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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AuThursday – K.S. Trenten

IMG_1441Tell us a little about yourself and your background? 

Previously published author discovers pitfalls of trying to create her own genre (or subgenre) along with balancing creative ambition with an attempt to actually sell her work. 

How do you make time to write? 

I’m fortunate. I’m being supported by my marriage partner, leaving me time to write, yet somehow I still end up constantly running out of time. 

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Just one block? Lately it’s been a rain of stones accompanied by the Apocalypse song in Revolutionary Girl Utena. (wry grin) 

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

I’m suffering from a genre crisis right now. What I write is very close what Storm Constantine writes and anime/manga such as Revolutionary Girl Utena or Clover. It’s out of the box, emotionally driven fantasy which I call ambient fantasy. It appeals to a different crowd than what the market expects fantasy to be. (wry grin) 

How are you publishing your recent book and why? 

I’m having a crisis about that, too. I’ve been published, but my sales have been so bad, I’ve gotten seriously shy about submitting. There are more steps to self publishing, but I’m wanting to make certain I market myself right. 

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

Extrovert with introverted tendencies. I love to sit and read (or write), but I also really enjoy talking to people. Dialogue is what comes first to me when writing a story. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

Keep going and I’ll get better. 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

Keep going and you’ll get better. 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

https://www.amazon.com/author/kstrenten 

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

ASymposiuminSpace-f500A floating, pink orb drifted up to the open panels of Pausania’s apartment and fixed me with its lidless stare. 

I froze, unsure how to react. An unfashionable citizen of the Intergalactic Democracy, I still ran around in a vest with pocket protectors, unfamiliar with the latest technology. The bobbing globe made me think of tales of magic from Ancient Earth. 

“Phaedra, beloved of Pausania.” A melodic voice, filled with sly suggestion, came from the orb. “I’d be very pleased if you and your lover would attend my symposium in space.” 

AuThursday – Crystal Estell

Tell us a little about yourself and your background? 

I was raised in South Carolina in extreme poverty. Not as in I didn’t own name brand jeans, but as in I once lived in a condemned migrant worker’s house with no working bathroom until a church rented our family a place, poverty. That place didn’t last long, and then it was on to the next run down trailer we could find for pennies, as my late father was an alcoholic who barely worked. It didn’t help that neither of my parents had more than a 7th grade education. 

At 17, I moved out. And after taking several detours––that I’ll probably write about one day––I put myself through nursing school and now hold a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing Degree, working full time as a registered nurse. While I enjoy taking care of people, something happened that changed my life several years ago. Doctors diagnosed me with two rare conditions, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and a Chiari Malformation, which led to over eleven surgeries, including one on my brain. Shortly after, my then 7-year-old son had open heart surgery. It helped me realize life is short, and that I should do what makes me happy. 

Writing makes me happy. 

And when I’m not working, writing, or caring for my zoo filled with kids, dogs, chickens, and Churro, the rabbit, I find pleasure—and sanity—in deep conversations, coffee, and coloring outside the lines. 

My hope is that the happy endings I write provide an escape to someone who needs it, as books––and a late, inspiring aunt––gave me the emotional support I needed to create an alternate ending to my own story. 

How do you make time to write?

I just do. With a full time job and five very active kids, I have to make sacrifices–not excuses. I treat writing like a second job. My family respects it like a second job. And that makes it a lot easier to do what needs to be done. Otherwise, I’d never find the time. 

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

I have a different view of writer’s block than most. To me, it’s not being stuck or having nothing to write about. It’s more that my mind has so many ideas and possibilities flowing through it simultaneously that it’s hard to focus on just one idea. So everything just feels scrambled. 

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

I write mainly romance because it’s one genre where I know I’m guaranteed a happy ending. I am working on a women’s fiction novel currently w/ some romantic elements–and of course a happy ever after. 

How are you publishing your recent book and why? 

Indie publishing. Ahh…I did try traditionally publishing this book at first. I had lots of requests, compliments from agents, etc. What I learned about traditional publishing though is that having a great book doesn’t always equate to getting a great agent or a great contract. I had an offer from a digital publisher with the possibility of print after so many copies sold, but I declined because of the success I had self-publishing my first book. And because my reason for traditionally publishing would be to see my book in a place like Barnes and Noble (yes, I’m trying to walk before I crawl), I opted to continue Indie publishing for now. Until the next one… My ultimate goal is to do both. 

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

Introvert–although I can fake being an extrovert when forced to. Just don’t look at my armpits…lol. I think being an introvert helps because writing requires a lot of alone time, just me and the characters in my own head. The downside comes when it’s time to network and market. That leans in favor of the extroverts. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase? 

You fail only if you stop writing. ~Ray Bradbury 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t stop writing. Each book is always better than the one before. It’s only a matter of time before you write your masterpiece. 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web? 

https://estellsplace.com 

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

Excerpt From: “Field of Secrets.” 

He sat beside her. “This is where you used to spy on me from all those years ago.” 

“I never spied.” Not for malicious reasons, anyway. She enjoyed watching him trot back to the stables on his strong horse, all proud and confident. It reminded her of the cowboys on TV, those handsome young men riding in on powerful stallions, winking at the waiting ladies. She’d say her crush started then, or maybe a little before. She didn’t exactly know. 

Because in all her memories, she loved him.

AuThursday – RT Chambers

Informal head & shoulder RTC - at stable in HungaryTell us a little about yourself and your background? 

Retired trauma surgeon who wrote for much of my career as a stress reliever with no intent to publish. After retirement from surgery I began to publish. 

How do you make time to write? 

In the winter 

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

As a transitory event, yes. 

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

I write about strong women as dating back to the Isle of Skye in the 18th century there are multiple stories of strong women in my family including my mother who earner a four year business degree in the 1930’s, unusual for men and unheard of for women. 

How are you publishing your recent book and why? 

Indie 

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

Extrovert and not sure that it does affect my writing. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase? 

Get off your ass and get going (directed at myself only). 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

Ultimately you need to be concerned with character arcs and plot points but for the first draft just write as your cortex directs you. 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

www.Amazon.com/author/roberttchambers 

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

FrontCoverForInternet (1)

Facing the central part of the cafeteria, Kimberly could see Layla coming toward them from a corridor on the opposite side. There was a boy she didn’t recognize a few feet behind Layla. Something was not right. He had on a heavy jacket, which was weird this early in the fall. Instinctively she started to get up to find a teacher. Before her eyes, the boy disappeared in a cloud of fire, black and debris. As she ducked under the table, she saw Layla flying to their right. The explosion was sufficiently violent that the glass behind Kimberly and Allison blew out. Kimberly immediately got to her feet and began running toward the blast zone. 

“Wait, Kim, don’t go there,” Allison yelled after her, “we’ve got to get out.” 

Kimberly could hardly hear her but yelled, “Come on, people will need help.” 

The people, kids, and teachers near them, were on their feet or sitting stunned. With Allison following, Kimberly ran to where she had seen Layla. In front of them, there was a black void where nothing was moving. Around the periphery, kids, and adults, were screaming, many people were down. 

Layla was down, her body sprawled grotesquely, not moving; Kimberly squatted and felt for a pulse. There was none. Layla’s head was loosely, grotesquely, positioned on her body. 

“Oh my God, she’s dead, isn’t she,” cried Allison. 

“Yes,” replied Kimberly. She had never seen a dead person before, but there was no way Layla was alive. Kimberly shook her head and swallowed as she tried to process what she was seeing. Allison was sitting crying. “Come on, Allison, we’re Girl Scouts and know first aid. We can’t help Layla, but others need us.” Allison stared at her. Putting her hand out, Kimberly pulled her friend to her feet and got in her face. “Come on; we need to be useful.” 

The crying girl nodded and followed as Kimberly turned to look for living victims who needed help. Within a few steps, she almost tripped over somebody. 

Cover Reveal – Carnage by Ker Dukey

Title: Carnage
Series: Royal Bastards MC
Author: Ker Dukey
Genre: MC Romance
Release Date: November 2, 2021



Ezekiel “Carnage Creator” Ford.
Brother of the Royal Bastards MC.
Brutality incarnate.
A lone wolf.
The one they call in from the dark when they need shit done—and there’s no one better for the job than me.
I have a tainted soul, oil black and hungry for bloodshed.
The world is a cesspit. I give zero fucks about it, and it gives zero fucks about me, so when some mafia prick with a vendetta toward our club tries to torture me for sport, the last person I expect to come to my rescue is a small female with a sassy attitude and a death wish.
She’s a complication, burrowing her claws deep into the layers of my fucked-up psyche.
Part of me wants to keep her there, drench her in the very essence of who I am until she’s nothing but a weeping mess, craving the relief only I can give her.
She’s bringing my walls down, showing me maybe there’s some good in the world after all. Until my brothers find us and it’s not me they’ve come for—it’s her.
She’s not who she’s been pretending to be.
She’s the devil dressed in the tight-ass skin of a bitch I’ve become addicted to.
I don’t care who has to bleed for me to keep feeding the habit:
My brother.
Our enemies.
Her.
If she’s not in my bed and on the back of my bike, she’s not going to be on anyone’s.












Ker Dukey is an International bestselling author based in the United Kingdom. 
Genres include: 
Dark Romance, Psychological Thriller, New Adult Romance, Romantic Suspense, and Erotic Romance. Ker, is an international bestselling author, with over thirty titles published. Her titles have held multiple #1 bestseller banners and have had rights sold to numerous countries. 
In addition to being an author, Ker is an annoying wife and a mother of three children + one dog (who thinks he’s human.) She has a passion for reading and binge-watching crime documentaries.
Find her on social media, where she loves interacting with her readers.



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AuThursday – J.E. McDonald

JEMcDonald_2020SquareTell us a little about yourself and your background?

I was born and raised in Saskatchewan, Canada, and I live there with my husband and three girls ranging in ages from 3 to 10 year old. I’m a coffee addict and a Mine-craft junkie, and I adore spending time with my family, especially at the
lake.
I love writing books infused with humor, mystery, and steam. My series, the Wickwood Chronicles, is set in the fictional
town of Wickwood where the unexpected keeps happening. Book three in the series, Ghost of a Summoning, will be
coming out on September 14th, and it’s all about a prophecy that needs to be stopped or the gates of hell will be opened on Earth. (It’s funny too, I swear!)

How do you make time to write?

I wake up early in the morning and join the #5amwritersclub on Twitter. Sometimes it’s hard to make myself roll out of
bed and sometimes I wake up before my alarm. It’s the best time for me to write because everyone else in my house is
asleep and I find I’m the most productive in the morning.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I think writer’s block can be attributed to either a lack or inspiration or a lack of motivation. If you really want to, you can
get around those. The biggest dry spell I had with my writing was because of depression. It took a while, but I got back
into my routine a step at a time. Even if I sat down and only wrote fifty words, I did it daily, and eventually returned to my regular pace.
When I feel a lack of inspiration, I read a lot. I’ll return to old favorites, or binge on something new.

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

I write paranormal romance, and I absolutely love ALL romance. Paranormal is especially exciting because I love
mythology and the fantastical paired with high stakes and spice.

Ghost Enchantment DIGTIAL coverNew (quote)How are you publishing your recent book, Ghost of an Enchantment, and why?

I’m with a small press called City Owl Press, and I love being one of their authors. They’re supportive and energetic and I
hope to be working with them for a long time yet.

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

I’m an extroverted introvert. I like meeting new people, but it can be draining, and I have no problem spending time on
my own. I think my biggest challenge is on social media. It’s hard for me to connect with new people, but I work at it a
little bit at a time.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

Let’s do this!

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Reach out to people in the writing community and make connections. Other authors can be some of your greatest allies,
and you’ll never know what opportunities might come up.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Lots of places! My website and newsletter sign up at https://www.jemcdonald.net/

And here are my social media links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JEMcDonaldAuthor/?modal=admin_todo_tour
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JEMcdonaldSk
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jemcdonaldsk/

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

I’d love to! This is the beginning of Ghost of a Gamble, the first book in the Wickwood Chronicles.

Her tote bag hitched on her shoulder, Bree picked up her pace as she weaved in and out of the early morning shoppers.
Late. Late. Late. So damn late. One or two hours she could get away with. But three? Even Theo couldn’t be that
forgiving. Could he?
The eviction notice she’d found on her door that morning burned a hole in her back pocket. Trying not to dwell on it, she
trotted through the bustling morning crowd of old downtown. She skirted around a young family, then bumped into a
man with a camera pointed at the clock tower.
“Sorry!” she shouted as she dodged between a dog and bicycle, breezing past the advertisement board. Her short jog
finished in front of Theodore’s Bakery.
Bree inhaled the scent of fresh baked bread and thrust open the door. Chimes tinkled overhead. A line of customers
snaked through the shop, every table full with coffee-drinking, scone-eating patrons.
“Hey, Fran,” she said as she rushed to toss her tote bag on the back counter and grab her apron.
Behind the cash register, a harried Fran, her white hair coming out of her bun, shook her head, unsmiling. “I tried to call
you.”
“I turned my phone off.” As usual when I’m sleeping.
“Theo wants to talk to you.”
Bree glanced at the lineup, then back at Fran.
“Go,” Fran said, jerking her chin to the kitchen.
Tying the apron around her waist, Bree pushed through the swinging doors and found her boss taking a batch of buns
out of the oven. “Hey, Theo. Sorry I’m late. Fran said you wanted to talk to me?”
Theo’s bald head gleamed as he slid the pan into one of the cooling racks before meeting her gaze. “I can’t do it
anymore, Bree. I’m going to have to let you go.” His eyes held regret.
No. No. No. Not again. This wasn’t happening. “I’m sorry. I won’t be late again. I promise.”
He wiped his brow with his forearm. “I thought maybe it could work, but you’re not made for mornings.”
Bree smoothed her apron with shaky hands. “Then I can come later and do the shop work like Fran. I can clear tables
and serve people.”
He shook his head. “That’s what I have Fran for. I hired you for the back and that’s the person I need. I can only hire one
other person and I need that person here at six.”
From his quiet voice and the hard set of his shoulders, Bree knew he’d already made up his mind. She gave him a small
nod and forced her chin not to wobble. “I understand.” She stared at the tips of her sneakers. “I’m sorry I didn’t do a
better job.” Being yelled at would have been so much easier than dealing with his disappointment.
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
A heavy sigh made her head snap up. Maybe he’d changed his mind? But the expression in his eyes told her not to get
her hopes up.
“Look,” he began. “I’ll give you a recommendation if you need it. I’ll keep an eye out if there are openings anywhere.”
Her breath hitched. “You’d give me a recommendation?”
“Hey, when you’re here, you’re a good worker. It’s these early hours that don’t suit you.”
If it were only the case. Bree’s stomach squeezed. Nine o’clock. Ten o’clock. It didn’t matter what time her job began.
She’d lay awake at night, wanting to fall asleep, willing herself to fall asleep, and nothing would happen but her brain
playing the haunting sound of the wind whispering through the pine trees in her ears.
And now she’d lost another job because she couldn’t wake up in the morning. Her eyes drifted over the pans stacked in
the sink, all the dough that hadn’t been rolled out yet. Failure had her shoulders slumping. She turned to leave, then
stopped. “Um, I hate to ask this, but my paycheck?”
Another sigh. “Fran’s got it up front.”
“Thanks.” She pushed the swinging door open and paused. “You were a good boss,” she said over her shoulder. The
sound of dough smacking the counter followed her into the storefront.
The line in the bakery had diminished some, but every table had someone at it. Fran gave her a sympathetic smile.
Guess she knew I was getting fired when I walked in the door. Bree took off her apron, grabbed her tote bag, and waited
until the last person in line had paid. She sidled up to the counter, hip pressed against the glass housing everything from cinnamon buns to focaccia, and gave Fran a half smile. “I’ll get an Americano to go.”
Fran rang her up. Bree scanned the patrons, trying not to let the gloom of being fired set in. She needed a new job or
she’d be living on the street in a week. Her eyes darted to the advertisement board full of flyers and posters outside the
bakery. Maybe she could find something there, something that didn’t involve a morning shift.
Fran passed her a coffee and her check. Bree glanced at it and a little of the tension in her chest eased. Just enough to
cover what she owed her landlord.
She dug into her pocket for a five to pay for the coffee. She knew she had one. She’d put it there yesterday and hadn’t
spent it. Or had she? Her front pockets were empty. She quickly checked her back pockets, but only found the eviction
notice. Her cheeks heated. Her bank account probably had enough in it for her to use her card, right? It would be a
gamble. She swallowed and met Fran’s brown eyes.
Fran waved a dismissive hand. “This one’s on me. Consider it a going away present.”
Bree barked out a laugh. “Like, ‘Please go away and never come back’ kind of present?”
Fran’s hand flew to her chest. “Oh, my, no! I’m just sorry it didn’t work out. Now Theo’s going to be a person short until he
finds someone more suitable.”
More suitable. Bree had heard that one before too. The door chimed and a new customer received Fran’s attention. Bree
lifted her cup. “Thanks for the coffee.”
Fran gave her a small smile, then turned her attention to the man in a suit. Bree eyed her check, a hard knot solidifying in her chest. She still needed another full month’s rent in three weeks.
The check wrinkled between her fingers as she squeezed it. One option would be to take the money and run. It was
enough that if she packed up and left tomorrow, she could settle in a new town and not look back. She’d already paid
her last month’s rent when she’d signed the rental agreement. And no one would miss her here.
Inaya would.
The door chimed behind her as she left the yeasty smells of the bakery. Bree inhaled the crisp air of the street, people watching as they bustled around her, trying to focus on anything but the unease in her chest. She sipped her coffee and
winced when it burned her tongue.
Rubbing the sting away on the back of her teeth, she strolled the five steps to the advertisement board. From beneath
the half-wall, she saw someone on the other side in combat boots and black jeans. Bree scanned the ads. Most were
college students searching for roommates. Others were for concerts coming up in the Wickwood area.
The hard knot in Bree’s chest mutated into a hot burn. She really needed a job.
Thunk. Thunk. A stapler hit the other side of the board. She straightened. Thunk. Thunk. Slowly, she edged to the side
and peeked around the board to check out what Mr. Combat Boots had posted. Probably looking for a roommate.
She noticed his hair first. Brown with a hint of red, it swept across his forehead to stop below his chin. A dusting of
stubble showed through his tawny skin, but nothing you could call a beard. And his clothes matched his boots. All black.
He’s cute. Her heart did a double thump. Really cute.
Straightening, she stepped around the board to get a better look at his flyer. His golden eyes tracked her, then quickly
looked away. He stepped back to admire his handiwork, and she stood beside him, shoulder to shoulder. Her body
hummed. Acting casual, Bree took a cautious sip of her coffee and read the flier.
HELP WANTED IMMEDIATELY
PART-TIME FIELD ASSISTANT
RESILIENT PERSONALITY PREFERRED
AVAILABLE NIGHTS
*NEEDS TO KEEP AN OPEN MIND*
She pursed her lips. “What do you do? Make pornos or something?” She wouldn’t want to star in a porno—not that she
didn’t have the skills—but taking a leap into adult entertainment wasn’t a life goal. She wasn’t a prude and could
probably be an assistant.
“What?” He turned so abruptly, he hit her elbow. She managed to hold onto her coffee, but some splashed out of the lid
and landed on his jacket with a splat.
“Oh, my God.” Bree set her cup on the ledge of the advertisement board and dug around in her tote for a tissue. “Are you
hurt? Are you burnt?”
Eyes wide, he shook his head.
“I’m so sorry.” Bree kept digging in her bag. There must be a napkin or something in here. “Not that it was my fault, mind
you, since you hit my hand. But I am sorry I poured coffee on you.” She found a used, crumpled up tissue, stared at it for
a full two seconds, shrugged, and wiped at the front of his jacket. “At least I didn’t get your boots wet.”
As she turned to reaffirm her coffee was secure on the ledge, she hit the cup with her tote. The cup tipped, tipped…she
reached…and it fell to the ground with a dull thud. The lid flew off and coffee splattered her sneakers and his boots.
“Oh my God, I can’t believe I did it again.” Easy come, easy go. That’s how it was with free pity coffees. She went to a
knee and swiped at the moisture on his boots. The embarrassment ringing in her ears made it hard for her to hear.
“Please stop,” he said, the words finally making it through.
She peered up to see his wonderfully beautiful face twisted in distress. Glaring at the tissue, she grimaced, and shoved
it in her tote before hopping to her feet.
“Sorry,” she muttered. Had she ruined her chances?
Most likely.
She glanced at the flyer. She really needed a job, but if he was wanting a fluffer, that was probably a deal breaker.
Probably.
“So, um, you’re needing a field assistant? I’m actually looking for a job.” Best not to mention she’d been fired five
minutes ago.
Instead of saying yes or no, he stared at her with bewildered eyes. She cleared her throat. No change in his expression.
She cocked her chin to the flyer. “The porno thing? I haven’t worked at a porno shoot before.”
“Porno thing?” That snapped him out of it. “What? No.” He shook his head. “No porno thing.”
From the completely shocked look on his face, she knew he had to be telling the truth. She swallowed hard. But was it
something worse? Her mind scrambled to fill in the blanks left by the flier. Grave digger? Grave robber? Neither fit.
No matter what it was, she worried at her bottom lip, believing she might have just ruined her shot at making sure she
didn’t end up homeless.

New Release – Betting Blind by Loren Beeson

  

Title: Betting Blind
Author: Loren Beeson
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cover Designer: Emily Wittig
Publication Date: June 18th, 2021
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR

Blurb:

Cassidy Smith is desperate for some excitement. Her free-spirited best friend keeps her on her toes with the occasional misadventure, but deep down, she just needs… more. When the girls stumble into a bar known for its bad reputation and a tattooed, bad boy owner, Cassidy’s left daydreaming about what it would be like to ditch her boring life and find a way to fit in with the rough, rowdy crowd of The Pound.

 

Jack Campbell’s got a one-track mind. He works hard to provide for the guys who work for him and even harder to keep his bar running in tip-top shape. He can’t afford the temptation of Cassidy being more than just a temporary employee, but against his better judgment, he offers the beautiful blonde a job at his bar. Things get more complicated for Jack when his older brother starts stirring up trouble in town, etching a target on his back and forcing him into a world he promised never to turn back to.

 

With their hearts on the table and a deck full of secrets, will they bet it all… or give up their hand?


Loren is a dreamer, artist, radiologic technologist, and author who loves animals and people. Always writing short stories as a young child and young adult, she knew she wanted to become an author someday. The Art of Loving Ellie is Loren’s debut novel.

Loren can be found in her cozy home in Texas with her nose in a book, her corgi and mini aussie on her lap, and her son trailing along with her and her husband through their many adventures.

Author Links:

Website | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter | Amazon






 

Cover Reveal – Cruel Summer

 

Title: Cruel Summer
Author: L.L. Hunter 
Genre: YA Contemporary Romantic Suspense, Mystery
Cover Designer: Emily Wittig
Publication Date: Sept. 30th, 2021
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR

Blurb:

Over the summer, Stacey Miller lost her innocence.

But it’s not how people think.

The pastor’s step- daughter has a dark secret, one she’d rather keep hidden forever.

But when recent events force her to open up and tell Darcie, her best friend, the truth, Stacey knows she can’t run or hide.

Besides that, there is still a killer on the loose, and Darcie might be next.

They’ll do anything to keep the town, and Darcie, from uncovering the truth.

 

The thrilling third instalment of the Summervale series.

L.L. Hunter is the author of over 20 published works, including The Legend of the Archangel Series and The Garden of Eden. She has studied everything from veterinary nursing, forensic science, and dramatic arts, but has always known her true calling was to be an author. 

She has been writing since her teens – everything from fan fiction, to song lyrics, to plays and musicals. When not working on her next paranormal romance, she can be found at home in Australia, reading somewhere comfortable with one or both of her “fur babies.” Follow her on Facebook, Twitter @llhunterbooks, and her blog – http://llhunter.blogspot.com.au.

Author Links:




AuThursday – Jaycee Jarvis

RT_JL_006Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m a fantasy romance author living in the Pacific Northwest of the US. I’ve lived all over the country and even spent a year abroad as a kid. I love to travel and see new places and meet new people. Traveling is a little harder now that I have kids, though they are pretty adventurous too. One of the things I’m most exciting to get back to in 2022 is traveling again.

As for my journey to becoming a writer, I’m what some might consider a late bloomer. As a child I wasn’t motivated to learn to read because with picture books I could always make up a story that interested me as much as the “official” one. When I was eight my mom started reading me chapters books before bed and that’s when I really fell in love with the magic of the written word, and was motivated to learn to read myself. Similarly I’ve always been drawn to story telling, but didn’t really start writing stories until I took a creative writing class in college and really felt the magic in that creative process. It was a long journey from those first classes to my first published book twenty years later.

How do you make time to write? 

As a mom with three school aged children, I’m used to fitting writing in around school schedules and other kid activities. I’ve written a lot of words sitting on the sidelines of dance class or kiddy soccer. That said, this past year has been a whole new level of challenge in terms of time management. My kids have only recently returned to in-person school and we are all adjusting to the new schedule. One thing I’m really looking forward to is writing in coffee shops again.

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

I certainly believe in burn out, and other obstacles to the creative process. Art of any kind takes a certain amount of creative energy, and there are certainly circumstances in a writer’s life that can make it difficult to refill the well.

What genre are your books and what draws you to this genre?

I write fantasy romance novels, because ultimately I want to write the books I most want to read. I’ve always been drawn to the wonder and possibilities of fantasy novels, but I also crave the optimism and emotional resonance of a good romance. With fantasy romance I feel like I have the best of both worlds.

How did you come up with the idea for your series, Hands of Destin? 

I spent a long time world building and playing around with a magic system where everyone has a touch of talent, so much so that the idea of magic doesn’t even really exist. I wanted to explore the lives of ordinary people in an extraordinary world.  I’m a character first writer, so I really established the friend group that is at the core of the Hands of Destin series before diving into any individual book. I’m a huge fan of found family stories and “buddy novels” as they are sometimes called in romance circles, where a series depends on moving from one couple to another in a friend or family group. 

Some my character choices were very deliberate, but my writing is also subject to the whims of the muse. I feel like Madi (the heroine from Deadly Courtship, book two in the series) introduced herself fully formed while I was in the shower one day. And don’t ask me why all the best ideas strike in the shower, but it is surprisingly common!

I see you are Traditionally Published, why was this path right for you? 

I’m a perfectionist and a tinkerer who can always see new ways to improve my work, so external deadlines and expectations are really helpful to my writing process. As a new writer, I also really wanted to focus on the writing, without having to account for all the other moving pieces that go into creating a book. I can imagine self-publishing eventually, but for now I really enjoy the partnership I have with my publisher.

How did you deal with Rejection Letters if you received any? 

My personal philosophy is that you miss all of the chances you don’t take, so it is important to not let the fear of failure hold you back. Rejection and criticism are part of the business of writing. I also believe that fiction is a collaboration between the writer and the reader, which means that my stories aren’t always going to land the way I intend it to land. Understanding this makes it easier to have the thick skin needed for this business. 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write the book you’ve always wanted to read, for two reasons. One: if the idea excites you, then you can bet there are readers out there hungry for the same thing.  Two: you are going to be reading your work over and over and over, until there are times when you hate it. If the story doesn’t grab you on some deep level, pushing through those rough patches is going to be that much harder.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Website: http://www.jayceejarvis.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JayceeJarvis

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/jaycee-jarvis

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18092674.Jaycee_Jarvis

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

I’ll share the moment before Terin and Aurelia’s first kiss in Crowning Courtship—I think this scene captures some of the tensions of their charade, as well as Aurelia’s inner struggle against their mutual attraction.

crowningcourtship600x900Terin chuckled. “Could you be more perfect?”

His toes found hers under the water and his foot rubbed Aurelia’s leg in a subtle caress that filled her with impossible longings.

The smile dropped off her face, as she was reminded of exactly why she was no prize. She looked away, lacking the will to move her foot out of reach. “Hardly perfect.”

His scooted closer, his face serious. “Perfect for me.”

Aurelia’s heart fluttered. He meant she was perfect for his scheme, perfect for his deception, and yet she yearned to take him at his word. To believe that this time, just once, she was enough.

She canted toward him, her breath shallow and her lips parted.

Desire flared in his eyes, visible even in the low light. Would he kiss her? Should she kiss him?

With a groan he pushed away from her. He dropped his head back on the edge of the pool with a loud thump.

She flinched, the hollow thud reawakening the anxiety she had felt on entering the room. Her head flared with a sympathy pain.

He drummed the back of his head against the rock while muttering angrily.

“What’s wrong?” She had never seen him take on so.

“I promised to be good,” he growled, his face still turned up toward the ceiling, though at least he’d stopped banging his head.

Her brow knit. “Have you done something bad?”

He tilted his head to look at her. The heat and longing in his gaze seared right to her core. “I want, rather desperately, to kiss you, but I promised I would behave. That I would wait for you. Wait for your invitation before touching you, and only do what you want me to do. Do you want me to kiss you?”

“Now? Here?” Her eyes darted around the glittering chamber. While they were alone, the room was hardly private.

“Ever.”

He was so beautiful it was almost painful. Of course she wanted this man. How could she not? It was time she be honest with them both. With a feeling like she was tossing her fate to the current, she met his gaze square on. “Yes, Terin, I do.”