Friday, November 26, 2021

Meet Maria Imbalzano and Red Velvet Crinkles and Christmas Sprinkles

     Competitive, work-obsessed Bella Simonetti has just been fired from her high-paying job at a Manhattan law firm. At an all-time low, she returns home and helps her parents at their small-town gift shop, but the business is failing and may not make it past the Christmas holidays.

     Successful landscape architect Dean Jackson is like a son to Bella's parents. But he's a persistent annoyance to her—he seems to have forgotten his unforgivable blunder thirteen years earlier.

     When Bella transforms her parents' gift shop into a cookie cottage, Dean's generosity and magnetic smile are hard to resist, and those feelings of unrequited adolescent love come rushing back. But can Bella let go of the past and accept Dean for the man he is today?

Wild Women Authors is delighted to welcome back New Jersey author Maria Imbalzano with another of her delightful short contemporary romances: Red Velvet Crinkles and Christmas Sprinkles, a current release in the Wild Rose Press’ Christmas Cookie series. With Maria is attorney Isabella Simonetti who will go first.

Good morning, Bella. Thanks for taking time out of your new career to spend time with us. Let’s begin with where you’re from. I grew up in Princeton, NJ, but moved to New York City to practice law. I’m back home in Princeton for a little while right now.  

Tell us a bit about “Red Velvet Crinkles and Christmas SprinklesI lost my job as a corporate lawyer in NYC due to down-sizing several months ago, and I haven’t been able to find another job in the tight legal market. With waning funds, I had to give up my apartment in the city and return home to Princeton with the hope of regrouping and finding something in the new year. My parents own a gift shop in Princeton, and while helping out I learned that the shop is in trouble. The only items flying off the shelves are my mom’s cookies. The holidays are approaching and I came up with a plan to transform their shop into a cookie cottage. But convincing my parents to change direction is a hard mountain to climb, and my brother’s best friend, Dean (who apparently is now like a son to them) isn’t keen on my advice either. Why is he even part of the equation?

What did you think the first time you saw Dean? I’ve known Dean for years. He was my brother’s best friend in high school. They were football icons. Unfortunately, I had a crush on him. I asked him to my junior prom, sure he would say no. But he agreed to go. I was on cloud nine until the cloud burst when he canceled on me the week before. It’s now thirteen years later, but I’ll never get past the resentment and animosity I feel toward him. And now, he seems to be underfoot everywhere I go. At my parents’ house, at the shop, in town. He owns a successful landscape architect firm in the area and not only helps my parents whenever they need him, but he and my dad play golf together. Ugh!

What was your second thought? Why does he have to be so handsome? And so nice to my parents? His green eyes had always been like flashing gemstones sucking me in. And that smile, half teasing, half serious still stop my heart, despite the walls I’ve built.  

Did you feel it was love at first sight? Back in high school it was adolescent love. At least on my part. I don’t think Dean thought much about me back then. I was his best friend’s sister, so he had to be nice to me. Although he wasn’t when he cancelled our prom date. Now, I just need him to stay away from me and I’ll be fine.  

What do you like most about him? Unfortunately, he’s genuinely nice. My brother moved to Boston and I was living in New York, so my parents didn’t have us to help out. Enter Dean. Whenever inventory had to be hauled or fixtures moved at the shop, he was there. Every year he helps my parents decorate the store for Christmas. This Christmas, I was there to help so we didn’t need him. At least in my mind. But he wouldn’t leave when I told him I had everything under control. Instead, he invaded my space—his fingers grazing my skin, his eyes holding me captive, and his sensual scent teasing my nose. He had me reeling.

How would you describe Dean? Incredibly handsome with a heart of gold and apparently no memory of his mortal sin against me.  

Mortal sin, good one. How would he describe you? Evasive. I’ve refused to answer his direct question about why I avoid him at every turn, and my way of dealing with him is to leave when he arrives.  

What made you choose the law as a career? I wasn’t very popular in high school like my brother was, so I kept my head in the books and studied hard. I made the debate team during my junior year and we won the championship. I loved taking a side and arguing the issues, which led me to making the decision to become a lawyer.

What is your biggest fear? That I won’t get a comparable legal job like the one I had in New York City and I’ll be moving in with my parents forever and living in my childhood bedroom with the flower explosion comforter and twin bed.

Hah, another beauty. So, faced with all this, how do you relax? I haven’t relaxed in a long time. I worked sixty hour weeks at my previous job and wouldn’t get home until nine o’clock every night. I even worked on Saturdays. On Sundays, my day off, I did my laundry, went to the grocery store and cleaned my apartment.  

Who is your favorite fictional character? Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City. She works from home as a writer and has plenty of time to meet her three amazing girlfriends for breakfast, lunch, or drinks. She also seems to have an enviable budget for designer clothes. She’s funny, vulnerable, and independent. Maybe I’ll forgo the legal career and become a columnist for a trendy New York newspaper or magazine.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Dream big, work hard, stay focused and surround yourself with good people.

We thank you for this, Bella. Now, we’d like to chat with Maria.

What movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer?  The first romance writer that I remember loving was Judith McNaught. Her book “Perfect” is one of my favorites, although I like all of her books. Danielle Steele, though, is the author that inspired me to write. I was reading one of her books and told myself “I bet I could do better than this.” Lol. So that began my journey.

What event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel? Every Christmas season, I bake cookies for the holiday.  I had started doing this with my mom when I was younger, and now I do it with my daughters. My one daughter is always commenting that I’m using wet measuring cups for dry ingredients and therefore I’m not getting the exact measurement. My reply has always been, “It’s close enough.”  I used this scenario and others with Bella and her mom. Bella is a little casual with her ingredients and measurements and she uses her mistakes in a video of her and her mom baking, to post on social media to get business. I think it makes for a funny scene, but it also shows that Bella is willing to be the fall guy to help her parents with their business.  

Tell us a bit about your publisher: how did you hear about them and what influenced your decision to submit to them? I belong to New Jersey Romance Writers and heard about The Wild Rose Press (TWRP) from a few of the authors in our group who had been published through them. They had nothing but nice things to say about TWRP so I found out how to submit to them and sent in my manuscript. I received my first contract back in 2013. I have been published with them ever since and now have eight books out. The owners and head of marketing are always available and helpful and get back to my emails the day I send them. My editors have all been very professional and good at what they do. My fellow authors at TWRP are incredibly supportive. I’m in a good place with TWRP.

What book[s] currently rest on your TBR pile? I am going to read as many of the Christmas Cookie Series books that I can—not only to support my fellow authors at TWRP, but because it will put me into the holiday spirit. “Red Velvet Crinkles and Christmas Sprinkles” is part of this series of novellas which are being released from late October through December.

Lastly, what's up next and when can we expect to see it on the shelves? I just sent a manuscript to my publisher called “Return to Wylder.”  It’s part of the Wylder West Series published by TWRP. Many of the stories take place in the late 1800s in Wylder, Wyoming.  I wrote a contemporary for the series, and I’m hoping to get a contract in the near future.  Next on my agenda is completing the fourth and last book in my Sworn Sisters Series. Each book in the series is about one of four girlfriends from high school who are now in their early 30s and dealing with relationship issues. These books are all stand alone novels which fall into the women’s fiction category with a strong romance.

Maria brought along an excerpt for us to enjoy—and entice:

Just then the bell over the door signaled a customer. Bella glanced up to see if their guest was here to browse or needed help, but no customer materialized. It was her dad with Dean in tow.

She had to admit he was even more striking than in high school. His light brown hair, sweeping from left to right in a perfect wave of silk, still had sun streaks from the summer, no doubt enhanced while playing on the links. And those green eyes had always been like flashing gemstones that sucked her in. But the best was his roguish smile—half teasing, half serious, but permanently heart-stopping.

Her best bet would be to prevent any cause for cheerfulness. Yet his intense frown was also mesmerizing. Staying away from him altogether seemed the ideal solution, but her parents had different ideas. Of course, her surliness toward him might make him rethink his charitable desire to help.

“Hi, Bella. How’s it going?” Even that simple greeting came with a full-blown smile.

She was screwed. “Fine.” She got right to the point—no friendly chitchat. “If you and Dad bring the boxes up front from the storeroom, Mom and I will take care of the decorating. You won’t have to stay.”

“Are you kidding? I love to decorate for Christmas. I’ve been helping your parents do it for the past few years while you’ve been AWOL.”

She blew an errant strand of hair out of her eye. “I wasn’t AWOL. I was working. In New York. I couldn’t up and leave on a Wednesday afternoon to come home and decorate.”

There came that half-teasing, half-serious smile. To avoid it, she started pulling Christmas balls hung on red-and-green silk ribbons from the large box she’d brought out.

“I can help you hang those in the window. I hid the hooks above the molding last year so we don’t have to remove them every year.”

“Clever.” Her sarcastic tone couldn’t be mistaken.

“We’ll need a ladder,” he determined. “I’ll get it from the back, then you can hand me the balls, and I’ll attach them.”

She slitted her eyes at him. “I want to hang the balls. You can do something else.”

“Fine. But it takes two for this job. You don’t want to be going up and down the ladder each time you hang a ball. It’s inefficient.”

He had a point. She’d have to bury her reluctance to work with him at the risk of coming up with some other childish excuse.

Once Dean brought the ladder to the window, she climbed up three steps and took the first ball from him. Not a well-thought-out plan since her butt was now at his eye level.

“Can you stand over here, please?” She pointed to the other side of the ladder.

“It’s better if I stand behind you, to spot you. In case you lose your balance.” His grin emerged, and she gritted her teeth to prevent a growl.

Inhaling, she reached up to tie the ribbon on the hook. Her sweater inched over her midriff, giving him a view of her torso. This day just couldn’t get any worse. If she hadn’t been so stubborn in demanding that she hang the ornaments, she’d have the pleasure of staring at his physique, not the other way around.

 

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

http://www.mariaimbalzano.com.

 

To purchase Red Velvet Crinkles and Christmas Sprinkles, go to:

Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09FYVGDWR


Barnes and Noble

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/red-velvet-crinkles-and-christmas-sprinkles-maria-imbalzano/1140147130?ean=2940162321644


Apple

https://books.apple.com/us/book/red-velvet-crinkles-and-christmas-sprinkles/id1585527197

  

Monday, November 22, 2021

Kisses and Lemon Snowflake Cookies

 Return to Cedar Bend, CO and meet . . .

Fireman Dustin Keith [who] didn't realize women would be coming out of the woodwork after he posed for the local fundraiser calendar. But the one who catches his eye is a baker with trust issues. Can he scale the wall she's built around her heart, or is fate destined to extinguish the flames of desire before they engulf his heart?

[And] Lauren Badini [who] came to Cedar Bend to lend a helping hand at her aunt's bakery, not fall for Mr. July. The image on the calendar she received last Christmas fueled her fantasies, but the in-person version is too hot to handle. But if life after her ex has taught her anything, it's okay to look...but don't touch.

 Wild Women Authors welcomes back N. Jade Gray who celebrates the release of Kisses and Lemon Snowflake Cookies, one of the current releases from the Wild Rose Press’ Christmas Cookie series.  First up is firefighter Dustin Keith.

Thanks for taking time out of your schedule at the station, Dustin. We appreciate it.

Let’s begin with where you’re from. Cedar Bend, Colorado.

What did you think the first time you saw Lauren Badini? Truthfully, my first wasn’t about Lauren but rather if she was in danger because I thought the bakery was on fire.

What was your second thought? This woman is trouble.

Was it love at first sight? Not exactly. But there was definitely a pull of attraction.

What do you like most about her? Her spunk and humor.

How would you describe Lauren? She makes me tingle whenever I’m near her.

Tingling works for us. How would she describe you? She thinks I’m quiet. But I know she likes my muscles/body. I think she secretly oogles my picture in the fireman calendar.

What made you choose firefighting for a career? I stumbled onto the gig and I found that I’m good at it.

What is your biggest fear? Impossible/dangerous fires.

How do you relax? I spend time with my friends. Not sure how relaxing, but my friends and I get together for a game night at least once a month.

Who is your favorite fictional character? I’m not much of a reader. But I do enjoy stories about pirates.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Live life like someone left the gate open. I’m not sure when I first heard that expression, but I like it.

Dustin, thanks for spending time with us and thanks also for bringing an excerpt for us.

 She frowned and pivoted to ask who Fred was, but screamed instead. A donkey stood in the kitchen nibbling on the burnt gingerbread men.

Dustin lunged for the animal’s halter. “Gotcha. You little miscreant.” A loud bray echoed around the kitchen as the donkey jerked backward and started backpedaling out the door. “Help. Snatch the other side of his halter.”

She made a grab for the animal, but her feet snagged on Dustin’s booted foot, and she fell, bringing him down with her. A loud oof escaped as he landed on top of her. Their gazes locked as he laughed and shook his head. “Are you always this much trouble?”

Words failed her. His body lay across hers, and the feeling was oh so pleasurable. What was his question?

The smile on his lips slipped as his gaze lowered to rest upon her lips. Time stalled as he leaned in and gently brushed her mouth with his own.

The burnt cookie aroma drifted into oblivion as her senses focused on the caress of his firm lips. Pure bliss. A sigh escaped as she looped a hand around his neck and returned the kiss.

“Oh my.” The gasp came from a short distance away.

Startled, Lauren wrenched her lips from his. A peek around his muscular shoulder proved her aunt stood in the kitchen observing her with wide eyes.

“Um. I guess you don’t need my help opening the bakery.”


Now for a chat with our guest, N. Jade Gray:

What movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer? I enjoy romantic comedies, a mixture of the mushy stuff and humor. And if I enjoy the movie or book there is a good chance I’ve watched or read it more than five times. J

Tell us a bit about your publisher: how did you hear about them and what influenced your decision to submit to them? I have been with The Wild Rose Press since 2017 and Kisses and Lemon Snowflake Cookies is my fourth story to be published by them. When I heard the publisher was calling for submissions for a Cookies series this holiday season I thought of Josie’s Delights and Dustin Keith from last year’s Tangled in Tinsel [holiday] story. Dustin had been bugging me anyway to tell his story. The bugging paid off with this season’s novella Kisses and Lemon Snowflake Cookies.

What book[s] currently rest on your TBR pile? I’ll soon be digging into the other authors publishing their Cookie stories from Wild Rose Press. I’m hoping not to gain as many pounds reading about cookies as consuming them.

Lastly, what's up next and when can we expect to see it on the shelves? My husband and I moved from Kansas to Missouri this year and this interrupted my creative juices for a bit, but I’ve been working on a summer read and hope to wrestle the story into some semblance of order to present for publication next year.

 To learn more about N. Jade Gray, go to:

\https://www.njadegray.com/

https://www.facebook.com/njadegray

 

To purchase Kisses and Lemon Snowflake Cookies, go to:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/kisses-and-lemon-snowflake-cookies-n-jade-gray/1140337155?ean=2940162302940

https://www.amazon.com/Kisses-Lemon-Snowflake-Cookies-Christmas-ebook/dp/B09HR9N69V/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=n.+jade+gray&qid=1634595743&s=books&sr=1-2

 

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Winter Storm by Ellie Gray

 She trusts everyone, he trusts no-one. As danger closes in, can they trust each other?

        Willow Daniels has a heart of gold and is willing to help anyone who needs it, but when she helps Ethan McCormick one snowy night, she may just have made the biggest mistake of her life. Trapped by a winter storm in a tiny, North Yorkshire village, Willow is forced to re-evaluate everything she believes in, and wonders if anyone is truly who they seem. 

Fate may have brought her to Ethan, but as danger closes in around them, Willow must draw on a strength she never knew she possessed in order to protect the man she has grown to love, not only against his worst enemy, but also against himself.

 Wild Women Authors is delighted to welcome multi-published British author, Ellie Gray, as she celebrates her second release with the Wild Rose Press, a sweet romantic suspense, Winter Storm. With Ellie is elementary school teacher, Willow Daniels who will go first

Good morning, Willow. Thank you for joining us. Let’s start with talking about where you are from. North Yorkshire in the UK

Tell us a bit about Winter Storm. It tells the story about how I got lost and ended up with an injured man hijacking my car. Believe it or not, I took him home and took care of his injuries. We then got snowed in and I ended up being stalked by a man with knife! It was one of the most frightening times of my life, but in the middle of all that, I also fell in love. So, Winter Storm, for me, tells the story of both the worst and best times of my life so far.

What did you think the first time you saw Ethan McCormick? He hijacked my car and held me a gunpoint, so it wasn’t your usual sort of meeting. My immediate feeling was one of fear.

Of course. What was your second thought? Even when he was holding me at gunpoint, he told me he was one of the good guys. And I believed him. He had a good aura.

Did you feel it was love at first sight? No, it wasn’t, but I knew there was something different amount him; something that attracted me to him.

What do you like most about Ethan? His goodness. He is kind, and protective. And there is just a hint of danger about him which I love.

How would you describe him? Ethan is someone who can take of himself, who has a strong sense of what is right and wrong. He doesn’t trust easily, but that’s maybe because of the job he does. He makes me feel safe.

How would he describe you? Hmm. I think he would describe me as far too trusting, someone who loves Christmas, and sees the good in everyone.

What made you choose teaching primary schoolers for a career? It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I love the honesty of children, and love being able to positively support them to achieve their potential. I work in a school just a few miles from where I grew up, and I absolutely love what I do.

What is your biggest fear? Gosh, that’s a good question. I’m not sure that I have a ‘biggest fear’ to be honest – I’m a huge believer in fate, and in things happening for a reason. We have to deal with what we’re given at any time. That’s not to say that I don’t worry about things, or about people because I do – all the time. But I try and combat that by doing whatever I can to help – if I can do something about what I’m worried about, I will, but if I can’t I just have to trust that it will work out in the end.

How do you relax? Music! I have music playing all the time – and I have to admit to having an eclectic taste, and play whatever suits my mood at the time. I love watching movies too – anything with a happy ending!

Who is your favorite fictional character? Amelia Peabody – from the Elizabeth Peters novels. Amelia is a Victorian amateur sleuth who goes on adventures with her archaeologist husband. A clever and strong-minded woman who gets things done!

What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Treat others as you would have others treat you.

Thank you, Willow, for spending time with us. Now we’d like to chat with Ellie.

What movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer? My mum died nearly four years ago and, having already lost my dad, I really struggled to find the enthusiasm and motivation to write. I wasn’t really reading at that point either. But my son bought me a book for Mothers Day – Winter Song by S. Jae-Jones. It was a book loosely based on an adult version of one of my favourite films – Labyrinth. The writing was achingly beautiful and lyrical, and it really motivated me to get back to writing myself.

What event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel? The scene where Willow is stalked through the school is based on an idea I’ve had ever since I was at secondary school. The school was, and is, a large, sprawling site with a lower and upper school site. I was always fascinated by the labyrinthine nature of the school – rooms leading off to other rooms and corridors. One of the corridors I remember had a strange recess, which I assume was intended to be boxed off to enclose wiring or cabling but had never been used, and therefore remained open on one side but from the front looked to be sealed. I had always imagined that this would be an excellent hiding place if I were ever to be chased through the school! I used this as a basis for Willow’s hiding place when she is being stalked by the hooded stranger.

Tell us a bit about your publisher: how did you hear about them and what influenced your decision to submit to them? I heard about The Wild Rose Press through fellow authors in the Romantic Novelists Association, and who were published with them. They talked positively about the publisher and so I looked at their website online. I was immediately struck by the positive and supportive approach outlined on the website, and it seemed that they would be a good fit for the type of books I write. I have to say that my experience with TWRP has confirmed the positive, supportive and incredibly respective relationship between myself as the author and everyone involved in the company.

What book[s] currently rest on your TBR pile? Gosh – so many. I try and read as many fellow Wild Rose Press authors as I can because I think it is important to support your peers and colleagues. I also try and mix up genres a little, so I am currently re-reading a Matthew Reilly book, and always have a Jane Austen on the go – currently this is Sense and Sensibility…. again.

Lastly, what's up next and when can we expect to see it on the shelves? I’m working on another romantic suspense novel, and also a contemporary romance. I’m hoping to have these out towards the end of next year.

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

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elliegrayauthor

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/elliegray58

Pinterest:  https://uk.pinterest.com/elliegray71/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/elliegray58


To purchase Winter Storm, go to: 

Amazon: mybook.to/WinterStormEGray

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/winter-storm-ellie-gray/1139990305

 

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

The Starlight Mint Murder Mystery

After suffering a serious on-duty injury, Los Angeles cop Mel O’Rourke leaves the force battered, both physically and mentally. Looking for a fresh start, she moves to a quiet mountain town and opens the Babbling Brook Inn. Excited for her new life, Mel decides to participate in the town’s holiday cookie contest, but her newfound joy crashes when one of her guests turns up dead in her lobby.

Mel is tempted to attribute the death to natural causes but when another guest dies, her cop sense kicks in.  The local Sheriff tells her to stand down, but with her own life in danger, Mel won’t back off.  With everything on the line, she has to push through her own fears to catch the killer before more bodies drop, perhaps even her own.

Wild Women Authors is pleased to welcome Marla White as she celebrates the release of The Starlight Mint Murder Mystery, the latest release in the Christmas Cookie series published by the Wild Rose Press. With Marla is Mel O’Rourke, owner/operator of the Babbling Brook Inn. As always, Mel will go first.

Good morning, Mel. Thanks for taking time out of your schedule at the B&B to talk with us. Let’s start with The Starlight Mint Murder Mystery. What’s it all about? It all started when I was forced to quit the LAPD.  My large, pushy, Irish family encouraged me to move to the tiny mountain village of Pine Cove for a stress-free life. Ha! After just a few weeks I’m already battling an unruly cookie recipe and finding a dead body in the lobby of my family’s bed and breakfast. If the victim’s death goes viral with some catchy social media hash tag like #BnBofDeath or #ARoomtoDie4 before I know how and why he died, the Babbling Brook could be closed before we even get started. As you can guess, I have more than my hands full, and I still can’t get Grandma O’Rourke’s cookies to come out in some sort of edible form!  

What made you choose running a B and B for a career? This is actually a sort of ‘second act’ for me after I couldn’t be a cop anymore.  I sat down with my family and started kicking around ideas.  My brother Liam was not helpful at all since all of his suggestions involved NASCAR, Grand Prix racing, or monster trucks.  My sister Vinnie is the one who suggested I move to a small, quiet town for a while.  As kids, we’d come to Pine Cove a few times to camp and hike so I paid it a visit, saw the Babbling Brook was for sale and fell in love with the old place.  It just felt right.

Knowing what you know now, if you had it to do over again, would you stick with being an hotelier or do something different? I’ve only been running the Inn for a little over a month so I’m not sure I know enough to say.  I’m kind of hoping finding a dead body in the lobby isn’t par for the course or I’m going to have to re-think my career move! 

          But if you mean would I stick to being a patrol cop if I could, there are a lot of days I really miss the excitement.  No two days were ever alike, that’s for sure.  It felt good to make a difference, but I’m discovering I’m helping people who come to the Inn in a different way.

What is your biggest fear? It used to be small spaces, but then I nearly fell to my death from the top of a building so, yeah, heights are kind of an issue for me now.  But I love rock climbing so I’m working on it.

Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Captain James Tiberius Kirk, because he is such a bad ass! 

What is the best piece of advice you ever received? To not let the fear of making mistakes stop me from trying to do something.  Most people expect you to screw up, so worst case scenario you’ll simply fulfill their expectation.

Thanks for this, Mel. We wish you well with the continued adventures at the Babbling Brook. Now it’s time to chat with Marla.

Which writer or character[s], from either books or movies, [or both] have had a major impact on your writing? Robert Parker and Jim Butcher have both opened the door to letting my inner smart-ass roam free across the pages of my books.

But the writer who had the most impact was Janet Evanovich.  I had the honor of meeting her when I worked for a production company that was adapting her amazing Stephanie Plum novels as a television series.  She talked about getting up at five in the morning to write every day.  Like most of us, I struggle to find time to write so I drag myself out of bed with the mantra that successful writers get up at five in the morning.  That’s the only way I could have finished my first novel. 

With regard to research, where did you start for this novel? Did that lead you down different paths, thereby changing the original concept? I started my research with what kind of poisons could cause a death to look like a heart attack and how can they be detected.  (I hope no one ever sees my computer’s search history!) Because the story is set in a small town, I had to shift the plot a little since there wouldn’t be a lab available to test the victim’s blood. Though I did do some hands on research before I even thought of writing a novel. 

Like Mel, I have a cookbook with family recipes, only mine came from my mother.  The Starlight Mint Surprise cookie was one of my favorites as a kid so last year I tried to follow her recipe and just like Mel, I never could get it quite right for some reason. I thought a failed cookie made a perfect jumping off point for a story about a character trying to figure out what to do with her life.

Oddly enough, it was listening to the Cozy Mystery Quartet podcast by four Wild Rose Press authors gave me the idea to write a cozy and the perfect setting – Idyllwild, (which stands in for my fictitious Pine Cove) a town I visit almost every year so no research was necessary. 

Tell us a bit about your publisher. How did you hear about them; what influenced you to submit to them? I first heard about Wild Rose Press when they published my friend, CJ Bahr a few years ago. I knew she loved working with her editor and the company as a whole.  When she showed me the information about the submission for the cookie book series at the exact moment I was having a fight with a cookie, it seemed like kismet. 

How is the submission process? The submission process was much easier than I made it – LOL.  If you read all the words on the guidelines, it’s pretty straightforward. Of course I didn’t, and it wasn’t until I had hand surgery that I read the part about including a synopsis. Getting that done with just one hand to work with was a trick. 

What is the turn-around time from date of query to date of release? The turn around process has been amazing!  I think it took my amazing editor, Kaycee John less than a week from the time she acknowledged my submission to offering me a contract.   After that, it all came together pretty fast. The cover art by Diana Carlile didn’t take long and was exactly the way I pictured it. All in all, eight months passed from query to release date. 

What are you reading right now? Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Gamache series.

What's next for you? More adventures with Mel, Jackson and the characters from  “The Starlight Mint Surprise Murder” for starters.  I also have a mystery set in the world of equestrian eventing that I’m polishing up as we speak in hopes of finding a home for it.  My other passion is my three book series set in the completely different genre of grounded contemporary fantasy that involves the former Archangel Gabriel and his troublesome family including Michael and baby brother Lucifer. 

To learn more about Marla White and the stories she creates go to:

https://wordpress.com/view/marlaawhiteauthorpage.wordpress.com

Twitter: @TheScriptFixer

Instagram: marlaw825

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marla.white.5249


To purchase The Starlight Mint Murder Mystery, go to:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3ih1s07

Apple: https://apple.co/2RwPhl6

Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/3euAArC

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/the-starlight-mint-surprise-murder-by-marla-a-white

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/59063838-the-starlight-mint-surprise-murder

Books2Read: books2read.com/u/bMw0v8

  

Monday, October 25, 2021

Crush by Christina Strigas

 Wild Women Authors focus on Crush, a contemporary romance written by Christina Strigas, released October 13, 2021 by The Wild Rose Press from their Fast Track line.

A bit aboutCrush:

It was love at first sight when Maria met Jack on a beach all those years ago. But when Jack suddenly disappears, Maria is thrust closer to Hunter, their long-time friend, taking them on a journey that changes all three of their lives forever.

Maria is a lonely young woman who finds love and acceptance with Jack, a free-spirited musician. In Maria, Jack finally has the girl of his dreams by his side. When Jack introduces Maria to his best friend, Hunter, he feels an instant connection to Maria, but he buries his feelings—along with his secret that he's a vampire—for the love of his friend.

Set in Saint-Tropez, Crush is a vampire tale with a twist. Spanning decades and delving into the past of each character in this thorny love triangle, it is about a woman who must choose between the man she's in love with and the man who is her soul mate. Adventure, love, romance, and vampires all collide in this unique novel filled with powerful emotion, heartbreak, and the question of undying love.

A bit about our focus author:

Christina Strigas is an author and poet, raised by Greek immigrants, and has written four poetry books. Her popular poetry book, LOVE & VODKA, has been featured by CBC Books in, “Your Ultimate Canadian Poetry List: 68 Poetry Collections Recommended by you.”Her fourth poetry book, LOVE & METAXA, has just been released to rave reviews from Pank Magazine.

Strigas’s poems have appeared in Montreal Writes, Feminine Collective; Neon Mariposa Magazine; Pink Plastic House Journal; BlazeVOX; Thimble Lit Magazine; Twist in Time Literary Magazine; The Temz Review, and Coffin Bell Journal, to name a few. Her poem, “Dead Wife” was nominated for best of the net 2020.

She has also self-published a self-help/poetry book based on her popular quotes that went viral on Twitter. She writes romantic love poetry in a stream of consciousness narrative prose. Her influences are Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Mary Oliver, the Romantics, and Pablo Neruda.

Christina Strigas holds a BA in English Literature from Concordia University and a Teaching Certificate from Universite de Montreal. She teaches English and French in an elementary school and is a Course Lecturer at McGill University.

She created the popular @ArielPoets on Twitter along with poetry editor and poet, Alexandra Meehan, where they inspire writers and poets to believe in the power of poetry.

In her spare time, Christina enjoys foreign cinema, reading the classics, and cooking traditional Greek recipes that have been handed down from her grandmother.

To learn more about Christina Strigas and the stories she creates, to to: 

chrissystriga@gmail.com

Website: https://christinastrigas.com/

Twitter : https://twitter.com/christinastriga

Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/c.strigas_sexyasspoet/?hl=en

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/christinastrigasauthor

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/christina-strigas

Tumblr: https://christina-strigas-author.tumblr.com/

Pinterst: https://www.pinterest.ca/christinastriga/_created/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3215812.Christina_Strigas

 

 

Monday, October 18, 2021

Meet Julie Howard and The Three Widows of Wylder

 Three women on the run.

After the death of her husband, Clara flees a hanging judge and seeks refuge with her brother in Wylder, Wyoming.

With secrets of her own and good reasons to flee, spoiled and vain Mary Rose joins Clara on the trek to Wyoming. Surely a suitable man exists somewhere.

Emma is a mystery. A crack shot and expert horsewoman, her harrowing past seeps out in a steady drip. She’s on the run from something, but what?

After the three women descend on Wylder, a budding romance leads to exposure of their pasts. As disaster looms, will any of them escape?

 Wild Women Authors is delighted to feature Julie Howard as she celebrates the latest in the line of many fascinating stories published by the Wild Rose Press. This one, The Three Widows of Wylder, is part of the wildly [get it?] popular Wylder West series, and it’s a wonder. In a break from the usual character interview, we asked Julie to tell us how she came up with this unique story line. And here she is. . .

 Thank you, Kat, for having me on your blog today! It’s a pleasure to be here on release day for The Three Widows of Wylder.

I can’t say I understand where inspiration for stories comes from. Sometimes it’s a theme I’d like to pursue, such as women overcoming the odds. Sometimes the kernel of the idea arises from a person I’ve caught a glimpse of or a news story I’ve read. I start to imagine, what if…?

In Three Widows, there are three main characters and I already had these characters in mind for a story. I didn’t have their story yet and so buried these characters in my mind while I tackled other projects. When I heard my publisher had launched a series centered on the American West, the plot arrived almost immediately. My three widows would be perfect for a historical fiction, and the Old West would heighten their danger.

Women in the 19th century were constrained in their options. They could work in menial positions, get married, or remain at home. Most women strove for marriage – either for love or to create a family or to avoid the other two options. But I wondered, what would happen if a marriage went wrong? What options did women have then?

The Three Widows takes this idea to the extreme and places my three main characters in peril. They are on the run with their lives at stake.

Julie brought us an excerpt.

          Emma stood, legs apart, one hand on the pistol at her hip. The covered wagon was the type used years ago by pioneers, before trains tamed the prairie, and they still lumbered across areas where tracks hadn’t been laid. Two women sat side-by-side, too focused on their argument to yet notice the camp they entered. Their one horse, overmatched by the heavy wagon, was damp with sweat, its mouth flecked with froth.

“We should have stayed on the main road.” The peevish one appeared much younger, curly gold hair topped by a large straw hat. She wore a light-yellow dress with lace at her wrists and throat, a perfectly inadequate outfit for travel. “Someone could have provided directions.”

The older woman had finely-drawn features, a few strands of gray threaded through her dark, uncovered hair. Dressed in sensible blue calico, she gripped the reins too tight and the poor horse gave a pathetic shake of its head. “The whole point was to avoid people,” she sniped.

Emma strode forward and seized the reins. “For God’s sake, you’re killing him.”

The two women gaped as though at an apparition. The horse, released from harsh hands, lowered its head and halted. Its sides heaved as flies drank at its sweaty flanks.

“Whomever let you two fools handle a horse should be whipped.” Tempted to dispatch the women to hell for their cruelty, Emma rested her hand on the pistol’s handle.

They two travelers spoke in tandem. “Who are you?” and “How dare you call me a fool.”

As Emma crooned into in the horse’s ear, her expert fingers undid the buckles at its shoulders and haunches. By the time the older of the two women climbed to the ground, the horse was unhitched and Emma led it to the creek.

“That’s our horse,” cried the one in yellow. “Clara, what is that insane girl doing? She’s stealing him.”

Emma halted, shoulders stiff. She turned and pointed the pistol at the one with lace at her throat. “I’m no horse thief.” She cocked the hammer. “Apologize.”

 About the author:

Julie Howard is the author of the Wild Crime mystery series and Spirited Quest paranormal mystery series. She is a former journalist and editor who has covered topics ranging from crime to cowboy poetry. She is a member of the Idaho Writers Guild and editor of the Potato Soup Journal.

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

Website: http://juliemhoward.com

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/juliemhowardauthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18116047.Julie_Howard

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Julie-Howard/e/B07D6CS4NQ/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/julie-howard?list=author_books

Twitter: https://twitter.com/_JulieMHoward

Instagram: @authorjuliehoward

 

To purchase The Three Widows of Wylder, go to:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Three-Widows-Wylder-West-ebook/

iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-three-widows-of-wylder/id1585169665

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-three-widows-of-wylder-julie-howard/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/the-three-widows-of-wylder-the-wylder-west-by-julie-howard

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58903448-the-three-widows-of-wylder


Monday, October 11, 2021

Arborview

 Wild Women Authors is pleased to feature author Karen Guzman as she celebrates the release of Arborview, a contemporary women’s fiction novel, published by the Wild Rose Press. First up is Ellen Cahill, recent divorcee and about to become pastry shoppe owner.

Good morning, Ellen. Tell us a bit about Arborview. It’s the story of my life up till now. It’s the ending of one chapter—a big chapter—and the beginning of a new one—one that feels more right, and more true, than I could have imagined. It’s about me, at the age of forty-eight, finally becoming myself.

What made you choose to become a pastry chef? It’s what I should have done when I younger, but I let the expectations of other people lead me astray. Creating pastry is an act of beauty and comfort in all too hostile world.

Knowing what you know now, if you had it to do over again, would you stick with being a pastry chef, or do something different? If I could do it again, I’d have become a chef in the first place. I’m finally at the right party now. I’ve just shown up a little late.

What is your biggest fear? Harm befalling my children, who are the love of my life.

Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Alice from Alice in Wonderland, because we all fall down rabbit holes occasionally.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Be Yourself. Everyone else is taken.

Good advice. Thank you Ellen for taking time away from We Rise. Now we like to speak with Karen.

With regard to research, where did you start for this novel? Did that lead you down different paths, thereby changing the original concept? The concept evolved quite a bit in terms of executive and narrative structure, but the core message of the book stayed the same.

Tell us a bit about your publisher. How did you hear about them; what influenced you to submit to them. What is the turn-around time from date of query to date of release? The Wild Rose Press is just a terrific publishing house. Everyone, from my editor to the cover design artist to the marketing team, was so inclusive and professional. They respected my vision for the story and helped me produce a book that I’m really proud of. And the community of authors is outstanding. We all support each other with promotions and posting reviews. It’s a very special group. Turnaround time from query to acceptance to publication was just a little more than one year.

What are you reading right now? Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy

What's next for you? I’m working on a collection of short stories.

To learn more about Karen Guzman go to: www.karenguzman.com

To purchase Arborview, go to:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/arborview-karen-guzman/1140053868

 

https://www.thewildrosepress.com/book-post/arborview

https://www.amazon.com/Arborview-Karen-Guzman-ebook/dp/B09DNQH267/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&qid=1632415749&refinements=p_27%3AKaren+Guzman&s=books&sr=1-4

 

https://books.google.com/books?id=nOBDEAAAQBAJ&pg=PT172&lpg=PT172&dq=apple+books+karen+guzman+arborview&source=bl&ots=pgp5N-onJb&sig=ACfU3U2sP91yID2ykuadkBCEudy-765-GQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjAxceBx5XzAhXdF1kFHdKnAt8Q6AF6BAgOEAM#v=onepage&q=apple%20books%20karen%20guzman%20arborview&f=false