Blog

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

WITH ASH & MARCUS KUSI

https://amkusi.com/

This week I’m welcoming A.M. Kusi for the interview. This dynamic wife-and-husband author team write under the pen name A. M. Kusi. They enjoy writing romance novels that are inspired by their experiences as an interracial/multicultural couple.

A.M. Kusi novels are about strong women and the sexy heroes they fall in love with, are emotionally satisfying and always have a happy ending.

  • Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
  

We are always trying to come up with new or interesting ways to twist the tried and true tropes that readers love. We like to infuse socially relevant issues as well as other topics that are close to our hearts. Diversity in race, sexual orientation, bodies, and ability is also important to us to give proper representation in the books we write.

  • What comes first, the plot or the characters?

Both! Usually I (Ash) ask myself, “What if two people were stuck/had this happen?” Usually I get my ideas starting at the break up, but occasionally it stems from a creative meet cute idea.

  • Do you use anything to get in the mood for writing, especially if it’s emotional?

Music! We have playlists for different vibes/moods. Music is a huge form of inspiration for stories as well as setting the mood while we’re writing a specific emotional scene.

  • What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Coaching from our structural and line editor. Our editor is a fantastic woman with an amazing team behind her. She also offers one on one coaching where she goes over a chapter or so with us, pointing out what needs work and what we can do better. Our writing has improved drastically from our earlier books to this Shattered Cove series.

  • Describe your perfect book hero or heroine?

Strong, fierce heroines who don’t take crap and stand up for themselves. And broody, reserved, emotionally wounded heroes who are protective and take charge in the bedroom, but are sweet and caring to their lady.

  • What was your hardest scene to write?

There have been a couple scenes that top the most difficult for me (Ash) to write. One time when I had to kill off a beloved side character to drive the point home on the plot. That was especially hard because that character felt like my own family member. And in the manuscript I just finished the first draft on, book 6 in the series that releases later this year. There was a particularly vulnerable and heart wrenching scene that I could relate all too well with. This heroine in particular, was inspired by my own mental health struggles. So, I definitely cried. LOL.

  • What do you do to get inside your character’s heads?

Usually when I’m listening to certain songs, or trying to fall asleep, I create the setting in my head and put the characters into a scene. I play it through in my head, trying to navigate the plot in my imagination. I create the connections and back stories that way.

  • Describe yourself in three words.

Ash: Creative, learner, loyal.

Marcus: Analytical, open minded, protective.

  • Name three of your favorite things.

Hearing from our readers on how much one of our books impacted them. Having that “Ah-ha!” moment when it comes to finding the key twist in a plot and the story comes together. Spending a day at the beach with our daughters enjoying the sun and saltwater.

  • Name three of your least favorite things

Editing older works, waking up too early, and cold weather.

Book 1 in the Shattered Cove Series, A Fallen Star, is FREE on all retailers. http://www.amkusi.com/afallenstar He’s tormented by dark addictions. She’s fighting for a lifelong dream. Can they rise from the ashes of despair and find happily ever after?
A Fallen Star is the emotional first book in the Shattered Cove romance series. If you like steamy relationships, damaged heroes, and stories of second chances, then you’ll adore A. M. Kusi’s gritty tale. Pick up your copy today!!!

You can FOLLOW them in all the following places!!!

TicTok https://www.tiktok.com/@amkusi.romanceauthor

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/amkusi/

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/amkusinovels/

PINTEREST: https://www.pinterest.com/amkusinovels/

GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18639218.A_M_Kusi

Thanks so much for stopping by to learn about this dynamic duo. Happy reading and reviewing!!! Elizabeth

EDITOR INTERVIEW with Melissa Ringstead

http://thereforyouediting.wordpress.com

This week I’m thoroughly excited to interview my very own editor Melissa Ringsted. I’ve worked with her for years and I highly recommend her. She has owned There for You Editing Services since 2011.

She has experience editing for Indie Authors, USA Today and NY Times Best Sellers, as well as several small publishing and large publishing companies.

Melissa has worked with editing in several writing genres. She has worked with articles and blogs, small presses, anthologies, children’s books, middle grade novels, children’s series, Young Adult, New Adult, Horror, Sci-Fi, and Romance, Interracial Romance, and many more.

Several authors have award winning books Melissa has had the pleasure of perfecting through the art of editing.

Melissa’s portfolio contains well over four hundred books in her seven plus years professionally editing, and includes several award winning books.

Dedicated, bright, pleasure, inspirational, passionate, detail-oriented, insightful, great communicator, honest, and most importantly- professional, are just a few words authors have used to describe Melissa’s talent.

In the words of the award winning author, Stacey Rourke:

“She’s like the Mary Poppins of books—practically perfect in every way.”

  • What is the first book that made you cry?
  1. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. To this day, it still holds the ability to make me cry. The friendships these women have are amazing.

  • What is your favorite quote? Why does it speak to you?

We all go through darkness sometimes, but the person who you are when you come through that understands beauty.

  • What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Using someone who isn’t a true editor because they offer low prices.

  • As an editor, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

I would choose the owl. He is wise and strong.

  • How many hours a day do you edit? Editing is a full-time job for me, so at least eight hours. Sometimes more if it is a “rush” edit for a client.
  • Do you Google yourself?

I used to, when the editing company really started taking off. Sometimes I still do, especially on Imposter Syndrome days.

Cover photos of some of the books Melissa has edited can be found on her FB page and make sure you leave her a like. http://www.facebook.com/thereforyouediting.

Describe yourself in three words.

CARING

NURTURING

SARCASTIC

Name three of your favorite things.

CATS

COFFEE

CHOCOLATE

Name three of your least favorite things.

HEADACHES

TRAFFIC

HORROR MOVIES

Here are all the places you can connect with Melissa:

Twitter: http://: www.twitter.com/MelissaRingsted

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/melissaringsted

Instagram: www.instagram.com/thereforyouediting

TicTok: https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMeJqwaR6/

Another place I really like to connect with her is on her Etsy Page, THERE 4 YOU STICKERS, she sells fabulous stickers and other fun items like sweatshirts, mugs, totes and some really fun reading related items. Stop by and check it out today! https://www.etsy.com/shop/There4YouStickers?ref=notif_nfyfs&order=date_desc

Please leave us a comment and thanks for stopping by. Happy reading and reviewing!!!

Author Interview with Lisa Fender

I’m so excited to have Lisa Fender with us today. She’s an author who’ve I’ve been friends with for years and I’m so excited for this interview, so I can learn more about her work. Ssh…don’t tell anyone but we mostly try to keep each other sane politically, but we’re not talking politics today, today it’s all about the BOOKS!

  • What are the common traps for aspiring writers?

There are so many, but one stands out above the others – in order to be a legitimate author, you must traditionally publish.

Not true.

In fact, I know several authors that did publish through either a publishing house, or smaller company in the past and found out they made little money, then decided to switch to self-publishing.

Although it is true, self-publishing is a lot of work, either way, you must do most of your own marketing and advertising. Once your publisher, and if you have an agent, takes their cut, you can find yourself making 50 cents a book. And one more thing, it can take years before your manuscript is even accepted by a successful publishing house. And, later on when you’ve already been published by them, they can end up going out of business and you have to wait at least a year to get your rights back to your book. I, personally, don’t suggest it.

  • Do you try more to be an original, or to deliver to readers what they want?

When I first decided to write a book, finally, I sat down and thought about what it would be about. I liked to read mysteries, and international espionage, so I thought I should try my hand in that.

After trying to write a murder mystery, and managing to get through ten chapters, I realized that wasn’t the genre for me. I could not get into the mind of a killer. Needless to say, it got shelved.

After a little respite, and the decision to get through the holidays before tackling any ideas floating around in my head, I sat down with myself again and asked, “Okay, what do you like to watch on TV and at the movies?” The answer came to me – fantasy fiction.

My series was born!

Then I asked myself, “What kind of Fantasy? Werewolves? Vampires? Zombies? (which I hate, the Zombies, that is) I decided I would go with one of my favorite topics – Ancient Aliens. Not the kind on X-Files, more the kind on the show Ancient Aliens. Were they here thousands of years ago? Did the “Gods” rule the Earth and create us by combining our DNA from Neanderthal man and their Alien DNA to mine the gold on the planet? 

Fun questions!

So, therefore to answer your question – I created the world I wanted, not to write more Vampire sagas. I decided to be an original. And it’s been fun creating the world of the Djen, wielded by Gods, with sprinkles of UFOs, and a girl who ends up the Leader of a primitive, yet, environmentally conscious people. I also go back and forth between worlds – this one and the world of Djenrye. 

  • What comes first, the plot or the characters?

Well, after reading what I wrote above, you’ll know it’s obviously the plot. At least, the basics. What kind of world will it be? Language? (Which I wrote a whole new language for my fellow Djen) How do they dress? What do they believe? Ect… then I chose my main character to be a female heroine and, since I’ve always loved the name Stevie, not to mention, Stevie Nicks, she was aptly named. The rest of the characters came as I wrote my first book in the Lorn Prophecy series. https://amzn.to/36MpdY2

  • What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

I must have over a hundred author friends – too many to list – but a few stick out. Lizzie T. Leaf, who writes romance, but has been known to dabble in other genres as of late, is the first author I befriended. She was a customer of mine at Village Inn when I worked there as a server (A long time ago). I am literally the waitress turned Author.

She is the one that talked me into trying my hand at writing since I always wanted to write, and had voiced that to her many times. She met with me for coffee and we had some really great conversations, then she introduced me to Hearts of Denver group – a side group of Romance Writers of America. I was in that group for a few years, until I branched out on my own. Eventually, I joined Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, where I am still a member today. I also have friends that I met online, mostly on Facebook. They’ve been extremely supportive. We buy each other’s books and read them, and we share advertising posts to help promote and gain more readers. Then there are people like you, Elizabeth, who invite me as a guest on their blogs, and visa-versa.

  • Do you want each book to stand on its own or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

Mine is a world building series – at least the books I am writing now. After the last book in the series is written – my next book – I will move onto another series. So far, I have 5 books in the series, book 5 coming out in the next few weeks, and the last one is yet to be written, but will be the last one. I also wrote a companion book to my first book in my series called Fated. I am the type that doesn’t want the story to end. I love the Lord of the Rings series, and Game of Thrones, and Harry Potter and Outlander! I love long books, which mine are, and I love long stories! https://amzn.to/3oUeGA4

  • As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/ spirit animal?

This one’s easy – wolves! I love wolves and they are my spirit animal. In fact, I have them in my series now.

  • If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?

Well, I’d be screwed right now with Covid since the two professions I did before I decided to write were server and Esthetician. I’m glad I started writing.

  • What is your favorite childhood book?

Again, there were so many. The Boxcar Children, Charlotte’s Web, and as I got older, the Hardy Boys, and Nancy Drew. Later in my teens, I started reading more murder mysteries and a few romances. I also wrote poetry as a teen.

  • What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

Writing isn’t usually the problem, unless I am really stressed about something. Typically, it’s the marketing and advertising. If I could afford it, I would hire someone to do it. Eventually I will – that’s my goal.

  • How long on average, does it take you to write a book?

Two years – from first words to publish. The reason why is my books are much longer than average, and I’m extremely picky about editing and story structure. I have always had a critique partner, several in fact, and highly recommend them. They are not only your sounding board; they become your friend and help you through the difficult issues you might face. It’s nice to have a constant support system. I also want to bring the reader into my world and feel like they’re a part of it. They become invested in the story. https://amzn.to/3aDKcgI

  • AUTHOR BIO

Born in Louisville, Kentucky and adopted at 5 months old, Lisa Fender had flown 10,000 miles by her first birthday. Her new family whisked her off to Greece for the next five years, where her sister was born. Globetrotting across Europe seems to have left a mark on her developing psyche as she has a strong love of history, travel, and folklore. Lisa loves nothing more than a good story filled with faeries, dragons, elves, and don’t forget the aliens. She attended grade school in Kentucky before setting off for another grand adventure in Colorado where her family has resided for 45 years. Lisa loves the Rocky Mountain scenic views with its majestic peaks, rivers, forests, and wildlife that inspire her work and are now embedded in her heart and soul. She is married with two grown children and two grandchildren who are the light of her life.

  • Name three of my favorite things
  • My family
  • Dogs
  • Hiking in the Rocky Mountains
  • Describe myself in three words
  • Loyal
  • Honest
  • Insecure, as most artists are.
  • Name three of my least favorite things
  • Hallmark Movies (I prefer action)
  • Butter
  • Talking on the phone for long periods.

THANKS so much for sharing your work Lisa and if anyone has any questions drop them in the comments! Happy reading & reviewing!!!

Author Interview with Katie Mettner

I’ve longed to have a conversation with Katie Mettner because I’ve followed her career on Social Media and I love how she’s brought diversity into the romance genre by featuring disabled heroes and heroines. We need more representation of diversity in romance because let’s face it everyone is looking for their own happily ever after. Elizabeth Marx

Katie Mettner writes small-town romantic tales filled with epic love stories and happily-ever-afters. She proudly wears the title of, ‘the only person to lose her leg after falling down the bunny hill,’ and loves decorating her prosthetic with the latest fashion trends. She lives in Northern Wisconsin with her own happily-ever-after and three mini-mes. Katie has a massive addiction to coffee and Twitter, and a lessening aversion to Pinterest — now that she’s quit trying to make the things she pins.

  • What is your favorite quote? Why does it speak to you?

“Where we break when our hearts are strong enough.” Call it Dreaming, Iron & Wine

I have this tattooed on my arm above my tattoo of Sugar, who was my first book character. The character of Sugar exemplifies that quote because she was broken, but when her heart was finally strong enough to live again, everything good came back to her. It speaks to me in much the same way. I’ve broken so many different ways over the years, but something good has always come from those broken moments.

For years I walked around on a leg that was broken and damaged. When they amputated it, I expected to wake up, go home, and continue on with my life. Instead, I woke up, went home, and wrote my first book. I met so many wonderful writers who encouraged me to keep writing. I found a new passion for something I’d always loved, but never had the confidence to share. Now, here I am ten years and fifty books later still writing about the moments we break because our hearts are strong enough. 

That’s why the first time I heard that line, I missed the entire rest of the song. My mind was just dancing backward through all those moments that made my heart strong enough. So, while the words might sound convoluted, nothing has sounded truer to me.

  • Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

The nature of my books makes them both original, because I write about characters with disabilities, and still delivers the readers what they want. Whether the plot is contemporary romance, romantic suspense, or paranormal, if the reader is looking for a book about characters with disabilities then I’ll deliver. If they are looking for a specific plot, I’ll deliver that in an original way, too. I strive to keep my books real but also fresh and different from your typical romance tropes.

  • What comes first, the plot or the characters?

For me, the characters come first every single time. The plot comes with them in respect to their job, disability, family, or state of residence, but it is always the character who whispers in my ear what their story is and how they want it told. If I deviate from that, I will struggle to put words down on the page. If I listen, and follow their guidance, the story will be told quickly. It has been this way since I started writing and I’ve learned to follow that inner voice rather than fight against it, even when the book goes to a place I never expect.

For example, my book Magnificent Love. The heroine’s brother is murdered one tragic winter night. The hero is a funeral director and comes to the hospital to help her take care of his final wishes. In the book, the heroine insists on being there for her brother’s cremation (This is actually allowed from a viewing room, something few people know) and the hero sits with her. It was one of the most powerful scenes of love, loss, and grief that I’ve ever written or read, but I will say that it was a defining moment for that couple. It was against my better judgment that I wrote it, but if I hadn’t, the book wouldn’t hold the emotions of every person who has ever suffered a loss of that magnitude. Sometimes, the beauty is in listening to the characters.

  • What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your characters? What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

The real people I base my characters after deserve honesty, respect, integrity and their stories told in an uplifting, true, and real-life way. The only way I can do that is to spend hours of time researching the disability I’m writing about in any way I can. It is usually a combination of personal experience, talking to a person with that disability, and falling back on my training as a medical transcriptionist. I’m also lucky to know a lot of people in the disabled community who are always willing to answer my questions, and I’m blessed with healthcare providers around me who are used to that one weird question I ask at the end of an appointment. I also have limitless resources from nonprofit organizations that offer me the information I’m looking for at the push of a button. I assure you, I am researching throughout the entire book, often stopping just to double-check a fact or send an email, before I take that storyline where I think it should go.

I don’t always get it right. I know that. I’m human, and there are going to be times I get something wrong, but it is never intentional and I always strive to make as few mistakes as possible. My books are about removing the veil Hollywood and the big book publishers have put on characters with disabilities in books. My career is about writing a story between two people whose love story may not look like the ones portrayed on the big screen but are no less important to tell. You cannot tell a love story that doesn’t address the issues of intimacy, love, loss, and pain that people with disabilities face, but you can do it in a positive, informative, loving way that respects both people with disabilities and the reader.

I actually have a disability resource guide on my website for anyone who wants more information. You can find it here.

There is also an article in the Feb/March edition of InD’Tale Magazine about how to change the narrative around writing characters with disabilities. You can find that here.

  • How do you select the names of your characters?

You’ll laugh, but I often just open Facebook and grab a name off my friend list! I usually do this for secondary characters who won’t carry over to another book. I’m also known to look at my husband and say, ‘Hey, give me the name of a boy/girl in your class who is like X, Y, Z.” As a teacher, he always has a plethora of names! When it comes to naming my main characters, if their names don’t automatically pop into my head, then I usually use a baby names book. I like to look up what I want the name to mean, and then find recommendations based on that.

  • Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

I love doing this! All my books have something that the right person will read and smile because they are the only ones who understand it. It might be a character’s name, a story the character tells about their childhood, or a specific place, but every book has something written in specifically for that person. Whether they ever read it or not is beside the point. It’s a little homage to the person I’m thinking about at the time.

  • How long on average does it take you to write a book?

If I sit down and write uninterrupted, which hasn’t happened since Covid hit because two of my three kids are doing school from home, I can write a book in a week to ten days. Right now, it’s taking me about three weeks, but I have a lot going on with other WIPs that are in the process of edits for publication with my new publisher, Breaking Night Press!

  • Can you share a snippet from your new release that isn’t the blurb?

A man sat behind an executive’s desk that was covered in papers, folders, and computers. He wore a button-down plaid shirt covered by a sweater sporting—what were those? Bees? Beetles? Dragonflies?

The man glanced down at his sweater and back to my face. “Grasshoppers.”

Grasshoppers. Noted.

First impression of Gulliver Winsome? He was all about his business. If the sweater wasn’t enough to tell me that, the collections of bugs, butterflies, and moths in display boxes scattered around the room were. The man himself? Gulliver Winsome was more than a little easy on the eyes. My gaze traveled across his broad chest and shoulders. Both made the sweater of grasshoppers stretch prominently with the strength and power of his physique. When his arm shot forward to shake my hand, his bicep flexed and I begged myself not to whimper. He might wear weird sweaters, but this man was built.

“You must be Charity.” The awkward smile on his face was something I was used to. I was never what people expected when they pictured a white hat hacker.

I dropped Mojo’s leash to the ground, and he lowered his butt to the floor as I shook the man’s hand. “I am, and you must be Gulliver Winsome.”

He released my hand and motioned at himself dramatically. “Indeed I am. The lucky guy who was saddled with the worst name in the history of the world.”

I laughed, his relaxed manner putting me at ease immediately. “Well, you know what they say. You win some. You lose some.”

Gulliver’s eyes smiled when he laughed. “Never was that joke delivered more perfectly. Have a seat,” he said, indicating the chair in front of his desk. The chair was an awkward height for my short frame, and I had to half jump and half wiggle onto it. Gulliver pointed at my companion. “What’s the dog’s name?”

“Mojo,” I answered immediately.

His eyebrow tugged up toward his hairline, and his delectable hazel eyes hit me like a shot to the solar plexus. I’d never seen eyes that color before, but they were a pair I could get lost in for hours. The color swirled from brown to gold and then settled on green for a hairbreadth before swirling into a green flecked with sparkles of gold. I’d traveled all fifty states and met people of all nationalities and never had a pair of eyes held me captive for so long. They were smoky while he assessed me assessing him. Oh, I could get lost in that pair of eyes for the rest of my life if I wasn’t careful.

“You named a dog Mojo,” Gulliver said, more a statement than a question.

“I did. I’ve always wanted to say to someone, ‘I’ve lost my Mojo. Will you help me find him?’”

“I’m picturing it.” He shook with laughter. “That would be epic.”

I held out my hand as if to say, I know, right? “The problem is, he’s never run away in the six years I’ve owned him, so he’s kind of a disappointment.”

  • What is the tagline for your newest release?

The tagline for Butterflies & Hazel Eyes, releasing April 22, 2021 with Breaking Night Press is, “When the Lady of the Lake speaks, she expects you to listen.”

Let me explain. The book is set on the shores of Lake Superior near the Apostle Islands in Wisconsin. The locals here believe the lake is a siren and once you pass her shores, she will always draw you back. The other local belief is that the Lady of the Lake never gives up her dead and they reside in her cold-water castle forever.

This all comes into play in the book as the main characters, Charity and Gulliver, try to stay alive long enough to finish an eco-friendly pesticide formula to save the pollinators. There is intrigue, romance, and suspense all in a beautiful locale in this duet series. I love writing about Lake Superior and the people who live on her shores. So many people never get to witness the power and beauty of a Great Lake, and I enjoy sharing something I’m blessed to see on a regular basis with those who never will. The Lady of the Lake truly is a siren and if ever you can’t find me, head to Wisconsin Point and I’ll be sitting on a piece of driftwood staring out over her vastness. More than likely, I’m plotting my next book.

  • What does the title of your current WIP mean?

My current WIP is called The Secrets of Duck Pond Road. The book is set in a small town in North Dakota and it’s about two kids who lived on that road during their childhood. The surface of the duck pond may be smooth, but the secrets hiding below it are unexpected and heartbreaking.

  • Describe yourself in three words.
  1. Determined.
  2. Fun.
  3. Devoted
  • Name three of your favorite things.
  1. Emily
  2. Edward
  3. Eli
  • Name three of your least favorite things.
  1. Tea
  2. Poodles
  3. Americana decor

FIND MORE ABOUT KATIE HERE:

Thanks again to Katie Mettner for stopping by and visiting make sure you follow her on BookBub too! https://www.bookbub.com/profile/katie-mettner

RELEASE PARTY FUN!

Join us February 3rd through February 7th from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. CST for a huge party celebrating our release of COLOR THEORY. All proceeds from this EXCITING anthology will go to educational programs for Black students. There will be prizes, fun and games, and I’m sure a bit of mischief, as romance authors are know to be just a little bit naughty.

https://www.facebook.com/A-Book-A-Day-498971576865193

https://books2read.com/u/3JXWlv

17 Exclusive ALL-NEW romance stories by bestselling authors about couples who defy convention and follow their hearts. These stories are all brand new and only available in this box set! 

Love is blind, but it’s never easy. A Book a Day Presents: Color Theory is a collection of stories about love that is determined not by the color of one’s skin, but by the connection of two hearts. They face challenges, but together they not only overcome—but soar. These couples know the color of one’s skin can’t determine who a person loves. Love is so much more.

Exciting News…

A BOOK A DAY PRESENTS: COLOR THEORY

A.M. Kusi | Anne Welch | Arden Aoide

Blair Babylon | CA Miconi | Danielle Pearl

Eden Butler | Elizabeth Marx | Janet A. Moto

Kenna Rey | Lori Ryan | M. Jane Colette

Piper Rayne | Shannon Bruno | Sierra Hill

Willow Aster | Carmen Cook

Release Date: February 2

17 Exclusive ALL-NEW romance stories by bestselling authors about couples who defy convention and follow their hearts. These stories are all brand new and only available in this box set! 

Love is blind, but it’s never easy. A Book a Day Presents: Color Theory is a collection of stories about love that is determined not by the color of one’s skin, but by the connection of two hearts. They face challenges, but together they not only overcome—but soar. These couples know the color of one’s skin can’t determine who a person loves. Love is so much more.

This amazing anthology will only be available for a short time, and all the proceeds will go to the education of Black students.

Pre-Order Links:

https://books2read.com/u/3JXWlv

Goodreads Link:

http://bit.ly/3obFY5v

Meet A.M. Kusi:

Welcome! We’re Ash and Marcus Kusi, a wife-and-husband author team under the pen name A. M. Kusi. And enjoy writing romance novels that are inspired by our experiences as an interracial/multicultural couple.

Our novels are about strong women and the sexy heroes they fall in love with, are emotionally satisfying and always have a happy ending.

To learn more about A.M. Kusi, visit: https://amkusi.com/

Meet Anne Welch:

Anne grew up in a very small town in South Carolina, where as a kid, she always loved to read books, make people laugh and write songs. After having success in her home state she decided to pursue dreams of becoming a writer and moved to Nashville, TN. When she’s not writing you can find her reading or searching for a husband. She loves spending time with her friends, nieces, nephews and her two fur babies. She enjoys making people laugh and loves hearing from her readers.

To learn more about Anne Welch, visit: https://www.annewelchauthor.com

Meet Arden Aoide:

Obstinate Insomniac, Introverted Anarchist, Juvenile Humorist, Anglophile, Red Lipstick Fetishist, Cat Herder, Lazy Housekeeper, Foodie, Philosopher, Mother, Lover, Compiler of Lists…

To learn more about Arden Aoide, visit: https://www.ardenaoide.com

Meet Blair Babylon:

“I’m passionate about books and literature. The best books are intense, enthralling stories that readers can get lost in for days. Books delve into what it means to be human and connect us to each other. Books allow us to live all our possible lives. Books open us to loving each other and the world more. I write intense, deeply imagined romance novels for serious readers because the world needs more love.” ~~Blair Babylon

Blair Babylon is an award-winning, USA Today bestselling author who used to publish literary fiction. Because professional reviews of her other fiction usually included the caveat that there was too much deviant sex and too much interesting plot, she decided to abandon all literary pretensions, let her freak flag fly, and write hot, sexy, suspenseful romance.

To learn more about Blair Babylon, visit: https://blairbabylon.com

Meet CA Miconi:

CA Miconi began reading at the age of five and has never stopped. Her childhood was filled with multiple readings of Gone With the Wind, the ultimate tragic romance. CA got her own HEA when she married her retired military hero, Gary, in 2010. She began her author services company, Lucky 13, in 2015, specializing in editing, proofreading, promoting, social media management, and administrative support. CA also hosts and sponsors author and reader events, never dreaming she would one day attend events as a signing author. When she’s not reading, writing, or working with authors, CA enjoys traveling, spending time with her grandchildren, boating, motorcycling, and cheering on her beloved Baltimore Ravens.

To learn more about Blair Babylon, visit: http://www.camiconiwrites.com

Meet Danielle Pearl:

Danielle Pearl is the Amazon and iBooks best selling author of the Something More series. She lives in New Jersey with her three delicious children and ever-supportive husband, who–luckily–doesn’t mind sharing her with an array of fictional men. She did a brief stint at Boston University and worked in marketing before publishing her debut novel, Normal. She writes mature Young Adult and New Adult Contemporary Romance. Danielle enjoys coffee, wine, and cupcakes, and not in moderation. 

To learn more about Danielle Pearl, visit: https://www.facebook.com/daniellepearlauthor/

Meet Eden Butler:

Eden Butler is a writer of contemporary, fantasy, and romantic suspense novels and the nine-times great-granddaughter of an honest-to-God English pirate. This could explain her affinity for rule breaking and rum.

When she’s not writing or wondering about her possibly Jack Sparrowesque ancestor, Eden patiently waits for her Hogwarts letter, reads, and spends too much time in her garden perfecting her green thumb while waiting for the next New Orleans Saints Superbowl win.

She is currently living under teenage rule alongside her husband in southeast Louisiana.

Please send help.

To learn more about Eden Butler, visit: https://www.edenbutler.com

Meet Elizabeth Marx:

Windy City writer Elizabeth Marx brings cosmopolitan flair to her fiction, which is a blend of romance and fast-paced Chicago living with a sprinkle of magical realism. In her past incarnation she was an interior designer—not a decorator—which basically means she has a piece of paper to prove that she knows how to match and measure things and can miraculously make mundane pieces of furniture appear to be masterpieces. Elizabeth says being an interior designer is one part shrink, one part marriage counselor and one part artist, skills eerily similar to those employed in writing.

Elizabeth grew up in Illinois and has also lived in Texas and Florida. If she’s not pounding her head against the wall trying to get the words just right. Elizabeth resides with her husband, girls, and two cats who’ve spelled everyone into believing they’re really dogs.

Elizabeth has traveled extensively, but still says there’s no town like Chi-Town.

To learn more about Elizabeth Marx, visit: https://elizabethmarxbooks.com

Meet Janet A. Moto:

I’ve always been passionate about storytelling and impressed by the influence it has on people and the decisions they make in life. I love engaging with the projects I work on, diving headfirst into the research, investigation, and production of stories I feel are worth writing about. I am a curious and proactive Author, interested in preserving the foundations set by classical literature by adapting them to modern themes and trends.

To learn more about Janet A. Moto, visit: https://authorjanetamota.wixsite.com/janetamota

Meet Kenna Rey:

Kenna Rey is a compassionate romantic. She is always dreaming up stories about love and fulfilling relationships. She writes a multitude of romantic genres and loves to write about powerful female friendships. In her obsession over the human dynamic, she leaves nothing to chance.

Kenna resides in the suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri with her high school sweetheart, a kiddo and three snuggly doggos. She loves to host get-togethers with family and friends, hiking, camping or riding roller coasters. She is also a big fan of anything chocolate.

To learn more about Kenna Rey, visit: https://www.kennarey.com/

Meet Lori Ryan:

Lori Ryan is a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author who writes contemporary romance novels and romantic suspense novels. She lives with an extremely understanding husband, three wonderful children, and two mostly-behaved dogs in Austin, Texas. It’s a bit of a zoo, but she wouldn’t change a thing.

Lori published her first romance novel in April of 2013 and has loved every bit of the crazy adventure this career has taken her on since then. She is a hybrid author, publishing both as an indie author and through SilverHart Publishing. She also has a new side hobby of creating coloring books for adults! Lori loves to connect with her readers. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter or subscribe to her blog. Oh, and if you’ve read Lori’s romantic suspense books and thought it was one of the best romance novels you’ve read 😉 , please consider leaving a review with the retailer of your choice to help other readers find her work as well! It’s a tremendous honor to have her romance novels recommended to others or written up in reviews. Lori promises to do a happy dance around her office every time you write one!

To learn more about Lori Ryan, visit: https://loriryanromance.com/

Meet M. Jane Colette:

m jane colette writes tragedy for people who like to laugh, comedy for the melancholy, and erotica for men and women who like their fantasies real. She believes rules and hearts were made to be broken; ditto the constraints of genres. The result? “A whole new sub-genre of her own… social realist erotica that’s frenetic and complex and funny and very well observed.”

Also, smoking hot. Which is still the most important thing in erotica, romance… and, life?

A poster child Gemini, she is, most of the time, at least two people. Her left-brain persona sold out long ago. She wears severely-cut suits of black, blue and only that shade of green (“No, not that shade—have you seen the colour of my hair and eyes? Please. Let’s coordinate.”) and spends a lot of time in board rooms, offices, and “war rooms” (what a name!)

parsing lies. It’s a living.

(But, oh, what a plethora of source material…)

Her right-brain persona longs to be an iconoclast and an artist. When nobody’s looking, she writes poetry.

To learn more about M. Jane Colette, visit: http://mjanecolette.com/

Meet Piper Rayne:

Piper Rayne is a USA Today Bestselling Author duo who write “heartwarming humor with a side of sizzle” about families, whether that be blood or found. They both have e-readers full of one-clickable books, they’re married to husbands who drive them to drink, and they’re both chauffeurs to their kids. Most of all, they love hot heroes and quirky heroines who make them laugh, and they hope you do, too!

To learn more about Piper Rayne, visit: http://www.PiperRayne.com/

Meet Shannon Bruno:

Like Ms. Perky says, “I’ve got deviants to see, and a novel to finish.”

Author of non-mushy contemporary romance.

To learn more about Shannon Bruno, visit: https://www.facebook.com/authorandwordnerd/

Meet Sierra Hill:

Sierra Hill wrote and published her first contemporary new adult romance in 2014 and has since published over 30 novels. She is a 2020 RONE Award-Winning author of Game Changer, as well as award-winning college sports series, Courting Love, and the twice award-finalist erotic ménage serial, Reckless – The Smoky Mountain Trio.
Sierra lives in the Seattle area with her husband of 25 years and their rescued German Shepherd. When not writing, she enjoys baking, reading and traveling to see her favorite alternative rock band, Pearl Jam.

To learn more about Sierra Hill, visit: https://www.sierrahillbooks.com

Meet Willow Aster:

Willow Aster is the author of USA Today bestseller, True Love Story, In the Fields, Maybe Maby, Fade to Red, Lilith (formerly known as Whore), 5,331 Miles, Miles Ahead, The Kingdoms of Sin series, and co-author of The End of Men series with Tarryn Fisher. Willow loves nothing more than writing the day away—anywhere will do. Her husband and two children graciously put up with her endless daydreaming; otherwise, the writing would never get done. She’s also an avid reader, and has been known to walk, cook, and clean with her nose in a book. She’s lived in Texas, Tennessee, Indiana, and California, but Minnesota has captured her now and doesn’t seem to be letting go. Although shy, this lifelong writer and artist is convinced that the best part of this career for her is meeting and connecting with readers, authors, and all of those in this community of lovers of words.

To learn more about Willow Aster, visit: http://www.willowaster.com

Meet Carmen Cook:

Carmen Cook grew up in Montana, riding horses and dreaming of life beyond the mountains. As soon as she could, she started traveling, heading across the country for college and backpacking through Europe before finally earning a fine arts degree and throwing down roots in the Pacific Northwest.  It wasn’t long before her imagination started running away with her and she started writing.

To learn more about Carmen Cook, visit: https://www.carmencooknovels.com/

Thanks for stopping by! HAPPY READING & REVIEWING!

Calling All Paranormal & Urban Fantasy Romance Lovers

Phenomenal FallFall has arrived!

Enter to win $600 in Amazon Gift Cards!

One simple entry will subscribe you to 30 Romance Author Newsletters.

Unsubscribe any time, but please don’t label us as spam. Better still, stick around and get to know us.

Participating Authors:

Demelza Carlton | Abbie Roads | Marissa Dobson |Heather C. Myers | Tracy Ellen | Anna Lowe | Jenn Windrow | Kathleen Groger | Amy Lamont | Valerie Twombly | S.M. Schmitz | Tmonique Stephens | Margo Bond Collins | Blaire Edens | Erin Hayes | Rissa Blakely | LJ Swallow | Eileen Cruz Coleman | Michele Bardsley |C.E. Black | Grace White | Asa Maria Bradley | Jennifer Hilt | Wendy Knight | Elizabeth Marx | Laxmi Hariharan | Melanie Karsak | Mary D. Brooks | Emma Nichols | PUF Bargains

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Coming Soon: The Seer…

Fairy tales should not be deadly—but anything can happen on Halloween night in Salem—even a human sacrifice.

THESEER.

 

My Love Affair with Puerto Rico

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I’ve been having a love affair with Puerto Rico for at least 20 years and if you count my childhood friend’s stories about her fatherland it’s a lot longer than that. First and foremost, the most attractive quality about this Caribbean Island is its people. Puerto Ricans are kind, helpful and so proud and honored to share their beautiful home with visitors. I’ve been lucky enough to visit many of this island’s great attractions over my various visits. Here’s my list of what I saw, did, and more importantly, what I devoured during my July 2016 vacation.

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Ritz Carlton Carolina, PR

No, I’m not made of money but of course that’s what you think of when you think of the Ritz, luckily United Vacations made us an offer we couldn’t refuse. The Ritz Carlton is beautiful property with a luxurious pool area and the beach is well maintained. The artwork throughout the hotel is gorgeous, especially the wonderful piece that’s behind the concierge’s desk. I love entering the hotel and seeing such a wonderful piece of art, it really makes a statement!

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The guest rooms are very nicely appointed with large bathrooms. This hotel has an attentive staff and wonderful restaurants, I dined in all the restaurants but the two standouts are the BLT Steakhouse 5/5 stars and IL Mulino New York 4.5/5 stars. Food is expensive in Puerto Rico, much more than downtown Chicago, but that’s consistent for other islands I’ve visited in the Caribbean. The only negative I’d say about this hotel is the lounge chairs in the pool and beach area, I expected the heavy teak lounge chairs more common at five star resorts by the pool. While the metal and plastic strapped chairs at the pool had cushions, but this didn’t detract from my visit, it’s just something I think this luxurious property could upgrade. The other improvement I’d recommend is the exterior area that runs perpendicular to the Lobby Lounge, I think this outside patio could use new seating, the white tubular contemporary chairs and tables aren’t very inviting and while staying on property for a week I only saw the area occupied twice. The biggest reason why no one is utilizing this patio is there are no umbrellas, and the stark furniture made it cold and uninviting. I think furnishings that match the furniture on the veranda right outside the Lobby Lounge would be much more appealing and inviting for visitors. Overall, I’d give the hotel a 4.5/5 star rating. Either way, I get to check off staying at a Ritz-Carlton on my bucket list and I’ll be back!

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I’ve visited the old walled city on numerous occasions. I’ve walked the walls of Castillo San Felipe del Morro, a world heritage site, and this is an excellent spot to take a photo of Bay of San Juan. Afterwards, we strolled Caleta de San Juan that will take you to the massive wooden San Juan gates, my girls were thrilled to stop for another photo opportunity!

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We shopped our way along Calle de Cristo and then stopped in the Hotel El Convento for a drink. Hotel El Convento is across the street from the San Juan Cathedral that was built in 1521 and adjacent to the Plaza of nuns. This building originally housed the first Carmelite Convent in the Americas and nuns lived there for 252 years, until 1903. Between 1913 and 1953 it was a retail store, a dance hall and even a flophouse. It became a parking lot for garbage trucks and was slated for bulldozing until in 1959 Robert Woolworth purchased the property from the Archdiocese of San Juan and transformed it into the deluxe hotel name El Convento. Stop by the bar and have a Chi-Chi with one of the nicest bartenders in San Juan.

el_jibarito_viejo_sj_508x300Our wonderful bartender recommended several local restaurants for dinner so we walked to El Jibavito. We started with Sangria and chicken empanadas that were delicious. My daughters and husband had the Camarones Al Ajillo (shrimp in garlic sauce) and I had the Pollo Al Ajillo (chicken in garlic sauce) both dishes had this fabulous garlic sauce with sweet onions and green peppers, delicious! I had rice and beans and tostones. For dessert I had the coconut flan. This restaurant has excellent food and I highly recommend that you check it out if you visit San Juan. $$

Cats of Puerto Rico

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Okay, okay I know I’m a crazy cat lady but after the wonderful dinner I had I felt like I wanted to crawl up on the roof of the car alongside this guy for a siesta! I must say the cats sleeping wherever they liked in Old San Juan was reminiscent of home, but these felines are as friendly and accomodating as any other residents of the island.

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The second group of cats I encountered was at El Yunque rainforest where a feisty group of felines had taken up residence in the parking lot and none of them were afraid to catch and devour lizard’s whole. Hey, a rainforest cat has got to do what a rainforest cat was meant to do! MEOW!

El Yunque Rainforest

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El      Yunque is the only rainforest in the U.S. National Park system and if you visit Puerto Rico this is a must see and it’s free. Start at the visitor’s center to get souvenirs and determine what sort of trail you’re interested in hiking because there are various difficulty levels.

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Stop along the highway inside the park at La Coca Falls and snap a photo before heading to Yokahu Tower observation point where you get an excellent view of the lush vegetation and the Atlantic Ocean. My girls hiked La Mina all the way down and took a dip in the falls. There are places to purchase drinking water and snacks in the park but I wouldn’t eat inside the park unless you just want a quick snack. I’d wait for food because when you exit the park it’s a short jaunt to the wonderful Luquillo Beach.

Luquillo Beach

PRELPRILLIOLuquillo beach’s kiosks are famous for their Puerto Rican delicacies. If you want to eat like a local this is another place to do it, you can get anything from chapin, a local fish, to stuffed mofongo to a three-course meal. We stopped at La Parrilla where we had a wonderful seafood luncheon. My husband and I had the Langosta Fresca La Parrilla, lobster with stuffing and my girls had shrimp. For an appetizer try the lobster empanadas, they are to die for and would make an excellent snack to take away to the beach with you. Make sure you have sunscreen and a passion fruit mojito too! $$$

El Nuevo Acuario, Carolina, PR

IMG_1372-2Speaking of great local restaurants we went to Carolina and dined at El Nuevo Acuario. Don’t let the location or buildings sideline you from this culinary adventure, Chef Leo will make you the BEST ceviche you’ve ever had. I’m not exaggerating, I’ve eaten all over the world and this was the best ceviche bar none! The presentation was wonderful and every dish was delicious. We ate at a couple of five star restaurants during our stay in Puerto Rico and our girls said that El Nuevo Acuario was their favorite! The drinks were wonderful, I had a guava mojito, superb. We had lobster with a spicy sauce and my husband had the red snapper, it was fresh and so pretty to look at you didn’t want to disturb the plate. Also, we had an awesome taxi driver, Manuel, who was nice enough to come back for us after dinner. Talk about customer service! $$$$

Santurce

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One of the most wonderful things about going back to a place you’ve visited often is discovering something new. Since I’m working on a book about a college student who’s also a renowned street artist every place I visit I look for street art and it’s impact on the community. The heroine in TELL ME SOMETHING REAL, Kami Rosario-Dawson happens to be part Puerto Rican and she grew up traveling back and forth between St. Louis and San Juan.

PRMUSEUMOFARTSan Juan is renowned for its artists and Santurce is the district/barrios where art is happening. Santurce is the most densely populated districts on the island and a cultural hot spot for music, cuisine, fashion, hotels, tech, film and startups. The wonderful Museo De Arte De Puerto Rico has this sculpture that welcomes visitors and the area. The façade of the museum is the former hospital with graceful columns at the entrance. The museum has a wonderful sculpture garden, a fine collection of prints and traces the history of Puerto Rican art from Jose Campeche to the present.

IMG_1502Santurce is awash with well-preserved architecture, street art, and graffiti. The area is also home to some of the most unique Spanish design. The neighborhood went through many transitions over its long history, after September 11th the banking industry suffered an economic decline but since 2009 Santurce has experienced a cosmopolitan revival. There are many beautiful buildings just waiting to be brought back to life. I walked the streets during rush hour and it’s a high traffic area at that time of day but it’s worth your patience to explore this unique neighborhood. Art adorns not only the sides of buildings but even electrical boxes like this one. This is a must see area if you are an art and architecture lover and it instantly became part of Kami’s story. I imagined her walking the streets of Santurce and maybe it’s the first place Kami encountered a street artist or where she painted her first mural. So now I’m wondering if I get to write this vacation off? LOL!

Puerto Rico is full of kind, pleasant, and warm people. It’s the kind of place where you can have inspirational adventures. Add Puerto Rico to your must visit list!

XOXOX

Elizabeth Marx

TOP 10 CHICAGO SPRINGTIME TREATS

TOP 10 CHICAGO SPRINGTIME TREATS

310ZZzBvmlLSpring is always slow moving in the Midwest, but here are the top ten signs that Spring has sprung in Chi-Town!

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#1 Buckingham Fountain is turned on. Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountain is one of the largest and most ornate fountains in America. The fountain opens in mid April and runs a major water display for 20 minutes every hour on the hour. In the evening light and music accompany the show. This Chicago Landmark is a must see! It’s always FREE. You can learn more about it here: http://goo.gl/YYXVqn

 

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#2 People eating lunch in Daley Plaza. The Daley Center was originally called the Chicago Civic Center and later renamed to honor Mayor Richard J. Daley. This building house the Chicago Circuit Courts, but what makes this a Chicago Architectural Landmark fantastic is the Picasso outside on the Plaza. The sculpture commissioned by Pablo Picasso in 1967 was the first modern sculpture placed in the Loop. So pick up a sack lunch on a sunny afternoon and enjoy the view. The people-watching is great here too! To learn more: http://goo.gl/X57bkM

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There is something happening on the plaza year round. Tuesday May 3, 2016 is Polish American Committee Day when the Polish Flag will be raised, Aidan Palowski might be there & this is the performance schedule for May: http://goo.gl/KFBd1h

 

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#3 Tulips outshine the twinkle lights along the Magnificent Mile. Eight city blocks of Michigan Avenue make up the Magnificent Mile. A well-known high end shopping and dining destination that runs from the Chicago River to the Water Tower and Pumping Station. FYI, 8 city blocks equal a mile for those of you interested in logging your mileage. Regardless of the retail therapy opportunities the thing you must see are the tulips and flowers lining the parkway in springtime! It’s a Chicago must see! Tulip Watch here: http://goo.gl/Hv18IR

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#4 The Cubs come out to play. Nothing says summertime in Chicago like baseball! Take me out to the ball game. The new and improved Wrigley Field is now open. The second phase of the Friendly Confines renovation was completed during the off-season all the way down to the iconic marquee! Work began to convert the excavated area just west of the field into a 30,000 square foot area for player’s locker rooms, strength, conditioning, training and hydrotherapy sections, player’s lounges, a media center & team offices. Premium & season ticket holders will be afforded a new “Third Base Club” next to the batting tunnels and a “Home Plate Club” will be introduced. An upper-deck exposed concourse will be added along the south & west roofline of right field. Improved bathroom facilities & additional concessions are included while preserving the historic features and 1930’s characteristics of the ballpark. I can’t wait to see it in person! Cubs Schedule here: http://goo.gl/c9nTe0

You know baseball is near & dear to my heart because of my special relationship with a certain bad baseball boy. Learn more about my baseball romances and the Chicago Series here: http://goo.gl/pPlK9o

Grant_Park_Chicago_Garden#5 Frisbee in Grant Park. Come out to play in Chicago’s front yard. After the Great Chicago fire our city was planned with open spaces all along the lakefront for public use. Grant Park comprises: Millennium Park, The Art Institute, Buckingham Fountain, Field House, the new Maggie Daley Park and many other wonderful places to visit. Right now the NFL Draft is being hosted in Grant Park which is called Draft Park! If you come out to play don’t forget the dog and the Frisbee! Learn more here: http://goo.gl/wk1lBo

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#6 Boats are back in Diversey Harbor. Located within Lincoln Park and near Lake Shore Drive and you know summer is right around the corner when you see the boats start slipping into slips! All along the 14 miles of Lake Michigan there are 10 harbors run by the Chicago Park District. On any summer day when you drive along Lake Shore Drive you’ll have an excellent view of boats along the shoreline. If you’re coming to Chicago by boat learn more about out harbor system here: http://goo.gl/zvZIQ2

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#7 Navy Pier Ferris Wheel. Navy Pier in Chicago is the 2nd most visited venues in Chicago after The American Girl Doll Store. We are getting a new Ferris wheel this year and much of Navy Pier has been under construction over the winter months. Here are some construction facts and photos: http://goo.gl/wctMW9

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The new Ferris Wheel will open on May 27, 2016. I wonder if there will be a line for the first ride? Wouldn’t it be cool to say you rode it on it’s opening day? Here are all the cool facts about the new Navy Pier Ferris Wheel: https://1t9gqf1rdexwil9k1rrz1j111-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Ferris-Wheel-Fact-Sheet-6-23-15_1.pdf

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#8 Chicago Beaches open. The 26 miles of public beaches officially open on May 27th but a couple of weeks ago on a Sunday we were in the high seventies and the beach opened ‘unofficially’! The 24 freshwater beaches are managed by the Chicago Park District. I’m more familiar with the beaches on the Northside: North Avenue Beach, Montrose Beach and Oak Street Beach. The beach system was part of the original Burnham Plan for the city and recreational development was always supported along the Chicago lakefront. Many of the beaches off free WiFi, so you can always bring your eReader and download a new book while relaxing in a soft breeze. Just remember we call this the Windy City for a reason, yes our politicians are a bit long winded but it’s breezy along the lake here too!

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No matter what beach you chose it’s a great place to watch the Chicago Air & Water show which is held in August. http://goo.gl/TKWxxY

 

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#9 Lincoln Park zoo babies start arriving! Did you know Chicago has one of the oldest zoos in the country? And that it’s FREE! This zoo set in the heart of the city is open every day and it houses 1200 animals, a wonderful conservatory and paddleboats. Admission is totally free, but plan on buying lunch there or fun treats in the gift shops for your kids as this revenue supports this wonderful Chicago institution. Here’s a picture of my babies the last time we visited. Info: http://goo.gl/2nqXNu

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As I said my favorite part of the zoo besides the penguins and the monkeys are the new zoo babies! Guess what? We had two new Snow Monkeys born in April. How could you resist visiting this face?

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#10 Bicycles, boats, and babes all along the lakefront. Now that you’ve been all over Chicago you might want to take a break and just relax or perhaps a leisurely ride along the lakefront on the Chicago Lakefront Trail. The path is for walking, running or biking and the 18 mile path connects various beaches and recreational amenities along the lake. It’s a super busy place and be extra cautious at intersections. Learn more here: http://goo.gl/CrZJdy

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Thanks for stopping by and helping me get ready for Spring adventures in Chicago. If you’ve visited Chicago before leave a COMMENT & tell me what you enjoyed best? It could be a location or even a restaurant, we have the BEST food here!!! If you’ve never visited Chicago I’d love to hear what you want to see first?

XOXOX

Elizabeth

HELP! Writer Fearing Sophomore Jinx

SOPHOMORE JINX & FEAR THE MEAN

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The question readers ask me over and over again, besides if Aidan and Libby are okay, is what happened to Tony, Evita and Manny. The simple truth is I don’t know exactly. I mean I have ideas about where I want their story to go, but I haven’t committed many of the ideas to paper. I just can’t seem to motivate myself into writing their story when I’ve written a lot of other books since then. Perhaps, since BINDING ARBITRATION is so near and dear to so many hearts, maybe I’m afraid of a sophomore jinx.

A sophomore jinx is the theory (or in my case fear, a deep seeded fear) that the second or sophomore effort doesn’t live up to the standards of the first effort. It’s also known as the sophomore slump, which is psychologically explained as an earlier success having a reducing effect on the subsequent effort, but statistically it can be explained as regression to the mean. I’m worse off now that I looked up the actual definition than I was before! This regression to the mean, yikes, does that mean that if BA is a 5 star book the follow up book will be a 3 star book and they’ll average out to 4 stars? I’ve increased the lump in my throat exponentially! I’m banging my head on my desk and praying it isn’t so. Now I know how my beloved Cubbies feel, after such a wonderful season last year!

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That’s it! I refuse to give in! I refuse to FEAR the MEAN!!!

So I’ve decided to actually start writing the full-length second book in the Chicago Series. I’m considering the title EMINENT DOMAIN. All of the books in the Chicago Series have legal terms for the titles. Eminent Domain is the right of a government or its agent to expropriate private property for public use, with payment of compensation. I’m one of those authors who can’t finish a book without the title because I like to layer the title’s meaning throughout the book.

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If you recall the end of BA Manny has been missing for months and Enrique has tried to lure Evita back to South America by promising her she could be with her son again. When Evita shows up to say goodbye to Libby at the legal aid office and leaves a letter for Tony we assume that something has separated Tony and Evita. Evita ends up in the hospital with a gunshot wound and Tony shows up in the ER raising hell because Evita’s been injured. Eminent Domain could refer to couple of different plot points in the story: Enrique’s right to have physical custody of his only son, Manny, (even if Enrique is a scum-sucking, drug-dealing pig), Tony’s right to ‘take’ and care for Evita and Manny, or even Evita’s right to keep her son away from his biological father, or it could refer to the City of Chicago seizing Tony’s businesses under Eminent Domain when they are less than successful in prosecuting him for various ‘crimes’.

My questions to you Dear Readers???

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What do you think of the title: Eminent Domain? If you hate it, don’t just hate for hate’s sake, suggest something else!
What happened between Evita and Tony?
What’s in the letter Evita wrote Tony and told Libby to give to him if she dies in South America? Yikes!!!
Who is Tony Accardo really? Organized crime boss, misunderstood businessman or ?
What hasn’t Evita told Tony about her past?
What hasn’t Tony told Evita about his past? Or his present for that matter?
Who really has Manny?

So what I’m looking for is real FEEDBACK! Answers from my Dear Readers who love Binding Arbitration. Below is a wonderful example of a conversation I had with a reader a week or so ago on FB and it’s what spurred this blog post.

answers Example:
“Gosh I don’t know where to start. After reading it (BA) the first time I was really wondering what will happen to the both of them most especially to little Manny. I guess that’s the biggest hurdle they’ve got to go through, I mean, how do you go against a man who owns one of the biggest drug cartels around the world, right? And it’s not as if Espinoza’s gonna give up his one and only son. I just really wish though that Aidan and Libby still get featured. Oh, and might I suggest a pairing? Olivia and Avery. I would love to see if Olivia can bring Avery down a peg or two, whew that boy has got a chip on his shoulder the size of Everest. I just hope that there are some unexpected twists and turns that would surprise the readers which, in my opinion, was what made Binding Arbitration such an amazing read.”

GIVEAWAY APRIL 2016 EminentDomain

I will be responding to everyone’s insights, answers and comments. I will also pick the best comment to win an autographed copy of BINDING ARBITRATION, a $10 Amazon Gift card & swag pack! (U.S residents only, if international winner is selected you will get an Amazon GC $20) Your comment must include what you’d like to see in Eminent Domain and enough detail that I know you read BA.

Thanks for your input!
Elizabeth