It’s All About Planning: Autmn, SYTYCW, and NaNoWriMo, Here I Come

AutumnThe calendar says it’s still summer, but Mother Nature disagrees. I feel as if I’ve missed a season this year. After a long winter that wouldn’t let go, we had a very late spring, I blinked and missed summer, and now it’s autumn. I’d heard people say time flew, but I didn’t realize it took an SST.

I took this picture a few years ago just outside of Lake Placid, New York, and it’s always been one of my favorite fall images, the one I use to remind myself that seasons come and go, each with their own beauty. As long as I’m on the right side of the grass, everything’s good.

For more than thirty years, the month of September was the month in which I planned out everything I was going to do for the next school year–which sections of the course I was going to teach when, which novels I’d select to study, even when I’d assign the dreaded culminating activity. I was prepared, organized, ready to meet the challenge of the new school year…and then reality set in–fire drills, guest speakers, high days of absenteeism, board meetings–and all my carefully constructed plans flew out the window.

I think that might be the reason why I write as a pantser and not a plotter–my brain said why do all that work, if everything’s going to change anyway? But even the best pantser has to make some plans, and now that I’ve become an author, those plans surround my writing for the coming seasons. You can’t sell a book unless you write it, and in this time of “edit and revise” for the books I’ve sold, I’ve come to realize I need to be focused on my writing at some point in time. So, today, I prepare myself for two events that have become synonymous with fall–Harlequin’s So Yo Think You Can Write competition, won last year by an author friend Tanya Wright and November’s National Novel Writing Month.

A publishing contract with Harlequin is the Holy Grail of all romance writers, regardless of the sub-genre they choose. It’s the ultimate dream of having your book in print in bookstores, Walmart, and wherever HQN books are sold. It’s also something many of us will never see. I’ve written two books for SYTYCW, and while they didn’t win the contest, they did end up published–The Price of Honor, a Susanne Ebook coverCanadian based historical romance  due out this faJust for the Weekend cover.ll from Solstice Publishing, and Just for the Weekend, a contemporary romance  released last April by Crimson.

Without the incentive of the SYTYCW contest, The Price of Honor might never have been written. It was the very first book I wrote, the one that gave me the courage to write the others. Similarly, Just For The Weekend was my first crack at a book neither historical romance nor romantic suspense.

This year, since romantic suspense appears to be my forte, I’m entering the contest with Hidden Assets, a novel aimed at their romance suspense line, involving a forensic accountant, her ex-husband, a U.S.marshal, and a whole lot of nasty bad guys out to stop her from revealing what she knows about a drug cartel’s bank accounts and the powerful men involved. Did I mention she’ll be dealing with a six-year gap in her memory– a gap that involves not being aware of her divorce or the reasons for it, and an ex determined to win her back and keep her alive at all costs? The synopsis is written, the 100 word pitch is ready to go, and I’m putting the final touches on the first chapter. Wish me luck!

Now, with two books out this fall, The Price of Honor and Coming Home, Book One in the Taking a Chance on Love series I co-write with Misty Cail as Misty Matthews, I know I’ll have final edits to do, too. All for Love, my first attempt at Christian Romance Suspense for Anaiah Press will be ready for the second round of edits, too, and of course, I want to republish my Christmas books, Holiday Magic and The Perfect Choice. This will all take time, but if I budget my days and hours, and focus on the job at hand, I’m convinced I can make it happen and be ready for my biggest challenge of the year: NaNoWriMo.

National Novel Writing Month is the month of November, a time when authors, both published and unpublished, roll up their sleeves to complete a 50,000 word novel in a month. It means writing approximately 1800 words a day, each day until the end of the month. I’ve participated in this event once, and in its boot camp once as well. In Plain Sight coverThe novel I wrote for the April 2013 boot camp was a romance suspense, In Plain Sight, published by Crimson in August of 2013. Last November, I  joined in the Entangled Smack-down and tried my hand at a EchoesofthePast_MEDparanormal/romance/suspense with their Ignite imprint. While my team didn’t win the competition, I did finish the book and won NaNoWriMo. The book I wrote was Echoes of the Past, published by Secret Cravings Publishing in July, 2014.

This year, I’ve joined the Entangled Smack-down again, but I’ve chosen to try my hand at a contemporary romance to fit with their Love Struck imprint. Since my last contemporary has been well-received by readers, I think something along those lines will be good for me as a change of pace after Hidden Assets. The Smack down is an incredible opportunity, not only to get feedback from an Entangled editor, but to connect with other writers. I enjoy the camaraderie of collaborating with others and trying to accumulate enough points so that all the manuscripts created can be chosen. The drawback? During NaNoWriMo, you aren’t supposed to edit as you go along, something I do regularly and found incredibly challenging last year, but rules are rules, and I follow them to a fault.

So, my autumn is planned out. Of course, I’ll still participate in Clever Quickie Monday, Mid Week Tease Wednesday and try my hand at Flash Fiction Thursday, blog regularly as well as host other authors. I’ve also got a number of books in my Kindle and Kobo to read and review, and somewhere in that time frame, I need to remember I’m a wife, mother, and grandmother! I guess I have a busy fall ahead of me! And what about you? Have you set up your fall calendar yet?

Mid Week Tease A Blast From the past: Fire Angel

Well, I’m late to the party today because I was working on the synopsis fro my new novel. Between edits and rewritemidweekteases, I haven’t had time to do any new writing in some time. That being said, I thought I’d share a snippet from the book that made all of this possible. Fire Angel was published in April 2013.

Thanks again to Sandra Bunino who makes it possible for all of us to share our work here.

The premise:

A malicious serial killer is out for revenge, and he doesn’t care how many people have to die before he gets it. Using fire as a weapon, he strikes at random, and the bodies are piling up, leaving the citizens of Paradise wondering who is next.

Betrayed by the one closest to him, criminal profiler Jake McKenzie has returned from Afghanistan minus a leg and afraid to trust his instincts. When the police chief asks for his expertise in identifying the killer, he agrees knowing this is his chance to prove he can still do the job.

Sixteen years ago, fiercely independent Alexis Michaels escaped an abusive uncle and a deadly fire, to become one of the country’s top fire and arson investigators.  She reluctantly accepts the assignment and returns home to lead the hunt for the killer, knowing she will have to confront the memories she has repressed all these years. Her uncanny ability to put herself in the arsonist’s place is the skill they need to find this maniac.

When Jake discovers that his new partner is the girl who has haunted his dreams all these years, he finds himself enthralled, but memories of his dead wife make him doubt his emotions. Alexis has few pleasant memories of Paradise, but Jake is one of them. Undeniably drawn to him, she longs for a deeper relationship, but won’t compete with a ghost.

Until they catch the killer, they must set aside their conflicted emotions and work together. The clock is ticking, and the killer has made it clear: Alexis is next.

This week’s tease:

Jackson had mentioned blue flames. She thought of the fancy dessert she had had in Miami—something flamed. That flame had been blue too. What if alcohol and sugar had been poured over the bodies? A strong liqueur like Grand Marnier? It would burn quickly and with the modern Molotov cocktail, alcohol would be hard to spot. She checked the floor and the table for signs of wax, knowing it was a long shot at best. She noted that the table was made of metal, one of the old-fashioned ones that opened up to add a leaf. She examined the center crack. Something seemed to be stuck in it. She tugged at the table trying to open it, but the heat had fused it shut. She got down on her knees and crawled under the table, examining the underside of it and the floor. There it was—the same tacky, waxy residue she had found in the cabin and on the table from Duffy’s garage—just as the techs had noted in their reports. She grabbed a sample jar and scraped the floor. She grabbed another and scraped the table.

She walked over to the door with her camera and started snapping pictures. If the cocktail had been thrown through the window in the door as Jake had said, it would not have hit in the right place. She changed her vantage point and moved to stand near the sink. She faced the table on the other side of the room, about seven or eight feet away.

She slowed her breathing, closed her eyes, and allowed the evidence to bring the fire to life for her. The arsonist had stood right here and smashed the bottle full of chemicals against the wall, igniting the contents. He had stayed inside and watched the men burn, just as he had at the cabin. He would have heard them scream and seen them trying to put out the flames on their clothing, but he had used a lot of alcohol and the sugar—when the alcohol had burned off, the fabric and flesh had caught fire.

When she could finally breathe again, she thought she’d be sick. She reached into her kit and took out the bottle of water she’d added this morning. She took a deep drink, trying to steady herself. At times like these, her talent was not a gift, it was a curse.

She shook her head; she had to get out and get some fresh air. Then she would have to tell Jake about her talent. Jake needed to look for someone who had made an unusually large purchase of liqueur; he would have needed several bottles for this.

She was just leaving the kitchen when she heard a sound, a click that did not seem to belong. There it is again. She had heard it a couple of times earlier. She stood in the kitchen doorway and looked around the living room at the decrepit, damaged furniture, searching for something that clicked, but could find nothing. The old television set in the corner was silent. There was no radio, no clock. She smiled at Jackson, who stood near the open door through which his friend had just left. He closed it and turned to her.

“Do you hear that?” she asked Jackson, “that clicking sound?”

She saw Jake coming up the steps with two coffee cups; Jackson opened the door. There was that click again. Jake elbowed it open wider. Crack! All hell broke loose. There was a loud bang and the ceiling came down on top of her. Everything went black.

Want to read more?  Amazon

Now, Check out this weeks teasers:

EDITS DONE–For Now! Can I Start Writing Again?

new banner.It seems all I’ve been doing for the last few months is edit manuscripts for publication. I don’t feel as if I’ve had the time to write anything new, and that can be frustrating, but now that I have a reprieve between edits–they’ll be more, since these were only round one–I wonder what to do with my down time. Can I really start new work, or should I be looking at republishing my Christmas books? I have books to read and edit for others, a task I intend to devote next week to, but what to do now?

Editing Hell as many of my author friends call it, started for me in February when I had to make changes to Just for the Weekend for publication in April. I’d just finished that task when the bottom fell out of my world and two of my publishers turned out to be fraudulent, leaving me with books no longer available and no money to show for my hard work. Luckily, I was able to sell three of the four books not yet released. Once I did, edits began in earnest, while I struggled with what to do with the previously published books.

I went to work on Echoes of the Past, which came out in July. During that same time, I revised The Captain’s Promise which I released in June as part of the Kindle deal process. Hard on its heels came the edits for On His Watch, released in August.  By then summer and camping and holidays had arrived.

Just before I left for my second holiday trip, I received the Developmental Edits for All For Love, my new Anaiah Press book, not due out until 2015. Developmental edits are like content edits, aimed at identifying plot holes and strengthening to story. I was halfway through those when the Content Edits arrived for Coming Home, the first book in the Misty Matthews, Taking a Chance on Love series, which Misty and I sold to Secret Cravings. To meet the editor’s suggestions, we added over 20,000 words, and really fleshed out Alana and Connor as well as laid the groundwork for the other books in the series. If you read Coming Home when it was first released, I think you’ll love this new, improved version. I was just finishing that when I got edits from Solstice for my new historical romance The Price of Honor. I’m super-excited about this one. I love the premise of the story, and I get to use it to teach a little Canadian history too. If it sells well, I can write a sequel to it.

So, where does that leave me now? There are stories yet to write, but I honestly don’t know where to start. I guess, I’ll get ready for the 2014 SYTYCW contest. It’s a great opportunity to have people comment on your work. The books I’ve written in the past when participating have all sold to other publishers, so for me, even if Harlequin doesn’t want it, I may still find a buyer for it. Then there’s NaNoWriMo. Last year I competed against others for a shot at a contract with Entangled. This year? I’m not sure if I’ll go that route or not.

For now, I think I’m going to move away from the computer and take the weekend off to do some much neglected organizing and cleaning. Time to get in gear and prepare for the long winter months… and of course round two edits will arrive next week.

Look Who Dropped By Today: Leslie Garcia

Good morning. It seems fitting it should be raining on the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11, a truly sad day in American history. My heart and prayers go out to all who continue to suffer in the aftermath of that cowardly act.

This morning, I welcome Leslie again as she tells us about the second cowboy anthology she’d involved with. Take it away, Leslie.

Oh, Those Cowboys!

We’ve all heard about those climatic 8 second rides, those moments of heartbreak and triumph that surround those most independent of spirits, cowboys. Now, you can get way more than 8 seconds of reading pleasure in Crimson Romance’s newest bundle, Crazy for Cowboys.

These 8 full length novels feature men and women who gave rise to the line in that Tim McGraw song about “the cowboy in us all.”
Recapture the independence, the sense of adventure, and yes—the passion—of the cowboys we’re crazy for—at an unbelievable .99!

Eight full length cowboy romances for less than an dollar—this collection takes the buckle.

crazy-for-cowboys (3)Crazy for Cowboys


Few heroes stir our hearts like a sexy cowboy, and Crimson Romance has eight of the hottest roping, riding, hard-loving country men in one collection. It’s a rodeo sure to make you swoon:

Tempted by Trouble: Susan Arden

When a veterinarian meets her sexy new boss, temptation beckons as they work together to find a cure for his family’s dying cattle.

The Bull Rider’s Brother: Lynn Cahoon

Rodeo weekend in Shawnee, Idaho, brings the cowboy who got away back into Lizzie’s life. But when James discovers they have a son, can they get a second chance at love?

Unattainable: Leslie P. García

DEA Agent Jovi Treviño comes to Dell Rosales’ ranch to investigate the drug movement sweeping south Texas and unexpectedly falls for the woman everyone calls unreachable.

The Counterfeit Cowgirl: Kathryn Brocato

Cattleman Aaron Whitaker has no use for a flashy, brown-eyed, fake cowgirl in his life. So why is he attracted to his new next-door neighbor, fashionista Felicity Clayton?

Heart Trouble: Tommie Conrad

Life comes easy to rancher Brandt Connor, until he falls for Marissa Sloan who’s leaving home at summer’s end. Will Brandt let her go or become the man he’s meant to be?

Taming the Stallion: Dorothy Callahan

A riding accident left officer Raylie McPherson fearing horses, but investigating an animal cruelty claim at Ashton Lyre’s stables may just offer her a way to heal.

Kiss Me, Katie: Monica Tillery

When fiddler Katie McCoy joins handsome singer Blake Jackson on his Country Summer Nights tour, they are a match made in music heaven. But will fame destroy their love?

What a Texas Girl Wants: Kristina Knight

A little too much fun in the sun lead Kathleen and Jackson to wake up on a beach together . . . married! But will their one-night fling turn into the real thing?

Sensuality Level: Sensual

Check them out today!

Mid Week Tease: More from In Plain Sight

midweekteaseGood morning. Welcome to another Mid Week Tease courtesy of Sandra Bunino. Please take the time to check out the other great teases. I’ve learned a lot from reading material written by other authors, and I hope you will as well, and so in rhyme:

Mid Week Teases

Some are PG, some are not.

Some are sweet and some are hot, hot, hot!

There are vamps and tramps and aliens, too.

Something for everyone, it’s all up to you!

With 12 days of summer left, I can be optimistic that there are still a few great nights out there yet. Last Friday night was the warmest, nicest night of the summer. It’s the reason I decided to share another except from In Plain Sight. I set the book in New York state where we go camping. I used the places in the area to create Pine Falls, and I’ve been inside that walk-in cooler in the story. While many things in the book are fictitious, others are real, and anyone who’s driven the road out of Potsdam just might remember the road described this morning. 

In Plain Sight coverHere’s the Blurb to refresh your memory:

In life, you pay a price for everything you do. Widowed, her dream of starring on Broadway in ashes at her feet, Misty Starr yearns for a happy, healthy, normal life for herself and her four-year-old daughter, Debbie. Settled in Pine Falls, NY, a sleepy little town filled with friendly people, she believes she’s found it and feels safe enough to sing in an amateur theater revival of Jesus Christ Superstar. She’ll do anything to keep this life even if it is built on lies, because revealing her secret is impossible. When Nick Anthony joins the cast as music director, Misty is attracted to the man who stirs up feelings she thought long dead, but can love grow on a bed of deceit?

 A former concert pianist and secret CIA courier, Nick lives in darkness ever since the accident that killed his wife. The doctors say there’s nothing wrong with his vision, so why can’t he see? Hiding from his former life, he reluctantly agrees to help with the musical and is drawn to the young singer with the voice of an angel. When a mysterious fire destroys her home, Nick vows to keep her and her daughter safe. After one suspicious event leads to another, Nick is determined to protect them from an unknown assassin, but in order to do that, he needs to know her secrets. With his money and connections, he’ll do whatever it takes to save the woman he loves, but does she love him enough to reveal the truth?

Today’s Tease:

After what seemed like hours rather than minutes, the car climbed the last hill on their route, the steepest one before home. Once over the hump, they’d be home within five minutes. She took a deep breath and huffed it out. She could do this.

As she crested the hill, Misty applied the brakes to decelerate so she wouldn’t be moving too fast when she arrived at the S curve at the bottom. It took less than a second to realize that not only were the brakes sluggish, they were gone.

“Oh God,” she whispered into the silence, her breath catching in her throat, the beat of her heart thundering in her ears. “Nick, the brakes are gone!”

“Completely? Are you sure? Have you pumped them?” His voice was firm and steady, mooring her, preventing her from giving way to the panic. He was probably as frightened as she was, but he was doing his best to hide it from her—just as she would if it were Debbie in the car. She was determined not to let him down.

She lifted her foot and pumped the brakes several times, hoping to build up enough pressure in the braking system to slow the vehicle, which continued to accelerate due to gravity. She tried to remember everything she’d learned in the defensive driving course the marshals had insisted she take when they’d first put her in the program. The most important thing had been to remain calm. She squeezed the pedal to the floor and held it there. She shifted into low gear, hoping it would be enough to reduce the speed further, using the car’s own engine to slow it down as she’d been taught.

“Damn! There’s nothing there. I’ve downshifted, but we’re still moving too fast. I’m going to use the hand brake. Brace yourself. If it works, we won’t stop right away, but we’ll slow even more. I took a defensive driving course years ago, and I’m trying to remember what to do in this situation. It wasn’t one we practiced.”

“You’ll do fine,” he stated with conviction. “You’re an excellent driver. I’d offer to drive, but then we’d really be in trouble.”

The nonsensical comment made her giggle nervously. Her fingers gripped the steering wheel so tightly, they hurt. She didn’t want to let go of the wheel, but she couldn’t hang on to it and pull the handbrake at the same time. They were quickly approaching the curve at the bottom of the hill.

She gritted her teeth, forced her right hand to let go of the steering wheel, and pulled up on the handbrake with all her strength. Nothing happened.

“It should have worked—why didn’t it work?” Her breath was coming in gasps. “The parking brake worked earlier. This makes no sense.”

Want to read more? Chapter one is available on Wattpad

Now, don’t forget to check out the rest of this week’s teases.


Release Day Blitz! Little Dark Pieces by Maria McCartan

LDP - Banner3Good morning! Another twelve days of summer to come and all’s good. I have something different to suggest to you this morning. Check it out:

Synopsis for Little Dark Pieces:

Little_Dark_Pieces_Book_Cover_FINAL 2Fall under the spell of Maria McCartan in her tantalising debut Little Dark Pieces, the first volume of the Dark Pieces vampire series.

Provocatively sensual, edgy and compelling, Little Dark Pieces is a vampire romance with a difference.

Down on her luck Londoner Carly Singleton works as a receptionist for a West End media company. Pretty and affable, she brings a ray of sunshine to the office every day and is well liked by both friends and colleagues. Behind her cheerful exterior however, lurks a deeply troubled woman with a complicated past and a yearning to find her Mr Right.

Determined to quit smoking, Carly seeks help at a Harley Street medical practice where she meets the renowned hypnotherapist Dr Nick Craven. Charming and charismatic, Nick is all that Carly has ever wanted and she can’t control the overwhelming desire he stirs in her. She is certain she’s found her fairytale prince, but Nick Craven has secrets—shocking secrets that threaten to destroy all that Carly holds dear.

Little Dark Pieces is an intensely erotic romance about the price of passion and an all consuming love that tips one woman to the brink. It is a tale that will consume you, obsess you and stay with you long after you have turned the final page.

Not Convinced yet? Check out the  Trailer for Little Dark Pieces

About Maria McCartan:

Since the age of five, Maria McCartan has been making up weird and wonderful stories. Now an adult, she consumes at least two books a week, along with a healthy supply of diet Coke and Galaxy chocolate. She lives in London with her boyfriend.

Social Links:



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Look Who Dropped By Today: Leslie Garcia

Is there anything sexier than a cowboy?


This morning, I want to welcome Leslie Garcia who’s here to talk about two cowboy anthologies. The first, Counting on Cowboys will be featured today. Check back on Thursday, for the second post. Take it away, Leslie.

 Dell, the heroine in my first Crimson Romance title, Unattainable, gallops through the south Texas in an English saddle. On a thoroughbred. She gets that from me. But she chases cowboy in DEA clothing Jovi Treviño, not some preppie in plaid or cords or whatever the heck preppies wear.  She gets that from me, too.

Because, let’s face it—most of us gravitate to those real men of steel, those leather and muscle men who can rope and hogtie a calf or a gal, who are solid as rock and as honest as a day is long. Overwhelmingly, a girl’s go-to man is a cowboy—and a woman’s hankering for a ‘real’ man doesn’t change much.

Susanne kindly invited me here to showcase two collections of the sexiest, best-hearted men who ever rode into a reader’s heart. Whether cowboys by profession or by heart, I think you’ll love these two collections that pay homage to what a Tim McGraw song refers to as “the cowboy in us all.”

 Our collection starts with Cowboy Up, 7 shorter tributes to those men who can ride a bull for 8 seconds but hang on to the right woman for a lifetime.


Seven men as tough as the west…

          Seven women who know how to…

Cowboy Up 

 A boxed set of seven romantic novellas by seven award-winning authors experienced with writing about the men of the West.



Always, Cowboy by Allison Merritt


The past is better left behind, unless it offers a brighter future.

Brody Longtree’s first love was bull riding, but he loved beauty queen Libby Dempsey equally as hard. When she turned down his marriage proposal, everything from his rodeo career to his love life went to hell. His love ran too deep for blame, so he made the best of what life threw at him. Things finally get back on track…and then she almost runs over his dog.

When her pageant dreams died in an embarrassing display of nerves, Libby made a new, cowboy-free life for herself. One where she could train other girls who want to be pageant princesses. One that doesn’t give her any reason to dwell on what might have been with Brody until his dog bounds into her heart. And she bounds into Brody’s bed.

Despite the differences in their lives, they mesh together, the way Brody always knew they would. No matter what, he’s waiting until he’s certain Libby is ready to get married before he asks again, but their relationship comes under fire when one of her friends reveals a secret about a little girl Libby is awfully attached to—a girl who’s the right age to be Brody’s daughter.


Under that snap front western shirt, did he still sport six-pack abs? She couldn’t count the number of times she’d helped him out of a similar shirt and put ice on his bruises after a ride. Or how often they’d parked at the lake and explored one another under the stars.

“Hot?” Brody asked.


“You’re flushed. We could go sit in the stands, maybe catch a breeze.”

“Yeah, I guess.”

“Can I ask you something, Lib?” Brody rose. His dark eyes were serious and a few lines bracketed his mouth. “Why’d you come tonight?”

Libby swallowed hard. “You asked me.”


“I only live an hour away and I didn’t have anything else to do tonight.” Tell him you miss him.

“You used to be more honest.” He slipped his hand around her wrist. “You missed me.”

“I—” Electricity buzzed through her from his touch. “Maybe a little.”

“Maybe a lot.” He pulled her into his arms. “You wouldn’t be here otherwise.”

About Allison Merritt:

A love of reading inspired Allison Merritt to pursue her dream of becoming an author who writes historical, paranormal and fantasy romances, often combining the sub-genres. She lives in a small town  in the Ozark Mountains with her husband and dogs. When she’s not writing or reading, she hikes in  national parks and conservation areas.

Allison graduated from College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri with a B.A. in mass communications that’s gathering dust after it was determined that she’s better at writing fluff than hard news.

Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Google+  |  Goodreads  |  Pinterest




Cowboys Don’t Cry by Vickie Taylor


A broken cowboy with nothing left to lose…except his heart.

Dash Connaway is hell-bent down a highway to nowhere. But he can’t outrun fate. Just a few months ago, he’d had a new album shooting up the country music charts, a luxury tour bus prepped for gigs in 39 cities, and a live-in girl friend he’d been thinking of asking to marry him. Now he’s just another drifter with an old guitar, a beat-up pickup, and a dog named Bill for a bed mate…until he meets Maggie McCain.

Maggie isn’t your ordinary Oregon rancher. She’s more into organic gardening and hand-spinning yarn from the fleece of her prized alpacas than breeding stinky old cattle. She’s a nurturer, a giver, so when Dash steps into her life from nowhere, she’s ready to trade in her solitary existence on the farm in favor of a husband to grow old with and a passel of children to care for.

But when she learns the real reason for Dash’s commitment to life on the road, she’s faced with a difficult choice and a lesson in the fallacy behind the old saying “Cowboys don’t cry.” Only time will tell just how potent the healing power of love can really be.


“It’s a girl,” he pronounced cradling the newborn alpaca in his arms.

The woman wiped her grimy chin with the back of her grimier hand. Tears tracked through the dirt on her cheeks. “You did it.” She pushed to her feet, but her legs looked none too steady. She picked up the rifle and leaned on it like a crutch.

Dash went to her, ready to catch her if she fell. “We did it,” he corrected.

“Yes, we did.”

He smiled and reached out to her free arm. It was meant to be a celebratory brush, a comfort…but it lingered a moment too long. The air changed.

Without warning, she swung her rifle up and rested the barrel against his chest. “Now who the hell are you, and what are you doing on my land?”

About Vickie Taylor:

Vickie Taylor published her first book in 1999 and quickly rose to the ranks of national best-selling and award-winning author. She enjoys all types of books, but especially paranormal, suspense, and western contemporary with the unifying theme being romance. Vickie always enjoys a good love story. She is the author of sixteen published novels and is a four-time nominee for the Oscar of the romance world, the Romance Writers of America Rita award. When she’s not writing or reading, she’s usually out riding horses, training search and rescue dogs, or volunteering with her local humane society. She is an avid supporter of the campaign to preserve America’s wild horses, and her latest release, Cowboys Don’t Cry is the first book in a new series featuring her beloved mustangs. Sign up for her newsletter to be notified when the next book in the series, The Horseman’s Widow, coming October, 2014, is available. Vickie loves to hear from readers and can be contacted via the methods below:

Website  (where you can also sign up for her newsletter announcing new releases.)  |  Facebook  |   Twitter 




A Cowboy’s Heart by Leslie Garcia


Teenage lovers torn apart by betrayal. Have seventeen years changed everything—or nothing?

Star-crossed lovers in their south Texas hill country high school, torn apart by a best friend’s lie, a mother’s cold hatred, and a father’s lack of trust…

High school junior Illy Kingston turns to varsity football star and cowboy in training Gil Salas when her father, a Border Patrol agent, is killed under suspicious circumstances.

Their hormone-fueled, all or nothing affair ends when betrayal tears them apart.

Years, later, Illy returns home, at loose ends after her disastrous marriage to a reality show rock star ends with an embarrassing photo gone viral and a divorce.

When Gil and his mounted Border Patrol make an unannounced civic call at a local elementary school, Gil is shocked to see Illy lurking in the shadows, threatening to upend his existence once again.

The old passion still burns—but neither can go back to the innocence of their high school affair. Illy swore never to love a man wearing a uniform that didn’t involve jeans, a western hat, and boots. Gil has a price on his head.

And star-crossed love doesn’t usually work for cowboys, either.


He stopped abruptly. Illy had told him to stop, and he hadn’t thought she meant it. The memory of her reacting to him, caressing him, wanting him, stormed back. And then, when Emma called, she’d turned off and fled in a fury.

Did she think he’d seen the picture? He’d seen it online, like the entire world had, according to all the social media. What if she thought he was just acting out what he’d seen? No matter how much the photo enraged and sickened him, he could only imagine her horror that her marriage was over, but that episode never would be.

Did she feel strange at all, being in his arms after that very public display with her ex-husband? His heart thudded dully. She must know he’d seen the picture, but what would it do to her if she knew the truth?

He closed his eyes. She was out of his life, and that was best for him. Because truth be told, he didn’t know if he could take her again and not remember the second most painful night of his life. The night he’d happened on Illy making love to her rock-star husband in public.

About Leslie Garcia:

Leslie P. García grew up lost among a crowd of six siblings and a menagerie that included more than twenty horses and ponies, uncounted dogs and cats, possums, raccoons—even a lion and monkeys. Then she moved to Texas, fell in love, was disowned—and embarked on her real adventures, raising 4 children, teaching hundreds, and loving 9 grandkids through forty years of marriage. The fabric of that colorful life has always been writing. In A Cowboy Heart, Leslie celebrates two of her passions—cowboys and the ever present chance at redemption in spite of past mistakes. Leslie loves hearing from readers and can be found all over cyber space, including these places:

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Melissa Keir(1)The Heartsong Cowboy by Melissa Keir


Can two people, one horse and the power of love cure a little girl?

Angela French blames herself for her daughter’s lack of voice. Determined to do anything to correct the situation, she seeks out Jake Kyncade, the owner of The Heartsong Ranch.

Jake Kyncade hides his own sorrows behind his no-nonsense demeanor. Helping children becomes one way to correct his past. Using equine therapy, he sets out to make a difference.

Can Jake help Angela’s dreams come true or will Jake’s past bring more heartache? Will love save them all?


With Taylor asleep on the couch, Angela snuck the magazine out of her daughter’s sleeping hands before carrying her to her bed. After making sure her baby was tucked in, she turned out the lights and went to the kitchen. She sat down at the table to study the article about the horse whisperer. The photos gave off a peaceful feeling—so much so, she longed to jump into the images. Along with the horses, there were shots of children laughing and petting the animals. The article mentioned a little boy with Down’s Syndrome whose language increased after a week of animal therapy. The Heartsong Ranch. Even the name sounds encouraging. Dare I get my hopes up?

One photo in particular captured her attention. The owner, Jake Kyncade, wore jeans and a cowboy hat as he stood next to the ranch sign. She took a deep breath as butterflies circled in her abdomen. He’s sexy. Very different from Mike. Mr. Kyncade has this wounded look in his eyes. I wonder what his trauma was. I’ve gotten better at noticing it in others. Still, he’s good looking. Probably married with his own children.

About Melissa Keir:

Melissa Keir has always wanted to be an author when she wasn’t hoping for a career as a race car driver. Her love of books was instilled by her mother and grandparents who were avid readers. She’d often sneak books away from them so that she could fantasize about those strong alpha males and plucky heroines. In middle school and high school, Melissa used to write sappy love poems and shared them with her friends and still has those poems today! In college her writing changed to sarcastic musings on life as well as poems with a modern twist on fairy tales and won awards for her writing. You can find many of these musings along with her latest releases on her website and blog.

As a writer, Melissa likes to keep current on topics of interest in the world of writing. She’s a member of the Romance Writers of America, Mid-Michigan RWA Chapter, and EPIC. She is always interested in improving her writing through classes and seminars. 

Melissa doesn’t believe in down time. She’s always keeping busy. Melissa is a wife and mother, an elementary school teacher, a movie reviewer, an owner of a publishing company as well as an author. Her home blends two families and is a lot like the Brady Bunch, without Alice- a large grocery bill, tons of dirty dishes and a mound of laundry. She loves to write stories that feature happy endings and is often seen plotting her next story.

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Autumn PiperCowboy Trouble by Autumn Piper


She’s decided to make some bad choices this weekend.

Susie Howell has always done what her family expects of her, but they don’t know about the divorce papers she’s just signed, or the secret torch she carries for sexy ranch hand Cash. When keeping the secret gets to her, she flees her brother’s wedding reception. Determined to live a little, she swipes the nearest truck from the ranch and heads to Sin City.

Cash Acosta has worked hard for everything he has, and nobody is taking off with his truck. When he sees it driving away, he jumps in—and becomes the unwilling passenger of a ready and willing woman he’s forbidden to touch. Hell-bent for trouble, the boss’s sister has already earmarked him as one of her “bad choices”.

And Susie intends to get what she wants.


“So that’s why you’re runnin’.” Under the parking lot lights, his eyes were pitch black. He thumbed a tear from her cheek.

She tried for a more ladylike sniffle, blinked away her tears. Nodded, for lack of a better reply.

“When I hear a beautiful woman wants to make some mistakes, my gut instinct is to help her out with that.” His thumb brushed her lower lip. “Hearin’ she’s single…that’s another checkmark in the pros column.” Hypnotized, she barely breathed as he cupped her jaw in his fingers and that gaze riveted on hers. “Seein’ her cry? What choice do I have?” He bent to her, his lips hot and strong, skilled as they teased hers apart, his tongue waking feelings she’d forgotten. And Lord, it may be too soon, it may be wrong, but she wanted. Wanted Cash, his hands, his mouth, his… She grabbed onto his hard shoulders, slipped her hands up his neck, buried her fingers in that thatch of hair. And kissed him like there was no tomorrow. Of course there was. Sexy, brooding, womanizing Cash wanted her, and he’d be hers, at least for this trip.

About Autumn Piper:

Born and raised in itty-bitty Rifle, Colorado, Autumn Piper studiously avoided trouble…but is now inclined toward it, particularly in her novels. She thinks the best things in life are funny, and the runners-up, romantic.

An admitted carb addict, Autumn writes, edits, manages two teenagers, two cats, a box turtle with a huge personality, one husband and many supersize houseplants, and does the cooking and cleaning when forced to.

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Sara Walter Ellwood (9)Chasing a Cowboy by Sara Walter Ellwood


He’s running from heartbreak. She’s chasing after love… Their hearts will never be the same.

Paige Morgan has lived her entire life in the glare of her fraternal twin sister’s star. Although the sisters are as different as sun is from the moon, Paige fell in love with the same man as her famous swimsuit model sister. When country superstar Chase Jordan is dumped at the altar by her twin, Paige sees an opportunity to go after the one thing of her sister’s she’s always wanted. She finds Chase in Cabo San Lucas nursing his broken heart in the true country song fashion—with a bottle of Jose Cuervo—and reminds him of the desire he once felt for her. Will this singing cowboy change his tune as they set the tropical nights on fire? Or will Paige be the one singing the blues when her sister shows up wanting her man back?


All of his hopes and dreams shattered on what should have been the happiest day of his life. Today, instead of settling in for their two-week vacation and only getting out of bed to eat, he was nursing a bottle of Jose Cuervo. Why had he come here? His brother was right; he could have easily eaten the cost of the trip. Chase had insisted that he had to escape for a little while, lick his wounds and come up with a plan before he had to go back on tour in a few weeks. Jack accused him of wanting to punish himself. Why else would he go to the place he and Kayla were to have their honeymoon? Had he come here to remind himself of what should have been? He shook his head, hoping to dislodge the thoughts, and turned to gaze out the other side of the bar.

A woman stood on the walkway staring at him through a pair of Aviators. Her long blonde ponytail shimmered in the sun like spun gold. He narrowed his eyes. Was he now hallucinating?

She entered the bar and headed toward him. Sitting on the stool beside him, she removed her sunglasses to reveal a pair of expressive hazel eyes. “Surprise.”

“Paige? What the hell are you doing here?”

About Sara Walter Ellwood:

Although Sara Walter Ellwood has long ago left the farm for the glamour of the big town, she draws on her experiences growing up on a small hobby farm in West Central Pennsylvania to write her contemporary westerns. She’s been married to her college sweetheart for over 20 years, and they have two teenagers and one very spoiled rescue cat named Penny. She longs to visit the places she writes about and jokes she’s a cowgirl at heart stuck in Pennsylvania suburbia. Sara Walter Ellwood is a multi-published author and publishes paranormal romantic suspense under the pen name Cera duBois.

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D'Ann Lindun jpgCowboy Bred, Cowboy Born by D’Ann Lindun


Freedom or family?  Only love can make the choice.

Photographer Alannah Murphy refuses to be tied down. She watched her parents struggle to hold onto their dairy farm until it killed them. The mere thought of the same fate makes her shudder. When she meets rancher Sterling Gentry she has to face her fears, or lose him.

Sterling Gentry longs for someone to hand his ranch down to. Like his father before him, he has sacrificed everything to hold onto the land his ancestors settled. But finding Ms. Right proves harder than he imagined. Then he meets Alannah Murphy with her big city ways. How he can ever take a chance with a woman exactly like his mother, who abandoned him when he was a child?

Despite their determination to stay the course they’ve each chosen, attraction pulls them together as steadily as a nail to a magnet. Can these two find a way to mesh Alannah’s need for freedom and Gentry’s desire to hold onto his land?


Still snapping photos, the woman approached him. When she came within speaking distance, she waved. “Hello.”

“Who the hell are you? And what are you doing in the middle of the road? Don’t you know better than to stand in the way when somebody’s herding stock?”

Her mouth opened and closed a couple times. “I didn’t think—”

“Hell no, you didn’t think,” Gentry shouted. “Damn it anyway.”

“I’m sorry,” she said in a small voice. “The shot was just so good…”

The shot? She’d ruined hours upon hours of exhausting work because she’d wanted a picture? Who the hell would do something so stupid?

Only a damn greenhorn.

For the first time he noticed her get-up. A straw hat only a city girl would wear, floaty pink top with tiny straps that left her bare shoulders exposed to the unforgiving Arizona sun, cut-off jean shorts and red cowboy boots. Daisy Duke personified. He shook his head in disgust.

Reality crashed over him.

The New York photographer his mother had enticed out here, hoping an article in The Cowboy magazine would bring attention to the Santa Gertrudis cattle they raised.


About D’Ann Lindun:

Falling in love with romance novels the summer before sixth grade, D’Ann Lindun never thought about writing one until many years later when she took a how-to class at her local college. She was hooked! She began writing and never looked back. Romance appeals to her because there’s just something so satisfying about writing a book guaranteed to have a happy ending. D’Ann’s particular favorites usually feature cowboys and the women who love them. This is probably because she draws inspiration from the area where she lives, Western Colorado, her husband of twenty-nine years and their daughter. Composites of their small farm, herd of horses, five Australian shepherds, a Queensland heeler, two ducks and cats of every shape and color often show up in her stories!

D’Ann loves to hear from readers! Please contact her at:

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