Come visit with me on Collette Cameron's blog today! I have an interview up along with some fun info on Highland Escape. I think the word 'GIVEAWAY' is involved! :-)
MJ Compton Bio
MJ Compton grew up near Cardiff, New York, a place best known for its giant, which turned out to be a fiction so incredible, PT Barnum himself borrowed it. That’s a tough act to follow, but MJ tried—by composing her own stories.
Although her 30-year career in local television included such highlights as being bitten by a lion, preempting a US President for a college basketball game, giving a three-time world champion boxer a few black eyes, a mention in the Drudge Report, and meeting her husband, MJ’s urge to create her own stories never went away.
MJ still lives in upstate New York with her husband. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and Central New York Romance Writers. Music and cooking are two of her passions, and she enjoys baseball and college basketball, but she’s primarily focused on wine . . . and writing.
THE DELTA (AND RELUCTANT) HERO
By MJ Compton
Fleshing out Stoker Smith, hero of my new release, AND JERICHO BURNED, was a bit of a challenge. You see, he’s a werewolf. And werewolves, as opposed to the general population, are very alpha. Stoker is intimidating, dominating, and confident: all signs of alpha maleness. And yet, he’s not an alpha male. At least, not in his pack. He’s delta. A real middle of the pack kind of guy.
He has no desire to lead anything, mostly because leading would involve thinking and making decisions, and he has many more important things to do than clutter his brain with details other people are more qualified to ponder. Mostly he likes to compose music. He co-writes most of the songs performed by Toke Lobo & The Pack, the country band his pack alpha started. When he meets Lucy Callahan, heroine of the book, even making music takes a backseat to wanting to take her home and start making babies with her. His ultimate bliss is within reach--except for one or two things.
First of all, there’s Lucy. Lucy thinks. She plots and strategizes, and even failure doesn’t stop her from doing it again. Stoker knows he should be flattered when the pack alphas listen to her, because that’s an honor, but he and Lucy are delta. Deltas don’t think. His mate needs to learn that.
Then there’s her sister, Michelle, who is now part of his family. He promised Lucy he’d get Michelle away from that heavily-armed religious cult she joined. The pack alphas don’t want to hear that, so he has to deal with it himself. And while he’s capable, he’d much rather be led.
Except when someone hurts Lucy. Revenge is his and his alone. And that’s what makes it a romance.
Website & Blog www.comptonplations.com
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/MJ-Compton/e/B00J9DFFIG/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
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First let me say, Wow! What a cover!
OK, now that that's out of the way, let me introduce my guest author.
Marilyn Baxter is a long-time friend and fellow author. Her latest book, Direct Deposit, a contemporary romance, just released in January.
So, Marilyn, it’s great to have you here today. Could you please tell us a bit about yourself?
MB: I’m a Southern girl who has lived all over the South in addition to living in Germany for four years. I’m a mom and a grandmother, and as much as I love my sons, being a Grammy is THE best gig in the world! After years of shopping in the boys department, now I get to shop in the pink section! It’s been such fun to have granddaughters. I also work as an administrative assistant for a family law firm. I think it’s ironic my heroine is an attorney who specializes in family law, and I wrote this book years before I had any up close and personal experience with family law. The Universe has a real sense of humor!
CMR: Tell us a bit about your newest book.
MB: Direct Deposit is about banks and withdrawals and deposits – but not the financial kind. The heroine is a widow who put off having children and decides she wants to use a sperm donor to have a child. The hero was her late husband’s business partner who made a promise to look in on his friend’s wife after his death to make sure no one took advantage of her and she didn’t do anything crazy in her grief. When he learns she wants to make a withdrawal from a sperm bank, he’s stunned. But what he does next … well, you’ll have to read the book to find out. ;-)
CMRL What was your inspiration for this story?
MB: One day this headline popped up in my news feed: Seeking Sperm, Not Sex, Online. I was intrigued and read more. The story told about women who were looking at online sperm banks rather than going to a doctor’s office.
CMR: That is certainly interesting. What kind of research did you do?
MB: I read the information on online sperm bank websites (and yes, there are a lot of them!) and also asked lots of questions of a writer friend who is an attorney. My biggest challenge was finding a situation where a pregnancy could legally put a woman’s job in jeopardy. My attorney friend came up with the solution. I have learned that people love to share information about their professions with you, and the online writing community is especially helpful. And in addition to my sperm bank and legal research, there was a research trip to Atlanta. Going to Tiffany’s was SUCH a hardship. NOT!
CMR: How did you decide on the setting? Have you ever been there?
MB: I wanted the story set in a large city and I’m familiar enough with Atlanta that I set it there. I’ve been to Atlanta on numerous occasions, but about a month after I finished this book, my sister and I met in Atlanta and went to all the places I’d used in the book. Her son had attended college at Georgia Tech, so she was a font of information on the city.
CMR: It sounds like you enjoyed researching your book. How long have you been writing?
MB: I’ve been writing for about ten years. I began writing for the confessions magazines and had success with that. But I longed to write stories where the characters had a happy ending, and in 2008 I finished my first full-length book, which is the one just released.
CMR: That is quite a varied career. What do you enjoy most about writing?
MB: Truthfully? Typing The End is my favorite part. It means I have planned, worked the plan and achieved it. Then I start all over again and work toward another end.
CMR: I know what you mean. The story itself is so much fun, but there is a great sense of accomplishment and resolution to write THE END. So, What draws you to contemporary genre?
MB: I like the here and now and characters who face today’s problems and issues. I sure have to do enough research to make sure my facts are correct, so I have a great deal of respect for historical writers such as you who have to not only craft a plot and create characters but set them in a different time and make sure you don’t have them make coffee in a Keurig and wear Crocs. ;-)
CMR: LOL! Exactly! Such a tricky minefield, sometimes to keep historical anachronisms at bay. What surprises did you uncover as these characters and story developed?
MB: My hero was a real bad boy in his youth and while he had become a responsible adult, he still had a smart mouth and a never-gonna-settle-down attitude. To watch him change from a guy whose girlfriends changed as often as the marquee on a movie theater to someone who took on responsibility was such fun.
CMR: Oh, that does sound like fun. And I simply love the interaction between Maddie and Jack! Before we get to the excerpt (which is completely awesome, btw) is there anything you’d like to add?
MB: Direct Deposit is available in digital format from all the major online retailers and will come out in print on demand shortly. This is the book of my heart, and I hope folks enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
CMR: I am sure we will. It just got bumped up on my TBR list!
Thanks so much for being here today! It has been such fun chatting with you. Best of luck with your books!
Family law attorney Maddie Prescott is driven to succeed. A pawn in her parents’ messy divorce, she devoted her career to representing children in court, and when her husband’s early death makes it seem like she can’t have it all, she’s ready to beat the odds by going to a sperm bank. One advantage to single parenthood is that her child will never be a pawn. That, and she’ll never have to deal with sarcastic ladies’ men or liars.
Jack Worth promised to look out for his dying best friend’s wife: a small repayment for someone who once helped an irredeemable bad boy find the path to happiness. So, while Maddie Prescott’s baby plans are questionable, duty and loyalty prompt Jack first to volunteer as the sperm donor…and then to propose a marriage of convenience. And the more he gets to know her, the more this onetime player will see that Maddie is the woman of his dreams, and that the child they will make deserves to be from a direct deposit.
It’s time to move on, Jack,” she told him. “And I think it’s time we stopped these monthly pity parties. We struggle to carry on polite conversation. I choke on every bite of food. You sit there feeling sorry for me. I’ve made some decisions in the last few weeks that will move my life in a new direction. I only hope you’re able to do the same.”
“Is that what the sperm canister is all about?”
Water spewed everywhere.
“How...” Her cheeks burned from embarrassment.
“The letter behind your phone. You aren’t seriously considering going to a sperm bank are you?”
Maddie pushed away from the table and picked up her plate, heading toward the kitchen. “And if I am, what makes it your business?” Chagrin replaced the previous awkwardness.
Jack followed, juggling his plate in one hand as he nudged open the door to the kitchen with his elbow.
“What the hell are you thinking? You’re going to get yourself knocked up by some total stranger so you can play Mommy?” He took her plate and scraped it into the sink.
“No one is knocking me up as you so charmingly put it.” She crossed her arms and leaned against the counter. “The procedure is done in an office by a doctor and—”
“I know how the hell it’s done.”
“Oh? I wasn’t aware The Playboy Channel televised medical documentaries.”
“I watch The Learning Channel, too. Surprised?” He loaded the dishwasher while she looked on in amazement. “What? I’m housebroken. I’m not Emeril, but I cook a mean meatloaf and mashed potatoes.” He squirted dish gel in the dispenser. “From scratch,” he added.
“Quite honestly, nothing about you would surprise me, Jack. What did surprise me was my husband being in business with you. You were as different as… as…”
“Champagne and beer?” he suggested as he rinsed the sink. “Caviar and hot dogs? You and me?”
“You got that right.” Maddie lifted her chin defiantly.
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Today I have author Carole Ann Moleti here to talk about her book, The Widow's Walk, and offer a book giveaway!
Hi, Carole! It’s great to have you here today. And welcome to Soul Mate Publishing.
Thanks, Cathy. I'm so happy to be involved with such a dynamic and diverse group of authors. And friendly ones, too. And I'd like to invite both my new and old readers to leave a comment or ask a question. I'll pick a winner at random and send them a copy of The Widow's Walk.
How long have you been writing?
I've been writing bad poetry and political rants for as long as I can recall. During my early academic days, I was so bored with scholarly writing I didn't want to write a shopping list. But I never lost my love of reading—especially romance, fantasy, and science fiction. But I still write op-ed, opinion pieces, personal essays—and I 've written two memoirs, one about my professional life and the other about being a mom.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
In 2005, I had this very odd experience. After watching a film that glorified violence against women, I decided I was going to write a novel to put things right. Got to Chapter 7 before I realized I had no clue what I was doing. So I started taking classes and networking with other authors. I still take writing classes and am continually learning new skills and techniques. I am inspired by everyday life, and no matter how much I swear I'm not going to do it, I find myself writing fiction and non fiction with parallel themes simultaneously. It's a way to cope with the craziness of life.
What draws you to the paranormal romance genre?
Living in New York City is a paranormal or otherworldly experience. I mean, where else can I go that sometimes makes me feel like Mos Isly Cantina from Star Wars? The subway experience has inspired more than one zombie story. I wrote an entire urban fantasy novel about the neighborhood in which I work. One day, driving to the day job, this guy was walking alongside the Cross Bronx Expressway stark naked and at full attention, if you know what I mean. Other than a few honks, no one but the cops stopped.
My grandmother used to give me all the bodice ripper romance novels she'd read. And I was a Catholic schoolgirl so I devoured them. I'm also a scientist, a biologist, so I love the speculative genres. I remember reading The Andromeda Strain and The Arm of the Starfish when I was very young. So, put it all together so you get a lot of medical stuff, mixed in with romance and urban fantasy—and always a political statement in there somewhere. My heroines are feisty. Cross genre on a New York City high.
What was your inspiration for The Widow’s Walk?
As with most of my writing, ideas come to me at the oddest times. I was at our summer cottage in Upstate New York, pulling dustcovers off furniture and vacuuming up mouse poop and dead flies. All of a sudden, I decided to write a story about a woman finding a trunk of old clothes. Those two scenes were the beginning of the Unfinished Business Series. I wrote what was to become Breakwater Beach that Fourth of July weekend. Missed all the parties. My husband was so pissed off, but when you get that kind of inspiration you run with it. It had to be Victorian. I seriously think I lived a previous life back then—always fascinated with the clothing, the customs. I even have my dining room decorated with Victorian era antique furniture.
How did you decide on the setting? Have you been there?
I have been spending summers on Cape Cod all my life, and just love it there. Particularly Brewster, where the series is set. I grew up on the Bronx waterfront, which some people find hard to believe even exists, but it is so beautiful, with the East River framed by the Throggs Neck and Whitestone Bridges. My grandfather, uncles and father took me fishing and taught me how to swim and sail. So writing about beaches, and bridges, and boats and the beauty—and absolute fury --that the water can unleash during a storm is so natural. If you look really deeply into the male characters, you'll see a composite of my Dad, grandfather, and uncles who had such an influence on me and provided so much love, stability, and encouragement in what was a very turbulent time to be growing up female, and as The Bronx burned down around us.
Tell us how you arrived at Soul Mate Publishing.
I met Debby Gilbert at the Connecticut Romance Writers of America Chapter Fiction Fest. She loved the premise of The Widow's Walk and asked me to send it to her. I heard back in about a month that she wanted to publish it. I've been writing this series since that Fourth of July weekend in 2007, so I was thrilled.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
As I mentioned, the first part of the series was a novella called Breakwater Beach, published in Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts. I have novelized it, and hope it will be joining The Widow's Walk on the bookshelves next year. I have also outlined what will be the third book in the series, with a working title of Storm Watch. A hurricane on a scale between Sandy and Katrina is headed for the Cape—and the eye is going to pass right over Brewster and The Barrett Inn.
I've lived thorough many a hurricane and Nor'easter. In fact, I wrote the hospital scene in The Widow's Walk by the light of a battery powered lantern on my Alphasmart Neo after Hurricane Irene knocked our power out for a week back in 2011. I've also been working on an urban fantasy series called Boulevard of Bad Spells and Broken Dreams—about a witch who returns from exile in Puerto Rico to face her past and find the arsonists that murdered her family.
Thank you so much for being here today! It has been a lot of fun getting to know you. Best of luck with your new release!
Thanks for having me, Cathy. And don't forget about the giveaway, folks!
Mike and Liz Keeny are newlyweds, new parents, and the proprietors of the Barrett Inn, an 1875 Victorian on Cape Cod, which just happens to be haunted. By their own ghosts. The Inn had become an annex of Purgatory, putting Mike, Liz, and their infant son in danger. Selling the historic seaside bed and breakfast was the only answer, one that Liz and her own tortured specter refused to consider. Were they doomed to follow the same path that led to disaster in their previous lives? Was getting out, getting away, enough?
Silk rustled as she ran her hands over the dress. The lavender scent deepened as Elisabeth swirled around inside. Her mind went numb as the ghost took control. She slipped out of her clothes and stood naked in front of the mirror. She put up her hair, preening for her husband, before she stepped into the middle of the deep green skirts and pulled them up over her waist, slipped her arms into the sleeves, and twisted them behind her back to fasten the buttons. She used the buttonhook to do up the shoes, then peered out into the hallway.
Liz bundled the sweat suit into her arms, along with the soap and paper goods, and hurried to the attic door. It wasn't until she placed her hand on the banister and started up the steep staircase to the roof that Elisabeth's needling eased. Like an addict in the throes of withdrawal, just the promise of being up there, her spirit communing with the long lost sea captain, offered relief.
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Buy link: myBook.to/TWW
Good morning! Today’s visiting author is Karen Lopp. Her novel, Splintered Lies, debuted on Amazon May 21! Let’s start with the cover blurb for this contemporary romantic suspense, and then we’ll have a chat!
Detective Rissa Marten sacrificed her only chance for a normal life to put a drug lord behind bars. Now, her life in the shadows has to be brought to life to save the man she has secretly loved for years. With a price on her head can she risk letting him know?
Detective Jerah Qassem has built his career as an undercover agent in the dangerous world of drug cartels. But when a ghost from his past is resurrected can he overcome his bitterness in time to save her life?
CMR: Hi, Karen! It’s great to have you here today. How long have you been writing?
Karen: About 6 years
CMR: What do you enjoy most about writing?
Karen: I love bringing characters to life and giving readers an adventure.
CMR: I see you write both Western Historical Romance and Contemporary Romantic Suspense. What draws you to those genres?
Karen: My first love is history, particularly the old west since I have lots of roots in its history and live out here. But some of the things I want to write about just don’t fit into a historical novel. With action and suspense second on my list of favorites, it was a natural fit to delve into Romantic Suspense.
CMR: What, if any, differences between these two genres do you write into your heroes?
Karen: There isn’t much difference because I strive to make the hero worthy and those traits work in any genre or time period. The main difference would be the morals of the day and what is and isn’t accepted.
CMR: How about your heroines?
Karen: There is more of a difference here because of the laws and perceptions of women in historical times so I must be careful to not make my historical heroines too modern in their thinking and I try to avoid any preachiness about those issues. It was what it was so I work within those parameters.
CMR: Tell us a bit about your newest book, Splintered Lies.
Karen: It is a story about a woman who has had to live under the threat of assignation from a drug cartel she gave witness against. She must learn that not everyone is out to get her and not everyone will betray her. With some intense action and a man who refuses to give her up it is fast paced and a little steamy.
CMR: Sounds intriguing! What was your inspiration for this story?
Karen: Living only four hours from the boarder of Mexico we are very aware of the drug smuggling issues and the violence that accompanies it. But my main inspiration hit me with the hero’s name (Jerah). He just fit the profile of what I wanted and the rest came easily.
CMR: What kind of research did you have to do for this contemporary romantic suspense?
Karen: I had to learn about drugs, the smuggling of drugs, and looked into drug cartels. I did some research into police procedures and some medical situations. I also did research into some towns in Mexico and the weather patterns for the seasons.
CMR: How did you decide on the setting? Have you ever been there?
Karen: I decided on San Diego for two reasons, the proximity to Mexico and a seaside city. Both were integral to my story.
Yes I have been to San Diego a few times.
CMR: Which character was the easiest to write? Why?
Karen: Jerah. I always seem to find it easier to write the hero.
CMR: What surprises did you uncover as these characters and story developed?
Karen: I don’t really have surprises, because I get to know my characters quite well before I start a story and generally I know which direction the story will go in.
CMR: In Splintered Lies, we have a hero who believes the woman he once loved is dead, and a heroine who must expose her hidden life to save the man she secretly fell in love with years ago. It sounds like they may have a hard time working together. Let’s read an excerpt:
Feet aching and jaw cramped from the effort to keep her teeth from chattering, Rissa shuffled down the dark street on the outskirts of Ensenada. Rain pummeled the ground and debris bumped into her ankles as the water rushed along the road. Afraid to look down at what swirled at their feet, she sloshed beside Jerah.
“See a bridge yet?”
“No. But one of these streets has to have one.”
The next street did have one and they hurried across as the normally dry creek bed swelled with roiling, muddy water, various sizes of tree limbs, and a good amount of trash. Shivers shook her. Not even the little warmth of Jerah’s arm around her shoulders helped. It was probably a good thing she could no longer feel how sore and raw her feet were.
A few blocks over, they came to the tourist section of town and jogged the last bit to the closest hotel. Rissa shoved drenched tresses from her face and shook water from her shaking hands. A puddle pooled at her feet and made the tile floor slick as she struggled to unwind the tattered remains of material from her feet.
Jerah trotted over with a key. “Come on, let’s get warmed up.” Mischief gleamed in his eyes in spite of his blue lips.
“Then we find some food.” She hurried down the hall as water dribbled down her legs and shivers rattled her bones.
“Already done. I bribed the desk clerk to send up some food.” He pushed the door open and waved her inside.
Rissa dashed to the bathroom and turned the hot water on full force. With a sigh, she stepped in the tub and let the warm water flow over her. Jerah followed.
“What are you doing?”
“Hey, I’m just as frozen as you.” He stripped his soaked shirt off and tossed it over the rod. Next came his slacks and shoes. “This feels good.”
Not much imagination needed now. Dark hair clung to his chest as water coursed over him. His maroon briefs hugged his hips. She jerked her gaze up and turned to face the white tiled wall. The old rejection he delivered all those years ago slammed into her and Rissa shivered.
“Sorry, didn’t mean to hog the water.” He stepped to the side.
The steamy water didn’t come close to warming her soul.
“Want me to help you out of that dress?”
“No.” Fingers fisted, she glared at her toes. Keep it together girl. She blew out a breath and straightened her shoulders. All she had to do was get back to San Diego, finger the perp, and disappear. Shove her rekindled desire for Jerah aside. Rissa slapped the wall.
“It’ll be okay, babe.” Feather light kisses caressed her shoulder as Jerah ran his hands up and down her arms.
A groan worked its way up her throat. His touch electrified her. Teased her. Tormented her.
She shrugged his hands off. “I agreed to play in public, not private.”
“Yeah, I know.” Weariness loaded his tone. “You did a great job. I only meant to comfort you.”
Uncurling her fingers, Rissa knew she had to push Jerah away or she’d succumb to his seductive touch. Everyone she had ever dared to love was dead. She only had to express interest in a man and he’d soon be residing in a coffin. Watching Jerah die was not an option. “Just keep your hands to yourself. Carl isn’t here.”
“You can have the damn shower to yourself.” With a jerk on the curtain and a waft of cool air, Jerah exited the tub.
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CMR: Karen, is there anything you’d like to add?
Karen: I want to thank you for hosting me today on your wonderful blog.
CMR: It was wonderful having you here, today. Thanks so much for the chat! It has been a lot of fun getting to know you. Best of luck with your books!