Hi Romance Lovers! I’m so happy to visit this cool space where romance lovers hang out.
How have you and you loved ones been during this Covid-19 time?
Thanks for asking. We’ve been mostly okay. We’ve followed all the health recommendations. It’s been so hard not to see family. There’s a lot of us! My mom had a mild Covid-related stroke and she’s recovering. I don’t want to complain. So many others have it so much worse.
Tell us about you and what you write.
I grew up in New York City and now live within a couple of subway stops of my childhood home. I’m the middle child of a large family and married into a large family. I mainly write steamy contemporary romance, though my most recent novella is a sweet romance set in the WWII era.
What makes me, me? I’m a bunch of contradictions. I’m a city dweller who also loves a quiet beach at sunset, an introvert who adores spending time with her enormous family, a lawyer who believes in romance and happily ever afters.
Please share a little of your author journey with us.
After I survived a health crisis I realized life is too short not to do what I’d always wanted: write romance. I’m thrilled to be in this world and I’ve never looked back.
What are you working on now? Do you have a recent or upcoming release?
I’m busy. I’m working on an indie project which is a seven book romance series about a large family in NYC. Sound familiar? >wink<
The Wild Rose Press, my publisher, just released my short, sweet WWII era novella, ALWAYS ALMOND FUDGE. It’s part of their One Scoop or Two series. All of the standalone stories are set in beach towns and involve ice cream. Personally, the way the world is right now, I think this series couldn’t have come along at a better time.
Early fall, I will have another release, a contemporary second chance romance called HOME IN YOUR ARMS, part of my publisher’s Deerbourne Inn series.
What is the most challenging part of writing romance?
Protecting my writing time. I have to be ruthless about claiming time and staying focused. I deal with this by writing in sprints of thirty minutes to an hour which helps.
Marketing is also a huge challenge because writing a beautiful story takes enormous effort but is a labor of love. Getting the word out to the public about new books in a crowded marketplace is even tougher.
What kind of research do you do when you set out to write a new book?
I research setting, the careers of my main characters and write their biographies including core events (often traumatic) in their lives that have made them the people they are, with the beliefs they have. A lot of this information doesn’t make it onto the page but I think it makes for a richer, more real story. When the reader meets my characters I hope they seem like actual people with relatable but not cookie cutter personalities. When something happens in the plot I know exactly how my main characters will react based on who they are, which is not necessarily how I would react.
If you could live in any other time in history, when and where would it be?
This is a great question and part of the reason I became an author. Writing fiction is about living other lives, sometimes in other places and other times. I wish it could have lived in New York during Revolutionary War era, Italy during the Renaissance, the American West traveling by wagon train. These were not easy times to be a woman. I imagine just getting through the day, mere survival, would be challenge enough.
Which of your books or characters is your favorite?
That’s like asking if I have a favorite child. I don’t. I love them all. Each story and character is unique and completely consumes me while I’m writing. I love hearing from readers about how they loved or hated some of characters I’ve written. I hope that means my characters are real, flawed people—and if not likeable in the beginning then redeemable. In other words I try to make them human with moments of weakness as well as bravery. And because I write romance, I need to show the reader how each main character fits with that someone who they ultimately recognize as their puzzle piece—their perfect romantic partner.
As a child what did you do to keep busy during vacation time?
I had chores which I did double quick so I could go outside to roller skate, ride my bike or jump rope, or play hopscotch, or stick ball in the street. We went to my aunt and uncle’s in Long Beach (Long Island) for a week for one summer which was a lot of fun. For a few years we went to a camp for three weeks which was a kind of fresh air fund operation. We stayed at a farm in New Jersey. I loved the nature walks although I was a total magnet for bees, hornets and poison ivy. And I read and read and read progressing quickly from Pippi Longstocking and Anne of Green Gables to my aunt’s collection of Georgette Heyers and Harlequins.
City, Suburb, small town?
New York City or if a small town it has to have a Main Street with a consignment shop and a cozy coffee place.
Wine, Whiskey or Punch?
Italian or Californian wines. I’ve had two regrettable experiences with whiskey and now I’ve (mostly) grown up, whiskey is off the menu. One of my goals is to learn how to make a punch I really like. Do you have a good recipe?
Hot dogs, hamburgers or tacos?
Shrimp, chicken or fish tacos with mango salsa
Leather, lace or silk?
silk or linen
Top, bottom or against the wall?
Whatever gets you there.
Abs, Biceps or Buns?
Don’t make me choose. And what about shoulders? My husband has the broadest.
Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime?
Netflix although a good book always takes first place.
This was so much fun. I hope I can visit again.
Check out my Website and my Instagram in the links.
Stay safe. Virtual xxx’s and ooo’s
Always, Almond Fudge
On a lengthy car ride to their annual seaside vacation, a mother recounts the true story of a sweet family tradition.
It's the summer of 1941 in the seaside town of Langford, Rhode Island, and seventeen-year-old Meredith Franklin works as a server at Seymore's Ice Cream Shoppe.
When aspiring baseball player Anthony Fanelli strolls into the ice cream shop, his teasing banter leads to romantic sparks and dreams of forever love.
Their whirlwind courtship comes to an abrupt halt on December 7, 1941, when America enters World War Two, forcing the couple to put their future on hold.
Decades later, a treasure trove of wartime letters details the romance of Merry and Anthony and the sacrifices of a generation.
More About Charlotte
Recovering lawyer Charlotte and her suit and tie wearing corporate warrior live in Manhattan with their last child, a black dog who thinks he's a bear. When Charlotte isn't reading or writing, she's dreaming of the beach.
One of my fondest memories of childhood is my mother’s pecan pies. Everything was homemade. Fresh-baked biscuits for breakfast, fresh coconut cakes, and pecan pies—fragrant and straight from the oven. So delicious, but like most children I didn’t realize what I had until I lost it. All this good influence in the kitchen, and I didn’t learn to cook like that. She could bake, fry, pressure cook, in fact, cook almost anything but steak. Steak was always overdone but I didn’t know that then either. She could string fresh green beans, milk a cow, churn fresh butter, and slice corn off the cob. She made the mixture and diced the peaches for Dad to make home-churned ice cream. Now, I consider these gifts a treasure, none of which I inherited—or absorbed as the case may be. She might as well have been a miracle worker for all I learned to cook. I was too devoted to horses and later to The Beatles.
But back to the pecan pies. They were a Thanksgiving and Christmas tradition, and sometimes for dinner on a lucky Sunday, she’d bake a pecan pie. Last week, I found her recipe in a recipe book I more or less inherited. It was tucked between the dog-earred pages and is brown with age (and probably ingredients). I wish I could tell her now that I still can’t bake a good pecan pie, but I’ve learned a lot of about androids, researching my new book Life for Sale, now available on Amazon.
Try your hand at Mrs. Brown’s Southern Pecan Pie. Here’s her hand-written—in faded pencil—recipe.
Southern Pecan Pie
Mix 1 cup sugar with 1 tablespoon of flour
Add 3 unbeaten eggs, 1 cup white Karo syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla, ¼ lb. margarine, mix well.
Do not heat – place pecans in pie crust and pour mixture over pecans
Bake in oven at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 325 for 45 – 60 minutes (do not overcook)
Simple. Not for a dreamer who escapes into distant worlds. As the t-shirt my aunt bought me says, I live in my own little world…but they like me here. My personal favorite I saw on a bumper sticker, I tried to contain myself, but I escaped.
On the robot scene from South Carolina, Linda Nightingale reporting.
Life For Sale
Mayfair Electronics has created life.
But four of their Special Editions—sentient androids indistinguishable from human—have escaped.
Rebel, Christian Aguillard and his owner, March, are on the run, but they have a bigger problem than his creator's plan to destroy him. They've discovered that one of the renegades has suffered a dangerous malfunction, threatening them with more than just exposure.
Trapped on a cruise ship in the middle of the Atlantic, March and Christian must stop the insane robot before someone else dies. All the evidence points to March being the killer's next victim.
More About Linda
Linda is a dreamer yet a realist. Her heroes are always otherworldly. She writes across the genres but primarily paranormal romance & dark fantasy.
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything. ― Plato
**Read Free Excerpt Below**
Take a journey through five melody-infused worlds where music inspires love to bloom.
“Tempo of Temptation” by Lela Bay / Regency
Perhaps it is best that Mr. Leon doesn’t recall Petra's mortifying declaration of love. Could their intense attraction during an impromptu midnight concert inspire her to risk her heart again?
“Contact High” by Emmy Z. Madrigal / New Adult
Raul’s addiction is just another symptom of the hard life he’s been dealt but when Victoria sings, his troubles fade into the background. Can her music inspire him to get clean?
“Her Immortal Beloved” by M.M. Genet / Historical
Beethoven’s plan is to write the ultimate love song that transcends all time for his beloved. Will the woman of his heart let his music inspire her?
“Rick Prince and the Manhattan Muse” by Naching T. Kassa / Steamy
Heart-broken musician, Rick Prince, is inspired by the beautiful single-mother, Zella. He has no idea she holds a secret from his past which may tear them apart.
“Love Comes to Kenneth’s Valley” by Kate Nox / Inspirational
Grayson Greer motivates his congregation through music, but after the death of his wife, the pastime is shrouded in pain. Can Rachel’s love inspire him to move on?
**Read Free Excerpt Below**
“Tempo of Temptation”
by Lela Bay
She pulled a blanket over the older woman, stoked the fire, and lifted a taper in one hand to light her way through the inky halls. A breeze flipped her robes, sending shivers over her bare limbs beneath the thin fabric. She reached for the heavy conservatory door, surprised to realize it had been left slightly ajar. Yanking the thick piece open, she gasped as she spied a pair of gleaming eyes.
She staggered back. Hot wax splashed onto her hand from the guttering candle. She cried out, but a heavy hand across her mouth and a firm arm around her waist silenced her as she was dragged through the doorway into the hall.
Bent half-back over the arm that held her, the candle tipped from the holder, pattering onto the floor and leaving them in darkness, yet the green eyes she’d seen needed no external light for their message. She clutched Ryder’s broad shoulders, catching herself against him so she wouldn’t fall. They panted together, silent for a moment. The warm length of his legs pressed against her own, and the tingle of his closeness stole words from her lips. She didn’t know which way to turn, what to protest, or how she should react to his intimate embrace.
“You...” She coughed, the breath squeezed from her by the arm he had wrapped fully around her waist. He lifted her, setting her bare feet onto the cold tiles of the floor where the flirty breeze snuck around her ankles. “...should not be up.”
“How could I resist? You are an enchantress, luring me from my bed with your siren song.”
“Don’t tell your aunt,” she pleaded, crouching to find the wayward candle. “She would not like it that you listened at the door.”
“No.” She read grimness and humor in the single word. She peered upward, unable to see him but alert to his voice. He added, “She has hidden you away successfully until now.”
“Absurd.” Petra gave up on the candle, unable to crouch at his feet a moment longer. She rose and peered at the burn inside her palm. It stung when she flaked hot wax away. “She has trouble sleeping and I provide comfort.”
“She cages an angel and bids her to sing on command.”
“I’m no angel.” As the words passed, she bit her lip. Confusion warred with her desire to flee, but pride kept her planted before him.
He knelt at her feet, then rose gracefully to offer the unlit candle. He could see better than she could, then. Realizing what this meant, Petra clutched the tie to her robe and pulled it in, feeling where the fabric gaped down the front of her nightgown and lay open over the ties at her bosom. She tugged, but his gentle hand settled over hers, stopping her.
He lifted her hand to his mouth and soothed the raw spot. His lips brushed across the back of her hand and over the plump flesh at the base of her thumb, nearly stopping her heart. Normally clean shaven, this late at night his chin sported a coarse shadow that rasped across her curved fingertips, the sandpaper roughness a direct contrast to the smooth and resilient ivory she’d recently caressed. Her fingers, of their own volition, opened and stroked against his cheek, seeking more of this new texture. His cheek flexed, a dimpled crease pulling her in as thoroughly as a whirlpool.
“I must go!” she gasped. She gathered her robes and, eschewing any light, flitted around him.
He stood behind her, silent, as she flew up the stairs. She paused at the top, remembering a bygone day when such a small exertion would have humiliated her. She leaned over the railing. Her hair ribbon slipped loose and fluttered into the darkness. Cloth rustled and a boot scraped. Would he try to return the ribbon as an excuse to climb those stairs?
Backing away, she raced to her bedroom.
He called me an angel.
Read more in Meant to Be...INSPIRED
Meant to Be Inspired
In my romances, many of my heroes or heroines are vegetarian, and this reflects what’s happening all around us: more and more people are eating less meat or no meat at all. I find it’s so much easier to serve meatless meals in the summer when there are so many wonderful vegetables around. Some vegetables do seem to grow with more enthusiasm than others — zucchini and cucumbers, for example, and if we have these in our garden, we might just feel overwhelmed by their sheer number. So what can we do with the glut?
Freezing zucchini is easy: just slice the vegetables, add a garlic clove or two, salt and pepper, and cook everything on low heat in a little olive oil. When they vegetable is soft and much of the water has evaporated, let them cool, then put them in a container (old ice cream containers are perfect) and freeze them. You’ll be happy to take the cooked zucchini out in winter when tasty vegetables are hard to come by.
What I like best, though, is making wonderful end-of-summer chilled soups with zucchini or cucumbers. They are so easy to do, and there are many ways of going about it. One way is to start with a bouillon cube base, then roughly chop your raw (seeded) cucumber or (unseeded) zucchini, add it to the broth, add either natural yogurt or sour cream, nutmeg, chives and/or mint, if you have any, a little lemon juice, salt and pepper. Put everything into a blender and grind it until it has become a very fine purée. Serve chilled. An alternative is to leave out the broth and just add yogurt or sour cream — it’s up to you. What about quantities? It doesn’t matter. Just taste it from time to time and decide if these lovely easy soups need more of anything.
In my contemporary romance, A Swan’s Sweet Song, the playwright Carston Hewlett has been learning about vegetarian cooking in the hope of impressing country singer, Sherry Valentine. He knows she’s a vegetarian, and he also knows it was his fault that their romance got off to a bad start a few months earlier. Now he’ll do anything to make up for his bad behavior.
Men cooking to impress women? It can happen!
A Swan's Sweet Song
The air sizzles when a country music star and renowned playwright meet, but can opposites fall in love?
The instant Sherry and Carston meet, there's desire and fascination in the air...but they're complete opposites. Smart-talking Sherry Valentine has fought her way up from poverty to stardom as a country music singer. Now, ever in the limelight, ever surrounded by clamoring fans, male admirers, and paparazzi, her spangled cowboy boots carry her from one brightly lit stage to the next. But Sherry’s been on the star circuit for far too long now, and she wants a change: is it too late for her to begin an acting career?
A renowned, but reclusive playwright, Carston Hewlett cherishes his freedom, the silence of the deep woods surrounding his home, and his solitary country walks. Long-term commitments have been out of the question for many years, so why is he so fascinated by a flashy country music singer? Perhaps a very short, but passionate, fling will resolve the problem.
When their names are linked in the scandal press, and Sherry's plans to become an actress are revealed, Carston is furious. Is their budding relationship doomed?
More About J. Arlene Culiner
Writer, photographer, social critical artist, musician, and occasional actress, J. Arlene Culiner, was born in New York and raised in Toronto. She has crossed much of Europe on foot, has lived in a Hungarian mud house, a Bavarian castle, a Turkish cave-dwelling, on a Dutch canal, and in a haunted house on the English moors. She now resides in a 400-year-old former inn in a French village of no interest and, much to local dismay, protects all creatures, especially spiders and snakes. She particularly enjoys incorporating into short stories, mysteries, narrative non-fiction, and romances, her experiences in out-of-the-way communities, and her conversations with strange characters.
One day, about three years ago, I was packing up my summer wardrobe to make place for clothes I needed that autumn, and those that I’d need soon after, in early winter. My gaze fell on my winter stuff (I’d be taking those out of storage later, when the temperatures in North India dropped to icy cold), and I also noticed a pile of garments I’d need (very briefly) in spring.
So many clothes, I’d thought to myself then, and so little time to wear them in each season. Many were in mint condition, some newly bought, so it wasn’t as if the mountaineous piles were due to me hanging on to shabby favorites (which habit I do have, but that’s another post).
Those were the days when one of my sons was experimenting with a minimalistic lifestyle (and was winning at it) so I made myself two promises. I would try my darnedest to stop getting tempted by new fabric, new colors, new designs. And I would give away some of the clothes I hadn’t worn in years.
The first part of my plan was as tough as the second one – I won’t lie – I dithered, agonised, resisted, succumbed, felt guilty, felt great, but I eventually managed to reduce the mountains down to a molehill or three.
My mother and my sisters, lovely stylish fashionistas, meanwhile, continued to eschew de-cluttering even as I struggled to embrace it. They would, however, often offload beautiful, gently-worn items they didn’t want to wear any more, or couldn’t fit into, and these, pending a final disposal, collected over the years in a wardrobe in my parents’ home. That wardrobe, I discovered quite by accident, was exactly what I needed to fill the hole in my recently de-cluttered soul.
I would give the rejected garments a second chance, a loving, grateful new body to adorn – thus, it was in my parents’ home that I experienced the magic of second-hand wardrobes and I cannot recommend the concept enough.
Here are some of the advantages of adopting clothes (extending their lives – or greening them – when their owners are bored of them) instead of buying new ones:
1. You get an inexpensive fashion makeover
2. The wardrobe stops creaking and trying to burst at the seams
3. The hole in your soul gets sustainably filled
4. You still de-clutter, hopefully, by sending out your own clothes for adoption
5. You making your minimalist son very happy
6. You spread bright ensemble sunshine in an adopter’s life
7. You save an overwhelmed landfill
So, go do it – enjoy your Second-Hand Wardrobe, folks!
Satin & Sapphire
October 1, 2019
Contemporary ~ Small Town ~ India
Danger meets delight in Asar Kalan!
Dr Danvir Sandhu has been dealt a cruel hand – his house of cards comes tumbling down when he loses, one by one, all the things that bring meaning to his life. He has barely found equilibrium when a serendipitous event brings Latika Anand into his orbit, and he struggles to stay aloof even as his heart yearns for a future with the maddeningly enticing fashion designer.
Considerably bruised after a break up that is as unexpected as it is callous, Latika is thrown into an even more precarious situation that threatens her life. Both experiences convince her to return to her roots and tackle old demons even if it means denying the attraction she feels for a certain utterly fascinating physician.
More About Reet
My love affair with books began when I was a tot. A fabulous mother, who recognized the power of the written word, read to me and my sisters every night, introducing us to the wonderful world of the imagination. Once I could read on my own, I graduated from fairy tales to adventure stories to romance, spending all my pocket money on books. My father served in the army and took the family along mostly wherever he went, resulting in experiences that beg to find a place in my books. I am an ophthalmologist, but make time for my other passions – reading and writing stories, watching romantic comedies, and doing creative things with wool and a crochet hook. I also love solving the Hindu crossword, and – when my muse is elusive – I enjoy pitting my wits against my husband’s at Scrabble®. When I have no other choice, I can be found in the kitchen putting together my ‘world-famous’ one-pot meals.