Spring Blogfest: Jere’ M. Fishback

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 Win a digital copy of Becoming Andy Hunsinger (a zip file containing the book in both .pdf and MOBI formats) by commenting on this post. Also click on the banner to enter the rafflecopter to win a $25 Amazon/BN GC, one of four book packs, or one of four swag packs (US only on book and swag packs).

Easter plays a featured role in my newly released novel, Becoming Andy Hunsinger. It’s on Easter Sunday 1977, at the dinner table, that college senior Andy informs his parents and brother he’s gay. This was a pretty shocking thing to do in the mid-1970’s, especially in conservative Pensacola, Florida.

Here’s how Andy describes the moment:

***

lover boys _21Halfway through our meal, my mother turned to me with her forehead furrowed. “Andy, you’re only picking at your food. What’s wrong? Are you not feeling well?”

I looked down at the barely touched meal on my plate, and then the room seemed to shrink. My vision blurred and I felt tightness in my chest. I drew a breath. Then I looked up at my mother and spoke.

“Mom, I’m gay.”

My mother’s face slacked while her eyes blinked.

My father dropped his fork; it tap-danced on his plate while his face turned as white as an egg. He looked as though he’d just witnessed a fatal car accident.

I continued.

“I know Easter dinner might not be the best time to tell you this, but I feel you should know about my private life. I don’t want to hide it any longer.”

“Are you sure you’re gay?” my mom asked. “Are you positive?”

Before I answered her question, I looked at Jake. He stared into his plate, his face expressionless. He looked as though he’d been stomach-punched.

I said, “I’ve known I was gay since I was twelve or so. I never liked girls, not in a sexual way.”

My dad spoke up. “Son, have you actually been with another man?”

I looked at him and nodded. “It’s what’s right for me.”

Dad lowered his chin; he drew circles on his plate with the fork he’d dropped.

“I don’t wish to be indelicate,” my mother said, “especially at the table. But exactly what do you and your lovers do when you’re in the bedroom?”

Jake leapt to his feet; his face grew beet red. “For Christ’s sake, Mom, you don’t ask a guy something like that.” Jake threw his napkin on the table. Then he strode from the room, heading for the hallway that led to our bedrooms.

***

This novel is not autobiographical, although I did attend law school at Florida State University in Tallahassee at the time the events in Becoming Andy Hunsinger unfold. 1976 was a tough time to be a young gay man in the Florida Panhandle, with Anita Bryant’s homophobic “Save Our Children” campaign raging through the state.

In the winter of 1977, several friends and I organized FSU’s first gay student organization; we obtained the university’s official recognition, and we were granted office space in the student union building. It was all pretty daring stuff at the time, and looking back I sometimes wonder how I summoned to the courage to live my life as an openly gay man. But I’m sure glad I did.

Becoming Andy Hunsinger final front coverIt’s 1976, and Anita Bryant’s homophobic “”Save Our Children”” crusade rages through Florida. When Andy Hunsinger, a closeted gay college student, joins in a demonstration protesting Bryant’s appearance in Tallahassee, his straight boy image is shattered when he’s “outed” by a TV news reporter. In the months following, Andy discovers just what it means to be openly gay in a society that condemns love between two men. Can Andy’s friendship with Travis, a devout Christian who’s fighting his own sexual urges, develop into something deeper?

About the Author: I’m Jere’ M. Fishback, a former journalist and trial lawyer, and now a full-time writer of short fiction, novels and memoirs. My Young Adult novel, Josef Jaeger, won multiple awards after its release by Prizm Books in 2009.

In late 2013, Prizm published my YA novel, Tyler Buckspan. The American Library Association’s Rainbow Project placed Tyler Buckspan on its recommended reading list for LGBTQ teens, one of twenty-one novels selected for this honor. As of November 2014, Tyler Buckpsan was on the shelves of ten public libraries throughout out the country and in Canada, including the Seattle and Toronto Public Libraries.

In December 2014, Prizm published my Edgy Young Adult novel titled Becoming Andy Hunsinger. The story takes place in 1976, in the Florida Panhandle. It’s all about becoming yourself and discovering who you are, even if your needs clash with society’s norms.

I live on a barrier island on Florida’s Gulf Coast, west of St. Petersburg. Besides writing, I enjoy surfing, walking the beach near my home, working out and swimming laps at the YMCA, cooking for friends, and watching sunsets with a glass of wine in my hand. You can read more about my writing, and my life as a writer, by visiting my website.

I also offer free fiction at my website, so you can sample a taste of my writing style.

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Spring Blogfest: Palessa

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Win a kindle copy of Tobey Fine, the author’s newest release by commenting on this post. Also click on the banner to enter the rafflecopter to win a $25 Amazon/BN GC, one of four book packs, or one of four swag packs (US only on book and swag packs).

Spring of Love…for Food – Palessa

PALESSA mini-DSCI0417I think it was the poet Tennyson who made that definitive link between spring and love a long time ago. For me, spring has a slightly different meaning. Anybody who knows me knows I have a thing for food. And since it’s now spring, we have some of our native food-bearing trees gearing up to provide some delicious dishes. Here, we have foods such as breadfruit and ackee, which are two of Jamaica’s native foods that many of us love together or separately. Our apple trees are done for now but promise to give us a new crop later this year, probably at the same time the avocados would be getting ready to mature. Here in Jamaica there is one thing that we look forward to every year: Easter Bun and Cheese. When I was a little girl, I would just eat the cheese and leave the bun because I love cheese that much. Still love cheese but now my palate appreciates the sweet and salty flavor combination. Needless to say, spring, Easter and food go hand-in-hand with me.

Now, why am I going on and on about food? Because like me, my characters love food. In my new series Sacked & Tackled, Tobey Fine is a really good cook, in addition to living up to his last name. In fact, there are Asian, Latin (Italian with Spanish), and Greek dishes that play vital roles in the story. Niveah and Tobey’s first meeting was at a Thai restaurant that was similar to one of my favorite “date eateries” back in Miami. Then, there’s his love of Greek food and the impression he makes when shares he makes some Alfredo pasta with yogurt, like his Mama Marina taught him. That particular dish was inspired by a recipe I found online that showed me that there’s no reason why healthy can’t be delicious. Then there’s Blake’s addition of chorizo in lasagna that makes Niveah’s mouth water. And for dessert? I’ll leave that one for when you read the book; another one of my great eating experiences in Miami, by far.

When it comes to love and food, to me and my characters they are one and the same. Food is love in the best sense.

So, tell me, what’s your favorite spring or Easter Food?

PALESSA TobeyFineTobey Fine, the ‘Blasian Sensation’ is at the top of his game as the face of the Miami Medusas, a Steinger Football League team. When he’s introduced to his teammate’s best friend, the Blasian Sensation comes face-to-face with his reckoning.

Niveah Wallace is the founder of Carmicon Technologies, a software development company contracted to do a pilot game app featuring the Miami Medusas and team rivals, the Atlanta Mercury. If this project goes well, it will put CarmTech on the map.

Still smarting from Tobey’s rejection years ago, Niveah is presented with her chance to get back at him—but forgets that revenge can be a double-edged sword.

Despite their initial fallout, Tobey and Niveah grow close in a way neither expected. But inside the SFL there’s trouble brewing as a piece of Tobey’s past threatens to upend his present and jeopardize his future. He’ll do whatever it takes to keep his love no matter who he has to fight to do it.

About the Author:Palessa started reading her first romance novel, at the age of 11. Then she got introduced to V.C. Andrews, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Anne Rice and many more notable contemporary authors as well as some of the classics, A Tale of Two Cities, Their Eyes Were Watching God, The Great Gatsby and others. It was during her teenage years that she dabbled in writing. First, it was in her diaries, then she started creating characters, stories about romance, the supernatural and much more.

It would take almost 20 years, a radical move from the city she grew up in, Miami, FL back to her Caribbean birthplace, and a chance Facebook meeting with Sable Hunter to start the juices flowing again.

After some fits and starts, the Baxter Family Saga was born. Unchained Hearts is Palessa’s first published fiction book with Beau Coup Publishing. She considers herself just a storyteller that sees no reason to shy away from the juicier romantic elements. She currently lives in the mountains of Jamaica with her crazy, cracker-munching-mutt Ivy and a farm, primarily managed by agribusiness partner, also known as Dad.

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Spring Blogfest: Dena Garson

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Spring is here! Spring is here! It’s in the air!
*sneeze* *sniffle, sniffle* *dabs eyes with tissue*
Well… something is in the air.

I really do love spring. The pollen doesn’t always agree with me. But I love, love, love the budding flowers and return of warm weather.

Years ago I lived in Macon, Georgia with my family and every March I think of the cherry blossom festival. The city gets covered in little pink and white petals when the trees are in full bloom. According to the Cherry Blossom Festival website, there are now over 300,000 Yoshino Cherry Trees in Macon now. Can you imagine that?? It’s absolutely beautiful.

DENA blossoms-1366734549IH6And azaleas. My grandmother grew them by the dozen. I have a deeply rooted love of that bush because of her. Wish I could get them to grow half as well as she did. But I suspect it had something to do with all the tall pine trees she had in her yard and the TLC she gave her plants. Then again, grandma may have had the magic touch and it just didn’t get passed down to me.

Out here in Oklahoma we have a few cherry trees but the pear trees far outweigh them. They’re pretty also but I don’t think the blooming season is quite as long. And of course we have quite a few redbuds here (after all, it is the state tree).

So what’s your favorite springtime flower, tree or shrub? Leave a comment and let me know where you’re from and why you picked that plant. One lucky commenter will receive an electronic copy of my book, Loss of Control.

Like an annual bursting into color at the start of the growing season, one of my earliest books is now back out on the shelf for all to see. Risky Business has a few tweaks and a hot new cover so it’s ready to hop onto your tablet or reading device! Check it out:

DENA RiskyBusinessEbookFinal-FJM_Thumbnail_200x300 Mia Sanford has admired Jake Hudson from afar ever since she transferred to Marketing. She might be comfortable tangling with the company playboy in meeting rooms but not in private. Facts and figures she can handle, but that blue-eyed devil is out of her league.

Jake was impressed with Mia, the sexy analyst who provides his monthly Marketing data, the first day he met her. Not only is she smart and reliable, she has legs that have inspired a few sizzling hot workplace fantasies. However, her girl-next-door demeanor and the company’s no fraternization rules force Jake to keep things strictly professional.

When Mia becomes the target of an embarrassing betting pool at the annual office party, Jake alerts her to the danger. But since he never expressed an interest in her until now Mia isn’t certain if he’s really looking out for her, or just trying to win the pool himself. If she trusts him, it might place both her reputation and her heart on the line.

About the Author: Dena Garson loves to read romance—the hotter the better. When one of her BFFs said “one of us should be writing this stuff”, she took up the challenge. If she isn’t writing, she’s designing jewelry but somehow she still manages to make it into the office on a regular basis.

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Spring Blogfest: C.E. Kilgore

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I am so happy winter is over and spring is here!

The snow is melting, the sun is out, birds are singing and flowers are in bloom. What’s not to love about spring? Allergies aside, of course!

Spring is also about love. It’s the perfect time to read a good, uplifting romance book while at the park, enjoying the warming temperatures or taking a break from spring cleaning.

kilgore spring2012 039What I love most about spring are the colors. Green grass, red robins and blue birds. Yellow tulips, purple irises and red roses. Blue skies full of white fluffy clouds. It makes me smile every time I step outside.

In my latest book, Colors of Love, it’s spring time and color themes play an important role. It’s also a science fiction romance, so it has the unique love story between a crash-landed alien named Amber and an unsuspecting human named Kyle. I had so much fun incorporating colors into the book.

I also like to think of spring as being the great time of year to try new things, start a new project or restart something I may have put aside over the long, cold winter. I call it a Spring Resolution, and they seem to work better than New Year’s resolutions.

This year, my spring resolution is to start a vegetable garden. I plan to start easy with pumpkins, corn and other low-care veggies. I think it will be fun to plant them, watch them grow, and then hopefully eat them.

What would your spring resolution be?

kilgore Amber-Cover400Kyle’s never been one for conformity. He loves color. He loves being himself. And, he’s in love with Amber. After three months of serious dating, he thinks he has a brilliant plan to take their relationship to the next level. All he needs is a little ink, some nerve, and a cake with magenta frosting.

After crash-landing on Earth, Amber thought she’d never find love. Now, Amber’s whole world is turning magenta, and it’s not a good thing. It’s also supposed to be impossible. Despite Kyle being human, her own Cleodyte biology has initiated the Oosan – a biochemical reaction that could tether them together permanently. She knows Kyle loves both his freedom and the idea of having kids some day – two things he’d have to give up if she allows the Oosan to continue.

Then there’s the whole ‘growing old before he does’ issue… As if her life wasn’t complicated enough, now her hair has turned traitor, and magenta. She loves him, so perhaps it would be best to let him go. Kyle, however, won’t let her go so easy. He’s seeing magenta, too. And to him, it’s just one of the many colors of love.

About the Author: C.E. Kilgore (1981 – ) is an author without genre, who likes to dabble in several genres from romance to science fiction. She also enjoys pushing the boundaries of those genres, trying new things, venturing outside formulas and turning tropes on their heads.

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Spring Blogfest: Shereen Vedam

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Dog On The Loose Causes Mayhem on High Street, Cheshire, UK

[Note: All animals, persons and newspaper businesses mentioned in this article are works of fiction by Shereen Vedam]

This is Godfrey Plowright from The Chronicle News, the best news team in all of Cheshire, UK. Today, we are privileged to have Earnest visiting us. He is a six month old, large, fawn-colored, Irish Wolfhound puppy. He’s come a long way, time traveled 201 years in fact, to discuss his most troublesome experience during 1812. With him is his handler, um…author, Shereen Vedam. Let’s give them both a hearty Cheshire welcome.

[Shereen nods and Earnest lays down and rolls over for a belly rub.]

GP: Good Morning, Earnest!

E: [Sits up] Woof!

GP: I see you’re a gent of few words. Much like your master, I hear. Though, I hope you’re more approachable than Lord Terrance is reputed to be?

E: Woof, Woof!

S: He says, “Yes.”

GP: A terse lot, you two are. I have my work cut out, but I came prepared. [shuffles some papers] First question to you, Earnest. I have a report here from Felton, your master’s butler that says what began the troubles in Clearview Manor was a spot of, shall we say, “spillage,” on a gentleman’s greatcoat. How do you respond to that charge, sir?

E: Ghost.   Ghost Ghost.   Ghost Ghost Ghost.

GP: A ghost you say. I shall take it that the spillage wasn’t ghostly ectoplasm, but rather your reaction to the alleged presence of otherworldly phenomenon in your home. Accepted. Might be my exact reaction if I had your excellent sense of smell and audible range and detected an inexplicable intrusion into the upper reaches of my home. But it’s reported, Earnest, that after you notified your master of your findings with said spillage, you then ran away into a fierce winter storm. A dangerous turn of events indeed. Felton reports that your master was so worried about you that he came looking for you and was run down by a carriage. Do you have any remorse for putting your master through such a trial that fearful night?

E: Frightened. Cold. Found friend. Smelled bird. Want to eat bird but friend says, NO. Wants to return to bad house. [Earnest lays down, covers his head with his paws and whines]

GP: I completely understand. I wouldn’t want to return to Clearview. But speaking ghosts and Christmas, was it the spirit of Christmas past, present or future?

E: Friend’s past. Earnest’s Present. Master’s Future.

GP: Very cryptic indeed. Shereen, would you care to elaborate on Earnest’s statement?

S: Well, you see it all began the night Lord Terrance’s father was murdered in London. His lordship believed that his future with Lady Belle depended on discovering what took place the previous spring in Richmond Park.

E: Play. Woof. Woof Woof. [Earnest runs away].

GP: But we’re not finished! It was just getting interesting.

S: I’m terrible sorry. Despite his large size, he’s still a pup…[Shereen dashes out the door in Earnest’s wake.]

GP: Well, friends, that must be the shortest interview on record. Perhaps we will be able to convince Earnest to return for a longer spell soon. [Shakes head and makes note to bring a doggy bone for the next interview with the wolfhound.]

A Beastly Scandal 450In November 1812, after a disastrous Season when Lady Annabelle (Belle) Marchant’s unusual talent for sensing what’s unseen lets her down and results in a man’s death, a chance to atone for her past mistake sends her dashing to a haunted manor in the wilds of Cheshire, England, in the middle of a snowstorm. There, she meets the beastly Lord of the Manor and becomes embroiled in a mystery to unmask a killer. Lady Belle struggles to use her uncanny, yet oft-times unreliable perceptions to uncover the truth about a man that everyone believes is guilty of high crimes, but whom her heart insists is innocent.

About the Author: Once upon a time, Shereen Vedam read fantasy and romance novels to entertain herself. Now she writes heartwarming tales braided with threads of magic and love and mystery elements woven in for good measure. She’s a fan of resourceful women, intriguing men, and happily-ever-after endings. If her stories whisk you away to a different realm for a few hours, then Shereen will have achieved one of her life goals.

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Spring Blogfest: Sydell Voeller

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New Beginnings—a Symbol of Spring

Many years ago my husband, two small sons, and I moved to a neighboring state away from my hometown where my parents still lived. Our two-generational family remained close, despite the increased distance now separating us. Yet despite the miles, we spent major holidays together, and I cherished the fact that my sons had this opportunity to build and store memories of special times spent with their grandparents.

Easter was one of those special times. My mother always made Hungarian nut roll to complement our assortment of Easter breads on Sunday morning, a tradition that had been passed down in her family for generations. There were also family Easter egg hunts in the backyard if the weather cooperated, and if it didn’t, then the family room became the temporary “backyard.” And oh yes, the annual egg hunt on the sprawling lawns of the college campus in our town, sponsored by the Kiwanis club for nearly 100 years, also rated high on our list of weekend activities. Finally—the highlight of all—joyous Easter morning celebrations the next day.

One year in particular as my folks drove the Interstate on their way to our home to celebrate Easter with us, they stopped at one of the busy rest stops that dotted the route. The rest stops were often located in rural, wooded waysides, and such was the case where they had parked their car. While Dad waited for my mom to visit the coffee cart, an added bonus provided by volunteers during busy travel times, he meandered down a sidewalk that bordered the parking lot. He’d wanted not only stretch his legs but stretch the horizons of his soul–for indeed my father had been dealing with a number of chronic illnesses that had caused him discouragement and depression. Suddenly, off to the side of the pathway, Dad spotted a young brown rabbit sitting very still in the knee-high, spring-green grass, whiskers twitching as it eyed Dad with liquid dark eyes. Ah, an Easter message, my father had decided. An epiphany, of sorts. A sign from above.

Yes, Dad later told me how seeing the young rabbit in the new spring grass had given him new hope, new courage, new strength to carry on, in spite of his many health challenges. Now every time I see a wild rabbit, I can’t help but remember that conversation with my father. I reflect on the beauty of all things new—and weave them into the tapestry of my own ever evolving life.

The Heart Leads HomeSarah Pendleton, a first grade teacher in Portland, Oregon, feels duty-bound as she returns to her hometown of Mistletoe Valley–and to her conflicted past. While growing up in her small, rural community Sarah lived with her grandparents, who served their community well–especially her grandfather, a pastor. Yet Sarah despised being the “perfect preacher’s kid” in a small town where everyone knew everyone else’s business. Rebellious, she fell for a stereotypical “bad boy” during high school and after graduation, they married. When they learned she was pregnant, he left her for parts unknown. Unable to support the baby, Sarah gave her up for adoption, yet ever since, guilt has consumed her. She believes she doesn’t deserve to have a second chance at being a mother again.

Now a decade later, she is the sole inheritor of her grandparents’ estate. She must decide whether to sell the property, or make the painful choice of staying in a town where folks remember her rebellious past.

She meets the strikingly handsome real estate agent Rich Stevens. He also works as a youth pastor at the church where her grandfather had served. Her attraction to Rich is immediate and powerful, but she’s faced with not one, but two prickly thorns: He is a grieving widower, and his 8-year-old daughter, Carly, is grieving too. He believes that there can never be another woman in his life, and he can succeed in raising his daughter alone.

Sarah grapples with her own push-pull feelings for Rich. Should she hire him to sell her grandparents’ property, knowing full well he’s more than just a business acquaintance to her? Should she stay in Mistletoe Valley, or go back to her job in Portland? The truth is, if she were to fall in love with him, a man of the collar, she’d be right back to where she started as a child—struggling in vain to live up to others’ expectations. Worse, Rich’s daughter, Carly, is the embodiment of the baby she left behind, and if Sarah allows herself to get too close to Carly, that would only complicate her feelings for Rich.

Can Sarah and Rich overcome their personal demons and making a lasting commitment to each other? Can the two of them—plus Carly–become a forever family?

About the Author:Sydell Voeller grew up in Washington State, but has lived in Oregon for over thirty years. Throughout her twenty-plus-year writing career, her published novels for teens and adults have reflected her love for the Pacific Northwest’s ocean beaches, inlets and waterways, evergreen forests, and mountains. Sydell resides in Oregon with her husband. They married in 1972 and have two grown sons and five grandchildren.

Pet lovers, the Voellers have provided a home for several cats, a dog, gerbils, hamsters, and a turtle–especially when their sons were growing up. (A small rodent cemetery still occupies one corner of their backyard.) She and her husband enjoy camping, reading, playing Scrabble, day trips to the Oregon coast, and spending time with their two pampered feline.

When Sydell isn’t writing, she enjoys camping, walking, amateur astronomy, reading, and surfing the web. In 1987 after the publication of her first novel, she was named by the Washington County Mushaw Center, Woman of the Year in Communications.

Formerly a registered nurse, Sydell now teaches long distance learning writing courses, sponsored by the Long Ridge Writer’s Institute. Visit Sydell on her website to view her book lists, bio, and photos.

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Spring Blogfest: Sandi Hampton

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As the great native American, Sitting Bull, once said “Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love.” Spring, a time of rebirth, of renewal, of starting over. The plants shoot forth new seeds and flowers as the earth comes to life. Animals who spent the winter in hibernation come out of their dens, and those who traveled to warmer regions return and give birth to their young.

In my western historical novel, The Lawman’s Betrayal, Naomi Brecker starts her journey of rebirth. Convicted of a crime she didn’t commit, the murder of her husband and his mistress, she’s now been pardoned and after three long years, she’s a free woman, intent on starting a new life—after proving her innocence.

But with the pardon comes danger. U.S. Marshal Wes Cooper has been assigned to follow Naomi and recover property her husband stole. Her release stirs up a hornet’s nest of people intent on hiding secrets—by silencing her. Only Wes stands in their way—but will he betray her too?

SANDI coverRecently widowed, Naomi Brecker has had enough betrayals to last a lifetime. First her deceitful husband, then a nine man jury, and now a U.S. Marshal who will go to any lengths to get information from her, including seduction. She dreams of revenge but first must prove her innocence. U.S. Marshal Wes Cooper’s job is to follow Naomi, hoping she’ll lead him to her late husband’s stash of stolen money and weapons. The headstrong, stubborn widow insists she is innocent of killing her husband and his mistress despite evidence to the contrary. Could this beautiful and delicate woman, who makes his job more difficult every day, really not have known her husband was a notorious outlaw? Or is she a better liar than he realized?

About the Author: Sandi has been writing longer than she cares to remember. But her efforts finally paid off when her first historical western romance was published in 2008 by The Wild Rose Press. Eight more releases have followed since then. Her short stories have appeared in New Love Stories Magazine, and several of her poems have been published in small press magazines and anthologies. Despite the fact that Sandi is a Florida native, and has never lived outside of Florida, she loves everything “western” and her passion for the “Old West” shows in her historical novels. She resides in Tampa with her husband Howard of 35 years. She has four grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

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Spring Blogfest: Cerian Hebert

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So, apparently spring as arrived. Well, that’s what the calendar says, but I don’t believe it. I think we’ve somehow either skipped spring, summer and fall, and have gone right back to winter. Fifteen degrees does not spring make.

Oh, I know that the temps will rise and we’ll finally get rid of all that snow, but for now I’ll put on five layers of sweaters, my wool socks just to take the dog out and get the mail.

Open bookIt’s been a very long winter for sure, but I have to say it’s been pretty productive. I’ve been at home now for nearly four months and I’ve accomplished a lot, including finishing and submitting two manuscripts, preparing to be a part of a boxed set of small town romances with five very impressive authors, and working hard on several more manuscripts that I hope will be completed within the next month or so.
There are definite advantages of the cold winter weather. Though I had been prepared to do outdoor activities, like cross country skiing, the cold temps have kept me inside at my keyboard, revising, adding, refining and beginning new projects. And looking forward to the day that spring actually arrives.

Spring is about beginnings, whether it be a new job, like the one I’m hoping to find soon, or a new and completed manuscript that will go out into the world to find a publisher, unless I decide to self-publish it. Spring brings a lot of exciting possibilities.

So yeah, winter saw a lot of hard work, lot of hours put into writing, but spring is when all that hard work will really show, just like all that snow of winter will melt away and give the flowers and buds on the trees a chance to finally pop. Can’t have one without the other, can we?

What are you looking forward to this spring? Besides nice weather? One lucky commenter will receive a $10.00 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card.

CERIAN newfhcov2Alex is determined to make a comeback to the town and horse industry that tossed him out when he was a teen. Torie wants nothing more than to get out from underneath her mother’s controlling thumb. Unfortunately they both have their sights set on the same horse farm to accomplish their goals.

Despite their rocky past, Torie Barron and Alex Carmichael’s identical goals drive them in a headlong collision over the horse farm they both covet until a family tragedy puts an end to Torie’s dreams. As her life is swept down an unexpected and rocky path, she turns to the man who has been so infuriating yet intriguing. The man who stomped her heart into the ground when they were teens. Will Alex be her savior, or the one who stands in the way of all she’s ever wanted?

About the Author: Cerian Hebert, a multi-published author of small town romances like Sweet and Wild, Finally Home, and No Going Back, knew she wanted to write since she was twelve. From mucking stalls for top riding stables in New York to booking cruises in Maine, she’s kept on filing notebooks in pursuit of her dreams of being an author. Whether the stories are set in New England, South Dakota or Texas, Cerian keeps the romances in small towns with realistic characters all in search of romance. Currently she lives in southwestern New Hampshire with her husband, children, dog, cat, and three geckos.

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Spring Blogfest: Misty Simon

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Come on, Spring! By Misty Simon

Here in Central Pennsylvania, we keep getting just a taste of Spring before it gets yanked away by the snow. I love the fluffy, white stuff, don’t get me wrong. Who can resist snow angels? Impromptu snow ball fights? Dogs who come in with white beards from playing alongside you? But I would love real Spring to please stand up!

This time of new growth and budding things always makes me think of stories, of love and of the promise of new beginnings. I adore stories about reunion romances and second chances for two people who maybe just didn’t get it right the first time. But those about first chances and new love? Well, those I gobble up like the fluffy marshmallow birds that are so popular this time of year.

Who doesn’t love to go on the joy ride, or even the roller coaster of two people finding each other, struggling through their issues and their barriers to break down walls and let someone else, someone who doesn’t necessarily complete them, but complements them, in? I love that hope, that growth, that joy in turning the last page, signing out a sigh of YES! and wishing the happy couple all the luck in the world to build off their mutual foundation.

It’s what I do, it’s why I do this crazy thing called writing romance. And it’s why at this time of year, when the birds are singing and the flowers are emerging from the ground and opening their beautiful blooms, I wish you love happiness and a giggle or two!

MISTY SomethingOldSomethingDead_w9326_medIvy Morris never thought she’d be walking her new stepmother down the aisle to her father. Not a flawless event, because, really, when is anything in Ivy’s life flawless? At least she avoids tripping. It’s the reception that has the flaw. The wedding singer nearly chokes to death on a glass of water, and then Ivy’s sister finds something unexpected in the parking lot.

And that’s not all. Something odd is going on in the sleepy little town of Martha’s Point — for some reason, no female under the age of fifty can keep her hands off Ivy’s boyfriend. Ivy’s little shop enjoys a tremendous increase in business as those women keep running in to buy more new sexy lingerie, but her heart is anything but happy.

What will it take to solve these mysteries? Is Ivy up to it? Well, she’s about to find out.

About the Author:Misty Simon loves a good story and decided one day that she would try her hand at it. Eventually she got it right. There’s nothing better in the world than making someone laugh, and she hopes everyone at least snickers in the right places when reading her books. She lives with her husband, daughter and three insane dogs in Central Pennsylvania where she is hard at work on her next novel or three. She loves to hear from readers so drop her a line at misty@mistysimon.com

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Spring Blogfest: Beth Trissel

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Win an eBook of the historical romance novel Red Bird’s Song in kindle or pdf format by commenting on this post. Also click on the banner to enter the rafflecopter to win a $25 Amazon/BN GC, one of four book packs, or one of four swag packs (US only on book and swag packs).

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Heavy wet snow fell last night and the trees are laden, my crocus buried. But several afternoons ago after the rain showers ended, the day turned mild and I pulled some overwintering weeds from one of my flower borders. A whole wheelbarrow full. While bent contentedly to my labors, I heard the sweet trill of a meadowlark, my favorite songbird. Silent today. When the sun shines and the weather softens, I will hear it sing again. This crazy weather is typical of early spring in the Shenandoah Valley. A cold snap follows on the heels of a wonderfully balmy day or two. This year has been on the colder side and wet, which is just as well with our tendency toward summer droughts. We’ll take the moisture while we can.

Ducks and geese love all the puddles that come with the rain, and our farm pond is finally full again after dwindling to a sad state in the past. Happy quacks resound against the fussy geese fighting over nesting sites. These battles, and the meadowlark singing, are among the first signs of spring. And the pussy willow blooming. I picked a lovely bouquet of pussy willows yesterday. The fuzzy catkins brighten the kitchen in an old mason jar.

Back to the meadowlark, my goal is to ever actually see one of these elusive birds again. Theoretically, this shouldn’t be such a challenge, with our meadows and all. Once or twice, I’ve glimpsed a yellow flash and spotted the bird perched on a fence post before it flew. Mostly, they hide in the grass and skim away to another spot before I get a good look, calling all the while from various positions in the meadow.

Image of spring in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia by my mom, Pat Churchman

Image of spring in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia by my mom, Pat Churchman

Last spring, my daughter Elise and I were determined to track down the evasive songster and take its picture, like photographing fairies. We tenaciously followed its calls, even climbed over the fence into the neighbor’s pasture and picked our way along the little creek that flows from our pond, but never caught up with that bird, or birds. There may have been more than one taunting us. Unless I catch another rare glimpse, I must content myself with their beautiful trills. Birds like this need tall grasses and untidy hedge rows for nesting. Bear that in mind in your own yard and garden. Keeping everything trim and cultivated robs our feathered friends of habitat. It’s also a good excuse for a less than perfectly kept landscape. A little wilderness here and there is a good thing.

BETH redbirdssong_w4782_680“Can a Scots-Irish woman terrified of warriors fall in love with her Shawnee captor?

Taken captive by a Shawnee war party wasn’t how Charity Edmondson hoped to escape an unwanted marriage. Nor did Shawnee warrior Wicomechee expect to find the treasure promised by his grandfather’s vision in the unpredictable red-headed girl.

George III’s English Red-Coats, unprincipled colonial militia, prejudice and jealousy are not the only enemies Charity and Wicomechee will face before they can hope for a peaceful life. The greatest obstacle to happiness is in their own hearts.

As they struggle through bleak mountains and cold weather, facing wild nature and wilder men, Wicomechee and Charity must learn to trust each other.

About the Author:Married to my high school sweetheart, I live on a farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia surrounded by my children, grandbabies, and assorted animals. An avid gardener, my love of herbs and heirloom plants figures into my work. The rich history of Virginia, the Native Americans and the people who journeyed here from far beyond her borders are at the heart of my inspiration. In addition to American settings, I also write historical and time travel romances set in the British Isles, and nonfiction about gardening, herbal lore, and country life.

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