Tag Archive | interview

Jo Ann Wentzel – Author

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Jo Ann Wentzel remembers always writing from at least her late teens. There always seemed to be some type of writing going on even though she spent years working at other jobs such as retail and in the human services field. She did all kinds of selling which now she finds very helpful in promoting books. For decades she and her husband did full time foster care where their house became a group home. They then created and implemented two separate programs where they contracted with many counties to provide services.

Her writing covered numerous topics for many years and she wrote hundreds of non-fiction pieces for several online websites and print outlets. She spent a couple years writing for a local weekly newspaper and college newspapers as an older student. Many of her articles were aimed at helping parents and foster parents. Jo Ann also wrote about rescue pets and party planning, two of her greatest interests. The topics were endless since all this happened over many years.

The parenting topics were of such interest to people that it encouraged Jo Ann to write her first book, a non-fiction volume called It Begins and Ends with Family. Originally, it was put on a CD-ROM for the parents that they worked with; other than that it languished in a box for many years. When she felt a new need for this she was spurred into action. Jo Ann finally did something with this in the past few months and now it is available as an e-book and in a print format on Amazon.

Meanwhile, Jo Ann felt compelled to write about a topic both disgusting and unpleasant. She felt it necessary to produce a book about this issue and was excited to try her hand at fiction. The book features the issue of pedophilia. Decades ago a case worker told her one out of four divorces was because of incest. Not sure how accurate that was but, she always remembered that fact. It was evident that the majority of foster kids they welcomed into their home had been victims of sexual abuse. The signs were there and the ways it destroyed young lives prompted her to write Ultimate Betrayal. Yes, it is fiction and an improbable scenario but, all the signs are there for this sickening problem increasing. The evidence is in the news daily. Jo Ann has already been asked for a sequel and has begun to write it. Knowing how many people prefer to bury their heads in the sand and ignore unpleasantness, this is a challenging book to market. She will persist because that is who she is when something is this important and this problem should be of concern to everyone.

Picture2One year ago, Jo Ann and her husband, Dan, retired to a small, older motor home and travel the country with their two rescue dogs. This old Mallard, affectionately known as ‘the Duck’ needs constant repair but, the lifestyle is appealing. In the past, she says, their lives were always too busy to do much traveling but, now they finally can get to see some of the beautiful country they live in. Jo Ann reports her husband of over 51 years and the love of her life is helping her with promoting the books and freeing up all her time to write, a wonderful man for sure. He takes care of her website as well as Jo Ann and the pets. Family is everything to them so they fit in visits to their scattered family as often as possible.

Website | Amazon | Twitter | Pinterest | Blog
Facebook:
Profile page | Author Page | Ultimate Betrayal page

 

Interview:

 
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Picture5When in grade school, I enjoyed doing essays and extra writing assignments. As a teen and young adult I continued to write for myself but, never thought seriously about being a writer. I always wrote stuff while working at additional jobs. Eventually I started to submit articles here and there, but, did not look at this seriously until maybe 20 years ago and after that began writing for many online websites. It took a need for a book to help explain the calling of foster care and give new parents some advice and help to supplement their training when the first book was born. It was many years after that till it was first published. The next book was my first novel.

 

How long does it take you to write a book?

The first book took a whole year and the novel was about 2/3rd’s that time. I’m fascinated by different lengths of time to complete a book due to the varied writing styles of authors. I’m sure some books are harder to write than others and take more time or research.

 

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I have not yet developed one that works perfectly as other projects and just life cause me to be more flexible. I try to work for at least a couple hours most days, if the words are flowing easily I work more time. I prefer to work mornings since I seem to come to the blank page less worried and less frustrated about results. I prod myself, most days, to write a certain number of words, but, still word count varies.

 

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

Don’t know that I have one but, I have already awoken in the middle of the night, quickly wrote notes about my idea but, was unable to decipher them by daylight. I also remember a time when I ran dripping from a tub with an idea that was really not that great. Mostly I stare at a blank screen till genius hits which is very rare. I suspect this is a more common occurrence for most authors. I find certain places seem to be more conducive to writing. I love being outside or at least be able to see and enjoy nature, especially looking at water relaxes me and helps creative juices flow. I seem to be more productive and imaginative.

 

How do your books get published?

The only way I can be sure they will get out there and be exposed to readers is to self-publish until I am an expert and seasoned writer. Being an Indie writer means lots more work in addition to writing. Promoting is time intensive and you must have help to do it. One thing about self-publishing is that you are forced to learn a lot, most of it the hard way.

 

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

First and fore-most from life experiences. There are other things that just come to you as an idea and require research but, mainly it is just what is of importance to you, what life has given you as challenges, passions and values that direct your thinking in the beginning. What you hold dear will usually end up in a book.

 

When did you write your first book and how old were you?

I wrote my first book in 1999 at 52 years old. It Begins and Ends with Family is a non-fiction describing our experiences of foster care. We had a group home with up to 8 teen boys at a time. Boys that chose to come to our house instead of detention were our specialty. Some parenting and mentoring with girls and young children were part of other programs and experiences.

 

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

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I like to read, love to hunt for antiques and collectibles, to cook, to enjoy pets, to fish, to travel and to experience new things.

 

What does your family think of your writing?

My husband Dan is my biggest fan and help. My children have always been supportive and my best fans are family and friends but, because they love and know me and are probably a bit prejudiced.

 

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

That I know a lot of stuff that is not particularly valuable but, my interests have always been widespread and the stuff that means nothing to others-well I have a wealth of knowledge in those areas. Once in a while, it comes in handy.

 

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I’ve only written two so far but, am working on the sequel to my novel. Of the two my first try at fiction is my favorite. Ultimate Betrayal is set in ‘end times’ when everything is falling apart and crime in one factor of the population is widespread. This is also a time of technological advancements and the two collide to solve a horrific problem.

 

Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

I’m too new at this myself to offer much advice but, my own would be don’t be easily discouraged. Write what you want to write and be genuine. Readers can spot a fake. Don’t write for fame or fortune.

 

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

Not too many readers yet but, my family is good at giving me feedback. They wanted a sequel. They liked it and they thought it was good. I’ll take that till more readers weigh in.

 

Do you like to create books for adults?

I do but, nothing too erotic, there are already plenty of works on the market for those who prefer those types of books. I also have planned a project of a kid’s book. Hope not too limit myself too much by age group or genre.

 

What do you think makes a good story?

Some people are born story tellers and their ideas never end. The story should flow. Dialogue should be believable. It should be full of the unexpected with well – drawn characters that seem real enough for you to love or hate them. I’m aspiring to learn to do all that one day.

 

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

I always wanted to have a large family. We were so happy to have two wonderful children. I wanted to be a ballerina as a child and then as a teen a model. Foster care met my first need and the other dreams made place for another impossible one to become an author. I am technically one now and so the next dream is to be a well-read author  – different than a top selling author.

 

Books:

ULTIMATE BETRAYAL:

Picture8Ann Wentzel’s first novel about a topic she feels passionate about and a concern she has for the direction society has taken to a more and more immoral place. Morality is fast disappearing. Caring about others has almost become obsolete. Selfishness prevails. These characteristics are also said to be present in the biblical period called ‘end times’ so the problems fit the ‘what if’ theme of the book. The book explores the fight we are all engaged in of good against evil. Everyone has a personal battle going on inside themselves and depending on your faith, personal philosophy or even your perceptions your choices are made and one side of evil versus good will win. Jo Ann says,”Since society had broadened its concept of what is acceptable more people feel freed from restrictions and boundaries. Behavior that should be unacceptable is now running rampant because no one cares or says ‘NO’. As a Christian this concerns me, knowing the bible teaches we are all sinners, I know people are not perfect. But, when one groups behavior destroys lives and results in broken people my heart hurts.” The characters in this book may be fighting the battle and a unique solution could temporarily stem the tide of this explosion but, what can we do about this problem in real life? The sequel will offer yet another tact to dealing with this issue. But, readers will need to wait on that for a while yet.

Amazon | Create Space

Book Daily-Sample Chapter

 

IT BEGINS AND ENDS WITH FAMILY:

Picture3Parenting has never been foolproof. It has never been easy and without challenges. For most kids that you might call average, ’normal (though I do not believe that child exists) well -known, tried and true measures are sufficient. The average parent has instincts good enough to help kids through tough times and parenting skills that allow them all to survive the ordeal of children growing up.

For those kids who have additional behaviors that are a bit out of the norm, unusual and troubling some of the old time methods do not always work. I believe in tougher discipline for these kids than most modern parents want to engage in. Not abuse mind you, but, spanking in certain cases might need to be one of the tools in your arsenal. This can be a last resort but, if you wait too long it will be of no use at all. When the thinking changed from making your child obey and be responsible for their actions to coddling and letting them run a muck, all hell broke loose. This is responsible for the breakdown of many families.

For foster parents, they rarely have a placement without problems and issues. Partly for the reason stated above that no one makes a child responsible for their actions and also because the current parent is part of the first ‘if it feels good do it’ generation of kids. They want to be kid’s buddies not their parents. Foster kids are difficult because of all these factors and the non -parenting action has gone on too long.

These children need more innovative and practical parenting. Unusual situations call for unique parenting methods. This book supplies new ideas and challenges all parents to think out of the box. When we truly listen and watch our children, we learn to head off unacceptable behaviors. We must connect with foster kids on many levels so they want to please us and are willing to work with you. When they decide they wish to succeed, you have a great chance of helping them to function in a way society accepts and move them closer to their personal goals.

Jo Ann and her husband, Dan, fostered full time for decades and worked with more than 75 kids. Often their house saw eight teen boys at one time.

This author’s future will also see the publishing of a Life Skills manual since they taught that program for many years.

Amazon | Create Space
Book Daily-Sample Chapter

 

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Author Jo Ann Wentzel is Promoted by The Owl Branch Book Promotions

www.theowlbranch2015.net | theowlbranch2015@gmail.com

Crystal & Susan

 

 

Friday: The Thirteenth Question with Rainne Atkins

Originally posted on Adventures in Indie Publishing  by mdellert.
(February 5, 2016)

Rainne Atkins, a self-described ‘Army Brat,’ grandmother of six, and book reviewer, recently granted me the privilege of an interview.

MED: Rainne, thanks for joining me. Please tell me, given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

RA: An easy one for starters. I ‘fell in love’ with David Bowie when I was 13 and have been a fan of his music ever since.

MED: I’ve always loved Bowie’s music myself. Please accept my condolences on the recent passing of David Bowie, that must have been hard for you, as it was on all of us.

Tell me, when did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?

RA: I’m a very emotional person, so it doesn’t take much to make me cry!

The last time I cried by myself was when I read ‘Cutting through the fog‘ on Paul White’s blog.

MED: Where are you from?

RA: I currently live in a village on the outskirts of Lancaster, UK, but was born in Aldershot and from there lived in several places in England as my Dad was in the Royal Engineers.

MED: Please share a little about yourself: What are your favorite flowers? What is your education and family life like?

RA: I’ve been married to Brian for 25 years, I have 3 children all of whom have flown the nest and I’ve been blessed with 4 grandsons and 2 grand-daughters, ranging in age from 1 month to 12 years.

I don’t work because I suffer from anxiety and depression and also because Brian has a number of health problems and I need to be there for him.

MED: Please tell us, what are the Top 5 books you read in 2015?

RA: This is a hard one!! How on earth do I choose only 5 ?!?!

  • The Exiled – Scott Borgman
  • …Before You Leap – Les Lynam
  • Kissing Demons – Jen Winters
  • Souls of the Never – C.J. Rutherford
  • Storm Portal – Michael R. Stern

There are so many more I could add to this list though!

MED: And please, what are the Top 5 books you want to read in the New Year (2016)?

RA: I have a to-read list that will see me well into the New Year, and I’m always adding to it.

From that list the 5 I am most looking forward to reading are:

  • Travel Glasses – Chess Desalls
  • The Distant Sound of Violence – Jason Greensides
  • Miriam’s Hex – Paul White
  • Scroll – DB Nielson
  • Continuation & Infinity – Scott Borgman

Yes I know I cheated on the last one 🙂

MED: Oh, you’re a crafty one. But I’ll let you get away with cheating just this one time. 😉 How long they have been reviewing or blogging? What inspired you to review your first (or latest) book / write your first blog?

RA: I started blogging in May this year, full of great ideas of what I was going to blog about, though when it came to it I dried up and had only managed a couple of posts when I stumbled on the #IndieRoar Challenge.

I didn’t know what an Indie Author was up until then, and the only reviews I left were a couple of lines for books I’d won on Goodreads.

After ‘talking’ to some of the Indie Authors I realised how important it was for readers to post reviews of their books, so I started leaving them for every book I read. I think the reviews I post now are more detailed and much better than my earlier ones.

MED: What book are you reading now?

RA: This changes from day to day, but at this moment in time I have two books on the go. On my kindle I’m reading a book from my ‘to-review’ list – The Betrayal of Ka by Shea R Oliver.

I’m also reading a paperback copy of Too Dark for Television by Patrick Elliot.

MED: As a book reviewer, do you have any advice for writers?

RA: Gosh, not really! I think writers are awesome, I couldn’t write a book if my life depended on it.

I guess if anything I would say,

“Keep writing, don’t give up… and please check your spelling ;)”

MED: How long have you been a member of Author Promo Co-Op / #IndieBooksBeSeen?

RA: I’ve been a member of IBBS for 6 months and APC for 5 months

MED: What do you like most about being a member of Author Promo Co-Op / #IndieBooksBeSeen?

RA: They are both friendly groups, and everyone has made me feel very welcome, like we are all part of one big family.

I love how everyone helps each other with all aspects of writing, publishing & promoting.

MED: What is your most treasured memory?

RA: My most treasured memory would be delivering my Grandson on the floor of my living room. 🙂 It was wonderful, although somewhat scary and is something I’ll never forget.

MED: How can we follow your book reviews? (links to blog, twitter, facebook, amazon author, and other pages)

RA: Reviews on:

Reviews of books I’ve read each month on:

Other links:

Rainne, thanks so much for taking the time to share a little about your life and your love of books with us. The Indie Author movement is grateful for your reviews and your unflagging support. Best of luck to you, Brian, and your wonderful brood of kids and grandkids!

 

Becky’s Kiss by Nicholas Fisher

“It could not be worse for ninth grader Becky Michigan on her first day at a new school, sitting in beet juice and staining her white jeans in a classroom about to fill up with students. In the nick of time, a gorgeous blonde boy named Danny comes in and offers his over-sized baseball jersey so she can cover up, get to the office, and change. By the time she pulls the shirt over her head, however, he has mysteriously disappeared.

Becky scours the school in search of her dream-athlete and wonders why after contact with him she has magically gained the ability to throw a fastball ninety miles per hour! Instead of finding the answer, however, Becky’s new skill pits her against the school bully and the entire varsity baseball team.

That night, after her exciting showdown in front of the entire school, Danny shows up at her bedroom window. If she will agree to meet him behind Rutledge High at midnight on the ball field at the edge of the woods, he promises to reveal a secret meant to alter the past and change her life forever.”

 Watch the Trailer

Purchase your copy here:

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Nicholas Fisher is a college professor and a sports enthusiast. He writes adult horror under another name, but thought of the idea for Becky’s Kiss while
coaching his son’s baseball team. Since the story involved high school drama he decided to write his first young adult piece. When not writing or teaching, Nicholas Fisher enjoys pizza, reality television, and playing the banjo. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and his son goes to Arizona State University.

Connect with the Author Here: 

Website  Facebook   Twitter

 

Interview with Nicholas Fisher

Becky’s kiss is Paranormal Romance .. What draws you to PNR -do you write other genres?

A wonderful question. I like reading PNR, but I write in the horror genre for adults under another name. The idea for Becky’s Kiss came to me as a little league baseball story at first, so the characters were young adults! The paranormal part came naturally I suppose, and I have always preached that no matter the genre or subject matter, love is the most powerful force that moves a plot.

 

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I was a musician for many years, and my heavy metal bands were relatively successful. Still, I had to compromise my vision at times, and I wanted to try something where I had control of the ship. So…with writing I either sink or sail, my fault or my party, and I prefer it that way. It has been a wonderful, tough road, mostly parties, but I have had my share of pitfalls and heartaches too.

 

Do you have a special time to write, how is your day structured?

That’s an easy one. I write in the morning, 5 am until around 11:00 am.

 

Can you give us some insight into Becky Michigan?

Becky is the girl I wanted to be friends with in high school: shy, pretty, a bit klutzy, and welcoming instead of critical. She’s a nerd and loves baseball statistics. She’s unsure of herself until tested, and then she becomes a hero.

 

How important are names to you in your books?

What an odd, awesome question! I have never been asked that.
Names are important and not important at the same time. I feel they are more important for the image they create than anything symbolic or deep. I have trouble with names, because I have preconceived images affixed to them for some reason. I know it is unfair, but in my head, George is fat with rubbery lips, Jim is skinny and sneaky, Bob is plain, Ryan is stupid, Lenny is clumsy, and Steven is shifty. I have the same issue with female names, though they somehow have more life, I can’t explain why. I tend to be able to stretch the cliché and have it work with these, like Brittney not just being a stuck up tenth grader with perfect hair, but in her elder version, a portfolio manager for a rocking software company who isn’t afraid to wear stiletto heels to board meetings. Anyway, I try not to stress about names. One reader’s images are different from another’s, and while at times I am rolling along writing a chapter and come to a dead stop when I have to invent a name, I sometimes have to tell myself that John or Sue will have to do for now until the character grows more into a “Brandon” or “Adeline.” Or not. Sometimes “Sue” is just as powerful in the end.

 

So do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?

Hmm, I like that. Yes, in the end, it is how it sounds. That creates the meaning considering the story around it.

 

What’s the nicest thing anyone has said about your book?

Two things. My good friend, horror writer Tamara Thorne, claimed it is the “Young Adult Field of Dreams.” The other nice thing was from my mentor S.T. Joshi, who said that I write non-horror well. Until then I was thought of as a niche writer, under my other name of course.

 

Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

I read as much as I can, but often remain buried in my own writing and the papers I grade. I am a college professor, so my priority is making the writing of others better before my own, let alone getting caught up in pleasure reading! I do like certain authors. Stephen King is my favourite. I am currently reading a literary piece by Claire Fullerton titled Dancing to an Irish Reel, which is quite good.

 

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

My mentor is Lovecraft scholar S.T. Joshi, who reads all my material. He is a writer, but not one of fiction too often, so I would have to defer to Tamara Thorne once again.

 

If you didn’t like writing books, what would you do for a living?

Another great question. I don’t write for a living, but rather, I teach college English. The writing is my secret get-away, so in reverse, I would have to imagine writing solely for a living and consider what the new guilty pleasure would be. If I had a choice then, already a rich famous writer, I would be a script consultant on a movie set or for a cable series.

Thank you for your time Nicholas. Good luck with the tour!

 

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DESERT WOLF by Heather Long

 

Outlaw Wolves & Defiant Hearts!

Sometimes pitiless and cruel, Sutter Butte Alpha Cassius Lucera lives in an ugly world where pack means blood, fights, and hate. To change his pack, he will have to change himself and only one person alive can help him—another pack’s Omega. DESERT WOLF by Heather Long is a story of redemption and fate that shows us how strong the attraction can be when opposites attract. If you enjoyed Motorcycle Man by Kristen Ashley, you’ll get thirsty for Desert Wolf.

Follow the tour on November 24th! Two grand prize winners will receive a $10 digital gift card for Starbucks (Open Internationally) and three grand prize winners will receive a digital copy of a Heather Long backlist of their choosing (Open Internationally).

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November 24th

 

About DESERT WOLF:

Title: Desert Wolf
Author: Heather Long
Series: Wolves of Willow Bend #8
Genre: Paranormal/Shifter Romance
Release Date: November 24th, 2015
Publisher: Self-Published
Print Length: 90K
Format: Paperback and Digital
Print ISBN: 978-1-517315-795
Digital ISBN: 978-1-310000-867

Synopsis:

Cassius, Alpha of Sutter Butte, leads the most ruthless and dangerous pack in the United States. A pack comprised of misfits who didn’t fit in their previous packs, cast offs discarded by their packs and forgotten wolves who rose to create a pack more than a century before in utter defiance of the order of the day. Sometimes pitiless and cruel, he wants more for his people than a yearly bloodbath as they fight for a new place, a better spot in the pecking order. To change his pack, means to change himself and he will find rebellion on all sides, not the least of which is his own defiant heart.

Sovvan Stark, Omega of Delta Crescent, lives a cherished, beloved life in the center of her pack, a delicate and hard won balance. Though she is not the only Omega, she is the most experienced with the tremors of pack upset when power shifts from Alpha to Alpha. When her Alpha approaches her about Sutter Butte’s request, Sovvan considers the matter for several long months. While she might hold within her the key to helping the Sutter Butte Alpha, the undertaking could very well kill her.

Accompanied by a single Hound, Sovvan begins a journey to help Cassius rebuild the foundation of his pack, but first she will have to transform him…

Find out more at:

 

Praise for the Wolves of Willow Bend Series:

“ROGUE WOLF is a fast paced, intriguing look into the world of shifters. Salvatore is old world a bit stodgy and Margo is very much new world and on top of that a lone wolf and Enforcer. How is it possible that these two could be mates? In author Heather Long’s vivid and fun imagination it’s very easy.” — Fresh Fiction

“BAYOU WOLF is in a word … amazing. All the reader can do is hold on for the ride and enjoy the fireworks.” — Fresh Fiction

“If you love sexy wolf shifters, sweet love stories and action then you have to pick up UNTAMED WOLF by Heather Long”. — Annetta Sweetko, Fresh Fiction

“It is a great story about finding a place to belong and the love that can follow if you allow it.” – Hart’s Romance Pulse reviewing RIVER WOLF

 

My Review

When I first started reading this book, I was a bit confused as to who all the characters were, but as I read on everything, and everyone, fell into place.

The book is well written and moves along at a good pace, with plenty of action and adventure.

The characters are interesting and well fleshed out. Their interactions and emotions are believable, and this made me care about what happened to them.

It’s an entertaining read, which can be read as a stand-alone story, despite being part of a series.

I haven’t read any of the previous books in the Wolves of Willow Bend series, although I do now want to. I’d like to know what happened before.

I received an eCopy of Desert Wolf from Barclay Publicity in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Read an Excerpt from DESERT WOLF

Heat rolled in waves from the blacktop of the old highway. Around him, the desert sprawled in its painted glory, seemingly melting into the horizon where it kissed the sky. The colors streaked past him as he accelerated, blowing past the old trading posts and bypassing the interstate with its smoother surface and promise of civilization in the distance. If one sought to journey through the decades, the old highway east of Holbrook was the place to start.

Sweat slicked his back beneath the leather jacket and the motorcycle vibrated between his thighs. Clocking over a hundred, he barely noticed the machine’s growl echoing his wolf’s. Cassius Lucera del Alba, Alpha of Sutter Butte squinted to catch sight of the town he sought ahead.

Though town was a generous description for the collection of ramshackle structures—of which a filling station with a decrepit market attached and a lone bar were clearly detailed. Time hadn’t forgotten the town, it had left it in the dust by doing a hundred and sixty and never looked back. If the location had a name, no map detailed it, not even Google. The poor bastards didn’t even have a ghost to call their own.

Though they might when he finished.

He didn’t slow until he reached the main drag, all eighty-five feet of it and parked his bike in front of the bar. A handful of vehicles were scattered amongst the cracked pavement and gravel. Three he recognized, two he didn’t. Like the bar, the cars were in sad shape and far more popular in earlier decades. Killing the engine, he dropped the kickstand and slid off his baby. Road dust coated her paint and chrome. With a stroke of his gloved hand over the seat, he promised her a bath later.

Leaving the bike, he strode toward the building. No one moved outside, but one wolf stood inside the filling station. He was a smart wolf, he’d spotted Cassius, yet didn’t reach for a phone or make any move other than retrieving his newspaper and flipping it open.

Inside, the cool air rushed over his sweaty face like a sweet kiss. The scents of stale beer, body odor, remnants of the blood spilled throughout the years, and fear stained the experience. The population of the bar—easily a dozen wolves though Cassius scented at least four more in the back—glanced up from their places scattered around the room. Three played pool, four others huddled around a card game while the rest sat in various spots including two at the bar drinking. A couple in the corner paused with her hand down his pants. The bartender—a tall, broad wolf with a balding pate and a world-weary expression raised his eyebrows in silent inquiry. “Beer. Cold.” Cassius said, and the bartender nodded. A moment later, he set a tall bottle of Corona on the weathered bar top. The sides frosted and a hint of vapor escaped the top. Condensation formed almost immediately on the sides, slicking along the glass in rivulets.

Stripping off his fingerless gloves first. Cassius set them on the bar. Next, he peeled off his jacket. The old leather moulded him perfectly after the many years he spent wearing it. Only after setting it on the bar next to his gloves did he peel off three one hundred dollar bills and lay them next to the bottle. The bartender didn’t say a word as he took the bills, tucked them into his pocket then locked his register and exited through the double doors behind the bar.

Leaning against the aged wood, Cassius swept the room with his gaze. “If any of you are still sitting on your asses, disobeying the direct orders I sent out when I finish this beer, I’ll kill you.” He didn’t raise his voice. Shouting accomplished nothing. Yelling indicated the battle was lost before it began.

Chair legs scraping across the floor splintered the silence. The couple in the corner disengaged. The she-wolf grabbed her purse as she stood. Boots striking the floor punctuated her exodus. No sooner did the door slam shut behind her than the four wolves playing cards toss them down, abandoning their game. The men muttered, but they divvied the pot, then bowed their heads to him one at a time before hurrying out.

Tipping the bottle up, he took a long pull of the cold drink. It soothed his parched throat. One of the pool players threw down his stick. One of the wolves tried to stop him with a hand on his arm, but he shook it off. Then like the other wolves before him, he hurried out the door.

From nearly twenty to only ten—behind feet stomped on the stairs followed by another door slamming. Make that eight. One of the upstairs wolves strode into the bar, and stood in the center of it. Surprise filled his scent at the emptiness in the room. The others waited, their attention divided between Cassius and Finch.

Stupid fucking name for a wolf. Another long pull from his beer, and Cassius was three quarters finished. One by one he met the gazes of the wolves around the room. The smarter ones lowered their eyes immediately, the dumbasses fought to hold his gaze—even Finch.

Focusing on him last, Cassius studied him. Fresh beads of sweat began to trickle along Finch’s cheeks. The wolf swore, then stomped out and slammed the door with enough force, one of the hinges cracked.

Then there were seven.

About Heather Long:

852365National bestselling author, Heather Long, likes long walks in the park, science fiction, superheroes, Marines, and men who aren’t douche bags. Her books are filled with heroes and heroines tangled in romance as hot as Texas summertime. From paranormal historical westerns to contemporary military romance, Heather might switch genres, but one thing is true in all of her stories—her characters drive the books. When she’s not wrangling her menagerie of animals, she devotes her time to family and friends she considers family. She believes if you like your heroes so real you could lick the grit off their chest, and your heroines so likable, you’re sure you’ve been friends with women just like them, you’ll enjoy her worlds as much as she does.

Connect with Heather:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

Interview with Heather

 

Before we get started on the questions, can you tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a mother, a pet owner and a student of life. I studied journalism, psychology and business in school and I have degrees in two out of three of those subjects. I write because I can’t not write and every book is a passionate love affair for me and every time I type “the end” it’s a bittersweet moment.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

Honestly, I think it became my passion with the first book I ever sat and “read” all by myself. My grandmother read to me for years. She used to read Harlequin romances to me because she didn’t like picture books. As I learned to read on my own, I gobbled up everything from picture books to my first chapter books to Tom Swift and Trixie Belden. I got lost in their worlds and I wanted to get lost in my own. After my daughter’s birth, I went back to school and decided to make my dreams a reality.

What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?

Desert Wolf is my latest release. It’s the 8th full novel in the Wolves of Willow Bend and the 12th tale. It was actually inspired by the moment I met Claire in Wolf Next Door and Cassius’ subsequent appearance in Bayou Wolf. I really wanted to tell his story.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

Cassius is a hard ass. Seriously, he is brutal and tough. He does not hold back in fights and he doesn’t try to pretend to be understanding, yet at the same time, he is utterly devoted to his pack. He wants the best for them—no matter what it costs him personally.

Can you tell us anything about any of your current work(s)-in-progress?

I am working on A Man Called Wyatt which is the eighth and final book in the Fevered Hearts series. I love returning to this paranormal historical western world from the cowboys to the horses to the epic feel to the powers. It rocks.

What are the hardest and easiest parts about being a writer?

Hardest part? Edits. You have to be willing to read, reread, revise, read, and revise over and over. The shine you feel for the story can get lost in the polishing.

Easiest part? Losing myself in the story. I love writing. It’s my joy.

Do you ever get writer’s Block, and do you have any tips on how to get through it?

Writer’s block is a state of mind. I rarely ever encounter it, usually if I am stuck on a scene or a book it’s because I missed something earlier in the manuscript. Worst case scenario, I get up, and clean my house and dance to some music, and then usually it’s enough of a mental break to dive back in.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t give up. Ever. Keep writing. All the time. Take classes and learn. But write like you mean it. Write for yourself. For me, writing is a lot like working out, the more you do, the stronger you become.


Other Books in the Wolves of Willow Bend Series:



WOLF AT LAW

Prequel is available at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | ARe

WOLF BITE

Book 1 is available at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | ARe

CAGED WOLF

Book 2 is available for pre-order at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks ARe

WOLF CLAIM

Book 3 is available at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks ARe

WOLF NEXT DOOR

Book 3.5 is available at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | ARe | Kobo | iBooks | Google Play

ROGUE WOLF

Book 4 is available at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks ARe

BAYOU WOLF

Book 5 is available at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks ARe

UNTAMED WOLF

Book 6 is available at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks ARe

WOLF WITH BENEFITS

Book 6.5 is available at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks 

RIVER WOLF

Book 7 available at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | ARe

SINGLE WICKED WOLF

Book 7.5 is available at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | ARe | iBooks 

 

 

Hidden Impact by Piper J. Drake

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An aloof bodyguard and mercenary puts his heart on the line in HIDDEN IMPACT, the first book in the Safeguard series by Piper J. Drake.

Fans of Marie Force’s Fatal series or Laura Kaye’s Hard As It Gets, will love this brand new romantic suspense series.

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Synopsis:

HiddenImpactHe’s not the hero she’s looking for…

As part of the elite Centurion Corporation team, military-veteran-turned-mercenary Gabriel Diaz is a natural defender. He’ll do anything to ensure a mission is successful. Anything but get emotionally invested—he learned the hard way that can be deadly. Easy bodyguard jobs in between the more challenging missions are all he’s interested in now.

Maylin Cheng is desperate and running out of time. Her younger sister has gone missing but no one seems to take her concern seriously. Her last hope lies in asking an aloof bodyguard for help. He dismisses her outright, but all that changes when she is almost killed in a not-so-accidental hit-and-run right before his eyes.

As Maylin leans on Gabriel, she begins to rely on him for more than just her safety. But as their attraction grows, so does the danger surrounding them. When the elaborate web they’re trapped in unravels, Gabriel will do anything to protect them. Even if that means putting his heart in the crosshairs.

Book one of the Safeguard series

Get More information at: Goodreads  | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

 

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The Author:

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Piper J. Drake (or “PJ”) began her writing career as “PJ Schnyder” writing sci-fi & paranormal romance and steampunk. She has recently received the FF&P PRISM award for her work as well as the NJRW Golden Leaf award and Parsec award.

Now, PJ is exploring the complexity of romantic suspense, incorporating her interests in a mixed martial arts and the military into her writing.

 

Interview with Piper J. Drake:

Hi PJ, thank you for joining us today, could you tell us a little about yourself please?

Hai! I’m Piper J. Drake, author of romantic suspense and lover of cupcakes!

Ahem. It’s always hard to know what little bits about myself would be interesting as opposed to not. A few things about me:

  • I’m a dog and cat lover. I used to have 3 dogs and a ninja kitty but as time has gone by, all but the ninja kitty have passed away.
  • I travel about 85% of my time for my day job and love sharing my travel hijinx with my FB, Twitter, and Instagram followers
  • I love to eat and I share my restaurant adventures during my travels via Yelp and TripAdvisor

That’s the snapshot. I hope those were some fun facts about me that aren’t necessarily in a bio.

 

What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?

HIDDEN IMPACT is a romantic suspense with inspirations from the stories my military veteran friends have told me and influences from my growing up Asian American.

 

What about your previous books, tell us a bit about them and how we can get our hands on them.

I’m previously published as PJ Schnyder and have several science fiction and paranormal romance books available.

http://pjschnyder.com/blog/books/

 

What are the hardest and easiest parts about being a writer?

Time management is probably my biggest challenge as a writer. From a writing perspective, there’s always more stories I want to write and more ideas than I have time to write them. And then there’s all the other things a writer needs to do to make a writing career successful from social media to marketing to administrative work to behind-the-scenes shenanigans. It’s a lot to do and making sure it all gets done is always a work in progress.

I’m not sure there are easy parts about being a writer, but there are joyous parts that are easier because I take joy from them. The actual writing, editing, and reading my work (sometimes for revisions and sometimes for audio recording) are incredibly fun experiences. So dedicating energy to them is a pleasure.

 

Who or what has helped you become a better writer over time?

The writing community, both online and in person, has been integral to my development as a writer over time. There are countless resources online. To name one, Miss Snark’s First Victim (http://misssnarksfirstvictim.blogspot.com/), is a fantastic community for writers to learn and get constructive feedback without being overwhelmed.

In person, meeting fellow authors has been invaluable. It’s a great thing meeting nifty people, being inspired by the awesome projects they are working on, and then going out yourself to do nifty things.

 

When you consider your future, what would you like to make happen for you?

I would like to build a solid writing career sharing stories my readers enjoy.

Simple, but there it is.

 

Where can we find you to tell you how amazing we think you are?

Play Find the Piper around the Internet for insight into her frequent travels and inspirations for her stories.

PiperJDrake.com
Facebook.com/PiperJDrake
Twitter @PiperJDrake
Instagram.com/PiperJDrake
YouTube.com/ PiperJDrake

 

And finally… If you were ever stranded on a deserted island what would you miss and which three books would you take along?

I’d miss the variety of food to be explored in traveling all around the world.
The books I’d take along? Tough choice! Here are three I find myself going back to re-read over and over without getting tired of them:

  • The Ship Who Searched by Anne McCaffrey
  • Queen of the Darkness by Anne Bishop
  • When Demons Walk by Patricia Briggs

 

Thanks again PJ. It’s been great talking to you. 🙂

 

Connect with Piper at: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Google +  | GoodReadsYoutube

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Excerpt from Hidden Impact:

“What you need to do is hear me out.” Steel edged her voice now, and maybe a bit of desperation.

It was the former, not the latter, that made him take a real look at her.

Her eyes caught him first. Deep emerald green. Shocking, actually, set in a delicate Asian face framed by a cascade of hair so black the lighting caught blue highlights. Her features were naturally beautiful, accented with a minimal amount of makeup. Very different from the majority of the people in attendance, regardless of gender.

Color leached from her face as she must have realized she had his full attention. But she didn’t back away or break eye contact. Good for her. Lesser men had balked when Gabe had stared them down.

“My little sister is missing.” The edge was gone from her words but the desperation was still there.

Anger washed away. Damn. “I’m sorry, miss. But the police are the people to contact.”

Political targets, reporters and prisoners of war were the kidnap victims private military might be contracted to locate and retrieve. The kind of people held for ransom in places so far off the radar, even sunlight might not find them. And those weren’t his team’s specialty.

The woman in front of him was a normal civilian. Willowy, slender. The thought of a little sister conjured up images of some tiny waiflike kid. He and his partners were heavy hitters, not the kind of people you sent in to do anything but cause strategic destruction. They went into hot spots overseas and did the things politicians didn’t admit to knowing about at these glitzy events, things a US uniform wouldn’t be doing. Delicate, gentle—the sort of handling a traumatized girl retrieved from a kidnapping situation would need—was not their forte.

The older sister shook her head. “I’ve spoken to the police and the US Embassy. No one will do anything, not yet. And by the time they believe something’s actually wrong, I might never find her.”

Missing persons cases were tough. She was right about the time crunch. There was only a short window before the abducted was more than likely dead. Considering what could have already happened, death might not be the worst thing either.

Definitely not going to add to what this woman was already imagining. Hopefully she didn’t know what could happen.

“You’d do better hiring a private investigator.” He drew his eyebrows together, tried not to let the urge to squirm under her very direct stare show. Damn. Give him vapid groupies and a clueless entourage and he had no problem staring them down. This woman, it was like she could see straight through him and know how much he didn’t want to cause a scene at this very moment. There was nothing good he could do for her.

 

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