Book review: Her Lover’s Face

A thrilling romance!

Her Lover’s Face, a fictional romance book by Patricia Elliott, kept me on my toes from the start to the end. It’s got a thriller plot – which I love, and an air of mystery when Laryssa tries to find answers about Alex, the man who resembles her dead husband.

I especially felt connected with Alex – he wasn’t shy about revealing his thoughts and feelings. There was strong chemistry between Laryssa and Alex, which I felt all the way through the story. The author did a great job with the writing – it’s superb. Well done!


Book Blurb

Laryssa Mitchell is one of the lucky ones. The death of her abusive husband finally allows her to live again on her own terms, making her own choices. Her first official decision is to take back what was lost – her independence and her old job. But she soon finds herself in a living nightmare when she meets her new boss. If her husband is rotting in hell, then who is the man standing in front of her with a dead man’s face?

Alexander Richards doesn’t expect to catch an unconscious woman in his arms on his first day of work, nor does he envision himself willingly setting foot in a hospital again, reliving his painful loss. But that’s exactly what he chooses to do when Laryssa needs his help. Why?

She has a story to tell. He has a mystery to solve. In the midst of danger, passion sizzles between them, taking them by surprise. What will happen when all is brought to light? Will they be able to overcome their traumatic pasts and find love in each other, or will their ghosts have the final say?

If you’re interested in buying the book, you can get it here.

Publisher: Black Velvet Seductions

Author interview questions Jan Selbourne and Anne Krist

Hi everyone! It’s my pleasure to welcome authors Jan Selbourne and Anne Krist, who also writes as Dee S. Knight and Jenna Stewart.

About Dee S. Knight/Anne Krist/Jenna Stewart

A few years ago, Dee S. Knight began writing, making getting up in the morning fun. During the day, her characters killed people, fell in love, became drunk with power, or sober with responsibility. And they had sex, lots of sex.

After a while, Dee split her personality into thirds. She writes as Anne Krist for sweeter romances, and Jenna Stewart for ménage and shifter stories. All three of her personas are found on the Nomad Authors website. And all three offer some of the best romance you can find! Also, once a month, look for Dee’s Charity Sunday blog posts, where your comment can support a selected charity. Be sure to check out Jan Selbourne’s and Dee’s newsletter where you can find exclusive free stuff to read.

About Jan Selbourne

Jan Selbourne was born and educated in Melbourne, Australia and her love of literature and history began as soon as she learned to read and hold a pen., After graduating from a Melbourne Business College her career began in the dusty world of ledgers and accounting, working in Victoria, Queensland and the United Kingdom.

On the point of retiring she changed course to work as secretary of a large NSW historical society. Now retired Jan is enjoying her love of travelling and literature. She has two children, a stray live in cat and lives near Maitland, New South Wales.

Interview Q&A

  1. How did you both meet?

    Dee: Gosh, I’m not sure if I even remember now. I know I read Jan’s book Perilous Love and it blew me away. I don’t know if I wrote her about it or we just met online because we both published with Black Velvet Seductions or what, but a friendship formed as we wrote each other about writing stuff. Since then, Jan has become one of my touchstones in writing. I think her books are fabulous and she is one fine writer. She’s also passionate about many things—most of which we agree on—and she’s funny. The one thing I don’t appreciate about Jan is all the pictures of Australian snakes she insists on sending me…

    Jan: Dee lives in the USA and I live in Australia.  We met about six years ago when I wrote to thank her for reviewing my books Perilous Love and Lies of Gold.  Dee replied which led to more correspondence and a good friendship followed.

  2. What projects (eg. Newsletters, books, other projects) have you worked on together?

    Dee: For years we published a monthly newsletter together, Aussie to Yank. My mom died two years ago and I’ve had health issues since then, so for a while, it was spotty getting it out, and then I kind of let it go. I’d like to get it going again in maybe a different format. Something I need to discuss with Jan. We’ve published two books (Finding a Christmas Miracle and Evil Lives in the Night) where we each contribute a novella. We’ve also been in three anthologies with BVS: Mystic Desire, Desire Me Again, and Cowboy Desire. I have to say, Jan’s story in Cowboy Desire is one of my favorites (The Long Paddock).

    Jan: Dee and I joined forces to write a monthly newsletter Aussie to Yank, and that encouraged us to take the plunge and publish two books.  Finding a Christmas Miracle – two historical novellas of two men, one from Outback Australia, the other from Nebraska USA, engulfed in a war no one understands or wants – Vietnam.  Evil Lives in The Night – two historical novellas of, you guessed it, crime and devious deeds in the US and Australia.

  3. Why did you choose to collaborate on these projects?

    Dee: Um… I’m not sure? It seemed like a good idea at the time, lol. As I said, I like Jan’s writing and since my persona as Anne Krist writes sweeter (as opposed to Dee’s erotic romance), I thought our styles would work together well.

    Jan: Easy. We enjoy working together.

  4. Does it help to have an author friend you can rely on? What are the benefits of teamwork vs. going solo?

Dee: Absolutely! Though I’m not sure I have been the most reliable for our current project. I’ve let my story slide. However, the benefits of working with a co-author are great—if there’s trust between you. I have that with Jan. I can send my drafts to her and know she will be critical but helpful. She’s wonderful to brainstorm with, too. I love the books we’ve done together.

Jan: Absolutely, Dee has always given me honest feedback. Her suggestions when I hit a brick wall in the last chapter of The Woman Behind The Mirror, were invaluable. And, the best, we can laugh at ourselves and each other.

Desire Me Again, an anthology by publisher Black Velvet Seductions featuring stories by both authors.
  1. What book would you like to feature?

    Dee: Evil Lives in the Night – Two great historical novellas that will keep you guessing.

    THE NEXT STOP IS DEAD. Getting into the train that dreary Saturday afternoon would change Alison’s life forever. At the end of the carriage, three men are seated together. Another man gets in and a few minutes later sits beside her with a message. “Get out at the next stop, the man in the middle is dead.”

    MISSING. Sisters Audra and Daina communicate using ‘twin language’. But how much difference will that make when Daina disappears? Can Audra find her sister before her abductor ends Daina’s life? Even with the help of an over-protective detective, saving her missing twin might not happen in time.

Evil Lives in the Night: Two historical, suspense, noir novellas – Kindle edition by Selbourne, Jan, Krist, Anne. Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

6. When did you start writing and what motivated you to write?

Dee: I wrote my first book twenty years ago as a lark, actually. My husband did consulting work and we moved all over the country doing it. He had short contract work in South Carolina and there wasn’t enough time for me to find a job so he suggested I write a book with the story I’d had rattling in my head for years. So in a month, I had a 95K-word romance finished. It didn’t get published, but the next book, written in the following month, did. I had no idea before then that writing could be so much fun!

Jan: I started writing twelve years ago and as I’m a bit of a history freak, I leaned towards historical fiction.  In 2014 I got serious and wrote Perilous Love, set in the early days of World War One.   I’ll be honest, when the publisher’s email appeared in my Inbox I thought, ‘It will be a no thanks.’ It took a few seconds for my eyes to register it was an acceptance.

7. Have you ever received criticism from readers, editors, or reviewers? If so, how did you handle it?

Dee: I’m lucky enough to have received very nice comments from readers and from editors, too. Reviewers are different, of course. Like every author, I’ve had some bad reviews. I’ve cursed, thrown pillows against the wall, and even cried with my first one. But in the end, what can you do except accept the reviewer’s comments and move on? It’s hard to believe that a review is one person’s opinion. Funny how after all the glowing reviews it’s the bad ones that stick with you, though.

Jan: Yes. I proudly submitted my newly finished Lies of Gold to a publisher for consideration. She replied she liked the story, wanted to know the ending, but got tired reading to get there.  Find a professional editor. Ouch, that stung, and I muttered very bad words. I couldn’t afford a professional editor and my wordy manuscript wouldn’t fix itself, so I sharpened the razor and started on page one. I trimmed dialogue and tightened scenes, asking myself why I hadn’t seen the glaring errors. Over four thousand words were given the flick and Lies of Gold was accepted. Valuable lessons were learned – we need helpful criticism, and we need independent eyes because we become too close to our characters.     

8. What is the nicest thing anyone has said about your work?

Dee: One woman said that I (as Dee S. Knight) saved her marriage. She said she and her husband took one of my books to bed with them. Lol. That might have been TMI, but I appreciated the concept. Another woman wrote my publisher and said that my first book (Impatient Passion, which I’m getting ready to re-publish) was the best romance she’d ever read. I was thrilled and humbled. Hard praise to meet with subsequent books!

Jan: My books have received some wonderful reviews, but for me, the best was ‘I felt I was right there with them’. That makes it all worthwhile.

9. What is the one key takeaway/advice you would give to anyone who wants to become a published author?

Dee: It’s a combined one key: Learn your craft (grammar, punctuation, styling), find a good critique partner or beta reader who will not be nervous about commenting on your work (in a helpful, not hurtful way), and then write, write, write.

Jan: Keep trying. Don’t give up.

10. What do you do when you’re not writing? (hobbies, etc)

Dee: I read a lot, though a recent problem with my vision has made that harder. I (hanging head) watch a fair amount of TV, including news, HGTV, and the ID channel, for crime/murder shows. I used to crochet and do counted cross-stitch but stopped when it became too hard to see what the heck I was doing. That made for some weird craft projects!

Jan: I’m retired, and able to spend time with my family, especially my granddaughter and my rescue dog Ginger.


Thank you so much, Jan and Dee!

Where can you find the authors?

Dee S. Knight

All three of Dee’s personas (Dee S. Knight, Anne Krist, and Jenna Stewart) can be found on the combined site for Nomad Authors: https://nomadauthors.com

Blog: https://nomadauthors.com/blog

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DeeSKnight

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DeeSKnight2018

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/265222.Dee_S_Knight

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B079BGZNDN

Newsletter: https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/h8t2y6

LinkedIn: https://linkedin.com/in/dee-s-knight-0500749

Sweet ‘n Sassy Divas: https://bit.ly/1ChWN3K

Jan Selbourne

Website: https://nomadauthors.com/JanSelbourne/index.html

Blog: http://nomadauthors.com/blog

Twitter: http://twitter.com/JanSelbourne

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jan.selbourne

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14661584.Jan_Selbourne?from_search=true

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Jan-Selbourne/e/B0184OSZ6E/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jan-selbourne-2817b6140/

Jan Selbourne’s Books – Book Marketing Global Network


Interviews with other authors

Discover more bestselling and award-winning authors, who reveal their tips and life lessons.

Book review: “Chasing That Red Dirt Road!: A Story for Dreamers”

A romance story for dreamers

Chasing That Red Dirt Road!: A Story for Dreamers is a fitting title for the story, a beautiful romance book by author Savannah McCann.

There are so many reasons to love this book.

First, the cover is beautiful and caught my eye immediately. As I read the book, the woman on the cover was exactly how I imagined Maddison Skye, the protagonist. She’s a talented musician who’s had a hard life, and now her determination and ambition make her unstoppable, paving the way for a bright future full of dreams and hopes. Her road won’t be an easy one – will she succeed and become a professional musician?

Second, the chemistry between Maddison and her lover, Hatch, was dynamite! Plus, I loved, loved, loved that he was a good guy! Yes, a good and wholesome man who is sexy, strong, and supportive. But, will their love last, or will Maddison’s ambition come first?

Third, I enjoyed experiencing how the characters evolved, matured, and developed. I adored Maddison all the way – she shows us how kindness can go a long way in life. Hatch is the type of guy you fall in love with immediately; he is solid and means what he says. And he treats women with respect. Finally, a romance hero who knows how to respect a woman from start to end (in the story). It was honestly such a refreshing read with loveable characters.

Finally, the themes of hope, ambition, and true love resonate well and consistently throughout the book. Everyone needs a book that makes them feel good, and this was the one for me.

If you’re looking for a wholesome romance book that inspires you, Chasing That Red Dirt Road!: A Story for Dreamers is definitely one you will enjoy reading.


Book Blurb

Follow Maddison on the journey of her two greatest loves: Hatch, her first love, and Nashville, her lifelong dream.

Maddison Skye is a 25-year-old waitress who loves to play her acoustic guitar, write songs, and is determined to chase Nashville stardom. She is hardworking and loyal but can also be very outspoken and sometimes clumsy. Maddison has a tattoo that says, “Chase Your Dreams,” on her left forearm with an acoustic guitar and music notes; this is her daily reminder to keep chasing her Nashville dreams no matter how impossible they seem. Maddison grew up in the Pacific Northwest in Oregon.

When she was fifteen, she left home and her abusive father behind. Maddison catches a Greyhound bus with what little money she has in her pocket; she makes it to Mustang Creek, Oklahoma, and accepts a waitressing job, where she ends up meeting her first love, Hatch. Deciding to put her move to Nashville on hold, Maddison stays in Oklahoma for three years until after graduating high school, and she and Hatch move to Fort Worth. Unfortunately, they break up two years after moving to Texas; again, Nashville is on hold, and so are her dreams of the big city lights and fan-packed concert stadiums.

Years later, she is still single and focusing on chasing her country music dreams once again…then one day, by sheer chance, she crosses paths with Hatch while playing a set in a smokey downtown Fort Worth bar. Her heart stands still when she sees him, and he smiles at her as their eyes meet; Maddison prayed for this day for so long, but now that he’s returned, she doesn’t know if she will take him back or run straight into his arms!

Mildly Erotic.

>> Buy the book

Australian Country Novella “Elizabeth” is a Distinguished Favorite in the Independent Press Award!

Estelle Pettersen, author of Elizabeth: The Starling Sisters: Prequel Novella, published by Magnolia Blossom Publishing, receives national recognition through the INDEPENDENT PRESS AWARD®!

The INDEPENDENT PRESS AWARD recognized Elizabeth: The Starling Sisters: Prequel Novella by Estelle Pettersen in the category of Romance as a distinguished favorite.

The competition is judged by experts from different aspects of the book industry, including publishers, writers, editors, book cover designers and professional copywriters. Selected IPA Award Winners and Distinguished Favorites are based on overall excellence.

Elizabeth: The Starling Sisters: Prequel Novella, is a contemporary romance novella set in the Australian outback. Newsday Australia reporter Elizabeth Martin seems to have it all. Until her boss gives her an ultimatum that will change her future.

It’s 1996 and Elizabeth has to choose: work for six months at a country newspaper, Maranoa Herald, or lose her job. Convincing herself this is just another stepping stone, Elizabeth leaves the city and her fiancé, lawyer Paul Ricci, for a small town in rural Australia. Despite the scorching heat and pests, Bandara holds a charm of its own—Keith Starling, a handsome farmer with sky-blue eyes and a spellbinding smile.

What happens when Elizabeth returns to the city and discovers what Paul’s been hiding from her? Will she choose her career or everlasting love in the country with Keith? Elizabeth is the prelude to the Starling Sisters series.

In 2023, the INDEPENDENT PRESS AWARD had entries worldwide. Authors and publishers from countries such as Australia, Canada, Germany, India, Japan, Norway, Scotland, and South Africa, participated.

Books submitted included writers based in cities such as Atlanta to Los Angeles; London to Nova Scotia; from Cape Town to Mumbai; from Albuquerque to New York City as well as others.

“We are proud to announce the winners and distinguished favorites in our annual 2023 INDEPENDENT PRESS AWARD. This year included an array of quality and diverse independent books,” Olczak said. “Independent publishing is pushing on every corner of the earth with great content. We are thrilled to be highlighting key titles representing global independent publishing.” said awards sponsor Gabrielle Olczak.

For more information please visit independentpressaward.com; and to see this year’s list of IPA Winners and Distinguished Favorites, please visit the website pages:

2023 WINNERS: https://www.independentpressaward.com/2023winners

2023 DISTINGUISHED FAVORITES: https://www.independentpressaward.com/2023df

About the author

Estelle Pettersen is an Australian/Norwegian author and former journalist whose romance stories explore empowerment, freedom, and finding one’s strength. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Journalism and Psychology, from the University of Queensland, Australia. Her second degree is an MBA from Queensland University of Technology, Australia. She is a member of Romance Writers of Australia and is passionate about history, languages, cultures, traveling, food, and wine. She is happily married and living in Norway these days.

Elizabeth, the prequel novella to the Starling Sisters series. IPA Distinguished Favorite in the Romance category.
Forgiving Liam, book one of the Starling Sisters series.

Happy Women’s Day from three amazing romance heroines!

Happy Women’s Day, on March 8, from three heroines whose strength and courage shine in sizzling contemporary romance books:

  1. Ali Stinson of the Ruby Red series ( slow burns and worth the wait kisses)
  2. Ava Goode of the Goode Pain series (BDSM and erotic romance – safe, sane, & consensual))
  3. Sapphire Blake of the Seduction series (highly steamy romance, five flames)

Ali Stinson

Ali Stinson from the Ruby Red series

If you like:

🔥 opposite worlds
💋 steamy scenes
😎 secrets and hidden identities
❤️ slow burns and worth the wait kisses
🫦bold heroines
😍 golden retriever heroes

Ruby Red is the romance book for you.

About Ruby Red

When she discovers her bank accounts drained, spoilt socialite Ali Stinson has two choices, admit defeat or accept the help of the one man she might lose her heart to. Sam Freemont moved to LA for a fresh start, not to meet the woman of his dreams. Will his secret destroy the delicate trust she has placed in him or will love conquer all?

More info: https://www.dlcroisette.com/

What is your message to readers on International Women’s Day, March 8?

To all the bold and courageous women out there, be they fearlessly on the front lines making a statement or quietly behind the scenes driving change, March 8th is a day to stand in solidarity and recognize your value.

Let’s celebrate our achievements, recognize our challenges and lend a helping hand to those in need. This year, as in the past, I’ll be donating my time and money to my local women’s shelter. How will you mark this day?

Ava Goode

Ava Goode from the Goode Paine series

My name is Ava Goode…and I’m a Dominatrix at the sex club Xposed in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

One could say that my life made a violent turn into the unpredictable; everything started while I was working a day job in insurance & Dominating submissives in my private dungeon in the evenings/weekends. No one knew at the time. No one really knew me. They just assumed I was multi-billionaire Duncan Miller’s daughter. Then I met Gabriel Burton…It gets a little complicated from there. I think Estelle will agree, it gets majorly complicated.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

My true goal as a Dominatrix is to empower women. It’s not about me, about sex, about BDSM. I really want all those who identify as the feminine to realize that they are goddesses and should be treated as such. I think it’s finding that outlet, that opportunity to Dominate, to show that you are confident & know you are worthy of that god-like praise.

And it doesn’t have to be in the bedroom or in a Dungeon. Just getting that respect, the reverence, feeling that you’re worthy, adored, & valued. Because women have been historically undervalued, underappreciated, and seen as not worthy, even of basic human rights.

It’s time to prove that women are absolutely the most powerful.

https://books2read.com/edgeplaygp01

Are you in a relationship with a man who is all for gender equality? What are his strengths and best qualities?

At this current time, I’m engaged to a man…and yes, he’s also my full-time submissive.

I think his strength lies in his capability to submit. He accepts that he finds pleasure in relinquishing control, therefore accepting, and trusting me. And because he doesn’t have that need to Dominate, whether in the Dungeon or outside of it, he makes a great teammate—a big misconception about D/s is that the Dominant is solely in the dynamic to get what they want. In reality, there’s a very healthy amount of communication, and as the one in the Dominant role, I’m trying to provide a safe space & fulfil the desires of my submissive. It takes teamwork, working together.

And, honestly, it’s taken me time to open up, to understand him. Funnily enough, he’s always understood me. It’s taken me time to even admit that I’m in love with him…but he’s always been there, waiting for it to dawn on me.

That’s another one of his strengths—he’s patient. But, still persistent.

Where can people find out more about you?

People can find more about me & the Goode Pain series either at www.annabelallan.com OR buy the first in the series, “Edgeplay” (released by Black Velvet Seductions) at www.books2read.com/edgeplaygp01

Sapphire Blake

Sapphire Blake from the Seduction series

My name is Sapphire Blake. I’m an introvert, but I speak my mind when it comes to matters of the heart. I fell in love with a college professor, who showed me what it means to be truly loved. Our relationship had a rocky start, but he’s willing to fight for us.

Here is my story:

Fresh from a breakup, Sapphire Blake embarks on a new journey as a college student. Freeing herself from the expectations of others, innocent Sapphire experiments with her new casual lover, Vera Richland.

Handsome, smart, and intimidating, Julian Richland finds himself enthralled with Saira Quinn, a powerful woman willing to pay top dollar for his time in the bedroom. To pay his debts and continue his lavish lifestyle, Julian discovers a world filled with sex, drugs, and lies.

Vera introduces Sapphire to her brother and sparks fly. Julian sees a sexy vixen who he wants despite her conservative background. He desires to school her in passion, but he must keep his budding relationship secret.

Will his secrets and his desires put Sapphire in danger?

Sapphire, what is your message on Women’s Day?

Be proud of your achievements, be confident, and be supportive of others.

Be courageous. Change can be good for you and the people around you. Try new things. Learn new technologies. You don’t have to be perfect at everything you do.

Surround yourself with good and positive people. Don’t worry about the things that don’t matter. Tomorrow has its own worries.

Pick your battles wisely: when to speak up and hold back (think, breathe, think). Have fun working together with others, and appreciate each other’s unique qualities.

Where can we find you?

You can find me at:  https://amzn.to/2Ng8YbD or check out what Literary Titans book review thinks of my story.

Lessons on Seduction, a thrilling erotic romance book.

Health matters: podcasts by authors you need to hear

Get real with Latty and Clarity

Join Latinx and LGBTQIA author Clarity Townsend and Jamaican freelance writer Latty—Goodreads #4 Best Reviewer—as they get down, dirty, and real in their podcast Get Real with Latty and Clarity. No topic is off the table, and each of these women of color bring their own unique and vibrant perspective to the issues at hand.

Whether it’s a down-to-earth discussion of their favorite hot celebs or a heart-to-heart on subjects like mental illness, Latty and Clarity will make you feel like part of the family. They’re just two friends, inviting you to curl up with a cup of tea and listen while they share their open and honest conversations and advice. (Suitable for 18+)

Cure What Ails You

Cure What Ails You

Join Latty and Clarity as they discuss this month’s hot topic, have a Halloween mini-discussion, and dig into their main topic: natural remedies from their respective cultures. As always, you’re in for some laughs, rambling, and candid debate on the topics at hand.

Grab your favorite drink and get cozy for the episode of Get Real with Latty & Clarity, “Cure What Ails You”!

Listen to the podcast by clicking on the image below:

Get Your Head Right

Get Your Head Right

Join Latty and Clarity in “Get Your Head Right” as they get the most “real” they have to date about the important topic of mental health.

This deep and personal discussion is one you do not want to miss. In this episode, the girls open up about their personal struggles with mental illness, share facts about mental health in the US and Jamaica, tips and resources for coping with stress as well as resources to find help if you’re struggling with your mental health.

Listen to the podcast by clicking on the image below:

If you’re on Spotify, you can also follow Get Real with Latty and Clarity.

My personal take on the podcast

Get Real with Latty and Clarity has given me the lift I needed to continue my authorship during the darkest moments of my health. As a chronic pain sufferer, I rely on doing everything I can to take care of myself. The “Cure What Ails You” episode reminded me of great natural remedies, especially during the winter months (aka cold and flu season).

The “Get Your Head Right” episode felt like Latty and Clarity were with me as I went for walks and listened to it with my headset. They make some great points about why it is important to prioritize our mental health.

Thank you, Latty and Clarity.

The secret of being a good author – what I learned

Have you ever met a good author you can’t forget? I have. As an avid reader, I’ve met some great authors: bestselling and award-winning authors who taught me a lot. Here’s what I learned about what it means to be a good author.

Meeting a NY Times bestselling author at the airport

Some years ago, I was on a holiday with my family in the United States. During the transit from Seattle to San Francisco, I walked around the Denver airport with my baby in a Babybjörn carrier, looking for a book to read.

Airport bookstore surprise

I stopped at a bookstore and grabbed a thick paperback with a blue cover. From the back cover’s blurb, the novel seemed intriguing; a story about a young Marine lieutenant during the Vietnam war. I picked up the book and ambled toward the counter when a man in front of me grabbed a handful of the same book.

Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes.
Image source. Wikipedia

He eagerly suggested to the bookshop owner that he could sign the paperback copies. I moved forward with my sleeping baby in tow when the man noticed me holding the same book. “I can sign that for you,” he offered, reaching for a pen in his jacket pocket.

At first, I paid for the book, then held it close to my baby, who slept in the Babybjörn, snuggled in my chest. Noticing my apprehension, he told me, “I wrote the book. There’s a picture of me in there.”

I skimmed toward the back of the novel, and wow! The same man was pictured in the author’s bio. Slowly handing the book over to him, I was in awe.

The good author

“What’s your name?” he asked as he started to scribble in my book.

I gave him my name and watched him finish signing my copy. Feeling starstruck, I thanked him for signing the book and shook his hand.

“Have a nice day,” he said.

He then turned to the bookshop owner, who had just given me my receipt, and she smiled while he signed more copies for her.

I watched him rush to his next flight, so I wondered.

And wondered.

Holding the dream

I returned to my husband in the lounge area, feeling spirited (while my baby still slept). Proudly holding the paperback in my hand, I squealed, “Guess what? I just met the author, and he signed my book!”

Our plane was boarding so we rushed with our hand luggage and hopped on board the plane. I gazed at the clear blue sky from my plane window. I will never forget the author’s kindness. He sparked an idea – to reignite my passion for writing. He was so humble and gracious that I bought his book.

The author was New York Times bestseller Karl Marlantes, and his book was “Matterhorn.”

My last words to the author were: thank you.

Image source: Pixabay.com

Revitalizing a dream

Years later, while visiting my home city, I caught up with a close college friend. She reminded me of our fun writing activities during our university years.

“Why don’t you write again?” she asked. “Maybe a romance novel?”

“I don’t know if I can do that,” I told her. Little did I know I was wrong. We sipped our wine and watched the ferries traveling up and down the Brisbane River.

Brisbane, Australia – my home city. Image source: Pixabay.com

After returning to Norway, I wrote for fun, picking up the pieces I had learned during my college years. I reignited the words and stories in my heart—my passion.

What did I learn from good authors?

Karl Marlantes and other authors I’ve met, especially through my publisher Black Velvet Seductions, have taught me the importance of kindness and being a professional author. They’ve achieved their successes (bestsellers and award winners) because of their powerful writing.

Amazing authors with hearts of gold – in addition to the gold awards. Image source: Black Velvet Seductions.

They also support people around them, including other writers. There is no diva behavior, there is only diplomacy and positivity. Being kind is a strength of a good author.

Thank you to the authors (including the SSWS authors) and readers who have shown me kindness.

Be good to each other 🙂 Image source: giphy.com

Book review: In The Driving Seat

Book review: In the Driving Seat by Ric Savage

The perfect erotic romance novel

I love reading a good erotic romance with some BDSM when it’s written tastefully and cleverly. In The Driving Seat by Richard Savage is perfect for exactly that, and for busy readers looking for a spicy story.

This steamy book gives readers both points of view of the couple, Barbara and Alan—I related equally with them. The story left me wanting more, from an emotional perspective: it’s a wonderfully wicked and delicious tale giving insight into a couple’s relationship.


Book Blurb

“In The Driving Seat” is one of the stories in the romantic domestic discipline anthology “Spanked!”

Alan is a man that likes a structure to his life. He has a need to be in control and considers himself, In the Driving Seat, at work and at home.

Barbara enjoys her freedom. She takes pleasure in pushing Alan’s boundaries and loves to shop…especially for shoes. She never would have thought that buying a pair of shoes would ever land her in so much trouble. They were only shoes for goodness’ sake.

Alan is tired of fighting petty battles with Barbara over money. Then we’re not short of cash, they lived an affluent lifestyle, but he decides that a pair of shoes costing $1500, is a step too far and that there would need to be consequences. But is Barbara ready to pay Alan’s price for the shoes?

If you’re interested in buying the book, you can get it here.

Publisher: Black Velvet Seductions

Book review: Life as a China Doll: Coping with Osteoporosis

Life as a China Doll by Nancy Golinski

I read Life as a China Doll by Nancy Golinski when I was at the height of my chronic pain. While the book focuses on coping with osteoporosis, it is not limited to readers with osteoporosis; it has excellent tips and advice for anyone suffering from chronic pain outside osteoporosis, like myself.

It is also a good read for anyone who has a close friend or family member with osteoporosis to understand the illness better. The book addresses the physical, emotional, and mental challenges chronic pain sufferers deal with.

The book reminds chronic pain sufferers that we are not alone, to take advantage of the resources available, and to focus on the positives. A handy book to have and a great motivational lift overall.


Key takeaways from Life as a China Doll:

  • “Chronic pain may impact your sleep, your job, your appetite, your physical activity, your hobbies, and even your relationships. It basically impacts your entire life. When you hurt, that’s all you know. It’s your entire world, and it can be a very lonely one.”
  • “Number one on the list is your posture. It is no longer okay to slouch or have poor posture. I can still hear my mom yelling at me as a kid to sit up straight. Back!”
  • “…would be remiss if I didn’t mention exercise, which is one of the most physical things you can do. It is also something you have to do to keep your body as healthy as possible.”
  • “So how do you safely tighten your core? It’s simple. While laying down, sitting, or even standing, pull your belly button in and up toward your spine and hold it there.”
  • “Chronic illness is a family affair and impacts everyone in your family.”
  • “If you find you have toxic folks in your life, I urge you to gently extract yourself from them if at all possible.”
  • “You have precious energy now…What little is left needs to be dedicated to things that bring you pure joy.”

These tips are priceless, and I have followed each one of them. Thank you, Nancy.

If you’re interested in buying the book, you can get it here.

Publisher: Black Velvet Seductions

New book alert: Fractured (Love Of The Broken Book 1)

I am thrilled to announce that one of my favorite authors, USA Today Bestseller Eileen Troemel, has released a new book!

Fractured (Love Of The Broken Book 1) was released on October 15, 2022.

You can buy it here: https://books2read.com/Fractured-bk1-Love-of-the-Broken

Blurb:

Sent to the prison planet Laken, Zulma expects to be raped and tortured. What she finds there may save her and her people. Ordered to a crashed Dolian ship, Conasian prisoners of war Drake, Claud, Stuart, and Parker hope to survive the trek through the dangerous sleepers. The downed ship is vital. What they discover will change their future if they survive the sleepers and their own men.

This is a Reverse Harem dark sci-fi romance.

Trigger warning: There is cursing and violence. Rape and torture are referred to.

Excerpt

Drake stepped across the threshold and held up his hands. “What do we have here,” he growled.
“Stay away from me,” a small woman held a laser pistol. Clad in a concubine’s white dress covering her from her upper thighs to her breasts, she stood her ground.
“Who are you,” Drake asked. Stuart snatched a similar pistol out of the air when Claud tossed it to him.
“Where am I,” Drake asked. Stuart snatched a similar pistol out of the air when Claude tossed it to him.
“Where am I,” she demanded without answering Drake’s question.
“Laken,” Drake provided.
Long purple hair fell in front of her shoulder. Her pale skin shimmered as though embedded with gold. “Bastard,” she muttered not taking her eyes off the two men invading the room.
“You judge us harshly,” Drake growled.
“Not you,” she said. “Him.”
“Him who,” Drake stepped closer. He tried to judge how far he’d get before she pulled the trigger. He noted the safety was not on so she at least knew how to shoot.
“The Prime,” she said. Her golden-brown eyes assessed her surroundings as if she sought an escape.

About Eileen

USA Today Bestseller Author Eileen Troemel writes action packed and emotionally powerful fantasy, scifi, romance. She’ll try almost any genre if it means she can tell a good story. In addition to her writing, she loves to read, crochet, and research genealogy. Her best days are spent with her family of three adult daughters and her husband or writing.

Follow Eileen: https://linktr.ee/eileentroemel

Thrilling, chilling romance books for Halloween

Feeling the itch to read a thrilling, haunting romance? Here are a few books you’ll love for your Halloween reading list:

Creatures of the Night

Creatures of the Night by Deborah Kelsey Lazaroff is an incredibly sensual and erotic supernatural love story.

I felt it was a fantastic book, one of the best supernatural romances, with an eerie feeling throughout the novel. The author’s work is superb and flawless – I loved her writing style.

The steamy scenes are almost too hot to handle, and the emotional development in the relationship between the main characters, Sarah and Trevor, keeps me hooked, wanting to read the next chapter even past bedtime.

This novel is a must-read for supernatural and dark romance lovers who want originality in a vampire romance novel.

Get the book

Michael

Michael by Callie Carmen is the perfect romance book to end the Risking Love series.

After reading the other novels in the series, I can honestly say that Michael did not disappoint. I was kept on my toes with the thrills of the love story between Olivia and Michael.

A survivor of relationship abuse, Olivia has put the past behind her and focuses on her future. She moves forward with her thriving career and meets the gorgeous VP Michael Evans. Falling in love doesn’t come without obstacles – a cunning dragon lady ready to claw her way into Michael’s life, and a crazy ex-boyfriend who raises one’s anxiety levels through the roof.

As I read every chapter, I cheered for Olivia because of her strength, tolerance, and refusal to be beaten by the bullying forces. I loved Michael for his loyalty, faithfulness, and ability to see the forest through the trees in tough situations.

I loved this story – so many emotions raced around my heart when I read Michael.

Get the book

Dark Desire

I sometimes prefer reading books with good short stories to a full novel, especially in busy times. A good dark romance anthology in the lead-up to Halloween is the perfect treat.

Dark Desire has everything I craved – vampires, shapeshifters, werewolves, and an abundance of mystery. It was time to step out of my comfort zone and dig deep into something darker in romance, so I went for the anthology.

It’s worth checking out some amazing authors and getting to know their other work.

Get the book

Publisher: Black Velvet Seductions

Dark Desire anthology by Black Velvet Seductions

Dark Desire, published by Black Velvet Seductions, showcases 12 stories where authors delve into the dark crevasses of their imaginations.

Dare to read it?

Book link: https://books2read.com/u/mBzD1D

Dark Desire anthology published by Black Velvet Seductions

Isn’t the cover gorgeous?

Book description

Dark Desire showcases twelve stories where the authors delve into the dark crevasses of their imaginations, probing into dark themes, creating strange new worlds and inventing larger than life characters.


These stories explore relationships, unafraid of taking the genre of romance to a darker deeper level.

Book Link: https://books2read.com/u/mBzD1D

Publisher: https://blackvelvetseductions.com/

Cover by: https://www.facebook.com/JessicaGreeleyGD

Best romance books with a thrilling plot

Top 5 thrilling romances

Read about my recommended top 5 romance books with a thrilling plot on Shepherd.com.

Shepherd is like wandering around your favorite bookstore but reimagined for the online world. It makes online book browsing fun!

Why do I, a romance author, like books with thrilling plots? 

It probably comes from my childhood days of being a Scooby-Doo fan—I loved the thrill of guessing the mysteries behind each character and the villain being unmasked.

Do you like thrilling romances with twists and surprises, keeping you on your toes from start to finish? Feel free to check out the recommended books on Shepherd.com.

>> More about Shepherd

>> The best bad boy romances with happy endings

Source: Giphy.com

AustLit includes empowering country romance novella

I recently discovered that my Australian novella Elizabeth was listed in AustLit’s directory of books. It was a happy surprise and an honor to see something I’d written in their database.

What is AustLit?

Image source: www.austlit.edu.au

AustLit is a searchable, scholarly source of authoritative biographical, bibliographic, critical, and production information about Australian writers and writing.

Led by The University of Queensland, AustLit is a non-profit, research-driven collaboration between a network of researchers from Australian universities and the National Library of Australia. Its mission is to be the definitive information resource and research environment for Australian literary, print, and narrative cultures.

AustLit provides rich resources for teachers and students throughout Australia and has an amazing team of scholars, librarians, researchers, and volunteers.

Fun fact: My BA was from UQ ( The University of Queensland).

Elizabeth book blurb

Elizabeth
Elizabeth, the prequel Australian country romance novella to the Starling Sisters series, published by Magnolia Blossom Publishing.

Newsday Australia reporter Elizabeth Martin seems to have it all. Until her boss gives her an ultimatum that will change her future.

It’s 1996 and Elizabeth has to choose: work for six months at a country newspaper, Maranoa Herald, or lose her job. Convincing herself this is just another stepping stone, Elizabeth leaves the city and her fiancé, lawyer Paul Ricci, for a small town in rural Australia. Despite the scorching heat and pests, Bandara holds a charm of its own—Keith Starling, a handsome farmer with sky-blue eyes and a spellbinding smile.

What happens when Elizabeth returns to the city and discovers what Paul’s been hiding from her? Will she choose her career or everlasting love in the country with Keith?

This Australian romance novella is the prelude to the Starling Sisters series, country romance stories published by Magnolia Blossom Publishing.

My personal view on Elizabeth and the Starling Sisters series

There’s so much more to Elizabeth than just Romance, and I wonder if it slightly touches the ChickLit genre. A few years ago, I wrote a story of a similar tone for Wattpad, a platform with more than 90 million readers, and my story was handpicked to be part of the platform’s Summer of Sisterhood project, run by its ChickLit profile. It went on to win a bunch of community book awards and was featured on various official Wattpad profiles.

I’ve since removed the story for my own personal reasons. Maybe I’ll put it back…I don’t know. One day at a time. For now, my focus is on the Starling Sisters series.

Having a voice

Elizabeth is more than just about romance. It digs deeper into what it means to lose one’s voice at some point in our lives (i.e., through a form of violence or oppression) and the importance of regaining that voice.

I’m not a wordsmith, and I only type what Elizabeth and Keith dictate to me. Lol! My characters came to life during the autumn of 2021, waking me with their loud chitter-chatter at 4 a.m. There I was—at my desk bashing the keyboard while listening to songs on Aussie radio Triple J.

The experience left me emotionally charged from my characters’ strength, courage, and willingness to stand strong.

Image source: Canva.

Standing strong

Standing strong, having a connection with the land/country, and holding onto unbreakable bonds even when the going gets tough are all thematic throughout the Starling Sisters series. Though I’ve only released Elizabeth via my publisher, I have a whole world that will be ready for readers when the time is right.

What’s next?

The next book in the series is currently being edited before submission. I’m excited about Keith and Elizabeth’s daughter, Rose, and her partner Liam’s second-chance story.

Unlike the more traditional romances, each main character must achieve self-empowerment without relying on each other before reuniting at crossroads. Is this more in tune with real life? Maybe.

I try to keep it real.

There are tough times ahead for the Starlings in the series, but they are a strong bunch.

Perhaps the series is about resilience.

Image source: Canva.

Links:

Marelo by USA Today Bestseller Author Eileen Troemel

Marelo by Eileen Troemel

Preorder the book for just $0.99

Marelo by Eileen Troemel
Marelo by Eileen Troemel

Blurb

Marelo studies water dragons.  Bandor studies her heart.

Driven to succeed, Marelo focuses on her studies. She doesn’t have time for males claiming her as a mate.  She came here to study the dragon’s ancestral home.  She will find the evidence she needs while avoiding all males especially Bandor who makes her heart rush.

Bandor takes one look at Marelo and knows she’s his mate.  Her haughty demeaner doesn’t put him off.  She’s his mate, he’ll do anything to win her.  But he has secrets only his mate can know.  Can he convince her to be his mate or will it take something more?

Preorder your copy of Marelo for only $0.99, available on April 2.

Marelo by Eileen Troemel
Marelo, a Dragon Descendents Book by Eileen Troemel

Review:

A fantasy and adventure reader’s delight

What’s not to love about fantasy/adventure stories? Especially one that is so vivid and rich in descriptions, yet simplistic enough to take me by the hand and lead me to the world of Marelo, a Dragon Descendents Book by USA Today Bestseller author Eileen Troemel.

I need to be guided to a new world when I read a fantasy/adventure story and to become familiar with its surroundings, villages, the characters, the conflicts. The author made it an easy passage for the reader to feel as if they were part of Marelo’s world. Also, I love dragons and was super excited to have the chance to meet dragons in this short story.

Moreover, I connected with the protagonist, Marelo, an eco-positive character who shows courage, strength, and isn’t afraid to speak up on her views of her world and society. The relationship development between her and her friend Bandor evolved in an even flow throughout the story, and the tension in their dialogue kept me intrigued, wanting to find out more about the mystery behind each of the characters. Bandor cares deeply for Marelo but is challenged by her strong opinions. Will he learn why she is adamant about her views of the world they live in? And what will happen if they encounter the mythological water dragons?

There is a good twist in the story, and I won’t spoil the surprise, but it is worth unwrapping. Readers who like a good short story that includes fantasy and romance will enjoy Marelo.

Author links:

Website: https://eileentroemel.com/ 

Twitter https://twitter.com/EileenTroemel

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/EileenTroemelAuthor/ 

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/eileentroemel/

LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/eileen-troemel-6667825b/

MeWe https://mewe.com/i/eileentroemel

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7868345.Eileen_Troemel

The Captain’s Lady: A Marriage of Convenience Regency Romance (Ladies in Scandal Book 1) by Robecca Austin

Buy the book for $2.99

Blurb

Lady Isabella Pennington’s life is mired in scandal, but not of her own making.

As London’s gentry bask in her heartache, she devises a plan to avoid another disastrous engagement. But those plans go awry as she struggles to forget the rogue Captain Nicholas years after the passionate afternoon they spent together.

Her intention to adhere to societal demands is admirable but short-lived when Nicholas shocks everyone by asking for her hand in marriage. What unfolds leaves Lady Isabella torn between societal expectations and her long-held desire.

Captain Nicholas is far from an aristocrat yet is held in high regard in some circles. With his attention focused on Lady Isabella, it’s all she can do to resist the handsome devil. Will a marriage of convenience be a means to a much-coveted end, or will it lead to another humiliating failure for Lady Isabella?

Pick up your copy of The Captain’s Lady today.

Review:

A superb historical romance

Scandal seems to follow Lady Isabella’s love life. Like many women, she is not immune to heartache from seemingly nice men with selfish intentions. That is until she meets the devastatingly handsome Captain Nicholas who is about to change her life.

No, Nicholas does not bring shame on Isabella. On the contrary, he does the honorable thing in London society when it comes to his plans for a relationship with Lady Isabella, by offering her a proposal that is hard to refuse. Her feelings deepen for him as she learns exactly what kind of man he is underneath the tough exterior – a warm-hearted soul with compassion for the people he cares for and loves, putting others before him.

I give this story five stars because it is a sweet historical romance that is flawlessly written – an enjoyable read for all.

Faded Dreams by Clarity Townsend

Faded Dreams by Clarity Townsend

Buy the book for $3.99

Blurb

Gaia spends her nights lost in ecstasy, within a world she doesn’t believe exists, alongside her gorgeous vampire master, Sebastian. But reality comes crashing down around her when Sebastian reveals the truth; their months together have been anything but faded dreams.

Faced with the revelation of a lifetime, Gaia wonders if she can trust in Sebastian’s declaration of love, and the love she feels in her traitorous heart. Meanwhile, with the growing need to keep Gaia safe from the horrors threatening his kind, Sebastian attempts to deny his heart’s desires before it’s too late.

Yet, a force beyond their control binds them, and Sebastian’s denial has far-reaching consequences.

When fantasy and reality blur, will Sebastian and Gaia escape with their sanity and lives intact?

Pick up your copy of Faded Dreams today, and get lost in the heat and danger lurking inside.

Review:

Beautifully written steamy romance

Faded Dreams was the perfect steamy supernatural romance I was looking for. The plot was great, filled with suspense and an air of mystery. Gaia and Bash (Sebastian) had so much chemistry and passion – and during their time apart from each other, I really felt that absence made the heart grow fonder. The ending left me wanting to read more – especially about the supporting characters who also had depth and dimensions.

Now, I am a fussy reader and this book was my cup of tea. The steamy scenes were passionate and written tastefully – this author takes the lead when it comes to writing a good love scene.

Overall, five stars. The author, Clarity Townsend, has given romance readers a high-quality novel.

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The story behind Flowers for Kate in Rainbow Desire

I enjoyed writing Flowers for Kate, a short story about a fictional character named Kate Calloway, who seeks true love in the late 1980s. No, her love interest is not a dashing man, but Dahlia, a stunning woman who would make your mouth water with desire.

The story is part of the Rainbow Desire anthology published by Black Velvet Seductions.

What is the story about?

It’s 1988, a decade after video killed the radio star. Disco’s out of fashion, and pop music dominates the dance floor.

At twenty-two, Kate Calloway is a bangle-loving university student finding her way in life with her friends. She’s allergic to pollen and hates flowers until she meets the mysterious Dahlia, a florist who takes her breath away.

Kate wants Dahlia, but does Dahlia feel the same for Kate? Will they forge an unbreakable bond of love, or will circumstances tear them apart?

>> Find out in this short story about finding true love.

How did I feel about writing an LGBTQ+ romance?

It was an incredible experience! I felt so free writing the story, and the flow was amazing – everything went smoothly. Flowers took an unexpected and eerie turn, with a surprising twist about 80 percent into the story when I was writing it.

I’ve written about characters who are heterosexual, pansexual, and bisexual, but Kate was the first woman I wrote about who had zero interest in men. A few people asked me if this would be challenging, but I shook my head and simply got to know Kate – she’s a welcoming character, bringing me into her world.

Pushing away people-driven doubt

Despite people-driven doubt on my ability to write Kate’s story, I immersed myself in her world as I burned the midnight candle. Of course, there is research in the stories I write (as a former journalist it’s important to get your information right). The fun part about going back to 1988 was listening to music from artists/bands such as Bananarama, Eric Carmen (remember Hungry Eyes from Dirty Dancing?), U2, Cyndi Lauper, and The Bangles.

What message does Kate bring?

Kate brings a message of empowerment (of course! It wouldn’t be me writing any other way), hope, and friendship. And, love is a given – always in my stories.

Kate showed me the power of friendship and how our friends can be the family we need in times of trouble. However, we need to pick our friends carefully – the true diamonds from the fairweather friends. You learn who your real friends are when you put yourself first – your physical and emotional health. Kate can count on three friends (Andy, Frances, and Jasper) who are her family by choice. Friendship works both ways, and she proves to be a loyal friend from start to end.

Friendship is such a powerful gift and we must always treasure our true friends.

Anyway, that’s it from me. You can preorder your ebook copy of Rainbow Desire, published by Black Velvet Seductions.

Book links:

I’ll leave you with an awesome tape mix – Guardians of the Galaxy, which features songs from the 70s, 80s, 90s, and early 2000s – whichever decade you fancy. Yes, I’m a Marvel comics fan. 😉

Author interview: Eileen Troemel, USA Today Bestseller

Wayfarer series banner

Eileen Troemel, USA Today Bestselling Author
USA Today Bestselling Author Eileen Troemel.

I’m thrilled to welcome Eileen Troemel, a USA Today Bestseller author of action-packed and emotionally powerful fantasy, sci-fi, and romance. Eileen’s diverse books – such as Through Destiny’s Eyes and Paranormal Investigators – reveal her versatility in writing various genres.

Congratulations on becoming a USA Today Bestseller. How did you feel when you found out?

It was stunning, exciting, and surprising!  It was a day when everyone in the anthology was watching and hoping.  There was a lot of excitement.  I got it and did a little happy dance.  I texted my out-of-state daughters and let my daughter and husband know.  I texted all my sisters and I think my nieces and nephews. 

What 3 key tips do you recommend for readers looking for a good book?

Don’t look solely at the cover or the blurb – the quality of these is based on the thickness of an author’s wallet. 

Read a sample – if you have the ability to get into the book and can read a page or two that should tell you whether you will like the writing style of the author.

Try to overlook punctuation and simple grammar errors.  I know every author should make the best book they can but some authors tell a good story – they just don’t know all the comma rules or similar grammar rules.

What books do you enjoy reading?

I like the classics.  I’ve not read nearly enough of them.  EE Cummings is one of my favorites.  But I also LOVE dragon books – whether it’s a dragon shifter or a dragon.  You can usually get me to open the cover.  Thea Harrison – I love her books and wish I had more time to read more of them.  JD Robb – her in death series I’m usually right on top of them when they come out. 

I love science fiction and fantasy. I also like a good western.  Louis Lamour is amazing.  I like Shakespeare and I’ve read the Iliad and Odyssey a number of times.  I’m kinda all over the place. 

Is there a book you read that made a change in your life? How did it change you?

Life Magic by Susan Bowes  For most of my life, I considered myself an agnostic.  When I read this book I found my path for spiritualism.  The power in her words resonated deep inside me.   

When did you start writing novels and who/what motivated you to write?

In my late 30s, I found myself very dissatisfied with myself.  I’d had my kids, was married, and loved all of them but was very unhappy.  I hadn’t seriously written much since my late teens so I went back to writing.  I started with poetry, short stories, novel starts, and flash fiction. 

But I always knew I wanted to write books.  I think that started in grade school when I was given an assignment of writing a short story.  It was the first time I realized you could tell stories and have them published.  I was 8 but it took me a long time to get to a place where I was writing seriously. 

I was 50 when I published my first 8 books.  Poetry, self-help, romance, fantasy… all in my first year of self-publishing after years of attempting to be published traditionally. 

Books by USA Today bestseller Eileen Troemel
Books by USA Today bestseller Eileen Troemel.

Were there any major changes in your writing career? Highs and lows?

I don’t know about drastic highs and lows.  I tell my stories. I know that I’ve had weeks where I seem to get dumped on – comments from other authors, bad reviews, or even bad rejection letters… one in a week isn’t bad but when you get a bunch of them, it can be overwhelming. 

I’ve said more than once – maybe I should stop.  Then I don’t write for a couple of days (sometimes only hours) and I am reminded why I’m writing. 

I want to tell these stories that are in my head.  I remind myself no one has to like them.  I’d love for everyone to love them but the reality is not everyone will.  It’s okay for readers to not like my stuff.  I just have to keep trying to craft that better story.

What was your first published story and what is it about?

Secret Past.  It was my first novel I published.  I tried for years to get it published through a variety of different publishers.  I had interest from them but not a lot of follow-throughs.  It took me ten years to write so I was invested in the story and hadn’t learned a lot.  I’m not giving you a link – this book is in my pile to get an updated edit and new cover.  I love the story but I see too many flaws in it now. 

Secret Past is a contemporary romance thriller.  Dee has a past – one she’s not willing to talk about.  Nick is an ex-Navy Seal turned private detective.  He wants to know everything about her.  The more she says no, the more he needs to know.  His need to know causes her past to catch up with her in the worst way.  Rather than let her disappear from his life Nick opts in for whatever she needs to feel safe.  Dee wants the house, kids, and white picket fence but with her past doesn’t think she’ll get it. 

I think it’s a solid story.  It’s been seven years since I published it.  It needs a stronger edit to make it a better book. 

What advice do you have to new authors?

Lots… lots and lots…

I think first and foremost – write the story.  Write it your way, in whatever order works for you, in whatever manner works for you.  Get the story told.  Everything can be fixed in editing.  So just get it entered in the computer or written. 

There are four areas you almost need to be an expert in if you’re going to be a self-published author – Writing, Editing, Graphics, and Marketing.  If you aren’t an expert, then pay someone to do the job for you. 

Do not ever complain about the readers or the reviews you get.  One if you’ve got readers – YEAH!!!  Two if you managed to get them to write a review – thank them for their time.  Most books are not 5-star reviews.  Most books range from 2 to 4 stars. 

How do you get over writer’s block?

I don’t get writer’s block.  I have pauses in my stories.  I have pauses in my writing process.  In general, I don’t get writer’s block.  If one set of characters isn’t talking to me another set will.  I often have two to four manuscripts going at once. 

The one time I stopped writing was around my mother’s death.  As executor of her estate, I balanced the grief, the tasks to do with her funeral, the tasks to deal with her estate, and then family.  I stopped writing for almost a year.  It was bad for my mental health.  When I started back up again, I realized the lack of writing caused a lot of negativity in my life.  It wasn’t easy to start up again.  I didn’t like anything but… I started in and just wrote. 

How do you handle criticism, from beta-reading to after your story is published?

Whether it comes from a beta reader or a book review doesn’t matter.  I try to take in what they have to say, analyze whether it’s valid or not and then use it to make the book better.  It depends on what they are saying. 

That’s my grown-up response to it.  Sometimes when I get a negative review it throws me into a funk.  I really don’t expect 5-star reviews but at the same time, there’s the creative person inside me that’s going – What?  Wait?  I put my heart and soul into this… and well it goes from there. 

But then I put on my business person’s hat and analyze.  Is there something I can do without (if it’s published) drastically changing the story?  Is there something I can put in the blurb that will make people realize it’s “that” rather than having different expectations? 

Ultimately I attempt to turn the critique into something I can use to make my books better.

Have you ever dealt with rejection and how did you handle it?

I tried to get published for more than ten years.  I used to keep a file of rejection letters – yes actual letters.  I can’t tell you how many submission packets I’ve sent or how many rejections I’ve gotten.  I stopped counting. 

At first, it was all HOPE as soon as it was sent and then nerves about waiting anywhere from 3 to 6 months to get an answer.  Then a letter (or email) would come and dash my HOPE away.  Eventually, I just figured I’d get rejections.

I’ve gotten mean rejections – one said I shouldn’t write again.  That was for my poetry.  They did not like it apparently. 

If I actually got something more than a – thanks but no thanks – from them, I tried to use it to improve my books. 

What is the nicest thing anyone has said about your work?

One of my readers who had just finished reading my Wayfarer series told me she couldn’t put it down from the prequel to the eighteenth book.  That was wonderful to hear but then she took it over the top by telling me, even though she just finished the series, she wanted to go back and read it again.  I was over the moon with that. 

She recently told me she was in a book funk and nothing appealed.  She said she was looking for another Adara / Decker match and series but not finding it.  So she was going to read the series again to see if she could get rid of the funk. 

What is the one key takeaway advice you would give to anyone who wants to become a published author?

Being a published author is just getting started when you’ve finished the book.  There’s the production of the book and then there’s marketing the book.  So don’t throw something together willy nilly and expect to be a millionaire author.  It takes time and work.

What do you do when you’re not writing? (hobbies, e.g. crochet? )

Yes, though writing can become all-consuming, I do several other things.  I like to paint, craft and crochet.  In fact, I publish my own crochet patterns.  I also read when I get the chance.  Researching family history is another of my hobbies. 

Is there a particular book you would like to feature? 

The Moon Crossing which I co-wrote with Jan Selbourne. 

Eileen, thank you so much for your time and the great insight you have given both readers and writers. Eileen has shared a blurb and excerpt of The Moon Crossing, which she authored with another amazing author Jan Selbourne.

>> The novel is available on Amazon.

The Moon Crossing by Eileen Troemel and Jan Selbourne.

The Moon Crossing

Blurb

USA Today Bestselling Author Eileen Troemel and 2019 winner of Coffee Pot Book Club Book of the year silver medal for Historical Fiction Jan Selbourne present an alternate history, sweet romance of life after the Moon Landing in 1969.

In 2030, World Correction Center – the Earth’s most secure prison – is a miserable place to land. Since it’s on the moon, it’s inescapable. It contains the worst criminals Earth has ever seen. So why are the brilliant minds across the globe being sent to this black hole of the justice system?

When world-renowned archeologist Micky Cooper is charged with embezzling, his sister Susan knows it’s a set up. It’s up to her to prove his innocence. Susan thinks she might be paranoid but she swears she’s being followed and should she trust the nice man whose cousin has disappeared as well? Was it just a chance meeting or is he against her too?

Teaming up with Greg Tanner, a man equally resolved to prove the innocence of his cousin, Samantha Tanner – a world leading linguist. Susan and Greg seek clues wherever they can find them but they’re barely keeping one step ahead of those who want them to stop.

They begin to unravel the web of lies, fraud and cover up. Just when they start to put the pieces together, Susan and Greg are forced to run for their lives. With a nudge from Samantha, they find someone to help. Is this woman an ally? Or simply part of a greater conspiracy to hide the truth? What exactly is on the moon and why are the Earth’s greatest minds being sent there to serve time?

Excerpt

Finally at the front, she saw the little line on the sidewalk. The signs said no matter what, stay behind the line. Why? Did they think her powerful enough to break through a steel cage and bullet proof window? She forced a smile on her face as she fought her own rebellious nature. Putting her toes on the line, she raised her eyes to meet those of the officer.

The officer behind the window glanced her way. She flashed a sweet almost innocent smile to charm him. He paused momentarily, “State the name of the prisoner.”

“Micky… Michael James Cooper,” Susan heard the whir of the computer through the thick walls as the officer typed in her brother’s name. Biting her lip, she waited.

The officer stared at the screen, an eerie green reflection on his face. He glanced at her, frowned, and glanced back to his screen. “He’s not assigned,” the officer said.

“Can you tell me when he will be assigned,” Susan asked stepping closer to the window. She stepped over the line, but no one burst out of the doors to drag her away.

With his Adam’s apple bobbing, the officer looked into her pretty blue eyes. He licked his lips as he took in her tight sweater and her curves. Pencil skirts highlighted her narrow waist and flat stomach. Susan saw the desire she endured from men since she got breasts at ten. Men. She tried to keep the disgust she felt hidden.

“He’s been assigned,” the officer said reluctantly shifting his eyes back to the screen. “There’s no backlog of prisoners. They either get a prison in the US, or they go off to WCC.”

“What’s WCC?”

“World Correctional Center,” he informed.

“Sergeant Brady,” she read off his name from the tag on his gray uniform, “I know you get a lot of flak from people all day long, I don’t want to cause trouble. I want to send my brother some food and other creature comforts.”

Sergeant Brady adjusted his belt as he stood behind the glass and metal counter. “Most likely they sent him to the moon,” he said. “Those designations always take longer to get in the system.”

“May I ask you a simple question,” Susan said putting on her ‘I’m a dumb girl act’.

“Anything I can do to help,” Officer Brady said, grinning when she gave him a half smile.

“I thought they only sent the worst criminals there,” she said leaning forward to give him a better view of her cleavage. “I know Son of Sam and Charles Manson were sent to the dark side of the moon. Why would they send my brother who… well he did something with the computer, and they said he stole money.”

“It’s all up to the International Department of Justice,” Officer Brady said leaning towards the glass. “They assign the prisoners to the prison.”

“You’re so kind,” Susan beamed at him. “Who can I contact…”

“You can’t and you are beyond the line,” snapped an officer behind Brady, who jumped to attention.

“Oh, forgive me,” Susan said stepping back. This man was not swayed by her helpless girl act. “Thank you for your assistance.”

Turning away from the head of the line, Susan felt a flush rush across her face. How dare they? The dark side of the moon. Why send her brother? They convicted him of embezzlement. Murders, mass murderers, traitors were all sent to the dark side of the moon.

About Eileen

USA Today Bestseller Author Eileen Troemel writes action packed and emotionally powerful fantasy, scifi, romance. She’s versatile and writes in many genres.  She’ll try almost any genre if it means she can tell a good story.  In addition to her writing, she loves to read, crochet, and research genealogy.  Her best days are spent with her family of three adult daughters and her husband or writing. 

Author links:

Website: https://eileentroemel.com/ 

Twitter https://twitter.com/EileenTroemel

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/EileenTroemelAuthor/ 

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/eileentroemel/

LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/eileen-troemel-6667825b/

MeWe https://mewe.com/i/eileentroemel

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7868345.Eileen_Troemel