Megan's 5 star rated Contemporary Romance

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Viviane Brentanos


Author of Women's Contemporary Fiction
'Stories of Life and Love'

First, a little about Viviane:

I was born in Reading UK in 1958. My father is English and my mother is French although there is a strong vein of Spanish on my maternal grandmother’s side. I was educated at various schools before completing Sixth Form College at St Peter's Huntingdon. I somehow managed to collect A levels in English, French and History and I subsequently won a place at Sheffield University where I decided to read Classical Civilization.

Once there, however, I decided that I had had enough of the academic life; I found the student mentality rather false and having been brought up in student circles, rather boring. Much to my mother's horror, I gave up my studies and went to London to begin a course as a Canine Beautician. In 1984, my first husband and I parted ways amicably and I decided to visit the Ionian island of Corfu to celebrate my new freedom. It proved to be a life-changing decision. I still remember to this day, sitting in a café-bar, overlooking the crystal clear azure sea and saying to my friend. "I never want to leave here". I absolutely love the life-style here. I would recommend it to anyone. I remarried and have two children.

But I decided that there was more to me than being a mother and wife {although, I hasten to add, it is a worthy assignment.} I decided to finally get my head down and do what I'd always promised myself; I was going to write. I have been writing romance since my early teens, mostly for my own satisfaction and for my friends but now I really want to work at it. Writing has become my passion. I have always been a "Romantic", often accused of not living in the real world but who wants to do that? I like to call my work Romance with a quirky, humorous Brit twist and I am always striving to make my characters real, characters we can all relate to. I hope you all enjoy my world

Here’s the blurb for Viv’s latest release ‘A Little Crushed’
Rebecca Harding is intelligent, witty and sometimes downright annoying. She is also damaged. To the outside world, she presents an image of a young woman in control, confident and cynical but no one knows her torment. In her nightmare, she is alone.

But then, Max Jackson enters her life when it is teetering on the brink. Despite a rocky start to their relationship, he becomes her salvation.

Max is the only person who knows the truth. He understands her fears and wants to protect her fragile heart. In Rebecca, he recognizes a kindred spirit. He would give anything to take away her pain but he comes to realize Rebecca has read more into his concern. He would rather die than hurt her but life throws him a curve ball, leaving him no choice but to walk away.

Now A Taste of Viviane:
Rebecca seethed in silence while her mind raced, her imagination revving into top gear as she plotted the demise of Mr. Jackson. She couldn’t believe the intensity of the man. No one talked to her that way; not even her father.

“I don’t think he likes you much,” Emma whispered in her ear.

“You don’t say.” From beneath a strategically arranged curtain of hair, Rebecca studied him. He leaned against his desk, hands resting behind his head, droning on in that horrendous antipodean drawl, oblivious to the effect he seemed to be having on her female classmates. Or was he? Rebecca rubbed at her nose and snorted. She betted not. Weren’t all Aussie men male chauvinist pigs?

Julie the class philanthropist’s ‘Is he fit or what?’ roused her from her silent discourse. She was just about to lash Julie with an acid reality check when Emma’s sigh of concurrence stopped her dead.

“Yer… what a hunk!”

Emma’s disloyalty stunned her. Oh, but revenge was sweet.

“Would you like to contribute to this so far pitiful discussion on the finer points of iambic pentameter Miss…?”

Despite herself, Rebecca was impressed. This guy beamed around the room as fast as a time traveler.

“Emma, sir. Emma Brown.” Emma dissolved into a mound of half-set jelly.

“Get a grip, Em. You are so—”

“Miss Harding, either you have a death wish, or you have the mental capacity of a two-year-old.”

Beneath his freezer glare, Rebecca squirmed.

For the rest of the lesson, she remained silent, wishing the bell would ring and end the torture. Her headache pounded against the front of her skull, as subtle as a heavy metal drum beat. From behind her copy of Shakespeare’s finest, she contemplated how best to punish her new adversary. Why was he her adversary? It didn’t make sense. Mid-life crisis? No. He looked too young for that. Maybe… The shrill trill of the bell interrupted her deliberations. Thank goodness. It had been a crap beginning to the new term, and she just wanted to run home and jump into bed with half a ton of Aspirin.

“Don’t forget,” Mr. Jackson called as the class filed out. “I want that essay completed by tomorrow. Not so fast, Miss Harding. I want to speak to you.”

Rebecca sighed. Was there no end to her torment?

“Lucky bitch. You get to be by yourself with him.” Easing by, Emma pinched her arm.

Alone in the ominously quiet room, Rebecca tugged on the end of her plait. She was not a coward by a long shot, but he made her feel vulnerable. Most men did.

“Close the door.” His tone was low and clipped. Scary.

She obliged, the thought crossing her mind that maybe he was going to strike her. He seemed crazy enough. Facing him again, she braced herself for a verbal blitz, but instead, a stony wall of silence met her head-on. He sat, studying her while tapping on the edge of his desk with a pen. His piercing stare made her very uncomfortable. If this was psychological warfare, she was fast losing the battle. Oh well, time to eat humble pie. She cleared her throat. “Look if it’s about the other day, I really was in a hurry. Wally, you see…my dog…he’s a bugger, and when I said bloody colonials, I didn’t mean you. I mean, how could I? I didn’t even know you were a bloody col—Australian—but Mrs. Baird is, and that’s who—”

“Have you finished? I don’t recall asking you for a commentary.” He continued to flay her with too-clear contempt. “I know your type.”

He spoke so quietly she strained to hear him. More tactics no doubt. “Oh?” She aimed for nonchalance. “I didn’t realize I was a type.”

“Miss Harding. You’re very much mistaken if you think I am going to be intimidated by you because I assure you I’m not.”

“All this because I was a few minutes late?” she burst out. “It’s simply ludicrous.”

“Ah, now there lies the problem, you see. To you, it doesn’t seem important, but to me, it’s extremely important. It’s all about punctuality, discipline, good manners, and you, young lady, are lacking in all three. Isn’t that so?”

“Am I supposed to answer that, Mr. Jackson?’ She walked a dangerously thin line, but she couldn’t help it. He dumbfounded her. How could he know what kind of person she was? He had no right to judge her.

“Why do you do this?” He changed tactics. “Is it a ploy for attention? Do you crave attention?”

She flinched, feeling the angry flush creep from her neck to her cheeks. “I didn’t realize you were a part-time psychologist.”

He didn’t reply, continuing to probe deep with all-too-seeing eyes.

“Can I go now?” She struggled to keep tears at bay. Her eyes stung, hot and gritty from too little sleep.

“Yes, you may go for now, but I want those lines on my desk tomorrow.”

“You cannot be serious. I’ve got your essay to write, not to mention—”

“Not my problem.” He stood and guided her to the door. “Besides, I’m sure a girl of your superior intelligence will breeze through it. Now out. I’ve wasted enough of my time on you as it is.”

She couldn’t wait to oblige.

'A Little Crushed' is already collecting 5 star reviews:  Max has a dilemma. Does he allow the caustic but fragile Rebecca, to get under his skin— and if so, how much, how far? A Little Crushed is provocative and will linger with you long after the last page is turned. This age-old tale of student/teacher attraction is told with intelligence and depth.
I wish you huge sucess with this latest release, Viviane!
Links: BUY this and many of Viv's other books at MuseItUp Publishing click here
Read more about Viv at her Website  Facebook and  Blog click links

Friday, 22 February 2013

Deanne Wilsted

A Warm Welcome to Deanne
With an English teacher for a mom, DEANNE WILSTED, grew up reciting conjugation instead of nursery rhymes. Now, forty years later, she's sharing that special skill through her writing and her mothering. Her first book, a contemporary romance called BETTING JESSICA, was released October 2011. Her second Novel, UNTANGLING THE KNOT, is due out in February 2013 from Soul Mate Publishing. She is currently marketing her third book for publication and writing her fourth, fifth and sixth while blogging about the crazy stuff she overhears while writing.
Here's the blurb for
By Deanne Wilsted     
“I did what?”

 Twenty-eight year old Gabriella Bessu is St. Therese’s meticulous wedding ceremony coordinator. So the fact that she has mistakenly signed her newest couple up for an annulment, rather than a wedding, sends her Catholic guilt into overdrive.

But who can blame her? The groom is gorgeous and his two kids tug at Gabriella’s heart in a way that overcomes all her best intentions. Before long she’s in over her head, fixing her mixed-up plans and helping the children and dad come to terms with their haunting grief for the mother and wife they lost years earlier.

Can Gabriella untangle her own fears and accept the messy life that God has handed them?

A Taste of Deanne:

  “Umm, Gabriella,” Chloe said, “I don’t think that’s the plumber. It sounds like ...”

 The last thing Ryan had expected to see when he’d entered the cottage was Gabriella flat on her back in a puddle of water, inspecting the rear of the toilet. Chloe was holding a bucket and a sopping wet towel, and Peter was nowhere to be seen.

 “Hi, Chloe,” he said quickly. “Where’s Peter?”

 “Dad!” Peter came flying from another room and flung himself into Ryan’s arms.

“RYAN?” Gabriella yelled and quickly sat up. The thump of her head smacking the toilet bowl echoed around the tiny room.

 “Ow,” she cried. “Damn it! Ow, ow, ow.”

 Ryan grimaced. Gabriella sat on the wet floor, near tears, rubbing at the welt already forming on her forehead.

 “I’m sorry,” she said, clearly at the end of her rope. “I can’t believe I said that in front of the kids. It’s just, everything has gone wrong today.”

 She hung her head in her lap and began to cry for real.

 Ryan had to hold back a smile. She looked so much like a wet cat. And, to top it off, she had yet to hear how wrong things had really gone with the day.

 “Come on, now. It’s not that bad,” he finally said. “We’ll get it all fixed. Don’t worry.”

 Chloe’s face lit up with an expression he hadn’t seen in years. For a few moments at least he was back to being her superhero dad.

Author Follow Links –
Good to meet you, Deanne!
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Thursday, 14 February 2013


A Warm Welcome to S.D.Skye
S.D. Skye is a former FBI Russian Counterintelligence Program Intelligence Analyst and supported several key cases during her 12-year tenure at the Bureau. She has personally witnessed the blowback the Intelligence Community suffered due to the most significant compromises in U.S. history, including the arrests of former CIA Case Officer Aldrich Ames and two of the Bureau's own--FBI Agents Earl Pitts and Robert Hanssen. She has spent 20 years supporting counterintelligence, intelligence, and military missions in the U.S. Intelligence Community.

An award-winning author of romantic comedies in her other life, Skye is a member of the Maryland Writer's Association, Romance Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers. She's addicted to writing and chocolate--not necessarily in that order--and currently lives in the Washington D.C. area with her son. Skye is hard at work on the next installment of the series.
Here's her latest release:

The Seven Year Itch
(A J.J. McCall Novel – the FBI Series)    by S. D. Skye BLURB:
Her Family Was Vexed With a Generational Curse. Now for Lie Detecting FBI Spy Catcher J.J. McCall, the Truth is in The Seven Year Itch.
FBI Special Agent J.J. McCall is a born lie detector who recruits foreign spies to catch American traitors. She and co-case agent Tony Donato have lost two of their most critical Russian sources in the past two years, and they may lose another in just a few short days if they don’t catch him, The ICE PHANTOM, a rumored insider spy more insidious and elusive than Ames and Hanssen combined. They suspect he might be burrowed deep inside FBI counterintelligence—and his body count is going up.
Drawn into an unsanctioned mole hunt, they have a week to catch him, save a key source’s life—and their own. While J.J.’s lie detecting ability helps them narrow down the list of suspects, the lie she tells to herself may help the ICE PHANTOM defect to Moscow and get away with the murder of the man she loves.
Skye's debut FBI Series, filled with mystery, espionage, romance, and suspense, will keep you burning through the pages until J.J. catches the very last spy.
Before treating us to an excerpt, S.D. Reveals:
From where do you get inspiration and what inspired you to write The Seven Year Itch?
I spent 20 years in the U.S. Intelligence Community and I’ve had a very interesting career to say the least. I’ve worked in places and done things many people will only read in books.  So, I tapped into my vast experience for the foundations on which to build plots for this series. Each book will feature agencies and situations in which I’ve worked to some degree or another.
The largest chunk of my career was spent working in FBI counterintelligence, but I’ve had the opportunity to work with or for just about the entire alphabet soup of agencies (CIA, NSA, DIA, at the Pentagon on the Joint Staff, etc.). J.J. McCall is very loosely based on an African-American FBI Russian counterintelligence/counterespionage agent with whom I worked for several years. In a field that is largely dominated by white males, I was always impressed by how she persevered and propelled herself to the top of her field. I don’t know her struggles on a personal level but I worked at the FBI long enough to imagine certain issues she must’ve endured. So, after the writing bug bit me, I finally leveraged those experiences to create what I hope will be characters and stories readers will remember for some time to come.
In a couple of sentences, describe the hero’s character.  What do you like best/least about him?
Antonio “Tony” Donato, the hero in the series, is an FBI agent and J.J. McCall’s co-case agent. What I like best about him is that he’s his own man. He broke away from the “family business” (his father is a jailed mob boss), to become an FBI agent even though he knew he’d be estranged from his father because of it. But he followed his dreams and I think the strength it takes to follow his dreams will be the same strength he needs to follow his heart, especially loving a woman of another race.
What I like least about him is that he is as stubborn as an old billy goat. Once he gets set in his ways, there is little that can budge him—but J.J. somehow manages to do it when the chips are down. They are perfectly suited in that way.
And the heroine? How do you relate to her?
J.J. McCall is fiercely loyal and I love that about her. When she makes a promise, she will risk her life to keep it. But it’s this same quality that has proven to be her downfall as she struggles with the stress that keeping promises brings. We are very similar in that way, but we do share other characteristics. For example, in the Seven Year Itch, the first book in the series, J.J. McCall, an FBI Agent, followed the legacy of her mother, who was an agent during Hoover’s tenure. Well, I followed in my mother’s footsteps. My mother worked at the FBI during the J. Edgar Hoover years, and joined the FBI about twenty-something years later. My father and brother were DC police officers. In the book, J.J.’s brother is a DC police officer.  J.J. worked in counterintelligence/counterespionage. I worked in the same areas. Such similarities are sprinkled throughout the book. As for the plots and romantic entanglements, those are largely figments of my vivid, conspiratorial imagination.  
What do you think are the main ingredients for a successful book?
Attempting to answer this question could be enough to make a writer slit his/her wrists. I think if anyone knew the question to this question and shared it, we’d all be successful NY Times Bestsellers. At the end of the day, I think success truly begins with the author and his or her expectations. If you write an honest book, from your heart, and tell the best story you can, the best way you can tell it, then I think you’ve reached one level of success. Writing characters and stories that readers can connect with, who stick with them long after the book is closed is another level of success. When this happens to so many people across the world that your book becomes a best seller, then I think that’s the ultimate success for many writers. But there are degrees of success we can all reach and feel good about our work and about what we’re bringing to the world. I feel successful in that regard. 
What do you like best and least about writing?
What I love most about writing creating relatable characters that make people laugh and think. When readers reach out to me and tell me they laughed out loud at a character, that’s the ultimate compliment for me. If I write a page-turner people can’t put down, I’m over totally the moon.
What I like least about writing is that there are just not enough hours in the day for me to write all the books I want to write as quickly as I’d like to write them. I have four series going on right now. Three are in romantic comedy and one is of course the “Itch” series. I would love to have at least three books in each series done next year, but to do that, I would need to clone myself twice and be glued to my computer screen 24 hours a day for the next 10 months. Writing is my favorite thing in the world to do, but it sucks that you can only write books one word at a time. 
What is the best writing advice you have ever received?
I’m actually doing a series of short articles about this very topic on my blog, so this is a perfect question. I think, for me, one of the major hurdles I had to overcome is allowing imperfection. When I read the  Bird by Bird by Ann Lamott, she wrote a chapter called “Sh!tty First Drafts.” It was the most liberating thing I’d read to that point. She said don’t worry about making your work perfect on the first draft, just finish. That’s one piece of advice that has really stuck with me throughout my career. All my first drafts now suck. Sometimes the second and third do to. As long as I get the story right before it goes to print, then I’ll be fine.
What can we look forward to from you in the near future?
The second book in the series, Son of a Itch, follows J.J. McCall and company as they try to discover who placed a bug in the White House Situation Room walls. In addition, J.J.’s nemesis is plotting to kill her so she’ll face some real danger in this next novel. I think her biggest challenge will be juggling this love triangle between her, Six, and Tony. It heats up quite a bit from this point forward.
What would you most like to accomplish this year?
I would like to get three books written and published this year—Son of a Itch (Book #2), A No Good Itch (Book #3), and 12 Honeymoons (a romantic comedy). Getting those three written and published would be a major feat and a huge accomplishment.
What is your culinary speciality?
I love Italian cuisine. I swear I must’ve been an Italian grandmother in my former life. I love pastas, breads, and sauces. I make a mean lasagne and I do so from scratch, so it’s usually a two-hour dish. I also make a very good spinach and ricotta stuffed shell dish. And my son loves my spaghetti. 
And Now A Taste of 'The Seven Year Itch'
Monday Morning in Moscow…         

Mikhail Polyakov was murdered in a Solntsevskaya-owned cottage located in Lobnya, a small village just outside Moscow. It was a Russian organized crime death chamber. A hulking Mafioso known only as Maskov hovered over his mangled corpse. The ax in his massive hand dripped with the blood of a traitor. He would not live to betray his country another day. In the safe house basement, he lay on the concrete floor. A pool of crimson surrounded him, and his flesh had been gashed and hacked beyond visual recognition; death’s stench thickened the air. In order to serve its only noble purpose, his right hand, which bore a crescent-shaped birthmark, was left untouched.
A sliver of light shone through an undersized window revealing the wicked grin that parted the executioner’s cigarette blackened lips. Colonel Anatoliy Golikov. A Russian intelligence officer, he was a member of a cadre of Russian Foreign Intelligence Service—SVR officers—from the First Department. His professional mission had been recruiting people who sold U.S. secrets, but his personal mission was to kill anyone who betrayed the Motherland.
His skinny eyes, slight frame, and borderline gaunt face colored him weak, but his iron-fisted will and suffocating persona made him a man few crossed. Even fewer had lived to brag about it if they had. The son of a former hardline KGB General who executed Russians spying for the West, he’d filled his father’s sadistic shoes well. Left nothing in his wake except a trail of dead American sins against Russia.
Skye's links:

Many thanks for regaling us today. Pleasure to meet you!
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Thursday, 7 February 2013

Hazel Statham

A Warm Welcome to Hazel
Hazel Statham began writing at the age of fifteen, finally committing to paper the stories she spun as a child. Writing has been her passion ever since, although marriage, motherhood, and career left time for little else. Once she retired, however, she was able to devote herself to writing full-time, publishing her first novel in 2007. A long time student of history, she writes mainly in the Regency and Georgian eras, though she has been known to dabble in the medieval as well. She lives in Staffordshire, England, with her husband, Terry, and their beloved yellow Labrador, Mollie.

For Love of Sarah              
by Hazel Statham
How many times can a heart be broken?  How many times can love be denied?  Sarah and Alexander were destined for each other but after just four short weeks of marriage, their lives were torn asunder.
Alexander, Earl of Thorne thought he had found his ideal mate but, when Sarah absconded shortly after their marriage, his world came crashing down.  Now, five years later, he discovers her in a remote Yorkshire village.
Sarah had thought she was safe, but when, severely injured in a freak accident, her husband is thrust once more into her life, she fears her dark secrets and the fact she has a son, will become known. 
Despite her own desperate longings, she continually repudiates Alexander’s efforts of reconciliation. However, fate conspires against her, and when her home is made uninhabitable by floods, she and her young son are forced to accept his aid and return to her former home.
Discovery threatens and, despite her breaking heart, she plans to leave Alexander’s life.  What is this secret that makes it so imperative that she should abscond from him yet again?  Can two broken hearts cleave and emerge victorious or will life's cruel forces tear them apart forever? 
Now A Taste of Hazel:
Yorkshire, June, 1815

Why now? Dear God, why now? After almost five years of schooling his body and mind from wanting her, the mere sight of her slight form across the crowded marketplace had brought back all the old emotions he’d worked so desperately to subdue, and he reeled with the impact.
He’d thought the stance of the young woman was familiar, as he had on numerous occasions, only to be disappointed, but when she moved into full view by the bakery stall, he immediately realized that it truly was his wife. Sarah, his senses cried, sweet, faithless Sarah. They had been wed but four weeks when she disappeared from his home and life. To find her now in a remote Yorkshire village defied all sense.
His impulse was to confront her immediately, but as he moved to tether his horse to the rail outside the smithy, the blacksmith came out to take the beast from him.
“Lost his shoe, has he, sir?” the man asked, casting an appreciative eye over the large chestnut. “Fine animal, if I might say so…”
Thrusting the reins into the smithy’s hands, Alexander Markham, Earl of Thorne, snapped, “Left side, fore,” effectively cutting short the blacksmith’s appraisal of his mount, and, turning on his heel, left the man to stare after him as he made his way into the throng of people in the marketplace.
Despite his advantage of height, he could see no sign of his wife. She had moved from the stall—but to where? Becoming frustrated with the press of people that milled around him, he strode toward the centre where the ground rose to provide a vantage point, but to no avail. Sarah was nowhere in view, and he began to doubt his own perception.
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Hazel loves to hear from her readers and promises to answer all mail.
Here are her LINKS:
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 Pleasure to meet you, Hazel!
Leave a comment for the chance to win a Cream Coin Freshwater Pearl necklace or a digital copy of DOMINIC or HIS SHADOWED HEART (international giveaway) to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Tessa Stockton

A Warm Welcome to Tessa

A veteran of the performing arts and worldwide missions, Tessa Stockton also contributed as a writer/editor for ministry publications, ghostwriter for political content, and she headed a column on the topic of forgiveness. Today she writes romance and intrigue novels in a variety of genres. In addition to her fantasy romance, WIND’S ARIA, she’s the author of suspense/thriller, THE UNSPEAKABLE, political intrigue/romance, THE UNFORGIVABLE, and a literary short story, LOVE AND LULL, with more in the works.

Wind’s Aria  by Tessa Stockton

Aria falls into the hands of the dreaded angel who seems to have stolen more than her voice...
Here's a Taste of Tessa
“Who are you?”
He pushed further back into the shadows as she strode closer. “Someone you need not know.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
When he didn’t answer, she sighed.
“What a strange, terrible day,” she mumbled. “Well, at least tell me your name . . .”
He stood, speechless, knowing he shouldn’t be there at all—conversing with a Meleyan—especially not their musical deliverer that he was set to doom the day after tomorrow.
A peculiar grumbling interrupted her insistence, to his relief.
“Sorry.” She patted her stomach. He could see, even in the blackened night, how her face turned a deeper shade of red than her hair. “I’ve forgotten to eat. I guess I’m hungrier than I realized.”
He plucked an apple from the tree he’d nearly become a part of and held it out to her. The girl approached tentatively. She reached for the fruit but recoiled when her fingers brushed his.
“Is touching me so horrible?” he asked.
Her jaw dropped open and her delicate brow furrowed. She inclined her head. “It . . . hurt.”
“How?” he asked, for her fingers felt good to him, soothing. Warm. He wanted to try again.
“I don’t know how to explain . . .”
“Hum.” Unsatisfied with the answer, he tossed the apple to her and watched as she crunched her teeth into it.

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Pleasure to meet you, Tessa!

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