Monday, November 30, 2015

New Release Spotlight

Today is Cyber Monday, and if you're online trolling from gifts for someone else or looking for books for yourself, here's a brand new one from my online buddy, Chantel Rhondeau.
Title: Love's Ride (McCallister's Paradise - 4)
Author: Chantel Rhondeau
Release date: November 24, 2015
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Family Saga Romance

Brad McCallister has always felt estranged from his family. He thought taking over as manager of their paradise resort would make him feel more connected but that hasn’t happened. To top it off, his siblings are finding life partners and settling down while Brad’s still single. If only he could stop obsessing over the island's psychologist, Chelsea Taylor.

Chelsea loves working at McCallister's Paradise. She enjoys the large family of employees and feels at home in the sand and sunshine. The only thing missing is the spice of adventure. She longs to explore the island and conquer her longstanding fears.

After Brad’s sister schemes to bring Brad and Chelsea together things go horribly wrong, but Brad refuses to give up without a fight. A two-week island adventure will not only help fulfill Chelsea’s lifelong dream of being a survivalist, it will give them a chance to get to know each other—away from his meddling family.

This couple gets more than they bargained for when survival takes on a new meaning in paradise.

Apple iBooks: 


She pouted slightly as she thought, her full red lips begging him to suck on them. “I felt like dinner went well the other day, but…” She paused and scarlet flared against her cheekbones.

“Dinner did go well,” he agreed. “I wasn’t sure you thought so, but I had a great time.”

“I was surprised when you left so fast.” Looking down at their hands, she avoided his eyes, seeming unsure and flustered. “I thought you’d want a goodnight kiss.”

She felt insecure because he hadn’t kissed her? Well, hot damn!

Brad chuckled and tugged her hands, pulling her close to his chest. She was enough shorter than him that when her hair swished around her face the silky strands rubbed against his chin, catching slightly in the evening stubble he hadn’t had time to shave.

Pressing his lips against her forehead, Brad released one of her hands to caress her cheek and slide his hand down her neck.

The passion he felt in being so close to her was echoed in the soft trembling of Chelsea’s body against his and the sweet, contented sigh she released.

Wrapping both arms around her, Brad held her close to his heart, enjoying having her so near after spending several days apart. If only work would slow down and he could see her more often. He knew it was too sudden to be sure that he wanted things to work out with Chelsea, but holding her felt right. Since the moment she arrived on the island, Brad hadn’t been able to stop thinking about her, wishing he could call her his lady. Now he might have a chance.

Chelsea’s arms circled him, and she rested her head on his shoulder. The soft puffs of breath coming from her mouth bathed his neck with their warmth, making him wish he were less of a gentleman.

“You smell delicious,” she whispered, sniffing deeply. Her lips brushed his collarbone, setting his heart rate racing. 

If he didn’t stop this soon, the problem twitching to life in his pants could make a family dinner awkward. Kissing her forehead once more, Brad gently gripped her shoulders and pushed her away.

About McCallister's Paradise: 

Fall in love with the strong men and smart women of McCallister's Paradise!

At their tropical island resort, the McCallister family works hard. Life in Paradise should be perfect. After all, the place is great for a romantic getaway. Unfortunately, the five McCallister siblings are still searching for their happily ever afters... and romance always seems just out of reach. 

But determined hearts won't be denied. And when love is on the line, a McCallister doesn't fall halfway!

Happy Endings (Quinn)
Diving Into Love (Parker)
For Love or Charity (Sydney)
Love's Ride (Brad)
Cooking Up Love (Shane - coming soon)

Available at these vendors:

~~About the Author~~

Bestselling Author Chantel Rhondeau once thought a mystery or fantasy book with strong romantic themes was the highest level of reading bliss. After reading her first romantic suspense, she never looked back. Chantel is author of six romantic suspense novels, three Christmas novellas, a sports-themed novella, and the McCallister’s Paradise contemporary romance/family saga series. She lives in the western United States and when she's not writing, she loves playing cards with her family, bowling on leagues, and snuggling with her lazy kitties.

Want to contact Chantel?
Mailing list: (FREE copy of Season For Love for new sign ups!)
Join my Facebook Group:

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sample Sunday

I'm 28,000 words into I WANT YOU BACK, Book Five in the Stafford Brothers series. Here's another UNEDITED excerpt:


Following a long sigh, she rested her fork on the edge of her plate and looked as though she were contemplating her answer. “We were together for two years, Nick. That’s longer than a lot of people stay married, but we had gotten into such a routine. You’d come here after working a God-awful shift at the hospital. I’d feed you. We’d watch TV until you crashed, which was usually about twenty minutes after you ate; then I’d wake you up and we’d have sex then you’d go back to sleep until you had to get up and go back to work.”

He twirled his fork into the spaghetti and hesitated before raising it to his mouth. “Sounds pretty monotonous when you put it like that. I saw things totally different. I loved coming here because I have a roommate, and there’s no such thing as privacy with him and all of his friends traipsing in and out. You gave me the three things a man needs–good food, good sex and quiet.” He smiled. “Coming here and spending time with you was the best part of my week, but I understand how you felt you were getting the short end of the stick. I didn’t take into consideration what you needed. I’m sorry, baby.”

“It was my fault, but if we’re going to be together, things will be different. No more spending the night. No more doing your laundry here. If you want me, you have to date me like you should’ve been doing all along.”

Nick mulled over her words for a moment then nodded. “That’s fair. It’s what you deserve, but don’t expect any gourmet dining or weekend trips to South Beach on a resident’s salary.” He added with a mirthless chuckle.

“Oh, my God! You make fifty thousand dollars a year, more than half of the households in this country. I know that doesn’t compare to what your brothers make, but please stop acting like you’re poverty stricken.”

“I do, but I’m also two hundred thousand dollars in student loan debt, and if I ever plan to get out from under, most of what I earn has to go toward repaying my student loans. I don’t want to still be paying them off ten years from now.”

She crossed her arms and shook her head. “Think about it this way. If we were married, my salary plus what I make from giving lessons on the side would go into the family pot. We would only have one rent payment instead of two and only one set of utility bills.” She gave the ceiling a brief glance. “I’m just saying.”

He grinned. “You’re right. I have to stop imagining this anvil hanging over my head with 200K written on it.”

“Yes, you do.”

“Am I ever going to get to enjoy your cooking again?”

“We’ll see,” she said with a smirk.

“Let’s finish eating, because you need to be on your way before it gets too late.”

Nick had the distinct feeling he was in for a fight. Cher had never been a pushover, and that was one of the things he loved about her. She wasn’t going to make this easy for him. On top of that, when the word got around about what happened at the wedding, his name, as insignificant as it was, was going to be mud in the Atlanta medical community. So many of his father’s and his brother’s colleagues were sitting in the salon at The Estate this afternoon, and it was just a matter of time before the rumor mill started churning.

After they finished dinner, he helped Cherilyn clean up. She kissed him goodbye before he left and said, “Call me if you want to see me again.”

“Stop it, Cher. Don’t play like that.” He kissed her lips, which tasted like powdered sugar and cream from the cannoli, and left with thoughts of where would take her on their date. He shook his head as the word echoed through it as he drove back to his apartment. She was right, not since they had first met would he consider what they did as dating. The first few times, he’d taken her out to dinner and a movie or they visited one of the popular clubs in Buckhead. What they had was a relationship, one that was more like a marriage than he cared to admit.


Friday, November 27, 2015

New Release Spotlight!

Today is "Black Friday," which is traditionally is a shopping day, so I wanted to share a wonderful book to buy for your children or grandchildren. It's titled, Nappy and the First Day of Kindergarten.

The author is Arnitris Strong, and she is giving away a copy of the book to one lucky commenter.

Here's what she has to say about her writing and this delightful new book:

Earlier this year, I began my blog Blessed be the Tie as an exploration into the intricacies of the mother/daughter relationship. That relationship is the filter through which that child will identify and relate with the world around them. I began to realize that the strained, almost non-existent relationship with my mother was affecting the bond with my own girls. I was determined to break the  cycle. My mother and I committed ourselves to working on our  
bond.Blessed be the tie was my way of chronicling that journey. I have gotten support from people that I have never met, it seems that difficult relationships with mothers are universal. At some point, each of us have experienced a disagreement with our mothers. If we are  
persistent we can get past it, but I realize everyone isn't so fortunate.

Since January, the site has expanded to include Mom, You 
are the real MVP- my monthly tribute to mompreneurs. As a busy working mom, I struggled to incorporate quality mommy and me time. I vividly recall a scene a few years ago as I drove my daughter, Destani to  school. I asked about her best friend, Kerry Ann. Destani told me that they were no longer friends. This wasn't an especially rare occurrence, friends grow apart or have differences all the time. But, I felt this tremendous amount of guilt. I was so busy working and providing for my girls that I wasn't enjoying their childhood. I felt like a failure as a mother. In fact, I cried all the way to work. The Lion King on Broadway was scheduled to perform in Atlanta the following weekend.I bought tickets and scheduled a date with my daughter, just her and I. We had lunch and saw the show, we called it a mommy and me date. Each month I try to schedule time to spend with each one of them alone and just catch up. The dates are not always so  elaborate, they can be as simple as Netflix and popcorn. The point is to create memories and to have quality time.  I have begun to include a section of mommy and me experiences on the site, along with recipes that can be prepared with the help of the little ones. There is also a section where I discuss current events called A Spoonful of Sugar with Arnitris that is being revamped for January 2016. I also plan to provide live mommy and me experiences to encourage the strengthening of the ties that bind mothers and their children.

Nappy and the First Day of Kindergarten is the first physical product that Blessed be the Tie is offering. It is a result of a partnership through the CoLAB project. The CoLAB project is an effort by Latina bloggers, the ALT society and Be Blogalicious to bring awareness to  
bloggers of different communities. Each participant was paired with a blogger from a different community. My partnership can only be described as divine intervention, because I was paired with an amazing artist - Beth Allen.

A few years ago, it was a habit to entertain my 
coworkers with the antics of my girls. A coworker remarked that I should write a book about them, and the seed was planted. Initially, I was only interested in winning tickets to Blogalicious, but it only seemed right to monetize the book. This is the first in a series of books, as you can see this one is centered around Nappy's first day in kindergarten. The plan is to follow her through each grade, eventually progressing to chapter books. I also have plans to introduce literacy aids based on the characters in the books. My experience as a reading tutor with AmeriCorps prompted me to create innovative ways to ensure my students grasped the concepts. Now it seems that all of that training was just preparation for this journey into my destiny.

Here's an excerpt from the book:

Destani scowled at her. She snatched the earbuds out of her ears and  said, “What do you want?”  She was always so grumpy.

“Never mind,” said Lynn.

Destani laughed. “How did you get butterflies in your stomach? Did you  eat caterpillars, Nappy?”

“I knew she heard me,” thought Lynn.

“No, I did not eat caterpillars. And don’t call me Nappy!” Destani  pushed Lynn as she walked past her.

“Why don’t you want me to call you Nappy? It is your name.”

“No, it is not,” Lynn replied.

Mom walked into the kitchen just in time.

“Stop teasing your sister, Des,” she said. “Are you going to eat  cereal or do you want oatmeal, Lynn?”

“Do we have peaches and cream oatmeal?” Lynn asked.

Yes, we do. I will make it for you.” She looked at her watch.  “Go  ahead and get dressed. Put your robe on over your clothes so you don’t  get dirty before you get to school.”

“She is going to be dirty when she gets home anyway,” Destani yelled  from her bedroom.

“Shut…” Lynn began before looking up at her mother. She was not  allowed to say “shut up”.

“Be quiet, Des,” Lynn said before she ran into her room to escape her  mother’s gaze.

Mom had pressed Lynn’s white uniform shirt and navy blue skort last  night. A new pair of white tights hung next to the skort. Lynn hated to wear the tights because they made her itch, but her mother thought she looked so cute in them. Lynn sat on the side of the bed and put on her tights, then she slid on her  skort, and slipped into her blouse. Just then, her mother walked into her room.

Let me help you, baby,” she said.

“No, Mommy I can do it!” Lynn replied.

Mother glanced at her watch. “I know you can do it sweetheart but we need to leave soon and you still have to eat. Let me help.”

“Moommmyyy, I cann do it,” Lynn said before the first tears began to fall.

You can get in touch with Arnitris at the following links:
Twitter & Instagram handles - @arntrs77
FB fan page- Blessed be the tie

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Character Inspiration

Those who have been reading my The Stafford Brothers Novels know that only Nick's and Jesse's stories are remaining. I decided months ago to pattern Dr. Jesse's character after Jesse Williams from Grey's Anatomy. Readers will get a peek into his story at the end of I WANT YOU BACK. He's on the cover of next month's EBONY magazine with Harry Belafonte, one of the original actor/activists! 

Jesse is not only physically gorgeous, but he is a very intelligent, erudite man. I believe he will follow in the footsteps of Mr. Belafonte and eventually leave Hollywood to become a powerful leader in the movement against injustice in this country.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

New Release Spotlight

banner Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: 10-24-2015
Author: Joy Avery
cooltext1950058583   a_gentlemans_agreement_coverfinal When it comes to love, all deals are off! Blake Farrington knows exactly who to call when he finds himself needing crisis management. Yes, this task is outside Eunice Howard’s usual realm of responsibilities, but he’s willing to make it worth her time. Plus, she’s ideal for the role. Who better to play his pretend lover than the one woman who knows him almost better than he knows himself? The last thing Eunice Howard expects when summoned to her boss’s office is a request to play the role of his new love interest to appease his mother, restless to marry him off. Foolishly agreeing, she ventures with him to Farrington Estates for the Thanksgiving holiday. She thought she’d seen all sides of Blake Farrington, but the man who emerges is a man she could easily love. Their agreement blossoms into a connection neither expected—nor are willing to admit. When the lines between make-believe and reality blur, something phenomenal occurs.      cooltext1950057983
 Joy Avery is a contemporary romance author who loves watching her imaginary friends fall in love. When not crafting her next love story, she enjoys reading, spending time with the family, playing with her two dogs, and cake decorating. She’s the author of the novels Smoke in the Citi, His Until Sunrise (book 1 in the Indigo Falls series), Cupid’s Error-a Valentine’s novella, and His Ultimate Desire (book 2 in the Indigo Falls series).  
  The second they rounded the corner, Eunice snatched her hand away. “What the hell was that?” she asked in a whisper. “What?” He wasn’t truly that clueless, but played so. She released a heavy sigh and hiked up the stairs. Inside the bedroom, he was on her heels—right until the moment she stormed into the bathroom and slammed the door in his face. Blake leaned against the door jamb. “Are you upset?” “Yes. No. I mean—” She cursed under her breath. He couldn’t understand why she’d gotten so distressed. Okay, maybe he’d gone a little overboard, but… Eunice continued. “I don’t know. Did you—” She yelped once the door slung open and he was standing there. He flashed one of his award-winning smiles in hopes of lightening the mood. She pushed him out of the way and moved toward the bed. Her hair was pulled into a high ponytail, and she wore a simple white nightgown shirt. It was sexy as hell. “Did you have to take it that far?” she said. “We’re supposed to be a believable couple, right?” She narrowed her eyes at him. Had she been a bull, he had a feeling this was the moment she would have charged. “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize my words would affect you so…deeply. They were pretty poetic, huh?” Eunice snatched a pillow from the bed and hurled it at him. What was with him and women with pillows? “Enjoy the floor, Mr. Poetic.” Blake barked a laugh. Eunice climbed in bed. He sobered. She pulled the covers to her chin. Blake pulled his hands to his waist. “Eunice?” When she didn’t answer, he rested his hand on the back of his neck. “Come on. You can’t be serious. You’re really making me sleep on the floor?” “Goodnight, Prat. Sweet dreams.” There was a hint of laughter in her tone. Frankly, he didn’t find anything funny. “Seriously, that bed is the size of a small island.” “In that case, you should feel privileged. You have the entire ocean to yourself.” Every damn body is a comedian in this house. “Okay. I’ll remember this.” This time, humor played in his tone. “See if you get a Christmas bonus.” He escaped into the bathroom, did his before bed rituals, then returned and made a pallet on the floor. Using the remote, he shut off the lights, then attempted to find a comfortable position. “Blake?” Ah-ha. I knew she’d feel sorry for me. “Mmm-hmm,” he hummed. “Your story… This is going to sound strange, but it actually happened to me in Central Park. Weird, huh?” Not weird at all. Unlike her story, his had been steeped in truth. All except for the approaching her part. Unbeknownst to Eunice, he’d seen her in the park doing exactly what he’d stated. He’d also wanted to ask her out. But before he could, he discovered she’d recently started working for his company. Imagine his surprise when they’d bumped into each other at the annual Spring Fling he threw for his staff. “Huh. Yeah. That is weird.”     cooltext1950060718 download (5) connect socially
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Friday, November 6, 2015


One of the things I've been proud of in my writing career is my ability to start a book and be able to focus on the story until I type The End. Often, once I pass the halfway point in my current work-in-progress, ideas start coming to me for the next story. That has worked pretty well for me. I started working on Book Five in the Stafford Brothers series about a month ago, but this time something strange happened. Book Five is Nick Stafford's story. The last book in the series will be Jesse Stafford's story.

After that, I was considering writing a standalone book, but while Mr. Chicki and I were on vacation, I got a different idea. On our way to Panama City Beach, Florida, we drove through a small town in Alabama called Eufaula. It's a town on a huge lake bordered by beautiful contemporary lake homes. In another part of town there is a historic district with amazing Victorian, colonial and antebellum homes. I was so taken with the place, I started making notes in the car.


A couple of weeks after we returned home, I was hanging out on Facebook and saw a post by another author which said she was selling her books at the Eufaula Fall Festival! I sent her a message asking if she was in Alabama or Oklahoma, because both states have a Eufaula. She wrote back and said she lives in Eufaula, Alabama, and she agreed to answer my questions about the town. Having an insider to help me with the details is like hitting a gold mine! Since my books are always set in real locations, I usually do a lot of research on sites like, convention and visitor's bureau, Chamber of Commerce, etc.

I also have a hero of this book. He's a biker who is passing through Eufaula on his way from Atlanta to Panama City Beach with his motorcycle club. My Facebook friends chose him out of six character role models...


My challenge right now is to maintain my focus on Nick's book while these other two stories percolate in my head...