sights arresting potential in the hotel bartender and invites him to model. Later, in San Diego, they meet at a beach, and she discovers his personality as fascinating as the images her camera captures.

Self-made millionaire Zack Sans usually avoids cameras. He prefers the world of scientific laboratories and engineering students. But something intrigues him about the petite photographer.

When realistic Serena accepts an opportunity to photograph Missouri State Parks in all seasons, she expects the budding friendship to die. Will Zack’s ties to Missouri overcome cyberstalking, a wildlife encounter, and opposite views of family?


Wild Women Authors welcomes Ellen Parker as she celebrates Morning Tryst, a contemporary romance, recently released under the Sweetheart Rose imprint for the Wild Rose Press. With Ellen is photographer Serena Carter who will go first.

Good morning, Serena. Let’s start with where you are from. I was raised in Los Angeles. After twenty years in the US Navy, I’ve settled in San Diego.

What did you think the first time you saw Zack Sans. I caught a glimpse of a port-wine stain on his neck. I felt compelled to find out if it was real.

What was your second thought? He’d make a good photography model with well-defined cheekbones and chin. And luscious hair--can’t forget mahogany, collar length hair.

Did you feel it was love at first sight? No, I’d use the word intrigued.

What do you like most about him?     Zack is a man of many talents and surprises. At times, I think he even surprises himself.

How would you describe him? Physically, Zack’s tall and thin with dark hair and changeable grey eyes behind wire rimmed glasses. Personality wise, he’s rather withdrawn and does not enjoy a crowded room. He does best either one-on-one or in a small group.

How would he describe you? I’m confident he’d comment on my lack of height. I expect another item on the list would be long, dark hair. If he ever described my personality, I’d expect comments on putting family first and my love of the outdoors.

What made you choose photography for a career? At age nineteen, when I enlisted in the Navy, they assigned me to film school. It was a good fit. By the time I left the Navy, I could not imagine a better way to make a living.

What is your biggest fear?   I have a difficult time if I miss major milestones in my family. If I’m not able to hold my mother’s hand and bid her a proper “farewell” at her death, I’ll be devastated.

How to do relax? Reading. My favorite types of books are biography and history. My book shelf contains several volumes by David McCullough.

Who is your favorite fictional character? Oh, dear, let me think a minute. I’ll say Meg Murry from A Wrinkle in Time. I’ve worn out or lost two copies so far and still re-read the story every two or three years.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received? That would have to be the unofficial motto of our boot camp group: Live with gusto—and soar.

Thank you for this, Serena. Now we’d like to chat with Ellen.

What movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer? It’s very difficult to pin down any one influence. I’ve always read a lot of different types of books. After my divorce, I started reading Jude Deveraux and she rekindled my love of the romance genre.

Is there an event in your private life that you were able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel? Years ago, a friend and I visited Charleston, South Carolina. One morning we got up early and watched the sunrise over the ocean. It seemed natural that my photographer would love to capture dawn.

Tell us a bit about your publisher: how did you hear about them and what influenced your decision to submit to them?    Morning Tryst is the third book I’ve had published by The Wild Rose Press. I first heard of them at my local Romance Writers of America chapter. Everything from members who had either submitted or been published by them was positive.

What book(s) currently rest on your TBR pile? Louise Penny’s two most recent Chief Inspector Gamache novels, several of Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton stories, and more of Robyn Carr’s Virgin River books. But I’m sure this list will be interrupted by new releases from author friends or something from TWRP which catches my eye.

Lastly, what’s up next and when can we expect to see it on the shelves? I have recently signed a contract with TWRP for a historical set in 1850’s Illinois. I’m hopefully that we can put in on the shelves during 2023.

 To Find Ellen, go to:

(20+) Ellen Parker | Facebook

(20) Ellen Parker (@eparkerwrites) / Twitter


To Purchase Morning Tryst, go to: