AuThursday – Cynthia Terelst

Welcome Cynthia Terelst to The Clog Blog!  Cynthia, Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I work full-time as a Document Controls Manager. I loved reading as a child and began writing in earnest when I was a teenager. I wrote my first novel when I was sixteen. It is still unpublished but I do work on it every now and then.
How do you make time to write?
I am very structured. My day job takes a lot out of me, both mentally and time-wise. I write after work and on weekends. I am fortunate that I don’t have any children at home. Writing is me time. I try to do it every day.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes. I am sure that a lot of authors feel stuck at times. When I do, I try to just keep writing. Even if it’s just a few words. It helps me think about what is coming.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I write contemporary romance. I have always enjoyed reading romance, even as a teenager. Back then the books I read were more sweet, nothing more than a kiss. I love romance because it gives you feel-good vibes. Love is what makes the world go around.
How are you publishing your recent book and why? 
All of my books are indie published. The traditional route did not meet the speed at which I wanted to publish. Indie is a big investment in time and money but I feel that it is worth it. I don’t skimp on anything – covers, editing, proofreading – because I want to give my readers the best possible book.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
I’m a bit of both. I am a shy person unless I am confident in a situation. I don’t think it affects my writing.
Sometimes being quiet allows you to read situations. But when you are an extrovert you can be in the middle of those situations.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
Today’s is –
You are your only limit
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Practice, practice, practice. Learn, learn, learn. Get feedback on your writing. It will help you become a better writer.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
The four of us were ready to leave camp. Rosanna and Mak each had a towel and book ready to hit the beach to read. I was disappointed Mak wasn’t joining us. As we walked past them, I paused. I leant in to give her a kiss. My lips embraced hers, once, twice, tasting as much as I dared. She tasted good, like bacon and the sweet taste of Makayla.
I wanted her to know that although I was leaving there was a promise of my return and more kissing to come. Could all that be conveyed in one kiss?
“Enjoy your book,” I said as her eyes met mine.
“Thanks.” She gave me a small smile. Her complete attention was on me, like no one else existed. I wanted another kiss but that would be overkill. I walked away. I don’t know what possessed me to kiss her. Sure, I’d kissed plenty of women before. But nothing like that. Nothing meaningful.
The people making the footsteps behind me were silent. I knew each of them would have something to say but not one of them uttered a word. Not until we hopped into the four-wheel drive.
“What was that?” Manny asked from the front seat.
“What was what?”
“Don’t be difficult. That kiss.”
Nicki who sat next to me turned her face to mine, as did Harrison beside her.
“It was a kiss. No big deal.”
“Since when do you and Mak kiss?” Nicki stared at me like she was trying to decipher unexpected results from an experiment.
“Since we decided it was a fun thing to do.”
“In all the years I’ve known you, I have never seen you kiss someone like that,” Harrison said.
“Time to try something new.”
Nicki sat back and stared straight ahead. She clutched her hands in her lap. Then she looked at me again. “I hope you’re not playing her. Mak spent ten years with the wrong person. I don’t want to see her hurt because you think she’s a good experiment, or just something frivolous and fun.”
“That’s not what I meant.”
“What did you mean then?”
“Mak’s different to anyone I’ve ever met.”
“We’re all different to anyone you’ve ever met.” Jeez she was a hard task master. I thought she was all for this with the way she and Rosanna acted. Maybe they were all for it until there was risk of Makayla getting hurt. A kiss wasn’t a promise of forever or even ten years. We weren’t putting our hearts out there, just our lips. Of course, it was just our lips…
I needed to show Nicki what I meant about Makayla being different.
“She can be so distant one moment, stubborn to a fault. And then she loses control. Something comes out and I see a glimpse of the person hiding beneath.” Were these words actually coming out of me? I sounded love struck…but I was nothing of the sort.

AuThursday – Becca Turner

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’m an author from southwestern Missouri, but I spent the first couple of years of my life in a small town an hour north of Oklahoma City. Somehow I got stuck with an Okie accent and I really love Green Country. I noticed that a lot of contemporary western romances are set in Texas. I was like, okay, but Oklahoma has its fair share of cowboys, so I decided to set a book series in a fictional town near Tulsa. Now I can’t stop writing about cowboys.
How do you make time to write?
I write in Google Docs on my phone. I basically have a word processor anywhere I go. I’ve been known to write while standing in long shopping lines, in restaurants, in cars, and pretty much everywhere.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes. Sometimes I just don’t feel like writing, but I find it’s mostly due to real-life stress or a lack of connection with the characters.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
Specifically contemporary western romance. I used to write historical westerns and even paranormal western romance, but in the last couple of years, I’ve focused on contemporary. When I was 16, I co-wrote a contemporary western romance with a friend. It never made it to publication, but the story stuck with me. In 2017 (almost twenty years later) another friend invited me to write for a boxed set. So I rewrote the first one, changed a bunch of stuff, and now there are six novellas and five novels in my Only an Okie Will Do series. The next novel should be coming out in late July.
How are you publishing your recent book and why?
I publish everything indie. I signed on with a couple of houses a few years ago, but three went under and I couldn’t see eye to eye with an editor at another. I like being my own boss. It’s also opened up pathways for me to learn book formatting. I also have several works published on a visual novel app called Chapters. It’s been a huge learning curve to create visual characters and get the text on there, but it’s really cool to see the stories come to life. And the readers here are so supportive and wonderful.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
Definitely an introvert. It gives me a lot of time to write.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
Hope is the feeling you have that the feeling you have isn’t permanent. – Jean Kerr
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Writing isn’t always easy, and it isn’t always fun. It’s full of hardships and disappointment and days of staring at your blank earnings dashboard. But when you touch someone with your words, you know you’re in the right place. Use that to keep going, because if you’re truly meant to be a writer, even after long breaks and slumps and swearing you’re done for good, you’re not done. A reader once told me she was bawling at 12:30 at night over the ending of my book. It moved me to tears because I was amazed that she felt so strongly over my characters. If I’d never gone back to my computer after the last time I said I was done, I’d never have gotten that message, and so many more like it, from readers.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
This is from my first novel in the Only an Okie Will Do series, Cowboy Kind of Trouble.
trouble“Life’s not fair.” He slapped the side of the wheelchair. “So I guess I’ll sit my pathetic ass in the house all day from now on so you can keep an eye on me.”
“Wait. Listen to me, please?” She skirted Cielo and moved swiftly to Will’s side. “I didn’t panic because I didn’t think you couldn’t or shouldn’t go somewhere. I worried because…because I care what happens to you.”
His expression didn’t soften. “Why?”
“For the same reason you care that I’m upset after Ronni texts me. I guess we’re friends and we want each other to be all right.” She didn’t want to admit she was attracted to him. That maybe her concern went beyond caretaker and client. Because if she was honest with herself, before Will, her life had felt a lot emptier.
“Because I’m a paycheck.” He stared past her. “If you let me get hurt or killed, you’re out of a job. Maybe permanently.”
“Don’t say things like that. That’s not it.”
He stared sullenly at the pasture. “Right. Whatever. Go back to what you were doing before I messed everything up. Again.”
“Will Baxter, be quiet.”
“Why should I? I know you’d have told me where to stuff my attitude if you could’ve after the first day you were here.” He avoided her gaze. “I’m the last person you—or anyone—wants to deal with. Just admit it.”
She kneeled beside him and put her hand on his bicep. With a few words, she’d wrecked his confidence. “You don’t know everything.”
His back was straight, shoulders square, jaw tight. “I know the truth when I see it. Maybe we’d both be better off if you left for the day.” His comment stung, as he meant it to.
“You’re throwing up that wall to prove to yourself that you’re not worth me caring about you. Well, you’re wrong, just like you were when I first started coming here. I’m not going anywhere.” She leaned forward, her stomach pressed against the arm of his chair. Her face was inches from his. “I do care about you. More than I should.”
“Why?” His voice was a dry whisper.
“I can’t help myself.” She pressed her hands to either side of his face and pulled him closer. Damn it anyway. She kissed him, throwing the rules out the door once again. He pushed his fingers into her hair, holding her close. As though he was hungry for her kiss. As though he’d given it considerable thought. The same way she had. When she wasn’t dreading more bad news from Ronni, she thought about Will. About how they’d talked. How he laughed.

AuThursday – Kathryn Halberg

HalbergHeadshot2022Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I write spicy, contemporary romances that take place largely in the Cincinnati area, where I’m from. When not writing, I work full-time for a local university and am an unpaid shuttle driver for my children’s various sporting activities 😉
How do you make time to write?
Insomnia.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Not in those words, but I sometimes have to pause to wait for a character to better develop in my mind, and find out more about what they really want.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I was always told to write what you know. There’s nothing I know more than the here and now! I love to write contemporary romances that feature strong, independent women in fairly realistic situations. I try to avoid drama for the sake of drama.
How are you publishing your recent book and why?
Both (Indie and Traditional) – I just published the second book of my trilogy with GenZ Publishing, and am self-publishing the third book of the series to learn the ropes. I attended a 20Books conference last fall that really made me want to examine my options.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
Ambivert. I grew up a full-fledged introvert and parenting has made me come out of my shell a bit more. This helps me be able to better grasp the needs of my characters.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. ~Eleanor Roosevelt
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Like a good wine, let your work breathe before you enjoy it again. My best work comes when I edit a manuscript at least six months after I wrote it.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
KathrynHalberg.com and @KathrynHalberg on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
She grabbed a soft pretzel and lemonade and waited for Carlie to show. Why was it that shopping depression meant eating more carbs, which increased the likelihood of more shopping depression? It’s a vicious cycle, she thought as she tore off another bite of buttered therapy. It really wasn’t fair. She had hella good body image and loved her curves, but put her in a dressing room and her self-esteem fled like an autobahn speed demon.

AuThursday – Beck Grey

66428869_padded_logoTell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’m an LGBTQ+ Contemporary Romance author with a day job to pay the bills and have insurance. I live in the NE USA and have two adorable fur babies. When I’m not working or writing I love to listen to audiobooks, play D&D, print and paint minis for D&D, and play RPG video games.
How do you make time to write?
I write on my lunch hour, most evenings, and on the weekends. I’m very picky with how I spend my time because writing is important to me, so I try not to participate in activities I don’t find rewarding because I’m usually wishing I could be writing instead.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes. It’s real and has many different reasons. The trick is to find out what that reason is and fix what you can and accept what you can’t. I couldn’t write a thing during a certain four-year period when things were very scary in the world.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I write LGBTQ+ Contemporary Romance. As a non-binary person, typical mainstream romances don’t represent me or how I’d like to envision my HEA. I enjoy reading stories that more closely reflect my self-image and ideal and LGBTQ Romance does that for me. I also think it allows authors to leave the stereotypical baggage behind that usually accompanies MF romance.
How are you publishing your recent book and why?
I’m an Indie published author because my genre still isn’t widely acknowledged or accepted by trad publishing, and LGBTQ+ Romance has a strong grass-roots base that is incredibly supportive and vocal.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
I’m an introvert until I’m with my people. Put me in a room full of strangers and you’ll find me in the corner with the kids or the dog. Put me in a room full of my friends and you’ll never believe I’m an introvert. It actually helps me work because I don’t have a lot of motivation to go out and socialize. It leaves a lot of time for writing! 😀
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
In typical nerd fashion, it’s Yoda’s
“Do…or do not. There is no try.”
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Find a group of like-minded authors and support each other. There is nothing like going through an experience with people who are at the same stage of career development as you are experiencing. There is an incredible amount of empathy and knowledge-sharing that can happen in a group like that. The support is incredible.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
This is from my new book Embrace Me. It’s the story of Quinn MacDougall, a hearing man unsuccessfully trying to juggle his career and the demands of a large family with romance, and Tadhg Byrne, a Deaf man doubting his instincts and fighting to make it in the Hearing world.
Embrace Me CoverEmbrace me is a 95,000-word contemporary MM romance about language barriers, loving but demanding families, crappy bosses, and sexy guys in speedos. It contains no cheating and a guaranteed Happily Ever After.
I glance back at Tadhg to find him watching me curiously. I drain my beer and jump up. ‘Need another. You want one?’
He finishes his bottle and stands. ‘I’ll come with you.’
Oh. Okay. That’s. Fine? Sure. It’s fine. We’re just two people who work together, getting a beer. Together. As co-workers. I spin on my heels and hurry into the kitchen, with Tadhg trailing behind me. I toss my empty bottle into the recycle bin and pull two fresh beers out of the fridge. When I spin around, Tadhg is so close I have to lean back so I don’t bump into him. “Oh!” His beautiful blue eyes look into mine and it sucks all the air out of the room. I stand there like an idiot holding a beer in each hand, panting as if I’ve just run a mile flat out.
He gently pulls one bottle from my hand and carefully opens it, his eyes never leaving mine. I hadn’t even noticed he’d picked up an opener. He hands the opened beer back and takes the second one, repeating the process just as easily, like he does this solely by touch all the time. It’s kinda hot.
We stand there, so close I can feel warmth rolling off his body, and he smells so damned good I want to press my face into his neck and inhale lungfuls of him. His gaze drops to my mouth and then snaps back up to meet my eyes. And oh god, he’s going to kiss me. He leans forward and I move closer, unable to fight his pull.

AuThursday – Raleigh Damson Snow

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Hi! I’m Raleigh, from Northern Ontario and a homeschooling mama bear to two. I thrive on coffee.
How do you make time to write?
Just like I make the time for anything else–it’s another ball to juggle. Sometimes that means getting up at 5 and joining in the #5AMWRITERSCLUB , sometimes that means saying, “in twenty minutes” to certain requests from my cubs.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
I think “writer’s block” is over hyped to the point where it has lost a lot of meaning. I think there are certain things in life that can cause you not to have access to your creative brian…I couldn’t write for three years after I experienced trauma and loosing that part of myself was a loss. Regaining it took time.
BBebookfinalfrontcopyTell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I am writing Steamy BDSM Contemporary Suspense Romance! I love that I get to play with fantasies, I love there is always a sense of danger lurking and most of all, I love giving readers the HEA they expect.
How are you publishing your recent book and why? 
Indie! It took me a long time to get here-to releasing books in a series and I want all the control.
Are you an Introvert or Extrovert? How does this affect your work?
Introvert! It affects my work because I work best if I can be immersive, in a silence house, lol-tand that doesn’t happen often.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
“Whatever you’re meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.” -Dorris Lessing.
These words remind me that there isn’t always going to be a quiet house or a good time or the dishes done, or other responsibiliteis I can put off…so I have to write, now however and whenever I can.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
I’m most active on twitter @DamsonSnow

AuThursday – Shannon O’Connor

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’m a twenty something bisexual single mother from New York. I started writing full time during the pandemic and started publishing poetry in 2018, with my first romance novel in 2021.
How do you make time to write?
This is something I’m still figuring out, I honestly write when the creativity strikes.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
I do! It hits me more often than I’d like.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
Poetry and Contemporary Romance. Poetry is something that has always been there for me and gives me a way to let out my feelings. It helps me process everything I’m feeling and heal. Contemporary romance is something newer for me. I’ve always written growing up but lately I have all these ideas and stories to tell that really feels like an escape. They’re stories I wish I had growing up or character’s who’s stories I feel I need to tell.
How are you publishing your recent book and why? 
Indie! I like the control that indie publishing has. Being able to be in complete control of each step is really important to me.
Are you an Introvert or Extrovert? How does this affect your work?
Extrovert. I like to think this positively affects my work because I will go out and look for new experiences to be able to write about them first hand.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
You got this. (something my mother has always said)
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Keep writing, take breaks but then keep writing & write the story you wish you could read.
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
From my upcoming short story Christmas Sweets featured in the anthology, A Taste of You:
If there’s one thing to know about me it’s this; I hate Christmas. I’m not like a Grinch or anything, I’ll get the ones I love presents, spend the holidays with my family, but I just hate what it brings out in some people. I own a bakery and I have never seen people more hostile than they are at Christmas time. Something about the holidays bring out the worst in people. Because of this, I normally spend most of November and December in the back of the cafe. I’ll busy myself with paperwork, baking cookies, frosting cakes, anything to keep me from interacting with customers.
Except half my staff caught the flu this week so I’ve been forced to take charge of the counter. I guess that’s what I get for being in charge. I’ve already had several customers tell me they wouldn’t be coming back. Another customer angry that we don’t make cakes from scratch on the spot for their children’s birthday party they forgot to order a cake for.
I’m quickly making it through the line of customers asking for pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin flavored desserts. It’s one of our biggest sellers this time of year, and I can’t say I blame them, it’s one of my favorites too. Most other places give up on Pumpkin after October but this is when it really thrives. Half our front case is decked out in pumpkin flavored cheesecake, muffins, bagels, donuts, bread, and cake.
Although I do miss when just two weeks away I was decorating jack o lanterns and tombstones. Halloween is a much better holiday in my opinion, the chance for you to dress up with no fear or expectations. The day where it’s okay to be the most exuberant you, you can be. I sigh as I finish wrapping up a pumpkin cheesecake and pass it to the customer to pay. She thanks me with a smile and I’m silently grateful for her patience.

AuThursday – Paris Wynters

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I am a multi-racial author who lives in NY. I have been a Pitch Wars mentor for four years. I am also a search and rescue canine handler.
How do you make time to write?
I make time to write to write by planning my days. Life always gets in the way but when I have things planned out I am more able to adjust then when I don’t.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Absolutely. For me it can be due to stress, health, and even trying to hard.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I mostly write contemporary romance. I absolutely love it because I get to explore bits of the human condition, explore and represent the mixed race experience as well as some of the struggles with being disabled. And I absolutely love having happily ever afters.
How are you publishing your recent book and why? 
Most of my books are traditionally published. I am currently working on a novel that will be self published because it falls into a series where my rights were reverted back to me. But I do have another new story I am working on that I hope will be going on submission soon.
Are you an Introvert or Extrovert? How does this affect your work?
Introvert. It becomes hard to interact with people and ask for help. I find that it ends up being tougher for me to get that writer support group bc I feel awkward. But when I’m comfortable around people I do become more extroverted.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
Do what works for you.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Everyone works differently. No one way is correct, so don’t force yourself to do something that doesn’t work for you even if 90% of everyone else is doing it. If writing every day doesn’t work for you, that’s fine.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
on IG and Twitter: @pariswynters
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
“Get your stuff,” Qara called over her shoulder, looking back at her grandmother and sister while grabbing for the door handle…only to hit something else. She spun her head forward, her gaze jerking down to see her gloved hand sitting atop another glove. A much larger one and suddenly felt the presence of a large body to her left.
She yelped, jumped, and slipped on an icy patch of sidewalk. A pair of strong hands landed on her shoulders. Steadying her. She lifted her gaze to meet a pair of dazzling blue eyes. Then, the rest of him registered. Tall. Broad shouldered. Cheekbones for days.
Qara blinked and tried to regain her focus, while her heart gave an unsteady thump. “I’m sorry, I thought the cab was pulling over for me.” The man smiled at her before releasing her shoulders and stepping back. He rubbed his chin, a motion that brought Qara’s attention to his sandy-blond beard. Her pulse fluttered again. She’d always been a sucker for a rugged man with facial hair. Apparently that appreciation extended even to taxi thieves.
The man turned up the collar of his wool coat and yanked his knit hat over his ears. “It’s okay. I can hail another one.”
Great. Now she felt bad for accusing him of being a thief. Even if she had done it silently. Qara fiddled with her purse strap and nodded, still feeling a little dazed. Was it just her, or did this guy look like Charlie Hunnam’s younger brother?
While she debated that very important fact, a familiar voice cut through the air. “Nonsense. Where are you heading?” Emee said.
The man turned to face her grandmother. “The Shangri-La Hotel.”
“What a coincidence,” Rose said. She lifted her eyebrows at Qara, and the corners of her mouth tipped up.
Qara’s eyes widened. Oh, no. She knew that look on her sister’s face all too well. Now was not the time for Rose to get involved in her dating life—or lack of one. Enough was said a few days ago at their grandmother’s birthday dinner, and she needed to put an end to this before her sister got any bright ideas. Like playing matchmaker.
Before she could protest, though, her sister piped up again. “That’s where we’re heading. Why not join us? We can all squeeze in.”

AuThursday – Amelia Foster

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I have been a lover of the written word for as long as I can remember as a reader and began crafting my own first story when I was five. My biggest love is romance and I will greedily devour practically all sub-genres.
How do you make time to write?
I don’t sleep! Okay, that’s only partially a joke. I work more than full-time in healthcare which is a nightmare on a good day and an absolute study in insanity since COVID-19 hit. But I get up early and try to write for a few hours in the morning.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
I feel like I need something a little more emphatic than yes for this question.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000447_00006]
I primarily write contemporary romance more on the sweet side, but I have forayed into a few spicier works.
How are you publishing your recent book and why? 
TILMy current series is my first indie journey which is both the greatest and most overwhelming decision of my life. But even when my brain feels incredibly full, I still believe it was the perfect choice for me.
Are you an Introvert or Extrovert? How does this affect your work?
I am an introvert who is forced to extrovert as part of my day job career. So because of that I am a little more exhausted than I would be otherwise and I think that it affects my ability to write as much as I’d like because I need the time to recuperate from peopling.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
Success is not final; failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Breaks are okay and your mental health needs to come first, but just because your passion needs to be on the back burner at times doesn’t mean you need to give up on the overall dream.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

AuThursday – Sarah M. Reed

Tell us a little about yourself and your background? 

When I was seven years old, I wrote a story for a contest and won a blue ribbon. I continued to write stories throughout my childhood and adolescence but didn’t enter any more contests or even show them to anyone! A few years ago when my parents moved they found some of my old things to send me and my old stories were in there. It inspired me to take up writing stories again. During the last year and a half due to being stuck at home with Covid and whatnot I have finally had the time to publish and put them out there. 

How do you make time to write? 

Writing is my favorite pastime and my best self-care strategy. I write because it feels good to write. I write because the stories come to me and I want to tell them. I fit in writing among my many other activities without any sort of schedule, just when I have the time and the inspiration I sit and I write. 

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I believe that inspiration comes and goes but writer’s block is usually from forcing a story or a character to go in a direction it doesn’t want to go. Usually by relaxing, taking a step back and reimagining the story, the block is removed. 

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

I write contemporary romance novels with strong women and good-hearted men. My books are slow burn, all of them, and character-driven. They include elements of suspense or intrigue or drama. These are the types of books I most like to read, and so these are the type of books I write. Ultimately, I write for me. I write a book I will love and characters I will fall in love with. I have written across several different romance tropes, though I have yet to write one in my favorite trope – enemies to lovers. 

How are you publishing your recent book and why? 

I initially published as an indie author through Amazon’s KDP program because it’s easy and quick and virtually cost free. I began publishing just for me – in order to have my finished books on my shelf. The fact that others have read them and enjoyed them is really just a bonus! 

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

I think I am an extroverted introvert. I love being around people. I am an avid listener and like to hear people’s stories. But ultimately, people wear me out, and so I like my alone time too to girl up with a book or binge watch a little tv. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase? 

Be the change you want to see in the world. – Gandhi 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

WRITE. It seems simple, and really it is. You can’t edit something that’s not on the page. Even if it’s rough or stupid or grammatically incorrect, write it down and figure it out later. First drafts are always messy. 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Facebook www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100054158571494

Or my Goodreads page www.goodreads.com/author/show/20514616.Sarah_M_Reed 

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

This is from my most recent novel, “Not Part of the Plan”: 

When the bell rang and it was finally his turn at her table, Simon slid smoothly into the chair opposite her and greeted her cheerfully. “Hi, Emma. Fancy meeting you here.” 

Scowling, she grunted, “What are you doing here?” 

He shrugged casually, a playful glint in his eyes. “Well, you made speed dating sound so interesting that I thought I would check it out for myself.” 

“This event is for people who have trouble finding dates,” she hissed through clenched teeth. “When in your life have you ever had trouble finding a date?” 

“Well,” he scratched his cheek as though considering. “There was this one time that this girl shot me down before I even got to say hello.” 

“Which you probably deserved,” she replied flippantly, “Seeing as how you were bugging her and she wanted to be left alone.” 

“And yet here she is, looking for a date among the sad and the lonely.” He shook his head. “It’s puzzling.” Grimacing, she crossed her arms over her chest. “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” 

“Yeah? And how’s it working out for you?” 

Her eyes flashed. “Not as well as I had hoped.” 

Chuckling, he patted his suit pocket. “Not so bad for me. I already have four phone numbers.” “What? That’s not how it’s supposed to work.” 

He raised his hands defensively. “I didn’t ask for them. They just gave them to me. Was I supposed to say no?” “Yes!” 

“Why?” 

“Because that’s…” she scrambled to find the right word, “Cheating.” 

A slow grin crossed his face. “Admit it, Emma. You’re jealous.” 

“I am not jealous,” she denied hotly. 

Leaning his elbows on the table, he moved forward into her space. Lowering his voice, he asked, “What if I told you that the woman at table five had a very friendly foot that tried to make its way to the promised land?” 

“The promised land?” she scoffed. “That’s what you call it?” 

“Of course not,” he objected with mock offense. “But it seemed more polite.” 

Slapping her hand against her forehead, she exclaimed, “Seriously, Simon, why are you here?” 

The laughter left his face as he met her eyes directly. The intensity of his gaze in that moment stole her breath away. Quietly, he admitted, “I guess a six-minute date with you is better than no date at all.” 

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AuThursday – Cass Scotka

Cass-at-Pride-e1615253907974Tell us a little about yourself and your background? 

I’m a born and bred military brat turned military wife, a Texas Longhorn forever, and California is my soul’s home. I have a clinical doctorate in Audiology and by day work for a global hearing amplification company. By night, once my kiddos are in bed, I read, write, and create new worlds. I was chosen for PitchWars in 2016, landed my agent with a different manuscript in 2019, and my debut novel REVOLUTIONARY LOVE came out August 23, 2021. I’m also a die-hard Oxford comma supporter and will never give it up! 

How do you make time to write? 

I don’t sleep! Kidding…kind of. I do primarily write in the evenings after my kids are in bed. I’m not much of a morning person. I also take time on weekends to carve out a few hours and when I take the occasional work trip (pre-pandemic) I also snag the extra alone time for writing, too. 

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Yes!! I’m a pantser by nature so writer’s block can be a bit tricky. I’ve learned to use a very loose outline to help have at least a vague idea where I’m going with a story, and I’ve also learned it’s okay to skip sections or simply put [INSERT SCENE HERE] and circle back later. The main thing to keep in mind is don’t let it stop you from finishing your story! 

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

I write Romance! Contemporary, paranormal, historical – as long as it has love and an HEA I’m here for it! My debut novel is a historical romance set during the American Revolutionary War, I have a contemporary romance on sub, and am drafting a romance with light paranormal elements. My PitchWars manuscript is a YA paranormal romance that I hope will one day see bookshelves, too. I am a sucker for a good love story and I *have* to have a happy ending! Uncertain or sad endings are not my jam. I go into writing (and reading!) with the excitement of seeing how my MCs are going end up happily together! 

How are you publishing your recent book and why

My first book was published through Champagne Book Group and it was a great experience! As with many authors, I hope to land a deal with one of the big five and their imprints one day, but the Indie route was great for having easy and quick communication, one-on-one attention and mentoring, and CBG has been a great group to launch with! 

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

Introvert for sure! Writing is a great way for me to recharge and have alone time while still getting the vibes of spending time with friends. I always know I’m writing the right plot idea when my characters feel real to me and I look forward to my writing time to see what happens next! 

What is your favorite motivational phrase? 

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” – Maya Angelou 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Keep writing!! Keep writing, keep querying, and keep participating in mentor contests and Twitter parties. Keep going with all the things and YOU WILL BE SUCCESSFUL! 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Website/Blog: https://www.cassscotka.com 

Twitter: @CScotka; https://twitter.com/CScotka 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cass.scotka/ 

Instagram: @cassscotkawrites; https://www.instagram.com/cassscotkawrites/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2129915.Cass_Scotka 

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

revolutionary-love-cover-512x716-1

“This world?” A small shake of her head set the moonlight shimmering in her dark tresses. “As if we are living in two different places.” 

His voice turned hard. “We are. You have no idea what I’ve seen. What I’ve done in this blasted war.” He released her arm and looked away, afraid his sins would somehow show on his face. 

She touched his shoulder, but he refused to meet her eyes. “And you’ve no idea what I’ve seen and endured. The British soldiers in New York…they are not kind or decent men. I’ve seen how prisoners are treated. I’ve firsthand experience in how they treat women. Whatever you’ve done, the soldiers I know you’ve killed in battle, is all for the greater good of America.” 

He spun back to her, eyes flashing. “You don’t know what I’ve done! I murder men, Verity. Murder. Not fight in battle, but sit atop hills and cliffs three hundred yards away with my long rifle and shoot men without warning. They have no means to fight back against me. They never see me coming. My sharpshooting skills are exceptional and I’ve been singled out as Washington’s private killer.” His chest heaved from the force of his breathing. Hands shaking with rage and regret, he balled them into fists. “Go to bed.” 

Stay. God, he wanted her to stay, but he’d stain her sweet innocence. He wasn’t worthy of her attention. Not when she discovered— 

“Oh, you are too hardheaded!” She snarled with all the ire of a wet kitten. Plunking her hands on her hips, she scowled. Theo choked back his guffaw at the indignation she displayed. Even angry, she was delightfully charming. Her jaw clenched tighter, brows lowered a fraction more, and her eyes burned. 

Unease stirred within him. Perhaps he’d underestimated her vexation. “Don’t you dare patronize me.” She stepped closer so they were chest to chest. Her chin tilted up to keep their stares locked. “You believe General Washington is so morally corrupt he’d use someone as a trained killer on a whim?” 

“No, but—” 

She sliced a hand through the air. “Tell me, these men you’ve shot from afar, were they key soldiers leading troops into battle?” 

“Yes, but—” 

She poked a finger into his chest. “Did their deaths mean swift victories for the Continental Army without additional bloodshed?” 

“Most of the time, but—” 

“Then you saved lives, you daft man! By working with Washington to choose when and whom to target, you are saving countless American and British soldiers from death on the battlefield. I spent one dinner with the general and I know without qualms he is the very best of men. His Excellency would not be our chosen leader if he did not inspire unwavering trust in his decisions for the good of our country.” 

Theo blinked while his mind whirled over her words. A few points were fair, but still these men did not have the hope of fighting back against him. They did not see their deaths coming at his hands. “They could not fight back! The soldiers I’ve murdered did not even know from which direction death struck.” 

A frustrated growl filled the air and Verity stamped her foot. “As is so for most of us. Not everyone is fortuitous enough to see Death approach and have an option to fight back. People die every day and there is nothing to stop it. My father is proof. Redcoats dragged him from our field without warning. Tortured him for information. Beat him when he refused to pledge allegiance to the king. Hanged him and burned our home to the ground. All while I cried and begged for mercy. The only mercy I found was when they left me to spread the news of what happens to so-called traitors.” Theo’s eyes grew round as horror swept through him. The strength she held inside her tiny frame. It shamed him further to think of how he hid from afar behind his gun. His teeth ground together. He was a worthless coward. A worthless coward who could not provide her the life she so deserved. 

Her face softened. Shaking her head, she lifted a hand to his cheek. “You cannot blame yourself. No matter what your mind tells you, you are a good man.” 

Theo jerked his head away from her touch, afraid to sully her. “You are too naive, Verity.” 

“Stop treating me as a child. I am a full-grown woman, in case you hadn’t noticed.” 

Before he registered it, Theo reached out and swept her into his arms so their bodies touched from chest to thigh. “I am all too aware you are no longer a child.” He shifted his hips against her belly and she gasped as his erection pressed 

there. “There is no mistaking your lush female curves.” 

Their eyes locked and held. In the moonlight, he saw her pupils enlarge, her pulse flutter at her throat, and the small parting of her lips as her breathing quickened. Her body softened and relaxed into his embrace. “Theo,” she whispered and the tip of her tongue peeked out to wet her lips.