Sugar’s Lessons for Life


With the release of my fifth book Sugar’s Night, the third in the Sugar Series, I guess some would say I’m an author. I guess I’ve never considered myself an author as much as I’ve considered myself a writer. The funny part is I never had any intention to become either. I’ve always liked to write, but never to the point that I felt an uncontrollable urge to get these characters out of my head into the pages of a book. But in the winter of 2011, after I underwent the amputation of my left leg, it was like they were set free. Now, I’m not claiming that the anesthesia went to my brain and when I awoke I was a literary genius. It’s more that with the loss of my leg, it freed the rest of me. It freed me to leave that part of my past behind and look forward to a new future. With that future came a lot of souls vying for release. I suddenly become obsessed, and I do mean obsessed just ask my family, with getting them out of my head and onto the pages. I needed to tell their story and, to be honest, after that I really didn’t have a clue what I’d do with them, but I needed to write them down. 

The first soul who found her way onto the page was Sugar DuBois. She’s a ballroom dance instructor from the Twin Ports of Lake Superior and her story started in 2011. To say writing Sugar’s Dance was cathartic would be very accurate, and I felt very satisfied SugarsNightwhen I hit publish on her story in fall of 2011, at least for a few days. Then I started to feel like maybe her story wasn’t done, so I wrote the next part of her journey, Sugar’s Song, and when I hit publish on that I knew there was one more to be written. She hadn’t found her light yet, and I knew her story wasn’t told until she did. So, I sat down to write Sugar’s Night. Sugar’s Night was filled with a lot of turmoil for me; partly because my life was very much in turmoil as I tried to write it and partly because it was the last book of the series. I needed to tell her story, and I needed to do her justice and make everyone feel satisfied with her final dance. I couldn’t do it. What I had imagined the book to be is a far cry from what it actually is. When I finished the book I set it aside and really pondered if I would even publish it as it stood. I was very much in a no faith stage. No faith in myself, no faith in the reader and no faith in Sugar. I sent the book out to a couple of trusted readers and held my breath, for days, while I waited to hear what I knew they would say, they hated it. When the e-mails started coming in it was very much the opposite and although they gave me some great tips and ways to make the story stronger, as a whole they all agreed it was perfect. Perfect except for one thing, the ending. Oh boy, the ending, the grand finale, the clincher at the end of the series! And they didn’t like it? Well, no, that wasn’t actually the case at all. They loved it, they just didn’t like that it ended. So, I pondered and prayed and found the solution that I think will make all the readers happy in the long run.

So as I ponder the “Noah didn’t see the rain either” moments with Sugar’s Night I understand deeply that she’s taught me a lot about being a writer, but I’m still not that good of an author. I guess mostly because if I have to choose between promoting my books and writing, the souls that want out always win and I continue to be the writer. Maybe someday I will be a better author than a writer, but I hope not, because when and if that happens then it’s time to hang up my pen because for me it’s always about writing first and publishing second. Sugar has also taught me a lot about myself, my life, my dreams and my fears and I will always be thankful for that. 

Here are the top ten things Sugar has taught me: 

  1. Don’t live in the past. It’s a dark place filled with things you can’t change that only bog you down.
  2. Don’t blame yourself for things you can’t control. There is never anything good at the end of that road.
  3. Take time to tell the people you love how much they mean to you. Never assume there will be a tomorrow.
  4. Forget about what you THINK you should be doing and do what you KNOW you should be doing, personally and professionally.
  5. Build a support system of friends and family who will always be there whether you are laughing or crying.
  6. Never assume that because you are handicapped you can’t live your dreams. They are YOUR dreams and therefore YOU know how to achieve them. Don’t let the words “I can’t” become your motto.
  7. A good legman is worth his weight in gold. 🙂
  8. Always, always, always have faith in yourself. You are who you are for a reason, embrace it.
  9. Have hope, all day every day.
  10. Love often, forgive easily, cry together, and keep your heart open to all the new opportunities that await you.

Blessings this holiday season from me, Sugar and her gang. And now these three remain; faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is…..to be continued.

Legato_28June2012_BRFMHAbout Katie Mettner

Katie Mettner grew up in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and moved to the Northwoods where she now resides with her husband and three children. As a young adult Katie enjoyed ballroom dancing and like Sugar she didn’t let her physical limitations hold her back from what she loved. Katie writes The Sugar Series, Sugar’s Dance and Sugar’s Song, a Christian romance series. Her stories are a reflection of her love for family intricately woven with life experience. When the gales of November blow early you can find her at the computer with a cup of joe, listening to Michael Bublé and working on Sugar’s next adventure. 

Amazon E-book $2.99 and paperback $12 

Barnes and Noble E-book $2.99

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New Book Alert: The Prince of Pigeons


Hi guys, I just wanted to let you know about my dear friend Rebecca Scarberry’s new book, The Prince of Pigeons. I’d really appreciate my readers picking up a copy of this book, Dove in the air with wings wide openreading it and leaving a short review. I know how hard Rebecca has worked getting her books published and I know she would appreciate all the readers and feedback she can get.

Anyway, in The Prince of Pigeons, a great love story, set in England, Evelyn and Tammy meet two handsome Englishmen at a ceremony to present Henry with an award in Oregon, and a brief romance ensues, cut short when the men return to Britain. However, an offer from a developer to buy the women’s farms gives the two women the chance to travel, and Henry the chance to race in England.

You can buy The Prince of Pigeons on Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Becky on Oregon beachAbout Rebecca Scarberry

I was born and raised in southern California and now living on a non-working farm in the Boston Mountains of Arkansas. I retired at the age of 45, when I moved to Rogue River, Ore. I have been writing fiction since the age of 37. I have been an avid reader of fiction and non-fiction since I was 12, but it wasn’t until the age of 37 that I got serious about writing fiction. This is when my husband and I wrote a screenplay. I am also an artist (scrimshaw). Check out Rebecca’s blog and follow her on Twitter.

Buy Mocha, Moonlight and Murder Free Through June 15


Mocha, Moonlight and Murder, a romantic suspense novel set in Reno, Nev., usually only $2.99 will be FREE for Kindle users Tuesday, June 11 through Saturday, June 15. Get your free copy here for great summer reading!

This book tells the story of 28-year-old Katherine O’Brian. One night she awakes and can’t go back to sleep. Hungry, but with an empty refrigerator and a pantry that holds little more than Ramen noodles, she decides to walk to a nearby all-night diner. Unfortunately, she comes face to face with a killer as he prepares to dispose of his victim. She gets away, but it doesn’t take him long to find out who she is, and he wants her dead. Katherine has recently gone back to college, to finish her degree, where she’s paired with Scott Mitchell on a class project. Scott left a broken engagement behind when he moved to Reno, and the last thing he needs is more melodrama, but that’s what he gets. It can be very distracting when someone is out to kill your lab partner. Together, they try to figure out 9781620151402-cvr_Createspace.inddwhat the police haven’t been able to—the identity of the murderer. Passions flare, but with Katherine’s life in danger, romance seems like more than a bad idea. Scott and Katherine will face jealousy, misunderstandings, lust and rivals, not to mention attempted murder—and all before their first real date.

Here are just a few of the great reviews

A MUST read!! Mystery, danger, drama, romance…it has it all! I gave this book five stars because it’s so cleverly written, I was hooked from the start! I read it in two days because I just kept speculating about what happens next. There are a lot of romance books out there at the moment, but let’s be honest, they’re mostly all sex and little depth to the story lines. This book has it all! Romance, kinky sex, and a storyline that will keep you on the edge of your seat! There are lots of twists and turns and when you think you’ve figured it out, you soon find out you haven’t. There is an unbelievable twist towards the end that left my mouth hanging!

I hate reviews that reveal too much, so I won’t say much about the twists, but I hope you’re ready to fall in love with Scott and Katherine….and Reno! The chemistry between these two is sizzling hot! This author is one to look out for, for sure. Looking forward to more from her.

Do yourself a favour and buy this book right away! Mocha, Moonlight and Murder is an excellent novel combining my two favourite genres – romance and mystery. I couldn’t put the book down and only wished that it was longer. I highly recommend this book – it’s an easy read which will keep you guessing right from start to finish. After reading it, I immediately tried to find out if Mary Ann had written any other books and was very disappointed that this was only her first novel (though this fact impressed me immensely). Hope to read a lot more from the author in the near future.

Newest PictureAbout Mary Ann Kempher

Mary Ann Kempher’s writing is infused with romance and mystery. Her love of romance stories goes back to her teen years spent living in Reno, Nev., where Mocha, Moonlight and Murder is set. Mary Ann’s travels have taken her to beautiful cities in Italy, southeast Asia and the sultry desert country of Qatar. She met her husband on one of her romantic misadventures while traveling. She has two children and currently lives in Florida, where she and her family share their home with two dogs and a cat. Her writing influences include favorite authors Jane Austen and Agatha Christie. She’s a huge fan of the Hercule Poirot mysteries. Her guilty pleasures are any and all sweets, including a good cup of mocha. For more about Mary Ann Kempher, visit mkempher.com.

If you’d like to connect with Mary Ann, she’s very active. Check her out on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and Pinterest.

Author’s Roundtable: Margie Miklas


How long have you been writing?

I only began writing three years ago so I still consider myself a newbie.

Has writing always been something you wanted to do?

Not really although I used to write limericks as a child, wrote letters to the editor occasionally, and wrote a humorous newsletter for my department in the hospital for several years.

What books or stories have you written? Published?

I have written one book, and have published numerous articles for various websites and an Italian-American newspaper.

Can you tell us a little about your books? What are they about?

My book is a true story, a memoir of the three months I spent in Italy traveling solo.

How did you get inspiration for the characters/books?

Since this book is nonfiction, all the characters in it are real.

Margie Profile 1Are the books based on personal experiences?

Yes, my book is a memoir based on three months I spent traveling through Italy.

Is there any advice you have been given that you could give to a young up-and-coming writer?

Other authors and writers have consistently told me to keep writing, and to write every day. I think this is good advice. I also had been told to discipline myself so that I set goals of word counts, either per day or per week, in order to accomplish my goal of finishing my book.

Can you talk a little about the benefits of getting your work professionally edited?

Yes, I published my book initially without the benefit of a professional editor, and found numerous typos and errors, which I edited myself and resubmitted.

I currently am working with a professional editor, on this already-published book, and her direction is immensely helpful, not only to correct typos, but to improve sentence structure, avoid repetitious words, and so on. I am still working on this.

What are some of the hardest things you’ve had to overcome as a writer, in order to be published?

Since I self-published my book, both the e-book and the paperback, I found the formatting to be very challenging. There definitely is a learning curve to self-publishing.

How do you find time to write your books?

I have to make time, create a specific amount of time each week to turn off the Internet and focus on writing.

Several of my guests have often said writing is therapeutic and relaxes them. Can you talk a little about how writing relaxes you? Any specific examples you can share?

Since I write about true experiences, I am almost re-living them as I write and edit the story, and this brings me a great sense of satisfaction, almost as if I am going to Italy again.

Book signing Event edit FB sizeHas writing made you a better person?

I think so, insofar as it has made me appreciate the amount of work that goes into writing.

Do you like to read? If so, what are your favorite genres and why?

I do enjoy reading, and wish I had more time to do so. Right now I have about ten books on my iPad partially read. My favorite genres are suspense, intrigue, courtroom dramas and biographies.

Can you talk about how important reviews are to writers?

Reviews are important to writers because they provide feedback and give a writer a sense of what readers expect.

Have you ever received a bad review? If so how did it make you feel?

Yes, and I think all writers have received at least one negative review. Being human, I felt bad reading it at first, but then let it go. I realize that not all readers will like my writing, and also sometimes a review is written by someone who is not in a good mood, or is having a bad day.

Would you mind sharing an excerpt from your book?

Of course. Here is an excerpt from Chapter 4.

It is now early Friday evening, and I am back in my hotel room in Siena. All of a sudden there seems to be a lot of noise outside, as though someone is announcing something on a loudspeaker. Today is Good Friday in Italy, and there is a cathedral around the corner, so maybe there is some outside religious event going on.

My curiosity gets the best of me, and I grab my jacket and leave the hotel to see what is going on, not wanting to miss out on what could be a major event. To my naiveté and surprise, the cathedral appears to be closed, yet the streets are filled with people and there are quite a few police. I’m noticing that the people are not strolling, as in la passeggiata, but instead seem to have an agenda, and suddenly it becomes clear to me what is going on.

Book cover print version Amazon (200x295)I can see the lights and the soccer stadium, which is right behind my hotel, and after inquiring from the police, I become aware that there is a soccer game between Siena and Venezia. Never having been to a professional soccer game, I make a snap decision to go to the game so I find out where to buy a ticket. I am thinking that if it is a reasonable cost, I will go. Fortunately for me, the ticket costs only eight euros, which is incredible. I am quite surprised that I need to show my passport to purchase the ticket, and I don’t have it with me. It is in the hotel. After a few minutes, the ticket seller feels sorry for me and maybe I look like I am not a security threat, and she lets me buy the ticket anyway. The other person, however, has to walk me to the gate and explain to the guy there that it is OK for me to get in. Again it is a process here just to get in to a soccer game. I thank them, and I am really happy that I am now experiencing my first Italian soccer game!

Italians are passionate about life but they are really passionate about soccer! I have always heard about this, but now have a chance to see this firsthand. I love being part of the crowd, hearing the fans singing, yelling, probably swearing in Italian and stomping their feet on the aluminum stands, which is making a deafening sound. It is a great time! I’m smiling and nodding my head to the people sitting near me whether I understand everything or not. I feel a part of it!

Anything else you’d like to share that I didn’t ask?

Maybe readers would be interested in knowing if I am writing any other books.

I actually have a second book half finished. This book is about my travel experiences in Sicily, and not as a solo traveler.

I think you covered it all, Jason, and thank you again for this opportunity. You are very special, and a real asset to writers. I really appreciate all that you are doing in support of writers.

About Margie Miklas

Memoirs of a Solo Traveler-My Love Affair with Italy is Margie’s first book, and it is based on her three-month solo adventure in Italy.

Margie Miklas is a writer, photographer and critical-care nurse, who has a passion for travel, with a particular love of Italy.

Margie is a contributor for Yahoo Voices, a contributing writer for La Gazzetta Italiana newspaper, a travel writer for Beachcomber Pete Travel Adventures, and writes travel and medical articles for several other websites.

DSCF6502 (1024x681)Margie writes a blog, margieinitaly, where you can follow her adventures through her writing and photography throughout Italy.

Margie first started writing as a young teenager, when she would amuse herself and her friends by writing limericks. A few years later, she became a headline editor of her high school newspaper in Elyria, Ohio. Later still, she developed, wrote, and edited a humorous hospital newsletter in Tampa, Florida.

Margie lives in Port St Lucie, Florida, where she works in a cardiovascular intensive care unit, and is always seeking out opportunities to travel, especially to Italy. When she isn’t working or writing, she enjoys spending time with her twin granddaughters, going to the beach, and working in her garden. Check out Margie’s blog, follow her on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook, and buy her books in paperback and on Amazon Kindle.

Reading: It’s As Easy As A, B, C . . .


I agonised over what to write for this guest post for Jason’s blog, and by agonised I mean that for at least ten days I sat looking at a blank Word document because I had absolutely no ideas what-so-ever. I picked the brains of some friends for ideas. Hell, I even got to the point of having tears well in my eyes from the frustration of not having a single, solitary, good idea to write about. I don’t know whether I’d classify this period as writer’s block, or if it was simply the fact that I had such a huge choice of topics that I could cover but had no interesting place to start from. Either way, I was ridiculously frustrated about the post.

KathrynFox3As I mentioned, I spent days looking at the screen without the hint of an idea. It seemed to me that the longer I sat staring at the Word document, the more it appeared that the damn page was mocking me, taunting me, laughing at the fact that I was out and out stuck for a post. I would flip between the blank page and my various social media platforms, desperately hoping that a topic would leap from one of the timelines or feeds and inspire me. It didn’t. Then the social media became a distraction: if I couldn’t write a post, then I’d futilely creep profiles, like updates and photos, pimp my own blog, anything that would take my mind off the inevitable . . . the unwritten blog post. Still no ideas.

I’m not sure how I finally came upon the topic, but when it arrived, it came guns a-blazing and thwacked me right between the eyes. Okay, so maybe not literally, but it did hit hard enough for me to have one of those a-ha moments. It’s something that I like doing, something that everybody really would benefit from being able to do, and something that seems to me to be a dying art: reading. Yes indeedy, I was going to write a post about reading, and ta-da, here it is.

In my day job, I deal with booger eaters (kids, for those of you who might not have heard the term before), and many of those booger eaters have difficulty reading. If I’m brutally honest, many of those booger eaters can’t read at all. That’s right, I wrote at all, and I’d imagine that if I extrapolated the data globally, it’s more of a widespread issue than most people would realise. Take a moment to fully digest that information. Many of today’s children can. Not. Read. Scary, isn’t it? The future leaders and decision makers of our society are unable to pick up a book, turn to a random page and read the words written on that page.

Why is this the case? I mean I live in a world (real life and online) where I deal with people who are authors, writers, poets, and educators . . . and who love reading and writing. So, why are the booger eaters of today bordering on the illiterate? Maybe “illiterate” is too harsh a term to have used, but in my school days if someone couldn’t read and struggled to write – which yes, do go very much hand in hand – then illiterate is the word used to explain their lack of ability. And maybe, yes, it’s wrong to categorise and label these booger eaters, but I think we tend to err on the side of political correctness too often, and we fail to address the issues head on for fear of offending someone. However, the thing is, an inability to read is one of the education problems that the younger generations are facing so, in this instance, perhaps it wouldn’t hurt to call it as I see it: illiteracy is far more prevalent than anyone wants to admit.

I wanted to avoid a “point the finger and lay blame” kind of post because that won’t get us anywhere. I will, however, go as far as to say that everyone involved in the education of booger eaters is, in part, responsible for the fact that the ability to read is going down the toilet: teachers, parents, administrators, politicians, educational theorists, and yes, the booger eaters themselves. Everyone plays an equal role here . . . or rather, everyone fails to adequately play his or her role. No one is completely to blame for this decline because everyone has a role to play here.

Me in MelbourneTeachers have over-sized classes and therefore can’t spend enough time with each booger eaters. They have curriculums to teach, and the emphasis of those curriculums might not be heavy on the reading side of education. Parents are busy running households, raising children, working to pay the mortgage, working to earn money to live, trying to find time to spend with their brood . . . day to day, important things that matter in family life. Administrators are focused on successfully steering their schools in the right direction, working towards raising always needed funding, dealing with behavioural issues, new enrollments, battling against school districts and other upper-echelon administrators and bean counters, running the school. Politicians will tell you that they’re doing everything that they possibly can to make sure that your children have the best possible education. This is highly debated amongst educators and parents alike. Educational theorists are doing what they can to justify their existence . . . I mean, investigate the next best educational theory that is going to be the best thing since sliced bread and will ensure that your booger eater is at the top of his/her education game.

And the booger eaters? Most of them just aren’t interested in reading. They’d prefer to play whatever gaming console they have, or sit at the computer and play games or Skype or Facebook. Before anyone gets their knickers in a twist, these are real excuses for not reading that booger eaters tell me on a daily basis. I’m not making this stuff up. But to get the full effect of how these booger eaters feel about reading, imagine them moaning one of the above excuses and then add in to that image the “oh my God, I can’t believe you’re going to make me read” eye roll.

Now, I’m not saying that every booger eaters feels this way about reading. As with anything, there are exceptions, and there are a number of them who greatly enjoy the activity. In fact, I know booger eaters who’d prefer to sit undercover and away from other booger eaters and read, instead of going out at lunch break and playing. Granted, these booger eaters are few and far between, and I might find one of two per educational institution that I visit, but they are out there if you know where to look . . . sort of like the mythical fairies at the bottom of the garden, or the last of the unicorns. If you believe hard enough, you may just see them here and there . . . if you squint your eyes and lean your head slightly to one side.

I mentioned to a colleague a few weeks ago how I noticed that many, many booger eaters couldn’t read, unlike our cohort when we were at school, and her response was: “Yeah, but the times have changed and they’re so much better with computers and the Internet than we were at their age.” Aside from the fact that the Internet practically hadn’t been invented when we were at school, her reply baffled me. Let me get this straight, as educators, we’re trading off reading ability with computer skills? Hang on a minute, you still need to be able to read in order to navigate the Internet, and you still need to be able to read in order to use those computer skills to your advantage . . . don’t you? At least I thought you did. Maybe I’ve been approaching this whole computer/Internet thing the wrong way? Maybe I was banging my head against a brick wall with my colleague?

The thing is, these booger eaters may very well be computer geniuses but, and it’s an important but, along with the fact that many can’t read, is the fact that many of them also don’t know and can’t recite the alphabet. Yep, you read that one correctly too. A large proportion of booger eaters that I deal with absolutely, categorically cannot recite the alphabet, and God forbid you give them the task of putting words in alphabetical order. And so I say again, these are our future leaders and decision makers. Our society rests in the hands of people who can’t, don’t, and have no interest in reading.

100_0905The educational theory pendulum swings in both directions, often in the extreme. We’ve gone through the “boys in education” fad, the “girls in education” counter-fad, this fad, that fad, all, it seems to me, ad infinitum. As educators, we spend a few years focusing on this particular problem to the detriment of other areas, then we’re told that there’s a new area of concern and education swings towards that problem again, to the detriment of all other areas. It’s in this process of educational to-ing and fro-ing that we’ve lost sight of making sure that future generations have basic skills such as those required in reading, writing and arithmetic. We need to get back to these basics and stop namby pamby teaching, stop falsely praising booger eaters for every tiny achievement, go back to correcting them when they are wrong because that’s part of learning lessons. If booger eaters are afraid to fail, just as with adults, they will cease to try things. If booger eaters are constantly praised for the smallest thing that is done well, as with adults, we cultivate a false sense of achievement, abilities, and effort in them, just as it occurs in adults.

I know that I will have offended a number of parties involved in education with this post, I do. But at some point, we must stop jerking around and solve the problem of why our booger eaters don’t like and can’t read, and we won’t do that by walking on eggshells. Let me conclude by saying two things:

  1. I am not an education expert. I am simply commenting on what I have experienced across a number of educational institutions.
  2. If booger eaters don’t experience significant people in their lives reading, and enjoying reading, then they can’t learn from their environment. If teachers don’t enjoy reading, if parents don’t enjoy reading, if their role models don’t demonstrate enjoyment associated with reading, then you can’t expect that the booger eaters themselves will harbour the desire to read, let alone enjoy reading.

Reading: it’s as easy as A, B, C . . . providing you actually know the alphabet.

Instagram MeAbout Danielle Monique

Danielle writes stories that may be considered to be a little twisted, and sometimes she does write opiniony, ranty pieces that she calls her armchair philosophy. Currently unpublished, she harbours a desire to become one of the lucky writers who manages to wrangle a publishing contract. Until then, Danielle’s stuck with working a day job in education and messing around with her social media profiles. On the positive side of the day job, she has been fortuntate enough to teach some really lovely young people who have excelled in their chosen fields.

Check out Danielle’s blog, follow her on Twitter, be her friend on Facebook and get connected on Google Plus.

Author’s Roundtable: Christa Simpson


How did your family and friends feel when they heard you were writing?

A few of my friends were really excited about it; especially after I let them read my first book in The Twisted Trilogy. My family was totally shocked. Even though they believed in me, they really couldn’t imagine me self-publishing my stories. But guess what? I did it!!

What books or stories have you written? Published?

I’ve written three books, which comprise The Twisted Trilogy. To date I have published the first book, Twisted. The second book, Twist and Turn, is tentatively set to release on July 1, with the final book, A Twist of Fate, to follow later this year.

I have some other stories in the works, but they are all in the very early stages, and I’m not even sure which one I will pick up and go with next. There are two very different stories fighting for my attention; that is after I get The Twisted Trilogy out there as a whole.

Can you tell us a little about your books? What are they about?

Absolutely, Jason. The Twisted Trilogy is a sexy, sassy New Adult romance premised on a love triangle.

In Twisted, you follow the life of Abigail Jenkins, a sassy chick who works at a lawyer’s office and lives with her handsome ex-boyfriend Edwin Santora. Abby’s dating life is a mess and Edwin continuously reminds her that she needn’t look any further because he’s just what she’s looking for. Before long, Edwin lands a job at her firm as a junior lawyer, and she finds herself catching feelings for him again. The short of it is: A man and woman cannot be “just friends.”  And friendship isn’t what Abby is looking for. She wants babies.  Yes, babies. And yes she’s only 24 years old.

In Twist and Turn, after Abigail is forced to face a heart-wrenching truth about her relationship with Edwin, she sets out to find herself a suitable replacement. Right when she thinks she’s going to end up a lonely old bag, Cameron Clarke lands right on her doorstep. This hunky new lawyer is the man of her dreams and the man of Edwin’s nightmares. Edwin vies for her attention, but he’s unable to compete with this man; who also happens to have a rough past and a beautiful little girl to show for it. There’s a paranormal twist that starts to come to light and you learn that maybe Abby isn’t quite as crazy as you thought she was.

In A Twist of Fate, Edwin and Cameron will go head to head to fight for what’s their’s. But, in the end, there can only be only one. Who will Abigail choose: the love of her life or the man of her dreams? Either way, Abigail will get her happy ever after.

Twisted_500x750How did you get inspiration for the characters/books?

Reading inspired me to write my own stories. When I finish a story and feel like the secondary characters are deserving of their own story, I picture moulding those characters into my own to give them their happy ever after.

I like to play it by ear and go with the flow. When an idea strikes me, I get on the computer and just let it flow. Walking down the street inspires me. Listening in on people’s conversations inspires me. My husband inspires me. Life is truly the most inspiring of all.

What are some of the hardest things you’ve had to overcome as a writer, in order to be published?

I was impatient. I self-published before spending too much time dwelling on traditional publishing. I had read one too many articles about how new authors are not well received; especially when they didn’t have agent representation. I decided, “Why not do this myself?” I really had nothing to lose, but a couple of bucks for a cover and my beauty sleep, or so I thought.

Since then, time management has become a major sore spot for me. I’m working on it, and I’ll get there eventually (after The Twisted Trilogy is complete LOL). It’s tough being a mother of two active children, working a full-time job and keeping a functioning relationship with the hubs, all while trying to successfully edit, publish, promote and monitor my novels.

Do you think writing has any benefits, and if so what would they be?

It absolutely has benefits. I have to write. My sanity depends on it. Even if I never published, I would write. My brain won’t stop pumping out these ideas, and I can’t have them cluttering my mind. So I write, and I get to keep a clear head. Alternately, my kids think being a published author is cool, and I like to make them happy.

Was there ever a point in your life where you felt like giving up because nobody understood you? How did you overcome this time in your life?

I tend to tuck those not-so-nice times away in a little place that I don’t like to visit. I don’t know how I do it, but once I put them in that vault, it’s almost like they never happened; except that I never forget the lessons learned to prevent me from making those same mistakes again. I relied on writing poetry as a teenager, and fortunately I burned every last page of them a long time ago. Yeah, I was weird like that.

I’m lucky to have a solid loving family. My husband is always there for me, even if I bore him to death with my book talk. My mother and sisters are always just a call or text away if I need them, and my little girls are always attached at the hip, so I’m literally never alone.  It’s hard to give up when you have so much support.

What are your goals as a writer?

Honestly, my goal was to be published. I’m published. Next, my goal is to publish book number two. I’m taking things one step at a time. Overall, I hope to become a better writer and engage a larger audience.

Any new challenges you’ve had to face?

The latest challenge I’ve had to face is dealing with scathing reviews. I knew that publishing sassy stories with sarcastic characters was going to rub some people the wrong way. I also knew that others would absolutely love it. Constructive criticism I can deal with, but I’ve learned that some people can be just plain old mean.

Thanks so much for having me, Jason. Isn’t this guy great??!!

Final note: If you read indie and like it, please do the author a huge favour by rating their book and writing an honest, thoughtful review on Amazon and Goodreads.

And like my mother always says: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” 🙂

christa3About Christa Simpson

Christa Simpson is a Canadian indie author and mother of two. She loves reading, writing, music, movies and dancing. She likes her men muscled, her music loud and her kids happy. She lives in a small town in southwestern Ontario with her two little girls and her husband of nine years.

She’s just published her debut new adult romance novel, Twisted. Books two and three of The Twisted Trilogy, Twist and Turn and A Twist of Fate, are coming soon.

Do you want to connect with Christa Simpson? You can find her on her blog, become a fan on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Variety or Confusion


Usually when I write a guest post, it’s to inform readers about some aspect of writing or reading. But today I’m actually going to ask you, the reader, a question that’s been on my mind: Do mult-genre authors give readers variety or confusion?

Why am I asking? I started out my writing career a couple of years ago (Where did the time go!) writing strictly contemporary romance. I love the genre. I love the characters and the present day situations and settings. But it’s not the only genre I like to read or write. Recently I wrote my first paranormal romance. It’s still romance so part of it is familiar, but with a paranormal world build in too. Then last week my “prepper romance” was released. It takes place in our contemporary time, but at a moment when a world-changing catastrophic event takes place. It’s still romance, but now there’s adventure, dangerous situations and peril involved, too.

So, did I just confuse all of my readers by writing a couple of books that are not strictly contemporary anymore? Or did I give them variety so that every book they read from me feels new, interesting and different? Did I find a way to capture new readers who maybe wouldn’t have found me by my contemporary romances because they prefer paranormal?

Personally, I love being able to write what I want, when I want. And I’d like to do it all under the same name, since using a new pen name or two creates a whole lot more work for the author: maintaining websites, Facebook accounts, Twitter accounts and doing tours for each. Of course, I think if the genres you write are too different—like say erotica and young adult—then the author definitely needs to write under more than one name. You can’t accidentally have youths finding your other smexy books! Yikes!!

But that’s not the case with me, so I’m curious if I’ve made the write decision by writing all of my books under the same name or not.

Readers, have I confused you now that I write romance in contemporary, paranormal and adventure sub-genres? Do you have favorite authors who write in different sub-genres? Do you like having a little variety from the authors you enjoy? Or do you think authors should stick to what they started writing and if they write a new kind of book, then they should do it under a new name?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Happy reading!

Heather Thurmeier

http://heatherthurmeier.com

Escape to My Arms blurb

Sara’s been preparing for this moment her whole life—she just never believed it would actually happen. With her bug-out bag and emergency food already in her truck, her only goal is to get to her family’s hidden bunker and wait out the pandemic that’s hit every major cruise ship port in the US. But her plan quickly falls apart. She’s out of gas, her route to the bunker is now a two-lane parking lot with no alternative in sight, and her only weapon is a pocketknife. For an experienced prepper, she’s made every rookie mistake.

Dane believes he’s safe in his cabin, off the beaten path and in the woods with his own source for water, electricity and an endless supply of food to hunt. After finding Sara stranded and alone, he’’ suddenly not only providing for and protecting himself, but also the girl who wandered out of the woods and into his life. When looters come looking to take what he has, Sara and Dane’s only option is to make a run for their last hope—the bunker.

Can Sara and Dane find safety in each other’s arms and will they survive long enough to escape to a future together?

Escape to My Arms excerpt

Sara sipped her wine and nibbled on another square of chocolate. He was right. Again.

Escape-to-my-Arms300x450-1They didn’t know what would happen in the future. Hell, they didn’t even know if there was a future to look forward to at this point. So why shouldn’t they enjoy the moments like this one while they could? Moments when they were safe, warm, fed and comfortable. They might not get many more nights like this if things kept getting worse, as they seemed to be. Best to savor the time while you had it instead of squandering it away with fights.

At this point, she didn’t even know what future awaited her at the bunker. Would she live with her family for the rest of their lives, never to interact with people from the outside world again? That’s sort of what they wanted, wasn’t it? Wasn’t that why they hadn’t told anyone about the bunker, because they couldn’t trust anyone?

What if this was her last night on her own? It might be her last night to live her life however she wanted to before she had to start making group decisions with her family.

“You’re right.” She polished off the last of her wine in a big gulp. Her head already swirled with the effects of the alcohol. She’d always been a lightweight when it came to getting drunk. Tonight would be no different. Good thing she’d planned to stop at one this evening. She had other plans for the rest of the night.

“Right about what exactly? I said a bunch of stuff.”

She put her wineglass on the floor and took his hand in hers. “You were right about enjoying this moment we have tonight since we don’t know what the future holds, or even if we have a future.”

“Does this mean I’m forgiven?” He smiled, squeezing her hand.

“Yes. And then some.”

Sara took the wineglass from his hand and set it down next to hers, then straddled his lap, resting her hands on his chest. She pressed her mouth to his, delighting in the surprise on his face.

She wasn’t a throw-caution-to-the-wind kind of girl, but for once she was going to do just that, since she didn’t know if she’d have wind to be cautious of later on. Tonight, she’d live by her feelings. Tomorrow she’d go back to surviving.

Check out Escape To My Arms at Amazon, on Nook and at Decadent Publishing

Heather708twitterAbout Heather Thurmeier

Heather Thurmeier is a lover of strawberry margaritas, a hater of spiders and a reality TV junkie. She was born and raised in the Canadian prairies, but now lives in New York with her husband and kids where she’s become some kind of odd Canuck-Yankee hybrid. When she’s not busy taking care of the kids and pets, Heather’s writing her next romance, which will probably be filled with sassy heroines, sexy heroes that make your heart pound, laugh out loud moments and always a happily ever after. You can find out more about Heather and her books by checking out her website, becoming a fan on Facebook and following her on Twitter.

Thanks so much for having me to your website again! And for all the RTs on Twitter, too.