Author’s True Confessions: How Much of Me is in my Books?

I’m writing this post the Saturday before Super Bowl Sunday. We’re having a few friends over to eat and watch the game. My husband and I each have distinct roles on the day before such events. I compulsively clean the house, while he does everything he can to ensure the party is really about his food, not some super potentially epic football game.

While I sweep and mop and dust and mull over whether there’s time to touch up the paint on the floorboards near the backdoor, he pours over his extensive recipe collection, trying to gauge what will both impress and please our guests. (I should note our “guests” are neighbors and dear friends who don’t care if our house is clean and would be happy if we ordered pizza, and are always thrilled with whatever he makes.)

Are you wondering what this has to do with my books? Well, it occurred to me that this scenario connects closely to my books. There’s an age-old question about what authors write: Is there something of yourself in your books?

The basic answer is yes, of course. Every author pours his or her heart and soul into her (we’re sticking with “her” because I’m, well, a her) books. The stories are plucked from our imaginations and with the help of a good editor, molded into something someone else might want to read.

But let’s go deeper. Is there really something of myself in my books? The answer is still yes. The Super Bowl scenario makes me think of my book, Delicious Deception, which is about a restaurant owner who wishes she could do something else with her life and a chef who wishes he could be famous for what he does. Let me break down all the ways this book is pulled directly from my life…

Delicious Deception.jpg

  1. It starts in Shreveport, Louisiana. I lived in Shreveport for eleven years. Went to high school there. And college. Met my best friend there. Have lots of friends there. Moved my husband there, early in our relationship. My dad currently still lives there (well, in Bossier City, which is right across the river). Shreveport is near and dear to my heart.
  2. It also starts in a casino. The casinos moved into Shreveport/Bossier City right around my twenty-first birthday. Yeah, I’ve been to the casinos a time or two.
  3. Caddo Lake_Uncertain Caddo Lake Bayou_2012The story then moves into the bayous of Caddo Lake, and to a restaurant located on one of those bayous. In the book, the restaurant is called Louisiana Kitchen, but… In 2012, my family visited my dad down in Bossier City, and he took us for a boat ride on Caddo Lake. We launched the boat at the very boat launch referred to in the book, and we cruised up and down the same bayous Connor does in Delicious Deception (except we weren’t lost, like he was). We were all hungry—just like Connor—and happened by a large banner strung between two trees, facing the water, proclaiming “Delicious Louisiana Food.” We docked outside the reCaddo Lake_Uncertain Wine Glassstaurant and headed up the hill and had an incredibly enjoyable time eating hush puppies and calamari and fried shrimp and gumbo and all sorts of Louisiana-type fare. I drank wine while my dad and husband sampled locally brewed beer, and the kids marveled at the decorations and plaques with funny sayings tacked to the walls. The restaurant was called Uncertain General Store & Grill, and it was located in Uncertain, Texas, right on one of the bayous of Caddo Lake.
  4. There’s a sexy scene during which Connor is making molten chocolate cake, and Emily Kate walks into the kitchen. He offers her a sample of the batter and her response is, “It’s orgasmic.” Yes, yes, this has happened between my husband and me, although I refuse to acknowledge how accurate the rest of the scene is…

So yeah, I guess I do put a lot of myself in my books.

PS – Delicious Deception is on sale right now for only $1.99. Here’s the link: AMAZON

PPS – Here’s the molten chocolate cake both Connor and my husband make exceptionally well. It’s courtesy of Anne Burrell (my husband’s chef girlfriend):

molten-chocolate-cake-with-crushed-candy-canes_s4x3  Anne Burrell

Molten Chocolate Cake with Candy Canes


1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter

Granulated sugar, for the ramekins

1/2 (6-ounce) bag semisweet chocolate chips

3 eggs

3 egg yolks

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, plus a little more for dusting

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 candy canes, smashed to bits

Special equipment: 6 ramekins or aluminum soufflé cups


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Melt 1/4 a stick of butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Paint the inside of 6 ramekins or aluminum souffle cups with butter. Coat the inside of each ramekin with granulated sugar. Reserve.

Put the remaining stick of butter and chocolate chips in a large mixing bowl. Set the bowl on a saucepan filled with about 1-inch of boiling water. Be sure that the bowl is not touching the water. Gently stir the butter and the chocolate together until melted and the mixture is smooth. Turn off the heat and reserve.

Combine the eggs, yolks, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer. (This can also be done with a hand beater.) Beat the egg mixture until it doubles in size, and gets very thick and very pale.

Gently whisk the melted chocolate and butter into the egg mixture. Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently stir in the flour. Pour the batter into the prepared ramekins. Arrange the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 14 to 15 minutes. Remove the cakes from the oven and let rest for 3 to 4 minutes.

Remove the cakes from the ramekins, and arrange them on individual serving plates. Dust with powdered sugar and garnish with crushed candy cane.

Recipe courtesy of Anne Burrell

Read more at:

Get ready… It’s orgasmic!

Meadow Perkins, A Sidekick, and A New Release

It’s release day for Meadow Perkins, Trusty Sidekick!

Meadow-Perkins,-Trusty-Sidekick_500x750 (1)

Meadow has always been someone’s sidekick. It stinks, but it has always kept her safe. On the last day of school, Emilia, her so-called best friend, deals her a blow in the form of public humiliation and her spot in a prestigious art school is compromised. Meadow is knocked out of her sleepy existence and realizes she needs to make some big changes, starting with Emilia.

When Isla moves in across the street, she inspires Meadow to take charge of her own life and her own heart. Her heart just won’t shut up about the brooding Alejandro, or about Jack, who is tall and funny and totally gets her.

Being caught between two boys isn’t all bad, but after Meadow makes a shocking discovery, she realizes that she must stand on her own two feet and fix the mess she’s made. Will her new friendship survive and can Meadow win back the boy she like likes?

Grab it:

Anna Snow Author PicA.E. Snow is a writer, mother, pet wrangler, and lives for books and publishing. She lives in a tiny mountain town with her husband, two children, three cats, a dog, and a partridge in a pear tree.

The Sound of Circumstance

Today, I asked Susan Ann Wall to join my blog, so she could tell us all about her latest release, The Sound of Circumstance. Check out the sexy cover, the interesting backstory from the author, the intriguing excerpt — and then go ahead and click one of the pre-order links — you only have to wait two days to start reading it!


I’m so excited about my new release The Sound of Circumstance! This is the 5th novel in my Puget Sound ~ Alive With Love series and it brings Stacie and Owen’s relationship full-circle, giving Stacie closure on the past she finally starts to remember.

Writing this story was a labor of love. The first draft came together in just 12 days. I had an outline, but from day 1, the story went in a direction I hadn’t planned. Revising (the second step in my writing process) proved more difficult. As an author, I’m not sure I wanted to “finish” Stacie and Owen’s story because we’ve been together for so long and I wanted to keep bringing their stories to the readers. When I accepted that Stacie needed closure, I had a strong commitment to do the story justice, so I took my time to make that happen. Now the story is about to be released (December 3) and I couldn’t be more excited!

And the good news is I have many more stories planned in the series, so we’ll see more of Stacie and Owen as they stand by their friends who are seeking out new beginnings, enduring friendships, and unexpected love.

You can pre-order The Sound of Circumstance now!!


Barnes and Noble:




“Stace, there’s some stuff I need to tell you.” The dread in her brother’s voice made Stacie Nightingale’s heart drop into her stomach. “Stuff about Greg. He just got fired from the school for sleeping with a student. Other girls are coming forward. Allegedly, this has been going on for years.”
Her phone bounced off the floor and disappeared under the couch as the nausea she’d been battling all day returned, a vengeful stab that made Stacie dizzy with fury.
Taking a deep breath, she attempted to get her stomach and breathing under control. On the exhale, she closed her eyes and imagined herself on the ferry, taking in the sea air on a sunny day.
Keith’s voice bellowed in the distance, calling her name and asking if she was okay, but Stacie tried to focus on her breathing.
Once it finally settled, she opened her eyes. Though her stomach still threatened to unleash lunch, she couldn’t keep ignoring her brother.
Dropping onto her hands and knees, Stacie searched for the stupid phone, hearing her brother continue to call her name and ask if she was there.
There was no way Keith could have just said what she heard. Maybe he was messing with her. Except Keith was the nicest guy in the world. He never messed with his sisters.
“The phone slipped out of my hand,” she yelled. Her hand swept across it, causing it to spin. When she finally managed to get a hold of it, she brought it back to her ear with ice cold, slippery hands. A chill raced across her body as she wiped the sweat from her forehead.
“I’m here. Sorry.”
“Don’t apologize. I was shocked too. I can’t imagine that was easy news for you to hear.” Keith’s voice was steady, as usual. As an attorney who specialized in family law, he’d faced off with countless angry parents, disgruntled spouses, and rival lawyers, as well as ornery old judges, so he’d learned how to keep his voice level in the most stressful of situations. A skill Stacie never developed.
“Basically, you just told me my fiancé of six years, the man I was in a relationship with for ten years, was cheating on me with our students. Our students.” She’d intended to take a breath during that sentence, but since she lacked the training and experience of her lawyer brother, she failed miserably. With her lungs nearly imploding, she forced herself to take some of the precious element in.
A key flashed through Stacie’s mind. Squeezing her eyes shut, she tried to hold on to the image, to figure out why it seemed so familiar.
But as usual, her amnesia wouldn’t let any memories surface.
“I’m sorry, Stace,” Keith sighed, losing that level tone in his voice and making the vision of the key disappear.
Opening her eyes, she paced slowly, not wanting to wear a path in the new flooring. “How long have you known?”
“I heard about it yesterday. Son of a bitch had the audacity to ask me to represent him.”
“Represent him? For what?”
“He’s filing a suit of wrongful termination against the school.”
Stacie would have laughed except for the seriousness of the situation. Of course Greg wouldn’t accept responsibility. Nothing was ever his fault. She wouldn’t be surprised if he tried to blame it on her somehow.
Settling on the couch next to a napping Daisy, Stacie absently stroked the soft fur. She hadn’t expected the kitten to sleep so much. Didn’t they like to get into mischief? “You’re not going to represent him, are you?”
“You really need to ask me that?” If she’d been in the room with her brother, she’d have bet he raised his brow and cocked his head.
“No, sorry.”
“Anyway, I wanted to get more information before I told you, so I called Glenn this morning. He confirmed everything.”
Principal Glenn Richards had been Stacie’s boss before she left her job as an English teacher at the high school she’d graduated from.
“Stace, he wants you to call him.”
“Keith …” Stacie fell back against the couch and tucked her feet under her butt, careful not to kick Daisy. She wanted to curl up into the fetal position and forget about her past life, but even moving across the country couldn’t keep it at a reasonable distance.
“Listen. This is important. I know it’s unpleasant, but–”
“Unpleasant? It’s horrible.” Her voice went up so many octaves, she almost sounded like her mother. “How could he do that? I mean, he didn’t even like having sex with me.”
“Sorry,” she groaned, cutting him off. “I know you’re probably one of those brothers who doesn’t want to know about his sister’s sex life.”
“It’s not that. I know you’re no prude.”
“I was. At least that’s what Greg said.” Stacie shook her head, remembering how things had been with Greg. She had tried so hard to put some passion into their relationship, but Greg wouldn’t allow it. “But that’s how he wanted me. Holy Hemingway, all those things he didn’t want to do. Is that because he was living out his fantasies with high school girls?”
“I can’t answer that,” Keith said quietly. He sounded uncomfortable, and Stacie realized she probably shouldn’t share her sex life, former or not, with her brother.
“I gotta go.”
“Do not hang up on me,” Keith demanded. Since he never took that tone with her, Stacie kept the phone firmly pressed to her ear and sighed.
Keith sighed too.
Stacie closed her eyes, reaching for a memory she had stopped trying to conjure months ago. It had been thirteen months since her brain surgery, fifteen months since the car accident that killed her friend Audrey and left Stacie with a traumatic brain injury. She didn’t remember the accident, had no memories of that day. After so many failed attempts with her therapist to trigger the memories, Stacie had given up. Audrey would have wanted her to move forward. When Stacie had moved to Seattle, it was to do just that. Remembering the past wouldn’t change anything.
“I didn’t know,” she sighed, lurching forward to try and tamp the waves of nausea that just kept rolling. “What kind of a fool doesn’t know her fiancé is cheating on her?”
“You’re not a fool, Stace.” As Keith said the words, Stacie felt the tingle on her neck that always signaled Owen was near. The condo door clicked shut and Stacie turned to find Owen staring at her.

How about those pre-order links again?


Barnes and Noble:




Susan Ann Wall Author PicWho is this Susan Ann Wall person?

Big dreamer and certifiable overachiever Susan Ann Wall embraces life at full speed and volume. She’s a beer and tea snob, can be bribed with dark chocolate, and the #1 thing on her bucket list is to be the center of a Bon Jovi flash mob.

Susan is a nationally bestselling, multi-genre author of racy, rule-breaking romance and women’s fiction. Her bragging rights include nine books in three different series,  three perfect children, adopting an amazing rescue dog, and a happily ever after that started while serving in the U.S. Army and has spanned nearly two decades (which is crazy since she’s not a day over 29).

In her next life, Susan plans to be a 5 foot 10, size 8 rock star married to a chiropractor and will not be terrified of large bridges, spiders, or quiet people (shiver).

Stalking Info:








Want to get to know more authors like Susan? Join my Facebook group, Come Wine with Tami. It’s all about hanging out and getting to know (new) favorite authors. Once a month, we have a featured author Q&A, too. Don’t miss it!

Come Wine With Tami Lund-2



The Green-eyed Monster Which Doth Mock the Meat it Feeds On

Today, I welcome an author who writes fascinating, amusing Regency romance. She also knows Shakespeare way better than I do, and explains it better than any teacher I ever had. For the last blog of Jealous July, I bring you… Jude Knight!


The title is a quote from Othello. It turns out Shakespeare invented the description ‘green-eyed monster’, for the play Othello. You probably read it at school. Iago, the villain, is out to destroy Othello for two reasons. First, Othello gave the job Iago wanted to someone else. Second, Iago has heard a rumour that Othello ‘twixt my sheets he has done my office’. In other words, he has been told that Othello is playing rumpty with Iago’s wife. He goes on to say he doesn’t know if it is true. (A third possible reason is his own desire for Othello’s wife, Desdemona.)

Iago, then, is an expert in jealousy. And he plays on Othello until Othello, out of jealousy, kills Desdemona. When Othello discovers Desdemona was innocent, he commits suicide. Cheerful play.

Jealousy seems to me to be a pointless emotion. Find out the facts then turn the sod out on their ear, or give them a hug, depending. The play depends on Othello not trusting his young wife in the first place, and not bothering to seek definitive proof of her infidelity in the second.

If he’d just asked a few more questions, Iago’s plot would have failed.

Jealousy is a theme in my novel, A Baron for Becky. The book has two heroes, the Marquis of Aldridge and Hugh Baron Overton. The marquis has a pregnant mistress, and – unable to marry her himself – brokers a marriage for her with his best friend, the baron. Enter the green-eyed monster. As Hugh falls in love with his wife, he becomes less and less able to deal with the possibility that she has a past with his friend; that she might be yearning for her former protector.

Which leads to the following scene:

A footfall behind her announced her husband an instant before his hand came over her shoulder and snatched up the letter.

“Hugh!” she turned awkwardly in the chair. Her husband’s stormy face unsettled her. “Hugh? Is something wrong?”

The storm was fading. His frown turned puzzled, and he nibbled at his upper lip as he read the first page of the letter, then turned to the signature. “The Duchess of Haverford?”

“Who did you think?” Becky knew perfectly well what he thought. How could he? She had given him no reason to doubt her!

“I… uh…” He shuffled the pages, shifting uncomfortably. He covered his embarrassment with a glare. “Why is the Duchess writing to you? Does she mention Aldridge?”

It hadn’t occurred to Becky until this moment that they never talked about Aldridge. Never. And what a large oversight that was. He was supposed to be Hugh’s best friend, and had, in his own way, been a good friend to her, but in this house he had ceased to exist.

green-eyed monster-pixibay creative commons licence


Intrigued? Here’s more about the author, Jude Knight and her latest release, A Baron for Becky:


 Genre: Regency romance, historical romance

Heat rating: Implied sexual content, 2 out of 5 flames

Giveaway: Free copy of A Baron for Becky to random commenter


Book Blurb:

Becky is the envy of the courtesans of the demi-monde – the indulged mistress of the wealthy and charismatic Marquis of Aldridge. But she dreams of a normal life; one in which her daughter can have a future that does not depend on beauty, sex, and the whims of a man.

Finding herself with child, she hesitates to tell Aldridge. Will he cast her off, send her away, or keep her and condemn another child to this uncertain shadow world?

The devil-may-care face Hugh shows to the world hides a desperate sorrow; a sorrow he tries to drown with drink and riotous living. His years at war haunt him, but even more, he doesn’t want to think about the illness that robbed him of the ability to father a son. When he dies, his barony will die with him. His title will fall into abeyance, and his estate will be scooped up by the Crown.

When Aldridge surprises them both with a daring proposition, they do not expect love to be part of the bargain.



Jude Knight_Author PIcAuthor bio

Jude Knight writes strong determined heroines, heroes who can appreciate a clever capable woman, villains you’ll love to loathe, and all with a leavening of humour.

Jude Knight is the pen name of Judy Knighton. After a career in commercial writing, editing, and publishing, Jude is returning to her first love, fiction. Her novella, Candle’s Christmas Chair, was released in December 2014, and is in the top ten on several Amazon bestseller lists in the US and UK. Her first novel, Farewell to Kindness, was released on 1 April, and is first in a series: The Golden Redepennings.


Buy links


Amazon UK

Amazon Aus


Barnes & Noble




Jude’s social media

Visit Jude’s Website

Like Jude on Facebook

Follow Jude on Twitter

Subscribe to Jude’s newsletter

Subscribe to Jude’s blog

Follow Jude on Goodreads


Jude’s Other Books (on Amazon)

Candle’s Christmas Chair (free novella)             

Farewell to Kindness (Book One, the Golden Redepennings)


Antagonists Keep Readers Reading – with Mariana Gabrielle

To wrap up Mad May, there’s a Rafflecopter giveaway (bottom of post – keep reading) and an excerpt from a book I am currently reading. There are a few antagonists in this book, which makes me nuts. AKA, this author knows how to write evil characters, because let me tell you, I hate them! Take this one, for example:

A knock at her door made her shudder, but she stayed silent. Only one person would be disturbing her now, after the men had gone without winning a personal understanding, and he would enter whether or not she gave him leave. Initially, she had thought he hoped to catch her in dishabille, but he simply had no qualms about disturbing any of the performers. It was his theatre, he rationalized, his right to go anywhere he chose, and his obligation to make sure his underlings always knew it. That he might catch her half-clothed was an only an extra benefit.

Nigel Pate was nothing but smiles for the first few minutes of any conversation, as her dancing brought in more ticket sales and more renown than the Broomstraw had ever seen. Before her, no member of the nobility had ever attended. Now, ticket prices had risen so high they excluded every commoner in London.

The problem was, Nigel’s smiles were so greasy, they soon slid off his face.

“Good take tonight, m’dear. Two dukes in the gallery. Two!”

“I am not your dear, Nigel, and I am, of course, ever so pleased the esteem of the Broomstraw will be raised in the eyes of the aristocracy. I’m sure your profits will soar.”

“Your profits, too, dear.” The smile was slipping.

“So you say. I, however, have yet to see a ha’penny in ten years.”

“Jest do what LaRue commands, don’ I? He’s the man pays the bills.” When she rolled her eyes at the typical response, he changed the topic. “Like you say, ten years today since your start at the Broomstraw, and lucky day it was fer me, doncha know? Just want to mark the occasion.”

He handed her a garnet bracelet she knew had been sent to her by a well-connected knight a few days before. It had disappeared before the end of her show, Nigel once again pilfering her dressing room looking for valuables.

She took it from him anyway and pasted on her own fake smile. “How lovely. I will treasure it always.”


Don’t you just hate him? I do. I’m halfway through the book at this point, and having a difficult time putting it down at night for many reasons, not the least of which is I desperately want Nigel to get what’s coming to him. Proving, yet again, how important antagonists are to romance novels.

If you’re interested in reading more from the book featured above, here’s what it’s about:

Sired by a British peer, born of a paramour to Indian royalty, Kali Matai has been destined from birth to enthrall England’s most powerful noblemen—though she hadn’t counted on becoming their pawn. Finding herself under the control of ruthless men, who will not be moved by her legendary allure, she has no choice but to use her beauty toward their malicious and clandestine ends.

When those she holds most dear are placed in peril by backroom political dealings, she enlists some of the most formidable lords in England to thwart her enemies. But even with the help of the prominent gentlemen she has captivated, securing Kali’s freedom, her family, and the man she loves, will require her protectors stop at nothing to fulfill her desires.


And if you’re curious about the person who could write such a fascinating story, here’s her story:

Mari ChristieMariana Gabrielle is a pseudonym of Mari Christie, a professional writer, editor, and designer with almost twenty-five years’ experience. Published in dozens of nonfiction and poetry periodicals since 1989, she began writing mainstream historical fiction in 2009 and Regency romance in 2013. In all genres, she creates deeply scarred characters in uncommon circumstances who overcome self-imposed barriers to reach their full potential. She is a member of the Bluestocking Belles, the Writing Wenches, and the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. Her first Regency romance, Royal Regard, was released in November 2014.


Want to reserve your copy of La Déesse Noire: The Black Goddess?


La Deesse NoireBuy/Review Links


Amazon UK:

Barnes and Noble:



All Romance eBooks:




Mariana Social Media 

Facebook Launch Party, June 10, noon – 8 pm EDT:

Website and Blog:




Amazon Author Central:

Goodreads Author page:


Giveaway! Enter before June 9!

Check back tomorrow, when I feature another book I’ve read, and kick off Jello Shot June on my blog!


Shift Happens

Have you ever had a bad day? Like a really, really bad day?

Ellie, the heroine in Shift Happens, is having the grand pappy of bad days. For one, it’s raining. Frizzy hair? Check. For another, a gorgeous billionaire just visited her nail salon. Sounds good, right? See the aforementioned bad hair day. When said billionaire offers to buy her shop, Ellie’s day goes from bad to worse. Two million dollars sounds like a good deal, but the transaction comes to an abrupt halt when the baddies show up and riddle her shop with bullets.

Poor Ellie. Gal can’t catch a break.

Now she’s on the run with a sexy stranger, unsure when she’ll make it back to Atlanta. But there’s always the flip side. Jackson, her unexpected savior, is gorgeous and intent on making her his. His friends aren’t that bad either. Now if they can just find a way to protect Jackson’s invention and stay alive.

Shift Happens is book one in a brand new series, I Heart Shifters. Each installment will be short, hot, and funny as heck. I’m excited about this project, and I hope everyone gets a kick out of Ellie’s antics.

Thank you to Tami for having me today! I’m always pleased to visit new sites, and I hope you can come visit me soon.


Shift Happens 

Shift Happens (I Heart Shifters, Book 1)

Christy Gissendaner

 What’s this book about?

Ellie Reynolds runs a nail salon that caters to shifters of all varieties. The proverbial shift hits the fan when billionaire mogul Jackson Lawrence walks in the door and offers Ellie two million dollars to sell her shop. Ellie has no intention of selling out, especially to someone who plans to bulldoze her shop to the ground and replace it with a fast food joint. Their battle of wit and will is brought to a sudden halt when Jackson’s enemies appear, throwing them into a fight for their lives.

Jackson believed he’d left violence behind when he resigned his position with the Blood Wolves, a secret shifter military group, but someone wants his company’s cyber invention and will stop at nothing to get it. He didn’t mean to drag Ellie into his mess, but he’s willing to do anything to protect her and the firewall his friend created…anything except fight his attraction to the outspoken redhead he’s suddenly responsible for. Jackson soon learns Ellie is hotter than he first gave her credit for…like dragon hot…and life is about to get a whole lot more interesting.

Sometimes shift happens when you least expect it.

 Buy Links:


Check out this tasty excerpt (see – there’s my Appetizing April reference!): 

At exactly eight forty, Jackson returned to the counter. “According to previously stated policy, your eight thirty appointment is canceled. May I speak with you now?”

She glared at him but finally relented. “Fine. But if Mrs. Sussman shows up, you’re out of here.”

He lifted an eyebrow and nodded. “Fair enough. Your animosity is a bit of a mystery, but I think you’ll be happy once you hear what I have to say.”

His assessment was spot-on. What was it about him that pricked her ire, besides the overwhelming libidinal response? Typically she wasn’t a hateful sort of person, but instinctively she knew she had to be careful around him. He threw her off-balance, and she didn’t like the feeling. “I’m sure you’re used to women falling over themselves to talk to you, but I’m not your typical female.”

He smirked. “I can tell.”

A flush burned her from head to toe at the implication. She wasn’t skinny or particularly beautiful, but damn, couldn’t he show a bit of interest? She had big boobs, after all. What man didn’t like big boobs? Unless he was—

She glanced at him. Nope. Definitely not gay.

Wait. What was she doing? Did she want him to show interest?

Oh God, she did.

“Is there a place we can go to talk?”

She plucked a piece of lint from her smock and flicked it away. “Here’s fine. Say your piece. I’m a busy woman.”

Another smile crossed his face, soul-shattering because this time it was directed at her. “I like you, Ellie Reynolds.”

Something was wrong with her knees. Had to be. They kept giving out on her. Was twenty-five too young to have arthritis? Was it even possible for her to have it? Suddenly she wished she’d paid more attention when her mother taught her about her shifter heritage, if only for medical purposes.

In an effort to maintain control of the conversation, she borrowed one of her Nana’s favorite expressions. “Stop blowing smoke up my ass and get on with it.”

The tolerant light in his eyes extinguished. She wouldn’t have believed it if she hadn’t seen it herself, but his entire demeanor transformed, becoming the man she recognized on the cover of business and financial magazines, the man who bought and sold property for a living. “I want to buy Polished.”

Shock held her immobile. “What would a savvy businessman like you need with a small-time salon?”

“I have an investment opportunity, but I need your building to complete the transaction. I can’t go into further details. Contract negotiations, you understand.”

Actually she didn’t. She’d bought Polished, scoring a hell of a deal when the previous owner died and the son agreed to take a low-ball offer. “I see. How much are you offering?”

Not that she would consider it, but it couldn’t hurt to ask.

“Two million dollars.”

She choked on her spit. “Come again?”

Want more? How about another (sexier) excerpt?

Rain kept up a staccato rhythm on the tin roof, and her supersensitive hearing picked out every drop. She’d never be able to sleep like this, not while her mind was racked by thoughts of Jackson. The situation was laughable. She should be more worried about her safety and instead all she could think about was the fine-looking man in the room across the hall, like the perfect dimples in his cheeks when he smiled really big, or the perfect symmetry of his gorgeous face. And that ass. She could bounce a quarter off that ass.

She groaned as the familiar heat filled the place between her thighs. She needed something to take her mind off Jackson.

Milk. That’s what she needed. A nice, cool glass of milk.

Well, what she really needed was her vibrator, but it was at home, tucked safely away in her drawer under a bundle of handmade scarves that she’d bought and never worn.

Ellie slid out of bed and tugged the hem of the too-short nightgown. She’d picked out a size eight when she was more like a twelve, so Jackson wouldn’t know her true clothing dimensions. When he’d gone to pay for the items she’d chosen, he’d merely lifted an eyebrow but wisely chosen not to say anything. Could she help it if she’d been born with a fondness for sweets? Blame Nana’s genes, not her own lack of will.

Speaking of sweets, cookies would be nice too. She wondered if Jackson had any in the cabinets. He seemed to keep the Montevallo home stocked with foodstuffs since they hadn’t had to stop for groceries.

A few minutes later, with chocolate chip cookies clutched in both hands and a mug of milk hooked around her thumbs, she crept back down the hall toward her room. She bent her head to take a bite of a cookie and lost her grip on the drink. She cursed when the mug fell out of her hands. The milk spilled across her toes and the ceramic shattered when it hit the wooden planks.

“Ellie!” Jackson jerked his bedroom door open and appeared in the doorway, disheveled and entirely too yummy. He wore nothing but boxers and oh geez, he had a six-pack. A perfectly lickable six-pack that made her mouth and sex water. She hoped she wouldn’t drool, although it was a distinct possibility.

“I’m sorry for waking you.”

Jackson ran a hand over his shorn hair. “Fuck. I thought they’d found us.”

“Nope, just the cookie monster.” She held up the cookies in her hands and grimaced. How embarrassing. “Want one?”

He came forward until their toes touched. Hers, milky and chilled. His, warm and dry. She wanted to feel her feet wrapped around his beneath the covers. She wanted to feel everything of his beneath the covers, actually.

His thumb brushed the corner of her lips. “Chocolate,” he explained right before he licked his finger.

Damn her knees. Useless joints that they were. “Umm.”

And damn her larynx for not working properly.

His gaze dropped and she suddenly realized she was in the too-short, too-tight nightgown. Her boobs stretched the cotton material and she didn’t need to look down to know she was nipping. If she turned around, he could probably tell she wasn’t wearing panties. She’d never been so self-conscious before, but never had she been in the presence of a hot-ass canine shifter who was practically naked.

Jackson’s expression turned predatory. His cheeks seemed to hollow out, becoming more pronounced, and his nostrils flared as if he’d caught a whiff of something. Perhaps it was her. The quick shower she’d taken had been hours before. Then again, no panties. Perhaps he smelled her scent. She clamped her thighs tight together and prayed he didn’t laugh. The situation was embarrassing enough without suffering unrequited lust.

“Ellie.” He spoke her name again, but it was low-pitched and soft.

Oh God. She wanted to eat the cookies in his bed. But later. Much, much later. “Yeah?”

“I owe you something.” He slid a hand around her waist and cupped the upper swell of her butt. His fingers spread out in a proprietary manner, as if he was sure of his welcome. “I wanted to wait until all this shit was over, but you’re killing me. I can’t hold out any longer.”

Neither could she. She went up on tiptoe and puckered her lips. He stared at her as he traced the seam of her lips with his index fingers. “I think you misunderstand the type of kiss I want from you.”

About the Author:

Christy Gissendaner is a paranormal and contemporary romance author who believes laughter and love should go hand in hand.


Christy lives in Alabama with her husband and three sons. She’s always hard at work on her next novel, but in her spare time she loves blackjack, karaoke, and anything resembling a vacation!


Christy G Author PicTo find out more, please visit

Do you love it? I do! Shift Happens has everything I love in a good book: shifters, sex, and humor. Not to mention the promise of more!

Okay, after you’ve gotten yourself hooked on Christy Gissendaner’s latest book, head on back to my blog, as next month is Mad May, and you don’t want to miss all the antagonists we have for you. Love them or hate them, you know you can’t resist them…

In the meantime, happy reading!


The Romance of a Good Burger with Lynn Rae

It’s Appetizing April on my blog, and today I’m featuring a recently released book called Playing the Part, by Lynn Rae. While the book is about a Hollywood movie star and a hapless small town girl, food plays a significant role in Lynn Rae’s writing. Below is the blurb for the book, and then below that I’ve included a little commentary from the author, as well as an excerpt, so you can have a little taste of what you’ll get when you read Playing the Part. (Like what I did there?)


Independent Melanie Sheraton has to hustle for odd jobs in her small town to eke out a living. When the opportunity to act as a driver for some movie folks comes up, she jumps at the chance to earn an extra paycheck. What she didn’t bank on was one of her passengers invading her imagination, something she resists since no movie star would ever be interested in her.

At a crossroads in his professional life, action star Thomas ‘Wheeler’ Locke is in Ohio for a role he hopes will launch his career in a new, serious direction. Instead of concentrating on his acting, he finds himself growing more and more distracted by his feisty driver and her irascible ways.

Dancing around the attraction growing between them, both Mel and Thomas struggle to maintain their distance as the time for filming grows short. Will a reunion at the movie’s London premiere bring them together, or will their disparate lives keep them apart?

Playing the Part_Lynn Rae


The Romance of a Good Burger

By Lynn Rae

Food, the production of it, the preparation of it, the consumption of it, always appears in my stories. I’ve written about cooks, growing tomatoes and potatoes, invented alien dishes, researched smoked hot dogs, and in general fed my characters very well. In fact, I have to restrain myself from paragraphs of description every time I write a dinner scene. For me, food is intrinsically a part of creating a safe and loving environment. Following is a fun little foodie excerpt from my newest book, Playing the Part. It’s the story of a school bus driver and a movie star, but I also was able to insert my love of roadside diners into it, which is where this scene takes place:


“Onion rings? You aren’t kissing anyone tonight?”

“No. Not yet,” he added without thinking, and instead of pulling back from him and frowning in her patented way, Mel instead just stayed put, peering at him with a slight smile on her pretty lips, grey eyes sparking. With a pulse of heat through his veins, he realized that oh yes, he wanted to kiss her very badly; touch her, taste her, and that was not a good impulse at all. Graham was right, as usual.

“The night is young. Take a look around, I’m sure someone willing and able bodied will wander by eventually,” she quipped. “How adventurous are you feeling tonight?”

Thomas took a breath. Was that an invitation, a tiny flirtation?

“Mildly adventurous. What did you have in mind?” he replied, hoping he didn’t sound too lecherous.

“Well, they have this wretched thing called a Dumpster burger you might want to try.” Mel shot him a devious glance, very obviously not flirting with him, and he felt an internal crash of disappointment. She wouldn’t ever be flirting with him. She wasn’t interested or available, so he should just stop thinking about it.

“And why would I want to eat something with a name like that?”

“It’s slimy and fun. Pickled jalapeños, tomato, fried egg on top, cheese, and mayo along with the usual lettuce, tomato, and pickle. Whatever else they scrape off the floor in the back,” Mel concluded, looking as if she was having a great time trying to disgust him. “Oh, and fried onions too. They usually put so many on that they slide all down the sides like worms.”

“No one would want to get close to me after something like that. Okay, order one of those.” Thomas resigned himself to about forty grams of carbs and solitude. With a half salute, she turned and strode off just in time to rescue Graham who struggled with his wallet.

Rather than stare at Mel and wish things were different, Thomas focused on watching people passing by on the street; farm trucks towing equipment, minivans filled with kids in baseball uniforms, high-schoolers with their windows rolled down and music thumping while longing for attention. The weather was perfect for idling away the evening outside, anticipating dusk and fireflies. Stress from the day drifted from his shoulders, and he settled into himself, relishing this quiet moment where he wasn’t anyone other than a man about to eat a Dumpster burger with a good friend and an off limits woman who pushed buttons he didn’t know he had.


I don’t know about you, but after that excerpt, I’m certainly adding this one to my TBR! And don’t forget – this is the third in the series, so you should pick up the first two books, too. Click on the covers below for purchasing info.

The Secret Ingredient_Lynn RaeFirst Choice Second Chance_Lynn Rae

And here’s how you can get started on Playing the Part:

Oh, and here’s a little tidbit about the author, Lynn Rae:

Lynn Rae is a romance writer with a quirky sense of humor residing in Columbus, Ohio. With professional experience in fields ranging from contract archaeology to librarianship along with making donuts and teaching museum studies, Lynn Rae enjoys incorporating her real-life adventures into her writing (except the naughty parts). She has made her own kimchee and knows how to throw a tomahawk.


Click the word to go to Lynn’s Goodreads page, if you want to add the above tasty books to your TBR.

Enjoy – and check back tomorrow for another Appetizing April post!



Weddings, Crystals, and Stars Align

For my next Matrimonial March post, I want to introduce you to a book called Checkmate First Mate. The entire book is about a wedding – actually, it’s about the three weeks prior to a wedding. The maid-of-honor and mother-of-the-bride don’t have dates, until two sexy marine mechanics wash up on shore thanks to a boating incident.

What is this, you say? Here’s the blurb:

Reiki masters, crystals and astrologers… oh my!

Adam McGiver is a Coast Guard EMT, on injured reserve, and thinks all of the above are an interesting waste of time. The stars are for navigation on the seas.

 Melanie Cramer, third generation of psychics and healers, charts her life by the stars but prefers to spend her days with computers. She’s ready to embark on a global adventure dedicated to databases.

When Adam rescues Melanie from a boat that’s dead in the water, they are sure they’ve met before but soon hope they never meet again. These star-crossed lovers are desperate to outrun their fated attraction. But the universe, through their friends and family, tightens a romantic noose around them as wedding dates, before Melanie flies off to the other side of the world, and Adam sails away in the opposite direction.

Will they still be in love sometime next year? Or are they just two ships that passed in the night?

Checkmate First Mate Cover
Buy on Amazon

Here’s another fun teaser. Darla is fourteen years old and is interviewing her cousin Susan and her Uncle Dave, both characters from Checkmate First Mate, as part of a school project. Check out how Darla manages to bring out their personalities:

An interview with my cousin, Susan McGiver, and Susan’s father, Dave, as they are potential chaperones for my school trip next month – by Darla Williams.

Darla Williams: Thanks for agreeing to this interview and finally applying for passports. Your answers are so my friends and the trip coordinators get a more personal connection with you before we go.

Susan McGiver: We’ve applied but if and when we get passports is a variable. Going to Paris in a few weeks is not in my plan.

Darla: I’m using positive affirmation. I know neither of you ever go anywhere and at least we know you’re not trying to scam us for a free trip.

Dave McGiver: Darla, Darling, is this really a school requested interview or are you just having fun at our expense?

Darla: It’s both, Uncle Dave, okay? My first question is about how you two just attended a big formal wedding as escorts to primary players in the bridal party. This is the most exciting thing either of you have done my whole life. Yet, you didn’t know any of these people until three weeks ago.

Susan: Jake is a friend of the groom, and once we met Jake asked me to be his wedding date. Nothing unusual there. Dad escorting the mother-of-the-bride was a surprise.

Dave: Not really. Ruth is a friend of your grandmother and she’s been coming here for a dinner party each week for the past few months. It was two weeks to the event and Ruth realized she didn’t have a date yet and asked me to do the honors as her escort.

Darla: Then what was I hearing about the maid-of-honor?

Dave: That’s where the story gets fun, and her date was your uncle Adam.

Susan: Here’s what happened, Jake was going to escort the maid-of-honor even though she’s tiny and he’s six-four. They were boating with the bride and groom and had problems so needed a tow. Adam got that call and went to the rescue. That’s when the maid-of-honor met him. I took Adam out for dinner as thanks for fixing my car and the coincidence was the others had just met for dinner at the same time and place, like fate, and we made it a party of six. It was love-at-first-sight for me and Jake, which it was for Adam and the maid-of-honor though those two are still in denial. So when Ruth asked Dave to escort her two days later, and he said yes, she also invited Adam to the wedding so Dave would know someone at the party. As soon as the bride learned Adam was going to the wedding, she assigned him to be the maid-of-honor’s wedding date. That meant Jake was free to ask me. Of course I said yes.

Darla: Okay, now it makes more sense because Adam does all kinds of adventures all the time. But neither of you have dated anyone my whole life. What’s up with that?

Dave: It’s because our lives are interesting enough.

Darla: Uncle Dave, all you do is work on boats, and Susan you take pictures of them.

Susan: Darla, you just turned fourteen. Any adventures you’ve had so far are because your parents made them happen. You have a passport because they do.

Darla: And now both of you are dating these great people who travel the world and speak other languages. Will you two now leave the marina for at least a vacation someday?

Dave: I escorted Ruth to her daughter’s wedding. That doesn’t mean we are dating.

Darla: Why is that? Ruth is great and she speaks fluent French. Can you talk her into being a chaperone for my trip? Even if you aren’t dating? I could really use someone local to have French conversations with these next weeks.

Dave: Your grandma is the one to arrange future contact with Ruth. I’m sure she’d love to talk French with you, and she lives near your new house.

Darla: All right, I’ll talk to grandma. So Susan, how much longer will you be dating Jake? Mom said you never had a guy around longer than a month.

Susan: Then we’ve got at least another week together.


Terri Patrick PhotoTerri Patrick writes contemporary romance and memoirs, and has been an active blogger since 2009. Website/Blog link:

As Therese Patrick, she is the co-founder of

 For more information, visit

To read the first chapter of Checkmate First Mate, and for additional buy links, visit

 Thanks for stopping by!

Don’t Hate on the Erotica with Author Sheri Williams

If you’ve ever read my blog before, you know I love to feature other authors. I like to feature their books, interviews with their characters, and especially interviews with the authors themselves, where they tell me (us) about subjects that are close to their hearts. Or computer keyboards.

Today, I’m featuring Sheri Williams. She writes steamy romance and erotica. Unfortunately, erotica is (in some circles) considered a taboo subject, and Sheri finds herself forced to defend her choice of writing material. On today’s blog, she gives us a little insight as to why reading – or writing – erotica shouldn’t hold the stigma it does. Read on. Don’t be afraid.


 Crisis in Love Cover_ Mad Magic Cover 10683459_10152476323811381_4702476490918863057_o

Awhile back I wrote a blog called Yeah I Write Erotica, So What? When I started talking to the lovely Tami about doing a guest blog for her, in the month of love, I figured this would be a great time to do a continuation of that previous post. Because, in reality, talking about writing erotica and romance novels is almost as important as the actual writing of those novels.

You would think in 2015, in a world filled with so much tragedy, with so much hate and loss everyday, that people would leave us writers alone. We bring happiness to our readers. We bring sexy times to their bedrooms, with or without partners. What on god’s green earth is wrong with that? In my last blog I made mention of a sandwich board that screamed out I AM NOT A PERV. And I’m not. I’m a wife. I’m a mom. I’m a writer. And what I do in my bedroom has absolutely nothing to do with what I write about. Let me say that again, in case you missed it, NOTHING.

You know why? Cause I write fantasy as well. Not my fantasy, so get that out your head right now, you dirty girl. No, my fantasies are reserved for my husband,thankyouverymuch. However, I write fantasy. Real world, how cool would it be if my husband/partner/boyfriend wanted me so much that he just had to have me against the door fantasy. Because really, ladies, who hasn’t had that thought?

I call it fantasy because in reality, if you are anything like me, that just doesn’t happen. Not for lack of want, or will, but simply for lack of time. You guys understand that. I know my readers do. We are time crunched. It’s go go go all the time. Between two kids, a husband who works 50-60 hours a week (and God love him for working so hard, so I can be home with our kids and to write), between writing, housework, and pets, it’s just hard (pun intended) to find time alone sometimes. And I know for an absolute fact, that my reasons are the same reasons for most of my readers. They read the romance and the erotica to be whisked away. To get lost in something that doesn’t involve paper towels, wipes, or kitty litter scoopers.

And for all of those who hate on erotica/romance writers and readers, what is wrong with that? Why do people feel the need to hate on escapism? No seriously, why? I don’t get the hate. I mean I don’t understand hate in a lot of situations, but that’s a blog for another day.

Anyway, let’s leave the haters, cause really I try really hard most of the time to ignore them. I don’t write to irritate them (despite what they think). No, I write to make people happy. Maybe to make them tingle a little bit, to blush if they read my stuff in public. It would make me supremely proud if somthing I wrote sent a couple to the bedroom. No really, that would be so cool.

And maybe you are tired of hearing me talk about writing erotica and being proud of it, but I won’t stop. For every blog I write, there are pages, and websites denouncing my chosen profession as the basest form of entertainment. Oh well. I hope that something in this rambling post strikes a chord with you. Even better, I hope you go pick up a romance novel or an erotica novella and readit. Get a little hot under the collar. Make a little nooky. Go on. Have fun.


 Sheri Williams Author Pic Sheri is a wife and momma. Living in Alabama despite being a Yankee, she has always wanted to be a writer. Sheri likes to dabble in multiple genres and formats, liking to live dangerously while she fulfills her need to create. She loves to read and fangirl, sometimes both at once. You can find Sheri at Sheri Williams, Author. She tweets at @AuthorSheri. She’s also a Writing Wench, and blogs over there on occasion.

And if you want to check out one of her books, here they are: Amazon Author Page. Enjoy!

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