Megan's 5 star rated Contemporary Romance

Monday, 24 June 2013

Victoria Bernadine

A Warm Welcome to Victoria
Victoria Bernadine (a pseudonym) is, as the saying goes, a “woman of a certain age”. After twenty-something years of writer’s block, she began writing again in 2008. She began with fanfiction about a (now-cancelled) TV show called Jericho and particularly about the characters of Heather Lisinski and Edward Beck. From there, she expanded into writing original fic and she hasn’t stopped since.

Victoria enjoys reading all genres and particularly loves writing romantic comedy and post-apocalyptic science fiction. What those two have in common is anybody’s guess.
She lives in Edmonton with her two cats (The Grunt and The Runt). A Life Less Ordinary is the first novel she felt was good enough to be released into the wild.

Here's the Blurb:
A LIFE LESS ORDINARY By Victoria Bernadine
For the last fifteen years, Rose “Manny” Mankowski has been a very good girl.  Now, at the age of 45, she’s questioning her choices and feeling more and more disconnected from her own life.  When she’s passed over for promotion and her much younger new boss implies Manny’s life will never change, something snaps.  In the blink of an eye, she’s quit her job, sold her house, cashed in her pension, and she’s leaving town on a six month road trip.
After placing an ad for a travelling companion, she’s joined in her mid-life crisis by Zeke Powell, the cynical, satirical, most read – and most controversial – blogger for the e-zine, What Women Want.  Zeke’s true goal is to expose Manny’s journey as a pitiful and desperate attempt to reclaim her lost youth – and increase his readership at the same time.
Now, armed with a bagful of destinations, a fistful of maps, and an out-spoken imaginary friend named Harvey, Manny’s on a quest to rediscover herself – and taking Zeke along for the ride.

Before treating us to an excerpt, Victoria Reveals:

In a couple of sentences, describe the hero’s character.  What do you like best/least about him?    

He’s an arrogant jerk who has some real problems with getting close to people and/or admitting he’s wrong.  What I like best about him is the fact that he has reasons for why he’s the way he is, and I find him lovable even with (or because of) his arrogance.  What I like the least about him is his determination to hold on to his ideas until he’s forced to change them.  He has his reasons, but it’s still frustrating – LOL.

And the heroine? How do you relate to her?     I know what it’s like to look at yourself and wonder what happened to your life.  I also know what it’s like to want to throw everything up in the air and take your chances with where it lands.  I love her loyalty to her friends and family, and I like that she’s willing to take risks.  What I like the least about her is that she could be a little more spontaneous...
Who controls the story – you or your characters?     My characters.  Absolutely.  I spend half my time wondering what they’re going to do and what’s going to come out of their mouths next!
What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your books?     I hope they come away with the thought that they were entertained for a few hours.  I really hope they come away with the feeling that they’d spent those few hours with friends.
What do you most enjoy about writing romance/your genre?     I write in several different genres, but what I most enjoy about this particular one is the combination of humor and drama.
What do you like best and least about writing?     What I like best is how fun it feels when I’m creating something, even when it’s really, really bad – LOL.  The thing I like the least is editing, as in proofreading because it just takes for-ev-er and there’s always something that’s missed.
Do you have a writing routine?     I don’t have a specific writing routine, although I’m trying to change that.  I do try to write every day, and my general objective is to write at least 1000 words a day.  When I’m in the midst of Editing Hell, though, the word count goes out the window and I just try to work on the story every day until it’s done.
Anything special you require to keep the creative juices flowing?     Noise (music, TV, something that acts as white noise), and when I’m really stuck, I need pens and paper to get the juices flowing.

What can we look forward to from you in the near future?    I'm working on a sequel to A Life Less Ordinary, tentatively titled A Year in the Life. there are a couple of other works that I'm working on that may eventually be oublished... or not. If anyone is interested, both are currently available online. One's called Historian's Daughter, a post-apocalyptic dystopian sorta-romance short novel, beginning here  
(, and the other will be the novelization of a script I wrote for a science fiction movie, available here( in all its unformatted glory - LOL. whether those last two will ever be published is anybody's guess.

at would you most like to accomplish this year?     I would like to promote this book, finish the sequel and have it ready for publication before the end of the year.
What was your favourite book as a child/teen/adult? Are you currently reading anything?     My favourite fantasy series as a young teen was the Chronicles of Pyrdain by Lloyd Alexander.  I read it one summer (I was about 12 or so), and I bought one book in the series every time I got into town.  The last book...oh, man – I read that book in one sitting and about halfway through, something happened to the characters, and I began to cry – and I mean, body-wracking sobs.  I was still crying when I finished it at 2:00 a.m.  It was one of the most engrossing reading experiences of my life, and I adore that series to this day (although I admit:  I’ve never read it again).
What is your culinary speciality?        The phone book.  ;)
In a few words, how would you describe yourself? How do you think your husband/partner would describe you?     Perfect.  And since I don’t have a husband/partner, I don’t think that description will be debated!  LOL
Now A Taste of Victoria
“All I ever wanted was a life less ordinary.”
Manny lay flat on her back, eyes wide, staring at the ceiling while she waited for her clock to hit 6:00. Another day of work, she thought. Another day older and deeper in debt.

She had the alarm timed to the millisecond. The jarring noise had barely begun when she clicked it off. She sighed then threw back the covers and got out of bed.

She padded into the bathroom, glanced without interest in the full-length mirror that doubled as her shower doors and took her morning inventory.

Plain face? Check.

Looking tired? Check.

Thirty pounds overweight? Check.

Dark circles under deer-caught-in-headlights eyes? Check and check.

She shook her head at her limp, mousy hair and wondered when she’d gotten so old.

She sighed in resignation then conjured up her Perfect Fantasy Man–or Harvey, as she liked to call him–to give her a morning lift. She cocked her head to one side as she stared into the mirror and imagined him standing behind her. She smiled at the handsome man, and he smiled back, putting his hands on her shoulders. Everything about him was warm, in stark contrast to the cold shades of grey in which she lived her life. He had warm brown eyes, warm brown skin, and a warm smooth voice that always reminded her of golden honey. Today his hair was black with greying temples, and yes, even that seemed warm to her.

He was perfect, everything she considered ideal in a man–and extra-perfect, of course, because he was a fantasy. Just the thought of trying to establish a relationship with an actual man felt too much like work.

She sighed and Harvey disappeared.

“Instead I ended up in a rut–everything planned and executed to the minute.”

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Pleasure to meet you, Victoria!

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Monday, 10 June 2013

Gaylon Greer

A Warm Welcome to Gaylon
Working with traveling carnivals and itinerant farm labor gangs during his teen and early adult years took Gaylon Greer up, down, and across the U.S. and introduced him to a plethora of colorful individuals who serve as models for his fictional characters. After several years as an Air Force officer and then a university professor with a Ph.D. in economics, Greer developed an interest in writing fiction and attended workshops at the University of Iowa, the University of Nebraska, and Bryn-Mawr College. He also studied with the U.C. Davis Extension program and the Algonquian Writers Group. His most recent novel, THE DESCENT FROM TRUTH is available at and other e-book retailers. Please visit Greer at


Alex Bryson is patrolling Rocky Mountain backcountry in his job as a security guard when he discovers a woman with a baby wandering alone in the snow far from the nearest road. He takes them to shelter in a weekender cabin and sees a newscast that suggests the woman, Pia Ulmer, kidnapped the baby from its rightful parents and that it is the sole heir of Peru’s wealthiest and most corrupt family. Pia claims that she is the baby’s mother, and Alex doesn't know what to believe. After turning her in, he continues to struggle with his budding feelings for her and remains unsure of the true story. He becomes more and more involved until finally there is no turning back—lives are on the line. He helps Pia get free from a brutal world that values money over life, and together they devise a plan to reclaim the baby. Just when it looks like they might succeed, they discover an international conspiracy that changes the game entirely.

A Taste of Gaylon:
“Please,” she said, her voice as rough as sandpaper and barely above a whisper. “Please, do not give my baby to those people.”

“Are we back to that? First you're his mother, then you're his nanny. Now you're his mother again?”

“They took him from me. Look at him, Alex. Both Mr. Koenig and his wife are blondes.”

“Koenig’s an old man. His hair's white.”

“Study Frederick's face. Do you not see me in his eyes? His chin and his mouth?”

The similarities were uncanny, he'd grant her that. Good enough to get away with claiming to be the kid's mother if Alex hadn't learned the truth. The way she had attacked him, trying to kill him with that skillet, she clearly didn’t want to go back to civilization and prove who she was. He turned away, tossed Frederick in a maneuver that brought a cry of delight, and stuffed the boy's blanket-clad feet through the leg holes in the backpack. With his parka snapped around both of them and the diaper bag tied to his waist, he gripped his rifle in one hand, his snowshoes in the other, and headed for the porch. At the door, he turned for a final glance at Pia.

She had set her mouth in a stubborn line. The eye that had been plastered shut was closed. She stared at him with the other. When she saw him looking at her, she spoke again. “Watch over him, Alex. Someone wants to harm him. Don’t let them.”

A new tack, another lie. He stepped onto the porch and strapped on his snowshoes. That should have been the last he saw of her, but the specter of her ravaged face and defiant expression stayed with him as he trudged across the sunlit expanse of glistening snow that sloped gradually toward the Warrior River Gorge.
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             Gaylon's links:
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Pleasure to meet you, Gaylon!

Leave a comment for the chance to win an autographed hardcover version of the author's previous book, The Price of Sanctuary.

Monday, 3 June 2013


A Warm Welcome to J.M.

Three years ago, native Pennsylvanian J.M. Kelley packed her bags and moved south. Now, the wannabe Carolina Girl can’t speak a single sentence without adding the word y’all at the end of it, and regards a blast of snow flurries as a doomsday-level event.  When the day job allows, and when she can pull herself away from George Takei’s Facebook fanpage, she likes to go on writing jaunts to her favorite lake, or a local coffee shop with delicious shakes and questionable Wi-Fi connections.

J.M. Kelley is a proud recipient of a Carrie McCray Memorial Literary award, and is a member of The South Carolina Writers Workshop and Romance Writers of America (PAN). Readers interested in more information may visit her website at

Here's the Blurb for her latest release:
DADDY'S GIRL  By J.M. Kelley

Sometimes, returning home isn’t about confronting your past; it’s about discovering your future.

Janie McGee, the black sheep of her family, is free-spirited, uninhibited, and never one to stay in the same place for too long. When Janie learns her father, Joe, is gravely ill, she reluctantly returns home to rural Pennsylvania to care for him. Joe’s neighbor, David Harris, sports a pocket protector, collects coins, and is addicted to Antiques Roadshow. Everything about him rubs Janie the wrong way, from his nerdy wardrobe to his enviable friendship with Joe. And to make matters worse, her father thinks they’re perfect for each other, proof positive of how little Joe knows his own daughter…or so Janie thinks.

A shared devotion to the elder McGee begins to close the gulf between Janie and David, but a burgeoning romance opens the door to new problems and unexpected consequences neither could foresee. Joe, however, remains steadfast in his resolve to show Janie that Daddy knows what’s best for his little girl. Can Janie finally open her heart to David while watching the first man she ever truly loved fade away?

Before treating us to an excerpt, J.M. Reveals:

In a couple of sentences, describe the hero’s character.  What do you like best/least about him?
David Harris is a bit of a Boy Scout. He’s a noble guy who will drop his own groceries to help an elderly lady cross the street. He’s a little on the geeky side, and not the smoothest man in town. He loves Antiques Roadshow, and part of me suspects that he might actually know how to crochet. I honestly can’t think of anything significant I dislike about him, though for the sake of argument, I suppose you can say he can be a little exhausting for our heroine, Janie. As he grew as a character, I found myself falling in love with the man’s sense of loyalty and friendship. He has a pure heart, and will do just about anything for the people he holds dear.

And the heroine? How do you relate to her?
I certainly can relate to Janie. She’s been emotionally adrift, and has meandered through life, searching for something she can’t always define. Love, peace, fulfilment…I get that. I understand life in the emotional wilds. Even though Janie, like most of us, wants to love and be loved, she’s afraid of the need to open heart to someone else. She has her reasons for that, however, and I can sympathize with her hesitance.

Who controls the story – you or your characters?
There’s often a battle for control. Most of the time, I have a strong chokehold on the characters, but every once in a while they get a little antsy and start taking over. Unfortunately, I have to listen to them when that happens, because they usually want to go in a pretty awesome direction. I take back the reins as soon as possible, though.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
I hope readers recognize the emotional connection I developed with Janie, David, Joe, and Colleen, and walk away feeling as though they visited family. That’s how I view these people, and I hope it translates.

What do you most enjoy about writing romance/your genre?
I enjoy focusing on the character and what’s going on in his or her head. I love to, as I write, delve into the motivation of the hero/heroine, and find out what truly drives them. When it comes to romance, I’ve always maintained that love is a chronically fascinating goal to write around. What will a person do for love? What will he forsake to win a woman’s heart? What will she sacrifice to be with him? What will they gain by coming together and getting their happily-ever-after? The possibilities are endless and exciting.

Anything special you require to keep the creative juices flowing?
Lulu. I require Lulu, my beta extraordinaire, to crack the whip or get the ideas flowing. See, I have the attention-span of a gnat, and without her, I’d be lost up in the Smoky Mountains, wandering through the forest, instead of focusing on my writing. I fear the day she realizes people probably get paid to do all she does for me.

What is the best writing advice you have ever received?
Stop stalling, stop complaining, stop getting distracted, and just write. I struggle with taking that advice, but it’s still the wisest course of action.

What can we look forward to from you in the near future?
This month, I will be releasing my first paranormal romance, Almost Magic. It was challenging and fun to construct a story that carries a light magical touch, and these might be some of my favourite characters to write to date. I will also be working on a contemporary romance entitled She Let Herself Go, which will be available in early 2014.

How do you like to spend your free time?
My favourite lazy-time activity is hanging out a nearby lake and relaxing for a couple hours. If I can’t do that, I will plug in my headphones and listen to some tunes, read, or watch an episode of Buffy. Not the most glamorous life, but it’ll do.

 What would you most like to accomplish this year?
Win the lottery? Quit the day-job and become a full-time author? Buy a beach house and live life in a hammock? A little wishful thinking never hurt anybody, I suppose. Realistically, I just want to keep on writing, pressing forward with my current projects, and being able to flesh out some fun ideas I’d like to work on next.

What is your culinary speciality?
Lasagna. I make pretty darn good lasagna, when I’m not dropping an entire pan of it on the kitchen floor. Yes, I have issues with balance.

Any exciting plans for the near future?
I am really looking forward to attending the RWA National Conference in Atlanta this summer. It’s my first time attending, I am a PAN member, and it’s near home, so I can drive down for the event. I can’t wait to make some new connections and see what’s happening in the industry.

And now A Taste of J.M.
The interloper entered the room. His eyes widened when he caught sight of Janie, and he raised his hands up in front of him.
“Don’t think I won’t hurt you!” Janie shrieked, holding her ground.

“Joe might need that the next time he buys a pair of shoes,” the man said. His eyebrows arched theatrically while he gave Janie an appraising once over. His eyes lingered on her chest, she noted, which bolstered her resolve to kill him if he made any sudden moves.

Great. Janie tightened her grip on the shoe stretcher. Pervert.

The man stayed where he was and plastered an expression on his face that Janie assumed conveyed harmlessness. “You shouldn’t bean me with that. I doubt they make those anymore. It would be a shame to break it.”

Janie held the stretcher up higher, wincing as it wobbled flaccidly over her head. “If you knew my father, you’d know he only buys shoes once a decade. Who are you, damn it?”

“David Harris.” He slowly lowered his hands and took a step back. “I live next door. For the record, your father bought a pair of shoes last month. Are you Janie?”

Janie narrowed her eyes. “You’re David.”

A bemused smile curved his lips. “Were you expecting someone else?”

Almost certain she wasn’t about to be attacked, Janie dropped the stretcher to the bed. “I figured you’d be an octogenarian like my dad.”

“Your father is in his seventies.”


“That would make him a septuagenarian.”

Janie blinked. “Oh,” she said. “Well, I rounded up. Sue me. What are you, anyway, the vocabulary police?”
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Many thanks for regaling us today, J.M. Pleasure to meet you!
BUY Links: Turquoise MorningPress  Amazon Barnes & Noble Kobo Smashwords AllRomance Omnilit
Now leave a comment for the chance to win a gift basket of some of J.M.’s favourite things, including a $25 Amazon GC and a signed copy of the Foreign Affairs anthology from Turquoise Morning Press