Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentines-Day-Books-1I thought I’d share a few of my top Ten favorite Romance Novelists. There is a pattern here.  Most of them write historical and are either on my auto-buy list or I re-read them over and over.   They are however in no particular order.

Johanna Lindsey – I have a few Johanna Lindsey books I read over and over. “Defy Not the Heart”, “say you Love Me” and “Love me Forever”  I had to purchase Nook versions because I’d worn out the covers so bad.

Catherine Coulter – I cut my teeth on Ms. Coulter’s Regencies.  I’m not as much of a fan of her FBI series, because hey I like Historicals.  A few of my favorites are “Sherbrooke Bride” and “Midsummer Magic”.

KY BrideHannah Howell – I binged and have purchased the Entire Murray Clan Series, but my truly favorite Hannah Howell book remain’s “Kentucky Bride”.




Cathy MaxwelCathy Maxwell – Cathy Maxwell makes me cry in the very best way.  She has some stories where such sacrifices are made you can feel it.  Hence the crying.  I don’t have a particular favorite and have read them over and over, all I can say is keep them coming Ms. Maxwell, keep them coming.



indexTessa Dare – The first book I picked up by Tessa Dare was “When a Scot Ties a Knot”. Loved it, and was then forced to play catch up when it was the 3rd book in her “Castles Ever After Series” which lead me back to her “Spinster Cove Series”.  Ms. Dare has the right amount of heat in her stories that make me search out Mr. Holland.  So he’s a fan as well.  🙂

Maddy Barone – Maddy Barone writes a post-apocalyptic werewolf series, “After the Crash” which I  adore.  A few of my Read over and overs are “Wolf Tracker”, “Wolf’s Oath” and “Wolf’s Vengence”.  Thank god I have digital copies of these.


Kristen Callihan – I remember I was traveling for work and I was looking for something to read in my hotel room and purchased “Firelight” for 99cents.  Then began my binging of her “Darkest London” series.


Bec McMasterBec McMaster – I was waiting for the next Kristen Callihan book to come out when  I noticed on my Nook, people who bought “Firelight” bought “Kiss of Steel”, so I did and then proceeded to binge read her “Steampunk London” series.






Deborah Blake – I love the “People who bought” feature on my Nook.  While waiting for the Baba Yaganext Kristen Callihan book or maybe it was the next Bec McMaster Book, I found Deborah Blake’s “Baba Yaga” series.  And subsequently fell in love with her “Broken Riders”




13273736Beverly Jenkins – I picked up Beverly Jenkins up at the Library on Audio Book and listened to “Indigo” on my daily commute.  Now I read her books as they come out. 🙂  It’s funny but I really dug the historical knowledge she put in her books, and found myself telling people, “Did you know the underground railroad did this and this.” Thank you, Ms. Beverly, for reminding me why I fell in love with the Historical Romance Genre.

Happy Valentine’sDay!  I hope you have a wonderful and teriffic day and curl up with a good romance.   I know I will.


AuThursday – Gail Ward Olmsted



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Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I spent my career in the field of marketing in the telecom industry and have now been teaching Marketing and Consumer Behavior at the college level for more than twenty years. I have been married to the love of my life for over thirty years, have two adult children (a daughter and a son) and two cats. I didn’t start my writing career until after AARP came calling. It’s been a wonderful life!!

How do you make time to write?

I really enjoy writing, so a better question for me is: how do you make time for anything other than writing? I also enjoy my day job- I have my summers free and I try to balance time with my husband, kids and our friends. We moved to a house on a lake a couple of years ago and do a lot of boating and entertaining. Multitasking works for me. I read while on a treadmill, listen to books during my commute and knit while watching TV with one or more cats on my lap. I don’t sleep all that much or clean my house or cook very often. My family would probably say that I didn’t clean or cook very much even before I started writing and they’re probably right!

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Sure, it happens but I usually work through it fairly quickly. My writing time is limited, so if I’m stuck on something, I will read over what I’ve already written or do some research to get through it. If you sneak a peak at my search history, you would see just how crazy I truly am. Recent searches include: covers of Tiger Beat magazines over the past 20 years, signs of Erotomania (fans stalking celebrities) symptoms of clinical depression and life on the Upper East side of Manhattan. I love Google!!

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.

I write contemporary romance, which I absolutely love. There are no rules in dating these days, which is so refreshing. I grew up in a time where my friends and I spent hours waiting by the phone for a certain boy to call us. What a waste of time and opportunity! I like to write strong women characters, who don’t spend much time sitting around and waiting for anyone. A common theme of mine is second chances because I believe that we all deserve a second or even third chance at a ‘happy ever after’. When I wrote JEEP TOUR, I truly wasn’t sure until I was 2/3 of the way through whether my main character Jackie would ‘get the guy’ or a different guy or end up blissfully single. Any of these would have been satisfying endings.

How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)

Second Guessing is my 4th novel. I decided to seek a traditional publisher and was thrilled when Roane Publishing offered to sign me. In 2014, I self-pubbed my first book JEEP TOUR. The following year, I went with hybrid publisher Booktrope for publishing my second book Guessing at Normal and they also re-repubbed JEEP TOUR. They went out of business shortly before publishing my third title Driving on the Left. So I regained my rights and self-pubbed all three titles. In less than 4 years, I’ve experienced self-publication, hybrid publishing and now a traditional form of publishing. I have to say I truly enjoy the support I get from the Roane team.

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?

I’m an Extrovert so I truly enjoy readings, signings and book club appearances. That being said, I also enjoy the solitude of writing quite a bit as well. I try to find a healthy balance which keeps me somewhat sane.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

Do something now and do exactly the right thing later. What this means to me is- don’t wait for the perfect opportunity to do something. If you can’t make time to prepare a home-cooked meal for a sick friend, call for takeout or send a card. Don’t wait to lose that final five pounds to buy that dress you’ve been wanting. If it’s on sale, buy it now! If you don’t have the whole morning free to hit the gym, take a walk around the block. If you don’t have unlimited hours to devote to writing, take the hour you do have and get the most out of it that you can. If I waited for the perfect opportunity to do anything, I would waste so much time. You’ve just got to make the most of what you do have instead of wishing for more or better. I sound like a Nike ad- just do it!

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write often. Talk to other writers. Listen to how people really talk and watch how they react to things. Join a group on FB or an actual writing group. Study what’s selling in your genre. Get feedback. Don’t quit your day job. Develop a really thick skin. Don’t expect your friends and family to be your biggest fans. They might be, but their feedback might be biased, because they love you. Find an editor and a proofreader and a cover designer. This is money well spent if you are self-publishing.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

All of my titles are available on Amazon, Kindle Unlimited and Barnes & Noble.  My author page on Amazon is www.amazon.com/author/gailolmsted and my website is www.GailOlmsted.com .  Readers can interact with me via Facebook www.facebook.com/gailolmstedauthor on Twitter @gwolmsted, on Instagram gwolmsted or via email gwolmsted@gmail.com

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

SecondGuessing_Cvr“Sure do!! This is from Second Guessing. Jill and Ben are on their first date. They saw a movie and are now in a Chinese Restaurant.”~Gail Olmstead

“I hope you enjoy it. I already ordered,” Ben began somewhat apologetically. “Well, actually it was my assistant Ian.”

Jill was already chewing a second dumpling and she nodded enthusiastically. As soon as she could swallow, she placed the uneaten portion of the dumpling on her plate and leaned forward to squeeze his hand. “This is amazing. I can’t believe you went to so much trouble just for me.”

“I don’t want you to think I always have to be in charge, you know? I mean tonight, it’s all been organized, but I usually like to be more spontaneous.”

“So next time, I get to choose?”

Ben’s gaze was warm and he grinned at her. “I hope there’ll be a next time.”

Jill looked at him and her heart did another in a series of little flips. What is this man doing to me? She felt herself blushing again, but managed to nod enthusiastically. Ben popped a dumpling into his mouth and chewed and they grinned at each other happily. They managed to make short work of the appetizers and Jill moaned with pleasure as, after removing the empty plates, their server replaced them with huge bowls of pork fried rice, shrimp lo mein and chicken in a garlicky sauce. Their dinner was served family style, and Jill helped herself to large portions of everything. They ate in companionable silence, punctuated by Jill’s moans of delight as she sampled each dish.

After she had eaten most of the food she had taken, she drank some water, and then sat back with a satisfied sigh. “Carly says I could have a food baby and no one would even notice.” God, where had that come from?

“No one, huh?” he said with a smirk. When he saw Jill blush, he sat back and smiled. “I’m dying to know more about you, Jill Griffin.”

Jill shrugged her shoulders. Always shy and intensely private, she had grown increasingly wary over the years and disliked talking about herself. She had been burned a few times by those claiming to be interested in her, when all the while they only wanted to learn something about James, as if she would relay some juicy bit of gossip about him, posthumously or not.

She knew that since Ben was well on his way to the level of celebrity James had enjoyed, it was highly unlikely Ben had any kind of ulterior motive. He was probably sincere in wanting to get better acquainted with her. But even though she felt comfortable with Ben, she was out of practice with any sort of personal narrative.

“Not much to tell. I was married to James and we had Carly and then James died.”

Ben frowned at her and his brown eyes looked sad. “I’m not asking about Jill the wife or Jill the mother.”

“Well, that’s all there is to me, I’m afraid.” Jill laughed nervously.

Ben was shaking his head at her. “I think you’re wrong. I see so much more than that. I see a beautiful woman. A talented woman. A woman I want to get to know much, much better.” Jill put down the cloth napkin she had been folding and unfolding underneath the table. She had regained some of her self-confidence and she watched him closely as she spoke.

“A mature woman. Ben, I’m 42 years old. I have an 18-year old daughter. I don’t know what you want from me. I’m not a ‘Mrs. Robinson’ okay? You’re so…young,” she ended weakly.

But Ben was not to be put off. “I like you Jill. Yeah, I’m a little younger than you, but so what? Just a number, am I right? I want to know what makes you tick. How you come up with all those amazing song lyrics. What you love, what you wish for. And more than anything, I want to know how it will feel to hold you in my arms. What it will be like to kiss those lips. What you taste like…” He stopped as he noticed Jill was staring at him, open-mouthed.

He pushed his chair back and slipped over next to her in the banquette. Jill needed to say something, before she started kissing him like she had been dreaming about all day.

“I just want to keep this private, okay? I haven’t been with anyone since, well, you know. Carly says she’s ready for me to start dating again, but I’m not at all sure I believe her. You and I kind of work together, and I have to keep it professional. And there’s going to be a big tribute concert for James this fall and there will be a ton of press. I can’t have this, whatever it is, taking center stage. So this is just between us, okay?”

Ben was watching her closely and at his nod of agreement, she continued. “And just for the record,” she whispered, “I imagine I taste like Whoppers and garlic sauce.”


Ben took her in his arms and just before he started kissing her, he assured her, “That’s my favorite.”




AuThursday – Madison Micheal


madison michael author photoTell us a little about yourself and your background?

Actually I just rewrote my bio for my website to share more of who I am and where I came from. It sounded so dull before, and I am not a dull person. I am opinionated and not shy about sharing my thoughts. I love to give advice – unsolicited. I adore expensive shoes, bargains on everything else and long baths with a good book. I am addicted to the movies – at the theater. Currently I am acquiring a appreciation for opera and live theater. I love dogs but like to share my digs with cats.

I am originally from Chicago but I have lived on both coasts from Boston to San Francisco, with several stops in between. I spent my career as a technical consultant or manager for a huge software company, but I retired in 2014 and got away from the 9 to 5 life. I miss my coworkers but not the job. To entertain myself upon retiring I started taking classes including one on “How to Write a Romance Novel” and with encouragement from friends, the rest is history.

I am close with my family, reside in suburban Chicago and I love to travel. I am on the board of directors of Mental Health America of the North Shore because they do good work and a member of Romance Writers of America.

How do you make time to write?

I am very fortunate because I am able to write full-time.

What genre are your books?

I write contemporary fiction, usually with some steamy sex. That is my wheel-house so far in my

“Beguiling Bachelor” series. But I did just complete “Our Love is Here to Stay”, which is a time-travel story.

I love reading mysteries, literature, and romance in every genre, so I have sprinkled small pieces of these into my books where I can. My mother was a librarian. She taught me to love reading and respect writers of every kind. Every word I write can be traced back to her teachings in some way or another.

What draws you to this genre?

I grew up on Regency romance, and I am drawn there but haven’t braved the genre yet. Instead, I write more of what I know – current times and current places. I set my books in places that are familiar and I make my characters a bit older than in some romances. Women in their late 20’s and early 30’s and men in their mid-30’s have problems to overcome, responsibilities to juggle and they have sex. That is what I like to write about – their flaws, their journeys, their struggles and the wonderful ways they fall in love.

What are your current projects?

I have just completed the first book in a new series, the Billionaire B&B series. The book, “Desire & Dessert” will be published in a collection this spring, with at least two more volumes to follow. My Beguiling Bachelors will return this summer, and I am always toying with a short story or two.

I am very excited about another new project – a blog for romance writers. Today I blog for my readers, my story every Thursday and an introduction to another author every Tuesday. But begging next month, on Monday’s, I will begin sharing what I have learned about writing and indie-publishing. Am I THE expert as I begin my third year as a writer? Hardly. But I have learned tons about being a new writer that experts have forgotten. Sometimes it is the non-expert that new writers can relate to. I hope to share my wisdom with those people.

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert? How does this affect your work?

My whole life I was an extravert, but once I became a writer, I became the complete opposite. Anyone or anything that takes me away from my computer is a disruption. That said, once I have made the break, the extravert in me rules again. I love being with my friends and family, networking with other authors and meeting fans. I just need that initial nudge to put down my writing.

What is your writing Kryptonite?

No feedback. No reviews. I send my books out there into the world representing my hard work and heart. They are a labor of love for me – my babies. When I have no idea how they are received, that leaves me wondering ‘do I write something similar? something different?” I don’t write only for me. I write for my readers and their feedback is priceless.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

I speak with more aspiring writers than I ever could have imagined and I tell them all the same things – read more and write more. I tell them the different betwee a writer and a want-to-be writer is that a writer finishes something.

When I got ready to write my first novel I read tons of romances, paid attention to the covers, the titles, the back-cover blurbs, even the author bios. I wrote down words and phrases that I loved from my favorite books. This became my library of inspriration. Then I wrote and wrote and wrote, edited and rewrote until I finished my first novel, “Bedazzled.”

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

I hope readers will visit me at www.madisonmicahel.net  where I have a blog and a wonderful giveaway for joining my insider group.

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Writer Wednesday – Put a Fork in my novel, I’m done.

when-im-done-im-done-and-today-is-the-day-i-have-made-that-decision-bc8b7There comes a time when you have to quit editing and declare a project done.  Move on to the next one.  I’ve reached that point with Courtesan.

I’ve done all I can with the novel.

I’ve layered and cut producing a novel of 54,333 words.

Does it mean there aren’t corrections to make?  Of Course not but I need another set of eyes at this point.  I’ve asked for some BETA help, to get that big picture feel, but I can’t continue edits without wrecking voice.

The good news.  This is ready to get looked at by an agent or editor.  In my opinion, any changes that need to be made will be to satisfy the readership, not me.  And that’s okay, I’m used to working with editors to make appropriate changes.    That’s part of meeting reader expectation.

Now its time to move on to Book 2: The Alchemists of Archangel.

Hopefully, The Courtesan of Constantinople doesn’t sit too long on my virtual shelf, trying to find a home.~Tina



Nowhere On The Map by Caroline Walken

FB_IMG_1498828092909“She is jealous of you, a girl that is naturally beautiful without trying.” 

Maggie frowned slightly shaking her head dismissing his suggestion; Jon lifted her chin and lowered his face to kiss her. 

 All he could feel was Maggie.  Her lips softly brushed his own, lightly she exhaled, and next she leaned in towards him.  Her sweater was soft under his hand, her body warm beneath it.  Her tongue danced on his intuitively he pulled her closer.  It was sad but kissing becomes underrated when you are an adult, as a teen he remembered his first kiss.  Maybe it was that he is too sentimental.  Perhaps it was because he had not kissed a woman in a couple years.  Hell, it could be he was drunk but for whatever the reason; kissing Maggie was sensual.  Jon ran his hand down her waist and placed it on her hip pulling her closer; with his other hand; he wound his fingers in her silky hair.   She moaned softly and the sound traveled straight to his groin.  His heart beat like a drum, hammering in tune with this seduction.  His pulse pounded in his ears so hard it drowned out the band.  The only thing he was aware of was Maggie, her scent, her body pressed against his own, her lips softly responding and becoming more urgent under his.   Jon was became high from her kiss.

 She drew back, he left her lips only to trail his mouth down her neck to her collarbone she sharply exhaled in his ear, and he groaned, having no control of the reaction she brought from him. 

Maggie murmured, “OK City Cat, I get the whole jealousy thing now!” 

Jon chucked then attempted to reclaim her lips but Maggie stopped him.  Her eyes were dancing with mischief as she kept some distance between them. 

“You should probably get your drunk-ass to bed.”  Her voice sounded husky and low. 

He gave her a lusty grin.  “As you wish, Miss Maggie!” 

He was suffering from the double assault of desire and Matt’s Shine and his head spun.  He kept her wrapped in his arms, her body felt like a hot ember against him.  She smiled sweetly, her eyes dancing in the low light. She leaned back slightly, giving herself the chance to look him straight in the eye.

“Well, I would love to continue however, your girlfriends lip gloss is really not one of my favorites.”

Join me next Thursday for Madison Micheal’s Blog Tour. ~ Tina

AuThursday – Caroline Walken

How I make time to write

With little time during the week to write, you will find me camped out on my laptop from Friday evening until Sunday.  During the week, I may take the time to edit a chapter or work on flash fiction.

Additionally, I write the bulk of my novels during the winter, I hate the cold!  You won’t find me playing in the snow, I would much rather be cozied up to my characters!

 Writer’s block

I don’t know if we suffer from writer’s block or that like any form of work we become bored.  Creating a full-fledged novel may take you over a year.  It is easy to understand why we run out of things to write!  This is one reason I have started working on flash fiction, entering writing contests and similar exercises like these.  This keeps writing fresh for me, it challenges me and each time I learn more about the craft. 

 When I do have the opportunity to delve into my WIP then I feel refreshed and eager. 

 My Genre

I write fiction/romance and put the emphasis on fiction.  I like female characters that are strong and feisty!  I grew tired of reading about characters that relied on the male counterparts for the solution.  My girls will keep any man on their toes.

I do have a passion for the Roaring Twenties and the Gangster age of the Thirties.  My current WIP and two other books are set in that era.  I enjoy researching real places or crimes and weave them into the story.  It is just such an exciting time and let’s face it, we all enjoy a bad boy! 


I am an indie author and currently publish through Amazon.  Similar to others, I queried traditional publishers and agents but at the time, the market struggled since Amazon had just come on strongly.  In the end, it came down to wanting to share my stories so alas, I went alone.

 I believe in time, this will even out and traditional publishing will come to appreciate what we as Indies have learned in our craft.


I am an extrovert, in addition to writing, I show horses and I work as a consultant in a field other than writing. 

 Motivational phrase

“You learn more from you failures than from your successes.”

Advice to aspiring writers

My advice to aspiring writers is to invest in yourself, reserve your time for writing and improving in the art of storytelling. 

 Invest in a good editor; there is a variety available for all price points.  No matter how well you comb your manuscript, it is like your child; you won’t see its faults. 

 If you work more than an hour to format your manuscript or work on a cover, find a resource to help you.  Writing should be your priority; you can quickly find assistance for these basic tasks and do so very affordably.

 Lastly, know that everyone gets a bad review, and yes, it will feel like a knife through the heart.  Take away any useful information there is and grow from it.  After that never read it again! 


Amazon Link


Facebook Link


Goodreads Link






Join me on Saturday when we read an excerpt from Caroline’s book “From Nowhere on the Map”~Tina

AuThursday – Stanalei Fletcher

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Please welcome Stanalei Fletcher to the Clog Blog.

Thanks so much for having me today as part of my Blog Tour sponsored by Reviews by Crystal. I hope you enjoy this glimpse into my writing world.

SF author photoTell us a little about yourself and your background?

-I was born in small town in Idaho and raised in an even smaller town, still in Idaho. It was there, through my school years, I had an inkling that I might have a bit of talent for writing stories. I’d even won a contest in high school for a short story.

How do you make time to write?

-Until recently, I struggled to get the time I wanted to write. I set aside Tuesday and Thursday evenings and as much as Saturday as I can get after my chores. But during NANOWRIMO this year, I committed to get up early every morning and write. It was such a success, that I’m committed make it my new routine.

What genre are your books?

-I’ve wrapped up a romantic suspense series. There are five books in the series and they were a blast to write. I also have time-travel story and plans for a contemporary small town series. All the books are romances.

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What draws you to this genre?

-I love romances. I love the promise a happy ending where 1 + 1 doesn’t equal 2, it equals 3. It equals “us”. Where two people create a third, greater than two, entity. What other genre offers that?

What are your current projects?

-I’m currently working on the first book in a two book series for a contemporary, home town romance.

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert? How does this affect your work?

-I am an introvert. It helps when I need to hole up and spend time alone to create stories. However, it’s a challenge when I need to market and put myself in group to network. I’m learning, but it’s still hard.

What is your writing Kryptonite?

-Great question! I’d have to say my grandchildren. It’s next to impossible to say “no” when there’s something involving my grandchildren. Whether it’s tending or baseball games, it’s challenging to write when the kids want me around.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

-The best advice I can offer aspiring writers is to study craft, study story. If you want to rise with the cream at the top, you need to learn how to write a story that reaches your reader’s heart and mind. Never stop improving. Stories are the stuff life is made of. Make yours worth giving up hours to read.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

-I can be found in a lot of areas on the World Wide Web. If you stop by my website here: http://www.stanaleifletcher.com/index.html, you can find all my other hangouts, including a place to sign up to join my reader’s club.

Thank you so much for having me here and taking time to meet your audience.