Usually at the end of the year, I reflect on the previous year and make some plans for the coming one. This year is a little bigger since it ends the decade.
When the decade began, I was teaching full time and had been married for four years. We'd blended our families and lived in a small two bedroom condo.
But so many changes happened during the years... I became a published author, then watched as publishing houses after publishing houses closed. I joined a small startup indie publishing house as an editor, only to become the owner during the years that followed. I've been fortunate to help many new authors fulfill their dreams.
As a reader, I've continued to devour books. Staying current with my keepers and finally meeting some of my favorites, like Laurell K. Hamilton, Nancy Gideon and Daryna Jones.
I also reconnected with my childhood friend. I grew up with Tracey, from toddlers to teens. He was my first boyfriend and served as the inspiration for one of my heroes. Each day, he texted or called me. He'd had some brain damage and wasn't quite the same but I loved him. He was a part of my soul. It's hard to explain. But with him, I became a better person. Sadly, I lost him again. This time not to life but to death. He passed quietly right before New Years over a year ago. Reading my first book, he still jumps off the page.
After my first book was published, more followed. 63 in fact- some where I was simply a contributor and others where I earned awards and International Best Selling status. Two were children's books which pulled together my love of kids and writing. I was also able to finally publish my mother's book which she wrote in the 1980's. While it was twenty years after her death, I know she's doing a Snoopy dance in heaven.
Teaching was my passion but over the years, the changes increased my apathy. I loved the kids but the hoops to jump through increased my anxiety and depression. When you spend all your time grading papers, planning lessons, answering emails and testing children...the love gets lost in the hullabaloo. My own children were missing the best parts of me so I left full time teaching but couldn't walk away totally from the kids. I started guest teaching (subbing) and found a renewed passion, making new connections with familiar schools (the ones my children went to). Sharing my writing with students increased their drive to become authors and made me excited to be in a classroom each day.
My own children graduated high school and then two graduated college during the decade. They all found careers. Two married. They have settled into new homes, with my daughter moving to Oklahoma. I couldn't be prouder of the adults they have become.
Moving was a big thing for us this decade. Not only did all the kids move out on their own, Mark and I moved from the small two bedroom condo to a three bedroom craftsman home and finally to a South Carolina condo near the beach.
The sunshine and warmer temps have provided the needed motivation for a healthy lifestyle. We get to the beach each week and ride or walk every day (often both!). We were luckier than most, fewer losses and more blessings.
Each one of you are a blessing to me. You have supported me, bought my books, shared a comment or laugh, sent a prayer or just a smile. You have made me feel so cherished and I'm so glad to have you in my life.
As I look forward to 2020, I have stories to write and sand for my toes. What has your decade been like? Are you ready for 2020? Do you have big plans?
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker finally comes to the big screen but it has a bittersweet feeling after the death of Carrie Fisher. You can catch my review on my review page.
Have you seen the movie? Are you a big Star Wars fan? What did you think?
I fell in love with vampire books early. Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series and Nancy Gideon's New Orleans vampires where a few of my early favorites. Then I read Clara Winter's series.
Her vampires have depth and strive to be more than caricatures of the vampire persona. They are more human than many other characters and seek to find happiness.
During her series, we meet some amazing characters, a former countess, a spy, Cleopatra's children and a witch. Each must fight for their love match as they battle against the evil in their lives.
Now Clara wraps up her series and brings all your favorites back! But it's a bigger evil and more than life and death at risk.
Grab a Copy for Yourself!
The compelling final story in the enchanting series which began with Deepest Midnight….
The Immortal Kindred gather together as chaos erupts. Two of their own have gone missing, sucked back in time. Vampire demigod Selene messed with the wrong goddess of death. Now they’re all in danger.
Millicent and Annie come face to face with the distant past. No longer immortal, they must draw on their inner strength to see them through travails long thought dead and buried.
Tash, the witch, draws on every spell he knows to bring the women home as he taps into the power of the dark star. Will it be enough to grant the immortals their happily ever after? Will the goddess, Nephthys, put an end to everything they know and love?
Dark Star is an epic adventure that will take you all over the globe and through time itself.
About the Author:
Amy Rugg grew up reading Anne of Green Gables, The Secret Garden, and Alice in Wonderland while watching Buck Rogers, Star Trek, and Doctor Who. Writing her own stories naturally ensued. She is a wife, mother, and former school counselor, with a Master’s Degree in Counseling. Amy is from Colorado Springs, Co and currently resides in Mission Viejo, Ca. clarawinterbooks.com
When author Nicole Sobon shared Collide: Episode 1, readers fell in love with Gemma and Ben. He was the brother of her best friend. She secretly loved him from afar for a while but didn't dare dream he had feelings for her.
As the books came out, we saw their love deepen as crisis after crisis threatened it. Death, Depression, Family Squabbles...Things which we all can relate to.
Their love took shape over time and now they are facing marriage. But since drama is the name of the game... will Ben and Gemma make it down the aisle?
Stable relationships? Check.
Family drama? Check.
For the first time in what feels like forever, Gemma and Ben are in a good place. He’s got a good job, and she’s finally able to focus on writing that book she’s always wanted to write. Even better? They’re on their way to finally making it official as they begin to plan their nuptials.
Unfortunately, though, life is never without its complications and there will be plenty of bumps along the way to “I do.”
What’s a wedding without some family drama?
There were moments I questioned how the hell I’d gotten so lucky. Ben had always been the one thing I’d wanted, and for a bit, he had appeared to be unattainable. Then, against all odds, we bloomed into something more—something we’d both thought to be impossible for so long. Was he perfect? Hell no. The man snored like a chainsaw some nights, and he couldn’t cook worth a damn, but he underneath the once-ladies’ man, there’d always been a gentle giant. Now he just so happened to be my gentle giant.
Yeah, life was pretty dang great. Or as close to great as it would get.
I was beginning to realize things would never be entirely perfect. My anxiety would still flare up occasionally, and my grief would undoubtedly creep up out of nowhere every now and again. But for the time being, I was happy with how things had fallen into place.
“Understood,” I answered. “Now, if we could avoid wedding talk for the rest of the night? That’d be wonderful. Your sister’s already threatening to bring me a box of wedding magazines tomorrow, and I’m still trying to work myself up to handling that.”
“In that case, perhaps it’s about time you allow me to get you a ring, Ms. Michaels.”
I shook my head. “Nope, I told you, no ring. It’s bad enough I’m going to have to try not to lose my wedding ring when the time comes. You can’t possibly entrust an expensive engagement ring to me, and you darn well know it.”
“Well then, perhaps I should try and return this,” he said as he pulled a small black box out of his pocket. “I mean, I’m sure it’ll be difficult, as the ring was engraved and everything.”
About the Author:
Nicole Sobon is the author of The Emile Reed Chronicles (YA Science Fiction), the Outbreak duology, Collide (NA Romance), and more!
You can find her online at:
Letters are windows into the past. I have saved many letters, yes the handwritten kind, from my family and old friends.
Sitting among the letters, I enjoy reminiscing about playing outside or celebrating birthdays together. Seeing my grandmother's handwriting always brings a tear to my eyes.
Letters serve so many purposes and author, Liz Ashlee has included some letters between her main characters in her upcoming release, Sort of Normal.
Through these letters we get a better understanding of their relationship and the motivation they have for doing what they do.
Sort of Normal is now up for pre-order but will be released in Jan. Be sure to grab a copy of this heartwarming tale for yourself!
Falling in love isn’t as easy as staying in love.
Carter Hart and Boone Fell’s lives are tangle of perfect and imperfect memories. In a world of drugs, alcoholism and neglectful parents, their love for each other kept them strong. But all it takes is one kiss and a lie to tear them apart.
When Carter’s brother, Declan, dies of an overdose, Boone decides he can’t let another day of secrets and mistaken circumstances keep them apart. His only problem? Now that he’s ready to move forward with Carter, she’s ready to leave him where she thinks he belongs: in the past.
About the Author:
Liz Ashlee is a romance novelist known for Step Toward You and "Wishing on Water" in the Once Upon a Summer anthology. Liz is currently working toward her M.A. in English at Northern Kentucky University, where she also earned her undergraduate degrees. Liz lives in Kentucky, where she loves spending time with her parents, boyfriend, friends and dog-daughter, Hero.
Fear has a way of stopping us from doing things which are important. I never learned how to snow ski because the one time I went, I had a difficult time and let the fear keep me from learning. Then I refused to go again.
The hero in Landra Graf's latest release must face the last person he ever wanted to see... and forget the fear which grips him.
True Colors is a gripping, heart-warming romance of two people who needed each other. A must read!
An invitation to Cupid’s Café will change your life.
Five years ago, Rose Roberts won a Pulitzer prize—and nearly lost her life at the hands of a stalker. After severe anxiety derailed everything, she is about to lose her career and her stalker is on the loose.
Following the murders of his wife and daughter, ex-cop, Jeffrey Dixon, finds himself in need of a windfall to save his home from foreclosure. Searching for a solution, he doesn’t expect to run into the woman who made his loved ones’ killer an overnight celebrity. Or to be offered a job.
Rose, now desperate, is willing to pay whatever price, if he’ll agree to act as her bodyguard and be the subject of her next article. Without any other prospects, Jeff accepts her job offer and moves in.
Becoming emotionally entangled with a woman who wrecked his grieving process is the last thing he wants, but as weeks drag on and the threat from Rose’s stalker becomes very real, Jeff finds his protective instincts triggered. He won't lose someone again.
As their attraction grows and their barriers drop the exposure will leave them questioning everything they hold on to.
Sometimes, the only way to see someone’s truth is to expose the things they fear most.
“Here’s your coffee, Rose.”
The words startled her, especially the use of her name as she’d never mentioned it, and she tripped over her own feet trying to turn around. She got two hands on the bar and gripped the edge of the wood. “Thank you?”
A cute glass, not some disposable thing, but a tall thermal cup with the Cupid’s Café logo. She grabbed the glass and a couple of napkins from the small stack on the bar. Then she decided to throw caution to the wind and get the hell away from the mind-reading barista
Face the demons.
She approached Jeff, plastering a polite smile on her face. “Hi, Jeff Dixon?”
Jeff, who was staring into his glass of black coffee—she may have to judge him for that—looked up at her. No flare of recognition came. “Yes?”
“You don’t remember me?”
Her original assessment changed. The years had been friendly to him. The widow’s peak hadn’t gained much ground, gray was present around his temples and in the dead center of his goatee. His hair was no plain brown color, but there were traces of red and black weaved in too. Maddening how her body awakened and she found herself attracted to this man. Completely inconvenient and annoying when she needed to be concerned about her future job and safety.
He shook his head. “’Fraid not.”
“Rose Roberts.” She said these words as she slid into the booth seat opposite of him. Whatever stupid reaction she expected, it certainly wasn’t the hunched eyebrows and scowl that darkened his countenance. Well…she’d hoped for something else.
“And what the hell do you want?”
She took a sip of coffee and let the warm liquid soothe her tight throat.
This is going to be awkward.
Welcome to Cupid's Café, a place where missed connections meet. How the invitations find them, no one knows…except for the mysterious owner, Mr. Heart.
This multi-author series focuses on protagonists struggling with real-life issues that often get swept under the rug. With Cupid’s Café, these issues find representation in the characters struggling to conquer their own problems while trying to carve a future for themselves.
From cops to artists, or social workers to photographers, Mr. Heart ensures these lost souls who believe themselves undeserving of love reconnect with their fated match.
Each couple embarks on their journey at Cupid’s Cafe, but the rest is up to them: whether damage wins or they find true love in the end.
READ THEM ALL
Painting for Keeps (Cupid's Cafe #1) by Landra Graf
Exactly Like You (Cupid's Cafe #2) by Lori Sizemore
Captured Memories (Cupid's Cafe #3) by Katherine McIntyre
True Colors (Cupid's Cafe #4) by Landra Graf
About the Author:
Landra Graf consumes at least one book a day, and has always been a sucker for stories where true love conquers all. She believes in the power of the written word, and the joy such words can bring. In between spending time with her family and having book adventures, she writes romance with the goal of giving everyone, fictional or not, their own happily ever after.
The Enemy Within
By Liza O’Connor
BLURBMAC, the computer that controls the SkyRyder Corp discovers that soldiers within its ranks wish to stop its Breeding Project to make superior flyers. When a great many of these special talents are murdered over a two-week span, MAC quickly gathers the remaining assets, modifies their fingerprints and alters their looks, then sends them to the last place in the world that anyone would look for them.
Welcome to Fort Dismal, Alaska,
The absolute worst fort in the Americas.
EXCERPTEliza noticed everyone was gathering up blankets. Eliza grabbed one as well and followed Angie. Once they were outside, she whispered, “Where are we going?”
Angie stared at her. “You weren’t listening, were you? No wonder you look so calm.”
Eliza noticed the other girls looked tense with a mixture of excitement and terror in their faces. Evidently, Captain Dune saw the same and pointed to Eliza. “Now, girls. Look at Eliza’s calm demeanor. Rally your own courage and commitment to your duty.”
When the captain turned around, Eliza repeated her question, but Angie wouldn’t reply, evidently annoyed Eliza had received praise she did not deserve.
She sighed in exasperation at her silent friend. “Never mind, I’ll figure it out myself.”
The moment a squad of Ryders landed in the field, the girls’ nervous titters increased, letting Eliza know the men were the object of this field trip. As they approached, Angie grew pale, and if not for Eliza’s quick reflexes, Angie might have fallen into a faint. Eliza held onto her friend until she recovered.
Thus, when the men approached and lined up before the girls, Eliza had yet to figure out their purpose. Her eyes went to the myriad of badges on the leader’s fly suit like a crow to gewgaws. She had never seen so many badges of honor assembled on one broad chest in her life. She could recognize several Eagles for Valor in Combat and five Medals of Honor for Outstanding Feats of Bravery, but there were others she’d never seen before.
She smiled as the soldier approached. Now she could see the medals better. To her surprise and delight, she realized his direction was not to Captain Dune but rather herself. Her attention moved from his medals to his face, and she liked the sparkle of amusement in his eyes. When his rough calloused hand took hers, she felt sparks of electricity run up her arm and tickle her loins. She did not resist as he led her away.
She glanced back at her captain to ensure she wasn’t breaking a rule going off with this most interesting soldier, but Captain Dune wasn’t paying her any mind at all. Her focus was on Rosemary, who had burst into tears and refused to approach the giant soldier who stood before her.
“I’m Colonel Polanski,” her soldier declared. “Don’t worry about your friends, my men have orders to be on their best behaviors. They may look rough, but they’ll be gentle as lambs.”
She frowned. “I just don’t understand why everyone is so upset.” She returned her focus on him and smiled. “Will you tell me how you earned all your badges?”
The colonel laughed and stroked her hair. “That would take more time than we are allotted.”
“Oh.” She really wished she knew what their assignment was. “How much time are we allotted?”
“An hour, two if needed.” He winked. “But I doubt we’ll need so much time.”
“But can we not take it just the same? For in two hours I believe you can tell me about most of your metals.”
After walking a thousand feet away from the group to a place of relative privacy, the colonel removed the blanket from Eliza’s hands and spread it out. Eliza helped him and then sat down on the thick wool and smiled at him as he removed his boots and sat beside her.
Knowing how her own feet ached from walking in boots, she lifted his feet and placed them in her lap for a massage. “Can you not tell me one story?”
The colonel laughed. “If it will help you along, I’ll certainly do so.”
Eliza didn’t understand what he meant by “help her along,” but since he had agreed to tell her a story, she didn’t care.
She liked massaging his feet, for his toes constantly tweaked her nipples through her dress, and every time it sent delicious shivers down to her loins.
When he finished his story, he slid his feet to each side of her, and with his strong arms, he pulled her forward until she was pressed against his groin with her legs curled around him. She was now eye-level to his chest of badges. She touched one of the medals and then pulled back. “May I touch them?” Adults frequently scolded her for touching things she shouldn’t.
The colonel snorted softly as if amused. “You may touch whatever you like.”
Eliza discovered he had a price to touching his badges. Whenever she touched him, he touched her in return, except his touches were under the skirt of her dress. They burned into her skin and set flames through her entire body. It left her so faint of breath she could barely speak to ask what another badge was for. Each time he’d answer, he’d remove another piece of clothing from her body until all that she wore was the bottoms to her polypros.
If he had asked her to remove them, she would have gladly done so. She was completely mesmerized by his touch. But he did not. Instead he pulled a dangerous-looking knife from his pocket.
“Trust me,” he said and then cut away the cloth between her legs. After returning his knife into his pocket, he slipped his hand between her legs and with amazing tenderness brought her pleasure beyond anything she had thought possible. She sank back upon the blanket and sighed with happiness.
“Can you sit up?” the colonel asked, his voice teasing with amusement.
“No, I’m melted.”
Suddenly, he was above her, straddling her. “Well, allow me to assist you then.” He placed her hands on the zipper of his fly suit.
She looked up at him in confusion. “What do you want me to do?”
Eliza smiled and sat up. “I will try.”
With his warm hands guiding her, she undressed him without a problem. Once naked, her focus went directly to his manhood. She knew it was supposed to fit inside her, but honestly, she didn’t see how that was possible. When she stroked it, a fire burned inside her, but also confounded her.
“You look puzzled,” he teased.
“I don’t see how anything so big can fit inside me.”
“Oh, it can, my sweet.”
Links for many booksellers
About the Author
Liza O’Connor lives in Denville, NJ with her dog Jess. They hike in fabulous woods every day, rain or shine, sleet or snow. Having an adventurous nature, she learned to fly small Cessnas in NJ, hang-glide in New Zealand, kayak in Pennsylvania, ski in New York, scuba dive with great white sharks in Australia, dig up dinosaur bones in Montana, skydive in Indiana, and raft a class four river in Tasmania. She’s an avid gardener, amateur photographer, and dabbler in watercolors and graphic arts. Yet throughout her entire life, her first love has and always will be writing novels.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT
Investigate these sites:
Liza’s Multiverse Blog
Liza's Blog and Website Facebook Twitter
All the Many Books Liza has written
There is over sixty now.
Even when characters have a happy ending, sometimes fate has an evil laugh and their happy ending isn't quite as happy as they hoped.
Author, Amanda Marin has done a wonderful job showing reality of a revolution. It's messy. The people involved may escape but the dangers follow them.
Sky to Sea is the second book in the Crimson Sash trilogy and can be read as a stand alone. But with the first book, North to Nara on sale now for only $0.99, you don't have to! Grab a copy of both books for less than a cup of Starbucks' coffee! You won't be disappointed.
They thought their troubles were over … but they’ve only just begun.
For Neve Hall and Micah Ward, the New Republic has always represented more than its legends of snowflakes and butterflies. It has also meant hope—and the freedom to love. But reality differs from their dreams. Living in a shelter for refugees, the pair must convince their immigration case manager that they are worthy of citizenship. Failure means deportation back to the Nation—and their deaths.
But assimilating isn’t easy—especially when tensions between the Republic and Nation flare. Before long, Neve and Micah find themselves at the epicenter of the conflict, kidnapped and held hostage by Sans Murs, a group of radicals who won’t surrender until the Nation meets their demands. Sans Murs has named its terms, but the Nation has one of its own: Micah’s return. Torn between two worlds, are they fated to unravel?
Now only $0.99 (ebook)
Gator Girl Extraordinaire