Guest Authors Blogging on Manic Readers!

Interested in guest blogging on Manic Readers? Please contact Ivy.
ivydtruitt at gmail (dot) com.




Rob uttered what might have become a groan if he hadn’t snapped off the sound almost before it began. His quick lift settled Eleanora on the truck bed.

Her legs dangled. Hot metal stung the bare backs of her knees. Raising her legs, she scooted deeper into the truck and slumped against the side. Breathing room. God knew she needed some. Rob’s nearness fed an uncontrollable spring in her. A bubbling well David had never touched, not once in the eight years they’d shared a bed.

Rob hoisted himself in and leaned against the wall opposite her. One leg of his shorts gaped, showing off a solid thigh and a smattering of brown hair trailing into darkness.

Heart rate rising, she wrenched her gaze away and studied the neat precision of his shoelaces. Same size loops, same length ends, nothing long enough to drag in the dirt. As pleasing to the eye as a balanced ledger.

He passed food from hand to hand until her dinner sat between her tennis shoes.

She fished a ketchup-drizzled French fry from a red-checkered paper boat.

Rob bit into his cheeseburger.

They traded darting glances and ate in silence. She struggled to tabulate the feeling on her mental balance sheet. Not the comfortable quiet of longtime friends, but not the strained resentment of the silences between her and David, either. A tense silence. No—an intense silence.

Pregnant with possibility. Six inches separated their bare legs. He owed her three kisses. And when he’d lifted her, she’d thought she’d felt his—

Flushing, she sipped the old-fashioned lemonade she’d opted for instead of pop. If fitting the word in her mouth went beyond her comfort level, she sure as hell wasn’t ready for fitting—him.


Her heart is in his hands…


After her marriage ends in betrayal, Eleanora Howard finds herself struggling to navigate the dating scene as a thirty-one-year-old divorcee. But feeling undesirable and living alone in the house she once shared with her ex is hardly the recipe for finding new love—until she meets Rob. He’s just the kind of charming, old-fashioned guy she needs—but he’s also eager for intimacy…


After serving in the Air Force and getting a well-paid civilian career, Rob Vanderhoff planned to settle down with the right woman and raise a family. But at thirty-six, he’s still single and searching—until he meets Eleanora. She’s everything he wants. All he has to do is draw her out of her shell. Soon he’s taking her on high school-style dates, fanning the flames of her desire—and helping Nora re-discover the sexy, adventurous woman they both know she really is…

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About the Gentleman series

HER SHIRTLESS GENTLEMAN is the first book in the Gentleman series. Each book is a standalone HEA story with a well-intentioned hero and a strong heroine finding each other on a sweet, erotic journey.

AN ACCIDENTAL GENTLEMAN, the second book in this contemporary romance series, will be available in 2016.

Signing up for the author’s monthly newsletter at will deliver free short stories and updates on upcoming books to your inbox.

About M.Q. Barber

USA Today bestselling author M.Q. Barber likes to get lost in thought. She writes things down so she can find herself again.

Often found staring off into space or frantically scratching words on sticky notes, M.Q. lives with one very tolerant, easily amused husband and one very tolerant, easily amused puppy.

She has a soft spot for romances that explore the inner workings of the heart and mind alongside all that steamy physical exertion. She loves memorable characters, witty banter, and heartfelt emotion in any genre.

The former Midwestern gal is the author of the Neighborly Affection and new Gentleman contemporary romance series. Pick a safeword, grab a partner or two, and jump in.

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Help Yellowstone National Park & entertain yourself with IN VELVET

Help Yellowstone National Park raise money and snag yourself a highly entertaining eco-thriller all at the same time!  

Author Burt Weisbourd is generously donating 4% of the net royalties from IN VELVET to the Yellowstone Park Foundation. Available at Amazon or check your local bookseller.  For all of you fortunate enough to be in the area, Burt will be at The Canyon Store August 4th & 5th. Stop by,say hey, & ask him to sign your book…:)

Burt Weissbourd’s interview with The Yellowstone Park Foundation.




The northwest corner of Yellowstone Park is closed for bear management, and Rachel, a bear biologist, is discovering some very startling animal behavior — grizzlies denning in June, swans at their wintering grounds in summer, and what appear to be Irish Elk, an extinct species, with huge palmated antlers. There are also horrific mutations in the young — elk calves with no front legs, earless bear cubs, and eaglets without wings.

What has gone wrong? Why is this area closed? Who’s covering up these animal abnormalities in the Park?

A non-stop thriller set in some of North America’s wildest country, In Velvet takes you deep into the hearts of a hard case local detective and a Chicago cop as they take on a corrupt sheriff, a pathological poacher, and a lethal black ops manager to solve this ghastly mystery and restore the natural order in Yellowstone National Park.





My thoughts…..4.5 stars

When Dr. Moody is discovered dead in a bear’s cache the Northwestern corner of Yellowstone is closed for bear management. Rachel Stanley is the bear biologist who discovered Dr. Moody and the bear in question is hers, Wooly Bugger. During her field trips Rachel is seeing out of season behavior, mutations, and what appear to be extinct Irish Elk. Rachel doesn’t buy the official line for why the Northwestern corner of Yellowstone is still closed and is determined to get to the truth.
IN VELVET has a large diverse cast of characters so a brief introduction to the main ones is necessary.

The Northwestern corner of Yellowstone National Park ~ Without Yellowstone and its unique ecological system there would be no story. Yellowstone is the main character. The park’s description is vibrant and detailed making it easy to experience its beauty and wonder vicariously.
Wooly Bugger ~ Rachel’s wily old grizzly. Wooly Bugger is as integral a character as the people.
Rachel Stanley aka the bear lady ~ divorced single mother of Molly & Rainey’s ex-lover. Rachel is socially awkward at the best of times. Strong and determined, she’s perfectly suited to her work and protective of the park and animals, especially Wooly Bugger.
Rainey ~ burned out teacher, fly fisherman, former P.I. & Rachel’s former lover. Rainey is thoughtful, methodical, and quietly intense. Sheriff Jesse has it out for Rainey for a variety of reasons. They’re currently in a stalemate but given Jesse’s ability to turn situations to his advantage that won’t last long.
Lloyd ~ owner of the local café & teller of tall tales.
Jen Donahue ~ Chicago cop on leave trying to retrieve her son, Jimmy, from her ex- husband, affectionately known as Cockeye. Jen and Rainey meet in one of the most offbeat ways I’ve ever read. Jen’s looking for help regaining her son and Rainey just might be the answer to her prayers.
Sheriff Jesse Stinson ~ What does he not have a finger in, legal or illegal. Crooked as a dog’s hind leg with a mean streak a mile wide Jesse is not a man to cross lightly. He owns the county and most of the people in it.
Gummer Mosk ~ Enforcement ranger for the North Yellowstone sub district & Jesse’s partner in various illegal activities. Gummer is fond of animals and young women. He has an eye on his future.
Bodine ~ Poacher and associate of Sheriff Jesse. As they say back home, he’s a mite tetched, not the amusing or entertaining tetched either. Bodine’s one of those people you give a wide berth, crossing the street to avoid them. Scary.
Mitchell Picker ~ Assistant superintendent of North Yellowstone and bit of a twit.
Dr.Moody ~ Researcher of thermophiles in the Sentry Hot Springs. Ray Moody is dead when we meet him.
Phillip Renard ~ Dr. Moody’s former French assistant. Phillip is carrying on with Dr. Moody’s research. Phillip is self-serving.
Danny Briley ~ Government Grant Administrative Officer and friend of Rachel’s. Danny’s a bit of a hippie.
IN VELVET is Mr. Weissbourd’s second book and it’s been my pleasure to read both. One of the main features, and personal favorite, of his work to date is the intelligence of his characters, men and women alike. Not only are they intelligent but each possesses a different type of intelligence. Combined with their fortitude, depth and diversity it adds up to a character treasure trove. They may be meanern’ the devil, annoying as all get out, awkward, or chill you to the bone, but they engage and never bore. Not once did I roll my eyes wondering WTFrill? Their behavior is always spot on and realistic. That’s the scary part. People that cruel and adept at hiding it actually exist; the stuff of nightmares for me.

You too can learn the wonders of thermophiles! Naturally, given the animal mutations and out of season behavior, there’s a lot of scientific discussion involved. Science is not my forte by any stretch but Mr. Weissbourd makes it understandable, plausible and interesting without talking down to the reader. That’s quite a feat.

IN VELVET hits the ground running and doesn’t stop until the last page. Each chapter has sections focusing on different characters and their actions moving the story and events at a rapid pace. Once started it’s best to strap on your seatbelt and make sure you have time to enjoy this astute high octane ride. IN VELVET left me breathless, a bit contemplative, and completely satisfied. Beneath the thrill ride IN VELVET was about the consequences of actions, decisions, and the manipulation and exploitation of Nature for all the wrong reasons. Nature has a way of getting her own back. Secondly it’s about forgiveness because without it there’s no moving on or growth. And last but not least, second chances, because most, though not all, people are worth a second chance.

4.5 stars

World Building w/ K.C. Tansley & THE GIRL WHO IGNORED GHOSTS

Creating the World of the Unbelievables by K.C. Tansley

Worldbuilding in a paranormal story starts off easy. When you introduce a new power or a rule into your world, it’s all shiny and fun. It’s thrilling to have it in the story. You can’t wait to play with it. But as you progress into the novel, the powers and the rules layer upon each other. If you’re not careful, you can get ensnared in the web of your own worldbuilding.

The deeper you go into the story, the more careful you have to be. Because now you’re not just playing with one shiny, cool power. You’ve got several powers and rules in play. And they have to function the way you told readers they do. So you have to make sure you understand how every power works, including the strengths and weaknesses of every supernatural being. But you don’t just have to know the rules; you have to grasp the ramifications of the rules. You have to understand everything that can and can’t happen in your story world.

It’s a lot like a game of poker. You have to have clear rules so everyone (you, your characters, and your readers) knows what trumps what. As the writer, you have to know much more than the characters know about the world, so the rules that they don’t know are always enforced throughout the story.

There will be rare occasions where you’ll have to invent a loophole, too. Because sometimes the rules can’t apply. Exceptions have to remain very rare. Otherwise, what’s the point of worldbuilding? If you characters can do anything at any time, there’s not point to creating rules that no one follows.

It also annoys the reader if you create rules and break them all the time. They notice these things. It pulls them out of the story when they have to stop and figure out how the rule can be violated. It annoys them. And you never ever want to annoy readers.

When I’m worldbuilding, I have to think through the consequences of things. I have to imagine different scenarios for my rule and see if it holds up. In The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts, I needed a reason why some people see ghosts and some people don’t. I also needed to explain the entire spectrum of what they perceive as ghosts. Some people see a physical ghost and talk to them. Others feel a coldness or see a shadow flicker. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I wanted this perceiving of ghosts to be something that could change. That someone who never saw a ghost could at some point see a ghost. So I tried to come up with a reasonable rule. Something that readers would grasp and that I could build my story around.

I had taken a workshop on witchcraft and much of it was centered around intent and belief. I decided to base my ghost worldbuilding on belief. If you believe in ghosts, it allows them to manifest in your world. Then you can interact with them. Your interaction depends on the strength of your belief. It explains why some people see a shadow or feel a sudden chill; whereas, others can actually see ghosts and communicate with them. I wanted a range of ghostly experiences.

I like to ground my worldbuilding in a simple concept that you can relate to your daily life. This belief thing struck me as very common. Think about how many times you have sworn you lost your car keys, only to find them sitting on your desk. You convince yourself they are missing, and your brain believes they aren’t there, so your senses don’t pick up on them.

That’s a central rule for my ghost worldbuilding. I had to carry it through the entire book. Anytime someone saw a ghost, they had to be a believer; and if they didn’t see the ghost, they had to be an unbeliever. I even went so far as to name the supernatural creatures “The Unbelievables” because I really wanted to drive home this worldbuilding rule.

When I was revising the story, I would refer back to my rule anytime a ghost appeared to make sure it was consistent. If it wasn’t, I reworked the scene until it was. If I felt like this was a place I needed an exception, I figured out how the exception worked and why it was rare and then wrote it into my worldbuilding.

It’s important to limit the powers of your characters. Nobody wants to read about a protagonist who has no weaknesses. It’s predictable and kills the tension. I tried to build a weakness into each character’s powers.

Kat can see ghosts and interact with them, but it drains her energy because they use her energy to maintain a presence in her world. So she can’t constantly see them. It would be too much for her. She also has a complicated backstory with ghosts that requires her to block them out by actively not believing in them. It’s the only way she can live a normal life.

For Toria, I wanted her to be a psychic. But if she was all knowing that would be very boring to the reader. Limits are what make powers interesting. She can’t force a vision. They come when they come. Sometimes they overwhelm her. And they are always symbolic. Nothing straight forward. Having to interpret her dreams and visions means there’s an element of error in it. That keeps both the character and the readers guessing and second guessing things.

For me, the essentials to worldbuilding are:

  • Your rules must apply throughout your entire book,
  • You know more about the powers than anyone else needs to, and
  • Every power has to have a limit/weakness.

As long as you apply these as you worldbuild, your story should be a wonderful, rich world for readers. Miss one of them and the worldbuilding will come crashing down like a house of cards on a windy day.

About The Book

In The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts, prep school junior Kat Preston accidentally time travels to 1886 Connecticut, where she must share a body with a rebellious Victorian lady, prevent a gruesome wedding night murder, disprove a deadly family curse, and find a way back to her own time.


K.C. Tansley lives with her warrior lapdog, Emerson, on a hill somewhere in Connecticut. She tends to believe in the unbelievables—spells, ghosts, time travel—and writes about them.

Never one to say no to a road trip, she’s climbed the Great Wall twice, hopped on the Sound of Music tour in Salzburg, and danced the night away in the dunes of Cape Hatteras. She loves the ocean and hates the sun, which makes for interesting beach days. The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts is the first book in her YA time-travel murder mystery series.

As Kourtney Heintz, she also writes award winning cross-genre fiction for adults.

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ONE DELICATE NIGHT & Goodie Bag giveaway with Joy Avery


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Book Title: One Delicate Night
Publication Date: 7-11-2015
Genre: Contemporary romance
Author: Joy Avery


Can one night lead to forever?

Kassidy Monroe has spent far too many nights alone. But could she actually go through with a one-night stand? No! At least, that’s her answer until her eyes settle on him—tall, dark, and ultra-mysterious behind a black and platinum mask that makes him even more appealing. It’s lust at first sight, but how far is she willing to go with a man she’s just met?
Jaxon Prescott has always gone after what he wants. And he wants her—the sexy vixen in the feather mask. Something about her calls to him, and he’s all too willing to answer. An invitation to his hotel suite was supposed to be for a night she wouldn’t soon forget, but somehow the tables turn. He never imagines he’d be the one constantly reliving their time together.

One need. One night. One unforeseen outcome.



Joy Avery is a contemporary romance author who loves watching her imaginary friends fall in love. When not crafting her next love story, she enjoys reading, spending time with the family, playing with her two dogs, and cake decorating.
She’s the author of the novels Smoke in the Citi, His Until Sunrise (book 1 in the Indigo Falls series), Cupid’s Error-a Valentine’s novella, and His Ultimate Desire (book 2 in the Indigo Falls series).


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WEED AND WATER ~ Ian Palmer ~ Bringing the resources of God to a teen


Book Title: Weed and Water
Author: Ian Palmer
Genre: Teenage Redemption story; Christian faith
Paperback: 266 pages
ISBN-10: 1506188451
ISBN-13: 978-1506188454



Originally from Australia, Ian lives in the high desert in his beloved Southwest USA. As a petroleum engineer, recently retired, he consulted all over the world. When he hikes with them or watches them play sports, Ian’s grandchildren are a particular source of happiness. His main interests are hiking, dancing, writing, and stimulating conversation. Ian regularly writes a new blog on various topics relating to Christian faith, and has also written a book called Hiking Toward Heaven.


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A mysterious stranger helps a teenage boy called Ethan rescue his mentor, an elderly father-figure, from drowning when their canoe capsizes in a flooding river. A star athlete, Ethan later gets involved in unsafe sex, which leads to drugs, and gets him blackballed by jealous and gossiping team-mates. The boy is going down, and at times hates himself for it and for hurting his mom who is a caring, loving, and beautiful woman.
After another disastrous episode, where Ethan might have died, the river-stranger turns up again to confront him about his life choices. However, even after rehab, the boy’s condition is marked by a yo-yo attitude which causes massive emotional heartache for his mom.
The river-stranger, after sharing his own amazing history, suggests taking the fight to another level which draws on the resources of God. This begins a new and fascinating sequence of events, including a tornado, which get Ethan’s attention.
The book is a captivating story, packed with adventure in the desert Southwest and in the rivers and lakes of the Midwest USA. But it is also a goldmine of spiritual wisdom for teenagers. The mystery that permeates the story is compelling, and the thrilling ending may call for a tissue or two.


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Jake and Laura have taken the big step and are on their honeymoon in Hawaii. Pre-Pearl Harbor, white sand beaches, and their friend Amelia Earhardt is slated to make her attempt to fly from Hawaii to Los Angeles. You can imagine everyone’s dismay when one of the prominent local businessmen backing the flight with prize money is found shot dead in Amelia’s hangar. Is his murder personal or is there a more sinister reason for his death.

The third in the Jake and Laura series finds our sweethearts newly married and enjoying the beaches and sights of Hawaii. When a man is shot to death in Amelia’s hangar she immediately calls on her friend Laura for help. Of course Laura includes Jake and George Putnam, Amelia’s husband, ensures Jake’s services are put to use on Amelia’s behalf.

Poor Jake, caught between a rock and a hard place when he’s threatened with the loss of his career if he doesn’t “assist” the police, whether they want it or not.

There aren’t as many cameo appearances from historical figures or names dropped but when you have Hawaii and Amelia Earhart front and center they’re superfluous.

Jake and Laura run into old acquaintances, one of which has Jake a tad green; who manage to assist and cause more trouble for our reluctant detective newlyweds. Granted, the whodunnit of the mystery won’t tax your grey cells but there’s a wicked twist and one heck of a climactic fight scene. That being said, it’s always enjoyable to spend a few hours with my favorite historical sleuthing couple, regardless.

Anticipating Jake and Laura’s next adventure and celebrity encounters when they return to the mainland.

4 stars

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Split The Uprights by Davee Jones **Book One in a Three Book Series**

Genre: Romance

Release Date: 11/25/2014

What happens when you mix men and women in a fantasy football league? Lots of sexy competition and instant rivalries. Owner of Fantasy Leagues, Lola Fontaine, maintains two identities, one as loving matchmaker and the other as ball busting Dominatrix. In the LockHim Room, her muscle toned guys never know what to expect.

With reclusive statistician, Eugene Carlton, they believe they have the perfect formula for romance. All their success takes a place on the Wall of Flame. But, do they really know anything about true love connections?

She takes awkward Danika Parker under her wing and teaches her everything she doesn’t know about love. However, in the process, they establish risky boundaries, pushing the envelope normally established for just friends. Danika takes an interest in fellow participant, Finn Maxwell, the man still searching for a plan.

Unfortunately for Lola, time is running out on secrets from her past. Living on borrowed time will catch up with her in a way she least expected. She will hurt the ones she loves, no matter how she tries. But, will they ever forgive? Will Lola get more than she counted on?

Learn about grilled lemonade, love jam, fantasy football, and safe words all wrapped into the fun of Split the Uprights.

I opened my mouth to speak, but, nothing came out. That was the first time in my entire life someone asked me to be their friend. Me. I’ve gone twenty-nine and a few years in my existence with acquaintances, buddies, friends with benefits, and the works. But, no one actually wanted to be my friend. Even Marty, he was just trying to weasel his way into the LockHim Room.

No, I didn’t tell Marty about my rooms, but, he has his suspicions.

No, I really don’t see him more than every few weeks. He just thinks like a woman, knowing something is up. Don’t ask me how.

I’ve known Marty since junior high. But, no, he is still not technically my friend. He is my friend with benefits, a huge other ball game.

Why am I trying to explain myself to myself?

“Just think about it, I won’t make you sign anything in blood. Maybe we could bring some objectivity to each other. Can’t hurt to try, right?”

“Maybe not, Danika. You do realize we have this age difference thing. We may not have much in common.”

“Seriously? I have the personality of someone’s grandma and these kids today get on my nerves. I don’t believe it will be that tough to find similarities. Who knows, maybe I’ll get good enough to be your wingman.”

My wingman? Danika is clearly out of her league. “Child, it would take a man with balls of steel to deal with me. You only know about five percent of me so far, the more you get to know, the faster you’ll run in the other direction. Most likely screaming.”

“Whatever, Lola. Quit trying to play me. It’s like you want to set yourself up to be this horrible person to push people away before they could even invite you for girls’ night out.”

“Danika, we will try your little experiment. We can take down the representative a little at a time. If we have to force a friendship, it’s time to pack it in. I’m only doing this as a favor to you. I want to broaden your social horizons. What are you going to do for me?”

“Prove to you how lovable you are. A lady doesn’t invest this much in romance and be successful if she isn’t buying into the product herself. You can’t keep pretending forever before you’re found out and your company goes down in flames.  I’m really here to help you.”


Will Lola really shut down the Fantasy Leagues, just as she was making serious friends? With Rudy, her best client and confidant, in the hospital after a paralyzing football injury, she must evaluate what’s important. Her mother reveals a bizarre addiction just before she gives Lola cryptic information about her dad. What did Rod Stewart really have to do with Lola’s father? The Letter opens doors to both heartache and love, but, she doesn’t know how to deal with either one. Just what did she do to make Marty attack her car with a baseball bat? Does she really have that much passionate power over her closest companions? Meanwhile, a second encounter with Danika ignites smoldering passions leaving these besties more than confused. Does Danika love both Lola and Finn? How could the two relationships be so opposite? Will Eugene agree to shoulder Lola through this latest crisis? Potentially, working behind the scenes on the Fantasy Leagues may have revealed to Eugene what he is missing the most- a soul mate. Finn receives an offer almost too good to be true, if he takes the brass ring opportunity, will he say good-bye to Danika just as things are heating up? Lola spirals downward in an alcoholic torrent of hopelessness and fear, trying to help her long lost daughter, Sharlyn. Dying from a disease, Lola would’ve never even met her long lost daughter if the situation wasn’t critical. With Sharlyn’s appearance, an unknown father is revealed, unraveling everything Lola tied shut years before. Just as in football, life is a game of inches, some gained some lost. Watching these characters struggle to gain yards may destroy relationships instead of scoring touchdowns. With many twists and turns keeping the reader guessing, a Game of Inches exposes the raw as well as the tender we all experience in life. But, do we get up and power on, or do we lie down and give up what may be the best game of our lives?


Personal Fouls gets down into the thoughts of Marty, Eugene, and Rudy. From the first time Marty and Lola meet, make love, and find their relationship destroyed by secrets of her past, you will know where he stands. How will Marty get over losing the love of his life, knowing he will see her until he dies? Was helping Sharlyn live the decision putting him over the edge? 
Eugene portrays the image of uncaring, social misfit detached from the frivolous antics of society. What no one knows is how deep the longing of human companionship dwells within his soul. When Prisha is ripped from his life, without explanation or good-bye, he fails to recover from her deep brown eyes and irresistible challenge. Will he ever find the courage to connect again? 
Rudy fell from football superstar to forgotten paraplegic. Mourning the loss of his career is secondary to losing the ability to make love, father children, or play in the LockHim Room. Wanting his personal life back so badly, he’s willing to explore options putting him back in love’s game. But, is Lola the one he really wants? How will he know the difference between love and lust?


My first book published was, ironically, not the first book I wrote. On Ellicott Street – a feisty, loving, cougar romance novella- holds the honor of being my first published book. Finless, released second, was the result of years of blood, sweat, and tears. It’s a dark dance balancing between love, desire, and anger. My ideal reader allows me to take them to the edge of sanity, push limits, and support a sometimes simple protagonist just trying to get by in life. I have the same type characters in my explicit writing as well as my sweet or YA books-they just don’t use the “F” word or engage in overt sexuality. It doesn’t always take erotic descriptors of body parts/functions to get a point across. But, I will bring out the sexy when a mature story requires it. (wink)My newest series takes a twist on fantasy football and dating clubs. Split the Uprights is book one of the Fantasy League series. Books two and three are also available- A Game of Inches and Personal Fouls

My biggest challenge yet comes from the day to day living with rheumatoid arthritis, and other assorted health invaders coming along with the dastardly package. Autoimmune diseases affect over 23 million folks in the US alone, I hope to raise awareness, as well as money for research so someday, we can all view these chronic diseases in a rear view mirror.

“Don’t water the weeds in your life.”



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Julie Ann Walker’s HELL OR HIGH WATER & giveaway

Hi everyone! My name is Julie Ann Walker and I’m tickled pink to be here today talking about my BRAND SPANKING NEW romantic suspense series, Deep Six! It revolves around six newly retired Navy SEALs who just can’t seem to shake their past and the Navy SEAL motto that “the only easy day was yesterday.” Set in the Florida Keys, the series is filled with sun, sand, danger, intrigue, adventure, and plenty of half-dressed alpha hotties. LOL! Sound like a good time? I guarantee it is! And I guarantee you’re going to fall in love with these six men.

Take Leo “The Lion” Anderson. With his sun-streaked, sandy blond hair and perpetual tan — not to mention those hazel eyes and beard stubble — he’s sure to win your heart. And that’s before you get to his no-bullshit, take-command-of-any-situation attitude and the fact that he’s trying to fulfill his father’s dying wish.

Then there’s Brando “Bran” Pallidino. A native New Jerseyan, Bran grew up on the mean streets of Newark. He’s rough. He’s tough. And his Italian-American heritage means he comes complete with soulful brown eyes, a face that belongs on billboards, and a love for good food and good wine. (That last part means his beer-loving teammates give him a lot of grief. *wink*)

You won’t be able to resist Mason “Monet” McCarthy. As a boy from Beantown, Mason learned to use the F-bomb in really colorful ways. He’s big. He’s burly. He’s not the kind of guy you’d like to meet in a dark alley. Yet his thick black hair and crystal blue eyes soften what would otherwise be an entirely intimidating appearance.

Who doesn’t love a country boy? Dalton “Doc” Simmons was born and raised in Montana. He’s a lean, mean, fighting machine, with a face that’s all angles as if it’s been carved down to its barest essentials by a hot, stinging prairie wind. Doc has a tragic past. And he’s fighting to come to terms with it.

Next up is Ray “Wolf” Roanhorse. Wolf’s Cherokee heritage makes him strikingly handsome, with a blade of a nose, high cheekbones, flashing black eyes, and a lush, beautifully-shaped mouth. Born into poverty on a reservation in Oklahoma, Wolf has more than himself to worry about. He has his whole family depending on him. But if anyone can shoulder that burden, it’s Wolf.

And last but certainly not least, we have Spiro “Romeo” Delgado. Romeo likes to play up that whole Latin-lover thing. And with his swarthy skin, precisely trimmed goatee, and honed physique, he does a pretty good job of it. But that’s just what’s on the surface. Underneath it all, Romeo is desperately trying to make up for the mistakes of his past.

See? What did I tell you? You love them already, don’t you? Read on for a bonus scene from HELL OR HIGH WATER where you get to meet all of the Deep Six heroes!

Family isn’t only determined by blood, but by those who stand by you, fightin’ for you. By those you stand beside and fight for…

That was the thought that drifted through Leo “The Lion” Anderson’s head when he looked around the warped wooden table at his men. Correction—the minute those five wild-ass SEALs snapped their final salute to the Navy and followed him to the Florida Keys to join him on his quest for high seas adventure and the hunt for untold riches, they stopped being his men. But they would never stop being his family. If they all lived for a hundred years, the bonds of the blood, sweat, and tears they’d shed together would never come unbound. They were too strong, forged in the fiery crucible of too many wars and missions to count.

“Yo, man!” Brando “Bran” Pallidino leaned close to be heard above the twanging voice and guitar licks of the singer on the stage. The six of them had spent the day in Key West, gathering supplies and finishing up some repairs on Wayfarer I—the leaking, rusty salvage boat Leo had inherited from his father. And now they were enjoying beers and dinner at Schooner Wharf bar, the open-air establishment that saw more than its fair share of revelers, crusty sea captains, and miscreants who’d come to the end of the road in a bid to fall off the map completely. “That brunette in the yellow bikini top and flowery skirt over by the taps keeps giving you come-and-get-me-big-boy looks.”

Leo glanced at the woman and sure enough. Slam! Her gaze collided with his and there was a definite suggestion glowing in her big, dark eyes. “I think she wants you to poke her hontas,” Bran concluded.

Leo scowled at his best friend as a subtle breeze drifted in from the water, mixing the smells of fish and marine fuel with the sweeter aromas of boat drinks and barley hops that continuously flowed from behind the bar. “How long have you been keeping that little gem in your pocket?” he asked Bran.

“Came up with it just this minute.” Bran grinned, wiggling his eyebrows. “My mind,” he continued, “is as nimble and as fertile as a…”

Leo held up a hand. “Don’t finish that analogy. I can already guess what your mind is as nimble and as fertile as.”

“Personally,” Doc said from Leo’s opposite side, twirling the ever-present toothpick in his mouth in a wide circle, “I would have gone with, ‘I think she wants you to engage her in a little gland-to-gland combat.’” Dalton “Doc” Simmons had one of those tough Midwestern faces. But right now it was split in a gleeful grin that made him look almost boyish. It was damn good to see Doc smiling. For too many years he hadn’t.

“She wants you to rock her casbah!” Spiro “Romeo” Delgado piped up from across the table, never one to miss an opportunity to toss in his two bits.

“Churn her butter,” Ray “Wolf” Roanhorse added after plunking his Budweiser bottle down on the table. He turned and slow-winked at the bird in the yellow bikini. Leo watched the brunette’s eyes widen, her head cocking like a cat considering a canary. With his Cherokee heritage, Wolf was the embodiment of the original American warrior. His visage equally fierce and—according to the lady at the hardware store this morning—beautiful. She’d breathed the word while staring all googly-eyed at Wolf.

“And you?” Leo turned to the last remaining man at the table. “What ridiculous euphemism have you come up with tonight?”

Mason “Monet” McCarthy was as big as a mountain, and just as silent. Usually. But even he couldn’t resist joining in. “She wants you to rumble in her jungle,” he said. His south Boston accent making it sound more like rahmble inna jahngle.

And that’s the thing about family, Leo thought with a shake of his head as he slid on his aviator sunglasses despite the fact that the sun had slipped beneath the western horizon. One minute they’re standin’ with you against the world. The next minute they’re bustin’ your balls.

And he wouldn’t have it any other way. Especially since the good-natured ribbing, immature as it might be, was proof positive they were all slowly crawling out from under the thick blanket of mourning that had descended over them, heavy as a death shroud when—

“Yo, man,” Bran interrupted his thoughts. “You better stake your claim. If you don’t, Wolf’s gonna stake his.”

“He’s welcome to it,” Leo said, leaning back in his chair and picking at the label on his Budweiser with the edge of his thumbnail. “’Cause I’m takin’ a pass on this one.”

Bran groaned and took a long slug of his beer.

“What?” Leo demanded, frowning. “What’s that uuuugh for?”

“Just that I coulda guessed as much.” Bran shrugged a shoulder, his holey tank-top accentuating the strength and sinew of his bare arms. According to Bran, if the sun’s out, the guns are out. Bran’s unending supply of tank tops had become a running joke between all of them. Leo’s balls weren’t the only ones that received a regular busting. Every man’s in the group were fair game.

“And why would you have guessed as much?” he raised a brow.

Bran leveled him with a look that called into question the validity of his IQ tests. “You’re kidding me, right?”

“No,” Leo shook his head, feeling his temper flicker to life. What the hell was Bran getting at? Luckily—or unluckily?—he didn’t have to wait long to find out.

“It’s just that this seems to be your new modus operandus,” Bran said.

“What does?”

“Eschewing the soft ministration and willing company of bar bunnies,” Doc interjected.

Leo scowled over at him, then swung his gaze around to each man at the table. They all wore the same expression of agreement.

Okay, and this is one of those times I wish these assholes weren’t my family. Because he could certainly do without them being all up in his goddamn business.

“First off,” he said in his own defense, “after all that runnin’ around today, I’m too tired to sweat, much less do anything else. Secondly, when you start talkin’ bar bunnies, I only have one thought.”

“What’s that?” Wolf asked, only giving him half his attention. The other half was securely focused on Miss Yellow Bikini Top who, having quickly picked up the disinterest Leo was laying down, was now giving Wolf all her come-and-get-me-big-boy looks.

“Hippety hoppety herpes is on its way,” Leo said, his lips twitching when Wolf blanched and swung around to attempt to fry his eyebrows off with a look.

“You really know how to spoil it for those of us not currently hung up on…” Wolf trailed to a stop.

The hair on Leo’s head tried to crawl off his scalp. Wolf didn’t need to finish. Leo knew where he was heading. “I’m not hung up on anyone,” he insisted, disgusted to realize he was trying to convince himself more than the guys. An image of Special Agent Olivia Mortier flashed before his eyes. Black hair. Blue eyes. A slightly crooked front tooth that never failed to make his dick twitch. There was just something about that tooth. That tiny imperfection amidst so much beauty only seemed to enhance her appeal. Maybe because it made her real. A real, live, hot-blooded woman with a mind like a steel trap, a wit that was as sharp as a tack and—

Fuck. Maybe he was hung up on her. The wall he’d built up in his mind, the one that was supposed to keep memories of her at bay, was proving frustratingly weak.

“If that’s what you have to tell yourself, cabron,” Romeo said.

Leo sat there, a muscle twitching in his jaw. He refused to respond for nearly thirty seconds. He knew it was thirty seconds because he calculated that for every two seconds that passed he came up with a new way to assassinate the men at the table. He’d totaled out at fifteen.

“You should see your face,” Doc said, the salty sea breeze causing the ends of his shaggy hair to riot. “You look like someone shoved a cactus up your ass.”

“And yo, man,” Bran slung an arm around his shoulders, “there’s no reason to get all hot under the collar.”

“The only reason my collar is hot is ’cause your sweaty arm is around it,” Leo grumbled, shrugging off Bran’s brotherly embrace and taking a hasty swig of beer. Thoughts of Olivia always made him feel punchy. Talking about her, even obliquely, made him feel…something. It was like if horny and confused got together with uncomfortable and had a threesome his current emotional state would be the unholy offspring of the encounter.

“I was born on a farm where we used lots of fertilizer,” Doc said, seemingly apropos of nothing.

Leo turned to him. “And that’s relevant to this because…?” He made a rolling motion with his hand.

“Because it means I know bullshit when I smell it.”

Bran grabbed his belly, crowing like the idiot he was. “You shoulda known better than to ask, bro.”

Leo was considering the most painful way to wipe the grin from Bran’s face when Mason said, “You fuckers need to back the fuck off and leave him the fuck alone.” The man rarely spoke, but when he did his sentences were littered with F-bombs. Mason once told them that was the Southie way. The word fuck could be used as every part of speech: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs…

“Of course you’re the one to jump to his defense when it comes to rebuffing the babes,” Bran scoffed.

“Now what the fuck’s that supposed to mean?” Mason demanded, the vein running up the center of his forehead beginning to pulse.

“How long has it been since—”

Leo figured he better cut Bran off before he went any further. Number one, because Leo could see the bull’s eye was about to slide off his chest and attach itself to Mason’s. And since Mason had come to his rescue…well, then turn about was fair play. And number two, because Leo knew just how much talk of Mason’s past—and the effect Mason’s past was still having on his present—bothered him. “Gentleman,” he said, “I think it’s best of we table this topic of conversation.”

To his great delight, right at that moment their waitress appeared with a tray laden with chicken wings and conch fritters, two of Key West’s official delicacies. “And speakin’ of tables, wait ’til you see what’s about to be laid on ours.”

With a flourish the waitress unloaded the tray. She’d barely stepped back before the feeding frenzy began. As the flavor of buffalo sauce mixed with hops and barley on Leo’s tongue, he once again looked around at the five men who’d been with him through thick and thin. The five men who’d bugged out of the Navy with him after they all made that soul-shaking promise to a dying brother to start living life.

Ones that weren’t filled with death and destruction. These meatheads might be a constant pain in Leo’s ass, but they also happened to be a constant comfort and an unending source of entertainment.

Like family, his mind circled back to its original topic. And it gave him a sense of peace. A sense of contentment. A sense of…urgency. Because they were all depending on him to come through with the big score. He felt the weight of that responsibility as surely as an anchor chain around his shoulders. They’d all made that promise, and now it was up to him to help them make good on it.

Letting his gaze skim out over the marina, he watched as the boats bobbed gently with the tide. Their metal fittings caught the rays of the full moon and glinted as sweetly as the treasure Leo and the guys were ready to start hunting. The Santa Cristina, that legendary ghost galleon, the holy grail of sunken Spanish shipwrecks…she was out there. Somewhere.

And come hell or high water, we’re goin’ to find her…


Title: Hell or High Water

Author: Julie Ann Walker

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Series: Deep Six, Book #1

Only two things could make former Navy SEAL Leo Anderson return to the world of weapons and warfare. First, a capsule of chemical weapons lost on the ocean floor, and second, a plea for assistance from the one woman he can’t seem to forget-CIA Agent Olivia Mortier.

Now, working together to race against the clock and a deadly terrorist faction, Leo and Olivia must find the missing capsule, all the while battling the intense desire burning between them. If they can survive, can their growing attraction become more than just a momentary flare?

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Julie Ann Walker is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of award-winning romantic suspense. She has won the Book Buyers Best Award, been nominated for the National Readers Choice Award, the Australian Romance Reader Awards, and the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA award. Her latest release was named a Top Ten Romance of 2014 by Booklist. Her books have been described as “alpha, edgy, and downright hot.” Most days you can find her on her bicycle along the lake shore in Chicago or blasting away at her keyboard, trying to wrangle her capricious imagination into submission.

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In my release, Vivian, Lady Beresford, is attending her first masquerade ball. Unbeknownst to her Rupert, Lord Stanstead, after having decided he wishes to marry her, arranged for her invitation and is prepared to take full advantage of the situation.

Vivian appeared confused as Rupert held her closer than proper as they made the turn. His knee pushed briefly between her legs, and a light gasp escaped her lips. He grinned; she was responding to him physically, as she had intellectually, just as he wanted. She had to have recognized him as well. He was positive she would not allow another gentleman to take such liberties.

She trembled slightly as he slid his hand from her small waist to the top of her buttocks. Their small talk was forced, as if they truly were strangers, and when the set ended, instead of trying to find her cousin, he grabbed one glass of champagne for the two of them and gave it to her. “Drink.”

She took two small sips before Rupert plucked the glass from Vivian’s fingers, drained it, then tucked her hand in the crook of his arm and headed for the balcony. “Come with me. I want to stand up with you again, feel you in my arms.”

Vivian hesitated. “The dance floor is the other way.”

I know.” The last few days of being in her presence, and always with others, had decided him. She was his, and this evening he would not share her. It was past time she was made to realize how he felt, how much he wanted and desired her.

Rupert placed his lips close to her ear. “I wish to be alone with you.”

Her eyes widened in surprise. “You do?”

Lady Beresford’s Lover Blurb

Ella Quinn’s bachelors are quite sure of what they want in life—and love—until the right woman opens their eyes…

After a painful heartbreak, Rupert, the handsome young Earl of Stanstead, has decided that when it comes to love, avoidance is best. Until he meets a woman who makes him forget his plan—and remember his longing for a wife and family. Yet he senses that she too has been hurt, though she attempts to hide her feelings—and more—in the most baffling and alluring way. Intrigued, Rupert is willing to play along, if winning her is the prize…

Crushed by her late husband’s scorn, Vivian, Countess of Beresford, believes she is monstrously undesirable. Sadly childless, she has moved to London resigned to a solitary life. Still, when she encounters Rupert at a masquerade ball, her disguise as Cleopatra emboldens her. Convinced he doesn’t recognize her, she begins an after-hours affair with him, always in costume—while allowing him to innocently court the real her by day. But when Rupert makes a shocking choice, will Vivian be able to handle the truth?…

Available at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble 

Bestselling author Ella Quinn’s studies and other jobs have always been on the serious side. Reading historical romances, especially Regencies, were her escape. Eventually her love of historical novels led her to start writing them. She has just finished her first series, The Marriage Game, and her new series will start in April 2016.

She is married to her wonderful husband of over thirty years. They have a son and granddaughter, one cat and a dog. After living in the South Pacific, Central America, North Africa, England and Europe, she and her husband decided to make their dreams come true and are now living on a sailboat cruising the Caribbean and North America.

Ella is a member of the Romance Writers of American, The Beau Monde and Hearts Through History. She is represented by Elizabeth Pomada of Larsen-Pomada Literary Agency, and published by Kensington.




Blog http://ellaquinnauthor.wordpresscom


WELCOME TO FAT CHANCE, TEXAS & switching genres with Celia Bonaduce

WELCOME TO FAT CHANCE, TEXAS is my fourth book, so while I’m still a writer with lots to learn, I did feel a little more confident when I started to tackle this one. For my first three books, a trilogy called THE VENICE BEACH ROMANCES – my “process” went something like this: I’d choose a theme I wanted to write about, then spend about a month or so thinking of characters, plot twists and jotting down ideas. Then I would create my storyline and finally, start to write. I assumed that now I had a writer-ly routine, it would be business as usual.

It wasn’t.

First of all, I was switching genres – moving from “romance” to “women’s fiction”. While the romantic comedy angle would still be paramount, this meant I was creating a storyline with a little more meat on its bones. The theme of WELCOME TO FAT CHANCE, TEXAS is complex. I wanted to explore the question – “Is there any possible way to pursue the American Dream in today’s society?” – but keep things light and funny and make sure the romance remained center-stage. I was more than a little nervous. Let’s face it, the concept of The American Dream – the philosophy in which prosperity and success is achieved through hard work – is hardly a laugh riot. I wasn’t even sure what the answer would be.

I started thinking and jotting, thinking and jotting…for a month…then two months…then three months. Finally, I felt I had enough components to put the story down on paper…well, on computer screen.

In my first three books, I had a firm grasp on my characters – I told them what to do, but in WELCOME T FAT CHANCE, TEXAS, I gave my characters more freedom. I had to listen to what they had to say. Even though I made up everything in this novel, my characters took me on one excursion after another, finally convincing me that the American Dream is still an attainable goal.


For champion professional knitter Dymphna Pearl, inheriting part of a sun-blasted ghost town in the Texas hill country isn’t just unexpected, it’s a little daunting. To earn a cash bequest that could change her life, she’ll have to leave California to live in tiny, run-down Fat Chance for six months—with seven strangers. Impossible! Or is it?

Trading her sandals for cowboy boots, Dymphna dives into her new life with equal parts anxiety and excitement. After all, she’s never felt quite at home in Santa Monica anyway. Maybe Fat Chance will be her second chance. But making it habitable is going take more than a lasso and Wild West spirit. With an opinionated buzzard overlooking the proceedings and mismatched strangers learning to become friends, Dymphna wonders if unlocking the secrets of her own heart is the way to strike real gold…


Celia Bonaduce is a producer on HGTV’s House Hunters. She is the author of the Venice Beach Romances and lives in Santa Monica, CA, with her husband in a beautiful, “no-pets” building. She wishes she could say she has a dog. You can contact Celia at

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