Hi, everyone and welcome to my fire. I know. I know. It's hot. Very hot. Summer does that especially in New Jersey. I often write about the 3H's. Hazy, hot, and humid. I'm from a time where air-conditioning was not the norm. I remember laying in bed by the window hoping for a breeze to come in. Now I'm blessed with AC and ceiling fans. Here's a video of a do it yourself unit youtu.be/Gt_AgZ0zrrg
Quick bit before we get to today's guest, head over to www.facebook.com/events/362139512766952/. My publisher, The Wild Rose Press is hosting a release party for me and you are invited. Now, today's guest is a hoot and a half. We've become virtual friend and I think you're going to love her.
Hello, my fellow coffee guzzler. While I grab a couple of cups why don't you start and tell my other guests ho are you other than your bio?
My bio doesn’t tell you I’m resilient and I never, ever think of giving up. Even when those lemons life throws at you seem insurmountable. I’m a 11-year ovarian cancer survivor. I was diagnosed at age 55 ½. My mom died of the same disease at age 56. So very fortunate to be alive.
But wait…there’s more!
In 2019 I was in a three-week coma and not expected to live. As my daughter says, I “defied all the odds.” While I was in a nursing home recovering, I edited and queried the novel Heartquake. I’m doubly fortunate to be alive.
Yowzah! I had no idea. We are so happy that you have that resilient gene. It also gives hope to others that struggle. Terry, what other interests do you have besides writing?
It’s probably obvious I love to read, but I also try to crochet. I’m not very good, but I’ve crafted a bed spread and several small afghans. My next project is a pocket shawl.
It’s a way for me to meditate. And before you laugh, check out all the research that links crocheting and knitting with meditative-state brain waves.
You don't have to convince me. I crochet too. Not as much as I used to. My favorite is a long, narrow blanket I can cover up from neck to toes or wrap as a shawl. People, people who need people...Who is your network or support system? Oh, and you're welcome for the earworm.
My daughter is my biggest fan, without a doubt. She never laughs at my dreams, no matter how outrageous they sound (and trust me some are out there). She even encourages them.
And I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge my fellow authors at The Wild Rose Press who have cheered me on. They support me in untold ways.
Hello, daughter of Terry! The TWRP 'garden' is amazing. So, you're a reader. Who or what books or authors are your inspiration?
Every book I read inspires me in some way. But each time I read a talented, witty author, I want my words to emulate theirs. Specifically, let’s talk Jessica Bird. She’s a talented romance author (and writes the Black Dagger Brotherhood as J.R. Ward). My love of her style influenced Heartquake.
And let’s talk Janet Evanovich. I love the first several books of her Stephanie Plum series and you’ll have the chance to see her influence in my upcoming romantic comedy, Rewrites of the Heart, which is currently in edits.
Do you have any fun or outrageous talent?
Trivia! Trivia! Trivia! I love trivia—to the point of annoying everyone around me. The combination of watching Jeopardy for nearly my entire life (when I was in elementary and high school, I would make sure I was in front of the TV in the summer for Art Fleming.) and my last decade and as half of non-fiction freelance writer makes me darn good at it (if I do say so myself!).
It also makes me the most annoying person in the room.
Hubby and I are Jeopardy fans too. If they ever have a couples tournament we'd be in the running. Our categories are different so unless they toss in Shakespeare, we get quite a few. What is your neighborhood like? Are there any places you frequent? What makes them special?
I love breakfasts and I love to write in coffee shops. So, you can guess what I do when I go out. And I’ve recently discovered this family-owned restaurant that serves the best home fries I’ve ever tasted (and that’s saying something.). it’s Adele’s in Salem, Ohio. Tucked away, surprisingly, in the industrial section of town, off the beaten path.
But when breakfast is over, I then go to my new favorite coffee shop, Lib’s Market in the Historic District of Salem. A small, narrow space, they roast their own coffee (did I say I search for a good cup of coffee?) With the best décor. There’s even a large, very old safe in one corner, with all its original decorations. It’s the best place to sit and write.
If you’re ever in Salem, Ohio, you have to check out both of those establishments.
Do you have a favorite piece of jewelry or keepsake?
Nearly 25 years ago, my husband bought me a specially designed family ring. I resisted and thought it was an extravagance. He insisted. The result, some 15 years after he’s passed, is a ring I cherish. Three stones. The middle stone is a pearl, my birthday. On either side I have a garnet, his birthday, and a sapphire, our daughter’s birthday. When my daughter got married last year, I felt like a part of her dad was there.
Moral of the story: If someone wants to spoil you with something seemingly extravagant, let them.
That is so touching! I'm sorry for your loss, he must have been amazing. I've discovered to graciously accept gifts and compliments. It does bless the person on the giving end. Probably even more. What is your favorite mug or teacup?
Surprise! My favorite mug is neither writing nor reading related. It’s a mug my daughter gave me when she went to Roswell, New Mexico, one of the stops on her honeymoon. It’s an oversized cobalt blue ceramic mug with the face of an alien. And has the city stamped below it. Yes, I love all things aliens.
What's your favorite childhood book? Did it inspire you to become an author?
I couldn’t have been older than 8 or 9 and my mom bought me the first book in The Happy Hollisters series. These are the adventures of a family with five kids who travel the world and solve mysteries. After the first book I was hooked. I begged my mom to get me all 33 of them. They came once a month through the mail. I couldn’t wait to read them. And they had line illustrations of certain scenes.
From that moment on I knew I wanted to write and illustrate my own books. When I discovered I had zero natural ability in art, I set my sights a bit lower. Okay, I’ll just be an author.
If you could only choose one song to play every time you walked into a room for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Laugh if you want, but it would be I am Woman, by Helen Reddy. It was a childhood favorite during the 70s. But more than that, it was my anthem in the nursing home as I was getting my legs strong enough to walk again.
Every evening one aide would follow me and the walker with a wheelchair. I walked from a specified place in the hall to my room. Each day the length grew. I started playing I am Woman on my cell phone for inspiration. Okay, and I sang. Loudly. Yeah, you can imagine that echoing throughout the hall.
So, every evening, I was able to sing a bit more of it until finally, I sang the whole song. Success. Still had a long way to go, but Helen Reddy was an integral part of my recovery.
What a great song! If you could time travel, where would you go and why?
I have to preface this answer by saying I’m obsessed with American politics. Have been all my life. Even went to graduate school to study American history, specifically presidential political history.
I would set my time machine back to the years of the 1790s, the beginnings of the Constitution and the country as we know it. When George Washington was president and Aaron Burr was roaming the streets. In college, I read Gore Vidal’s book, Burr, which gave a less than flattering account of Washington. I’d love not only to see what the first president was like, but Burr and all the founding fathers. (Especially Ben Franklin. Are those accounts of his promiscuity really true?)
But if my time machine had a layover in the 1950s, I wouldn’t complain. I’m fascinated by the McCarthy Era. Such good drama. Still thinking about writing a book about that time period.
Do you play board games? What games do you like?
I have an un-board game I love: Bananagrams. If you’ve never heard of it, you’re missing out. It’s like Scrabble, but without the board. The game consists of 144 lettered tiles (that come in a yellow zippered pouch in the shape of a banana). Each player gets 21 tiles and from there they build their own scrabble board, making words off the letters of other words.
The goal is to use all the tiles in the common pile. When the player uses all of his tiles, he can pull one (by yelling “peel”) and each of the other players must pull three. When all the tiles have been used, the person who has the least amount of stray tiles wins. It’s fast-paced, fun, and competitive. The game was invented, supposedly, by a person who grew tired of the slow pace of Scrabble.
I'll have to check that one out. One of my friends, Paula, plays it. What’s the most amazing natural occurrence you’ve witnessed?
The sunrise out my bedroom window. I have a small efficiency apartment, but I’m lucky enough that I get the morning sun. The sunrise is spectacular. I have a series of photos of them.
I love the sunrise because it’s a promise of a new day, ripe with possibilities.
Terry, thanks so much for visiting me today. I loved getting to know you better. Before you depart for the coffee shop, will you leave us a bit about Heartquake and where to get more information on it and you? Oh, and to our other guests, keep scrolling. Terry shares a sunrise shot at the end.
Coffee makes everything possible.
Coffee shop owner, Charlee Lightheart, views corporations with contempt. She believes her father died at the hands of the pharmaceutical industry. When she’s approached to run for city council on an anti-fracking platform, she’s reluctant. She’s not sure this movement is her cause.
Billionaire Riley Brockton has given up on love. Then he walks into Charlee’s shop. All he wanted was coffee and muffins. From that first electrifying touch, he knows he needs more. He withholds one piece of vital information: he’s a lionshifter.
A rogue reporter sets out to reveal the one secret that can destroy the anti-fracking movement and the couple’s relationship. Can their love survive the truth and public exposure?
It is absolutely fantastic! Well written, well developed, well described, witty, emotionally
deep, engaging, and relatable with drama and ups and downs. The characters are
strong and believable. This book is guaranteed to leave you wanting more. Definitely
Grab a copy today
More about the author
Terry Newman has always loved words. As the editor-in-chief of a national natural health publishing company, she has written books on a variety of topics, as well as writing direct-mail advertising.
She’s also worked as a reporter, a communications specialist and a freelance writer. She’d had clients worldwide, and researched and wrote hundreds of eBooks and print books as well as ghostwrote novellas and short stories.
One day she woke and decided to make her dream of writing her own novel come true. She sets all her stories in fictional towns in northeast Ohio and writes about things she loves—like coffee. Terry has taught workshops on writing and character development.
She has a daughter, a son-in-law, and a grandpuppy, and lives in North Lima, a real town in northeast Ohio.
Social Media Links
Facebook: Terry Newman
The view from Terry's window.
Backstage Butter Brittle- A One Scoop Or Two Book
Her thirtieth birthday is Anna’s deadline to succeed as a theatrical performer…only six months away. A crucial audition in her hometown puts her into the path of her ex-boyfriend. After only a few minutes together, she realizes she’s missed James. More shocking is that she receives an invitation to help with his family’s summer camp theater program.
Farmer James Tucker can’t believe the woman he once thought he’d marry is back in town, auditioning at the theater next to his ice cream parlor. He hopes for the impossible—that she’ll stay this time. But she wants bright lights, and he leads a simpler life.
Can this reunion be their second chance at love?
A Peek Inside
The instant James Tucker heard the familiar voice vibrating through the thin
walls, he recognized the angelic sound. Anna was here? Singing? He hurried to
finish with a customer and raced past the party room and through an
inconspicuous side door of the ice cream parlor to the adjoining building. What
He grabbed the drapery and jerked his head back. He soaked in a vision of the
most beautiful woman in the world. His ears hadn’t deceived him, and neither had
his eyes. Anna was here.
Her thick, red hair fell past her shoulders, styled a bit longer than when he had
last seen her. Her toned body moved with the grace of an experienced dancer.
His pulse raced. Fond memories slammed into his mind. He stayed hidden and
watched her performance.
The crowd burst into applause.
Riveted, he joined in.
Anna beamed with an upturned face and bubbly laugh, but then she frowned
and shook her head.
He gritted his teeth, watching Anna’s reaction when she found out she’d
auditioned for the ice cream parlor. No Sherlock Holmes’ deduction skills
An error had occurred, and his gut twisted. James slipped from the
audition room, careful Anna couldn’t spot him. She had no idea he was part owner
of the ice cream parlor. Already having had a bit of a shock, he wanted to give her
a few minutes to collect herself. How would she react when she saw him?
The people cheering were right. She was magnificent. But he had known all
along she was special, had since they were kids.
Her being here was perfect timing. His grandfather ran the theater’s summer
camp program, and an unforeseen problem with the camp had plagued Gramps
the last few days. Could Anna be the solution? James had no idea of her
circumstances, but he had to convince her to stay and help, if only temporarily. He
texted Gramps Anna was in town. After he entered the ice cream parlor, he gazed
through the freshly cleaned front windows.
Anna sat outside on a bench with her back toward him. One arm flailed in the
air, and the other pressed her phone against her ear. Her animated body language
signaled her frustration.
James raced behind the counter to make her a sundae. Ice cream had always
made her feel better. He scooped two heaping spoonsful of Butter Brittle into a
metal dish, drizzled caramel syrup, squirted a swirl of whipped cream, arranged
two chocolate chips for eyes and a cherry for a nose, and topped the treat with an
upside-down sugar cone. Then he opened the front door, ready to surprise her.
She spoke into her phone. “Sylvia, can you double-check your notes? The
theater is closed. A bunch of kids is auditioning at this ice cream parlor.” Her loud
sigh traveled through the sea breeze. “Yes, I can hold on while you call them.”
The desperation in her voice stabbed at his heart. The cheery ice cream clown
mocked him. He hid the sundae behind his back, waiting for her to end her
“The time unexpectedly changed to three o’clock this afternoon? And your
new assistant didn’t think to tell you? Don’t be too hard on him. Everyone makes
mistakes. At least the audition hasn’t been cancelled.” Anna’s voice quivered. “I
need this. My bills are piling up. And you know the pressure I’m getting from my
parents. Thanks, Sylvia.” She disconnected with a groan and rummaged through
her bag. Her shoulders jiggled and heaved. She whipped out a tissue and blew her
Oh, God. She was crying? James hated intruding on her private moment, but
he couldn’t bear to see her upset. “Anna?”
She twisted her head. When she saw him, her tears-soaked lashes widened, and
she jumped. “James? What are you doing here?”
“I saw your audition.”
She smoothed away a wisp of hair on her cheek. “You did?”
He nodded, leaning forward. “You knocked them dead. Isn’t that what they
say in the acting world?”
She sniffed and cleared her throat. “You think I did well?”
“I wouldn’t say that if I didn’t mean it.”
“Thanks. Doesn’t matter now anyway. Just a mix up. I thought I was
auditioning for a role in the play at the theater, but I wound up auditioning for a
singing server job. Like a waitress.” She pointed toward the ice cream parlor. “The audition for the touring company isn’t until later. Something happened to one or more members of the cast. Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy to take a temporary spot, but I’m hoping they ask me to join the company after they see mymagnificent performances.” She sent him an exaggerated wink.
A vein on his neck throbbed. I need you, he wanted to say. “You’ll do great,
but I heard them offer you the job here,” he said instead. “Didn’t you tell me about
a famous restaurant in New York City where the wait staff sing and perform? You
said that was an opportunity for unemployed actors. You could always take the ice
cream job, if you need the money.”
Anna tilted her head to the side and wrinkled her nose.
He couldn’t contain his smile. Whenever she had made that bewildered
expression in the past, he had found her particularly adorable.
“When did I tell you about that restaurant? We haven’t seen each other in
“You told me at our tenth-year high school reunion last year. Don’t you
remember?” He never forgot a word she had said.
Get your copy today
Elizabeth John creates tender romances with a touch of intrigue.
She writes at sunrise before her busy day as an elementary
school teacher. Admittedly, she’s a TV and movie junkie and has
noble intentions to practice yoga daily. In her spare time, she
can be found walking her two rescue dogs, researching her
family’s ancestry, gardening, or relaxing at the beach with her
nose in a good book. She is a member of New Jersey Romance
Writers, Romance Writers of America, Liberty States Fiction
Writers, and Sisters in Crime.
Elizabeth loves to hear from readers and can be reached through
The three H's are in full swing here in New Jersey, USA. Hazy, Hot, and Humid are the July go-to for weather. Thankfully, after a few dry weeks we've received some rain. After returning from our last camping trip, hubby and I have been in a lull. Things will be winding up soon though. Starting in August, campfires will be on the agenda. But while we wait out the H's, it's the chilly season in South Africa from where my next guest comes to us. This is her first time at the fire so please give her a warm welcome.
Hi, Vida! I'm so glad you could join me at the fire. While I pour some tea, can you tell our other guests who you are other than your bio?
I am a wife, mother of two young adult men, a light sleeper, but a big dreamer. Living in the City of Gold—Johannesburg—you have to be resilient and laugh about all the social challenges we face, otherwise you’d cry.
Ugh, the world is in such turmoil. But we need to soldier on. Humor is a good way to go as well as focusing on good things. So in that light, what other things take you from the challenges besides?
I enjoy baking, often without a recipe, and “throwing things together” to see how it turns out. The results are often interesting but tasty. Wait! That sounds a bit like my writing. I start with an idea and know how it will end, but the bits in-between are a mystery. I also love hiking and exploring new trails with my friends and family. While I usually stick to 5km to 10km (3 to six miles) routes, my dream is to do a three or five-day hike.
We need to cook together. I love creating in the kitchen. I'll do the meals if you do the desserts or breads. Then we can go exploring. You know the kitchen is often called the heart of the home. It's where we gather and enjoy the company of others. Where we commiserate and share. Who's in your kitchen of support?
I’m a multi-genre author—writing romance, women’s fiction, and Christian devotions—and am blessed to have other South African authors on whose shoulders I can cry on (virtually). I have a romance author friend, Francine Beaton, who I speak to more than my extended family (*smile*). She’s written more books than I have and is my unofficial mentor. I’m also part of a group of Christian authors who mainly interact virtually as we live in different cities. They’ve been a great support in bouncing off ideas, reading each other’s work, and offering support with book covers and launches. I’m super thankful for all of them.
It's sounds like you have a great posse to lean on. Who or what books or authors are your inspiration?
At school, I loved William Shakespeare’s plays. I also love Mark Twain’s humor and dream about being the South African version of Nora Roberts. Their common factor is a prolific output—something I aspire to.
LOL! my hubby and I cringe when the Jeopardy categories include Shakespeare. Do you have any fun or outrageous talent?
Does testing my husband’s patience count as a talent? He finds it outrageous.
I'm going to say yes to that. My Pete often gives me the look that says really. Tell us about Johannesburg. What is your neighborhood like? Are there any places you frequent?
There is a hill close to my house that is 1 750m (about 6 000ft) above sea level and offers a 360-degree view of our city. It’s my favorite place to sit and recharge, dream, and pray. It has featured in nearly all of my stories that are set in Johannesburg.
Now on to my quickie insight questions. If they made a movie about your life, what would the title be, and who would play you?
Eighty Days Around the Globe—Mistletoe Adventures. The story would be about a love guru who travels to different countries to help men and women find their happily ever after while she battles to find her own. Naturally, she’d have mixed results. I’d pick Sandra Bullock to play the lead role. She’s my favorite actress and very funny.
What is your favorite mug or teacup?
A friend gifted me a mug painted with flowers and inscribed with “Joy springs from a grateful heart”. It reminds me to look beyond my present circumstances and to rather find things to be thankful for.
If you could eat anything in the world right now, what would it be?
Chocolate. Chocolate is a vegetable. Right?
What is your worst household chore?
Ironing. It’s mind-numbing. My husband recently bought me a vertical garment steamer to make it easier. Oh, man! There goes that excuse…
What website or app doesn’t exist, but you really wish it did?
It’s not an app, but I wish teleporters existed to make traveling between places easier. That would be so cool! Who needs jetlag when traveling overseas?
Who is the most interesting person you’ve met and talked with?
Mrs. Rosalynn Carter, the former US First Lady. She’s been a champion of mental health for decades and has done a lot to affect public policy and to bring together families of those with mental illness, professionals, and the media around the world.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
What money? I used bonus money from my day job to buy a spinning bike as I don’t like going to the gym and prefer exercising on my own at home. The second “investment” was joining an author’s marketing platform so I could connect with readers and other authors. That has helped me not feel so alone when it comes to writing and publishing.
Authors often forget the selfcare part. Thank you for the reminder as well as joining me at the fire today. Before you spin away (see what I did there?) please leave us some information about your book and where we can find out more about you.
One decision. Will their love survive?
By Vida Li Sik
Adult Friends to Lovers Sweet Romance (Remember Series Book 1)
Two years. That’s how long I waited for Marc to see me as more than just a friend. Impatient, I let the school’s star rugby player side-track me. I’m finally free from that disastrous relationship and have Marc’s full attention. One person stands in our way. My mother opposes our relationship. Now, I must make a choice.
I let Emma slip out of my hands once before. That won’t happen again. I’m from the wrong side of town, but we click on every level. She’s the one for me. The end of our final school year edges closer. Every minute we spend together is precious. But time is not on our side.
What others are saying.
“This book reminds of young love, its trials and tribulations, and of the hope that goes along with it... just hold on to your heart as you read it.” Shenn—Amazon review
Get a copy today
Follow the Author
Greetings and Salutations! Thank you for joining me and my special guest today. We're so glad you're here. Before we jump in I have to share about the great weekend I had with NJ Romance Writers. Special shout out to fabulous Rose Jacobs for organizing the Barnes & Noble author event. What fun with Maria Imbalzano, Elizabeth John, Leigh Cavanagh, Stacey Wilk, and Erica Alexander. Pete was given honorary membership for being such a help.
Now without further ado let get to todays guest who is new to the fire.
Welcome, Gretchen. Why don't you tell our other guests a bit about you, while I grab us a beverage.
I've always wanted to write for a living. In fifth grade, I discovered the Song of the Lioness Trilogy, and I was hooked on reading forever after. I passed up the opportunity to pursue English in college because I thought I writing was a hobby rather than a career. "Don't quit your day job," and all that.
Recently (in no small part due to COVID) I did quit my day job, and began applying to writing gigs full time. I dove into ghostwriting and grant writing and copywriting, anything that involved sitting at the computer and thinking of words. While I still do some of all of that, my true passion is novel writing. I would *love* to be as successful as Nora Roberts; and I won't read James Patterson because I'm jealous.
Covid changed many lives. I'm glad your experience gave you the opportunity to do what you liked. What interests besides writing do you enjoy? For instance, what do you read or hobbies you have?
I like watching late night talk show hosts on Youtube. I also have a friend who is a content creator who does make up tutorials. I’m not real big into makeup, but I like watching her videos.
I used to (careful I'm dating myself) enjoy Johnny Carson and David Letterman. I went to see DL once. Who is your network or support system?
I have a big family, and there are a few of my aunts who are great supporters of my work. One aunt will read anything, and she reads very quickly. One aunt used to read my work, but she doesn’t like the steamier scenes. The book I’m highlighting today does not have any steamy scenes, and it is partly because I wanted to write something that my aunt could enjoy.
Aww! Hello Auntie! Who or what books or authors are your inspiration?
When I’m reading romance, I like historical romance. I’m fascinated not only by the characters but by the authors’ mastery of historical information. I feel like I just don’t know that much about 18th century England, so I write contemporary. But I am definitely inspired by and in awe of historical writers.
Historical is very popular and spans such a wide variety of time. Something for everyone. Do you have any fun or outrageous talent?
I’m good at cooking. I don’t know if that is fun or outrageous.
I love to cook. I never realize so many people didn't. Chopping and slicing is very cathartic. I enjoy building flavors and often feed the neighborhood. Speaking of which, what is your neighborhood like? Are there any places you frequent? What makes them special?
I live in a very ritzy part of North Carolina and to be honest, I’m a little house poor. I spend the lion’s share of my income on the apartment and don’t have much left over for other things. I enjoy walking around, going to the gym and my apartment has a golf simulator that I’ve been playing with.
Sounds wonderful. Favorite childhood book? Or writing that inspired you to become an author.
Tamora Pierce. She writes fantasy for middle grade, and she’s quite famous. When I was in fourth grade, I discovered her Song of the Lioness series and I read those books over and over again.
If you could only choose one song to play every time you walked into a room for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I don’t think I could listen to one song every time I walked into a room for the rest of my life. I really like Daddy Yankee, but I haven’t been listening to him lately. I’ve been listening to DNCE, Cake by the Ocean, and One Republic Counting Stars, but I know there will come a time when I’m not interested in those either. I guess if I had to listen to one song for the rest of my life, I would have to pick a classical piece. Maybe Brahms or Vivaldi. When I’m writing, I like music but it has to be classical.
When I'm home alone and writing often classical plays softly in the background. If you could eat anything in the world right now, what would it be?
Cookies. I could always eat cookies.
If you could time travel, where would you go and when? Why?
The roaring 20s. I would love to be a flapper.
Do you have a particular object like a piece of jewelry or a keepsake of some sort? Can you tell us what makes it special to you?
I have a stuffed animal that I’ve had since I was two. By this time, the fur has come off, the eyes have been replaced many times and the thing looks like Frankenstein’s monster with stitches everywhere. But I’ll never put it up in the attic.
My brother still has "fuzzy" a stuffed toy from childhood, so I get it. Gretchen, thank you so much for joining us today Around The Fire, it was so nice to get to know you. Before you head out, will you leave us a bit about your book and where we can find it and more about you?
Second Chance Louisiana
Tyler went to the bank to take out a loan. He was down to his last dollar, and his new wife and baby girl didn’t even know they were in financial trouble.
Fifteen years later, he is released from prison. Two masked men robbed the bank and framed Tyler for the crime. He missed his daughter’s entire childhood and hardly recognizes the woman he’s still married to.
As he and Misty attempt to reconnect, Tyler feels jumpy. It seems like someone’s watching him. He can’t be sure, but he thinks he recognizes the man in the feed store.
The progress they’ve made burying the hatchet is encouraging. But will there be time for a second honeymoon when the past is coming up behind them?
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For more about the author
Instagram: Gretchen Lovett (@abookabout2020author) • Instagram photos and videos
Welcome, everyone. It was a busy weekend in North America with celebrations of both Canada Day and Independence Day in the US. Saturday hubby and I headed to the Poconos for some antique and vintage shopping. Pete scored a sought after Burl Ives Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer album. Nothing called out to me to bring home. Sunday we enjoyed fireworks at the lake and then Monday a cookout at my brother-in-law's house. Hali is the only one who hated the weekend. Fireworks are so not her thing. Well, onto today's guest. I had the pleasure of being part of her book release a few weeks ago with a spotlight and review of Return to Wylder. On Saturday we'll actually meet at the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Eatontown NJ with several other authors for a book signing. Pop over to my Events page for the details www.dvstoneauthor.com/events.html
Welcome to the Fire Maria thanks for joining me today. While I do my hostess duties why don't you introduce yourself?
For a very long time I was a divorce lawyer and my whole identity was tied up in that. I think it was because it took so much effort, money, and perseverance to become a lawyer, that once I attained that status, I embraced it with my whole being. I added to that wife, mother of two amazing daughters, fundraiser for several non-profits whose boards I sat on, and fun-loving friend.
This is so intriguing to me. How did a divorce attorney become a romance writer?
Working as a divorce attorney was fulfilling but very stressful. My clients were at their all time worst, not all of my adversaries were civil, and the court system is not the best place for divorce cases. When I would get home at night, after having dinner and helping my kids with homework, I would generally read romances because they took me away from what I had been doing all day. One night, I decided I’d like to try to write a book. So I did. I had no idea what I was doing and had a lot to learn, but I loved every minute of it. It was the total opposite of what I was doing during the day and it made me happy. It still does.
I get it. Working in the medical field was the same. So much death and sickness reading fantasy was my escape. What interests besides writing do you enjoy? For instance, what do you read or hobbies you have?
I love to travel and now that I’m retired from law and a full-time author, I can do that at any time. My husband just retired as well, so our plans are to do one or two big trips a year. A few months ago, we went to Hawaii for two and a half weeks and our next vacation is an Alaskan cruise. On our agenda is a trip to Croatia and possibly the Greek Islands. In between big trips we will take long week-end jaunts where we could drive. We were just in Old Lyme, Connecticut visiting friends and detoured to Newport. There are so many places to visit in the United States and Canada, that we don’t even have to go abroad – but I do love Europe.
Writing is mostly a solo endeavor but humans need each other for support and help at times, so who are your go-to people?
I have critique partners who I rely on to tell me what is wrong with each of my stories-- whether plot problems, character issues, motivations, etc. After they have helped with those issues, I rely on my two daughters to read the manuscript to tell me how I messed up my thirty-something year old characters with my sixty-something year old experiences. They often tell me so and so would never do that or would never think that. It’s very helpful and entertaining when they are criticizing me. My husband and friends are the ones who cheer me on. They don’t critique, they just support.
Who or what books or authors are your inspiration?
I try to get inspiration and learn from every book I read now. I used to have a list of authors who were my go-tos, but with so many great authors and great books out there, I no longer limit myself. Being in a book club, I read books I would never have chosen myself. But after each book, I ask myself if there is something I could use in making me a better writer or making my story a page turner.
Do you have any fun or outrageous talent?
LOL! I bet there's something but I won't pry. What is your neighborhood like? Are there any places you frequent? What makes them special?
I live in the town of Lawrenceville, NJ (near Princeton) and it’s a town full of history, charm, and some really good restaurants – which is key for me. I hate to cook, although I will do it. We live in a fairly quiet neighborhood where I walk (for exercise) and talk to neighbors if they are out and about. There is a park nearby with bike trails, walking paths, soccer and baseball fields, and tennis courts. One of my daughters used to live on the other side of the park, a mile and a half from us. She would always drop by to borrow something, eat over, or just say hi. Now, she lives a half hour away which makes me sad—but I think she’s going to move back. My other daughter lives a mile and a half in the other direction. I could walk to her house, but I usually drive. She has two daughters, and I see her family all the time. I feel like I’m describing Mayberry, except that its in the northeast.
I've been through Lawrenceville and lived not to far north of it near Flemington. It's a lovely area. Do you have a particular object like a piece of jewelry or a keepsake of some sort? Can you tell us what makes it special to you?
Recently my husband and I were in St. Augustine, Florida on vacation. We dropped by an art gallery, because we always do that, and I was admiring several paintings of dancers by Anna Razumovskaya. Many were ballet dancers, but some were flamenco dancers. I fell in love with one painting, but it was expensive and we didn’t know where we would put it. So, we left St. Augustine without it. When Christmas arrived, my husband called me into our little library, and he gave me the most wonderful and surprising gift – the painting of the ballerina. It is now displayed on one wall of the library – along with all the covers of my books which are framed and displayed on another wall (a Christmas gift from the previous year). Everyday, when I sit in that room to read the newspaper or do the crossword puzzle, I look up and see the love displayed through these gifts.
Oh, I want to hug your hubby. What a fabulous present. (And for everyone, Maria sent me a picture and I've attached it below.) If you could eat anything in the world right now, what would it be?
I’m not a foodie, so my choice would be milk chocolate. If I could survive on it, I would.
Would you rather have unlimited international first-class tickets or never have to pay for food at restaurants?
No contest here. Unlimited international first-class tickets. I’ve been to a few countries in Europe, but there’s so much more to experience abroad. Next stop, Croatia.
Did you ever win something? What?
I won a Mercedes. How lucky is that?
You won a car! That's crazy. What was your first job?
Candy girl at the Greenwood Theater. All my friends worked there, so it was more like a social event than going to work. We ran the place—a small neighborhood theater with one screen. At times, I was also the cashier. The husbands who would come in with their wives always thought it was so funny when they would come up to the window, place their cash on the counter and say “two children” instead of “two adults” when ordering their tickets. A real knee slapper to them – not so much to me who had heard that little joke hundreds of times.
What subjects should be taught in school but aren’t?
Civility, Collaboration, and Personal Interaction
I definitely agree with those. Maybe some of our other guest would like to add to that list in the comments. What’s the most amazing natural occurrence you’ve witnessed?
When we were in Hawaii, about fourteen years ago with our daughters, we went to see the hot lava from the active volcano, Kilauea, spewing into the ocean at night. It was a fountain of fire that lit up the sky before drowning in the sea. It’s hard to believe that such a beautiful sight could cause such destruction, but in 2018, there was a volcanic eruption near where we had been, and magma started breaking through the ground in the Leilani Estates near the town of Pahoa. All the houses in that area are now gone, covered by molten rock.
Maria, thanks again for popping in and sharing my fire. I look forward to seeing you on Saturday too. Before you head out, would you leave some information about Return to Wylder and where we can find out more about it and you? And if anyone would like to read my review of this book https://www.dvstoneauthor.com/dvstoneauthorcom/around-the-fire-with-a-special-book-spotlight-for-return-to-wylder
Return To Wylder
Is it ever to 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.
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My love of reading dates back to my childhood when I would borrow at least four books from the library every week. During the summer, I would sit in the house and read, until my mother, totally frustrated, would send me outside to play and lock me out. I always found my way back in. However, I must confess, I hated to write. In every English and writing class throughout college, I dreaded trying to be creative. As a friend from law school so aptly put it, “The reason why we’re here is because we don’t have a creative bone in our bodies.”
Despite my dislike of creative writing back then, I embraced legal writing, and was first published in Volume 5 of the Fordham International Law Journal. My article was entitled “In re Mackin: Is the Application of the Political Offense Exception an Extradition Issue for the Judicial or Executive Branch?” I would advise you against reading it, for you will surely fall asleep.
While practicing law as a divorce attorney, I decided to try for some balance in my life and began writing romance. Thankfully, I found my creative bone. Instead of only drafting motions, legal memoranda, and briefs, although fascinating, I started to spend my free time creating memorable characters and taking them on their emotional journeys through my contemporary romance novels.
I am a member of Romance Writers of America and New Jersey Romance Writers and have received many honors for my work including the ACRA Readers’ Choice Heart of Excellence Award, the Wisconsin Romance Writers Write Touch Readers Award, and the NEST (National Excellence in Storytelling) Award. I finaled in the New England Reader’s Choice Contest, the NJ Romance Writers Golden Leaf Contest, The RONE awards, and Colorado Romance Writers’ Beverley contest.
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Happy post 4th of July!
Things are still crazy busy in my world.
Author events are still happening. Huzzah!
If you are anywhere near Eatontown NJ this Saturday July 9th make sure you pop in and say hey. I'll be signing copies of Rock House Grill and the not yet available anywhere else copies of Jazz House.
Other local authors will be there so there will be many books to choose from.
Make a day of it there's lots to do pack a lunch and visit like 80 Acres Park Bliss Price Arboretum and Wildlife Sanctuary Wolcott Park Wampum Memorial Park Husky Brook Park. Not into outside stuff how about Monmouth Mall or The Eatontown Historical Museum.
I hope to see you there.
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Your Host D.V. Stone
Award winning multi-genre author and blogger. Fantasy, romance, mid-grade. Nothing better than a campfire, book, and glass of wine. Okay maybe there is.📚
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