AuThursday – James Pyles

james2Please welcome James Pyles to the Clog Blog!  James, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’ve been writing information technology textbooks for over 20 years published by houses such as McGraw-Hill and O’Reilly. Since 2019, I’ve branched out into writing science fiction and fantasy short stories and novelettes.
How do you make time to write?
I try to block out time in the evenings after my day job, but it doesn’t always work out. Frankly, I write whenever I can carve in an hour or more.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
I believe that stress and my emotional state can drain away my motivation to write. I have to be in the right space to be creative and to be focused enough to write.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I’ve been reading science fiction since I was a kid in the mid-1960s. I’ve always wanted to write SciFi but over the years, my attempts felt forced and derivative. With the advent of indie writing and publishing, I finally got up the nerve (after practicing writing on my blog for a few years) to start submitting stories. I just love time travel, space operas, and all the tales I grew up with. I love being a part of lending my imagination to all of that.
How are you publishing your recent book and why?
I’m finally working on my first novel. It’s set in a shared universe created by an indie publisher. I’ve had stories published by them before and they’re interested in me expanding my ideas into a much larger work. Indie publishing affords opportunities to write innovative stories that otherwise wouldn’t see the light of day with a traditional big box publisher.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
Introvert. I like my space and I like it quiet. Fortunately, I have a home office where I can close the door and immerse myself in my craft.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
“When I was young, I used to admire intelligent people; as I grow older, I admire kind people.”Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
There is no one right path to writing and being published. The journey is unique for everyone. You don’t have to follow someone else.
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 the first draft of my WIP, so it’s pretty rough:
Ciara was relieved that the four soldiers who silently accompanied her back to the shuttle bay were Assembly regulars and not DOID Appendices. It was an irrational fear, for if the DOID had been ordered to kill her, she would never have seen them coming.
The footfalls of five pairs of boots echoed metallically off of the deck plates and the barely audible hiss of the doors sliding aside signaled their arrival at the launch bay. Without a word, she was deposited at the foot of the stairs leading into the shuttle, a winged, light-gray dove in stark contrast to the abyss-black of the massive envoy vessel she was currently housed in. The size and armament could have been a response to the constant threat of the Kaamus occupations of the local star group, but in reality, it was a reflection of the authority wielded by the Assembly’s DOIDs.
The pilot officiously announced departure from the shuttle bay and feeling like a tenuous angel, she once again fell toward the planet below.
Once in orbital space, the Representative’s jump ship loomed over her like a harbinger of death, which could still be its role. She would make planetfall in less than thirty minutes and be returned to the chateau of House Palendale two hours hence.
It had been just past dawn that morning when Ciara pulled her battered trunk from a closet in her personal chambers. It could have sheltered a small family from some of the more impoverished corners of the realm, but such were the benefits of both rank and royalty. She had again gone through the ritual of dismantling the chest, eventually reaching the hermetically sealed remains of the La-La doll. The prize had been uncovered by the revered Kekijek over three millennia ago on a frozen moon orbiting a gas giant in the Kaamus system.
“We’ve begun La-La, but our chances are not good. Yet what else can I do and still be worthy of what you represent?”
So unlike a General, Ciara held the plastic-covered stuffed toy to her breasts and strode out to the eastern balcony. There were fifty kilometers of farmland surrounding the estate and she had an unimpeded view of tender crops being watered by large, rolling arms spraying life. Her gaze, however, was directed upward toward the last stars being extinguished by the morning light.
Her brother Amir remained a prisoner of the Kaamus military governor Kenan Isom on Eirsyn, and if reports were accurate, he did rule with an iron fist. As long as Amir had value as a hostage, he would be kept alive and even treated with privilege. But he was still a prisoner in the hands of a master who played with his human possessions as a feline would with its living dinner. Agents reported that large swaths of the planet’s general population were not so fortunate. Over a million had lost their lives so far, and millions more were pressed into service in work camps.
Then there was Jepheth Shinzi who had fallen into her own powerful hands a year ago. In return for a certain freedom, they had woven an alliance that in another reality might have passed for friendship. But upon granting his wish, she used him to fulfill her own, which most likely had sent him to his death.
As the shuttle made its final approach to one of the landing pads in the military compound near the city’s edge, Ciara raised the inside of her left wrist and pressed a code sequence.
“Major Kann. Good evening, General.” Her aide’s pleasant baritone voice reminded her that she wasn’t alone after all.
“My shuttle’s landing at Pad A35. Have my transportation ready when I touch down.”
“Acknowledged, General. Anything else?”
She almost laughed, but a miracle wasn’t something even her devoted second could provide. “That’s all for the present. Ciara out.”
Minutes later the roar of the landing thrusters jolted her out of her musings. She hoped it wasn’t too late to ask for that miracle because she would need so many before this was over. Nearly a day before the DOID’s ship had jumped into the Pheothese system, Code Name Soiran had issued the go order. By now, the assault team had jumped into Eirsyn’s solar system and with any luck, they were already in position to strike. Her audience with the DOID had been perfunctory on her part. She would be damned if she’d wait for the Assembly’s nod before waging her own war.

AuThursday – David Bridger

David Bridger author picPlease welcome my friend David Bridger to The Clog Blog!  David, tell us a little about yourself and your background.
Twenty years in the Royal Navy until I got hurt and then caught a virus in hospital that left me housebound/bedbound with lifelong chronic illness. Cue: my second career as a novelist. Twelve written to date, nine of them still in print, with three more on the way in this next year or two plus my first non-fiction book.
How do you make time to write?
I have all the time in the world (Thanks, Louis) but very limited energy, so managing that to allow my writing is a job in itself.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
For me, thankfully, it hasn’t happened.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
Science fiction and fantasy of a literary style.
How are you publishing your recent book and why? 
Over the years, I’ve done traditional and then self-publishing. Enjoyed the creative freedom of the latter, but eventually had to admit that all the extra work was damaging my health. Fortunately, a friend introduced me to his small independent publisher, who turned out to be a treasure. She and I get on, personally and professionally. She asks no more of me than that I write my books then edit them with her, which is the perfect usage of my available energy. All my available books are now with her house, and I hope that all my future ones will be too.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
I’m a contemplative. Extrovert in my younger days, growing less so as I age. This might perhaps affect my writing, although I’m probably not the best person to judge that.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
I trust my intuition.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Keep going.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
From my most recently released novel, Wild Times:
DavidBridger_WildTimes_1600x2400
Magic is a marriage of hope and rebellion.
It’s everywhere in the world. Always has been. But in most of the world, it’s unknown. People stopped using it, believing in it even, thousands of years ago, and hundreds of years ago, and tens of years ago. It seems that each culture and each generation rejects magic a bit more than the one before. Some cultures more or less than others, but the general trend is to ignore magic and eventually to forget it. In every culture, though, in every generation, there are people who don’t ignore it. Some of them stick around in the normal world, and they are often persecuted because of what they know, what they practise.
But many don’t stick around. They go into the Wild.

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 – Karenna Colcroft

Kim Ramsey-Winkler headshot smPlease welcome Karenna Colcroft to the Clog Blog!  Karenna, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I live in Massachusetts with my husband and split time between the home he and I share and the home of my committed partner. I’m a nonbinary, polyamorous human, mother of two kids and a son-in-law, and grandmother of three. I’ve been writing since I was five years old, and I love stories that take place in “the real world” but have fantasy elements and things that (probably) would never happen in reality. Like werewolves.
How do you make time to write?
I’m partially disabled, so I don’t have a “real job.” Writing and holistic wellness practices are my full-time work, and I drive rideshare to support my writing habit. Since I set my own schedule, I can write whenever I want, and work the other things around it.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Absolutely, though I have a different take on it. For me, “writer’s block” means “my brain is occupied with mental health issues or other things, and I can’t spare the bandwidth to think about stories right now.” I just came off a nearly 7-year period where that was the case; my July book release is the first new romance I’ve written since 2016!
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I write paranormal romance (and occasionally contemporary); as I said above, I love stories that take place in “the real world” but have fantasy elements. Under other names, I also write contemporary fiction for preteens and teenagers, and metaphysical nonfiction.
How are you publishing your recent book and why?
Indie publishing. The July release is a new book but is part of a series that was published previously. Those rights were reverted to me in 2016. Since the books were published before, and I’m a bit of a control freak, I chose to self-publish this time around, including a few new books that I’m working on that will be part of the series.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
Introvert. The biggest effect is in trying to connect with readers and other authors; I find that very difficult. It’s also reflected in my writing; my characters often have very little social life, because I simply don’t think about that kind of thing.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
I don’t have one…
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
If you feel blocked, write something. Anything. It might not be part of what you’re “supposed to be” working on, but even a sentence is more than nothing. Also, if you plan to pursue publication, do your research on the companies you hope to work with.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
My website is karennacolcroft.com;

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 – Adele Buck

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
 
I’m a self-published author of five romance novels and one novella. I’ve recently started writing more in my age range (>40) and I LOVE it! I’m also querying a non-romance (women’s fiction).
 
How do you make time to write?
 
I don’t have kids and my husband loves to cook. It’s as disgustingly simple as that.
 
Do you believe in writer’s block?
 
I believe that there are places in various stories were writers get stuck, for sure. I’m not sure I’d call it writer’s block for me – it’s more that I have lost track of something (stakes, motivation, conflict usually.).
 
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
 
I write mostly romance and I love the challenge of it – it’s harder than it looks to take two people (or more, though I only write couples) and believably get them through the story so that they fall in love on the other end!
 
How are you publishing your recent book and why?
 
Indie. I had an agent for a few years, but wasn’t selling anything to New York publishers. We finally amicably split and now I’m looking for a new agent while I self publish.
 
Are you an Introvert or Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
 
I’m what I call a “performative introvert.” I definitely need alone time to recharge, but I was also an actress and a singer in my younger years, so I also love applause!
 
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
 
I don’t have one.
 
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
 
Surround yourself with astute, generous critique partners – and be one in return.
 
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
 
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
 
“I’m serious.” Vati took a long pull of her drink. “You have a leaky pipe, you call a master plumber. You want to bait your ex-husband into looking like the dumpster fire he is, you—”
 
“Hire a master…baiter?” Tove broke in, laughing in spite of herself. “What, like a boy toy? Do Anthony one better by bringing someone even younger than Emily?” She snorted and rolled her eyes. “Even if I wanted to do something like that, Anthony would see straight through it. It’s absolutely not my style. Also utterly hypocritical, considering how I’ve been rolling my eyes at his increasingly younger wives for years.”
 
– From The Wedding Bait (an >50 romance novella)

AuThursday – Darlene P. Winston

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
 
I’m a wife, mother, and grandmother who work full time in corporate America but would love to write full-time. I’m an avid reader and lover of a good movie. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I’ve been fortunate to publish three novels and look forward to publishing more.
 
How do you make time to write?
 
I write during free moments. I keep a notepad handy at all times since I never know when a character will appear with suggestions.
 
Do you believe in writer’s block?
 
Yes, I do believe in writer’s block but I try not to let it linger too long.
 
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
 
I consider my work to be contemporary fiction because I focus on realistic life situations written for an adult audience.
 
How are you publishing your recent book and why?
 
Currently, I’m publishing as an indie author. I’d love to go the traditional route just haven’t had the opportunity.
 
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
 
I’m on the spectrum. I can be both. Being an introvert hinders me from openly talking about myself and my work.
 
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
 
It’s never too late to be what you might have been.
 
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
 
Simply never give up. Dr. Seuss was rejected many times.
 
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
 
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
 
Book Cover - Perfectly ImperfectMinutes later he emerged from the bathroom and looked over at K.C., who remained in the same position he’d left her in. He walked over to a chair and grabbed his clothes and began to dress.
 
“So we aren’t going to talk about this?” she asked.
 
He swiftly turned toward her. His clipped tone alerted her that he was not happy with her. “No, we aren’t K.C.” She wasn’t going to give up. “Dre–“
 
He held up his hand, stopping her. When he was sure that he had her attention he spoke as he continued to get dressed. “I’m serious, K.C., I refuse to have this conversation with you. You agreed, we agreed that we wouldn’t that we wouldn’t have any more arguments about Desirae, and for you to bring her into our bed is totally unacceptable.”
 
She opened her mouth to speak but he continued before she could get a word in. “Hear me because I am only going to say this one time. When I make love it’s to the woman I am in bed with, and for more than a year now, that woman has been you. I’ve had no need to think of, fantasize about, want, or need another at any time, and that includes in and out of bed.”
 

AuThursday – Libby Webber

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I am a mom, martial arts instructor, and program director. I’ve been writing my whole life. I write thriller and action stories.
How do you make time to write?
A good support system. And hard boundaries.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
No. I believe that’s there our aspects in life that preoccupy us, or other stories that are needing our attention at that moment.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I am currently writing in the thriller and action stories. I love these genres because it deals with the darker side of life.
How are you publishing your recent book and why? 
I indie published my first book, The Assassin’s Legacy, and it is available on October 26, 2021.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert? How does this affect your work?
A mix of both. It allows me to get the life experience to make great stories, but also the downtime to write those stories.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
Words have power.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
It’s your timeline. Do not be on anyone else’s schedule but your own. No one’s habits are the same as yours, no one’s mind works the way yours works, so no one‘s journey will look like yours. I Worked on my book on and off for 10 years, doing the querying doing the pitchwars, and it wasn’t that I wasn’t dedicated, it’s that I was living life, and waiting in the wings for other people to recognize me. I got good feedback on my book, but it was too long for industry standards for a new author. I couldn’t cut the book without losing the story, and I didn’t want to put it away and try to write something shorter to appease big publishers.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Or
TikTok libbywebberauthor
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
IMG_6658Aeron glanced around the familiar hallway, the hardwood floors, crappy lighting, and fake potted plants coated in dust. Nothing about it indicated one of the world’s most influential political players lived just on the other side of the faded wooden door in front of her.
She took a deep breath and smoothed out her skirt, fingers skating over the blade strapped to her thigh, the reassuring pressure reminding her this was not a social call.
“Showtime,” Luke’s low voice whispered into her earpiece. A surge of nerves jetted through her bloodstream.
Should anything go wrong tonight, Luke and her brother, Decius, were perched in a sniper’s nest and guaranteed her a swift death.
She pulled the earpiece out, tucked it inside a pocket on her bra, and knocked. Her heart pounded a few times before the practiced breathing calmed the nerves. This should be like any other mission, he was a target to be eliminated.
But it wasn’t like any other mission. Shaun Brinks was a Legacy Member—a trained assassin like herself. And the man she was sleeping with. Shaun pulled the door open, hair tousled and his brown eyes blinking with sleep.

AuThursday – Carla Luna

Please welcome Carla Luna to The Clog Blog!  Carla, tell us a little about yourself and your background? 

My name is Carla Luna and I write contemporary romantic comedies that feature messy families, swoony romance, and steamy shenanigans. When I’m not writing, I work in a spice emporium and get paid to talk about recipes, which is why my stories often feature delicious food. Before I had kids, I worked as an archaeologist, but now I channel my wanderlust into the settings of my books. Though I was born in Los Angeles and grew up on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, I currently live in Wisconsin with my family. 

How do you make time to write? 

I squeeze it in late at night and on days when I don’t have to work. 

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

Yes, because I’ve experienced it before–usually when I’m stuck trying to figure out where I want my story to go. I find the best solution is to step away from my laptop and go for a nice long walk. If I let my mind wander, the ideas often come to me. 

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

I love writing romantic comedy because it’s a genre I grew up watching. I love rom-coms from the 80s and 90s, like “You’ve Got Mail,” “Notting Hill,” and “When Harry Met Sally,” because they mix humor and emotion so well. I always hope that my stories will not only get my readers invested in the characters, but also provide them with a few laughs as well. 

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

My current book, White Wedding, which comes out on November 16, is indie published. It’s the third book in the Blackwood Cellars Series, all of which are set at over-the-top destination weddings. I wrote all 3 during 2020, when I was desperate to get out of the house, but couldn’t go anywhere (like most of the world!). Once they were done, I decided I wanted full control and decided to indie publish them in 2021. 

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

I’m an Introvert, which means I’m very happy sitting at my laptop and losing myself in my made-up world. Because I work in retail, I have to be around people a lot, so it’s always a relief to come home to the solace of my home office and write. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase? 

“The only way out is through” 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

Find a supportive community that you can bond with though all of the highs and lows of writing and publishing. I wouldn’t have gotten this far without the support of my writer friends. You can find like-minded writers all over–on Twitter, in Facebook groups, by offering to beta-read their books, and by participating in NaNoWriMo in November. 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Website: https://www.carlalunabooks.com/ 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/casacullen 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CarlaLunaAuthor 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/carlalunacullen/ 

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

From Chapter 2 – Victoria, who works as an event planner for her family’s winery, is stuck coordinating her ex’s big Christmas wedding. When she meets with the caterer, she’s shocked to find out she already knows him. 

Victoria couldn’t do this. Tres Hermanos might have a great reputation but trusting an inexperienced caterer for her ex fiancé’s wedding was a wreck waiting to happen. Not to mention she and the caterer shared an intimate, personal history. 

She drained the rest of her water and set down the glass. “I’m sorry, Mr. Sanchez.” 

His dark eyes fixed on her, displaying a hint of annoyance. “Rafael.” 

“I’m sorry, Rafael. But this isn’t going to work. You’ve never managed an event on this scale, and I can’t have anything go wrong. There’s also the fact that—” 

“That we were lovers?” 

Lovers. Because he’d been more than a mindless vacation romp. During the two weeks they’d been together, she’d actually cared about him. 

Just not enough to tell him her real name. 

She cringed. “I was hoping you wouldn’t mention it. Or that it was a distant memory.” 

“I haven’t forgotten any of it.” 

She looked into his eyes, and it was evident he hadn’t. Despite his composure, he was no doubt remembering every passionate, tequila-soaked moment they’d spent together. 

He cleared his throat. “I wouldn’t have come if I’d known who you were, but now that I’m here, I don’t want to lose this chance. I’m a professional, and I’ll behave like one. No one will ever know about us.” His gaze darkened. “Wasn’t that how you wanted it, anyway?” 

She winced, remembering what she’d done to him. How she’d left him when he was sleeping, without ever giving him her real name, her number, or any way of tracking her down. 

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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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