Monday, September 28, 2020

Writing as Part of an #Anthology by Jennifer Wilck #romance


Help me welcome back Jennifer Wilck. It's a great guest post so enjoy!

Hi everyone, and thank you, Brenda, for hosting me today. I’m happy to be here, and flattered to be asked back. 

Authors in general, and romance authors in particular, are a supportive group of people. Sure, we have the occasional bad apple, as does anyone, but by and large, we each understand the shared experience, recognize the value of supporting each other, and frequently lend a hand to other authors. It’s wonderful. 

I’ve benefited from other authors’ support, and I’ve tried hard to help others. Still, I’ve seen lots of multi-author projects and always wanted to be a part of them, but I never knew how to go about joining.

Until now. 

I met many successful (and nice) authors when I was part of the New Jersey Romance Writers of America chapter, and I was thrilled when one of the authors I knew asked if I wanted to join an anthology she and several other authors were spearheading. The author who invited me was JB Shroeder, and after doing my research (because no matter how flattering it is to be asked, you ALWAYS do research) I quickly signed on. 

And I’m so happy I did! 

The anthology is called Ticket to True Love. The premise of all the books is a small town with a spring that has a legend attached to it. Basically, if you drink from the water, you will fall in love. Each couple also uses a ticket of some sort—plane ticket, speeding ticket, concert ticket—in the story. But each story is unique and unrelated to the others.

I was asked to join the anthology because I write Jewish contemporary romance, and the founding authors were eager to make their anthology as diverse as possible. Yay! 

The books release in batches—five at a time. My first book for this anthology comes out tomorrow. My next book for this anthology will release next spring, I believe. I love participating in the group for several reasons. 

One, although I’m traditionally published with The Wild Rose Press, this anthology allows me to self-publish. Being a hybrid author allows me to dip my toe in a variety of publishing opportunities and reap the different benefits of all of them. 

Two, the other authors are so talented and we all get the benefits of everyone advertising to their own readers and help each other out. I hope to introduce my loyal readers to some of the other authors, and vice versa. It’s a collaboration in the best sense. 

Three, I have met so many nice people by doing this. We all belong to an author Facebook group where we discuss issues we might have, brainstorm title ideas and generally get to know one another. My writing world is better because they are in it. 

Four, I get to write Jewish romance! I love adding texture and layers to traditional romance, and creating worlds that are unique and diverse and a melting pot of flavors. 

So I hope you’ll join me on this journey, check out my contribution, and meet some new authors as well.


Naomi's life has been destroyed 

When Naomi Adelman’s crooked politician husband was arrested, her life, and that of her daughters, was destroyed. Divorced and rebuilding her life, Naomi is wiser, stronger, and determined not to let anyone hurt her or her family again. Her new life doesn’t include falling for her charming and good-looking neighbor.

Max bet everything and lost... 

Max Bruder bet his entire career on the Adelman story and lost everything. So, he figures that karma has smiled down on him when Naomi moves in next door. This is his chance to revitalize his career. Except the closer he gets to her, the deeper he falls for her. And soon, the line between interview subject and lover blurs.

If they fall for each other, they may jeopardize their chance at a future.

When Max’s true motive is revealed, will Naomi be able to forgive him? And will Max be able to stop the whispers to protect her before it’s too late?


“Problem?” Max asked. They’d stopped in front of their building.

She turned so fast, her hair caught on the stubble at his jaw. “No.” She brushed the hair away from his cheek, the slight textured stubble rubbing against her palm and sending heat straight to her belly. His lips parted, and he leaned forward.

Would he kiss her? Did she want him to? She shouldn’t, she barely knew him, but her skin tingled, her breasts tightened and her breath came in short gasps.

He didn’t kiss her. Instead, he reached his free hand out and stroked the side of her head, smoothing her hair in place. “Yes,” he whispered.

She frowned, and tried to hide her disappointment. “Yes, what?”

“Your hair is as silky as I wondered.” He let his hand glide down her neck to her shoulder, and the contact brought out goose bumps. “Are you cold?” he asked.

She didn’t know how to answer. Was it okay for her to say, “no, I’m attracted to you?” Or should she say “yes”?

As if he understood her dilemma, he let go of her hand, slid his arm behind her shoulders, and drew her into the warmth of his body.

The man was a furnace and she wanted to groan in pleasure. They stood toe to toe, his hand running up and down her spine, her breasts pressed against his hard chest. Would he kiss her? Should she kiss him? Her brain short circuited and desire flooded through her. All she could do was focus on the warmth flooding her, the soothing sound of his humming something she couldn’t quite catch, and the zings of desire running throughout her body. 

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Jennifer started telling herself stories as a little girl when she couldn’t fall asleep at night. Pretty soon, her head was filled with these stories and the characters that populated them. Even as an adult, she thinks about the characters and stories at night before she falls asleep or walking the dog. Eventually, she started writing them down. Her favorite stories to write are those with smart, sassy, independent heroines; handsome, strong and slightly vulnerable heroes; and her stories always end with happily ever after.

In the real world, she’s the mother of two amazing daughters and wife of one of the smartest men she knows. She believes humor is the only way to get through the day and does not believe in sharing her chocolate. 

She writes contemporary romance, many of which feature Jewish characters in non-religious settings (#ownvoices). She’s published with The Wild Rose Press and all her books are available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. 

Author Links: 









Thursday, September 24, 2020

Reading and #Reviews (Gallant, Garner, Dean, Patterson)

I'm a writer, but I'm also a reader. Each month, I'll share with you what I'm reading and reviews of past reads. My available time to read is limited because I write, but I love to curl up with a paperback or an eBook at night for the last hour of my day.

I tend to read what I write, but not exclusively. Besides Romantic Suspense, I read crime and law novels, WWII historicals, mysteries, and some main stream character driven books.

Here are some of the books I've read recently or in the not too distant past. Maybe you'll discover a new book or author!

Ominous Legacy
by Jannine Gallant

Romantic Suspense 

Ms. Gallant’s tag line “Will a historical legacy doom the nation…or save it?” roped me in. But when it comes to her novels, I’m a sure mark. Once again, she didn’t fail to entertain me. I had a crush on Wyatt Stone from the start—a television personality with a sense of adventure. Talia Davis is a member of Counterstrike. I’ve enjoyed Counterstrike novels before. So, the premise is our founding fathers created an out for our nation should the government not fulfill its purpose, should the people be in jeopardy of a just governing body. Seven people have inherited the ability to change the current government. Wyatt is one of them, and he’s on a quest with the help of Talia to discover the other six. The trouble is there are two factions who don’t want that to happen, and they aren’t afraid to stop Wyatt and Talia even if it means murder. It’s suspense you’ll really enjoy. 


Targeted by Marissa Garner

Romantic Suspense 

This book is the second book in the FBI Heat Series and the second one I’ve read. The third and final waits for me in my reader. You might guess I find them entertaining reads. In this story, Marissa Panuska is an FBI Special Agent who is undercover in a terrorist organization. Yes, readers, edge of your seat suspense. With every page turn I was afraid she’d get found out. Ameen Ali is a former Navy Seal. He discovers Marissa is part of a cell spreading American hate propaganda at his mosque, he doesn’t want to believe she’s evil. When he saves her life, and is drawn into the nightmare of her undercover work…well you have to read the book to see what happens. Intrigue and suspense and romance. A great read. 


Without Mercy
by Alicia Dean


Alicia Dean is now one of my favorite authors. I’ve read at least a half dozen of her stories. She is versatile and successful regardless of the genre. This could be her best novel yet. China Beckett witnesses the murder of her boss during a bank robbery where she works. Going home to be with her daughter and get past her horrific experience isn’t going to happen. She and her daughter become hostages to these criminals in her home. Protecting her daughter is upmost for her, but these ruthless killers have a plan of their own. You’ll be flipping the pages and staying up later than you intended once you pick up this book. 


Kiss the Girls by James Patterson


This is one of his best. I love his character Alex Cross. In this one, the doctor/detective investigating two competing villains. These guys are sick puppies. It’s a typical Patterson novel that will keep you reading.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

The Villain of Our Own Stories by JL Peridot #WickedWednesday #romance


Join me in welcoming JL Peridot with an inspirational Wicked Wednesday post.

Sometimes we’re the villains of our stories, not the office bully, or the queen bee from highschool, or the megalomaniac billionaire trying to sink half the city in the ocean so he can build his waterfront development.

Without any outside help, we tell ourselves we’re ugly when we look in the mirror; we’re unrelenting to ourselves when we struggle; we’re cruel to ourselves when we’re less than perfect. Sometimes we’re the ones holding the bloody knife, the smoking gun...and the broken heart.

When I wrote It Starts With A Kiss, I didn’t want to rehash a Mean Girls trope in sci-fi office setting. I wanted to explore the villainy in my heroine as well as the heroism in my villain.

Despite their comically catastrophic differences, Celeste and Eleanor both embody similar qualities that they use to navigate the complex environment of a business run by small-minded people—finding satisfaction at last when they push through their inner struggle, and finally appreciate themselves (and each other) for who they really are.

We are all complex and curious creatures. If you’re in a place to handle it, try to do this one thing today: be kind to yourself ❤️

Thank you for having me, Brenda! 🙏

It Starts With A Kiss (Kyanite Publishing) 

Celeste is a talented engineer who doesn’t realize her job’s going nowhere fast. She’s a little naïve. She’ll cut code and solder cables forever as long as Owen’s around. Owen, on the other hand, knows exactly how badly things suck—he just doesn’t care. Sure, his skills aren’t what they used to be, but they’re still better than what Halcyon Aries deserves.

Then it happens. The company’s toxic management team finally crosses the line. As both techies race to upgrade the station and to free the team from their oppressive contracts, they come to learn that life—and love—can only ever be what you make it.

Strap in for a steamy office romance in space, because sometimes It Starts With a Kiss!


“It’s just a tiny config change.” Eleanor flicked the new spec at Celeste’s terminal. “And it’s only in two places. That should be easy enough for someone like you.”
She knew what Eleanor was trying to do, and it wasn’t working. In fact, it made things worse. If she really knew the scope of the change, she wouldn’t be using that tone of voice or looking at her with that sugary smile.

Celeste shook her head. “This isn’t a simple change, Elle. I’d have to completely redo a couple of modules—”

“OK, sure! Redo them then. We have room in the budget.”

“But it’ll blow out the timeframes. I can’t get this done in two days.”

“Oh, no, you’ll just have to find a way. That’s when they need it by.”


“No buts, Celly. I’ve already told them we’ll have it ready for when they dock, OK? So, thanks in advance, and keep up the good work!”

That was it. Elle’s walls were up, plastered in pleasantry and aggressive cheer. The perky administrator turned to leave, but after a few paces stopped and looked back at Celeste over her shoulder. “Oh, I almost forgot. Dave and the others have called a meeting. Make sure you’re in the conference room by 1600. Toodle-doo!”

With that, Eleanor skipped between the desks and left through the break room door.

It Starts With A Kiss is available Amazon:

About JL Peridot

JL Peridot writes love stories and more from her home beneath the southern skies. Her latest book, “It Starts With A Kiss”, is a nerdy, sci-fi office romance—a little HEA for her fellow ladies in tech. Right now, she’s figuring out how to defeat her inner villain, still washing her hands, and working on her next book.

Subscribe to JL’s mailing list for periodic updates, teasers, free reads and banter.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

New Release New Series #MFRWHooks


Secrets of The Ravine, released worldwide 9/15/2020

He sauntered closer. His eyes narrowed studying her. “Have we met?”

Her mouth went dry. “I’m not sure.”

“Do you ever get to Copperdale?”

“S-sure. For shopping now and then.” Joshua, Arizona focused on art, wine, food, and gifts. Any practical shopping had to be done in Copperdale, less than an hour down the hill.

“Hey, Zac.” His friend in the metal sculpture display area called out. “You have to see this.”

“Maybe we’ve run into each other there,” Zac said. “I moved to Copperdale from Phoenix recently.”


He stared a moment longer and then handed her the purchase, his fingers trailing along the side of her palm as he transferred the box. “I’ll take this. Excuse me.”

She managed a nod as he strode to the back of the shop, and she stepped to the checkout counter next to the shelf of music boxes. The last strains of the song ended. Her vision clouded with memories of another time and another’s touch.

“I think we’re ready.” The spiky-haired woman handed over her purchases.

Magpie took a deep breath and donned her shopkeeper persona. “Great.” The group of five gathered on the customer side of the counter. “So, you decided. This green jacket looked wonderful on you.”

The redhead and the other man—they appeared to be a couple—who’d been in the back of the store, placed a metal sculpture of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church on the counter.

“Great piece.”

As she ran the card, Magpie asked, “First time here?” The man named Zac moved closer. A flutter trickled from her chest to her stomach.

“We’ve all been here, a few years ago. Except for Zac,” the other man in the group said.

“I didn’t realize what I’d been missing.” He spoke to no one in particular, but his smile landed on her.

Zac picked up the sack with the music box. “Are you the owner of this great store?”

“I am.” She returned his smile. “Magpie MacKenzie. And you are?”

“Zac Peartree. Is that your real name?”

Accustomed to his reaction, she gave her standard reply. “It’s a long story.”

“One I’m sure I’d enjoy hearing. Will you be working at your mercantile all weekend?”

She swallowed down the recurring flutter. “Mostly.”

“You all should have a drink at the Apparition Room tonight, the bar below the Copper Mountain Hotel down the block.” Phaedra finished stuffing paper around the sculpture for protection and then handed the box to the man with the redhead. “Our very own Magpie MacKenzie will be singing.”

Magpie scuffed a boot against her friend’s foot to quiet her.

“She’s on at eight.”

The blonde clapped her hands. “Great. Sounds fun.”

“I guess that means we’ll see you later, Magpie.” Zac followed his friends from the store but peered over his shoulder with an unreadable expression before he disappeared out the door and into the chilly wind.

Slightly lightheaded, Magpie braced herself on the counter. “Honestly, Phaedra, I could—”

“Now, Mags, you haven’t been this tongue-tied over a guy in years.” She retrieved her purse from behind the counter where she’d set it when she came in. “I need to get going, and you need to enjoy the quivers that guy is giving you. I’d guess he’s only thirty or close to it, but what the hell, he’s hot. Every man should fill his jeans like that, not to mention his shoulders.” She stopped by the door. “You two looked at each other as if—”

“As if we know each other?”

“Know each other? I agree he bore a resemblance to Mark, but that’s all.”

“Really? Sacrebleu, Phaedra. When I stared into that face, I saw Mark…a soul…from twenty-eight years ago.” The soul of someone she’d loved.

Who might have been a murderer…or worse, murdered by my father.


When a ringer for her long-dead love walks into her life the same day skeletal remains are found at the edge of town, Magpie MacKenzie can’t ignore what the universe is telling her…solve the mystery, or become the next victim. 

Lawyer Zack Peartree’s life is orderly and entanglement-free until he visits purportedly haunted Joshua, Arizona, and meets free-wheeling shopkeeper Magpie. Despite experiencing troubling visions and odd moments of déjà vu, Zack’s instantly drawn to Magpie and to the unsolved murder which troubles her so. 

Using clues from her father’s past and Zack’s déjà vu moments, Magpie and Zack race to solve the mystery, avoid a murderous fate, and to discover their future…together.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Revving up with Kickboxing by Jodi Rath #FearlessFriday #Romance


Please welcome back Jodi Rath. Always a fun post!

I’m thrilled to be back on Fearless Fridays with Brenda Whiteside. It’s one of my favorite blogs to read! I’ve been on once before, and this time I had to rack my brains (lots of rattling around in there) to think of all the ways I’m valiant. You have to understand, this is coming from a high school English teacher of over twenty years. So, yep, super exciting lifestyle! So much so that the kids in one of my honors English classes used to move my stapler every morning and then take bets on how long it would take me to move it back to its spot on my desk. Which was usually not long, and always without me even realizing I was doing it. What can I say? I like my desk and my life orderly and predictable.

But I digress . . . I’m an only child, and I’ve always been more introverted than your average Jodi. I enjoy my “me time” and have always been able to find ways to stay busy and happy on my own. I like to unwind and enjoy myself with writing, research, art projects, and … kickboxing? That’s right. It’s something called Kenpo, which is a Japanese term meaning ‘all types of martial arts.’ My Kenpo style was a blend of street fighting, martial arts, and straight kickboxing.

I worked my way right up to the brown belt—one away from the coveted black belt. Then, I began to spar, and that proved to be my downfall. Did I mention I’m also somewhat of a klutz? Yeah, I am. It went something like this:

Hank (my Kenpo instructor): Mandy wants to get a sparring partner. I think you’re ready.

Me: Huh?

Hank: To spar. Meet here this Saturday at 10 a.m.

Me: Okay.

A brief pause for a summary of what sparring is—maybe you know, I didn’t, but that didn’t stop me from blindly signing up for it. “Sparring” can mean different things, depending on the discipline. Boxers spar with contact, but there are lots of rules to protect them from injuring themselves. In Kenpo, we spar to make ourselves and our sparring partner better. It’s training, and we do it with no contact, just practicing the moves that our trainers call out from the floor. The point is not to touch or hurt each other, but have the feeling of the other person there. Back to the story.

Saturday at 10 a.m., I walk into the gym with my holey old purple sweats hiked up to just below my knees—you know the super-old elastic-around-the-ankle sweats from the eighties, plus an old Rolling Stones T-shirt and my flip-flops because I know I’ll be barefoot in the ring anyway.

Mandy is already in the ring, bouncing, jabbing, and kicking the air. She has tattoos all over her body, one being a skull on her leg that says something that isn’t appropriate for this blog but has to do with death. She is decked out in a sleeveless, breathable black Kenpo shirt with matching short shorts and muscles bulging.

Nope! I turn on my heels. No joke. My heart escapes and goes right up to my throat, where I come close to spewing it up.

Poor Hank–he runs after his wimp of a student (I know, I KNOW—so much for Fearless, right?) and says, “There is NO contact. This is practice for you both!”

I try to imagine myself through Mandy’s eyes at that moment. She is probably thinking if my fighting skills are anything like my wardrobe, I will be easy to demolish. She is probably right.

I take a deep breath, then say to Hank, “You promise? No contact. She’s not allowed to kill me, right?”

Hank is trying really hard not to laugh. He shakes his head.

So, ladies and gents, I get into that ring, shake the hand of the beast, Mandy, and spar. And I mean, I SPAR. Mandy and I amp up our game as we continue, and I become more and more confident holding my own (meaning knowing Mandy isn’t going to annihilate me.) Then Hank yells, “REVERSING CIRCLES!”

Time out for explanation: Reversing circles means I do a front left roundhouse kick followed by a left punch. Back to the story.

So, I’m all in it now, and I hear, “REVERSING CIRCLES!” and I’m bouncing, and I’ve got my mouthpiece in and my pads on my hands. I bounce and flip around, taking my left leg toward Mandy and kicking her right in her face. Then I throw that punch–which might have landed if she had not already gone down from the kick. CONTACT! WHOOPS!

Crap. That isn’t supposed to happen. Mandy and her trainer are not happy, to say the least. I  bend over her to check on her, although I am pretty terrified she’ll reach up and grab me by my neck and take me out then and there.

In the end, she walks away with a bruise and a swollen eye, while I have a torn ligament in my ankle and have to have surgery—which keeps me from getting my black belt.

I blame Hank.

Anyway, completely fearless? Maaaayyyyybeeeeee NOT! LOL! But, here I thought Mandy would end up hurting me and instead, look at me, all bad-to-the-bone. Mandy and I are still friendly today. Kind of, sort of.

If any of you are fans of my series The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series, then my absurd antics may remind you of Jolie Tucker, the protagonist. She and I both get ourselves into some ridiculous scrapes. Book five of the series, Deep Dish Pizza Disaster, just came out last Friday 9/4/20. Purchase at Amazon or another e-retailer.

How’s that for Fearless Friday? BAM! Mic drop!

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Wicked Wednesday #villains #lust #murder


An unsolved murder and the disappearance of her love decades ago are back to haunt Magpie MacKenzie. 

How about a villain who holds a grudge for twenty-eight years and takes his/her revenge against two generations of MacKenzies? In my newest novel, jealousy and lust are the driving force behind the hate that festers for nearly three decades. I can't say if it's a he or she. No spoilers here. But this villain is pathetic, and you'll love to hate him, er her, or whoever.

For about another week, Secrets of The Ravine is available for pre-order at a reduced price. This is the first book of a three-book saga, The MacKenzie Chronicles, following the lives of the three MacKenzie siblings in the purportedly haunted town of Joshua, Arizona. Hanging on the side of Spirit Mountain, this 1800s mining town, turned hippie haven of the 1960s, and now a ghostly tourist stop has a history and more than a few secrets. You won't want to miss the first book which takes you back to the 60s and brings the past into the present.

When a ringer for her long-dead love walks into her life the same day skeletal remains are found at the edge of town, Magpie MacKenzie can’t ignore what the universe is telling her…solve the mystery, or become the next victim. 

Lawyer Zack Peartree’s life is orderly and entanglement-free until he visits purportedly haunted Joshua, Arizona, and meets free-wheeling shopkeeper Magpie. Despite experiencing troubling visions and odd moments of déjà vu, Zack’s instantly drawn to Magpie and to the unsolved murder which troubles her so. 

Using clues from her father’s past and Zack’s déjà vu moments, Magpie and Zack race to solve the mystery, avoid a murderous fate, and to discover their future…together.

Reserve your copy today: