Monday, March 25, 2019

Novella Set in the Opera World. Meet Fran Thomas. # Giveaway

Posted by Susan B James on 4:00:00 PM with 1 comment

Meet Fran Thomas, a self-published author who currently has four books out. She is offering a copy of Making Time With The Maestro to one lucky reader. (Raffflecopter at the end of this the post.)

Fran, please tell us a little about yourself.
I have been happily married for more than 25 years. We moved to Florida from Pennsylvania in 1997. I began to write fiction many years ago but until 2016 had never finished anything. My first book was The Lady Is a Mayor, the first of my Calusa Town Tales series.

Did you hire an editor?
No, my undergrad degree is in English and for a time I did editing for Astraea Press, now Clean Reads. I felt pretty confident. Besides, I was publishing on a shoestring budget.

How did you choose the cover?
So far, I have done my own covers using Canva. I do my best to get the right “look” while keeping them as simple as possible.

What advice do you have for other authors who are considering self-publishing?
Read everything you can about plotting. I find this the most difficult part of writing. Networking either in person or online with other authors in your genre is also tremendously important. Other authors are truly generous about answering questions.

What is the most exciting moment, so far, in your writing career?
It was a thrill the first time I signed a book for a reader.

My latest work is a stand-alone novella about the backstage world of opera. It includes a fake engagement, a trope many readers seem fond of. The PR Director agrees to the pretend relationship so the Maestro can concentrate on making beautiful music without the distraction of women falling all over him.

The following afternoon, Alice was about to head for the auditorium to sit in on another round of auditions when the reporter from CelebNews poked his head into the office. It hardly seemed possible, but he looked even more disheveled today. Now what?
“What can I do for you, Mr….”
“Reynolds,” the man supplied. “I just came from interviewing Miranda DeLuca.”
Oh, dear. Her again? Alice pasted on a fake smile. “I’m afraid Maestro Moretti is unavailable right now.”
“That’s O.K. It’s you I came to see.”
Her day was going downhill rapidly. “Me? Why? What did Ms. De Luca say?”
“She told me all about her romance with Moretti and how she came here thinking they were still an item. Then she told me how he’d dumped her for you. She implied you only got your job here because you’re involved with him. Care to comment?”
“Oh, I’ll comment all right. I was hired for this job by the chair of the board, Mrs. Cross. I never met the maestro until I walked in here my first day on the job. You can verify that with her.”
“If that’s the case, Moretti moved pretty fast to pop the question, didn’t he?”
Lorenzo materialized in the doorway. His jaw clenched. “Open your eyes, man. Ms. Wright is beautiful, classy, and smart. Have you never heard of love at first sight? I moved fast so I did not risk losing her.”
Alice sank down into her chair. Lorenzo was so convincing even she believed he was in love, and she knew better.
Lorenzo circled behind her and put his hand on her shoulder. “Now you have your comment, so please leave us. You are upsetting my fiancée.”
Reynolds backed away. “Wouldn’t want to do that.” He pulled out his phone. “Before I go, can I just get a picture of you two kissing to run with the story?”
Alice shook her head, but Lorenzo took both her hands in his and brought her to her feet. Before she could protest, he leaned in for a prolonged kiss. As her posture relaxed, his grip on her hands loosened. He wrapped his arms around her and drew her closer.  His lips moved gently over hers.
The flash of the camera brought Alice back to reality. She pulled away from Lorenzo. She expected to see a smirk on his face, but he looked almost as dazed as she felt.
“Thanks, lovebirds,” Reynolds called over his shoulder.

And finally, where can we find you?
My web site is I have a Facebook page under that name and tweet as @RusticTropics. Anyone who signs up for my newsletter will receive a free short story based on my experiences with a senior dance team.

Thank you for being here, Fran. Happy week and happy reading to all.  Don't forgrt the TRR Romance Party. 
It ends March 31.
See you in April.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Mystery and Chocolate Joanne Guidoccio #Giveaway

Posted by Susan B James on 3:00:00 AM with 9 comments
All About Baci Perugina
When a book blogger asked me to compare the Gilda Greco Mystery Series to chocolate, I had no problems coming up with the perfect answer: Baci Perguina, the most famous chocolate brand in Italy and popular with Italians worldwide.
Perugina’s signature recipe includes whipped milk chocolate, gianduia filling, and chopped hazelnuts all in bittersweet chocolate. Each bacio (kiss) comes individually wrapped in silver and blue packaging and hugged by a poetic love note.
The three books in the series—A Season for Killing Blondes, Too Many Women in the Room, A Different Kind of Reunioncontain romantic elements, humor, and bittersweet moments…A perfect fit for Baci Perugina!
While researching the history of this famous chocolate, I discovered an intriguing back-story.
In 1922, a young chocolatier named Luisa Spagnoli fell in love with Giovanni Buitoni, one of the founders of the Perugina Chocolate Company. He felt the same way but couldn’t pursue the relationship. Luisa’s husband was the other founder!
Luisa decided to create a special bonbon to honor her beloved. She came up with a rounded shape, an entire hazelnut in the center, covered by a dark chocolate exterior. She named it a cazzotto (punch) but Giovanni changed the name to bacio (kiss).
Each chocolate was wrapped in a billet-doux—a love note—that Luisa would send to Giovanni.
That simple gesture between the star-crossed lovers spread throughout Italy (and the world), continuing for decades afterward. In the 1960s, English and French translations were added to the original text in Italian. Today, more than 390 inspiring messages can be read in six languages: Italian, English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, and Chinese.
Here are some examples:
In dreams as in love all is possible. (J. Arany)
I loved you at first sight. And you smile because you know it. (A. Boto)
Love is like luck: it doesn’t like to be chased. (T. Gautier)
Loves can live on kisses and water. (English proverb)
Till I loved I did not live enough. (Emily Dickinson)
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind. (William Shakespeare)

About the Gilda Greco Mystery Series

A cross between Miss Marple, Jessica Fletcher, and Cher (Moonstruck), protagonist Gilda Greco brings a unique perspective to the amateur female sleuth.

The teacher-turned-lottery winner returns to her hometown, only to find herself embroiled in a series of murder investigations. Before you start imaging thrillers with high stakes and police chases, pause and take a yoga breath. The three novels in the series—A Season for Killing Blondes, Too Many Women in the Room, A Different Kind of Reunion—are cozy mysteries, written in the Agatha Christie tradition. All the crimes take place “off stage” with very few graphic details provided.

While the pace may be more relaxed than that of thrillers and police procedurals, there are no steaming cups of herbal teas, overstuffed chairs, or purring cats in these contemporary cozies. Prepare yourself for interfering relatives who don’t always respect boundaries, adult mean girls, deserving and undeserving men, multiple suspects, and lots of Italian food.

Buy Links
Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win a copy of A Season for Killing Blondes, the first book in the Gilda Greco Mystery Series. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Susan Note: I read and enjoyed this so much. And if you actually buy the eBook for 2.99 you can add the audiobook for 7.49. 
A member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, and Romance Writers of America, Joanne Guidoccio writes cozy mysteries, paranormal romance, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.
 Where to find Joanne Guidoccio

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Irish Magic Cover help #giveaway. #recipe

Posted by Susan B James on 9:32:00 PM with 3 comments

Aye and Begorrah and may the Luck of the Irish be with you.
Somewhere inside, there is a little bit of Irish in most of us. Probably put there by Leprechaun dust. Leprechauns are another tribe of the Faerie Folk that live is a shifting fold of time. Are they alive now? Well it depends on how time folds. It’s always possible to catch a glimpse of one.
In 2013 I went to Ireland to celebrate my seventieth birthday. I wanted to see a Leprechaun; hear musical Irish voices, meet the people and visit the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival. 
I didn’t find a real matchmaker, but I did find a pot of gold: An idea for a book, Kate's hero - now called Irish Magic will be published in August and I need cover ideas. 
I put a post on my Facebook Author Page with possible cover images.

I forgot to add this cover which also has a good feel to it. 
Anyone who helps me out with a comment will get an ARC of Irish Magic. 
Two commenters will win a ten dollar Amazon Card.

Kate Carnahan’s second novel is late to her publisher because the bitter end to her engagement turned her hero into a snarky disaster and she’s had no luck in re-imagining him. When she finds her first- ever four-leaf clover, her wish is a new hero for her book.
Hah! Every leprechaun knows a four-leaf clover wish is a heart wish and Kate’s heart wants a true love. To fulfill it, half-Leprechaun Bradley Flynn calls in help from the finest matchmaker Ireland’s ever had.
Essie O’Callaghan retired her hereditary position years ago, but she now has a mission of her own. Finding her friend Dr. Michael Walshe a wife.
Together Brad and Essie engineer Kate’s and Michael’s trips to Ireland, arranging for them to encounter each other – over, and over and over again.
Kate and Michael have both sworn off romantic entanglements, but the more they see of each other, the harder it is to resist the temptation to explore their reluctant attraction.

And then there’s the matter of Brad’s cousin Eamon, ashamed of his halfling heritage and too stiff-necked to admit he’s been in love with his fellow halfling Pirikit Mac Cionaoith his whole life. Someone has to take that pair in hand.

 Ah well, Ireland’s home to more magic than most mortals dream. It’s a fine place for two stubborn couples who are perfect for each other to fall in love.

Recipe time.

For St. Patrick’s Day, I buy corned beef, spread the spice packet on top, wrap in in heavy aluminum foil and bake it at 250 degrees for five or six hours. 

I serve it with cabbage, pan sautéed with Irish butter. And on the side, Sour Cream Horseradish sauce. Because everything is better with sour cream, Even dirt.

Sour Cream Horseradish Sauce Recipe:

1/4 to 1/2 cup prepared horseradish (according to your taste)
1 pint (2 cups) sour cream 
2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt

In a medium-sized bowl, combine horseradish, sour cream, lemon juice, and salt; thoroughly mix. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Author Jen Talty A Dash of Suspense A Dollop of Love #Giveaway

Posted by Susan B James on 3:00:00 AM with 2 comments
Happy March, everyone. Jen Talty is a new-to-me author whom I’m delighted to meet. She is a USA Today Bestseller of Romantic Suspense, Contemporary Romance, and Paranormal Romance. She has three series and some stand-alone novellas. Her current book is a part of Carolyn Haines TROUBLE series and I am in love with the cover.

Trouble’s Wedding Caper. SEX, LIES, AND WEDDING BETRAYALS—
Annabel Wilder returns home to Jupiter, Florida seeking a fresh start after a brutal heartbreak. As a treasure hunter, she bids on a mysterious storage unit. Inside the unit, Annabel finds real treasure--wedding dresses, bridesmaid gowns, and jewelry.

But somebody else wants the unit and Annabel is in the way. Landing smack in the middle of the mess, Annabel is soon swept up in a dangerous investigation headed by the handsome Sheriff Ethan Ferris, and a strange black cat that seems determined to protect her. Now her heart and her life are both at risk.

Ethan Ferris hadn’t been able to get Annabel out of his mind. But a rocky romance has hardened his heart to love—and to Annabel. When his criminal investigation embroils them both in danger, Ethan is forced to face his past or lose the future.

Trouble, with detective skills second only to Sherlock Holmes, arrives in the nick of time. Can he help Ethan solve a rash of wedding burglaries before the culprit harms Annabel? Can the savvy black cat push the would-be lovers past their jaded hearts and into love?

That sounds like so much fun. Readers, if you would like t read an excerpt, CLICK HERE

Jen, please tell us a little about yourself? Perhaps something not many people know?
I’m an introvert, but not shy, so most people think I’m extroverted. While I’m outgoing, I’m the kind of person who enjoys being alone, which is why writing is a great fit for me.

What inspired you to start writing?

Honestly, it was sort of out of boredom. My kids were little and I was mostly a stay at home mom. I went to my local Wegmans and stood in front of the book racks and realized I had read almost every book there. So, I snagged a notebook and a pen, and I went home and wrote a book. That book was the first book I ever published. The title is IN TWO WEEKS.
 And she’s giving away a copy. At the end of this post, there is a Rafflecopter.
In Two Weeks (NY State Trooper #1)
by Jen Talty (Goodreads Author)
3.93 · Rating details · 276 ratings · 40 reviews

Ryan O'Conner has the world at her fingertips. She's strong, feisty and has everything she's ever wanted, except the right man. Jared Blake represents everything Ryan doesn't want. He's controlling, overbearing and now he's moving. Having had a crush on him for years, Ryan decides to seduce Jared. A goodbye thing. However, her plans change when someone starts stalking her. With her life on the line, she turns to Jared for protection and finds the not so perfect man is the perfect man for her.

More about Jen:
Who is your favorite author?
This is not an easy question to answer. There are many authors I enjoy reading, so I don’t have one favorite. However, the book HELLO DARKNESS by Sandra Brown was the book that made me think I could write one.

What is the first book that made you cry?
Bodyguard of Lies by Bob Mayer.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?
The power to heal people.

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven't been before (real or imaginary)?

If you looked in your refrigerator right now, what would you find?
Mostly fruit and salad mixings.

Are you a better baker or cook or take out connoisseur?
I’m a baker.

What do you love most about your writing process?
That I write every day.

Do you like music or silence?

Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reins of the story?
Characters always hijack the story as I write. I often find things out that I didn’t know and then I have to go back and rewrite to make sure it all fits.

What is your writing Kryptonite?
When outside things get in the way.

Is anything in your book based on real-life experiences or purely all imagination?
My books are all set in places I’ve been. I draw on what I know in life, what I see around me, hear on the news, watch on television, so yes, some are real experiences.

Do you have any other books coming out this year?
I have a few novellas and full-length novels coming out. Please check my website for updates:

Thank you for being here, Jen. Rafflecopter is below. Readers, you mean the world to me. Have a wonderful week.

a Rafflecopter giveaway