Barbara Ehrentreu Tackles Teen Issues #YAreads #bodyissues #bullying

Today our guest is YA Author, Barbara Ehrentreu, and she’s tackling a tough subject facing today’s teens. Come join us and check out her books “If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor” and “After“…

Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog, Jami. As you know, I have two books. One is about a girl who doesn’t feel good about her body. The other is about a girl who has a great deal of confidence in her body and its abilities. In If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, Carolyn is worried about being bullied by Jennifer Taylor, a mean girl who has been bothering her all through middle school. Jennifer is an aspiring gymnast and Carolyn finds out Jennifer has a terrible secret that no one at school knows. Her problem becomes should she tell Jennifer’s secret to her best friends, who hate Jennifer, or keep the secret and have Jennifer teach her to tumble so she can be a cheerleader and be popular.

Bullying is a big problem that is finally being addressed in many schools. However, there are so many different types of bullying that is not always possible. Emotional bullying is invisible except to the person who is being bullied, like in Carolyn’s case. Bullying creates a constant worry for the person being bullied. Many students who have been bullied don’t have the guts to tell anyone and they try to deal with it themselves. Some are so stressed they take their own lives. Cyber bullying is even worse and has caused the same results. Carolyn has to deal with this problem in her own way and when it comes to a head for her, she even has to deal with blackmail.

Lauren, the main character of After, has a different problem. She wants to get a scholarship to college by playing softball. She is a pitcher and is a really good player. She has a friend, Joey, who has been her best friend since kindergarten. He is the only one she hangs out with and they both love watching the Mets. Lauren doesn’t have a care in the world, and then her father calls while he is having a heart attack. Her story begins after the phone call and everything changes in a moment. Suddenly, Lauren’s world is rocky and she doesn’t feel like anything is the same. Joey, whose mean girlfriend, Amber has been keeping him away from her, is now there and comforting her. Lauren starts feeling more than friendly toward Joey and she realizes she can have another best friend too. While her father is in the hospital to have bypass surgery, Lauren finds her best friend from elementary school, Jenny, is a big help to her as she tries to cope with her new life and her father in the hospital.

The interesting part about writing each of these books is that they are both based on parts of my own life. My first novel, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, is inspired by own daughter who became bulimic in high school. Like Carolyn, she had issues about her body. So, I separated her into two characters. In After, Lauren is a made up character. She is the boy my husband never had or the girl who loved sports that my husband always wanted. The book was started during National Novel Writers Month and at that time my own husband had gone through a heart attack and bypass surgery. He was in the hospital and my whole life had changed. I originally called it When My Life Changed, but both my editor and I decided to change it to After, since it was after the phone call. Big portions of the dialogue in After are taken directly from my own experience. Many scenes are also from my life.

I find taking scenes from my own life is both a blessing and a curse. In order to do some of these scenes I had to use relatives and as a writer, I can tell you that some don’t like this. When I told my daughter about the fact that she was the main character of my first book she was uneasy about this. The good thing is she didn’t really see herself in the character at first. In After, I had my brother-in-law and niece, so I had to tell them and get their permission before the book was published. Sadly, before the book could be published my husband passed away. I spent more time in hospitals then, and the sad truth is, it helped me even more to set those scenes in After.


After” is a story about the struggles Lauren Walstein, a fifteen-year-old girl, has to go through when her father suddenly has a heart attack and undergoes bypass surgery. In one phone call her life changes completely. Lauren is a character with whom most teens will relate. Her best friend since kindergarten, Joey, is going out with her enemy and they have grown apart. Before the phone call all she thought about was getting a scholarship for softball, and the Mets. Suddenly she must deal with both her father’s illness and being in school. The demands on her from both ends complicate the story. In the middle of all this, she finds she is developing feelings for her best friend that are more than friendly. Is he feeling the same or is he just comforting her? In addition there is Joey’s mean girl friend Amber, who doesn’t appreciate Lauren being in the picture. Will Lauren’s father recover? How will Lauren cope with her new feelings for Joey?

Excerpt for After:

Chapter One

The phone rang as the ball left the pitcher’s glove and I glanced toward the sound. Mom’s tears made me forget all about the game. My life changed while the TV blurred and turned into a nightmare kaleidoscope. That moment has been indelibly pressed into my thoughts.

My sister, Diane, was upstairs hunched over her computer as usual. She’s not a baseball fan at all. But I lived and breathed for the Mets that fall. They had such a great chance of getting the pennant and maybe even winning the World Series. I obsessed about the Mets, and of course, Joey.

Joey, my best friend from kindergarten, was always there for me. It’s hard to imagine a recess without him by my side. He’s bigger than I am and always looked a little older than he was. Mom liked Joey because he reassured her he would obey her rules. Maybe it was his easy smile or his clear, gray eyes.

Lately, though, Joey and I haven’t been so close. It happened during the summer when he was a counselor at this camp and he hooked up with this girl, Amber, who goes to our school. So now he spends a lot of his time with her and we barely see each other. We used to watch the Mets together all the time, too. So I missed him being there with me, and his comments about the players. But all that was before the phone call. Pre-phone call my deepest thoughts centered on the Mets and finding the sweet spot for the ball in my new baseball glove. Pre-phone call, my world was worrying about homework getting done and wondering what lunch would be like on Monday. Oh, and of course, thinking about how to beat the next team we were up against in softball. I’m a starting pitcher this year and I want to show my coach she can believe in me. I’m only a sophomore, but I hope

someday to play college softball. I need to get a scholarship in order to go. My parents have already told me they can’t swing it without one.

After the phone call my life was a ball of twisted emotions and all I could think about was Dad, and how Mom, Diane, and I would get through this night.


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If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor


Carolyn Samuels is obsessed with the idea of being popular. She is convinced that the only thing keeping her from happiness is her too heavy for fashion body and not being a cheerleader. Hyperventilating when she gets nervous doesn’t help. When she is paired for a math project with the girl who tormented her in middle school, Jennifer Taylor, she is sure it is going to be another year of pain. With Carolyn’s crush on Jennifer’s hunky junior quarterback, Brad her freshman year in high school looks like a rerun of middle school. When Jennifer is the only student who knows why she fell in gym class, Carolyn is blackmailed into doing her math homework in return for Jennifer’s silence. Jennifer takes on Carolyn as a pity project since she can’t be seen with someone who dresses in jeans and sweatshirts. When Jennifer invites Carolyn to spend the night to make her over and teach her to tumble, Carolyn learns Jennifer’s secret and lies to her own friends to cover it up. Will Carolyn become a cheerleader and popular? Does she continue to keep Jennifer’s secret? Or will she be a target of this mean girl again?



Excerpt from If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor

Chapter One

I spot him walking toward my locker with a small box in one hand and a plastic fork in the other. My Crush! He hands me the box, and I open it. Inside is a piece of luscious chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. I look up into his blue eyes and give him the box so I can touch his cheek as I smooth his dark hair. “You always know just what I like.” He smiles and feeds me a forkful of cake. I don’t have to worry about eating it because I can eat anything I want and not gain weight. He places the cake box in my locker so he can put his arms around me. The first bell rings in my ears. I ignore it because I’m thin and blonde and floating in the arms of my dark- haired crush. The other cheerleaders run up to us laughing and kidding around, and I’m about to speak. The ringing gets louder.

The dream evaporates, and I realize it’s the darn alarm piercing my sleep. Slamming my fist onto the snooze button, I get this nagging feeling. Then I remember. I have something to do. Worse luck, I have to do it, not as the slender blonde beauty in my dream, but as the real Carolyn Samuels with my brown curly hair hanging like shriveled spaghetti, mud brown eyes, and a body too large for fashion.

I see my new book bag is packed and ready by the door with the initials C. S. in blue, my favorite color. Suddenly it hits me, and I get this dizzy let-me-plop-on-the-pillow feeling. Freshman year of high school—first day. My brain is ready, but my body isn’t. Jennifer will be there. Math class and Jennifer; gym class with Jennifer. My body curls into a fetal position, and I throw the covers over my head. Don’t faint Carolyn, I tell myself, panting.

Barbara at Fairfield Bookstore signing headshot

Barbara at Fairfield Bookstore signing headshot

Barbara Ehrentreu grew up in Brooklyn and moved to Queens. She has lived and taught in Long Island, Buffalo, NY and Westchester, NY as well as a year in Los Angeles, CA. She has a Masters Degree in Reading and Writing K-12. She is a member of PEN Letters and SCBWI. Currently she is retired from teaching and living in Stamford, CT with her family. If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor won second prize in Preditors & Editors as Best Young Adult Book for 2011. It was inspired by Paula Danziger for her children’s writing workshop at Manhattanville College. Her second book, After, considers what can happen to a teen when her father becomes ill with a heart attack. It is based on her own experiences when her husband had a heart attack and the aftermath of what she and her family experienced. She is preparing the sequel to If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor. Barbara also writes poetry and several of her poems are published in the anthologies, Prompted: An International Collection of Poetry, Beyond the Dark RoomStorm Cycle and Backlit Barbell. She has a blog, Barbara’s Meanderings, and she hosts a radio show on Blog Talk Radio, Red River Radio Tales from the Pages, once a month.

Go On A Thrilling #RAMPAGE with Alan Brenham #crimethriller #thriller #mustread

Today our visitor is the thrilling, Alan Brenham, and he’s brought along his crime novel, RAMPAGE, for us to take a peek at.

Gang members in a dark alley

The stakes soar, both professionally and personally, for Austin PD Detective Jason Scarsdale as he finds himself in a race against time to hunt down a vicious gang hell-bent on murder. 

 Realizing that his new partner, the attractive divorcee Tatum Harper, could be trouble in more ways than one, he tries to run her out of Homicide. Will their partnership destroy his romantic relationship with long-time girlfriend Dani Mueller? Will they both survive the harrowing face-off with the increasingly unhinged gang leader?

Want to see what’s waiting for you between the pages? Check out this excerpt from Alan’s RAMPAGE, where Detective Jason Scarsdale discovers he has no safe haven from those who want him dead:

“It was after ten that night when the Dodge sedan stopped next to the curb. Two shadowy figures eyeballed the single-story home and the blue Toyota SUV parked in the driveway.    

            Light shined through slats in the blinds of an enormous picture window about five feet from the front door. To the right of the door were two side-by-side windows, both lit up.

            “Are you sure this is his house? It looks different at night,” the driver said.

            “Damn right, I’m sure.” The passenger laid the rifle barrel on the edge of the window.

            “So now what?”

            “We wait until the son of a bitch walks in front of that window.” The passenger shifted in the seat to get a clear field of fire right at the window. “Then boom. One dead cop.”

            A silhouette grew larger as it moved closer to the window.

            The barrel of the rifle rose off the edge. “Get ready,” the passenger said, easing the finger inside the trigger guard and onto the trigger.

            “Just make sure you kill him. I’ll worry about the car,” snapped the driver.

            “Come closer, Scarsdale. That’s it. C’mon. A little more.”

            The silhouette bent down out of sight.

            “Dammit,’ the passenger said, raising up to see the entire window.

            The driver looked in the outside rear view mirror then the one over the dash. “We can’t sit here all friggin’ night. Next time, take the damn shot.”

            “Don’t worry about it.”

            “If the cops show up, we’ll have a lot to worry about.”

            The silhouette re-appeared.

            The scope’s crosshairs centered on it.


Intrigued, aren’t you? Good. Now you can run out and pick up your copy and indulge in some heart pounding cardio from your chair.

Pick up RAMPAGE by Alan Brenham at these fine bookseller locations:


Author website: http://www.alanbrenham.comphoto7

Alan Brenham is the pseudonym of Alan Behr, an American author and attorney. He served as a law enforcement officer before earning a law degree from Baylor University and worked as a prosecutor and criminal defense attorney.

He authored three crime novels – Price of Justice, Cornered, and Rampage.  He is presently working on two more fiction books. Alan and his wife live in the Austin, Texas area.



Mix a little murder with your romance with @msspencerauthor #mystery #romance

Welcome back my lovely visitors, today we have the talented M.S. Spencer carving out some precious time with us, as she shares her mystery romance, THE PENHALLOW TRAIN INCIDENT, now available from Sweet Cravings Publishing.

man woman bickering

The Penhallow Train Incident, my new mystery romance, is set on the coast of Maine in the fictional town of Penhallow. Midcoast Maine sits right about where the state begins to change from heading due north to “down East.” The land is quite different from the southern beaches or the North Woods. Fronting Penobscot Bay, it is a region of lakes, farms, small villages, and lobstermen. Most people have lived there for generations, and refer to anyone who moves to Maine from elsewhere as “from away.” Our heroine Rachel Tinker and her hero Griffin Tate are both from away, but when a series of murders roils their adopted town, they spring into action.

Although they’ve been bickering like grumpy old farts for years, Griffin and Rachel are secretly attracted to each other. In this excerpt they discover the truth.

ThePenhallowTrainIncident_LRGThe Penhallow Train Incident

In the sleepy coastal Maine town of Penhallow, a stranger dies on a train, drawing Rachel Tinker, director of the Penhallow Historical Society, and Griffin Tate, curmudgeonly retired professor, into a spider’s web of archaeological obsession and greed. The victim’s rival confesses that they were both after a map to the Queen of Sheba’s tomb, and with his help they set out to find it. Their plans are stymied, however, when a tug of war erupts between the sheriff and a state police detective who want to arrest the same man—one for murder and one for bank robbery. It falls to Rachel to solve both crimesand two more murders, if she is to unlock the soft heart that beats under Griffin’s hard crust.


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EXCERPT: The First Time

Rachel tried not to scream. She took a big gulp of air and let the words rush out on the exhale. “It’s the woman. The woman with the deposit slip. She’s dead.”

“I’m coming over.” She heard a click and a buzz.

Fifteen minutes later the screen door slammed and Griffin stalked in without bothering to knock. He went straight to the kitchen, filled two glasses with ice and poured whiskey into both. Carrying them to the living room, he handed one to Rachel without a word. Without a word, she took the remnants of her old drink and poured them into the new one. She set it down. For a second she stared at it, then reached out to pick it up again, but Griffin gently moved the glass away and took her in his arms.

She’d thought she was fine until then.

The tears flowed and she hiccupped and gurgled about life and death while he muttered unintelligible words into her hair. When what had been a mild need for a tissue grew too urgent to ignore, she left his shoulder. A couple of wipes and a swig of bourbon and she could look Griffin in the eye. He dabbed ineffectually at his soaked shirt with a dirty handkerchief. “Better?”

“Yes, thanks. It’s just…I feel so responsible.

His eyebrows rose. “Responsible? Why?”

“She came to me. She gave the purse to me. She wanted me to help her. And for that she was murdered.”

“We don’t know anything of the sort. What did they say on the news?”

“Only that her body was found in the Passagassawaukeag.”

“She could have fallen in. She could have committed suicide. From what you told me she was very upset.”

Rachel recalled the young woman’s face. “Not upset. Frightened.”

“But not of the man she was with?”

“N…no. I don’t know how to describe it. She seemed…hunted. But determined.” She took another sip of bourbon and settled back on the cushion. So what if Griffin’s arm happens to be resting on the back?. “Griffin,” she turned to find his face inches from hers, “we’ve got to find out who she—they—were. And what she was afraid of.”

He gazed into her eyes, his own inscrutable, then faced the television. “No. You have to let the police handle it.”

Rachel, who had forgotten what they were talking about in the overwhelming desire to kiss the man next to her, couldn’t think of anything to say.

Finally, he mumbled, “Turn it up—it looks like they’re talking about her.”

She did as she was told.


The camera trained on a reporter. Short and stumpy, he tugged at his wrinkled polo before attempting to smooth his waning hair. “That was Sheriff Quimby of the Penhallow police, Andrew. It looks like we won’t get any more information tonight, but he’s scheduled a press conference for tomorrow at noon.”

“Is he going to discuss the first murder—the train incident, Lou?”

“Hopefully, although he didn’t mention it tonight.”

“Did anyone ask if the two deaths are related?”

“The sheriff only said that, so far, there’s no indication of either foul play, or of a connection between the two deaths.”

The anchor turned to his partner. “So, Bambi—”

Griffin jerked upright. “Bambi?”

“—are we looking at a rash of thrill crimes down there in the hitherto bucolic town of Penhallow?”

Bambi shook out her hair and touched her ruby lips before facing the camera. “I certainly hope not, Andrew. My grammy lives in Penhallow.”

Andrew stared at her for a long moment before turning to the camera. “Thank you, Lou. Keep us posted.”

Rachel muted the volume. “What should I do?”

Griffin patted her shoulder. “There’s nothing we can do tonight. Toby knows about your encounter with the woman, right?”


“So he’ll probably want to see you tomorrow.”

“Maybe. I wish we could have found something on the bank. It’s very frustrating.”


Her companion bent forward and pinched her chin between his thumb and forefinger. “There’s…nothing…we…can…do…tonight.”


For answer he let go of her face, drew her into his arms and kissed her. The kiss was tentative. She kissed him back, tentatively. “I…”

“Shut up.” This time they didn’t come up for air for a while. When they did, they stared at each other as if seeing one another for the first time. He said, “I…uh…didn’t mean to do that. I…”

She rose. “Oh, I see.” She picked up Spot and nuzzled him, hoping Griffin couldn’t see her tears well up. “I guess you’d better go then.”

He stood. “Okay. But…um, actually…what I meant to say is…I’ve been meaning to do that for a while. But I wasn’t sure… I didn’t know…I didn’t think…” He trailed off.

The bewildered look in his cerulean eyes as he shifted his weight from foot to foot reminded her of a kindly giant bobbling a baby bunny. She went up on tiptoe and touched her lips to his cheek.

The response was immediate. Griffin swept her up off the floor and charged through the kitchen door. Confronted with the refrigerator, he stopped, turned, and plunged in the opposite direction. Ending up where they’d started, he bellowed, “Where the hell’s your bedroom?”

She pointed at the ceiling. “Upstairs.”

Without another word he leapt up the steps, only banging her head once on the banisters, and dropped her on the bed. Then he stood, legs set wide like a latter-day Paul Bunyan, and folded his arms.

She lay where he’d dropped her, panting. “Now what?”

“You tell me.”

Oh for heaven’s sake. “Come here, you great gob of indecision.”

Those seemed to be the words he was looking for, since for the rest of the evening he proved to her just how decisive he could be.


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Although M. S. Spencer has lived or traveled in five continents, the last 30 years were spent mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director, and parent. She has two fabulous grown children, and currently divides her time between the Gulf coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.

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Romantic suspense and mystery, they are available in ebook and print from Secret Cravings Publishing and all fine on-line book stores. For more information, visit

Whirlwind Romance

The Mason’s Mark: Love and Death in the Tower (an Old Town Romance)

Lapses of Memory

Mai Tais & Mayhem: Murder at Mote Marine (a Sarasota Romance)

Artful Dodging: The Torpedo Factory Murders (an Old Town Romance)


Losers Keepers

Talking Romance and Animal Rescues with @lisaricardclaro #romance #animalrescue #newrelease

Welcome one and all, today our guest is the marvelous Lisa Ricard Claro.

Lisa Ricard Claro pic 2

She is an award-winning author and Pushcart prize nominee, with articles and stories spanning multiple media. She resides in Georgia, but dreams of living at the beach. Lisa’s novel, Love Built to Last, is the first book in the Fireflies series. Watch for book 2, Love to Believe, in the fall of 2015, and book 3, Love to Win, in early 2016, all from Black Opal Books.

Without further ado, I turn the campfire over to Lisa!

Romance & Rescues

First, a big thanks to Jami for inviting me to guest post here on her blog. I’m excited to be here!

As a guest, I like to keep my post within the scope of interest of my blog host, and at first blush, I thought that might be tough to do here since I write contemporary romance, not fantasy/paranormal. But, then I realized that Jami and I have something major in common besides our love of the written word: our dogs!

As a reader of Jami’s blog, you’re aware of the recent additions to her abode. But take a look at a pic of Jami’s fur monsters (top) compared to mine (bottom). Mine are like the older version of hers:

Lola and Angelphoto (26)

(Holy moly, Lisa, they are twinsFUR DOPPLEGANGERS unite!)

Yep, my furry kids are going gray, rather like their mistress, though, thanks to L’Oreal 6G you’ll never know it until you catch me in my skunk stripe phase prior to coloring the roots. I try to ensure this doesn’t happen, but some things are just a fact of life—like our true colors revealing themselves in spite of our effort to cover them up.

My true colors, gray roots aside, include a heart for animal rescue. But after being told by an editor that no publisher would allow me to include a rescued pet in every story, I dumped virtual hair dye over the notion and set my passion for rescues aside. You can guess how that turned out, right? Those rescue-roots grew out and I’d cover them up again. Except you know what? Embracing them turned out to be a better bet. Here’s why:

Unlike gray hair, our passions originate in our heart, not our head. And in our heart is where our true colors reside.

I tasked myself with allowing my passion for animal rescue to take its natural course within my novels despite what I had been told. The result was a three book publishing contract, with rescued pets in every book. No, my novels aren’t about animal rescue. They are contemporary romance novels where a rescued pet might play a major role in the plot, as does the three-legged mutt, Pirate, in the first book in the Fireflies series, Love Built to Last, (just released June 20th), or a minor role, like the 90-pound Lab, Belle, in book 2, Love to Believe, (to be released fall 2015), or even a bit part, as with the noisy cat, Pavarotti, in book three, Love to Win (watch for it in early 2016).

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000446_00067]

I can’t speak for other authors, but for myself, there is nothing more satisfying than knowing that through my work I’m letting my true colors shine through. I love sharing my passion for both Romance and Rescues. And honestly, as a reader, isn’t that what you want from a book? To feel the passion in the pages? Even when it is subtly rendered. (I’m subtle with the Rescue component, not so subtle with the Romance.)

True passion for Romance and Rescues. You’ll find both in my books.

And a skunk stripe on my head every 4-5 weeks. But let’s not talk about that.

(With my white streak in red, we could almost pull off of a punk band!)

Please leave a comment and tell me about your passion. What fires burn in your heart? What true colors do you have that will always shine through?

Thanks for hanging with me –


Want to contact Lisa? You’ll find her hanging at any of the following:







Check out MY BEST FRIEND’S EX coming from @AuthorTinaGayle #romance #controm #newrelease

Today we welcome Tina Gayle and her upcoming release, MY BEST FRIEND’S EX. Check out the excerpt, then go get your pre-order on!

Blurb for My Best Friend’s Ex-husband
She loved him first, but her best friend married him. Now, divorced Brooke must choose between her best friend and the man of her dreams.
Brooke Janson has loved Garrett Sawyer since she met him on her first day of high school. Now, he’s free to love her too.  Except, his ex-wife happens to be her best friend.
How can Brooke choose between a friend she’s known since kindergarten and the man her heart wants?
“Hello, Brooke.”
Ignoring the sudden butterflies in her stomach, she waved a casual hand. “Hi, Garrett. It’s been awhile.”
 “I believe it was just before Janet moved out, almost a year.”
“Janet told me about the divorce. I debated whether to call, but, well…I didn’t know what to say.” To cover her awkwardness, Brooke allowed the words to flow from her mouth as if she had vocal diarrhea. “I always considered you, my friend, too. We had such fun together.  I wanted to see if I could do anything for you, but I…”
Embarrassed by her rambling, she stared at the stuff in her cart; lettuce, fruit, protein bars, each one good for her.
Man, I need to pick up a box of cookies.
Forcing back the urge to binge on any tasty treat available, she recalled how his face lit up when he was excited, his deep belly laughter, and his willingness to listen when she had a problem.
Damn it, she didn’t blame him for the breakup. Well, maybe for not listening to her warning. She had told him that her friend had a natural tendency to throw responsibility to the wind. Still, Brook hadn’t wanted to take sides. Because it was incredibly hard to choose between two people she cared about, one a friend since kindergarten and the other the man of her dreams. Guilt sparked inside her.
Why? Did she still want more than just to be his friend? Was this her chance? 
“Don’t worry, I’m over it now. I bought a house, which requires most of my time. I spent last weekend putting in a new hot-water heater. The old one leaked.” Garrett brushed a hand through his dark, curly hair. The silky strands fell back into place without distracting from the perfect picture he represented.
Sexy, hot, and totally off limits.
Available for pre-order at amazon – Release Date June 16 #Free on KU
Tina Gayle grew up a dreamer and loved to escape into the world of books.After years of working in the business world doing a variety of jobs, she decided to try her hand at writing and hope to incorporate the joy of being a mother into her books.
Currently working on a series about four executive wives, she is excited about combining elements of women fiction with the passion of romance. The  first  three books, “Marketing Exec’s Widow”, “IT Exec’s Baby” and now “CFO’s Affair” have all been released. The last one will be out next year.Married twenty-five years, she and her husband love to travel and play golf.  She can’t wait for Mike to retire so they can do more of both.
Read the first chapter of any of her books by visiting her website.

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Time for a Mind Trip w/@ronnieAnovelist and GEMINI #newrelease #thriller #suspense

Gather round, all. Today we have a visitor, so everyone be on you best behavior. I don’t want to have to call in the Werewolf monks to do security. They’re a bit testy as they’re latest batch of wine didn’t go as planned. 

Want to play mind games? Then you’re going to love Ronnie Allen’s recent release, GEMINI.



His life is exactly the way he wants it to be—until he meets her…

Both psychic and clairvoyant, Dr. John Trenton is a forensic psychiatrist who has a wife he worships and a position as a department head at a hospital for the criminally insane in Manhattan. His patients—young adult men, who are some of the most psychotic and psychopathic criminals in NYC—enable him to live his life on the edge, just the way he likes it. Then he meets a woman who changes everything.

She is two days from accomplishing the revenge she lives for—until she meets him…

Stripper by night, school psychologist by day, Gemini obsessed Barbara Montgomery, makes a critical mistake and is committed for seventy-two hours of observation, where she risks it all in an unnerving escape. Furious with Dr. Trenton for interfering in her life, she is now determined to kill his wife and unborn child, along with everyone else who has ever caused her pain—real or imagined.

As the killing spree continues, John is forced to use all his ESP, as well as his knowledge and expertise, to interpret this psychopath’s Gemini obsession and unravel her dark and murderous past. But can he track her down and bring her to justice—before she destroys his world completely?

Check out Ronnie’s Video:


Okay, girlfriend. Let’s get serious here. Tonight’s gotta be the night. Time’s runnin’ away from me.

She jammed her eyes shut, swallowed hard, and blew out a prolonged breath. Tonight could be rough. Or impossible. Her heart thumped in expectation of finding the right person to accompany her in the train wreck of her life.

She had no choice, but to make it work.

Her life depended upon it.

Before she could overthink it, she grabbed the pink paisley duffle bag, which held her outfit for the job, off the Queen Victoria chair that graced the corner of the hallway. The entire getup could fit in her jeans pocket but she had to go fancy. She zipped up the black patent leather stiletto heeled boots, hesitating for a moment, contemplating if she was getting too old to wear them. After a last minute once-over in the full length mirror on the adjacent wall, she reconsidered. Nah, not with her knockout bod. Women half her age didn’t look so good. Not even any laugh lines around her eyes to give it away. She winked in the mirror and her emerald contact lenses twinkled back.

She eased the door closed to her ritzy Manhattan apartment at one a.m. with her right hand on the knob and her left palm on the door, guiding it to the latch so that her ears alone heard the soft clicks of the bolt.

Can’t wake those old geezers next door. Otherwise, I’ll just have to do what I do best.

Chills of anticipation snaked through her as she traversed the darkened hallway to the elevator all the while listening for footsteps in her neighbor’s apartment. The elevator door opened. She slipped in.

All was good.

They got to live another night.

Leave a comment with your birth day and month (no year), and Ronnie will giveaway one free, two-line tarot reading to our first ten visitors.

Welcome to my corner of the swamp, Ronnie, shall we begin our interrogation interview?

Thank you so much, Jami, for hosting me. My debut novel, Gemini, a psychological thriller, was recently released, last Saturday, by Black Opal Books. I love your questions, so here we go.

As children we tend to have an idea of what we want to be by the time we’re ten. Before you decided to pursue the artistic dream of being a writer, what did you want to be and why?

I love animals but only wound up having a dog for five days. I was about ten. The doctors told my parents I couldn’t have any pets because I had severely debilitating asthma growing up and it’s still an issue, but well controlled. Since I was an only child, my parents thought it would be a good idea to try it, anyway. We got a lab shepherd mix from Bideaway home for dogs on Long Island and named him Friday. He was precious. We lived in a three story walk up and my dad with a heart condition couldn’t do the walking up and down three times or more a day to walk him. We brought him back with me hysterical after five days, my parents blaming the asthma for his return. In reality it was not the asthma. I wasn’t allergic to him at all. It was that walking him was too much strain for my dad. Asthma did initiate many of the traumas in my childhood, which I deal with in Aries, the second in the Sign Behind The Crime series that will be out in the fall. The antagonist, the killer, is an asthmatic. She goes through many of the experiences I had. So to answer your question: what did I want to be? A Veterinarian. I even applied to a university in the state of Washington that had a fabulous pre-vet program. My parents forbade it. My doctors forbade it. Me, being the good little girl at the time, listened and went to a university on Long Island instead. I majored in psychology and education, got my MS degree in School Psychology. At first I wanted to psychoanalyze myself, get rid of the asthma and then go to Vet school. Didn’t exactly happen that way. But today I have two cats, our two dogs passed over the Rainbow Bridge with another cat, and I’m not allergic to any of them.

If your characters came with a warning label what would it say?

“Hot to the touch.” and “Beware of the killer within.” Um, that last one would be a great title. I’ll keep it on the back burner.

Growing up, what was your favorite character, and did you create a character that might resemble you?

This is a fun question. Tarzan was my favorite TV show. It started when I was three-year old. Even then, I loved the muscular men with strong physicality. Mainly because I was so overprotective from the asthma. I never roller-skated or rode a bike. I wasn’t allowed to be in a pool, either. As I’m writing this, I’m poolside and will go in for my workout soon. I still love the body-builder type jock men. They made up for the physical strength I didn’t have. As an aside, I never dated a man who wasn’t Mr. Muscles. My husband’s a jock and we raised one. Does any of my characters resemble me? Hell yes! In Gemini, stripper by night, school psychologist by day, Barbara Montgomery has the job I had in the NYC Dept. of Education for a time when I was a crisis intervention specialist. There’s a chapter with her in a situation I was in, many times. But no person in the novel is anyone I personally know. Forensic psychiatrist, Dr. John Trenton is both psychic and clairvoyant and practices the alternative therapies and metaphysics as I do, as a board certified holistic health practitioner. I work with people making the mind/body connection. He uses a therapy that I was in for two years that helped me resolve the childhood traumas. It was so many years ago that they pop back up now and then but I use my strategies now for controlling them. In Aries, as I mentioned above, my character, AriellaRose Larcon goes through the traumas I did as a child and young adult. My male characters are martial arts fighters because I like men who are protective. Dr. John Trenton is a third degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do and forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Frank Khaos in Aries is a third degree Black Belt in BJJ and has his own training gym in Harlem, NY where he rehabs NYC gang members.

Share one uniquely strange experience you’ve had that remains crystal clear to this day.

More traumatic than strange. I’ve had a few. Think I’ll talk about two. One was when I was three and vacationing with my parents in a motel in New Hampshire. I was playing with the hot, yes, muscular, life guard who was teaching me how to swim. He went underwater and I went under, after him. My mom panicked, jumped into the pool grabbed me out yelling that I could drown. She never let me go into a pool again. The second was when I was in a coma for twelve days in 2000. The docs told my husband and son I had less than a 2 % chance of survival. Well surprise, surprise. Here I am. I won’t go into the story here, but if readers would like to read “My Journey Back,” the full story is on my alternative healing web site.

What is the one genre you won’t try and why?

Writing historicals. Maybe because I had a painful and traumatic childhood so I only want to live in the present and not dwell on the past. How’s that for a mind/body connection? Just thought of that now, BTW. Also, history was my least favorite subject in school. I liked American history better, but never could get into world history.

What is the best advice you can share with others?

From Anthony Robbins, “The future does not have to equal your past.” He’s one of the coaches that had helped me get over ‘my past.’ And, “Never give up.”

Time for our fast and furious answers…

Blades, guns, fists or feet?   Blades, in Aries. Guns in Gemini.

Favorite Fairy Tale? Cinderella

Titles waiting to be read? Catherine Coulter, The Lost Key; J.A. Jance, Remains of Innocence; Lisa Gardner, Crash and Burn; Karin Slaughter, Cop Town; Julie Garwood, Fast Track

Greatest one liner? Never give up.

Strangest items in my writing cave? Not really strange, they’re necessities. Statues of my Goddesses and Lord Ganesh.

Favorite supernatural creature? dragon

Ronnie is nice enough to give gifts, so take advantage!




And for the first ten of your readers who leave a comment along with their birth date, day and month (no year), I’ll do a two sentence Tarot year reading for them, and write the reading in reply to their comment. The Tarot year is from Jan. 1-Dec. 31. I’m a certified Tarot Master Instructor and have been teaching Tarot and doing readings since the mid-90’s. I’m no longer taking clients, since writing has taken my time 24/7. So this is a fun opportunity.

Want to track down, Ronnie? You can find her and GEMINI at any of the following:


Navigating the Marketing Maze as a Writer #marketing #writers


One of the biggest challenges facing authors today is getting word out about our books, enough so our little babies get shoved to the front of the bookseller line. An author’s skill lies in word crafting, not marketing, at least not for the majority of us.

I entered the published works world in 2011, with SHADOW’S EDGE, the first in my Kyn Kronicles series. I didn’t have a clue as to how to “market” myself or my work. Instead, my publisher put it out there, I visited various author blogs, started a Facebook and Twitter account. After that, I went head down and stayed down until SHADOW’S SOUL was done and in. I came up, took a look around, and learned my presence had been swept under a rising tide of new works. I became another shipwrecked survivor floating on a sliver of wood in an ocean of books.

What is a newbie author to do?

I turned to writer communities for help. And, boy howdy, was everyone willing to give me suggestions.

–Do a review tour

–Use this promotion company

–Go to conference

–Advertise (insert place here)

–Get a social presence (and be sucked into the big, black hole of never-ending procrastination)

–Visit other author blogs (or the flip-side, have authors visit yours)

I tried it all, got some boosts here and there, but in the end, my wallet was thinner, and I was discouraged even as I completed my third book, SHADOW’S CURSE, and started on a second series (PSY-IV Teams) with HUNTED BY THE PAST.

Now, if I wanted to portray myself as a wise, worldly writer, I’d stop here and tell you I did this because a the best way a writer can market themselves is to write another book…then another…and so on.

While that is true, (because I am a writer and writing is what I do) in actuality I was burying my head in the sand, too freaked out by the overwhelming massive storm of marketing it seemed I needed to do. Instead I’ve spent four years writing and learning (and burning out) about marketing.

Then I got laid-off (still hoping it was a good thing, but we’re still waiting to see) and the idea of being a “full-time writer” was staring me in the face. I have two publishers, two series, six books and am planning a third series, which makes it sound like being a full-time writer should be good to go, right? Nope, because there’s this other side of being a writer that needs tending to, the dreaded circus of marketing. With time on my hands, I decided to hitch up my big girl panties, use the analytical skills honed in eighteen years in the corporate world, and apply it my business as a writer.

As I delved deeper and deeper into marketing strategies for writers, I ran into an unexpected hitch. I belonged to a publisher, I had friends who were treading the indie route, and they seem to have a bit of flexibility I didn’t, or so I thought.  To be able to help boost sales, I need to regain reader attention, to do that I needed to utilize strategies that worked for my indie friends.

I began to plan.

Ultimate goal: READERS.

Lure: Offer SHADOW’S EDGE for free for a limited time. This was a difficult decision as I worked hard to make that book, and handing it out free makes me nervous. Still, if I can grow my readership in three months, I’ll put it up there and let it fly. It’s a damn good first book…

Thought process: If readers like the first book, then much like me upon discovering a new author, they’ll go pick up the other three, and if they’re still with me, they’ll go pick up the second series.

Sounds simple, but really isn’t.

First hurdle, my contracts. When you enter a contract with a house, you need to read them very carefully. Thankfully, I had a lawyer friend who was able to help with mine, and I knew I was coming up for renewal. But I have a great relationship with my house, and I’m having a hard enough time writing and marketing, much less formatting, editing, etc. (Yes, I know I do freelance editing for other writers, but I’d rather have different eyes on my own works.) Plus, each of my books renews at a different time, which means, I’d have some back and some not. Since my house and I are both in this adventure to get my books out, I decided to craft a marketing plan spanning three months that would help us both. I presented it, and was thrilled when they stepped right up, willing to help however they could.

We did a proofread edit of SHADOW’S EDGE (shivers, don’t get me started, it was hard not to rewrite with the knowledge I’ve garnered over the last five books, and NEVER go back and rewrite your first book, it made it to print, let it go), they helped with graphics for the tour, helped with vendors so we could get it out FREE everywhere (except B&N who balked,so fine, they don’t get my e-book version for the summer), and had some great suggestions.

It took me a month, but instead of shelling out for a promotions company, I managed (with a HUGE assist from the writer community) to get 90 blog stops during the three-month tour (Jun-Aug), plus Goodreads giveaways, and book listings. On the flip side, I also have a great bunch of authors coming here to visit and keep you all company.

The tour doesn’t “officially” start until June 1st, but in the first two days that SHADOW’S EDGE went free, my second and third books jumped up the rankings. While I won’t have actually numbers until September or so, this made me smile (cautiously). It was a shock to see how fast the ranking changed once it went free, but I reminded myself I went from all e-books, to all Free e-books (and yes, there is a difference and the Free e-books is a smaller pool), but still, my nefarious plan to create new addicts readers seems to be working.

Make a note to come back in September and we’ll compare some notes. Until then, if you haven’t, go get SHADOW’S EDGE for FREE while you can. Do me a favor? Spread the word!


#Freeread for Summer and upcoming visitors! #UF #PNR #newauthors

Summer’s here, it’s that fire breathing dragon making you sweat. Want to escape? Then pick up your free copy of SHADOW’S EDGE, the first in Jami Gray’s award-winning Kyn Kronicles and go hunt in the shadows.

BannerYep, for a limited time, SHADOW’S EDGE will be free wherever ebooks are sold, so nab your copy while you can.  And to celebrate I have an awesome list of guest authors swinging by for the next couple of months while I’m out touring the cybersphere. You don’t want to miss out!

Our visitors include: MS Spencer, Ronnie Allen, Tina Gayle, Eric Price, Lisa Claro, Margay Leah Justice, Alan Behr, Barbara Ehrentreu and SB Redstone. Check out our Where Am I? Who’s Here? tab for dates and mark your calendars!

For our print book aficionados, don’t fret! We’re giving away three autographed, print copies of SHADOW’S EDGE in June with Goodreads.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Shadow's Edge by Jami Gray

Shadow’s Edge

by Jami Gray

Giveaway ends June 30, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to Win

Let’s get ready to rock the summer, peeps! Spread the word and let’s get SHADOW’S EDGE into hands everywhere!

Nab Jami Gray’s SHADOW’S EDGE Free for a Limited Time! #freeread #uf #pnr

This fantastic paranormal action novel is quite possibly the best book I’ve read this year. I could not put it down, and had to exercise serious self-control to keep from staying up all night to finish it. – The Romance Reviews, 5/5 stars

“This book has everything in it, you have your Fey, Demons, Witches/Wizards, and Shifters. What more could you ask for?! Plus you have a great story to follow. The story and characters flowed so well together, it was like watching a movie in my head! Book 2 here I come!!” – Paranormal Romance & Authors That Rock, 5/5 Fangs



Everyone fears what hunts in the shadows—especially the monsters…

When the supernatural lurks in the shadows of the mundane, hunting monsters requires unique skills, like those of Raine McCord. A series of deaths threatens to reveal the Kyn community and forces her to partner with the sexy Gavin Durand.

As the trail leads to the foundation haunting Raine’s childhood, she and Gavin must unravel lies and betrayals to discover not only each other, but the emerging threat to them and the entire magical community.



Walking into the dim house, Raine braced for the usual smell accompanying a violent death. She knew that smell. It was distinctive. It reminded a person of raw meat and coppery blood. A scent warning you whatever you found, it wouldn’t be recognizable.

Coming down the short entryway, a few steps behind the two men, she realized there was no odor. No blood, no raw meat. She let out the breath she was holding. Only then picking up on the spine tingling traces of magic. It raised bumps along her skin as she drew closer to the front room.

Two agents passed her, heading out of the house, small evidence bags in their gloved hands. Osborn stopped just to the left of the front room’s entryway. Gavin came to a halt in the middle of the opening, blocking her view. Stepping around to his right she came to an abrupt stop, puzzled.

Bane Mayson was sprawled on the faded green couch under the picture window. At first glance the scene didn’t make sense. There were no visible wounds, no horrific mutilations, nothing to show how he died. Just the skitter of magic down her spine, making the deceptively calm scene in front of her much more ominous.

“Can you give a positive ID?” Osborn’s rough voice pulled her gaze back to him. He looked at Gavin who wasn’t answering. She tilted her head to find out why, and then realized Gavin was looking at her.

“What?” she asked.

“I’ve never met him,” he said blandly. “Just spoke to him on the phone.”

“Oh.” A little disconcerted, she turned back to the waiting agent. “Yes, that’s Bane Mayson.”


If you want to play in the shadows, continue the adventure with Jami Gray’s Kyn Kronicles:



Jami Gray Small

Jami Gray is the award winning, multi-published author of the Urban Fantasy series, The Kyn Kronicles, and the Paranormal Romantic Suspense series, PSY-IV Teams. She can be soothed with coffee and chocolate. Surrounded by Star Wars obsessed males and two female labs moonlighting as the Fur Minxes, she escapes by playing with the voices in her head.

Come stalk Jami at any of these fine locations:

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Google+ / Amazon


Fur Ninjas of Destruction Strike Out #writerpets

Last week you met our newest additions, the Fur Minxes, Angel and Lola. They have acquired a new moniker: Fur Ninjas of Destruction. To date, the girls have decided their home and clan have been threatened by:

  1. Two stuffed ducks bent on world domination
  2. One outdoor lounger cushion contemplating overthrowing the government
  3. A nightstand lamp cord infiltrating the secured based
  4. Two dastardly, dangerous remote controls bent on taking over OUR MINDS….


The girls are great protectors…in their own minds. We’ve also discovered that Lola (remember the sexy little black number?) is a massive love bug, to the point she doesn’t understand why, when you sit down, you don’t want her to join you. At fifty pounds at six months, this is not something I want to encourage considering where we’ll be in another six months. I’m not sure my lap can handle the pressure. Lola’s preferred sleeping position is on her back, legs in the air, much to the dismay of her sister, Angel.

Ahhh, Angel, another misnomer (again, stunning in white fur). This little bombshell can outrun a hummingbird on crack, plus we think she’s our instigator…maybe. She also watches TV. No, seriously, she WATCHES TV. There was this commercial with a cat walking along the screen, when it disappeared off the screen, Angel was off to hunt it down. I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard in a while.

The Knight and I forgot what having a six-month old puppy was like, nevermind doubling it. However, we wouldn’t trade these two for anything. Now if I can survive the next six months, I might survive the girls’ idea of protection.