Take A Peek
Hi, my name is D. V. Stone. I am a multi-genre author who also enjoys reading across genres. On this page you'll meet a great group of writers and get an insider's view into their lives and books. I hope you enjoy this special peek and find new and exciting reads.
Who I am: I’m a novelist, and to explain how I got here, I’ll say, I picked up my purse at work one day in 2015 and walked out the door, never to return. My only sibling, who is eleven years older than me, was in a nursing home suffering from early-onset dementia. His wife was in a different nursing home stricken with early-onset Alzheimer’s. We (their children and I) were trying to move them into the same facility. At the time, I worked for a rude woman. One day she disparaged me in front of our consultants and something inside me snapped. I realized working for her wasn’t worth it. My husband had been telling me to quit my job, I was a writer, so on that day, I decided to do what I always wanted to do: quit my full-time job as a grant writer/administrator and write novels. Three years later, I published my first two novels, The Suicide Gene (The Wild Rose Press) and Dream Wide Awake (Kindle Direct Publishing.) Since then I published Project Dream in 2019, Friends Who Move Couches in 2020 and am currently editing, Don’t Mind Me, I Came with the House.
Interests: Family, writing, running, traveling, and people. I love spending time with my three adult children and my sweet granddaughter when I’m able. (Two of three children and my granddaughter live out of town.) I am also blessed to have several friends with whom I run, walk, and travel. (Well, we will travel again once this pandemic is over!)
Network: Since Friends Who Move Couches is “Almost” a memoir, readers will find I have a large network of “friends who move bodies” in my life. (You must read Friends Who Move Couches to understand how lucky that makes me.) For writing, several of these friends, along with a few acquaintances compose my Beta readers.
Desk: I write from my front office (next to two windows) or my screened-in back porch while I’m in my new home in Wendell, North Carolina. I moved to Wendell a year ago, but still spend summers and fall in the town I grew up in, Erie, Pennsylvania. When there, I write on a deck at a campsite on Presque Isle State Park and spend afternoons walking, running, biking or kayaking with my husband, Jeff, and our good friends. To sum it up, my desk is mobile and messy. (I’m the most unorganized person I know.)
Outrageous: I have had visions and premonitions in my life that people often find unbelievable, frightening, interesting, or outrageous. My Dream series books are based on people who have a sixth sense and several incidents in these books were inspired by real events. Chapter one in Project Dream was stirred by a vision I had in a little chapel. Chapter three in Dream Wide Awake was inspired by something that happened to me when I was three years old and sleeping in the attic of my grandparent’s home.
Window: Outside my window is a world filled with puzzles. Beyond the sunshine or darkness filtering through my glass, I see love, life, and souls. No matter where I sit while writing, in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, or occasionally in California where my granddaughter is, I gaze out the window and my thoughts wander past the setting. To me, outside my window, is a magnificently huge puzzle just waiting for me to piece it together into stories.
Bonus Content! Here's a link to an online interview with CJ youtu.be/6H1tqVqFv7M
Friends Who Move Couches
Nikki Grey's idea of living dangerously is not wearing a seatbelt, yet calamity always seems to find her.
Married to a workaholic, mothering three rebellious kids, and feuding with neighborhood friends, Nikki forgets her problems one afternoon by smoking marijuana. That blunder ignites a lifelong yet dormant medical condition, and she loses her driver’s license. Suddenly stranded in her home, she’s forced to stare out the window at women who have ostracized her.
Her true friends encourage her to concentrate on her health, but Nikki is her own nemesis. She embarks on a scheme to win back neighborhood friends and plunges into efforts that only end in muddying her reputation. She becomes the butt of neighborhood jokes.
Foolishly, her ache to mend her broken relationships escalates. Not until her two-timing husband asks her a question that catapults her frivolous suburban life into a tailspin is she forced to stop reaching for others and stand on her own.
If you like novels about family struggles, friendship wars, quieting your inner critic, and surviving rejection, you’ll love Friends Who Move Couches, a laugh-out-loud yet insightful story every woman can relate to in some way.
“I can’t drive.”
“Oh, c’mon, it’s six blocks. It’s not like you’re going to run someone over.”
“I could, you know.” I remove my keys from a hook in the kitchen and stomp toward the front door. “There are a lot of kids in this neighborhood.”
“You’re such a pansy. Have you ever done anything wrong in your entire life?”
“In case you forgot, I smoked dope the other day, Hux.” What am I doing? Trying to impress my kid? I’ve lost more than my license. I’ve lost my mind.
“Yeah and that’s what got you into this mess. It’s not my fault you lost your license. Bring me my lunch. It will take less than three minutes.”
He’s right. This isn’t his fault, and I am cowardly. I’m a law-abiding pansy. My idea of breaking the law is jaywalking. “Just because you break the law all the time—”
“You’re such a prude,” he interrupts.
“What did you call me? I’m your mother, for God’s sake.”
“Mom, you’ve driven to school thousands of times. What do you think is going to happen this one time?”
He’s attempting to guilt me into this. I know. But it’s working because I never do anything I’m not supposed to, and I’m sick and tired of the dull-and-boring Nikki I’ve aged into. That’s probably Mark’s annoyance with me, too. “There’s no excitement in our life,” he complains, relentlessly.
“Is that Hux’s lunch? I can drop it off,” Evy says.
Hux hears him. “There, if you’re chicken shit, have Evy bring it.”
My blood boils. I head out the front door and hurry toward my SUV.
“You little s--t.” I’ll be mortified later that I swore at one of my kids, but he’s being such a spoiled brat right now I don’t care. I pull my mouth away from the phone. “Evy, can you please keep an eye on the girls for a minute?” Then I holler into the phone again. “I’m getting you out of bed tomorrow at seven-thirty, you hear me?”
“You’re not supposed to drive,” Evy scolds as I get in the car and turn on the ignition.
“Seven-thirty? I start at eight-thirty. It takes less than ten minutes to walk here. I don’t know why you won’t let me take your car, anyway. It’s not like you’re driving it.”
“Naggy,” Evy hollers. “You’re not allowed to drive.”
“You wrecked my car, Hux. That’s why your father had to buy me a new one.”
I turn around and gaze out the back window because my old car didn’t have a camera, and I forget my new one does. I step on the gas, giving it more than expected. I feel a jolting motion and hear a crunch.
My first thought is, my God, I’ve run over a kid.
I shove the car into park and run to the back. Evy beats me there.
“Oh, darling, please tell me that’s D-Amy Everglade’s bike and not Gianna’s. It would be sweet justice in so many ways.”
I glance at the mangled bike lodged beneath my back bumper.
The front door opens, and Amy Everglade lets out a scream that sends our dog, Furgy, scurrying out the door and down the street.
Evy opens the car door and grabs Hux’s lunch.
“I’ll drop this off and find the dog. You might want to call in the pit crew, Mario.”
My plan to win more friends might not be working as well as once thought.
To find out more about CJ here's the links
Who I am a middle-aged woman who decided eight years ago to get serious about my writing. I had been dabbling since my final year of university, but hadn’t actually completed a book. In 2012 I wrote “the end” on my first book and I haven’t looked back. I persisted – taking courses, attending conferences, learning about both the craft and the business of writing. 2020 was my year as I’ve published three books.
Interests I know it’s a cop-out, but I really do spend most of my spare time writing, editing, or doing other business-related things. I guess if I were to choose one interest, it would be Outlander. I have met Diana Gabaldon several times – a very gracious lady – and I have listened to her series through from beginning to end three times. That’s roughly an investment of 365 hours for the “Big Books” and another 74 hours for the “in-Between” books and the Outlandish Guides. Needless to say, I’m waiting for baited breath for Book 9. I recently had the honor of listening to Ms. Gabaldon read a chapter. Can’t wait.
Network I have a great support network. I belong to the Greater Vancouver Writer’s Association and pre-pandemic, looked forward to their monthly meetings. We still have meetings online, but it’s not quite the same thing. In March I joined The Creative Academy for Writers and have found a true home. The women who run the Academy have created a welcoming place where writers from every genre can meet and share craft tips and business ideas. We even share our work and I did my first ZOOM reading from my current book.
Desk My desk? Well, a bit eclectic. I was working from home before the pandemic, so I have my two monitors, keyboard and mouse. I push those back when I’m not working and pull out my laptop for anything non-work related. Also, I have my cat’s food. Lady Arabella de Bergerac (better known as Bella) is a purebred Himalayan, seventeen, and blind. I found it easiest to put her food on the desk. My recliner butts up against it, so she can eat when she’s hungry, and hunker down on the recliner when she’s full. This arrangement has the added bonus that my five-year-old ChinPoo doesn’t have access to the cat food. Ally and Bella get along well, but Ally would do just about anything to get a hold of Bella’s wet food.
Outrageous I’m struggling to come up with some outrageous talent. Something I’m good at. So I’ll talk about my dog. Ally was a rescue, and the first thing I did was take her for training. We did four rounds of training in her first two years, culminating in therapy dog training, which she passed with flying colors. She’s not a service dog, but she is dedicated to making people happy. In pre-pandemic times, we would hang out at the local coffee shop. I would write novels, and she would hang out at my feet. Regulars would come to visit, and often children would venture over. Ally is incredibly patient with everyone, but especially children. I think she misses the human interactions as her world is now just me and my roommate. I can’t wait until the world returns to normal, and she can get back out into the world to make people happy. As the honorary mascot of my writing group, I know she’s been missed. That being said, she has been known to ZOOM bomb meetings.
Window In my old home, I looked through my window and out over a forest. The trees were beautiful and soothing. Recently I’ve moved to the city and my window looks out over a street. I can see my neighbors – something very new. The view isn’t what it used to be, but Ally is thrilled. The window is floor-to-ceiling, so she sits at my feet and looks out over her dominion. She has to say ‘hello’ to all her buddies in the neighborhood so there’s plenty of barking. I’ve grown accustomed to my new view, and my biggest regret is the beautiful colorful leaves have all fallen and we’re now headed into the dreaded Pacific Northwest rainy winter. At least I have my dog at my feet and my cat nearby.
School principal Gage Clayton is still grieving the death of his wife and submissive, yet he can't ignore his Dominant needs. As he enters Club Kink, he's inexplicably drawn to a newly released sub with an intriguing proposition and the most captivating amber eyes. But she has disturbing baggage and her expectations prove quite a challenge, one that would necessitate a commitment he's not ready for.
Rielle Reid needs a Dom while she waits for her former Master to return. When she invites a handsome stranger to her home dungeon for a night of play, she's surprised at his gentle dominance—and her response to it. But in the light of day, his demand for equal footing confounds her. After living four years as a twenty-four/seven slave, she has no concept of how to be anything other than property.
Gage must find a way to master Rielle to free them both from the shackles of the past.
She released his hand, rose, and stretched. Leaning down, she placed a kiss to his cheek. “Come to bed soon. You’re looking as tired as I’m feeling.” Then she was gone.
In her wake, however, a wave of desire swept over him.
Come to bed soon, she said. As in come to our bed soon? There had been no talk of sleeping arrangements, and the room she’d used the previous weekend had been cleaned, sheets laundered, everything put to rights. Sex was out of the question, but sleeping with someone? For the whole night? That held almost as much appeal.
Cleanup was simple, and within a few minutes, he headed to the bathroom. The steam from her earlier shower had dissipated, but her scent lingered. He’d yet to put his finger on the exact scent of body spray she used, but he liked trying to guess. He loved the mystery and allure that came with the not knowing.
When he stepped into his bedroom, one of the bedside lamps was on, casting the room in shadows. She was already in bed, covers pulled up. He stripped out of his clothes and slid in beside her, cradling her against him, spoon-style. She extended a hand to switch off the light, and he stopped her.
“I don’t mind sleeping with the light on.”
“With you next to me, I don’t need the light.”
He was moved almost to the point beyond words. “I’ll always protect you. You know that, right?”
Instead of responding, she cuddled closer to him, burrowing herself under the blankets. It wasn’t long before her breath evened out and even less time after that before his did.
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3jf4oJd
Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/2CasIeT
Banes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/amber-eyes-gabbi-black/1137343876
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Gabbi_Black_Amber_Eyes?id=g-33DwAAQBAJ
Add it to GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54920296-amber-eyes
Personal links:Website: http://gabbiblack.com/
Facebook (page): https://www.facebook.com/Author-Gabbi-Black-106666354460589/
More about Gabbi
Even though Gabbi Black is a firm believer in happy endings, she makes her characters work for it in every romance she writes, no matter what the genre. From contemporary to BDSM, they are penned early in the morning in her home in beautiful British Columbia while she is kept company by her trusty ChinPoo dog and her cantankerous Himalayan cat. She also writes gay romances as Gabbi Grey.
Who: I am optimistic, a trait I share with my heroines no matter how tough the times, strong willed like my heroines to the point of never giving up, and love animals especially dogs. My heroines each have a pet whether a cat or a dog. I was born in New Jersey to two very loving and wonderful parents. My father, an Italian immigrant, taught Latin and Italian at a small local college. He left to start his own business, an independent print shop. My mother loved to help people and volunteered at our church and with charitable groups. She was a talented lace maker and loved to crochet and knit; her father, also from Italy, was a custom furrier and tailor for some of the most affluent residents of our community. Unfortunately I didn’t inherit those wonderful talents since I am barely able to sew on a button. As for my father’s ability to read, speak, and write foreign languages, that went by the wayside as well. But one trait I did inherit from my father was his love of a good story and he often told me stories about his childhood. I remember one that especially aroused my curiosity. He said that growing up in Naples, his family was divided by their economic status - rich or poor. His immediate family was not rich and those that were wanted nothing to do with them. He went on to tell me that his family was related to the Prince of Naples who became the last King of Italy. I always wanted to trace my family history to see if that was true. I have no reason to doubt him but it would be fun to verify and would make good fodder for a story … maybe a royal romance?
Interests: I love to travel whether in the U.S. to our amazing national parks or abroad. I walked on The Great Wall of China, visited the pyramids, went to a pachinko parlor in Tokyo, saw the giant statues on Easter Island, and traveled the ring road in Iceland to name a few. Of course Italy has always been included in my travel plans and found my father’s church in Naples. Two years ago, we traced my husband’s heritage visiting Armenia. Having owned a video store on our island for twenty years, I love movies. I watch them at home now and try to find ones I haven’t seen which at times can be a little tough.
Network: My husband is my best cheerleader and support to talk over my creative dilemmas as are my friends in my local RWA chapter.
Desk: Eclectic. I guess you can say it’s like me. My desk is very small and built into the wall in our family room near the lanai door to the pool. It’s usually a mess with notebooks filled with future writing plans, calendar reminders, and books on writing stacked to one side. But I also keep fun stuff like colorful Mardi Gras beads I caught in the parade hanging from my bulletin board, a framed hand carved book mark made from very thin wood with “AUTHOR” inscribed on it along with the caricature of a god that my husband bought for me in Indonesia, a Troll from the movie of the same name, and a photo of my husband and dog Max. On the wall over my desk is a large water color of a manatee swimming beneath the water. It was done by one of our local island artists.
Outrageous talent: This was a tough one for me since I couldn’t think of one so I had to ask my husband what he thought. It took him mere seconds to respond. He looked straight at me and smiled. “You are a people magnet. We could be standing in a crowd of thirty people and anyone looking for conversation or to get advice about a current life problem always seeks you out.” I thought about that and remembered that when I had my video store (when video and DVD’s were popular) that happened all the time. It happened so much I stopped asking “How are you?” It was hard to take a lot of time away from other customers so I asked what kind of movie they were looking for instead. I do genuinely care about people and my husband says that sincere empathy seeps onto my face whether in the grocery store or after meeting someone for the first time. I have listened to many interesting stories about romance, divorce, moving, and other life dilemmas. Some of the happier ones, I have stored in my mind. After changing the names, locations, and time line of the story teller, I have integrated many as backstories in my novels.
Window: I consider myself very fortunate to have such a beautiful view. There are many days I’d rather look out my window than watch TV. We live on a Gulf Coast island in Southwest Florida. My window faces a sleepy lagoon that flows off the Back Bay where dolphin frolic and manatees swim. Never mind all the gorgeous birds! I watch anhingas dive for fish while the pelicans dive bomb after them, and the osprey or sea eagles circle and fly down to grab an unsuspecting fish. Ibises, blue herons, white egrets walk across my back yard while in winter we have vacationing Blue Jays and cardinals. There are owls at night, hummingbirds, and majestic eagles. Mangroves fill the other side of the lagoon while the flowering bushes like hibiscus and oleander in our yard add bright colors to my view.
It’s the Holidays and Jessica Munroe seems destined for misery. Nonetheless she is trying to make the best of it. Her fiancé Jake, an emergency room doctor, dumped her for his nurse and just two weeks prior, she had to put her dog, her best friend, Mazy to sleep.
The pain of losing both the man she loved and her best friend has taken her to a new low. Jessica, determined not to stay down, is now hard at work trying to push through the holiday season by doubling up on Christmas lights and decorations she’s putting up outside her residence.
As Jessica works, a big brown scruffy dog appears in her yard and refuses to leave when she tries to shoo him away. He’s filthy, looks hungry, and seems like he needs help. A dog lover, Jessica takes him to her vet who discovers a metal bone shaped tag buried in his matted fur. The tag reveals his name, Sam, and a phone number to call if he is lost or injured.
Sam’s owner Trey Musgrove is in the hospital the victim of a head-on collision. Now Jessica’s life is about to change forever thanks to Sam, this big brown scruffy lovable dog.
Side effects of reading PAWS FOR CHRISTMAS are a happy heart, an uplifted spirit, new confidence in the future, and a smile on your face!
I arrived at Healthwell, picked up my pre-arranged
visitor’s badge, and headed directly to the sixth floor. I was so
curious about him I couldn’t get there fast enough. Starra was
on duty at the nurse’s station. Her face lit up like the shooting
stars that influenced her name when she saw me. She called
out, “Jess, please hurry. I told Trey you were coming. He’s
anxious to meet you. Please follow me.”
Starra walked briskly. I followed her pace into his room.
Since I studied that photo online so many times, I felt like I
already knew him. My heart pounded when I noticed the
curtain surrounding his hospital bed was half closed. Starra
walked us around to where he could see us, and we could see
him before introducing me.
“Trey Musgrove, this is Jessica Munroe. She’s the young
woman who sent you the note about Sam.”
Trey’s gaze was turned away from me as he drank water
from a straw held by another nurse. When he turned to face
me, his blue eyes took mine hostage. My body trembled from
his stare. It was as if we had known each other for a long
time. He looked a bit paler and thinner than in that photo but
still incredibly handsome. There should be a law against being
that handsome. His kind blue eyes looked tired and he
appeared weak like Jake said because he might have
I remained quiet to let him speak first. He looked at me,
well, really stared at me. I wondered if my holiday outfit was
over the top. He spoke as I held up my holiday cookie bag.
“Jessica, I appreciate your visit and for taking such good
care of my Sam. I can’t tell you how relieved I felt after
reading your note since I feared the worst after no one found
him near the accident scene. I can tell by looking at you that he’s a very lucky dog.”
Amazon Books & Audiobooks
Apple Books & Audiobooks
Mariah Lynne Website
Who- Hey, kids. I’m Peggy Jaeger and I write romcoms, small town romances, and contemporary romances about strong women, the families who support them and the men who can’t live without them. I’ve recently dipped my writing toe into the romantic suspense genre, too. My latest book is a Holidary Romance Anthology titled CHRISTMAS COMES TO DICKENS. I’m one of 10 authors who each have a story in the collection, all centered around the fictional New England town of DICKENS during the weeks leading up to Christmas. My story is titled ANGEL KISSES AND HOLIDAY WISHES.
Interests- People watching (in a purely nosy, not creepy way); restoring old steamer trunks by decoupaging them; hand-painting note cards for gifts and craft fairs; all things aging-skin care related – from dermal peels, to laser lights, to the newest in top of the line skin products. Hey, I’m 60. I gotta be proactive in the aging department, and knowledge = power, plus good skin!
Network- I’m a member of RWA, NHRWA (my local chapter), I’m a Wild Rose Press author, have written for LIMITLESS and KENSINGTON, and I’m also now officially an indie author. I’m also a retired Registered Nurse, I have a masters degree in geriatric psychology and I’m a practicing Catholic (and I say practicing because I’m never gonna be an expert! Hee hee)
Desk- When I’m working on a new book it looks like a cyclone blew through the area. Reference books tossed all over it, my three daily calendars stocked on top of one another, various pens and markers scattered about, and I’ll always have an empty glass or cup (or 3 or 4) from forgotten soda, tea, and water.
Outrageous- For my 58th birthday, my daughter and I took trapeze lessons at Chelsea Piers in NYC. Can I just tell you how scared I was – but also wickedly exhilarated??!!
Window- Outside my attic office window I can see the seasons change in my woodland paradise. I live in the woods and I see – daily – turkeys, deer, squirrels, chipmunks, and birds scurrying about below me. Since I live in New England and the weather has been schizophrenic lately, I had the view of 3 inches of snow last week, that has now all melted with the three days of 60 degree temps we’ve had.
Christmas Comes to Dickens UBL Link: https://books2read.com/DickensChristmas
BLurb for ANGEL KISSES AND HOLIDAY WISHES
Can a first love be rekindled when the past is filled with heartache?
After a personal tragedy, Sage Hamilton left the town she’d grown up in and boy she’d given her heart to. With a vow never to return, Sage forged on with her life in order to forget the sadness of her past.
Keith Mills loved Sage from the first moment he spotted her ambling down the hallway of their middle school. And she’d felt the same about him. Or so he’d thought until she’d walked away from everything they’d meant to one another with a tearful and rushed goodbye.
But now, eighteen years later, she’s back and, as the town’s new doctor, it looks like she’s staying. Can Keith put the hurt of Sage’s dismissal to bed for good? And will she want to rekindle the love that had burnt so bright all those years ago?
Find more about Peggy at these links
Who- Hey there, I’m Birdie Song, an Asian-Australian sweet romance author. I write both for fun as well as for a living. And yes, it’s true… I do love a bit of pineapple on my pizza (and with sweet and sour pork, and in fried rice).
Interests- My passions include food, nature and travel, especially combining all three within my home state of Western Australia. I live a pretty active life too, and am often nursing one or two sports injuries at any given time. All of these interests give me plenty of inspiration for things to write about.
Network- Even though everybody in my family lives in different cities these days, I still think of them as my network. We have this strange relationship where we’re a lot closer and get along much better when we’re far apart. Perhaps it’s because when we talk now, we have to make an effort to focus on each other, rather than just spending time by the by. As an introvert who’s better at email and texting than talking, this is totally fine by me!
Desk- For health reasons, I have three “dedicated” workspaces set up around the home — two seated desk setups and one standing setup. It ensures I don’t stay in one position for too long, as that tends to wreak havoc on my posture. My home is very small, so it’s kind of magical that this was even possible!
Outrageous talent- I rock a mean microphone at karaoke. At least, I used to before microphone hygiene became a thing to worry about. Now I just sing very loudly in the shower, in the car, at my cat, and only slightly less loudly when I’m working in the garden.
Window- Ah, outside my window is a view of a street that’s very busy for half the day and very quiet for the other half. We live between a hill and a body of water, which I think someone once told me is good feng shui. I have a feeling the way we’ve arranged the furniture around our window isn’t quite as auspicious as it could be, but — touch wood — we’ve felt reasonably safe and comfortable since our last redecorating effort.
The Guy From The Internet
A sweet romance with a touch of family drama.
Holly Chee does not have her life together. She's flip-flopped on uni courses and career choices, and somehow scared off her long-term fiancée-to-be, much to the chagrin of her immigrant parents.
But she does have her streaming channel, where she broadcasts her art from her one-bedroom Mount Lawley apartment. And she has that guy from France... assuming he's even who he says he is.
"The Guy From The Internet" is a sweet #OwnVoices Asian-Australian romance novella, set in the world of Somerville Downs.
* Contains mild swearing, multicultural language, alcohol use, and references to workplace harassment and infidelity.
Available now on Amazon
Afterwards, when Jed asks to see my phone, I know exactly what she’s looking for. I mangle my quiche while pulling up the latest photo from Florian saved in my gallery.
I’ve looked at that photo at least seventy-four times since he sent it, and it still makes my heart flutter. His steely eyes, soft features, light brown skin and a splash of freckles across his nose—my boyfriend is crush material.
His hair’s shorter than usual in this photo. It’s a recent change, one of many he says he’s ready to make. A fresh look and a fresh start away from Paris is only the beginning. Jedda gives a long hum of approval.
“My girl, he is a looker. Is he mixed?”
“Both his parents are. On his dad’s side, his granddad is Scottish, and his grandma’s from Mali. His mum’s dad’s from South America, and her mum is from the same place in China as my mum’s family. Not that it’d make much difference to my folks.”
“Oh yeah? Are they a bit…” She gesticulates with a grimace. “You know?”
“Maybe. I don’t know; we’ve never really talked about it. But they loved Nick so much and kept going on about how he’s such a good Chinese boy. I think they’d definitely have a problem with me bringing home anyone who wasn’t exactly like him—looks and all.”
We’re interrupted by a ruckus starting in the middle of the dance floor.
“Great. There’s a nope.” Jed hands back my phone. “Sounds like it’s all kicking off over there.”
“What do you mean? They’re just dancing.”
“No, not there. Over there.”
She points my chin at the other end of the room. Not far from the Christmas tree, a small group of new call centre recruits are reluctantly entertaining a familiar, unwelcome face. Their polite smiles, nervous sipping and uncomfortable glances around the room say plenty.
I feel sick.
“You coming, Hol? Actually…” She puts a hand on my shoulder. “Don’t worry about it. I got this.”
My heart pounds as I watch Jeds walk their way. My stomach does a huge flip. I try telling myself it’s the champagne and canapés, but I know deep down it’s not.
Once she disappears into the crowd, I slip my shoes back on and get out of there as fast as I can.
A Bit More About Birdie Song
Birdie Song is an Asian-Australian romantic who writes sweet stories about people falling in love. She believes love is more important than labels, integrity is our most attractive quality, and that no one should be judged for putting pineapple on a pizza. Find out more here
Who –I was born in the middle of a blinding spring snowstorm at the University of Michigan, which forced my mother to walk across campus in the snow to the hospital while in labor. I don’t remember any of this auspicious beginning, but it always makes for a good story! As a child, I moved across the country six times to various big cities before the age of fourteen. At college I met and married my love and moved to his small hometown in southern Ohio. At the time I didn’t know how I could live in a place where the stop light went on flasher at 11 o’clock, but now you couldn’t get me out of here with a crowbar! I taught first grade and fourth grade and raised my children who did not have to change schools even once.
Interests – History has always been one of my loves. I am fascinated by the people from the past and how they lived. Much of history falls under the category of “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up!” and lends itself to some interesting stories. My favorite thing to do is find a real historical event and drop my characters into it and see how they fare. My two fiction books published by The Wild Rose Press, Steadfast Will I Be and By Promise Made, are set in the 1500s in Scotland during the reigns of King James V and his daughter, Mary, Queen of Scots.
Network/Support System – My biggest support system is my family and friends. Before Covid-19, I spent time having lunch, enjoying movies, attending church, going to a Bible Study, and golfing with my friends in Ohio and those in Florida where we spend our winters. This pandemic is hard on everyone, but email, Skype, and Facebook streaming have been a big help for me. My niece and granddaughter, along with several of my friends, serve as my Beta Readers. Their input has been invaluable. I have also depended on my editor at The Wild Rose Press, Eilidh MacKenzie. Not only has she improved my writing, her own Scottish background has helped me give my stories an authentic flair beyond my research.
Desk – I am lucky to have my own office. Originally intended as a Mother-in-Law suite, after my husband and I decided that neither of our mothers-in-law would be moving in, it became my office. Every other week I clean it up so the cleaning people can do their job, but the rest of the time I have papers, etc. stacked everywhere. I can usually find whatever I’m looking for even if it takes me awhile, and as A.A. Milne said, “One of the advantages of being disorganized is that one is always having surprising discoveries.”
Outrageous Talent – The first time I was onstage in a community theater production of “Guys and Dolls,” I realized that I wanted to play all the parts. As a writer, I can do that. My time on stage the last fifteen years has been with a music and drama ministry called “LightReaders.” We are a small troupe that, until the pandemic hit, traveled around to churches and nursing homes with programs of music and Biblical drama. I have played Jonah’s wife looking for ship insurance, an angel trying to figure out Christmas, and the bleeding woman who touched Jesus’s robe, among many other roles. I have written most of the sketches we present, and we find accompaniments for the music. Some people think this is “outrageous” and would never get up in front of others, but the influence Christian drama has on other people resonates with me.
Window – The entire backyard of our house is untamed forest. It gives us complete privacy in the spring and summer, is colorful in the fall, and serenely beautiful in the winter. My granddaughter made the paper butterfly hanging off the sill in preschool.
BLURB FROM BY PROMISE MADE
Hugh Cullane, accused of murder and sentenced to hang, is forced to deliver a message of betrothal to four-year-old Queen Mary of Scotland. He faces death yet again when, in rejecting the proposal, the queen's guardian orders his severed head sent back to England in a jar.
Trained to protect her queen at all costs, Katherine Payne can show no mercy to the handsome messenger, despite the way his stolen kiss unsettles her single-minded sense of duty. Trapped between the English and Scottish armies, she must escape with Mary. Hugh joins her as they are chased by men determined to murder the young queen in their own quest for power.
Musselburgh, east of Edinburgh on the Firth of Forth, 1547
Death circled him like a vulture.
Hugh Cullane, on his knees in chains and surrounded by her guards, gaped at the queen’s guardian in disbelief.
How could this be happening to him? All he wanted was to get back to his family home at Makgullane in the southern Highlands. All he had intended was to stop here at Fawside Castle, deliver his message from the duke, and head for home. He’d already wasted five years of his life, gambling and carousing in London. It was time to go home.
“Why?” he beseeched her.
“Ye will be beheaded in the morning,” she repeated calmly as if she were ordering porridge for her morning meal, “because the Duke of Somerset abuses his power as regent for the young English king Edward, and because he thinks our babe, Queen Mary, has no one to protect her. He will soon find out how wrong he is.”
Hugh’s breath came in quick gasps. “I was sent from London to offer a proposal of marriage between Queen Mary of Scotland and King Edward VI of England. Surely ye can see the advantage of joining the two countries peacefully.”
She spit out the words. “Peacefully? Ha! Somerset thinks he can marry off four-year-old Mary to a nineyear-old child they call king. ’Tis obscene! He doesna want a marriage. He wants Scotland to fall at his feet. He’s a loon! Yer head will send a message that his ruthlessness will be returned with equal ruthlessness.”
“But I didna come to conquer Scotland,” he implored her. “Can ye no’ hear my brogue? I am a Scot, same as ye.”
“After all these years of invasion by old King Henry, why would Somerset send only a single messenger? And a Scot to boot? Do ye think me an amadan?”
“Nay, mistress!” He was the amadan for leaving Makgullane and the adopted father he loved.
The woman continued to rant at him. “Our land has been ravaged by war over a tiny babe, and still, even after Henry’s death, ye want to slaughter us. The Duke of Somerset is a brutal man who will get the same in kind. Yer head in a jar will show him exactly that!”
“Please, mistress, I merely came as ordered on the demand of wee King Edward. I had no choice but to come.”
“Then ye will have no choice but to die. Take him away.”
Who- I’m Jan Scarbrough, a romance writer from Louisville, Kentucky. I never settled on what I loved to write, so I have contemporary romances, Western contemporary romances, one medieval, and a couple paranormal Gothic romances. I’ve been a high school English teacher and a technical writer. I’m currently retired and appreciate, in this time of the pandemic, that I don’t have to get up in the morning and drive downtown to work or boot up a laptop and work from home.
Interests- Outside of writing, I enjoy a weekly horseback riding lesson. It’s Kentucky, after all! A lesson is an easy way to get a “horse fix” without actually owning a horse. Over the years, I’ve owned three American Saddlebreds, the breed I love to ride. I also volunteer with a not-for-profit organization called Alley Cat Advocates, a group formed to provide a means of spaying and neutering unowned cats. Trap-Neuter-Return is the most effective way to stabilize and reduce the unowned cat population. This humane method identifies an unowned cat or colony, humanely traps the cat(s), spays or neuters them, and returns them to their environment. I enjoy working with the volunteers and helping the caretakers who really love the stray, “community” cats they feed.
Network- I am a member of Novelist, Inc., a professional network for career novelists. My most immediate network is a group of 23 multi-published authors who have formed a blog and visit with readers in a Facebook group. This summer several of us created a short story set called Last Chance Beach: Summer’s End. It’s on Kindle Unlimited, but only 99 cents if you don’t belong. We came up with a FREE Cocktails on Last Chance Beach. That was fun making my cocktail, getting my husband to photograph it, and then drinking it!
Desk- I’ve taken over one of the kid’s unused bedrooms to create my writing room. It’s full of bookcases, books, and file cabinets. Periodically, I go through my notes and research and purge. I have a big box of to-be-shred paper. My computer desk sometimes is crowded. My cat Folly likes to share my writing space. I have a MacBook Air. We’re an all Apple family.
Outrageous- As noted, I love horses. When I retired, I decided to buy into a syndicate to own a thoroughbred racehorse. My guy is named Fire Marshall Bill. I own 1.5 per cent of him! He’s won one race, come in second once and third once. He’s three years old but didn’t make the Kentucky Derby. I have a friend who bought into another syndicate. Her horse, Authentic, actually WON the Kentucky Derby.
Window- When I look out the window, I see my suburban neighborhood and the ranch house across the street. A church is nearby and often church bells ring and school children walk home. I also enjoy feeding wild birds and planting flowers for pollinators. When I look out to my back yard, I see my bird feeders and flowers, a bit faded because of the autumn weather.
One of Jan's editorial staff is Folly, the cat, on her computer.
My new 4 book series, available at all ebook stores, is called Ghost Mountain Ranch. Hank, the first book in the series is free, but you must read the second book, Darby, to find out if Hank gets his romantic happily-ever-after ending.
The Ghost Mountain Ranch
The secrets of the past still haunt the living…
On Christmas Eve, Hank accepts the job of ranch foreman over the mountains in the Gallatin Canyon, Montana. But something dark is happening at the Ghost Mountain Ranch, where the past is reaching out in dangerous ways to haunt the living.
Thirty years ago, Darby Heston fled her family’s Montana dude ranch. Now she must return to help her father. Would the boyfriend she’d abandoned still be there? Hank Slade has never stopped loving Darby, but is he willing to risk his heart again? Secrets tore them apart once. Given a second chance at love, will more shocking secrets from the past destroy their hopes for the future?
Jan Scarbrough writes heartwarming contemporary romances about home and family, single moms and children, and if the plot allows, about another passion—horses. Living in the horse country of Kentucky makes it easy for Jan to add small town, Southern charm to her books and the excitement of a Bluegrass horse race or a competitive horse show. Her newest contemporary western romance series is the Ghost Mountain Ranch. Jan leaves her contemporary voice behind with two paranormal gothic romances, Timeless and Tangled Memories. Her historical romance, My Lord Raven, is a medieval story of honor and betrayal. A member of Novelist, Inc., Jan self-publishes her books with her husband’s help.
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Amazon Author Page
Who – I’m Marilyn Barr, paranormal romance author, homeschool mom, energetic healer, and daydreamer. My degrees are in molecular biology, chemical engineering, and physics (master’s level) with an emphasis on particle dynamics, so I’m an uber-nerd. My house has several large whiteboards in each room like the guys on the Big Bang Theory. After college, I became a microbiologist and studied the aerosol properties of microbes, vaccines, and therapeutic substances. I just love droplets and dust. They dance their own beat. My job was to design inhalers and devices to engineer the droplets to deposit in certain areas of the respiratory system. The job got too taxing on my body, so I became a high school science teacher – then I learned the real meaning of tired!
Interests – I have a passion for wellness and health. As an autoimmune warrior, I have tried everything to keep my ulcerative colitis in remission. I keep an open mind and try every fad diet, miracle cure, exercise regiment, and spiritual practice. Yes, I sleep with a bag of rocks (crystals) in my pillowcase. Each rabbit hole teaches me more about the ultimate system - the human body and spirit. Recently I was certified as a level two Reiki Practitioner and started Shamanic Journeying classes. With my background in particle physics, it makes sense to me that our bodies live in a sea of energetic waves and ions. However, the idea of mind over matter did not hit me with true force until I met my spirit guides. I quote some of my spirit guides in my upcoming book “Dance to a Wylder Beat”. In the book, Nartan (Arapaho for Dance) has rejected his destiny as a Shaman for the safer life as a leather tanner and settler in 1878 Wyoming. When he tries to complete his idyllic homestead with a mail-order bride, his spirit guides intervene and lead him back to his spiritual path.
Network – The Kentuckiana Romance Writers (KRW) and members of Leah’s Writing Lab are my biggest supporters. From advice on marketing to reading my drafts repeatedly, these ladies have been with me every step of my writing journey. On November 21st, 2020 I will be presenting virtually for KRW on Writing Characters with Differences and you are welcome to join us. We will be navigating the minefield of appropriate language when a character has a disability, such as Alison’s SPD in my debut novel “Bear with Me” or Aurora’s injury in “Round of Applause”. As someone with a sensory processing disorder and a son on the autism spectrum, I wish to see more neurodiversity in romance. Inclusion and acceptance are the main themes in my Strawberry Shifters series. This can’t happen if writers are too afraid of backlash to cast these characters not as sidekicks or victims, but as heroes in their own right.
Desk – My desk is buried under homeschool projects. My ten-year-old has never been to school so his classroom is my office. He’s a mini-philosopher and poet, so the room is covered with books, notebooks of scribble, printed verse, and empty coffee cups. He would steal sips of my coffee until I started giving him his own mug. To avoid adding to the chaos, I write in my kitchen. I belly-up to the kitchen counter and sit lotus-style on a stool writing from 5 am to 9 am when my Future-Socrates rolls out of bed.
Outrageous Tidbit – Well, so far, I don’t send my child to school and talk to spirits. Are you weirded out yet? When my son was three-years-old and very sick (deemed too sick for school), his doctor suggested using a DNA tracing website to see if any genetic diseases run in my family. I was adopted at birth and had zero family history. My son adamantly refused to spit in the tube after I opened it, so I took the test in his place. A month later I got an email asking if I wanted to link my results with my mother’s results. It took me a week to stop freaking out enough to answer. In the meantime, my biological mother emailed me with a request to talk. At age 35, I met my biological mother in person. Yes, she is as weird as me and we are besties. Someday I will write our story as part of the Strawberry Shifters series when one of the residents finds their adopted child.
Window – Outside my window is one of the wild forests of Kentucky. I moved here five years ago without ever stepping foot in the state, just like my own voice's character, Alison in “Bear with Me”. Our little piece of suburbia is surrounded by horse farms and it is common to see horses running along the fence at the back of our property. This time of year, you can hear the music of birds migrating through our area from small hummingbirds to large owls. The feeders outside my kitchen window are often visited by bats, squirrels, chipmunks, frogs, moles, raccoons, skunks, and sometimes the intended birds. I feel like a fairytale princess when I step out onto our balcony because I’m instantly surrounded by woodland creatures. None of them will do dishes though. I checked.
Blue eyes, dimples, and silky brown hair; Grant Luther has all of Alison's weaknesses. When he asks for one last chance to save their marriage, she agrees to relocate their family to isolated Strawberry, Kentucky in pursuit of his career dreams. Grant views Alison's sensory issues as limitations and protects her from outside threats. When he finds his new job includes changing him into a shifter in a war against the soul-sucking Sluagh he vows to keep the changes a secret. What he doesn't know is Alison has been hiding a magical secret of her own. One that makes her a target of the Sluagh.
Will Alison emerge from Grant's shadow to protect her family? And can Grant learn that being different can be a strength not a weakness?
Barnes & Noble
Release Date: 12/7/2020
How much do you owe the guy who rescues you from the slaugh fortress?
Aurora Turner embarks on a post-graduate adventure to find her forever family only to be captured by the Sluagh, soul-sucking Fae exiles. While she is grateful to be rescued by the Strawberry shifters, her Prince Not-So-Charming is a little hasty when he starts picking out their wedding china.
Destiny gives James Martin a second chance at love. Aurora may prove to be more of a hazard to herself than the Sluagh ever were. He has the daunting task of keeping her away from sharp objects, and from ogling his best friend, Nate.
Nate Wagner is shocked when Aurora passes the prophesized shifter smell test identifying her as his mate. The beta male competes against the mature courtship skills of James with his own modern twist. However, will his devotion to James keep her out of his arms or will they create their perfect family—one they never dreamed of?
Author Bio: Marilyn Barr currently resides in the wilds of Kentucky with her husband, son, and rescue cats. When engaging with the real world, she is collecting characters, empty coffee cups, and unused homeschool curricula.She has a diverse background containing experiences as a child prodigy turned medical school reject, biodefense microbiologist, high school science teacher, homeschool mother of a savant, and advocate for the autistic community.
She would love to hear from readers via her website: www.marilynbarr.com.
Social Media Links:
Amazon author profile
Who- Hi, my name is Pamela S Thibodeaux and I write Inspirational “with an edge” romance and women’s fiction as well as creative non-fiction. I am a mother, grandmother and a licensed insurance agent.
Interests- I LOVE to travel! In the last five years I’ve travelled all over the United States visiting National parks and other places of interest. One of my most favorite places I’ve visited was Churchill Downs where the Kentucky Derby is run.
Network– I’m the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writer’s Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Previous affiliations include ACFW and RWA.
Desk– Oh my….my desk is always a bit messy but luckily using a laptop allows me to work at any number of places.
Outdoors – although my work keeps me inside, I love the outdoors. Hiking in the mountains or hills, walks along the beach, horseback riding, badminton and cornhole. I’d rather cut grass than clean house if it gets me outside LOL!
Window– Since Hurricane Laura swept through our area August 27th, about the only thing you see outside any window in SW Louisiana is a heartbreaking mess. But we will survive and come back #LouisianaStrong
Since the blog tour for My Heart Weeps is complete, today I’ll give you a peek into my upcoming release, Tempered Truth, the last installment in my Tempered Series which is in the final editing stage and will be release later this year.
Blurb: Fate declared them neighbors. Scandal insisted they were brothers. The fact that they looked enough alike to be twins only added fuel to the rumors flying about their parentage.
For fifty-plus years Craig Harris and Scott Hensley have enjoyed a bond nothing can sever.
Not the insinuations that they share the same father.
Not the years of strife and grief and heartache.
Not even death.
Will the truth set them free or will it destroy the friendship that has lasted a lifetime?
Excerpt: September 18, 2001
Scott Hensley sat in the den of his Louisiana home, his heart heavy, overwhelmed with the same sense of shock and grief that rocked the nation. Upstairs, his wife, Katrina, nursed his infant daughter while his sons did homework in their rooms. All normal activities in a world that was far from normal.
One week ago, on a beautiful fall morning much like this one, terrorists waged an attack on America the likes of which he’d never expected to see in his lifetime. Scott sat in frozen horror as the events were reenacted on the television. He hated seeing the terror and panic over and over yet found it hard to tear himself away. Since that day, his wife had been in tears, his sons subdued and afraid, their innocence stripped away by an unknown evil. Only his three-month-old daughter remained innocent.
His adopted daughter Lexie, due to make him a grandfather by year’s end, called daily just to hear their voices and to reassure herself–and his friends of a lifetime, the family she had married into–of their wellbeing.
Scott’s mind wandered back to another act of terrorism nearly twenty years ago that had deeply affected his life. He’d been on a three-month mission in South America. During his second month there, his family flew down to visit him—his mother and father always so proud, and Melissa, his wife. The memories surfaced as though it happened yesterday…
The airplane rising boldly against a brilliant summer sky…the sound of an explosion…the sight of that ball of fire and black smoke billowing out of the plane as it spiraled toward the earth to crash into a crumbled heap of burning metal and flesh.
Scott felt the same sense of loss and helpless anger now as he had then. That their deaths were still considered a senseless and unsolved act of terrorism only added to the grief he’d carried in his heart for so long. That grief surfaced now, with his country and its freedom under attack.
Find out more about the other books in Pam’s Tempered series on her website or Amazon Author Page. If you’re an audio book lover, Tempered Hearts, Tempered Dreams and Tempered Fire (books 1, 2 & 3) of the series are available now on Audible. Book 4, Tempered Joy, is in production and will be available in time for Christmas!
Author bio: Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.” Sign up to receive Pam’s newsletter and get a FREE short story!
Website address: http://www.pamelathibodeaux.com
Face Book: http://facebook.com/pamelasthibodeaux
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1jUVcdU
Twitter: http://twitter.com/psthib @psthib
Who am I? I’m a daydream believer, but not a homecoming queen (The Monkees, anyone?). Okay, cheesy fun aside, I write romance and women’s fiction novels that center on heartache, healing, and hope. I also dabble in non-fiction work on the side, my scientific background and outdoorsy passions coming through in articles about travel, national parks/nature, and families.
Interests. I spin a lot of plates right now whilst in the thick of the parenting years. For fun, I love to get outside, no matter the season or weather. I love hiking, traveling, exploring, gardening (flowers, fruits, and veggies), reading, and baking (and eating—is that a hobby?). I long to travel again out of the “safe” zones of New England, but I did get to enjoy some R&R in one of my closer favorites, the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
Network. I am a member of a few in-person (or currently, Zoom) writers’ groups, #5amwritersclub (when I can – I do join our Zooms monthly), Paranormal Romance Guild member/author, and Women’s Fiction Writers Association. I connect with other authors at The Wild Rose Press for weekly chats and we follow and support each other online, via email, and with promotion. I love meeting new authors and connecting. We can be each other’s greatest cheerleader.
Desk. It used to be tucked into my kids’ playroom, me writing around the daily energy (and creative messes and cacophony) of two young kids. Recently, I lugged my old consignment store desk upstairs into a corner of my bedroom. Now I have new carpet tickling my toes and a bit more quietude. Still have a view outside. It’s a bit quieter here now. I keep it neat, usually speckled with no less than four or five Post-it’s, pens, lip balm, daily calendar, stack of notes, and a few writing books at my side or feet.
Outrageous talent or tidbit. Hmm, well, not sure on talents unless multi-tasking counts. I love to talk to and tend my flower gardens. I’m a bit obsessed, but their beauty brings me such joy. I love sharks and went to school for Marine Science before switching to Microbiology/Immunology, to only step away from that career path young to raise kids and write novels. I can make some really cute fondant cakes, too. Outrageous? I won $10k on a scratch lotto ticket when I was in college. Spent it on books and tuition.
Window. Ah, the sights of autumn in New England. No matter where I am in my house, I’m propped up with my laptop or desktop to guarantee a view outside. Nature is my muse and autumn shares the top spot with summer as far as resplendent scenery. A tree across the street has already lost half its leaves. My pear, birch, oak, and red maples have only begun to drop their color onto the palette of autumn. The colors are a splash of life! (as we make way for our looong winters) Green things just make me happy. Grass, hills, mountains, trees, lakes, nature trails, flowers and vegetable gardens. Ah…oh and there is usually a steaming cup of coffee beside me to enjoy the view, too.
A Hundred Lies
Rosalie Threston's fortune-telling lies have caught up with her. Uprooted yet again, she's on the run from a ruthless English noblewoman. She flees to Scotland and seeks refuge in the arms of a laird's son who happens to be a real Seer.
A bloody past and inevitable future plague Domhnall Montgomerie. He avoids physical contact with others to ease the painful visions. When an accidental touch reveals only delight, he wonders if Rose is the key to silencing the Sight.
Mystical awakening unravels with each kiss. But can Domhnall embrace his gift in time to save her life, even if it means exposing her lies?
If you're interested in purchasing Jean's books here are the links
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Jean’s background is in science and she draws from her interests in history, nature, and her family for inspiration. She writes historical and contemporary romances and women's fiction. She also writes articles for family-oriented travel magazines. When she's not writing or chasing after children, she enjoys tending to her flower gardens, hiking, and doing just about anything in the outdoors.
And if you want to find out more about her
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Here's a few more pictures Jean shared with us outside her window. I'm kinda jealous.