Thursday, November 5, 2015

Help a Child With Your Homemade Donation!

My author friend, Sandy Hurtes, started THE MADE-BY-HAND PROJECT to raise funds for child migrants in Europe. Proceeds from the fundraiser will go to Save the Children's Refugee Child Relief Crisis Fund.

Sandy is interested in donations that people have made--jewelry, crocheted/knitted items, paintings, sculpture, clothing, pottery, authors' signed books--virtually any art or craft that is hand created. These items will be sold at a future event, some time in early March.

For more information on donations or how to get involved, contact Sandy at or visit The Made By Hand Project Facebook page.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

SJ Francis "Shattered Lies" Debut!

Author Badge (Small) Shattered Lies is the first novel by S. J. Francis, a women’s fiction/family saga. As in all the stories Francis writes, in the end, it’s all about family. Francis is a freelance writer with over three hundred publication credits, a University Lecturer with doctorates in English, Mass Communications and Law, and most recently, a novelist.
Click on this link and enter to win a free personally autographed copy of Shattered Lies!
A frequent traveler, Francis has resided in 13 states and 3 countries. When not writing Francis can be found reading a good book, or spending time in the outdoors. The author currently lives in Mississippi, where a major part of Shattered Lies takes place—but grew up in New York City, where the latter portion occurs—and has a great respect and fondness for both places.

Jackie Collins
Novelist Jackie Collins, 2014 PHOTO: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
1) Who influenced you the most as far as writing goes?
Every writer I’ve read has had an influence somehow on my writing, including the guest authors I’ve hosted on my writing blog. But the biggest influences were the late great Jackie Collins, romance author Leigh Michaels, and Multi-Published author Heather Neff. They’re all distinctly different in their writing styles, but all are great writers that personally inspired me in one way or another.

2) What drew you to the topic of racism in your novel?
Would you believe me if I said that it just happened? I never planned on writing a book about racism. I began a novel about a family living in the South with secrets and lies and how those secrets and lies come back to haunt them, as well as the repercussions that would result. The subject of racism evolved from that. Of course, Shattered Lies is a reflection of our times, our beliefs, our hatreds, our misconceptions. I couldn’t have planned for that if I had tried.
3) What are you doing when you’re not writing?
When I’m not writing, I’m trying to catch my breath. I also lecture at my University in English, Creative Writing and Law. When I’m not working or writing, I love gardening, hiking and reading, but even when I’m doing something else, I’m always in some way writing in my head.

4) Do you have any guidelines for writers?
A writer needs to write. Period. Any time and any chance one gets, even if it is just a sentence or a paragraph. These things eventually lead to something bigger. Never ignore an opportunity to write.

5) Is there any significance to you not posting any of your photos online or stating your gender?
Nope, except to say, what difference does it make? If you like my stories, what does it matter what I look like, or what gender I am. Besides, a little mystery never hurt anyone. I’m not writing for fame. I write because I can’t see myself doing anything else. I’m a writer and always have been, even as a child when I thought I didn’t like writing. You can also look at it as a metaphor. Do you really need to know who I am in order to enjoy my story?

6) Do you have any other writing projects in the works? Yes, I do, Carole and thanks for asking. I already have a draft for a stand-alone sequel to Shattered Lies. I also have a draft for a novel about friendships and family in Hollywood. I also have a draft for a sequel to that one.

Front cover
7) Who should read Shattered Lies and what should the reader expect?
The good thing about Shattered Lies is that it could be read and enjoyed by anyone. It may be labeled women’s fiction/mainstream/family saga, but that is just a label placed on it by the publisher. Is racism geared toward anyone in particular? No. Bigotry affects everyone in all walks of life. As my heroine Kate Thayer discovers, bigotry isn’t something just experienced around strangers. Sometimes bigotry is very close to home.

In Shattered Lies, the reader should expect an awakening of the senses, high-charged emotion, controversial language and thoughts. There are two sides to every story and in this novel, the reader will see two sides to a long standing family argument that reflects society’s beliefs. What happens to Kate Thayer can happen to anyone. We’re all different, unique and we should each appreciate that fact without basing it simply on what we see.

Thank you for sharing about yourself and the story behind the book, SJ! I’ve read your novel and found it filled with so many intriguing and unexpected plot developments. I wish you all the success in your writing ventures!

Pre-order your copy of Shattered Lies by clicking on the title anywhere in this interview or go to the links to enter to win a free copy! Here's a an excerpt from Francis' debut novel:
She wants to know the truth, but some secrets might be better left alone…
Kate Thayer has a good life as a veterinarian, running the family horse farm—until she uncovers an act of unimaginable treachery by those she trusted most and learns that everything she knew about herself was a lie. Her paternal grandmother, the woman who raised her, is behind a number of devastating secrets Kate is compelled to discover. But the deeper she digs, the more betrayal she finds, changing her life in ways she could have never foreseen.

“This is my mother’s journal,” Kate said and looked for a reaction.

“Is it? I had no idea.” Katherine didn’t look at her, which puzzled Kate immediately. Whenever they spoke, her grandmother always gave her utmost attention. “Where ever did you find it?” Katherine asked.

“In the attic,” Kate said.

Katherine’s eyes widened and she furrowed her eyebrows. Kate noticed her grandmother’s lower lip quiver or was it just her imagination?

“The attic?” Katherine asked. “What were you doing up there, darling?”

“I just felt like it. What difference does it make?”

“I don’t want anyone in the attic.” Katherine was abrupt. “It’s dangerous. You could have been hurt.”

Kate ignored her concern. She wanted answers. “Yes, she wrote this apparently just after she married my father.”

“Did she now? Well, I wouldn’t worry about it. There’s nothing worth reading in there. You can burn it,” Katherine said.

“It belonged to my mother. Why would I want to burn it?”

Katherine faced her. Her gaze was steady and unmoving. “Your mother had very little to say when alive. I doubt there is anything of value in there.”

Kate shot to her feet. “How dare you, Gran?” Katherine had never mentioned Kate’s mother, ever, and to hear such coldness in the words about her astonished her. “She did say that you hated her. Why did you hate her?”

Katherine raised her hand. “Now calm down, darling. That is an exaggeration.”

“No, it isn’t. She said you hated her. You couldn’t stand her. That you actually tried to split her and my father up—more than once, as did her parents.”

Without warning, Katherine seized the journal and threw it into the nearby trashcan. “There is nothing in there for you to worry about. And that is where it belongs.”

Order your copy of Shattered Lies at your favorite book seller or at!

Here are social media links for S.J. Francis:

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Sunday, May 24, 2015

New Release - FEVER DREAM - Book 9 by J.J. "James" DiBenedetto

I'm pleased to have J.J. "James" DiBenedetto as my guest. Book 9 of the Dream Series, Fever Dream, is now available, and I'm sure you'll find the author just as interesting as his book.

James, did your dream series literally begin with a dream? How did the idea come about?
The idea came from asking a question.  Why do people in mystery stories always try to solve a crime themselves, when most sane people would just go to the police?  The answer I came up with was: if the only evidence they had was in their head.  If they were seeing the crimes from inside the mind of the criminal.  What could you tell the police then?  If you wanted to stop the crimes, you’d have to investigate yourself, at least to find some physical proof you could then go to the authorities with.  And the main characters – Sara, the heroine, and Brian, her boyfriend (and husband as the series goes on), sprung fully-formed from that idea.  The setting of the first book (a very thinly veiled version of where I went to school) also came to life right away with the initial idea. 

Men aren’t normally known for romance adventures. To what do you credit being able to write good romance?I don’t know, honestly.  I just try to be true to the characters.  Writing in first person, I’ve had to try and get into Sara’s head, and after nine books, I know her better than I know myself (which is sort of frightening, but I’m sure my fellow authors can relate to that!)

When did you first know you wanted to write?
Ever since junior high school.  But I didn’t finish the first really long thing (the initial draft of Dream Student) until after college, and then it sat on my computer for years because I didn’t know what to do with it.  In 2012, a friend sold her first novel to a small publisher, and I thought, “why can’t I do it, too?” and I dusted off that draft, rewrote it from the beginning, and all of a sudden I’ve got nine books now!

What is your writing process? Do you have a special place to write, are you alone, do you have a favorite drink by your side?

I don’t have any special process.  Basically, since I have a full-time job, I write whenever I can find a free moment (this is being written while my wife is getting ready for church, for example!)  I write on my desktop PC – I’d love to use my iPad, but I can’t work for any length of time on the virtual keyboard.  And I know some writers use a notebook and write ideas down longhand, but that would be pointless for me – I can’t read my own writing! I usually have music (classical, so it’s familiar and not distracting) and if I have any drink, it’s water.

What are your preferred methods for promoting and marketing your books?
Writing more books!  That’s the first thing – keeping the series going and providing new material for people who’ve discovered it.  I’m on social media (mainly FB and Twitter – I still have yet to really understand Pinterest), I advertise regularly, and just anything else I can think of.  I’ve had the books recorded for Audible audiobooks, I’m having them translated (so far there’s an Italian version of Dream Student, and there are Portugese, French, German and Spanish versions in the works, too).
Thank you, James, for visiting my blog! James has quite a collection of adventures in the Dream Series that start with the question: What if you could see everyone else’s dreams?
Dr. Sara Alderson can. And her gift–or curse–will lead her on an extraordinary journey. Follow Sara as her newfo und ability leads her into adventures she never imagined while she finishes college, becomes a doctor and falls in love.
In book 9, Sara isn’t used to her patients dying for no reason. She refuses to accept that her young patient succumbs to a mysterious illness that defies all efforts to treat him. She probes into the boy’s background and soon discovers a greater threat to even her own life. Enemies she didn’t know she had, powerful people who don’t want their secrets uncovered, threaten her career, family and freedom. Time is running out as Sara must act fast before anyone else falls victim to the mysterious illness or before she falls victim to those who want to stop her.
Enjoy an excerpt from Fever Dream:
     “Laurie, calm down. Just tell me. Whatever it is, it can’t be that bad.” I try and push calm thoughts through the line, across a few hundred miles to her down there in Washington. I don’t succeed.
      “They were – he doesn’t know. There were two of them, a man and a woman. They showed him badges, and they threatened him. They wanted – he said they wanted all my financial records – everything for the practice, going back to when we first bought it. He said they told him to make copies of everything, give it to them, and not to say a word to anyone else about it.”
      “Obviously he didn’t.” I see why she’s upset. What happened to Craig is illegal. It has to be. If whoever came to his house – if they do have real badges, if they are police - they have to have a warrant. And there’s nothing to find in the records anyway. At least, I know for sure there’s nothing as of the spring of 2002 when I left the practice. And I can’t believe Laurie would ever do anything illegal or even slightly questionable.
      “That’s not all,” she says. “He said they were asking about legal problems we’ve had. Criminal matters.”
      I pinch my arm as hard as I can; I don’t want to drift back to what happened almost a decade ago. That has to be what she means – what these mysterious people, whoever they were, meant. I ask, in a small, faraway voice, “Did he get their names?” but I already know the answer.
The Dream Series by J.J. DiBenedetto! Book #9, FEVER DREAM, is available now at these retailers:
Amazon (Kindle or Paperback)
Barnes & Noble (Nook or Paperback)
Apple iBookstore

The first five books in the Dream Series are collected in one Kindle Box Set, and it's on sale this weekend for just $0.99!

Barnes & Noble
Apple iBookstore
Google Play

The first five novels and a short story are all available on Audible. Books #6, 7 and 8 are all available at Amazon, too!

J.J. DiBenedetto is a native New Yorker and has lived in the Washington, DC area for the last 20 years. He loves the opera, reading, photography, science fiction, fondue, travel and the New York Giants. He lives with his lovely and talented wife and amazing cat, Danny. Visit James at his website, on Facebook, on Twitter and at his Amazon Author Page.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Nana Prah takes Love Undercover

I am pleased to promote a new release by my author friend, Nana Prah. Her book, Love Undercover, is thoroughly entertaining and ON SALE for 99 cents through January!

Love Undercover by Nana Prah 
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction (Sweet, Multicultural)
Publisher: Black Opal Books

About Love Undercover

The last thing she expects is to fall in love with a prison guard…

Hotshot Secret Service Agent, Sarita Cerez is thrown into a medium security prison—for work. Her job is to protect the daughter of the president of South Korea. She never envisioned making friends with illegal immigrants or falling head over heels for one of the guards. Now the clandestine activity, which is integral to protecting her charge, may destroy her only chance at love.

He's never fraternized with the inmates—until he met her…

Matthew Carter always plays by the rules, which includes maintaining a strictly professional relationship with the inmates in his charge. But when Sarita saunters onto the unit, all bets are off. Her status as a deportee with a permanent ticket to Columbia means they can never be together, but try as he might, this doesn’t stop him from risking his career for her.

He's a man who values honesty above all else, and she lies for a living. Can two people from such different worlds find any common ground?

As inappropriate as the situation had turned out to be, Sarita was his. At least until she returned to Columbia in what? A few days? A week? No matter when, she would go. “No wife or girlfriend to hang out with.”

Her chest deflated with her released breath. He wished he could have taken her air into himself. I’m screwed. “What about you? Are you married or have a boyfriend waiting to break you out of here at the first opportunity?”

Her eyes blazed into his. “Single as single can be.”

The admission sparked something deep within him. He had to touch her. Nothing else mattered except having his fingers glide over her flawless mocha skin. The all-encompassing urge pushed him to stand.

With a controlled effort he strode to the area across from the television and leaned against the wall.

On every unit, one spot existed where neither the cameras nor inmates could see. Management knew about it, but the cost of adding a third camera would be too expensive for the facility to contemplate so they left it. At least that’s the story Matt had been told.

He’d never used the spot, but as he waited for her to join him, he couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.

He motioned her to him with a crook of his index finger. “Come here.”

Buy links

About the author
Nana Prah is a multi-published author of contemporary, multicultural romance. Her books are sweet with a touch of spice. When she’s not writing she’s reading, indulging in chocolate, and enjoying life with friends and family.

Contact details
Twitter: @NanaPrah
Goodreads: Nana Prah
Google + :  Nana Prah   

Nana is giving away a $44 Amazon or Smashwords Gift Card