Another #RomanticTravel Destination!


I’m pleased to welcome Tina Gayle today, talking about her favorite romantic trips, as well as her Contemporary Romance, CEO’s Widow.


Four women…
One fatal car wreck…
Everyone’s lives changed…

After surviving the grief from her husband’s death, Marianne Clark has built a new life with the help of the other Executive Wives. She plans to enjoy grandchildren and friends until her doctor tells her he found a lump in her breast. Her world turned upside down. She re-evaluates her priorities and decides she will grab hold of life with both hands.

Knox Turner lost his first wife to cancer. He’s determined not to let Marianne face this challenge alone.

Can this couple face the trials ahead and build a future together?

Claire: First, Tina, I’d like you to tell us about your favorite romantic getaway destination.

Tina: One of my favorite romantic trips is to Vegas. We had plenty of time to shop, people watch and visit the sites. Also what topped the trip off was taking a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon. Having never been up in a helicopter before this grand-canyonalong was a treat. The trip to the canyon and back was awesome too.

Claire: Sounds exciting, Tina, though I’m not sure I’m brave enough for a ‘copter ride over the Grand Canyon! I’ll join you for the shopping, though. There’s a lot of amazing topography in that region. Thank you for sharing with us!

Your contemporary romance, CEO’s Widow, (which you say also has strong women’s fiction elements), sounds very intriguing.

Here’s a brief excerpt, just to whet your appetite!



“Marianne, what are you doing here?” Sylvia Wilshire stood in the middle of the hallway. Tall and slender, she offered a radiant smile and brushed a wayward hand through her dark auburn hair. As beautiful as ever, Marianne couldn’t help but marvel at how her friend had changed in the last two years. She’d lost over a hundred pounds and had married Vince Wilshire. He also happened to be like both of their deceased husbands, an executive for Knox.

Sylvia strolled forward with the grace of a model, her green-eyed gaze full of curiosity. “I just drop by to talk to Vince for a minute.”

The man in question walked through the doorway of another office. He winked at Marianne and slid an arm around Sylvia’s shoulder. “It looks like these two beauties are keeping us from our conference call.”

“Damn,” Knox groaned and checked his watch. “We better get in there before Foster has a cow because we’re late.”

Marianne stepped aside to give him room to walk around her.

He paused next to her and glared. “I’ll call you later, and we’ll work out a time for us to get together.”

Tempted to disagree with his plan, she proposed instead, “As long as it doesn’t interfere with my other social plans.”

He groaned and dropped a kiss on her cheek. “Someday I’m going to be the first and last thing you see every day. Then your activity calendar won’t matter.”

She lifted her hand ready to point out he shouldn’t say things like that to her in front of their friends. “Knox—”

Vince tugged on Knox’s arm and interrupted, “Come on, buddy before you get yourself in more trouble than you can get out of.”


Claire: Thanks for joining us today, Tina. Where can we find your book, and stay connected with you?

Buy Links:

Available at Amazon Worldwide exclusively:


If you would like to sign up to be an exclusive member of Tina’s List simple visit:

You’ll receive a free short story – “My Future StepBrother.” This story leads you right into the story of the CEO’s Widow.

 Author Bio:

Tina Gayle loves writing and is currently working on finishing her Family Tree series, a contemporary paranormal suspense series.

When not writing, she enjoys spending time with my family and traveling around the country. She hasn’t hit every state, but she hopes to someday. You might also catch her on the golf course with her husband of 30 years.

Also, you can read the first chapter of any of her books by visiting her website or download an exclusive story “My Future Step Brother” and join her special friend’s list. All on her website

Home –

Blog –

Twitter –!/AuthorTinaGayle

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Posted in #RomanticTravel, Contemporary Romance, Novels, Romance | Leave a comment

Welcome to My Sister of Suspense, Melissa Keir!

Today I’m welcoming my colleague in the Sisterhood of Suspense, Melissa Keir. She’s here to tell us about the new box set she’s proud to be a part of! Melissa, tell us a little more about pic

Melissa: For my wedding in Vegas, my books and computer came with me but there wasn’t enough room for my wedding shoes. It’s all about priorities! As an avid reader, I was probably born with a book in hand. Luckily my mom was also an avid reader, so it was easy to “borrow” her books when my books were finished.

I was reading from an early age about dashing men on horseback riding to the rescue of strong willed and capable women who didn’t really need rescuing. I came to expect that women in fairy tales should have fought their own battles. When I was older, I found Margaret Atwood and realized that women could re-tell history in their own way and I experimented with changing those basic fairy tales.

Fortunately for me, my husband allows me the opportunity to be myself (spend my salary on books) and still takes care of the really important things for me like killing spiders and opening jars. As an elementary teacher, teaching children about the many worlds inside of books is a gift that I’m lucky enough to do for a living. Teaching the next generation to love reading is a lot of fun! Reading the right book can make a new world come alive!

Currently living in the suburbs of Ann Arbor, Michigan with my darling husband, way-too-grown-up children and spoiled dogs, I enjoy getting away through a book to escape the harsh winters or summer road construction.

I’d love to hear from you!


And now for more on her new box set –


Holding a Hero

When things go wrong…hold on tight and don’t let go. These sexy, larger-than-life heroes—firefighters, cops, bad boys, Rock stars and Navy Seals—will hold you through the night and keep you safe from all harm. Six full length novels and one bonus novella by best-selling and award-winning Romance authors. This set is available for only a limited time.

Here’s the Lineup:

Burst Into Flame by Lyssa Layne

For Dr. Katy Garrity, life is a whirlwind, and the New York Fire Department is the heart of the storm. When sparks fly between her and her late husband’s best friend, can they find a way to make it work?

Guilty Until Proven Innocent by Deb Julienne

When a photo journalist gets hit in the crossfire, a cop falsely accused of killing a fellow office must make the sacrifice…only love can set them free.

Unhurt by KS Thomas

Joss Kelley will do anything to save her son, even if it means making impromptu marriage proposals to random strangers. It’s just her luck the man who accepts is Derek Tice – An Ex Navy SEAL in need of a new mission and Joss and her son just might be it.

Body, Ink, and Soul by Jude Ouvrard

Nix has finally found the perfect man and the life she wants…until she meets Levi, the charming, tattooed sexy bad boy. Will Nix stay true to her heart or will her body sent her life spiraling out of control?

119 Days by RaeAnne Hadley

Celeste was happily divorced for 5 years but the nights were becoming lonelier. She decided a one night stand could fill a lonely night but her target has something else in mind.

 Call Me Cowboy by D’Ann Lindun

Rock star Johnny Cortez is being targeted by a killer, sending him and hunting guide Montana Weaver racing across the Colorado Rockies.

 Forever Love by Melissa Keir

Can two former companions become friends again, or will the sparks turn a childhood friendship into a forever love?

Book Trailer Video for Forever Love

Fifteen years ago, Syndie Wilder left her small hometown- Amherst, Ohio- to escape the pain of losing her best friend and boyfriend. Deciding that Chicago offered more for an up and coming jewelry designer, she enjoyed the big city life until she chooses to return and care for her father. Taking care of her father and relocating her internet business, Syndie has no time or desire for romance but fate has a way of playing with best-laid plans.

Thom Johnson broke Syndie’s heart all those years ago and regrets it every day. As a firefighter, Thom sets out to protect Amherst and redeem himself for his bad choices. However, he never has forgotten Syndie and the hurt he caused her.

When a chance meeting happens, can the two former friends allow themselves the chance to become friends again, or will the sparks turn a childhood friendship into a forever love?


Amazon (only) 99 cents or free with Kindle Unlimited

Also available in print $17.98 at Amazon


Posted in Contemporary Romance, Novels, Romance | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

The Magic of . . . Old

img_1056A few years back I did a blog post titled “The Magic of New,” where I pondered on the beauty of watching my then-toddler grandson, a Florida native, discover snow for the first time. It was, without a doubt, a magical moment. But this weekend, I discovered yet another time-hinged magical moment. I’m calling it the Magic of Old.

As many of you know, my recent release, the first of the Love at Lake George Novels, takes place in Lake George Village in upstate New York. This is a place I’ve been vacationing with my family since I was a toddler. We continued the tradition, and have visited the area annually ever since.

The one thing I’ve repeatedly criticized about Lake George is that their lodging facilities are, well . . . somewhat rustic. Yes, now there are some brand new hotel chains (only within the last couple of years) that have sprung up in the area. But up until then and still, for the most part, your choices are confined to Mom-and-Pop motels that haven’t changed much since the 1950s.

This is not necessarily a bad thing.

My opinion was confirmed this past weekend when we stayed at the Roaring Brook Ranch. This was our second visit. Last year, we stayed there during the Adirondack Nationals Car Show because it was where our friends were staying. And, well, because by the time we made our reservations, everywhere else was sold out.

I will admit, last year, upon arrival, I was NOT happy. The place is set back off from the village, a few miles up the road and around a bend. Far away from the “action.” Rustic, to say the least. I’d venture to say these rooms haven’t been updated in at least twenty years. Clean, but definitely dated.

Last year, my husband dropped me off (like, slowed down and kicked me out in the parking lot!) in his rush to get to the car show. I spent a miserable, hot, sweaty evening, unable to get the air conditioner to work properly (to discover later through no one’s fault but my own!). There was no internet access in the room (you had to trek down to the lobby for that). And no in-room coffee makers!

rbrMy misery and complaining came back to bite me in the ass. I soon realized that staying anywhere closer “to the action” was asking for a prison sentence. At 6:30 both evenings during the event, the main street to the town is shut down. A car parade ensues (from then until at least 11:00 p.m.), complete with revving engines, blaring open headers (i.e., no mufflers), and people standing 6 deep on the sidewalk.

This year, when offered a room “close to the action” by two different people, we declined. I yearned to return to the rustic Roaring Brook Ranch, where the wind swaying the tall pines, the twinkling of water in the fountain in the courtyard, and the crickets chirping from the woods beyond were the only disturbances.rbr2I had a lengthy discussion with one of Roaring Brook’s maids, Donna, on Saturday morning. My husband was fighting the crowds downtown while I enjoyed the peacefulness of the Ranch. Donna told me she’s been with RBR for 32 years. She said, “I do my best. The bathrooms are spotless, I make sure of that. I just wish the owner would consider updating the rooms some.”

I begged to differ. “There is comfort,” I said, “in coming back to a place I knew when I was a child where nothing has changed. Everything is the same. Yes, I have to walk to the lobby for my coffee in the morning. The window air unit rumbles and wheezes, but works pretty well, just the same. The sheets are fresh and clean, the towels fluffy and plentiful, and the clean mountain water…well, it just doesn’t get any better than this.”

Donna smiled and studied me wistfully. “It does my heart good to hear you say that. I feel better now. That we really can still offer something that’s of value in this ever-changing world.”

Yes, Donna, Roaring Brook really does offer something of value. For me, it’s the comfort that some things haven’t changed. Mountain lake vacations can still be rustic and pure. Simple, quiet, peaceful.

We’re headed back for Columbus Day weekend, the last weekend the Ranch is open for the season. I just didn’t get enough. After all, I’m researching for the next Love at Lake George Novel, and I need more time to just . . . ahhhh. Relax and soak it in. Let the magic of the Adirondack Mountains cleanse my soul and rejuvenate my muse.

As for the dated paneling on the walls and 14-inch TV? No Internet in the rooms? Not necessarily bad things, at all. No coffee makers in the room? Well, I will admit . . . I may be bringing a hot pot and some instant coffee on our next visit.



Roaring Brook Ranch is located on Route 9N in Lake George, N.Y. and has been in business since 1941. At one time, the facility boasted a very busy conference center and a tennis pro who gave lessons on their courts. The facility still has a riding stable where you can trail ride during the summer months. With indoor and outdoor pools, two impressive bars, a billiards room, and a fine dining restaurant open to the public (the food is awesome, by the way), this place is a hidden treasure.

Long live these hidden gems of the Adirondacks, tucked close to the shores of phenomenal Lake George.



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Romantic Travel! Lake Arrowhead, California

Please welcome Kathleen Rowland, author of heart-stopping action-packed romantic suspense.  Here is the blurb for Deadly Alliance:


Finbar Donahue, former Army Ranger, walked on the wild side in Iraq, but now he lives in the shadows. After his evasive partner, Les, was shot in a random drive-by, Finn discovers cash is siphoned monthly. He fights to keep his investment company afloat. When the late partner’s girlfriend, Amy Kintyre, applies for his bookkeeping job, Finn suspects she knows about his company drain and hires her.

Amy needs a nine-to-five with free evenings and weekends to get her fashion design business back on track. She unearths Les’ s secret bank account and alerts Finn. Freezing of the money laundering account sets off havoc within an Irish gang. Amy witnesses a gang fight between a brutal ISIS fundraising organization and the Irish. Desperate to escape a stalker’s crosshairs, she seeks refuge with Finn. As danger heats up, sparks fly hotter.

Chapter One from Deadly Alliance

“You know I love your sportswear designs, right?”

“I’m glad you do.” Amy Kintyre sat opposite a buyer, none other than Kira Radner, at a coffee shop in Lake Arrowhead, California. This sudden opportunity to re-launch her sportswear designs gave rise to the jitters, and Amy clutched her hands under the table.

Kira pressed her face forward, Amy’s sketches drawn on figures in action poses. With the portfolio spread between them, she flipped it sideways to examine the fabric swatches stapled along the sidebar. Their earthy tones blended with the marred wooden table.

Amy stilled the chatty urge.

“You know your presentation is in two weeks.” Kira was giving her the green light with Recreational Sportswear, Incorporated.

“I appreciate this, Kira.” To get her business back on track, she needed blocks of time to sew mockups. Amy inhaled the spicy aroma of the raw cedar wood. The under-construction décor of wide, timber planks on the walls made her think of her new self.   Crazy how thirty felt like seventeen when embracing life and freeing her artistic side.

“Then I beg you,” Kira said, “please, please, please have your product samples ready. Deadline is the first Monday of November.”

“Got it.” Fear over the tight time frame tasted sour in her throat, but this break called like no other.

Kira leaned forward. “Impressive functionality with the shorts. Who would have thought this pocket holds a Swiss Army Knife!” The buyer’s fingertips traced the pick-stitch hem, made with thread matching the fabric, appearing invisible. “Nice detail.”

Amy’s only mock-up kept their face-to-face meeting running like the hum of the fluorescent lights above.

“Oooo,” Kira said and raised both her eyebrows. “Classic nostalgia with a twist. A pocket knife for hikers!”

“Useful, I think.” The bright light flickered over associates who’d worked together in the past, but Amy didn’t share the difficulty of making the deadline. Her breathing shortened, and panic carved a hole in her chest.

“Gotta bounce,” Kira said. “Get to work.”

“I will.” She pulled out a notebook and jotted down a to-do list ending with the file with various size patterns. After a half-hour of regrouping and rethinking, she stopped tapping her pen. Kira Radner took a chance on her, but to turn this chance into a reality, she needed evenings and weekends to make the deadline.

Last Sunday while pouring over Craigslist classifieds, she’d zeroed in on Finbar Donahue’s bookkeeping ad. After her inquiry, his head accountant sent her a message. She still favored the toe she stubbed after her in-box pinged.

Thanks to what happened, the call from Kira, she needed Finn’s job. Her mind raced to her third interview for his nine-to-five. Tomorrow morning, if all went well, she’d land the regular-hours job, tailor made for her time frame. She ran a hand through her hair, picturing the arrogant know-it-all with a never-ending string of women hanging on his arm.

Handsome wasn’t the word to describe Finn, her late, ex-boyfriend’s partner. She’d been around Finbar Donahue enough to know he looked at his world as if he were the Almighty himself. The former Army Ranger made her way too nervous. She tensed up to such an extent, her voice broke.

Romance wasn’t part of this equation. Her dream to launch herself, stitch by stitch, came down to landing the job. On a mission, her goal was simple. She closed her eyes and prayed tomorrow she’d nail it.

Deadly Alliance buy link:

* * *

[ File # csp7850808, License # 1386192 ] Licensed through in accordance with the End User License Agreement ( (c) Can Stock Photo Inc. / Elenathewise

How about romantic travel to Lake Arrowhead, California, where Deadly Alliance takes place?  Fall colors mix with evergreens around this pristine mountain lake. Bring a picnic basket and rent a pontoon!

Book Buyers Best finalist Kathleen Rowland is devoted to giving her readers fast-paced, high-stakes suspense with a sizzling love story sure to melt their hearts.   Lily’s Pad and the Intervenus Series: A Brand New Address and Betrayal at Crater’s Edge are sweet.  Deadly Alliance and her work-in-progress, Unholy Alliance, are contracted with Tirgearr Publishing and written for adults.

Kathleen used to write computer programs but now writes novels.   She grew up in Iowa where she caught lightning bugs, ran barefoot, and raced her sailboat on Lake Okoboji.  Now she wears flip-flops and sails with her husband, Gerry, on Newport Harbor but wishes there were lightning bugs in California.

Kathleen exists happily with her witty CPA husband, Gerry, in their 70’s poolside retreat in Southern California where she adores time spent with visiting grandchildren, dogs, one bunny, and noisy neighbors.  While proud of their five children who’ve flown the coop, she appreciates the luxury of time to write.  If you’d enjoy news,  sign up for Kathleen’s newsletter at

Tirgearr Publishing – Leading The Pack




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Welcome Goddess Fish Book Blast – Where the Heart Is

MBB_TourBanner_WhereTheHeartIsWelcome Author Jennie Marsland with

Her Historical Romance, Where the Heart Is!



When Rochelle McShannon moves with her father from Morgan County, Georgia to the Yorkshire Dales, she thinks she’s leaving behind everything that matters to her. Her mother has passed away, her twin brother is going west to avoid the looming Civil War, and her family’s unpopular views on slavery and secession have destroyed her relationship with the man she hoped to marry. If returning to her father’s childhood home eases his grief, Chelle asks for nothing more.

Martin Rainnie understands grief. Since the loss of his wife in childbirth, he’s known little else, except anger. He’s retreated to his farm and turned his back on the world, including his baby daughter, who’s being fostered by Chelle’s relatives. With little Leah drawing them together, Martin begins to wonder if he can love again – and convince Chelle to do the same.

But the war overseas has far-reaching consequences, even in a small English village. Can Martin and Chelle overcome danger, loss, and bitterness to make a home where the heart is?

Jennie will be awarding a digital copy of Where the Heart Is to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Click Here to Enter to win a copy NOW!

Buy Link:


As she bent to set the lamb on its feet, a dog’s bark startled her. Still crouching, Chelle spun around and faced a grizzled black and white Border Collie, standing a few feet away with its teeth bared and hackles raised. Luckily, the dog’s owner stood close by. Heart in her throat, Chelle released the lamb and slowly raised her gaze from a pair of heavy boots to eyes the color of a stormy sea.

“Come, Gyp.”

The dog returned to his master’s side at the curt command. Chelle stood, blushing under the man’s cool stare.

He’d be at least six feet tall, perhaps taller, bulky and solid. He reminded her of Charlie Bascomb at home, broad in the shoulders, thick in the legs and torso, but the resemblance stopped there. Charlie was quiet and easy-going, always wearing a smile, but there was nothing approachable about this man with his lowering brows, grim mouth and rust-colored hair. His resemblance to Leah told Chelle who he must be.

“Hello. I’m Rochelle McShannon. Are you Martin Rainnie?”

The Collie stood braced beside his master, the fur still standing up on the back of his neck. Mr. Rainnie looked no more welcoming. He spoke to Chelle as curtly as he had to his dog. “Aye. What are you doing out here?”

More about the Author, Jennie Marshland MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_WhereTheHeartIs

AUTHOR BIO:  Jennie Marsland lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s beautiful East Coast.  She has had a lifelong love affair with words and history, starting with her family’s stories of life in Nova Scotia in earlier times. Jennie teaches English, science and history at a local private school, and when she isn’t writing, spends her free time cooking, gardening, playing guitar, and catering to the whims of her two very spoiled Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers.

You can find and connect with Jennie here:







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Self-Publishing—Is It For You?


Today I’m pleased to welcome guest blogger, Cassie Phillips, an entertainment writer and book blogger who likes to keep her finger on the pulse of cultural trends.


Are You Cut Out for Self Publishing?

The self-publishing revolution has afforded up-and-coming writers the chance to get their work out to the world in a way that would not have been possible fifty years ago. The power of the internet has created a platform for aspiring authors to publish, promote and share their stories to a global audience.

However, there’s more to becoming a successful self-published author than having the writing talent. In lieu of a well-funded, well-connected publishing house, it is you who is responsible for all the crucial aspects of a book’s release. You have to be able to take on at least five different roles at once.

  1. Writer

In a market where anyone with a computer now has the possibility to publish his or her work, it’s more important than ever to stand out. Being a writer, particularly a novelist, is a skill that takes time and effort to master.

Not only does your book need a great story and concept, but the plot needs to carry the readers with it, the characters must be fully realized, and the text must flow smoothly.

Often, writers benefit from testing their skills out on a few novellas or short stories.  By doing this, you can hone your style and voice, identify your weaknesses and establish where your strengths lie. Consider joining writers’ groups so you can surround yourself with other writers and get feedback and learn from like-minded people.

  1. Editor

 While many of you might think you don’t have to edit because that’s what a beta reader is for, editing could be the difference between success and failure. Yes, it is true you can easily find a proofreader online, send your work over and have it returned to you with grammatical errors resolved and typos amended. However, unlike a publishing house, where you work closely with your editor throughout the whole writing process, an online beta reader isn’t as versed in your vision and style as you are. This means that whenever a manuscript is returned to you, it’s important to go through every simple detail to make sure they haven’t changed the direction or feel of the story.

Similarly, your editor has just as much potential for silly errors as you do, so she might not catch all the mistakes. In short, it’s essential to edit your editor, meaning all self-publishers have to be well versed in this discipline as well as writing.

If you need a bit of support, the Hemmingway Editor app is easy to use and can highlight potential errors you may have overlooked.

3. Security Expert

 One often overlooked element of self-publishing is an unfortunate side effect of our virtual world. Any writer whose career is based on the internet needs to become his or her own personal security expert.

Sadly, cybercrime is on the rise, and while your day-to-day internet use isn’t going to put you in significant danger, if you manage your finances and perform regular business transactions online, then you are at a heightened risk of your details being intercepted. Similarly, you increase your chance of contracting a virus, which could potentially corrupt your files and cause you to lose work.

Another security pitfall of being an online author is you are often forced to rely on public WiFi. While these networks are convenient for updating webpages and writing emails on the go, they are also notoriously insecure.
Unfortunately, there’s still no surefire way to guarantee complete security, but by installing a good anti-virus and firewall, regularly backing up your work and using a virtual private network when working remotely, you can take your work’s safety into your own hands.

 4. Marketer

 This is perhaps the biggest undertaking to consider when deciding whether or not you’re equipped to succeed in self-publishing. Unfortunately, choosing to release your book online means you don’t get the added perks of a comprehensive marketing team unless you have the finances to hire one yourself. This means finding innovative and exciting ways to get your book out to the public.

There are many potential outlets to market your book online, but doing so requires motivation and dedication. A great starting point is to set up your own website as a central hub where all other promotion can be directed. From here, blog posts (see next point), social media accounts and targeting reviewers are all essential steps to ensure success.

However, it’s not enough to make a Facebook account and post once about your book. Promoting on social media takes a lot of work, so check out this guide for some tips if you think you have what it takes.

5. Blogger

One crucial element of online marketing for self-published authors is the blog. You may have noticed that most of the writers you read have become a part of blogging culture, and there are a few reasons for this.

Staying active online increases the chance of prospective readers seeing your work. The content and titles you choose for each blog post can contribute to your search engine ranking via search engine optimization (SEO). Producing short articles around the topics you tackle in your books or about writing in general can give followers a snippet of your style and content and ensure you are marketing to the right audience.

However, being a blogger takes a lot more than posting the occasional article now and again. If you haven’t mastered the secrets of blogging, then you might have a bit more work to do before your self-publishing dream can come true!

Self-publishing is one of the most powerful tools for a writer, but it takes a lot of work. If you’re ready to commit, motivated and willing to embrace the five roles of successfully sharing your own work online, then now could be your time to start!


About the Author: Cassie is a long-time entertainment blogger and dedicated writer. She’s an avid reader and has spent years writing for book blogs. Now she’s finally decided to turn her hand to her first novel, which will be self-published, of course. You can find out more about Cassie and read more of her work at Cultural Coverage and Digital Music News.


Claire Gem writes contemporary and paranormal romance, as well as romantic suspense and women’s fiction. You can find out more about Claire at her website or Amazon Author Page.

Posted in Editing, Novels, Self Publishing, Writing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment



I spent a wonderful afternoon recently with my four talented co-workers (from my day job), having a “luncheon meeting.” One of our members was returning to college after having spent the summer learning and helping and becoming a vital part of our team. We went to a nifty restaurant I’d never visited before called Not Your Average Joe’s.

The food was great, the company even better. Our group spans the ages—the youngest still in her teens, the oldest (me) nearing sixty (yikes!). Yet we managed to spend a pleasurable hour+ of close-up-and-personal time without a moment of awkward silence. And we didn’t talk shop.

What can women representing three distinct generations possibly have in common?

One hot guy.

I’d spent a good fifteen minutes watching (and drooling over) one of the busboys travel from the kitchen to tables and back. Busboy, right? You picture an acne-ravaged redhead with glasses too big for his face. Wrinkled, stained shirt hanging crooked over scrawny shoulders. No. This was not your average busboy. But we were in Not Your Average Joe’s. Should I have been surprised?man-1214539_640

This was the busboy from the restaurant in Ladies’ Heaven. Tall, dark and handsome, with piercing blue eyes and a couple days’ growth of black scruff. His white shirt was not wrinkled, nor did it hang crooked over his broad shoulders.

Not that I was looking much at his shirt. Yum.

Just after our meals arrived and we’d delved into our pastas and salads and sandwiches, I (the oldest) lean over to Gigi (our almost youngest) and whisper, “Okay, don’t look now, but the busboy is hot. Just sayin’.”

blonde-1296489_640Gigi squeals and nearly chokes on her pasta. Covering her mouth, she says, “I knew you were going to say that. I just knew it. And I know exactly which busboy you’re talking about.”

We share a high five. Glances pass around the table, then shift around the dining room, all asking the same, silent question: Where’s he at? Followed by recognition, the growls, and the knowing nods.

“Yeah, I saw him. But he’s almost too good looking. He’s probably gay.” This from the youngest of our team, Jenn.

“You think?” This our three mid-generation members, in unison.

Jenn nods. “My roommate, she goes for the same type. The almost too-pretty guys. She’s had three boyfriends who’ve all later come out as gay.”

Five pairs of eyebrows raise in unison.

“Could be. Some of my best friends are gay men, and they’re drop-dead gorgeous.” This from Sandi, our newest team member.

Sighs ripple around the table.

I dab my mouth with my napkin and say, “Well, regardless, I’m always on the lookout for my next hero, and I’m glad I got a look at Mr. Busboy today. And if he makes it into my next novel, I can decide which side of the fence he’s on.” I wink and nod. “Since I write male/female, I can already tell you—Mr. B’s not gay.”

Murmurs of “Mmm, I’ll be on the lookout for your next book,” ripple around the table.

human-495749_640We all giggle like the schoolgirls none of us have been in anywhere from three years to thirty. As though we’ve been buds since the beginning of time. And since we all had to go back to work, this fun time was enjoyed sans one drop of alcohol.


What is the best, female generation-gap antidote? One hot guy.


Claire Gem writes intensely emotional contemporary romance. Visit her at her website or Amazon Author Page.


Posted in Contemporary Romance, Friends, Novels, Romance, Strong Women, Writing | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Magic Of Books: A Battered Ball

 Welcome Magic of Books & Holly Barbo with her new release!

Quick Reads Book 4
by Holly Barbo

Continue reading

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Why Write A Book?

Emotional Journeys is pleased to welcome fellow author, accomplished artist, and beloved friend, Gail Ingis350px-Catskill_Mountain_House

Fall in love with your best friend’s wife and face the consequences. Captured by this beauty, Rosalie Osborn (Leila-heroine) from Watertown, NY, Albert Bierstadt (Rork-hero) fell over his tongue, his feet and lost his heart to a young woman. Rosalie, a naïve debutante, unfortunately, was married to Fitz Hugh Ludlow, (Hank-antagonist) a syndicated journalist, drug addict and womanizer, a mongrel who married for money. The names in parentheses are fiction in my book, Indigo Sky.indigoSky-Soulmate 505_505x825 (2)

Fitz and his wife, Rosalie, visited the artists’ New York City Tenth Street studios, artists’ that were later known as the famed Hudson River Painters. Among them was artist Albert Bierstadt. After Albert & Fitz conferred about his artwork, Fitz gave Albert an astounding write up in the local papers—more than once. Now best of friends, they planned to travel west together, to the far distant Yosemite in California. Fitz would write and journal, while Albert would sketch and paint. After a brief sojourn in the Catskill Mountains, they left for their trip.

Inspired by Bierstadt’s painting Domes of Yosemite that once hung in Lockwood-Mathews Mansion, where I work, was sold in 1873, sadly, I must say. I decided to create a copy. While I was painting, I wondered how in the world did he know how to paint this awesome work of nature? Well, he and Fitz traveled to west together with Survey teams and Albert’s brothers, who were photographers. Albert also sketched and did small paintings, and used those to do his huge paintings in his Tenth Street studio. My discovery of the love between the artist and the journalist’s wife is actually what prompted the writing of this book. It shocked me when I realized that marriages of 19th century Victoriana had the same faults as today, honestly. People are people, what a revelation! Do you think I was naïve? I then took my pen to paper.

Blurb: In a whirlwind romance, a lovely New York socialite marries a fêted, debonair author. But beneath the charm is a cheating husband addicted to hasheesh. Her dream marriage turns sour and the simplicity of her life runs amok when a handsome stranger, her husband’s business partner, threatens her staunch loyalty to her wayward husband. When she faces the ugly truth about her marriage, her need to finalize her divorce sends her on mad chase across the wilds of nineteenth century America with a handsome stranger—she learns hard lessons of murder, kidnapping and more that almost destroy her.

About the Author

Gail Ingis writes historical romance, loves history and romance, of course. Her weekly blog frequently covers historical content. A native of Brooklyn, New York, Gail’s early days began and ended with writing, drawing and music. Her inspiration to write came from books gifted to her by an aunt. But life had other ideas.

Gail Ingis crop adjcrease-1 Color LargeAfter graduating from the New York School of Interior Design with a BFA in Interior Architecture and Design and with master’s studies in Architecture and Design Criticism at The New School (Parsons), she worked in interior design and architecture, and founded a school of Interior Design. Twice asked by publishers to write a textbook, her efforts were thwarted by a heavy schedule.

She resides in Connecticut with her scientist-writer husband. She and her husband love to travel, play tennis and ballroom dance. Currently, she sits on Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum Board of Trustees, and serves as the curator of art exhibitions.

Gail is also an artist. Having spent her youth dallying in Coney Island, she has worked over the last three-four years painting Coney Island images for her exhibition at Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, Norwalk, CT, currently to September 30, 2016. The reception, sponsored by Investmark, will include a book signing by Ms. Ingis of her novel, Indigo Sky, and a dance demonstration by a master ballroom dancing duo inspired by popular music from the early days at Coney Island. Crudities and fruits generously provided by Susan Kane, Catering.

You can find Gail Ingis here:

Amazon Author Page:

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Artist Page:






Gail loves to hear from fans—drop her a line.

Posted in Family, Historical Romance, Novels, Romance, Strong Women, Suspense, Traditions | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Book Blast Time Again!


A Very Big Welcome to Arie Pavlou and Charlene Keel on their Goddess Fish Book Blast!

Featuring their very timely contemporary romance 😉 The Congressman’s Wife

MediaKit_BookCover_TheCongressmansWifeAll Eden Bancroft has ever been to her high-profile politician husband is a trophy wife, born and bred for the part. She believes she has no choice but to play it—until she meets a talented chef and restaurant heir who makes her feel loved for herself alone. The more her husband uses and belittles her, the more deeply Eden falls for Kaleb. Even with Mitchell’s congressional campaign in full swing, the lovers manage to find brief stolen moments together. When her husband is wounded by a bullet from a disgruntled lobbyist, Eden must stay by his side. What she learns can set her free, if she has the courage to take a stand.

Buy your copy of The Congressman’s Wife on Amazon.

Charlene will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Enter to WIN HERE.

About the Authors:

Charlene Keel has written over a dozen novels and how-to books as well as multiple episodes of popular TV shows such as Fantasy Island and Days of our Lives.  Her Dell book, Rituals, was the basis for the first made-for-syndication soap opera.  Recently she co-authored The Tracks, a YA supernatural trilogy.  Shadow Train, the final installment, won a Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewer’s Choice Award.  Keel has also written screen adaptations of novels by bestselling authors, and has worked as editor or managing editor for a few international magazines.  In her spare time she ghostwrites books and screenplays for celebrities, doctors, corporate moguls, spies, strippers and anyone who has an interesting story to tell.MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_TheCongressmansWife

For more information:


Follow Charlene on Twitter       Facebook

Red Sky Book Blog

Arie Pavlou is a popular chef who attended Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and then perfected his craft at some of the top-rated Michelin restaurants in France and New York.  He has lived and worked in France, Cyprus and the U. S. and is an avid world traveler who speaks five languages.  He enjoys all sports and has a talent for knife-throwing, which he perfected at Le Cordon Bleu.  Currently Chef de Cuisine at the renowned Bridgehampton Inn in New York, his specialties include Caramelized Baked Alaska, Winter Salad, Roast Lamb Fondue, Wild Game and Poached Pears with Mint Ice Cream.  The Congressman’s Wife is his first novel, and he’s currently writing a cookbook.

Arie Pavlou on Facebook


Now, for a sneak peek at The Congressman’s Wife:

Love at First Sight

This was an important night and Eden was at her best.  Her makeup was flawless and she’d pulled her honey-blonde hair up, letting it cascade down her back in a waterfall of curls. Her Norma Kamali gown, a dark emerald green that made her eyes sparkle, clung to her body and defined every curve.

Mitchell took her elbow and steered her towards the entrance to the ballroom, and the photographers followed them inside.  They had missed cocktails, partly because Mitchell wanted them to make an entrance, but mostly because he didn’t want her to have access to freely flowing liquor so soon after they’d had a fight.  The row they’d had earlier had been a big one.

He didn’t like it when she told him he was getting ahead of himself.  As soon as he’d decided to run for congress, he’d started spending, running up the balance on their credit cards.  There was no guarantee he’d win, she’d argued, even though he was well known on the political scene.  His family had owned a few dozen acres in this part of Long Island for over a hundred years, and his father had been a state Supreme Court judge.  Mitchell was convinced that, along with his mayoral record, it was enough to guarantee him a seat in congress.

The fight tonight had started when she’d reminded him that if the dinner didn’t go well, his campaign would be over before it got started.  This was their first formal fundraiser.  At five hundred dollars a plate, she was worried they wouldn’t meet their goal.

Their argument had been pointless—like most of them.  When he had his mind set on something, Mitchell didn’t want to hear that his scheme of the moment was imperfect, and he especially didn’t like being told it wasn’t smart to spend money they didn’t have.  They both had ample designer wardrobes, but he had insisted on the expensive gown for Eden and a new tuxedo for himself.  The limo had been his campaign manager’s idea and she thought it ridiculous.  Mitchell, however, had been delighted.

All she had been able to think of as she got dressed was that their credit cards were almost maxed out—again.  Whether he won the election or not, she would have to get a second job if she didn’t want him to ask his mother to pay them down—again.  His law practice, which could have been successful if he would stay focused on it, was suffering because of all the time he was putting into the campaign.

Mitchell didn’t cope well with any kind of disappointment and if tonight was a washout, he would be impossible.  She was so tired of taking care of him, doing everything for him, especially the constant, incessant ego stroking he required.

As they walked into the Ocean Club, appreciative murmurs swept through the crowd—most of the comments she’d heard before.  Mitchell and Eden Bancroft were the glamorous, golden couple—beautiful, bright, young, sophisticated and well-connected pillars of the community.  Suddenly, a new insight dawned on her.

Except for his height Mitchell was completely unremarkable.  Having her at his side transformed him into a mysterious, even sexy man.  To look as ordinary as he did and still get a woman like Eden made him sexy.  This unexpected epiphany delighted her.  Laughter bubbled up in her throat as she flashed her million-dollar smile.


That’s when Kaleb saw her.  He had gone out to the dining room to consult with the maître d’ and as he started back to the kitchen, he heard the full, rich sound of her laughter.  He’d turned to see where it was coming from and at that moment, for him, time stopped.  It was as if every moving part of the universe froze in a weird kind of suspended animation.  For a moment he could hardly breathe.  He couldn’t take his eyes off her.

She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.  Her dress was emerald green, slightly darker than her eyes, and her just-right tan accented her soft, blonde hair.  It looked soft anyway, and her skin looked dewy and inviting.  Kaleb stared at her in awe.  Doris, a waitress who had worked all day at her regular job and was doing the gig tonight to pick up a few extra bucks, followed his gaze to the amazing woman.

“Good choice, kid,” she said, heading into to the kitchen.  “She’s hot.”



Posted in Contemporary Romance, Novels, Romance, Strong Women | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment