Cover Reveal: SHACKLED by Angela Carling

shackled_acarlingShackled by Angela Carling has just had a makeover.  Check out the new cover on this moving read, inspired by real-life events.


After shy, quiet Lucy and her family move from their small hometown in Minnesota to Seattle, Washington, she is surprised when Ryan, the most popular boy at school asks her out. Soon, she is swept up in a whirlwind romance and her naïve and trusting nature allows her to fall head over heels in love with her too-good-to-be suitor. Suddenly, Lucy finds herself enraptured by the excitement of her new relationship, leaving her blinded to the warning signs of danger ahead. Can her fairy tale romance last, or will she find that her prince charming is more like a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

A note from the author:

“Today I’m excited to share the new cover and make a big announcement! Shackled, originally written as stand-alone story will stand-alone no longer! I’ve already begun work on part two of this truly emotional story inspired by real-life struggle in my own family. The new book will be called RELEASED! If you’ve read Shackled and ever wondered what happened to Ryan, Released will change everything!”

Shacked is available on Amazon. And for the quick to act, it’s on sale for just 0.99 cents today.

Want a bit more?  Here’s an excerpt from the first chapter.

If you’d asked me about my life a year ago, I would’ve told you it was boring, white-bread, middle-class-peanut-butter-and-jelly-sandwich-in-my-pink-polka-dot-lunch-bag-every-day boring. That was before everything changed. That was before I met him. So, here I am a year later, on the floor of some stranger’s parked car, trying not to breathe for fear of being discovered. The inside of the car reeks of day old fast food and dirty feet, but I don’t dare raise my head, even for cleaner air. Instead, I wait for the headlights to fill the cracks where the doors hinges leave tiny fissures in the metal, letting small bits of light through. I know the light is coming from his headlights and when the light passes over me, there will be a brief window of opportunity I can use to escape and run for my life.

Finally, after I hear the distinctive ping of his diesel engine, and his precious cherry red Mercedes passes me, I carefully open the door and climb out of the backseat as noiselessly as possible. My eyes dart nervously, taking in my surroundings. The long, orderly, suburban street looks quiet. All the houses are black, with the exception of a few scattered televisions sending pulsing light out into the night. Now is my chance. Mason is only ten houses away and he has the tools to free me from this hellish nightmare. He knows my anguish. Tonight he will be my white knight.

Continue reading


If you enjoy sweet romance and are looking to get into the holiday spirit, then this recently released box set might be just for you.

SCK3 Blog Tour 2Ring in the holiday season with 17 all-new, stand-alone stories from New York Times, USA Today, national bestselling, and award-winning authors. Sweet Christmas Kisses 3 takes you around the globe from small-town USA, to London, England, and even to Africa with a foreword written by USA Today Bestselling Author Donna Fasano. Don’t miss out on this sweet romance boxed set that’s sure to touch your heart, make you smile, and put you in the mood for Christmas.

Mona Risk
On Christmas Eve
by Mona Risk

She yanked him out of her heart years ago. But fate throws him in her path again and his tender gaze erases her loneliness. Can they forgive each other and create a new future?

Christine Bush
Christmas Holly
by Christine Bush

Can a lonely single father of five-year-old triplets find love on a South Carolina beach? It might just take a Christmas miracle!


Lyn Cote
Mistletoe and Sage
by Lyn Cote

New deputy in town, a single mom, two wounded hearts with a puzzle to solve together—will love spark under the mistletoe?


Denise Devine
A Merry Little Christmas
by Denise Devine

Merry Connor and Anthony Lewis search for treasure and find true love.


Raine English
The Christmas Gift
by Raine English

When Riley Wayne receives a dog for Christmas, it’s not just the pup that makes her heart flutter, the rescue group’s handsome owner does too.


Untangling Christmas
Untangling Christmas
by Shanna Hatfield

Tricked into helping with Silverton’s Festival of Trees, electrician Mike Clarke battles faulty outlets, tangled lights, and a woman determined to share the spirit of the season.

Ciara Knight
A Christmas on Miracle Mountain
by Ciara Knight

When it takes a miracle to heal a heart.


Milou Koenings
The Kampala Peppermint Twist
  by Milou Koenings

A twist of fate. An overbooked flight. Christmas in Africa will flip her life upside down. 

Magdalena Scott
The Road Not Taken
by Magdalena Scott

Francie Standish Carrington has some tough decisions to make and a lot of questions about a past she thought she understood.

Roxanne Rustand
A London Christmas
by Roxanne Rustand

When Catriona heads to London for Christmas to meet a guy she met online, he steals her purse and disappears, but will a handsome photographer in the pub end up being the man of her dreams?

Alicia Street
Her Christmas Secret
by Alicia Street

Desperate to help her sister’s family, Lila courts a cold-hearted investor for her handmade toys, but learns Christmas has a way of bringing surprises where they’re least expected.

Kristin Wallace

Falling For You at Christmas
by Kristin Wallace

One expectant mother. One gorgeous innkeeper. Three days that will change her life forever.
Merrillee Whren
Second Chance Christmas
by Merrillee Whren

A young boy helps his estranged parents find love again at Christmas.

Christmas Eve Wedding
by Cindy Flores Martinez

A maid of honor is swept up in the chaos of planning her best friend’s spur-of-the-moment Christmas Eve wedding.

Victoria Pinder
Secret Wish
by Victoria Pinder

Luke Morgan doesn’t believe in miracles, but this season Christmas brought him Caro Soliz, the family maid.

Josie Riviera
Candleglow and Mistletoe
by Josie Riviera

A rising pianist and a pro stuntman winding down his career find love amid the glow of Christmas candles.

Couple by Christmas
by Pat Simmons

Divorcee Derek Washington wants to reconcile with his ex-wife by Christmas. Although he’s got a plan, with the help of his six-year-old son, Derek only has two weeks.

Background With Snowflakes
Join the authors for the Release Party, Tuesday, Sept. 27 on Facebook!

All 17 authors in this boxed set write sweet romances and are members of Sweet Romance Reads, a group of authors whose books contain no sex, violence, or strong language. While the emotional stakes are high as the characters’ relationships grow, these stories are wholesome. Think movies rated G or PG. Therefore, Sweet Christmas Kisses 3 can be enjoyed by romance readers of any age.

Snuggle into a chair by a cozy fire with a cup of hot chocolate and allow these bestselling and award-winning authors to bring the holiday season alive as they warm your heart.

Purchase the book at your favorite online retailer:

And don’t forget to connect with the Authors at Sweet Romance Reads:

Or connect with each of the Sweet Romance Reads Authors individually:

A tireless traveler, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Mona Risk, writes contemporary romance, medical romance, and romantic suspense novels, all simmering with emotion, sprinkled with a good dose of humor and set in the fascinating places she visited— or in Florida, her paradise on Earth.
Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter

Christine Bush is an award winning author of many sweet romances, mysteries, and novellas. When she’s not writing, she can be found teaching Psychology at a local college, working as a Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice, or (mostly) spending time with her twelve grandchildren.
Website | Facebook | Twitter

Award-winning author of over 40 romances, Lyn Cote writes inspirational historicals and contemporary romantic suspense in her distinctive brand, “Strong Women, Brave Stories.” Lyn lives in a cottage on a lake in the northwoods with her real-life hero husband and (for comic relief and furry cuddling) her two cats.
Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter

Denise Devine is a USA Today bestselling author of romantic comedy and she also writes inspirational fiction. She wrote her first book, a mystery, at thirteen and has been writing ever since. She writes about true love, happy endings and stories that touch your heart.
Website | Facebook | Twitter

USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Raine English writes sweet small-town contemporary romance, paranormal, and romantic suspense. She’s a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart finalist and a Daphne du Maurier Award winner. Raine lives in New England with her family and two French bulldogs, Bailey and Dolly.
Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter

Convinced everyone deserves a happy ending, hopeless romantic, USA Today bestselling author Shanna Hatfield is out to make it happen one story at a time. Her sweet historical and contemporary romances combine humor and heart-pumping moments and relatable characters.
Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter

Ciara Knight is a USA Today and Amazon Bestselling author who writes ‘A Little Edge and A Lot of Heart’ that spans the heat scales. Her popular sweet romance series, Sweetwater County (rated PG), takes readers into small town romance full of family trials, friendly competition, and community love.
Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter

Milou Koenings writes heartwarming romance novels because she believes sweet stories with happy endings are like chocolate – they bring joy to the world and so make it a better place. She’s lived all over the world, working as an editor and newspaper columnist, but loves staying home with her family most of all.
Website | Facebook | Twitter

USA Today bestselling author Roxanne Rustand is the author of thirty-five traditionally published novels, plus four indie novels. She was a Golden Heart finalist twice, and a Golden Heart winner in 1995. She has won two RT Magazine Reviewers’ Choice Awards, and was nominated for an RT Magazine Career Achievement Award. Her earlier books were secular, but she now writes sweet indie romance, and inspirational romance for Love Inspired.
Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter

USA Today bestselling author Magdalena Scott writes sweet romance and women’s fiction with small town settings. She invites readers into her world to find out what’s hidden just below the surface of those tiny dots you can barely see on the map—mystery, romance, and the occasional unexplained occurrence.
Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter

Award-winning and USA Today bestselling author Alicia Street writes both sweet and steamy romances and sometimes collaborates with her husband, Roy. She spent many years as a dancer, choreographer, and teacher and is a compulsive reader of every genre.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Kristin Wallace is a USA Today bestselling author of inspirational, contemporary and women’s fiction filled with “Love, Laughter and a Leap of Faith.” Her popular series include the Covington Falls Chronicles and Shellwater Key Tales.
Website | Facebook | Twitter

Merrillee Whren is an award-winning author who writes inspirational and sweet romance—stories that stir your emotions. She is married to her own personal hero, her husband of forty plus years, and has two grown daughters.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Cindy Flores Martinez is an Amazon bestselling Spanish romance author. She writes sweet romantic comedy and Christian romance. Her debut novel, Mail-Order Groom, started out as a screenplay and movie project, which she shopped around Hollywood, New York, and other parts of the world.
Website | Facebook | Twitter

Victoria Pinder is a bestselling author of science fiction/fantasy and contemporary romance where her stories all include “Bold Women and the Brainy Men who love them.” Her popular series include the House of Morgan and the Collins Brothers.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Free Novella

Author Josie Riviera writes Historical, Inspirational, and Sweet Romances. She lives in the Charlotte, NC, area with her wonderfully supportive husband. They share their empty nest with an adorable Shih Tzu who constantly needs grooming and an old house forever needing renovations.
Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter

Pat Simmons is a three-time Emma award-winning author for Best Inspirational Romance. With more thirty Christian romance titles, Pat is the bestselling author of the Carmen Sisters series.
Website | Newsletter

Guest Post & Spotlight: LANDRY’S TRUE COLORS by Krysten Lindsay Hager

For a change of pace, I am happy to host Krysten Lindsy Hager, who is celebrating the release of the paperback edition of True Colors. In her guest post,  Krysten talks about her inspiration for Landry’s True Colors – a  young adult series about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, middle school and high school, frenemies, crushes, and self-image. Sounds like relevant and enjoyable reading for the younger generation.

Inspiration for the Landry’s True Colors Series by Krysten Lindsay Hager

When writing my teen series, the Landry’s True Colors Series, I wanted to create a character who showed her own insecurities and feeling about friends, her looks, talking to boys, school, etc. to show that everyone has their insecure moments and that no one is alone in that.

Landry is a very realistic teen in that I didn’t create her to magically have all the answers. She gets pushed around by friends and you see her trying to deal with the situations and handle moving from one  group of friends who turns their back on her, to another group where she might need to conform to fit  in. We see Landry realize she feels most comfortable with friends she can be herself around and not have to pretend to like certain things to fit in. She doesn’t come to that realization overnight that you need to find those kinds of friends, but it’s by trial and error and in learning it’s okay to be yourself and  that good friends will accept you for who you are—not who you pretend to be.

Landry shows her flaws and the things that make her anxious –like talking to her crush, the modeling competitions, and being on live TV. Even though she makes it through a few rounds of the modeling contest, she still deals with self-doubt due to her own insecurities and mean comments made by “frenemies” as well as girls at school. I’ve had readers share with me that they identify with Landry and liked that we saw even her embarrassing moments where she gets so nervous she makes a bee-line for the bathroom. One reading specialist wrote me to say her students felt better seeing that even this teen model sometimes felt bad about how she looked. I wanted to write a book that made people feel less alone in their own insecurities and hearing that from readers means so much to me.

I think the subject of jealousy and competition is something we all face at that age—at all ages really. I know I sure ran across it and recently I had a cousin who is in college complaining about dealing with jealousy drama on the same day I was talking to someone with a twelve year-old daughter who was dealing with the exact same issues. It’s difficult to deal with things like that, but when those negative feelings are coming from people you considered good friends…well, it hurts all the more. It really all boils down to friendships and loyalty and what it means to be a true friend. I think it’s a message that hits everyone no matter what your age or background is—everyone deals with this at some point in  their lives. I used to like to read about girls I could relate to and I hope someone reads the Landry’s True Colors Series and feels a little less alone in the world.

About Landry’s True Colors

The Landry’s True Colors Series is a clean reads young adult humor series about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, middle school and high school, frenemies, crushes, and self-image. It’s a clean reads book so it’s suitable for ages 11 and up.

True Colors (Book 1)

Landry Albright just wants to be one of the interesting girls at school who always have exciting things going on in their lives. She wants to stand out, but also wants to fit in, so she gives in when her two best friends, Ericka and Tori, push her into trying out for a teen reality show modeling competition with them. Landry goes in nervous, but impresses the judges enough to make it to the next round.

However, Ericka and Tori get cut and basically “unfriend” her on Monday at school. Landry tries to make new friends, but gets caught up between wanting to be herself and conforming to who her new friends want her to be. Along the way she learns that modeling is nowhere as glamorous as it seems, how to deal with frenemies, a new crush, and that true friends see you for who you really are and like you because of it.

Best Friends…Forever? (Book 2):

Landry Albright hopes the new year will start off in an amazing way—instead she has to deal with more frenemy issues, boy drama, and having most of her best friends make the cheerleading squad without her. Suddenly, it seems like all anyone can talk about is starting high school next year—something she finds terrifying.

Landry gets her first boyfriend (her crush, Vladi), but then gets dumped just as things come to a head with her friends. She feels lost and left out, but finds good advice about dealing with frenemies from what she considers an unlikely source. Landry faces having to speak up for what’s right, tell the truth (even when it hurts), and how to get past the fear of failure as she gets another shot at competing in the American Ingénue TV show modeling competition. Will she get a second chance with her friends, fame, and Vladi?

Watch the BFF book trailer here.

Landry in Like (Book 3):

Things seem to be going well in Landry Albright’s world—she’s getting invited to be on local talk shows to talk about her modeling career, her best friends have her back, and her boyfriend Vladi has becoming someone she can truly count on…and then everything changes.

Suddenly it seems like most of the girls in school are into hanging out at a new teen dance club, while Landry just wants to spend her weekends playing video games and baking cup-cakes at sleepovers. Then, Yasmin McCarty, the most popular girl in school, starts to come between Landry’s friendship with her best friend Ashanti. Things take a turn when Yasmin tells Vladi that Landry is interested in another boy. Can Landry get her relationships with Ashanti and Vladi back or will she be left out and left behind?

Watch the Landry in Like book trailer here.

About the Author:

KLHager_Krysten Lindsay Hager writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, the celebrity world, values, and self-image in True Colors, Best Friends…Forever? Landry in Like, Next Door to a Star and Competing with the Star. Best Friends…Forever? was ranked at #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in Teen; Young Adult Values; Virtues Fiction, and True Colors is an international bestseller. Her work has  been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Bellbrook Times, the Grand Haven Tribune, and on the talk show Living Dayton.
Connect with the author on social media:

Purchase links:

Author Spotlight & Interview: S. A. Molteni

I am pleased to host S.A. Molteni on my blog today. She is here today to tell us a bit about her writing and her recently released cozy mystery,  Double Hearts.


I  love mysteries. What made you decide to write a cozy mystery after writing in other genres?

I have always been a fan of mysteries and have read quite a lot of them in my lifetime. After writing non-fiction for the last two years, I wanted to write something fictional and fun. So, I decided to try my hand at the mystery genre.

Tell me a little bit about your cozy mystery,  Double Hearts.

AMZDHDouble Hearts – A Shelly Martin Cozy Mystery (included in the Sleuthing Women – Mystery Collection) is my first foray into writing cozy mysteries and is one I wanted to have a strong female detective as the protagonist. In Double Hearts, the first book in the series, Shelly Martin has just opened her detective agency and her newest case is one she will not soon forget. As she delves deeper into it, she discovers that it just might shatter her dreams of a happily-ever-after life and a second chance with her high-school sweetheart, Jake McCord.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences?

Absolutely nothing in the book is from a my own personal life experience. The book is entirely a work of fiction, but centers around my interest in detective work as well as my love of solving mysteries.

I know this isn’t your first book, only your first cozy. What else have you written?

I have written mostly non-fiction up until this point. My non-fiction series is entitled, I.T. Geek to Farm Girl Freak and includes two books at the moment. The third book and final in the series will be out at the end of 2016.

What are you working on right now?

I am currently working on the second book in the Shelly Martin Cozy Mystery series as well as the third book in the I.T. Geek to Farm Girl Freak series.

How do you conquer writer’s block? (Please let me know your secret.)

The best way I have found to overcome writer’s block is to perform some type of manual labor, like cleaning out the barn or gardening and mowing the lawn. Once I step away from my writing cave for a few hours and get all gross and sweaty from farm chores, I am eager to start writing again. There is no shortage of story material here on my hobby farm and I get many ideas when shoveling manure. 🙂

I am guessing you read a lot of mysteries. Do you enjoy reading other genres as well? What are you currently reading?

I love to read mysteries as well as a few other genres – paranormal fantasy, non-fiction essays, science fiction and clean romance – to name a few. I am currently reading A Chance to Get it Right (Copperhead Creek – Australian Romance Book 2) by SM Spencer.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

I have always wanted to go to Australia to see the unique sights and sounds of the Land Down Under. I adore koala bears and kangaroos, so that would be a thrill for me to see them in the wild. I would also love to go to Lake Como, Italy and meet some of the members of my distant family tree.

Double Hearts – A Shelly Martin Cozy Mystery

Shelly Martin recently opened her detective agency after working in the Austin Police Department as a criminologist. In her newest case, she is determined to solve the mystery of who hit Vernon Sykes and left him for dead on a desolate road in the middle of the night.

Jake McCord was Shelly’s high school sweetheart until he left town without a word to her about his whereabouts. When he returns to Austin after fifteen years away, he hopes for a second chance with Shelly. Little does he know that he will be involved in a criminal investigation led by her.

Will their reunion be tarnished by his supposed negligence or will the facts present him as the victim of a cunning crime?

About S.A. Molteni

samolteniS.A. Molteni is a retired systems engineer. She is also currently a hobby farmer, avid traveler and an author of several award-winning short stories. She lives on a small homestead with her husband and a menagerie of very spoiled farm animals.

Review: A WINTER CONNECTION by Denisa Carroll

It was time for a break from mysteries  so I browsed the evergrowing library on my Kindle and curled up to read a romance I had 1-clicked sometime in recent months.  As a result, it is my pleasure to tell you about A Winter Connection,  a sweet romance written by  fellow CIR member, Denisa Carroll. A Winter Connection is part of the author’s Love Seasons collection.


Brynn’s life seems to have gone wrong all at once. A cheating boyfriend gone, a wedding cancelled and now, to cap it all, no job at the London legal firm where she has been working since she qualified. So she is persuaded to go back to Yorkshire, to the Dales farm where she was raised, while she tries to sort out her life. One thing she is certain of, whatever her prospects, they certainly won’t involve any man. 

But arrogant vet, Jake Southworth, who she cannot abide, seems to have a different idea of her future. Will a sudden crisis confirm her opinion of him, or will her prospects suddenly start to look altogether different?

My Review

This was a fun romance,  a well written light read.

The star-crossed lovers – Brynn and Jake  – are  basically good people who have trouble communicating honestly with one another.  But for different reasons, Brynn afraid of getting hurt again and  Jake out of concern for Brynn.  It is easy to admire Brynn’s commitment to her family, and at the same time recognize her flaws. One obstacle to Brynn’s happiness is tied to an incident that traumatized her as a child – the details emerge in the course of the story, providing a mini-mystery element of sorts.  Jake, although cocky at times, is a sweetheart at the core. I couldn’t help rooting for him as the story progressed.  Most of the story takes place in Yorkshire,  providing a taste of rural life and the local dialect. And there were dogs; dogs are always a good thing 🙂

If you enjoy sweet romance,  this is a great choice for a  light weekend read.

Spotlight: GUILT TRIP by Juli Caldwell

It’s my pleasure to tell you about the latest release from Juli Caldwell – Guilt Trip – a clean romance that puts a contemporary spin on Jane Austen’s Persuasion. I haven’t had a chance to read it myself, but it sounds like a good read.


Avery needed to get away. Her problems tagged along.

Guilt Trip - High Resolution.jpgAvery Elliott is so busy hiding from her past that she doesn’t realize she’s been stuck in a rut for the last decade or so. Despite a job she loves, a hilarious great-grandma she adores, a reliable Friday night date, and two of the best friends a girl could ask for, she’s not happy.

So why can’t she move forward with her life?

After Mr. Friday Night humiliates her and bails, Avery spins it into an opportunity. She joins her friends on a singles cruise, hoping to reset her stagnant life.  Instead, her great escape becomes a floating prison, locking her in with everything she needed to get away from.

And then someone she never thought she’d see again appears on board, a blast from the past that’s haunted her for far too long. Avery has to decide if she should leave the past where it belongs, or fight for a happiness she never thought she deserved.

Guilt Trip is available on Amazon (

About the Author

Juli Caldwell is a writer, dreamer, mom, shameless diet coke addict, and loud shower singer (if they ever film The Voice in her bathroom, she’s convinced she’d win). She holds a degree in English with an emphasis in writing and editing from Weber State University. Her six titles include romance, YA, and mid-grade fantasy.

When she’s not writing her own books or editing for her wonderful clean reads clients, she can be found engaging in general shenanigans with her two hilarious daughters. She lives in Utah with her husband, daughters, and a dog that sheds too much.

Review: SHARPE EDGE by Lisa B. Thomas

With hundreds of books on my Kindle, it is amazing how long it can take me to decide what to read next.  One night, after lengthy deliberation, I settled in to read  Sharpe Edge by Lisa B. Thomas.

SharpeEdgeDescription (from Amazon)

If Deena Sharpe had known she would soon be investigating another death, she might have skipped Christmas altogether. Buoyed by a new job and a spirit for the holidays, she carries on, blind to what the next few weeks will hold. 

A Christmas party for the upper crust of the small Texas town of Maycroft turns tragic when the hostess ends up dead. Everyone assumes her death is an accident—everyone except her daughter, Estelle. She turns to Deena to help solve the mystery. A jealous friend and a mysterious heir are just two of the likely suspects. As a school teacher turned newspaper reporter, Deena must get crafty to dig out the truth before anyone else gets hurt, including her own brother. 

Sharpe Edge is the second book in the Maycroft Mystery Series. A little romance, some snarky suburban competition, and a lot of mystery will keep you turning pages in this cozy whodunit. 

My Review

Deena Sharpe, a retired journalism teacher, gets more than she bargained for when an elderly socialite is killed in the middle of a party. With the encouragement of her brother, she launches her own investigation of the murder. Deena is an interesting and likable character; she is smart and caring. Overall, the main characters make up a well-developed group, including Deena’s husband, her brother, and the victim’s daughter. Several suspects emerge as the story unfolds and details about the victim’s family history are revealed. I found Sharpe Edge to be an enjoyable read with interesting plot twists.  I believe fans of  clean cozy mysteries will enjoy this book.

Note: Although this is the second installment in a series, it can easily be read as a standalone mystery.

sharpmind_*** NEWS FLASH ***
Sharpe Mind, the third book in this series, is scheduled for release on January 31, 2016.
Click here to preorder it.

About The Author
Born and raised in Texas, Lisa Thomas always knew she wanted to be a writer. Finally, after thirty-three years as a high school Journalism and English teacher, she released her first novel and hasn’t slowed down. She also has a writing guide for creative non-fiction. Lisa lives a quiet life with her husband and peekapoo. Besides writing, she enjoys her grandchildren, photography, traveling, and antiquing (buying and selling old junk). Visit her website:


Spotlight: SEASONS – Free Mixed-genre Short Story Collection

News Flash –  A bunch of talented writers over at Clean Indie Reads have put together a mixed-genre anthology of  short stories and it’s free for a limited time only.  What  a great opportunity to discover your next favorite author and maybe fill up that Kindle/tablet you found under the tree last week.

Seasons Vol 1 - Final.jpgDescription
Nine New Stories in Six Popular Genres. Whether you enjoy mystery, romance, fantasy, or paranormal, this collection has something for you.

Escape into this seasonal-themed short story collection. Nine authors have teamed up to offer you fresh, new stories in a variety of genres. In this flinch-free fiction set, every featured story is proud to be a clean read, free from harsh language, sex, and graphic violence.

This collection is only available for a limited time, so grab it now while you can!

  • Saving Peters Tree Farm by Debbie White (contemporary romance): Charlotte is determined to help the family’s struggling Christmas tree farm. What she doesn’t expect is an old love interest to come back into her life, only to steal her heart once again.
  • Mistress of Snow and Ice by Jeffrey Collyer (fantasy): When a terrifying beast attacks their forest home, fifteen-year-old Yela must escape into the mountains with several children. Little does she realise what additional terrors threaten them there… or that the fate of her entire people will rest on decisions she and her young charges will be forced to make.
  • Springtime Murder by Marla Bradeen (cozy mystery): Polly Blake never expects her family’s annual spring barbecue to kick off with her uncle dropping dead in her backyard. When his death is ruled a homicide, it’s up to her to figure out who the murderer is.
  • Dogwood Sprocket by Bokerah Brumley (sci-fi steampunk romance): In 2287, Grace daydreams about living in a bygone era, but when a bearded inventor opens a doorway from his timeline to hers, Grace gets transported to an alternate 1887. Now all she can think about is getting home.
  • Red Orchid (fantasy) by Lea Doue: Vanda’s family hides a dangerous secret. When two strangers enter the woods near their home, Vanda must choose whether to trust them or to heed her father’s advice and stay away.
  • Special by Michelle Bolanger (paranormal romance): Andrew Matthews doesn’t expect anything out of the ordinary when he arrives at work for a routine orientation of his grocery store’s new hires, but he is instantly intrigued with the beautiful and quirky Charlotte Mays. Her shy innocence mixed with playful banter is irresistible, and he soon realizes there is something extra special about her.
  • Out on a Limb by Ava Mallory (cozy mystery): Dropping her daughter off at college is the hardest thing Mercy Mares ever thought she’d have to do. That is, until a strange encounter with a not-so-friendly man plants her and her entire family smack dab in the middle of a murder investigation. Mayhem and the mob weren’t on the itinerary, but neither was murder. Will Mercy survive her trip to the big city?
  • Blind Date by Myra Kendrix (romantic comedy): Eco-blogger Sophia is a rebel with a cause who convinces her matchmaking friend Gwen to introduce her to hotshot green-tech millionaire, Jake–but only after she goes on three dates with a yawn-worthy restaurateur named Matt. Will Sophia be able to keep up her end of the bargain?
  • Spirit Moves by Lisa B. Thomas (mystery/suspense): Corey’s life in the small Texas town of Maycroft has spun out of control ever since his stepfather Michael came into the picture. However, greater forces may be at work when one decision changes everything in this tale of psychological suspense.

So where can you get your copy?

Spotlight: THE MORE THE MERRIER by Liwen Y. Ho

Today I am happy to turn the spotlight on a recent release – The More The Merrier – a sweet clean romance by Liwen Y. Ho.  At just 10,000 words, this holiday-themed short story will help get you in the holiday spirit.


Can love be sweeter than ice cream?

Fed up with a string of bad blind dates, health blogger Alyssa Wu just wants to drown her sorrows in ice cream. But there’s one more evening she must endure – a fake date with her best friend Barry Chang. They must convince her family they are in love, an act which may (or may not) be easy to pull off, thanks to the magic of some mistletoe.

An excerpt appears later in this post.

The More The Merrier  is available on Amazon.

About the Author

Liwen Y. Ho works as a chauffeur and referee by day (AKA being a stay at home mom) and a writer by night. She penned her first children’s picture book, “A Rainbow of Nine Colors”, in high school (now available at and has since published three romance books for grown-ups (with more on the way!).

She also enjoys writing about real-life matters, such as marriage, parenting and faith because truth can be as strange and entertaining as fiction. Her work has appeared in various online publications, including and, and she is a regular contributor at

LiwanIn her pre-author life, she received a Masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Western Seminary, and she loves makeovers of all kinds, especially those of the heart and mind. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her techie husband and their two children, and blogs about her adventures as a recovering perfectionist at

Connect with Liwen:

An excerpt from The More the Merrier
     “I’m a lost cause in the love department. I need to find a date. The last thing I want to do is show up alone and put a damper on my dad’s party.”
“Okay, so we’ll find you a date. There are plenty of guys who would love to go out with you. We just have to find one.”
Barry’s confident tone made Alyssa sit up straighter. Had he really called her attractive? Maybe her smoky eye shadow and red lipstick gave her appearance an extra oomph tonight. She did notice his eyes widen in surprise when he opened the door earlier. Even if he was just being his usual positive self, it was nice to hear that he thought she was a worthy catch. “Even if there were guys lined up at my door, chances are they wouldn’t be free for the party. It’s really short notice.”
“How short?”
“Like Sunday short.”
      “As in the day after tomorrow?”
      Nodding, she sighed. “Now do you understand why I’ve been so desperate?”
      “I do. And now I really feel sorry for you.”
      “Great, thanks Barry for your sym-.
      “Hold on,” he interrupted with his spoon pointed at her. “I have an idea. How about we help each other out this weekend?”
      What do you mean?”
      “I need some assistance for work tomorrow and you need a date for Sunday. You help me, and I’ll help you.”
      “You’ll pretend to be my date?” She mulled over his suggestion and smiled. “What a great idea. Going to the party with someone as harmless as Barry would make the evening not only bearable, but enjoyable. If there was any guy she trusted and felt comfortable with, it was him. “That would be awesome.”

Click here to read more.

Guest Post: H.L. BURKE on Her Creative Process – “Ideas are kind of like rabbits”

A few weeks ago, I embarked on a reading adventure. For the first time in years, I decided to read a fantasy novel.  I loved it. Beggar Magic was a delightful read that left me in awe of the author’s creativity.  I was thrilled when H.L. Burke agreed to do a guest post on my blog.

Where do I get my ideas? 

11755639_10154140291146002_1215304829087524943_nIdeas are kind of like rabbits. You let them run free, and they’ll find other ideas and make little idea babies, often more than you can handle, and sometimes you’ll end up sitting in front of Walmart with a box of ideas, begging other writers to take them and give them a good home because you really would like to give them the time and attention they deserve, but you already have a backlog of ideas, and you know you will never finish, and your only hope is that they have word processors in Heaven. Sorry for the 89 word sentence. I’ve had a lot of coffee.

Like a lot a lot.
Like I replaced my bloodstream with coffee around 2007. Where was I?

Honestly, though, I think most ideas spring from taking something and looking at it in a new way. This can be as simple as changing your perspective or listening to someone who comes at it from another direction.

Take spiders. Most people don’t like spiders. Myself, I find them genuinely creepy. While I know they eat bugs and rarely devour humans, I still think they are devil-eyed spawns of Ungoliant.

What if, however, I put myself in the mindset of someone who likes spiders? What does this someone see in them? How do they feel constantly seeing their favorite animals mocked and squashed? Are they afraid to invite friends over because they worry people won’t understand their arachnophilia? Do they try to get a puppy so they can be like normal people but end up naming it Spidey and dressing it up in one of those spider-dog costumes for Halloween? And what if they found someone who didn’t think they were odd? What would the relief and excitement be like to finally be understood or at least accepted?

And that’s an idea. All I did was pick the first random thing to pop into my head and ask how it might look to someone else.

My personal tastes tend towards fantasy because the potential “what ifs” are endless, but really, the real world offers a ton of wonder … endless wonder. Why? Because each person is like a prism bringing a new viewpoint, filtered through life experiences, personality, and many other factors. Because God didn’t say, “Meh, I’ll only color in the interesting parts. No one’s ever going to see it if I put crystals at the bottom of this cave or colorful birds on this isolated island.” He stretched Creation into the depths of the ocean and far flung reaches of space. It’s all out there. That’s pretty inspiring.

Ask a simple question. Take a premise that’s been done to death and add a “what if?”

What if the knight came to rescue the princess from the dragon and the princess said, “No, thanks, I like this dragon. We’re friends now.”

What if magic existed but people used it the way modern people use technology … and then what happens if you take it away?

If a cat and a dragon were roommates, which would be the pet?

What if fires were sentient?

Those four basic questions all spawned novels (Dragon’s Curse, Beggar Magic, Thaddeus Whiskers and the Dragon, and Lands of Ash), but if you answered each of them, I bet the resulting stories would be totally different. They’d go through your prism and come out unique.

beggarmagic 3booksheidi_ landsofash

About H.L. Burke

Born in a small town in north central Oregon, H. L. Burke spent most of her childhood around trees and farm animals and was always accompanied by a book. Growing up with epic heroes from Middle Earth and Narnia keeping her company, she also became an incurable romantic.

An addictive personality, she jumped from one fandom to another, being at times completely obsessed with various books, movies, or television series (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Star Trek all took their turns), but she has grown to be what she considers a well-rounded connoisseur of geek culture.

Married to her high school crush who is now a US Marine, she has moved multiple times in her adult life but believes that home is wherever her husband, two daughters, and pets are.

She is the author of a four part fantasy/romance series entitled “The Scholar and the Dragon“, featuring the books Dragon’s Curse, Dragon’s Debt, Dragon’s Rival, and Dragon’s Bride as well as the YA/Fantasy Beggar Magic. Her current projects are a children’s chapter book and an epic fantasy trilogy.

Connect with H.L. Burke: