Monday, June 29, 2015

What's In A Name?

The UK recently welcomed our newest member of the Royal Family.  Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge  - surely the stuff of fantasy and fairytale?  It may be a bit sexist these days to say so, but doesn’t every little girl want to be a princess?  To my generation, Diana was the ultimate fairy princess.  This is Diana’s granddaughter, how scary is that?  And how old do I suddenly feel?

And her name?  How gorgeously traditional.  Somehow Princess Kylie or Miley or Taylor doesn’t have quite the same ring.  I remember how I sweated blood over my own daughter’s name.   Nothing we liked seemed to go with our surname, Lilley – Lauren Lilley anyone?  I don’t think so!  She isn’t a cartoon character.  And after all that soul-searching, what happened?  As soon as she was old enough to talk, she wouldn’t answer to anything but Princess Rosie, who was a cartoon character from one of her picture books.

The new royal baby made me think about character names and how notoriously difficult they can be.  They can paint an instant picture for the reader, not always the one the writer intends.  Do we really want a hero called Norman or Wilbur?  But doesn’t Billy Idol have the best name ever for a front man?  We wouldn’t want our heroine to be saddled with something like Gladys, which happens to be my mother’s name and also my grandmother’s, but happily not mine.

Another Summer by Sue Lilley
My own name is Susan Ann.  How I always longed to be called Suzanne, which I thought was much more glamorous.  But I ended up being Sue to everyone, including on my official application to the Passport Office.  I wonder why they weren’t very impressed that I’d somehow forgotten I ever had a proper name.  The origin of the name Susan is Hebrew and it means lily, the flower.  I can’t remember if I knew this when I met my husband but I’ve always been intrigued that his name is Lilley.  Perhaps fate meant us to be together.  Or maybe I was attracted to his Viking heritage as well as his long rock-star hair.

In my first novel ANOTHER SUMMER, I decided to give Joe and Jake the same initials.  I think it helps to emphasise their similarities and underlines the reason why Evie finds it so hard to choose between them.

There’s a character called Alannah in my new novel HIGH HOPES.  She was named after Alannah Myles, her father’s big crush in the ‘Black Velvet’ days.  I think this is a nice hook into her back story, especially as her father only finds out about her as the novel progresses.  One of my favourite characters in HIGH HOPES is called Dixie.  But you’ll need to read the novel to find out why.

If you’d like to be notified when HIGH HOPES is released, you can join my mailing list at

Thursday, June 25, 2015

What a difference a year makes. 52 little weeks …

To celebrate its one year anniversary, the very first full-length novel I ever wrote, Fox Among Wolves, is FREE on 26th/27th June. Since its release, sales have been steady in all but one of those 52 weeks. Not bad for a new Indie Author (I published Death Wishes and Triple Jeopardy last May, but Fox was the big hit). Although written as a stand-alone, after so many comments from people wanting more, I wrote a sequel. Seven months from start to finish, Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, hit the Amazon store this April. The third book, Big Bad Wolf, is halfway done. At least it was ‘til a new character rocked up yesterday. Lisa’s great fun!

The best aspect of my past year has been playing with some incredible authors who make up the World Wise Writers. Last May, one of them wrote:
One year from today, we will all be toasting our joint success and laughing at our silly, year-ago selves and how anxious we all were. Here’s to success! And Cookies.
She was truly a prophet as the picture shows: fourteen bestselling books since April 2014. Here’s a snapshot:

S.M. Freedman: her fabulous book, The Faithful, not content with gaining kudos from Publisher’s Weekly “Wacky and far-reaching, this work reveals fiery intellect,” hit #1 on numerous bestsellers list in the US and UK and outsold Stephen King! The cherry on the top was when her “absolutely mind-blowing story” was snapped up by Thomas and Mercer, a publishing arm of Amazon. The Faithful: According to I Fidele, non-psychics are cockroaches. And the extermination is about to begin.

Andrea Domanski: prolific doesn’t come close - in a little over a year she has added three new stories to her fast-paced action-adventure Crossfire. This girl never stops creating magic – the sort that gives her a box set, audio books and four books in bestsellers lists at once. Crossfire: Once a normal teenage girl, now an Amazon warrior. Add a bunch of kick-ass preternaturals and one maniacal demi-god and what have you got? The worst birthday ever!

Hannah Sullivan: her biggest accomplishment this year is a gorgeous baby girl, Olivia, also the name of her swash-buckling heroine in the Narnia-like Thunder – a treat for kids of all ages. For the grown-ups, her poignant tale Five Weeks: a Lifetime will make you laugh and cry.Thunder: A rift between the layers of the world. A talking horse. Evil sliders. What’s a girl to do when she is the only one who can save it all?

J.D. Faulkner: When your very first book gets to the Quarter Final of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, you’ve gotta be good, right? JD’s good. And incredibly funny as her blog posts show. The sequel is taking it’s time, but there have been some earth-shattering life changes this year (new job, new man, ‘nuff said!) Mirrored Time: New jobs aren't supposed to be this hard. Crazy half-gods, time travelers and ex-gladiator thieves? Unemployment never looked so good.

Jacky Gray: With three Hengist books already published, her big change was selling on kindle instead of rocking up at Renaissance Fayres dressed as a medieval woman and signing books for Knights, Fairies, Vikings and Witches. But thanks to these savvy girls, she now has two #1 bestsellers and a brand new cover designer, Rebecca SterlingArcher: Mmm. Shoot an apple off his friend’s head or lose his food, horse and clothes? Some decisions require little thought.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

How Faith Inspired Her to Write

Becoming a writer was an idea I had buried away for a long time. After a career as a print model and television commercial actress, I committed my life to God. Soon afterward, I married and had two sons. Motherhood was the best part of my life. While my children grew up, my husband and I had a desire to make television shows for children. God gave me a dream which became Saved by the Bell. Seven more sitcoms followed.

During those early years of marriage, miracles of God were abundant. I was blessed to watch God and His supernatural ways manifest in my own family’s lives and in the lives of others. I knew from the beginning of these amazing events that I would write a book one day to share.   In 2014, I published my first book. MIRACLES – Expect Something Wild: 25 Inspirational True Stories of God’s Unbridled Power. Shortly afterward, Book Two: MIRACLES – The Holy Spirit’s Fire: 20 Inspirational True Stories of God’s Brilliance Ablaze. I have written five more books since.

I began a career in art. Oils on canvas, and a variety of styles. In 2003, my work was displayed in galleries nationwide.  Some of those paintings are in my first two books at the beginning of each story.

Poems of Summer by Connie Bryson
In the summer of 2013, I stayed at the beach near the Santa Monica Pier. I had been through much heartbreak in my life and needed a haven in which to heal. This is when I wrote poems and later composed them into a book,  Poems of Summer. I drew in all the beauty surrounding me and birthed it into poetry. From the morning sunrise to the brilliant sunset, I breathed in the salt air of summer. God’s creation encompassed me and brought soundness to my weary soul.

At the end of that summer, I moved into my new home. This is where my writing all began. I pray that the books I have written, and the ones yet to come will bring joy to the readers, and an awareness of God as they’ve never experienced before.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Meet Middle Grade Author Diane Bradley

Diane Bradley
“More enjoyable escapades for Henry and company in this delightful summertime series.” - Kirkus Reviews

I won!  That’s me, Diane Bradley, children’s author, no make-up on, in a plaid shirt leftover from high school, and winner of our littlest fish of the day. When my family goes fishing, we fight for the title. Don’t worry, after the picture taking and bragging, my trophy fish went back into the lake to grow up.

But I’ve never grown up.

Inside I’m still a kid who thinks a perfect day is out on the lake fishing for walleye and watching fluffy clouds float by.

I write adventure books for kids, Wilder’s Edge, Wilder’s Foe, and Wilder’s Ghost, set in the wilds of our northern woods. Wolves howl at night, moose browse through the underbrush and bears gobble down blueberries. Fish can be tiny like this fellow I’m laughing about, or you can hook a northern pike longer than your arm. My Wilder kids explore Rainy Lake that borders the U.S.A. and Canada. They hunt for gold, deal with mysteries from the past and dangers from the present.

I wasn’t always a lake girl. I actually grew up as a river girl on the banks of the Big Stewart River in northern Minnesota. I couldn’t wait for the school bus to drop me off at home. I would grab my rod and reel and head down to the river. I learned to fish the swirling water that hid brown and rainbow trout. My bait of choice was earthworms. I could easily find some under rocks or logs along the shore. I remember being little hunting for big fat worms and sticking them in my pocket until my mom would yell at me to stop sticking those dirty worms in my pockets. I always washed them first after that.

In the early spring when fishing season started I would balance myself on boulders in the snow flooded river, letting my line float downstream and waiting to hook a fish. If I slipped, the water was cold enough to make my feet ache so I would leap from rock to rock trying to get the right angle for my line. I was happy as a river girl.

But it was college where I met my lake boy. It’s really all his fault. He introduced me to Rainy Lake. Seventy miles of water and endless fishing spots. I fell in love, with him and the lake. It took us years to afford a rundown cabin on the lakeshore. The roof sags, the windows leak and the floors are all uneven. It’s perfect. We’re teachers so we can spend summers on the lake.

It’s here where I write. I want kids to see sunrise and sunset here and rainbows after the storms.  Every thirteen year old should know how it feels to dip a kayak paddle into the water. Kids needs to see the Milky Way light up the sky and watch the Northern Lights flicker across the night. I want every kid to win! That’s what I write about.

Thanks for reading and your support. 

Don’t forget to enter my contest for my books. It ends on June 21.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Worthy Opponent

Chris Karlsen
by Chris Karlsen
Silk is a big departure from the historical romances I usually write. I never thought I'd want to write a story where the protagonist is a police officer. As a retired police detective, I never wanted to relive my career through my characters. That said, I do enjoy reading a good cop story. My favorite authors in the genre are Connelly, Sandford, and Wambaugh. I do have two books that are romantic thrillers. Those involve nautical archaeology and artifact smugglers. But I'd never done a true suspense/thriller.

Silk had an unusual origin for me. I had the idea for a killer in my head. I didn't want him to be a slasher brute of a killer but one more cunning. I used the Phantom of the Opera as general concept. I wasn't doing a tragic figure like Andrew Lloyd Webber's but a man who doesn't start out a killer or wanting to kill. But, he's a man capable of killing. I wanted to show his descent into madness.

Silk by Chris Karlsen
I started on the story and after a few weeks put it away in a drawer. I needed someone who possessed exceptional logic and perceptiveness to counter the killer's cunning. The story needed a protagonist capable and determined to overcome any obstacles to catch him. While writing Knight Blindness, one of my historical romances, Detective Inspector Rudyard Bloodstone came to me. He popped into my head with such a strong presence. I knew everything about him before I put one word on the page. It is rare (for me anyway) to have a character that powerful in my head from the beginning. Normally, they evolve into these crystal clear characters as I write.

William Everhard, the killer in Silk, is a man of wealth and influence, a man who is on friendly terms with Queen Victoria. Both Bloodstone and Everhard had to be equally interesting in their own right and equal in intelligence for the cat and mouse aspect to work. Det. Bloodstone doesn't have Everhard's power or noble station. Instead, I made him a war hero. Where Everhard is friends with the queen, Bloodstone is the recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest medal a soldier could receive. It was, and is, the equivalent of the Medal of Honor. Named for Victoria, the queen awarded it for 'Extreme valour in the face of the enemy.' Whereas Everhard is an arrogant man, Bloodstone is a humbler man. He doesn't view himself as a hero. To him, he was simply doing what was necessary in time of battle. Where the wealthy Everhard is elegant and a man who always presents himself as a noble, Bloodstone is a rough around the edges type of man. He's a man who won't look for a fight but won't walk away from a challenge either. 

To play off Everhard's deceptive nature, I wanted the reader to walk the crime scenes with Bloodstone to see what he keys on and have a sense of his analytical thought process.

I used both men's POVs. I wanted the reader to get insight into what motivated the two men and also see how they viewed the world around them. To me, it was important to give each a life with friends, associates, likes and dislikes. Characters don't live in a vacuum so fleshing them out in this way IMO is important to this story and to thrillers in general.

To me the best thrillers are those where the protagonist and antagonist are well matched. Professor Moriarty and Sherlock Holmes or Auric Goldfinger and James Bond are perfect examples of worthy opponents. The reader is also given access to the personal lives they lead.  

Chris can be reached via her Website, Facebook, Twitter

Excerpt of Silk:
Check out the YouTube Trailer

He wrapped an end in each hand and pulled. His fingers crept up the silk and he tugged a bit harder still. The material pressed deeper into the flesh of her neck. Bright pink dotted her cheeks and radiated down to her jaw. The veins in her temples popped out and pulsed in time to her heartbeat. She moaned, pushed her hips upward and writhed against him. Her soft pubic hair tickled his testicles. Isabeau’s unsubtle way of letting him know she wanted him inside her. He obliged.
Her hands encircled his wrists. She tugged hard outward, harder than usual. A choked sigh escaped her. He paid no attention. This was standard. Isabeau always insisted he maintain pressure until she signaled for him to release his hold. In the past, when she reached the edge of consciousness, she’d beat along his upper arms. This time she thrashed her head back and forth, something he hadn’t seen before. Her eyes bulged in an unattractive way and she clawed at him. Her nails gouged the skin on his hands, drawing blood.

She hurt him and he wanted to slap her. He almost let go of one end of the scarf to do that. Instead, he pulled tighter. Isabeau tried to insert her fingers into the spot where the material crossed over. Her mouth opened and shut, soundless and fishlike. She swatted at the mattress wildly. Red-faced to the point of being near purple, she bucked beneath him.

She fired his blood with her lack of inhibition. Never had she responded with such intensity. Raw power surged through him, primitive, animalistic. He pumped hard. Ready to climax, William clenched his fists, twisting the scarf one last turn. Odd, feathery touches tapped his biceps, feminine and subtle grazes, and then she went limp. Spent, he released his hold and collapsed on top of her, his heart pounding while he caught his breath.

Isabeau didn’t move and her head stayed turned to the side. She hadn’t cried out the way she normally did when sated. Perhaps she was disappointed with his effort. He gave the thought a mental shrug. At the end of the day, it really didn’t matter. He’d arrange for her departure first thing in the morning.

William rolled over and slung a sweaty arm over his eyes. He tried to decide which was worse, telling her tonight the affair was over or waiting until morning. The idea of doing it after such a rambunctious sexual endeavor seemed bad form, but he wanted to get it over with. He turned onto his side, prepared for histrionics, caterwauling, great tears and verbal abuse.

“Isabeau, look at me. I’ve come to a decision and it will likely distress you.” Nothing. She didn’t stir. 


He shook her by the arm. Still no response. William let go and her arm dropped listless to the mattress. He raised her arm again and let go. Again, it fell listless. He straddled her and patted her cheeks. Nothing. Her head twisted without resistance first right then left depending on the direction of his pat. He slapped her harder. Nothing. Vacant eyes stared fixed on the ceiling. He bent an ear to her chest. Nothing. William leapt from the bed, snatched a silver mirror from the dressing table, and held it under her nose. Nothing.

William hurled the mirror against the wall. He raged and paced along the side of the bed. “I will not allow you to make my life a nightmare. This was your doing. I told you to leave me alone.” 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Courthouse Connections by Ann Jacobs

Ann Jacobs
by Ann Jacobs

A little suspense, a lot of active hormones, irresistible attractions between men and women charged with seeing justice served, set on Florida’s steamy west-central coast, Courthouse Connections brings emotional stories of desire, conflict and commitment.

The series began back in 2001, when I wrote two stories targeted to Silhouette’s now extinct Intimate Moments imprint. These stories didn’t sell, although one was still under consideration nearly two years later when I withdrew it to sell to Ellora’s Cave Publishing, then the upcoming producer of digital, sizzling-hot romances.

Loving the characters and the light mix of legal/police action with hot sex and various conflicts, I kept on writing new stories in the series, then called Lawyers in Love. All told, there were six novels and novellas, ranging from mildly erotic to downright kinky, hardcore BDSM.

The Defenders by Ann Jacobs
More Than Lust by Ann Jacobs
Then I got the rights back, after eleven years of pretty good sales and a lot of happy memories from readers who fell in love with my stories about one man, one woman enjoying each other sexually while falling into a happily-ever-after love. Because I had planned a spinoff series (one book is still available at EC, the others are on my bucket list of stories yet to be written, I decided to introduce Courthouse Connections, a new series, this one mainstream rather than erotic.

A new single title introduction, for readers who wanted to know how Andi and Gray had met and established a connection that lasted through eight long years’ separation only to rekindle with a vengeance in BITTERSWEET HOMECOMING, came to be in the all-original introductory novella, MORE THAN LUST. IN HIS OWN DEFENSE and BITTERSWEET HOMECOMING, heavily revised from the original versions, are available in THE DEFENDERS, a boxed set on exclusive at Amazon.

The Prosecutors by Ann Jacobs
THE PROSECUTORS, the second boxed set, is coming soon. It will contain GETTIN’ IT ON, EYE OF THE STORM, and LOVE GAMES. Originally “Mastered,” LOVE GAMES is a complete rewrite of Sandy and Rocky’s story, minus the heavy kink and plus a real story that gives the readers a picture of who they are and what they do when not in bed.

All of the former EC stories have been revised to enhance the books themselves as well as sanitize what, on re-reading, I consider excessive and unnecessary foul language. I hope you’ll enjoy them and keep an eye out for new stories that continue the Courthouse Connections with new heroes and heroines, new story lines—and the sort of sensuous, mainstream romance that warms the heart as well as the hormones. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Best Book Covers for May

Congratulations to the following Authors for winning Best Book Cover in our Theme Week Book Cover Poll. These books were fan favorites!

Fairmist by Todd Fahnestock – Best Sword & Sorcery Cover
Becoming by Debra Kristi – Best Teen Book Cover
The Little Piggy Went to the Liquor Store by AK Turner – Best LOL Cover
Murder In Cottage #6 by Dianne Harman – Best Whodonit/Mystery Cover
Laurel Heights by Denise Moncrief – Best Ghost Story Cover
The Rebel’s Redemption by Jacquie Biggar – Best Military/War Cover
Always on My Mind by Susan May Warren – Best Christian Book Cover

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

One Writers Successful Self Publishing Journey

Hi everyone! I'm Patrice Wilton from sunny West Palm Beach, Florida and I write contemporary romance and romantic comedies which I hope you will take a moment to check out! 

After twenty years of writing and nothing but heartache and rejections, I finally found success in 2011 with self publishing. I was considering--very seriously--of hanging up my writer's hat as it was causing me more grief than joy. It was at that time in late 2011 when the e-publishing phenomenon began. REPLACING BARNIE, the first book in the successful Candy Bar series, was put on Kindle for $.99. About three months later I got a call from a lady friend of mine and she asked if I knew that Barnie was in the top thousand, and I said --"Is that good?" I had moved homes and was without a computer so I hadn't been checking my numbers daily as I do now! Barnie went as low as the 300's, and I was selling well over a hundred books a day. Previously, it had been with a small press and it had sold about a hundred copy in two years! Readers found me--and I've never been so happy that they did!

In the past four years all my dreams have come true. I now have twenty books on Amazon and with other venders-- and due to success with two multi-author book sets, TEN CHRISTMAS BRIDES and HEARTS & KISSES, I made the USA Today best seller lists. We have another new boxset release scheduled June 9th--TEN BRIDES FOR TEN HOT GUYS, at the bargain price of $0.99.

TROUBLE IN VEGAS is another brand new release, and it's a spin off from my successful Serendipity Falls series. This is a laugh-a-minute book and was great fun to write! I am also finishing up a new book for another new series, entitled PARADISE COVE, which is placed in the Florida Keys. This is going to be a bigger book, with wonderful characters and strong emotional appeal. Look for it this summer!

On a personal note, I have two children, five grandchildren from that, a second marriage, and a combined number of ten grandchildren together! When I'm not writing I'm usually found on the tennis courts or out golfing with my ex-golf-pro-husband.

Thank you for letting me tell you about myself, and please check out my website at, and sign up for my newsletter! 

I will give away one $15. GC to some lucky winner on Monday, June 8th. And I love fan mail. Please email me at, and I will respond right away.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Series Dilemma by Ainslie Paton

The Series Dilemma

Lean closer, that’s it. I have a confession to make.
I’ve never written a series before.
I know, I know, readers love them. They love the fact you can connect with characters and settings for longer than a single novel. They love the ability to visit with favourite characters as a series progresses. 
Heck, I love a good series, the familiarity, the comfort of knowing you’ll have a good time, the enriched experience of connecting stories up to make a whole world.
But I’m a contemporary single title romance writer. A pure single title writer. No deliberate series bait characters, no cosy small town settings, no extended families or plot lines that might need more than one book to explore.
I write workplaces romances. I write about characters who want things that are hard to achieve or who find themselves with difficult choices. I’ve written a female rockstar, a male nanny, a taciturn geek, and a billionaire who actually has a day job.
I wrote an undercover cop who’d forgotten how to be himself and teamed him with a female chauffeur who was secretly on the run. I wrote a journalist whose story got a businessman arrested, and a heroine who fell in love with the homeless man she was responsible for re-housing.
But a series—was I brave enough?
I mean a series needs a truly great concept; it needs an idea big enough to hold attention, to make a reader want to come back for more, to pay good money for a second, third, book.
Who wouldn’t be scared of that?
Except every other author who writes series, right? Which is like, oh so many of them.
The way I saw it, I had to pull my big girl pants up and get on with it. I drew up a list of things my first series should have:
1.      An engaging and unique world
2.      A hero with a moral dilemma
3.      A successful heroine who was unhappy with her life
4.      A big idea for a plot
That shouldn’t be a problem. ARE YOU KIDDING? It was a problem. I felt like the world had all the series it could possibly handle.  A choice vast in style, length, heat level and sub-genre that lined up end to end would reach the moon. (I’m a writer, excuse the hyperbole).
I needed a big idea.  BIG.
And I might be a fraidypants, but I’m not a quitter. I wrote my first series. It’s not for the faint-hearted. It’s called The Bliss King. It’s a five book contemporary Gothic romance with a captivity theme. It has cliff hangers. It’s set in the wilds of New York City and a remote jungle in Asia.
It’s a little dark and surprisingly funny. It’s about a drug lord with a huge moral dilemma and a desire to change the world, and the ghostwriter he kidnaps to help him.

The Bliss King is the story of secrets, innocence, pleasure, wealth, corruption, and lashings of moral ambiguity.
The whole series is available from July 1. For more information:

Thanks for listening, I feel so much better now.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Writing a Sexy Contemporary Western Romance

The Colton Gamblers by Sara Walter Ellwood

A Sexy Contemporary Western Romance series with cowboys as hot as a Texas summer and the women who are sassy and strong enough to love them…

When you crack open the cover of one of the books in the Colton Gamblers series, you are also opening the door to the fictional town and county of Colton in Forest County, Texas.

Authors create fictional locals for many reasons. Two of the most common reasons, and the ones I fall into are 1) to prevent misrepresentation of the town and its people, and 2) to allow for complete creative freedom.

When I came up with Colton, Texas, I based it on a very real place:  Clifton in Bosque County. I found it to be perfect place in Central Texas for my story to take place. Not far from Dallas and Waco, but still rural enough to allow for my large ranches. Despite my creating a fictional place, I read everything I could find about the real Bosque County. And from that reading I found some inspiration. For example, Clifton was founded by four families who settled the town in the 1850’s—Colton is founded by three families in the late 1860s. One of the three founding families of my Colton—the Fergusons—is named in honor of Miriam “Ma” Ferguson, the first female governor of the state. I also kept the name of the county of sorts—Bosque is Spanish for forest; hence, I called my county Forest. In my parallel universe, Forest County replaces Bosque County, but I really tried to stay true to the real town and county.

Forest County is a place steeped in history and Texas pride and gets its name from the oak forests that covered the land along the creeks running through it on their journey to the Brazos River that boarders the county in the east, but the majority of the land is grassland. The people of Colton have a sense of community and look out for each other. They are patriotic to a fault, but proud of their Southern heritage. They love football, rodeo  and good gossip, to the point of even calling the gossip chain the Colton grapevine. But don’t let the idyllic quaintness fool you as the members of the founding families are about to find out.

Murder, theft, deceit, fraud and secrets are about to shake this little town to its very foundations.
And the only way to survive is to rediscover the only thing that matters….Love.

Gambling On A Secret 
Book 1: Gambling On A Secret 

****On Sale Until June 5 for $0.99****

When Charli bets everything on a secret... 

Former runaway-turned heiress Charli Monroe is hiding her sordid past and planning a future in Colton, Texas. Attending the local college for a degree in social work, she intends to raise cattle on her newly purchased ranch, which she plans to open as a home for troubled teens. Only a few glitches—the Victorian mansion is crumbling, the barn needs a roof, and her oilman neighbor wants more than friendship. When she meets Dylan Quinn, Charli is willing to take a chance on the town drunk to help her rebuild the rundown ranch.

Will she find the deck stacked against her?

Dylan has his demons, too. The former Special Forces commander can’t get past his ex-wife’s betrayal and the botched mission that left him with much more than a bad limp. Certain the greedy oilman next door to Charli wants much more than just her heart, Dylan’s even willing to stop drinking in order to protect her. When things get dangerous and secrets of the past are revealed, is he only looking out for his new employer, or is she the new start he so desperately needs?

Gambling On A Heart
Book 2: Gambling On A Heart

****On Sale Until June 5 for $0.99****

She once lost his heart on a bluff.

Beautician Tracy Quinn spends her days making the women of Colton, Texas beautiful, while living down the nickname of Olive Oyl, given to her by the only man she has ever loved--Zack Cartwright. She spends her nights alone, despite what her ex husband wants their friends and neighbors to think.

Will she risk everything to win it back?

Ex-rodeo cowboy. Ex-bad-boy. Ex-Marine. Widower and single dad Sheriff Zack Cartwright can describe his life in exes. One ex in particular reminds him of what’s missing in his workaholic life: Tracy Quinn. For years since she broke his heart, he’s practically made avoiding her a second job. He still wants her, but can never go after her. When cattle rustlers target her brother’s ranch, Tracy and Zack are stuck working together. Her son could use a positive male role model, and his daughter is wild for a chance at a “substitute” mom. But Tracy’s ex threatens to sue if she lets Zack near her son, and the Colton grapevine is abuzz with rumors about their past relationship. Is it worth the gamble to see if what they have is more than lust?

Book 3: Gambling On A Dream
Gambling On A Dream

****Available for Pre-order—Releasing June 9, 2015****

With Everything At Stake….

It’s been years since Sheriff Dawn Madison said goodbye to Texas Ranger Wyatt McPherson. She’s closed the door on the heartache of her past. But when the sleepy town of Colton, Texas, is rocked by a series of shocking murders, Dawn has no choice but to trust the man who broke her heart if she wants to protect the ones she loves…

All Bets Are Off

Four years have passed. But Wyatt hasn’t forgotten the bold, Native American beauty who stole his heart . . . and broke it. Losing her and the life they had hoped to share left him an empty shell of himself. But if he wants to stop the deranged killer terrorizing the innocent kids of Colton, he’ll have to let Dawn back into his life. It’s a risk he’s willing to take, even if heartache is all he takes home…

About Sara Walter Ellwood:
Although Sara Walter Ellwood has long ago left the farm for the glamour of the big town, she draws on her experiences growing up on a small hobby farm in West Central Pennsylvania to write her contemporary westerns. She’s been married to her college sweetheart for over 20 years, and they have two teenagers and one very spoiled rescue cat named Penny. She longs to visit the places she writes about and jokes she’s a cowgirl at heart stuck in Pennsylvania suburbia. Sara Walter Ellwood is a multi-published and international Amazon bestselling author of the anthology set Cowboy Up. She also publishes paranormal romantic suspense under the pen name Cera duBois.
Author Links:

Find: Gambling On A Secret, Book 1 and Gambling On A Heart, Book 2

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Road to Nowhere: An Author's Perspective on Dealing with a Difficult Publisher

Author Peter Darley
After my first novel was picked up three times, only to fall through on each occasion (publishers folding, agent retiring, etc) it was finally signed by a publisher in New York. (Under the terms of my ‘parole papers’ I am prohibited from naming them.)

Before long, I noticed an insensible complacency in my publisher. None of the promotional efforts I was making, or even my book having picked up a sterling celebrity review, seemed to be of any interest to them. Any asset which would have propelled the visibility of the book was discarded by this publisher, who seemed to be comfortable with all of their books languishing at the bottom of the Amazon rankings.

Whatever their business model is, it does not explain this blatant aversion to success. Whether you run the village bakery or if you are an international arms dealer, the bottom line of any business - is profit. If profit is not the agenda here – what is?

Hold On! by Peter Darley
On my publisher’s author ‘support’ blog, I bore witness to threats, by an editor, to authors who dared to question this complacency. Soon, I would find myself on a chilling excursion into utter insanity. 

I was in preparation for a major promotion of my sequel, into which I would have been investing almost $1,000. It should be noted that my publisher would have reaped the majority share of the proceeds from this. Before I went ahead with it, I needed them to add the sequel’s release date to the end of the first book, and upload the amendment to Amazon. With the expenditure involved, my publisher’s silence was beginning to agitate me.

My subsequent discussions with my publisher became heated, and all communication between me and my editor were blocked. Lies and False accusations - that I had asked to be released from my contract, and that I had rejected cover art (that I had designed!) - ensued. All attempts at reasoning with this person failed. In breach of their contract, I had a termination agreement for my sequel forced on me – while they stated they were going to keep the first book (which ended on a cliffhanger, and would have remained at the bottom of Amazon, without my input.) I could do nothing with the sequel without Book One. I was also accused of not ‘acting in good faith’. If that were true, wouldn’t it also apply to my first book?

Extremely creepy cult-like commentary came back from my publisher: “We are cancelling your sequel, but we are still willing to work with you on (your first book) so you can still be a part of our family.”

Ultimately, it cost me close to $800 to buy my first book back from them. It’s interesting that they threw in the cover art as part of the deal, when previously they’d claimed I’d rejected it. Why would this person think I’d want something  I’d allegedly rejected?

I have since set up my own outfit. I have my own editorial team and cover designer, and I am taking my series all the way to the end. J

But what had I got myself involved with? If they are not a business in pursuit of profits, what are they? And why do they seem so intent on such vindictive behaviour?

I am now extremely wary of publishers. Authors seek them, largely as a result of having no knowledge of marketing. The truth is – neither do many publishers. I thoroughly recommend that authors spend time researching book marketing. You can do no worse than signing up to one of these cowboy outfits. They are the road to nowhere.
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