Saturday, October 10, 2015

Perfectly Reasonable by Linda O'Connor

I have a special treat for everyone today! My fellow Soul Mate author, Linda O'Connor, is here today to tell us all about her latest release, Perfectly Reasonable. Not only that, but she comes bearing gifts! Be sure to comment on the post for a chance to score a free copy of one of Linda's books.

Please help me give Linda a warm welcome! 

Elizabeth - thank you so much for inviting me!

No prob. I can't wait to hear all about it. 

Perfectly Reasonable is a romantic comedy about Margo and Trace who are both considering a career in medicine – but from opposite ends of the spectrum. Margo has finished medical school and doesn’t know whether she wants to continue, and Trace wants to write the perfect medical school application to get in.

In the story, Margo agrees to help Trace apply to medicine and she quizzes him with a variety of patient scenarios to teach him about empathy and to help him understand how a doctor would approach patient problems. Play along and see how you would do!  
“Any of those muffins left?” 
Trace pointed to the container still sitting on the island counter. 
“Help yourself. I’ll get you a plate. Coffee?” 
Margo shook her head. “Just the muffin.” 
Trace returned with a bowl of Cap’n Crunch cereal and a plate for her. 
Margo set her brush down and walked over to sit on the stool at the island. “Aren’t you too old to be eating sugar for breakfast?” 
“Breakfast of champions.” He grinned with his mouth full. 
“All part of your strategy?” 
“You bet.” He scooped another mouthful. “Okay, ready. Hit me.” 
“Here’s the scenario. A twenty-six-year-old single mom brings her three-year-old daughter into the Emergency Department with severe asthma. The child ends up in the intensive care unit intubated and on a respirator. Mom smokes at home. This is the third time the child has been admitted. There’s some discussion about whether the child needs to be put in foster care. How would you talk to the mom about this?”
Hmm…not that easy. Here’s another:
“A thirty-six-year-old truck driver comes in for a physical exam to renew his driver’s license. He has epilepsy and hasn’t had a seizure for seven years – until three weeks ago. He was partying, celebrating his wife’s pregnancy, and forgot to take his medication. The next day he had a seizure. He doesn’t want you to write it down because he’ll lose his driver’s license for a year. He needs it, especially now with the baby coming. He swears he’ll never forget his medication again. What do you do?” 
“Put myself in his shoes. You gotta feel sorry for him. A bun in the oven, his livelihood on the line. I’d have to say I’d side with the dude and pretend he never told me.” 
Margo nodded and rolled the paint on the wall. “The following week he’s driving on the highway, has a seizure and causes an accident, killing three people, one of them your Aunt Teresa.”
Yikes! He’s not quite ready yet. One more scenario:
“K. Here’s another. You’re a surgeon.” 
Trace’s face lit up. “Always wanted to be a surgeon.” 
Margo laughed. “You operate on a three-year-old child to remove a mass. During the operation, the specimen is sent to a pathologist and you’re told it’s cancer. Immediately following the surgery, you tell the parents. Obviously they’re devastated. The next day, the pathologist calls you and tells you that now that they’ve had a chance to look at the sample more closely, do further testing, and consult another pathologist with more expertise, they’ve determined that it’s benign. It’s not cancer.” She paused. “What do you do?”
Not as easy as it sounds! The bottom line? “Empathy isn’t about avoiding harsh decisions. It’s about supporting patients when those harsh decisions come down the wire.” Margo has great advice for Trace, but is she as clever with affairs of the heart?  

perfectly reasonable coverPerfectly Reasonable
(Book 2 Perfectly Series)

Love what you do and do what you love. Sounds perfectly reasonable, but chances are, you’ll find your passion in the last place you look . . .

Margo MacMillan finished medical school, but in the process, her self-confidence and self-esteem took a beating. So for the sake of self-preservation, she’s stepped away from medicine to re-group. In the meantime, painting soothes her soul and pays the bills. 

Trace Bennett set his sights on a medical degree and has to prepare the perfect medical school application. His big plan is to paint his condo for a little feng shui divine luck. When Margo shows up to paint, he realizes he’s found exactly what he’s looking for. He just has to convince Margo to share more than the art of medicine.

She’s got it. He wants it. It’s Perfectly Reasonable.    

Perfectly Reasonable sounds perfectly fabulous. I can't wait to read it. Let's check out your book trailer. You know how much I love a good book trailer. 


I love the way you do your book trailers. You come across sounding so natural and approachable. Wish I could do that. 

Linda O'Connor
Meet Linda O’Connor ~ 

Linda has been writing romance novels for four years and is very grateful to Debby Gilbert at Soul Mate Publishing for the ultimate encouragement to her writing - with the leap to publishing. She has many titles including Doctor, Mom, and proud Canadian, but “Linda O'Connor - hereinafter called the Author” is one of the sweetest.

Contemporary romantic comedies are her favorite novels to read and write. Linda balances writing with her work as a physician at an Urgent Care Clinic and being a mom to three sons (luckily grown and capable of throwing together a decent meal, in a pinch). She also likes to keep active and cycle, cross-country ski, skate, walk, or dance every day.

Laugh every day. Love every minute.  

Linda loves connecting with readers:
Amazon Author Page: 

Thank you, Linda! It's always a pleasure when you join me. Be sure to leave a comment for Linda. Who knows? You just might win a free copy of either Perfectly Reasonable or Perfectly Honest

Thursday, October 8, 2015

A Healthier Me

Back in August I decided it was high time I get my butt in gear and back into shape. After a whole summer off work, my weight had slowly crept up. Attending the AVID conference in San Diego with my fellow teacher friends definitely didn't help the situation any. Several days of a sedentary life, coupled with dining out three meals a day, sent my summer vacation weight loss goals packing. I was not happy with the image staring back at me in my mirror. And with my family's history of cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, ever present in the back of my mind, I knew I had to do something sooner rather than later.

I started off doing Beachboy's 21 Day Fix. The first day alone nearly killed me! I pulled a muscle that sidelined me for the next few days, but reluctantly, I forced myself to give it another shot. I don't know what's worse, getting up every morning at 4:30 to exercise, or denying myself all my favorite ooey, gooey desserts. After a week of working out for 30 minutes each day, I faced up to the fact that I had to make some adjustments to my diet: eat more veggies and fruits, cut back on the carbs, eat balanced meals. For many people, it's called common sense eating, but I'd never been one to really eat my veggies, or count calories, or pay attention to portion size.

Even my hubby and the kids have gotten into the act. When I reach for an illicit sweet treat, my daughter loves to remind me that it doesn't fit into my healthy diet plan. And on cool nights, we go for 2-3 mile walks around the neighborhood.

It was actually easier than I thought. While I can't say that I've shed a ton of weight, I have noticed a bit of a change. So far I've lost:

10 pounds 

2 1/2 inches around my midsection

For the most part, the changes to my lifestyle have been fairly easy to maintain (granted it's only October). I still hate all things cardio, and I still hate getting up at 4:30 in the morning, but I love my curves. I'll never be 125 pounds ago, nor do I want to be. Healthy is all I want to be.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Why Do I Teach?

Most days I love being a teacher. But lately? I'm not so sure anymore. The job is tougher than it was when I first began teaching 14 years ago. Sure the kids are the same, but the stakes are higher, the support is lower, and the standards are more rigorous.

There are days - lots of them - when I feel like I have a giant target on my back and every parent in my class is gunning for me. It doesn't matter that my homework is posted on a website I created, or that I send home weekly -- or sometimes daily -- messages to my families so they know what's happening in my classroom. Someone is always unhappy. I don't communicate enough. I communicate too much. I give too much homework. I don't give enough homework. You get the picture, right?

It's enough to make any teacher ask themselves, "Why do I teach?"

Good Lord, let me tell ya, it's a question I have asked myself time and time again. Some days, I don't have an answer to that question.

And then you get a message like this one from a former student.

This is why I teach. For kids like this one. 

Yes, honey, I will help you. 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Assassin P.I. News

I've got big news! 

So, a couple months ago, I entered into a Pit2Put pitchfest on Twitter. Here's how it works. You tweet your logline - a one sentence description about your book - along with a couple of hashtags to indicate which genre your book fits in to. Here was my pitch:

The vigilante justice business gets mighty complicated when the killer you’re tracking . . . might turn out to be you.

Editors and agents are standing by watching their twitter feeds. If they stumble across a pitch they are interested in, they favorite your tweet. Within seconds of posting the above tweet, Deborah Nemeth of Carina Press favorited it. EEK! My heart stopped and then I reached for the phone. Who to call first? My husband? My sisters? 

While on the phone to my hubby, I got another favorite, and then another. Cheryl Yeko from Soul Mate Publishing was interested in my manuscript as well. By now I was on the verge of hyperventilating. By the time I'd called everyone in the family, I had 4 publishers interested in my little old noir romance. Now what? 

After giving it some serious thought, I decided I was only interested in working with either Carina Press or SMP. I quickly finished my final edits, gave it one last read-through, and hit submit.

Fairly quickly, I heard back from Cheryl from SMP. Based on my synopsis, she wasn't so sure she could take on a hero with such a shady past (and trust me, Jack Gaines is definitely not squeaky clean). I could see her point. Jack was a risky character, but one I truly loved writing. He deserved to have his time in the spotlight, so I suggested making a slight alteration to the ending. Cheryl agreed to give him a chance and I sent her my revised manuscript. 

Waiting is always the worst part, no? After what seemed like forever, I finally heard back from Carina Press. After careful consideration, they'd decided to pass. They felt my story worked better as a mystery rather than a romance, but they invited me to submit to them again. The rest of their feedback was spot on, and while I was sad they were rejecting my manuscript, I appreciated their comments. 

The very next day, I kid you not, I heard back from Soul Mate Publishing. They wanted to offer me a contract. Hallelujah! 

I immediately called my hubby and told him the good news.

"Are you going to accept their offer?" he asked. 

"Of course I am!" After calling my sisters and the rest of my family, I filled out my contract and sent it back to be signed. And now the waiting begins again. 

Months ago, I created these promo cards in hopes that someday Assassin P.I. would find a home. While Jack and Angie scurry off to get their final polish, I'll leave you today with a bit of tease. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Summertime Fun

Thanks for stopping by today! If you found me by way of LaNora Mangano, welcome! Today on the Romance Weekly Blog Hop, Fiona Riplee wants the inside scoop on our summer. She's posed three questions for us to answer. 

What is your favorite summer memory?
I don't think I have one specific summertime memory, but I have lots of little memories I hold dear. Camping at Lake Cachuma with my family as a kid, and going to church camp in Big Bear as a teenager are two of my favorite memories. As far as this summer goes, I would have to say my favorite memory will be watching my daughter finally learn how to swim. Until this year, she's always struggled with her confidence in the water but is finally overcoming her fears. Hopefully the video of her swimming works.

What you enjoy the most about summer?
You'll laugh, but all you teachers out there know what I'm talking about. What's best about summer? 
  1. I get to pee whenever I want to. I don't have to pee on a schedule dictated by my school. 
  2. I don't have to wake up at 5:15 to get ready for work. I can sleep in every day of the week. Like until 6:15. 
  3. I can spend huge chunks of my day locked away in my room, writing. 
  4. I can pretend to be a fabulously organized housewife and stay at home mom. I cook more, get the house cleaned and organized, and spend time with my kids dragging them to swim lessons and the public library. Pinterest and become my favorite go-to websites for recipes and cleaning challenges. 

How do the warm days and sunshine affect your writing habits?
C.C. 2.0 - 
I live in SoCal, where most of my days are warm and sunny except for the crazy weather we've had this past week. 

But for me, warm days and sunshine means school's out and I can spend my days writing. This year, my in-laws took my kids on vacation with them to San Diego for six days. I missed them like crazy, but with a quiet house and no swim lessons to get to, I was able to complete all of my revisions on Assassin P.I. I even had enough time to participate in #Pit2Pub, a pitchfest held on Twitter. Within an hour or two I had four different editors request my manuscript. Now I get to spend the rest of my summer waiting on pins and needles while Carina Press and Soul Mate Publishing review my submission. In the meantime, I'll be busy plotting out book number three. 

Next up? Check out what Jami Denise enjoys about summer. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Composing a New Career

Welcome to the Romance Writers Weekly Blog Hop. We're a merry band of writers who love to chat about romance, writing, and pretty much everything else under the sun. If you found me by way of Xio Axelrod, welcome! I hope you're enjoying this week's blog hop.

This week's question comes from Xio Axelrod. "If you weren't a writer, what other creative career would you most want to try?"  

Ooh! Such a fun question this week with so many options to choose from.

I think of myself as a pretty creative person. It's just part of who I am. When you think about it, most of the jobs I've held in my life, require a lot of creativity. Teaching definitely allows me to tap into my imagination when I'm building my unit lesson plans, especially now that we have a bit more freedom with Common Core.  No two days are alike. 

Photography allowed me to view the world (and people) in a more artistic way, finding the beauty within each of my subjects. It's a relaxing but expensive hobby of mine. 

Designing websites was the perfect blend of art and science and allowed me to use the skills I'd learned as a type setter. I could let my imagination run wild with the design, yet had to be meticulous in order to make everything run smoothly. 

Heck, I've even been a color guard instructor for a local high school. I taught teenagers how to spin a flag and rifle and then wrote routines for them to perform. In a way, it allowed me to bring the music to life for the captive audience. 

But if I could choose any artistic endeavor to pursue, I would want to be a composer. I began writing music, or at least composing songs, when I was around 14. I'd only been playing the piano for a year but I'd been singing in the church choir for kids since I was six, so I'd been raised around music. You know how writers say they can hear the characters talking in their heads? Yeah, music was like that for me as a teen. I could hear the songs playing in my head and would stay up until midnight working it out. 

Composing music is one thing but actually putting it to paper? That's a whole other beast. My skills are seriously lacking in that department. To the right is a picture of my piano/keyboard and some of the songs I've written. My music isn't pop or rock music, though. I tried to include a clip, but fortunately for you, Blogger was too horrified to even let me share it with you. 

Writing music was always a way to process my emotions. Like writing, it's a fairly solitary process for me. I truly wish I could have taken my music farther. Maybe in a different life, I could have played a ton of different instruments and been a composer. Who knows?!

Next up on the blog hop is Fiona Riplee Hop on over to see what artistic career choice she would like to try. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Saved by a Superpower

Love to read? Love romance? Then you've come to the right spot. Each week, a crazy troupe of romance writers put together a blog hop for your personal reading enjoyment. We chat about just about everything under the sun: love, sex, writing, food, and this week's topic . . . superpowers.

If you found me by way of Leslie Hachtel, welcome! This week's fun topic is courtesy of Susan Scott Shelley. She asked, "You've been gifted with a super power. Which would you choose? Why?"

Just one?! I imagine when Susan posed this topic, she did it with a maniacal laugh, knowing choosing only one superpower is downright torturous for me. Well played, Susan, well played.

I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that I am not Superwoman. This pains me something awful to admit, but I can't seem to get my sh** together recently. I can either do all the errands or get the kids to their swim and soccer practice. Either write or clean the house. Not both. The house is clean (for the most part) by the way, but the edits are crawling along slower than a sloth at this point in time. If it weren't akin to career suicide, I'd be tempted to just send my editor my first draft and say to hell with it. 

If I had to pick a superpower to be imbued with, it would have to be the ability to clone myself. One of me could take the kids to the park, library, and sports lessons each day, while another me takes care of the housekeeping and cooking. Of course, I'd have to clone another me to be the dedicated teacher I want to be, while another me can spin stories all day long, becoming the prolific author I so long to be. It's a nice dream, don't ya think? 

What about you? What superpower would you like to have? 

Next up on the RWW blog hop?  Victoria Barbour

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Character Interview

I'm finally back. Whew! The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity, but today I'm back where I belong on the Romance Weekly Blog Hop. If you found me by way of Fiona Riplee's website, welcome! 

To refresh your memory (and mine!), Romance Writer's Weekly is a motley crew of romance writers. Each week, RWW puts together a blog hop where we chat about pretty much everything under the sun. Writing, books, romance, love, sex, recipes, nothing is taboo with us. Once you've finished reading my blog, you can follow the link at the bottom and hop on over to the next writer's blog and so on. See? Totally fun, right? 

This week, Xio Axelrod challenged us to interview one of our characters and gave us five questions to answer. Since I'm still totally obsessed with the hero from Assassin P.I., my current work in progress, I decided to interview Jack Gaines, former cop-turned vigilante assassin. 

1. What's your favorite word?
Justice. The world needs more of it. If Ellington Bay P.D. can't do their job, I'll just have to do it for them. 

2. What is your fondest childhood memory?
When I was a child, my father and I would spend a couple weeks in a cabin in the woods each year. We'd go fishing and he'd teach me how to hunt. He's the one who taught me how to shoot a gun, taught me right from wrong. He was the one who inspired me to become a cop, just like he was. But it was a simpler time back then. Now he's dead, and I'm left to finish what he started. 

3. What one thing in your past do you wish you could do differently?
Everything! But if I could only do one thing differently, I would take back all the hurt and pain I caused Angie. I should have never walked away from her. Now, it might be too late to get her back.

4. Vanilla or Chocolate?
Vanilla. It's one of those simple pleasures in life. Uncomplicated. 

5. If you could have lunch with one famous person (alive or not) who would it be and why?
Sam Spade. Fictional or not, that man knew how to solve a crime.  

Next up on the blog hop? Carrie Elks! Hop on over and show her some love. See y'all next week! 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Interview with Zen DiPietro

Can you believe that it's almost Friday already? This first week back to school after Spring Break has flown by, and now it's time to introduce you to another fabulous new author. Zen DiPietro hails from the SciFi and Fantasy Branch of my Soul Mate Publishing family tree. She's quirky and just downright fun to get to know. Let's quit wasting time and jump right in to our interview.

EJ:  What was high school like? Were you in drama, journalism, or yearbook? Or something else?

ZD:  I was in a lot of clubs! Honor Society, French club, Spanish club, math club, band, Junior Council on World Affairs, Peer Listeners, Prom planning committee . . . and probably some others I’m not thinking of. What can I say? I have always been and will always be a geek.

EJ:  Me too, but we didn't have that many clubs we could join. Sounds like you had fun in high school. So when you went to college, what was your major? 

ZD:  My undergrad degree is in Anthropology. That lent itself well to becoming a sci-fi/fantasy writer because it gave me a great deal of insight into cultural evolution, cultural relativity, and what stressors shape people as a whole.

EJ:  Do your children know what you write? How do they feel about it?

ZD:  They haven’t read my work but they want to. I told them in a few more years. Too many adult themes for tender young ones. But I gave them each a bookmark with my book cover and they take very good care of them. They do tend to forget that I have a “real job,” though.

EJ:  Where do you get your inspiration?

ZD:  Everywhere. Movies, music, people-watching, tv shows, other books I read, experiences I’ve had. Anything and everything can be that spark that ignites a creative furor.

EJ:  I struggle with making time for my writing. How do you find the time?

ZD:  Sometimes I don’t. But when the kids are at school, it’s “go” time. Evenings can be useful too, though my husband often has dibs on that time. He sometimes likes to actually talk to me when kids aren’t vying for our attention.

EJ: Before we chat about your current project, let's show the readers at home a little about your book. 

An earth-like world of high-tech humans faces the reality that their world is not as safe as they thought it was. Five people are thrown together to quietly get to the bottom of an unfathomable event that must stay quiet. If the population of Terath becomes aware of the truth, it will spark a civil war. That war would pit the majority of the population against the powerful minority with the ability to harness and manipulate mana. The resulting cataclysm would decimate the population and tear apart the foundation of society.

The five people chosen for this must reconsider everything they thought they knew about mana, even as they learn to trust one another’s abilities. They must embrace everything they never wanted in order to prevent the devastation of their world. One of them will be forever changed. Love will be denied, badassery will be unleashed, and Terath will never be the same.

Even success comes at a price.

EJ:  WOW! That's a great blurb. Very well written. So what are you working on right now? Give us the first paragraph of your current WIP.

ZD:  Yikes. Okay. This is Book 3 in my Guardians of Terath series, and I can’t promise it won’t change a bit because I have a lot of work to do yet. But here goes:
A man sees the woman he loves standing in the wedding arbor. He thinks about a long and happy life with her. Then he offers his hand to the bride beside him. Arc was pretty sure there was a joke in there about a guy marrying the wrong woman, but he had no further time to consider.
That’s right. There’s a wedding coming up, but you’ll never get me to say who is marrying whom.

EJ: You evil woman! Not even a small spoiler? Fine. I guess I'll have to torture you with my rapid fire questions next. See if you can keep up with me. 

Rapid Fire Questions 
Salty or Sweet?  Sweet
Coffee or Tea?  Hot coffee, iced tea
Coke or Pepsi?  Neither
Chocolate or Vanilla?  Depends on the type of dessert.
Cat or Dog?  Cat
Extrovert or Introvert?  Way introvert

Zen DiPietro is a lifelong bookworm, a fantasy/sci-fi writer, a dancer, and a mom of two. Also red-haired, left-handed, and a vegetarian geek. Absolutely terrible at conforming. Particular loves include badass heroines, Star Trek, British accents, baba ganoush, and the smell of Band-Aids. Writing reviews, author interviews, and fun stuff at Very active on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Twitter: @ZenDiPietro

EJ:  It was really fun getting to know more about you, Zen. Please do come back again and tell us when your next book hits Amazon. See you next time! 

Thanks for tuning in today. What's up next for me? I'm taking next week off from the blog so I can tackle those final revisions for Assassin P.I. Can't promise I'll get everything on my to-do editing list checked off, but the only way I'll know is if I duct tape myself to my seat and remove all the batteries from the TV remotes. If all goes well, I should return the following week with another Romance Weekly Blog Hop, a new author to chat with, and a quick recap of my time at the California Dreamin' Writers Conference. See you soon! 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Flash Fiction Challenge: Spring has Sprung

Spring is in the air. If you're a teacher, you know what I mean. Normally sweet and sane children turn into Tasmanian devils, causing chaos at every turn. For a writer, though, Spring is the perfect setting for a love story. Each week, the authors of Romance Weekly tackle tough questions, chat about the craft of writing love, and in general, have a great time. Welcome, and enjoy your stay. 

If you found me by way of Tracey Gee, you've made it to the right place. 

Veronica Forand challenged to do some Flash Fiction this week. Using 100 words, include the words: Spring, coffee, and lizard. 

Y'all know my difficulty with following rules. Technically I did use the three words within the first 117 or so words. But . . . I can't stop there. I had to see where the scene led me. Since I'm beginning to plot out Sophie and Mateo's story, I decided to let the two would-be lovers have some fun. This scene probably won't even make it into the book, but it was fun to write. 

A shriek from the playground tore Sophie's attention away from her computer screen. Heart suddenly shifting into overdrive, she bolted upright, spilling her coffee in the process as she scanned the expanse of the schoolyard through her office window, searching for a melee. But everything looked to be in order. Clumps of happy kids swung on the swings in the tepid Spring air or milled about waiting for their turn at basketball. No fight brewing, no blood flowing.  

She let out a sigh of relief and gave the yard one last cursory glance. As soon as her eyes lit upon the lizard dangling by its tail  in a kindergartener's face, she knew what had caused the commotion. She scowled, shoved her window up further and shouted, "Jimmy Wallace! You put that creature down and leave Ava alone right this instant!"

"Tough day?" 

At the sound of Mateo's rich voice, her head swiveled his direction. What was he doing here? Propped against the doorjamb, his presence seemed to fill the room, filling her body with an unexpected jolt of awareness. For a moment, she gawked at him unable to tamp down the inexplicable desire to walk over to him and taste his delicious looking lips.  

Mortified at the unbidden thought, her face flushed. The man had a wicked sense of timing, if nothing else. She looked away and shrugged. "Spring has sprung," she said by way of explanation.  

The laugh that erupted from his body took her by surprise. "Anything I can do to help?" 

A trickle of hot liquid now cascaded over the edge of her desk and splattered on her new high heels. She bit back the oath that rose in her throat. Fumbling with the soaked papers on her desk, her fingers sought out a box of tissues. 

Without waiting for an answer, he crossed the room in long strides, and dropped to one knee at her side. 

What the hell? 

To the casual bystander, the pose would almost give the appearance of an old-fashioned marriage proposal. All that was missing was the diamond bauble for her ring finger. 

He gazed up at her with an endearing look. "May I?" 

May he what? Have her hand in marriage? Hell no! She barely even knew the man. 

When she didn't answer, Mateo slipped the shoe off first one foot, then the other. He pulled a rag from his back pocket and patted her legs and feet dry, then swiped away the drops of coffee from the floor. As he worked, his fingers massaged her insole, a fluttering touch was almost absentminded on his part. 

Staring at the back of his head, a surge of naughty thoughts raced through her mind. His thick mane of hair was close enough to touch, to tangle her fingers in. All it would take would be one word, one pleading word, and she'd be willing to let him touch whatever part of her body he wanted. The zing of awareness that had started in her  heart had worked its way down her body, turning her insides into molten lava.

"There. Like new again." He stood and smiled down at her. "Better get back to work." 

Then he was gone. Sophie dropped her head down onto her desk. Oh my God! What the hell was that all about? 

I kind of like the idea of Mateo always shaking thing up with straight laced Sophie. How about you? I always welcome your comments and feedback. 

Next up? Leslie Hachtel

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Interview with Ryan Jo Summers

This week I have the ever-fabulous Ryan Jo Summers hanging out with me on my virtual couch for a lovely chat. Ryan and I are Soul sisters, both published with Soul Mate Publishing. Her latest title, Shimmers of Stardust, was released in September 2014. Alright, girl. Let's get this party started!

EJ: Have you always been a writer, or was there a specific event in your life that drove you to write? 

RJS: I always wanted to be a veterinarian, and write on the side. (I started writing at 10, but only later realized people did this for a living) I thought being a vet for financial security and write for fun was the sensible approach. For many years, I wrote and submitted, dreaming of publication. Now, with multiple publications and regular free-lance work, my focus has shifted to wanting to retire from the day job one day and write full time for both fun and financial security.

EJ: Sounds like a smart plan. Think back to when you were in school. Did your English teachers love or hate you? 

RJS: They loved me as I was a good student and wanted to learn, except when it came to book reports. They’d usually say reports had to be a minimum of so many pages. My hand would go shooting in the air, and I’d ask what the maximum was that we could write. Looking back, I am sure the kids didn’t appreciate my enthusiasm much.

EJ: We teachers love good students like that. What was it like when you finally received an offer on your book? Who did you tell first?

RJS: I didn’t tell anyone when I received my first offer. It was a different book with a different publisher. I was too scared to say anything for fear the deal would somehow fall through before the book actually came out. When I sold my fist Soul Mate book, I was a little quicker to spread the word, but it still took me almost a month to open up. In both cases, it was my co-workers whom I told first. My family is far away and I wanted this to be a face to face experience. When I reached the third book, a phone call was sufficient.

EJ: How does your family feel about you writing romance? 

RJS: My dad is very supportive, glad for any success I have. He has lots of advice, some I take and some I don’t. My mom is glad for me. She says with all the books I’ve read over the years, it should be easy to write my own now. They both want me to be happy, and if writing makes me happy, go for it

EJ: Aww. Sounds like you have lots of support. Where do you do most of your writing? Can you snap a photo and show us where you work your magic? 

RJS: My study. Behind me is my bird, Taz. The fish give me something to shift my eyes to for a quick mental break. Tons of natural lighting. To my right is another big fish tank, so there is surround sound white noise of falling water.

The white squares on the back of the chair is double sided tape to discourage scratching from the kitties. Three cats are shown: Whymzie, Kryshnah and Aspen.

EJ:  I'm a cat person myself but we only have one cat right now. I love the idea of adding a fish tank to my imaginary office. What's your writing process like? Hopefully it's better than mine is right now.

RJS: I get up in the AM, read over yesterday’s work, and revise. I add to it and stop when the time runs out for when I have to go to work. I usually write the story as I go, scene by scene, with lots of narrative up front. I go back and add details and descriptions while I revise. Then I go back and tweak, revising again.

EJ: Where do you get your inspiration?

RJS: Songs a lot of the time. I listen to music for the stories they tell as well as the sound of the music. Songs give me lots of inspiration when I am stuck. Taking walks in nature helps a lot too, getting my mind loose so it can just filter through things to find something to write.

EJ: Me too! Music is a huge part of my process, photos to. What celebrity hottie revs your engine? Have they ever inspired the image or personality of one of your literary heroes? 

RJS: I don’t watch television shows. No protest or anything, I just prefer to use my time on other outlets. So that being said, I have no clue who the current celebrities are. I glance at tabloids in the grocery store and they’re all strangers to me. My generation is George Clooney, Pierce Brosnon and Robert Redford. I don’t think they’ve ever inspired me literarily speaking but there is nothing wrong with enjoying the eye candy. I only wish we women could go grey as stylish and sexy as the men seem to.

EJ: Sadly, I'm addicted to my TV shows. Who was your favorite character to write? 

RJS: In this story, Shimmers of Stardust, I loved writing about Logan Riley. In most my books, I connect with the male lead more so. Even when I adore the female lead, he tends to be the one I identify more with.

EJ: Tell us more, please! 

RJS: Here's the trailer.

EJ: The book sounds amazing. I was really intrigued by the trailer and can't wait to pick it up. Are you working on anything new? Can you give us the log line and first paragraph of your current WIP?

RJS: I have two of them.

Winds of Destiny
Three stories of three free-spirited sisters finding love and adventure in their small North Carolina coastal town. 

The old man was dying. He knew it without the solemn stares coming from the doctor and the nurses. Before he parted, he had one more bit of unfinished business left. It was one he should have attended to a long time ago. Looking now into the worried faces of his two friends and neighbors of the last thirty-two years, he smiled grimly. It was time.

September’s Song
Ivey London was told her husband died in combat five years ago. So who is this amnesiac soldier who suddenly shows up, looks just like Keegan did and has superpowers?

It was going to be cold out, Ivey decided, snapping off the weather report. Jory needed to wear his heavier jacket. The clock in the hall chimed, alerting her of the time. 

“Jory,” she called upstairs, hand on the banister. “It’s almost time for Becca. Are you ready yet?” Listening, she heard only dull thumps to tell her he was moving around. Soon he came bounding down the stairs, followed closely by his oversized black and white dog.

EJ: I really like the concept for both of the books. The beginning of Winds of Change might hit a little close to home right now for me, though. If you ever need a beta reader, I'm your gal! Alright, it's time for . . . 

Rapid Fire Questions 
Salty or Sweet? 
Coffee or Tea? 
Coffee all day, hot tea at bedtime
Coke or Pepsi?
Neither, but sprite once in a while
Chocolate or Vanilla? 
Chocolate of course. 
Cat or Dog?
Both. I prefer dogs, but don’t tell that to the five cats I live with.
Extrovert or Introvert?
Both. Depends on the situation, who is present and all that. At my core, I have always been and still am quiet and shy. My co-workers will probably disagree with that statement.

EJ: You are probably one of the only other people I have ever met that doesn't like Coke or Pepsi. We truly are soul sisters! 

Ryan Jo Summers is a bookworm and lover of words. She now even has favorite words she collects. She writes a gambit of materials, from short stories delving into mystery, romance, time travel, horror and especially Christian. She writes lots of non fiction Christian and some poetry. She free-lance writes for assorted markets. Her niche is contemporary romance with blended subgenre twists. When not writing, she likes to paint, explore the great outdoors and read. To feed her love of words, she also likes bent and twisted word find puzzles. She likes to cook, experimenting and finding new twists on old favorite recipes. She makes her home, along with several adoring pets, in the mountains of Western North Carolina, while she dreams of living on the beach lined coast of eastern NC.


Check out these titles by Ryan Jo Summers, available now on

Thank you so much for joining us today. I hope to see you all again next week! 

What's next for Elizabeth Janette?

Next Tuesday - Romance Weekly Blog Hop #LoveWriteChat 

Next Thursday - author Zen DiPietro joins me for a chat

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Romance Weekly: St. Patrick's Day

Yippee!! I'm finally back on the RWW blog hop! It's the hippest place to be each and every Tuesday. This week, author Betty Bolte challenged your favorite romance writers to spill the beans on how they celebrate St. Patrick's Day.

If you found me by way of  Leslie Hachtel, welcome!

If you've been following this blog for a while, you know I'm not so great at following basic directions. In fact, once I get my hands on our assigned weekly topic, it often morphs into something altogether . . .  well . . . different.

So here's my short answer to how I celebrate today's most green of holidays.

I DON'T. I usually don't have time to celebrate St. Patrick's Day because . . . well mostly because I'm too lazy to go through all the effort it would take to find cool friends who would invite my Mr. and I to a raging party.

See? Boring, huh? That's not even worth the effort you expended to find my blog. But lucky for you, that's not the whole answer.

I love Ireland. I always have. I'm just not a big fan of Irish food. Or of getting pinched, and I look terrible in green.

Nineteen years ago, I was part of the Riverside Community College Marching Band and Colorguard. Each year, the band took a big trip to some exotic locale. One year, the college-aged kids went to Japan, another year it was France. Over the years, the group has been around the world. When the Band Director, Gary Locke announced that he'd be taking a small group of members to Ireland, I leapt at the chance to go.

Let me tell you, that trip was not cheap. My parents couldn't afford it, so I fundraised as much money as I could (which surely wasn't much). Now, mind you, I was only 19 and lacked any skills I might need to make money. The only thing I had going for me was my grandmother's recipe for Fresh Apple Cake. Each cake took a ton of time to prepare. I sold each cake for $10. Thirty cakes later, I had a whopping $300, but it was enough to convince my parents to pitch in the rest. (To date, I've only made one Apple Cake since that time.)

We landed in Shannon, Ireland and traveled around the southern tip of the country, performing nearly everywhere we went. I distinctly remember performing in in a shopping mall in one city and even had the privilege of marching in the St. Patrick's Day parade in Dublin, Ireland. While I was technically part of the flag team, because I could play the piano, I was asked to play keyboards for one of the songs. At first, it was all so new, so exciting. I'd expected Ireland to look like this:

And it did. Sorta. There were lots of rolling green hills. Only the castles I saw looked nothing like in the pictures. What I saw were less impressive crumbling ruins of castles. Still beautiful, but after the tenth one, they all start to look alike, especially from a fogged up charter bus window. 
And the sheep usually had been tagged by their owners with something like spray paint.

And it rained. All. The. Time.

And the food? Let's just say I spent a lot of time eating at McDonalds.

I was young and dumb. I know. Nineteen was way too young for me to actually appreciate the opportunity I'd been given. To make matters worse, I was a lousy photographer at that time, so none of my photos came out.

However I did manage to take something away from my trip (besides a handful of Irish coins and terrible photos). My parents loved me enough to send me on a trip of a lifetime, surrounded by friends who watched out for me, despite any fears or reservations they felt. I may not have truly appreciated the trip then, but my memories I'll always keep with me. Someday, I hope I'll have the strength to watch one of my kids board a plane for an adventure of their own.

And next time I go on an international trip? I'm taking a better camera!

Next up on the blog hop? J.J. Devine

It's a crazy busy week for me. Thursday and Friday I'm off to the CUE Conference (Computer Using Educators) and Saturday, my family will celebrate my father's life. Sometime before then, I'm supposed to write the eulogy, so you may not hear much from me until next week.

In the meantime, I hope you come back and join me on Thursday, when I interview author Ryan Jo Summers.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Broken Chords by Carrie Elks

Title: Broken Chords
Series: Love in London #2
Author: Carrie Elks
Genre: Adult Romance
Release Date: February 26, 2015
Cover Designed by: Okay Creations


Lara knows she should feel lucky. Married to the man of her dreams, with a gorgeous new baby, she should be enjoying her happy-ever-after. But she never expected motherhood to be so difficult, or for her life to change so dramatically.

Alex has it all: hot, tattooed looks, a beautiful wife, and a band that's finally getting noticed. A lucrative offer of a US tour should be the icing on the cake. But as he leaves the country, distance isn't the only thing that starts to pull their relationship apart.

With half a world dividing them, Alex and Lara have to battle for a marriage they once took for granted.

Broken Chords is the second story in the Love in London series but can be read completely as a stand-alone. 

Though it's a series, it's not a serial and there are no cliffhangers, each book features a different couple!


“You want one?” he asked, cupping his hand to shade his match from the slight breeze.

“I don’t smoke. It’s a disgusting habit.” I smiled, letting him know I was flirting more than anything. Trying to wind him up.

He stared at me, throwing the burnt-out match into the ashtray. Already, I’d noticed Alex had this intense way of making me feel as if nothing else mattered. That I was the only interesting thing in the room—or in this case, the street.

“You’re one of those, then,” he said.

“One of what?”

“A crusader.” He inhaled deeply, then let the smoke drift out of his lips. Even I had to admit he looked sexy.

His words made me grin. I was anything but; smoking rarely bothered me at all. “I don’t kiss boys who smoke,” I said.

The corner of his lip twitched up. He leaned forward, still staring intently. “That’s good. I don’t want you kissing them.”

“You’re a boy who smokes,” I pointed out.

This time a full-on smirk broke out on his face. “I’m the exception that proves the rule, sweetheart.”

The way he said it made my heart hammer against my chest. There was something about Alex Cartwright that made me feel breathless. I wasn’t used to boys like him, ones who oozed sexuality out of every pore. Until then my boyfriends had been more friend than boy. Low key, almost feminine

Alex didn’t have a feminine bone in his body.

“What makes you think I want to kiss you, anyway?”

“You’re the one who brought up kissing, not me.” Another cocky response. “Not to mention the fact you keep looking at my mouth and licking your lips. I can tell you want to eat me for breakfast.”

The image his words conjured up made me choke on my coffee. I spluttered the hot liquid out. Alex started to laugh.

“Kissing. I was still talking about kissing.”



Carrie Elks lives near London, England and writes contemporary romance with a dash of intrigue. At the age of twenty-one she left college with a political science degree, a healthy overdraft and a soon-to-be husband. She loves to travel and meet new people, and has lived in the USA and Switzerland as well as the UK. An avid social networker, she tries to limit her Facebook and Twitter time to stolen moments between writing chapters. When she isn’t reading or writing, she can usually be found baking, drinking wine or working out how to combine the two.