Friday, January 29, 2016


I'm thrilled that my Contemporary Romance CERTAINLY SENSIBLE was released on Dec. 2, 2015. So far a few great reviews have been posted on Amazon and I'm optimistically hoping for more.

I wish I could say how I got the idea for this novel. I had never written one before, so the fact that I suddenly started writing a book amazes me. I think what nudged me along was a(nother) viewing of the Emma Thompson 1995 film "Sense and Sensibility." With a degree in English literature, a love of all things Jane Austen, and the naivety that first-time authors sometimes have, I sallied forth. I finished it, refinished it, re-refinished it...You get the idea. It took years. I want to thank TWRP for taking me on, and thank my editor Kinan Werdski who saw the potential and helped me whip CERTAINLY SENSIBLE into a salable form.

CERTAINLY SENSIBLE is set in 21st century Indianapolis, and I hope Austen fans will embrace my novel, as well as readers who just like a nice romantic story. Spread the word! Check me out on Facebook:

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Hello From a New Wild Rose Press Author

Wood rotates against stone as the grinding wheel of writing is slowly set to motion. Low rumbles and a high-pitched squeal register its complaints. Five solid years of studying craft, writing, revising, and searching for representation has finally gained me some notice. The cog completes a full revolution. The Wild Rose Press has accepted my story. Let the edits begin!

"Never give up on something that you can't go a day without thinking about." Winston Chruchill

Karen Ginther Graham

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Review: Melt My Heart by Marie Tuhart

Release date 1/20/16

I received a free ARC copy of Melt My Heart in exchange for an honest review.

Veterinarian Lexi Mallory wants to submit to the sexy new Dom from the club, but trauma from her past keeps getting in the way.

It's a good thing Gabriel Huntington has a special way with difficult subs and sees the gorgeous Lexi as a delicious challenge.

Relinquishing control is an issue for Lexi, but when Gabriel brings an injured puppy to her clinic, she takes control to save the puppies life. Gabriel is happy to stand back and watch her work. The mutual respect is just what Lexi needs to let Gabriel  take their relationship to the next level. Will it be enough?

 Can Lexi lower her barriers and allow Gabriel's touch to melt her heart?

From beginning to end, I was invested in the characters and their struggles.  The puppy was an unexpected, adorable addition that added interesting insight to both characters.  I highly recommend Melt My Heart.  It’s a wonderfully romantic Valentine read worth five stars!
Tena Stetler
Remember the Magic for Happily Ever After!
 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Review: Sweet Kiss by Judy Ann Davis

I love small towns, hence why I was immediately drawn into Sweet Kiss. The characters are ones you might expect to see in your own home town, at the coffee shop & bakery where Kate works. Her little shop was described in such detail that I could envision it perfectly in my mind, and it had my mouth salivating for the baked goods! Two sweethearts, who still carry the flame of their youthful romance must overcome misunderstandings, gossip and family drama to find love. A heartwarming story to get you in the mood for Valentine's Day, and an opportunity to reminisce about your own youthful memories as you share in Kate and Tappe's walk down memory lane. 
Maureen Bonatch
Making the ordinary extraordinary and laughing all the way.
On Amazon
Release Date - January 6, 2016
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Monday, January 25, 2016

Review: For Keeps A Candy Hearts Romance

FOR KEEPS (A Candy Hearts Romance) By Veronica Lynch

Reviewed by Peggy Jaeger

5 stars

Decisions, decisions. How does a girl decide between being with the greatest guy she’s ever known and a job that fulfills her in every way? For Meghan Muldoon it’s no easy choice.

Or is it?

In 1986, women’ s defining roles in law enforcement and victims counseling services were in their infancy. Meghan Muldoon is a trailblazer. As the Director of Crime Victim Services in upstate New York, she works hand in hand with the police, one member of law enforcement in particular, Keenan Rossi. They keep their relationship a secret, separating their personal from their professional lives, but it’s a hard fought battle. Rossi wants to take their relationship public and have everyone know Meghan belongs to him. Meghan’s not sure she wants to belong to any man. Her work is soul-satisfying and important, and she doesn’t want to have to make compromises or sacrifices between job and love life.

But Rossi is a determined man and he loves Meghan – the lifelong, happily ever after kind; the FOR KEEPS kind.

When an incident at work with her boss brings the question full force again, Meghan knows where she wants to be. With Rossi. For ever. For Keeps.
Pre-order on Amazon

Veronica Lynch’s FOR KEEPS is a wonderful addition to the Candy Hearts Romance series. Keenan Rossi is that rare kind of hero: alpha with a sensitive side, and I am so happy Meghan decided to stick with him FOR KEEPS.
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Sunday, January 24, 2016

From the Writer's Eye

How do those characters readers fall in love with look before they finally come to life in a book? Before they're fleshed out, before they make readers laugh or cry by almost marrying the wrong man, by spilling soup all over their date right before the prom, by singlehandedly keeping the bus from careening over a cliff? Were they always that beautiful, that endearing, that comical, that needy? Yes - in the author's heart, but no - in the author's first draft(s). Characters go through their awkward years on a page - those miles of paragraphs where they're gangly, dull, and sometimes with a mind of their own. With the power of "Backspace" I have wrestled Paul, in "Mine to Tell," into the role of being the most annoying brother a heroine could expect to have. I have kept Martha, in upcoming "Love on a Train," heading into a marriage she knows in her heart isn't right. I kept Cletus as the villain throughout pages and pages in "Asked For" no matter how much my heroine begged me to knock him off so she could be free. Characters - great characters - begin with a vision, something only the writer sees. But after months of hammering away on the keys and hammering out the character's resistance, a hero worth crying over and a heroine worth dying for are born.

Colleen L. Donnelly, Author of
Amazon #1 Bestseller "Mine to Tell"
"Asked For"
"Love on a Train"

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Review: Be Mine

Beth waits tables at a local diner.  Since childhood she had a crush on her best friend’s big brother who left town to join the military.  Now he’s back and at their first encounter she trips and dumps a hot plate of lasagna in his lap.

After running into each other, on the street, at the gym, and at her friends home, Mark asks her out.  He is sure that he is the man for her but experience has taught Beth not all men can be trusted. Can Mark convince her to be his for Valentine’s Day and forever?

This was a cute, quick read.  I enjoyed the story, laughed at the characters mishaps and sighed at the satisfying ending.  A great Valentine’s Day story! 
Release date January 11, 2016
Review Tena Stetler
Five stars
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Friday, January 22, 2016

I’m Casey, Adam’s Dog

I don’t know about you, but it seems awfully unfair to me that I had to die in the first chapter of Still Counting. I’m not saying Adam’s not a nice person – he was a great owner and we had lots of good times together – but he could have started off with me splashing through the waves on Cape Cod, or maybe told a heart-warming story about that time I finally caught a squirrel and then coughed up fur balls for the next two hours just like some stupid cat or something. (And yes, I said it. Cats are stupid.)
So here I am in doggie heaven – where thankfully the good Lord had the sense to separate us from those finicky felines (did I mention cats were stupid?) – and I’m trying to work my way up the social ladder. I could’ve had a slam-dunk express lane to the top-tier if I’d been featured in a book. How many dogs can say that? It would have been dope. Primo dope. I’ve tried to haunt Adam about this when he sleeps, but his response is a pathetic and whiny series of trite platitudes:
“You’re one of the main characters,” he assures me. “Everyone talks about you.”
“But I’m dead,” I say. “Like the proverbial doornail.” 
“Only in the physical sense,” Adam retorts. “You’re alive in my heart.” 
Yeah sure. With that and fifteen good old American dollars, I can cross the George Washington Bridge and maybe not get mugged when I get to Jersey.
“You’ll always be in my heart,” he continues. “No matter how many dogs come after, you’ll always be number one.”
Sometimes I think Adam is more feline than canine. Just saying.
 Phil Fragasso
For more on Still Counting, click here

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Author meet and greet with Eve Dew Crook

The Wild Rose Press author, Eve Dew Crook, took part in the Meet the Local Authors event at the Joyner-Green Valley Library in Arizona on Jan. 13th, only days after a car crashed into the building and knocked out the large meeting room. No one was hurt, and some hardy souls showed up to enjoy the library’s resources. Here’s her picture in front of the table displaying TAKING THE TUMBLE and PERIL, PASSION, PERU.

More about Eve's books, click here

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Review: Me + You - A Candy Hearts Romance

Me + You By Brenda Gayle

Teacher Lori Tait has always wanted a family. At 40 her biologically clock is ticking with no man in sight that measures up to her standards. All the good ones are taken. So she devotes herself to her students. One little girl, Grace, in particular has a brilliant and artistic mind but is unable to comprehend math.  Against her mother’s wishes Lori is asked by Grace’s dad to tutor the girl in math.  

Mark Wilder’s fling resulted in his daughter, Grace. Mark did the right thing, married the mother, a free spirit, only to divorce a short time later.   He loves his daughter, but being from a family of boys, has a tough time connecting with his little girl.  

When Lori discovers Grace’s problem, Mark’s world is thrown into turmoil; he’s the last person who can help his daughter. He pushes everyone away, confirming Lori’s thoughts about men. Grace has other ideas and puts her plan into action to create a Valentine Surprise.

I enjoyed reading this book.  It’s well written with characters that tug at your heart strings.  I highly recommend Me + You and fun flirty Valentine’s Day read.  5 stars
On Amazon

Tena Stetler
Author of A Demon's Witch release 9-25-15
Charm Me release date 1-6-16
and A Witch's Journey late 2016
from The Wild Rose Press
Remember the Magic for Happily Ever After!
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, WOW what a ride!"

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Review: For Keeps - A Candy Hearts Romance

Review: For Keeps by Veronica Lynch:
What a fun, quick read about two successful people who are devoted to their jobs, and each other. Their demanding jobs put a strain upon the time they have for each other but when they're together, they make the most of it. I enjoyed the personalities of the characters. Meg is a strong, independent woman who won't compromise her values, and Kee is the sexy alpha male who doesn't make her. The author does a suburb job of drawing you into the characters with seamless, expressive writing. 

I received an ARC of this book for an honest review.

 Maureen Bonatch
Making the ordinary extraordinary and laughing all the way.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Review: Say Yes - A Candy Hearts Romance

Say Yes, by Katie O'Sullivan

I was given an ARC of this book for an honest review.  5 stars

Darby Malone left the big city behind to open up an art gallery in her small home town. She has renovations planned after Valentine’s day.  Because she has trouble saying no, she ends up hosting a children’s Valentine party in her gallery.  As she is cleaning up the last remnants of the blue goo from the party, Ben a well-known Cape Cod artist walks into her gallery.  He wants Darby to host a showing of his new paintings that are not even close to the breezy shore paintings he’s known for.  The death of his wife four years ago has changed him, thusly his paintings.

Darby has sworn off artists, nothing good can come of dating an artist, in her opinion. Yet, there is something about Ben. He stirs feelings in her that have been dormant for too long.  Against her better judgement, she agrees to take a look at his recent paintings.  They are not what she expects. 

This was a great read.  I enjoyed the characters interactions. Both were strong individuals but learned the art of compromise. 

Ms. O’Sullivan’s Valentine’s Day romance wraps up nicely and the main issues come to a satisfying resolution.  If you’re looking for an entertaining, feel-good read, you need to check out this book. 

Tena Stetler – review

Release January 18. 2016
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Review: For Keeps - A Candy Hearts Romance

For Keeps by Veroncia Lynch Available  Feb 10th
Meghan Muldoon is a victim’s advocate struggling to balance her high stress job and relationship with Keenan Rossie, a cop with his own set of stressors.  Her on call schedule clashes with his more often than not. He wants to make the relationship permanent, she not so much.  She loves her job, but her boss is a demanding prick.  We’ve all known those. Huh? Timing is everything but a series of complications on Valentine’s Day make Meghan rethink her position. 

Any hoo, the book is a fun entertaining read.  I highly recommend it.  4.5 stars

On Amazon

Tena Stetler
Author of A Demon's Witch release 9-25-15
Charm Me release date 1-6-16
and A Witch's Journey late 2016
from The Wild Rose Press
Remember the Magic for Happily Ever After!
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, WOW what a ride!"

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Review: Got Love? A Candy Hearts Romance


Reviewed by Peggy Jaeger

5 stars!

Banshees and Fairies and Cupid, OH MY!

GOT LOVE ( A Candy Hearts Romance) by Angela Hayes is a patchwork of fantasy characters who are as real as you or me!  

Flora Hawthorne is a fairy and, as her name implies, a florist. With Valentine’s Day imminently approaching, she’s up to her sprite shoulders in preparations for the day of love and in no frame of mind to deal with her own love life. Not that she’s got a love life. Her two best friends, elf Runa Gilchrist and banshee Fia O’Malley have something to say about that. When a real live Cupid comes to town, they think he and Fiona would be a perfect match.

Centuries-old Cupid, Tharin Terize, is looking to find a place he can set his arrow down and call home.  When he meets the lovely Flora, for the first time, Cupid’s proverbial arrow actually fires at him! Getting Flora on board to be his forever will take some doing, but he’s not Venus’s son for nothing. When he takes aim, watch out, because he won’t let fiery fairy Flora out of his sights.

GOT LOVE was an enjoyable, charming read. What better tale to tell on Valentine’s Day, then the minion of love himself?  I thoroughly recommend you add GOT LOVE to your Valentine’s Day reading list. You won’t regret it…and just maybe Cupid will aim an arrow your way.
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Friday, January 15, 2016

My 12 Favorite Books of 2015 You Might Enjoy Reading Too

I read a lot of books-a lot of books. I’ve listed out (not in any particular order) twelve of my favorites in hopes you might enjoy a few of them as well.

My Favorite: I don’t know if it was just the lure of Christmas cheer, but Debbie Macomber’s kooky characters and sweet romance made her Dashing Through the Snow my favorite pick of the year. Some of the reviews on this book were bah humbug, but I found it had just the right amount of silliness, crazy, and candy cane to start off the season. Looking forward to the Hallmark Channel movie!

Top Secret Twenty-One by Janet Evanovich

Fair Play by Deeanne Gist

Divided in Death by JD Robb

The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan

A Christmas Bride/Christmas Beau by Mary Balogh

Midnight Jewels by Jayne Ann Krentz

After Dark by Jayne Castle

Rivers End by Nora Roberts

The Widow’s Suiter by Rose Ross Zediker

Burning Lamp by Amanda Quick

Dashing Through the Snow by Debbie Macomber

Blue-eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas


Annalisa Russo is the author of the Cavelli Angel Saga, a romantic suspense quartet about an Italian immigrant family in 1925—the Cavelli family. The family consists of three brothers—Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel, named after the archangels (and angels they’re not!) and two sisters, Anna and Tessia.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

We're in a Leap Year - Happy 2016!

Have you noticed that 2016 is a Leap Year? I just did and decided to find out exactly what a leap year is. I thought the following information extremely interesting.

If we didn’t have leap years, our seasons wouldn’t be correct and in synch. The reason is the Earth’s orbit around the sun. Our calendars use a precise 365 days when, in fact, the Earth takes approximately 365.242199 days to travel around the sun. In addition, the time it takes Earth to revolve once, which we call a day, is not exactly 24 hours—but closer to 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4 seconds.

Every four years, the extra time is added as February 29th.

Last June, according to NASA, we were given an extra leap second to account for the gradual slowing of the Earth’s rotation due to the gravitational war among the Earth, moon and sun. NASA explains that a day lasts 86,400 seconds, but the mean solar day – the average length of a day, based on how long it takes Earth to rotate – is about 86,400.002 seconds long.

So, enjoy the extra day the Earth and sun has given you!

Linda Nightingale
Love For Sale
Coming Soon Gambler's Choice


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Behind The Scenes Of My Romantic Suspense Off The Grid

I love those behind the scenes glimpses into the creative process, don’t you? When directors, artists and musicians talk about the inspiration behind their art. For instance Richard Curtis, writer of the film Notting Hill, has said his inspiration for the movie came while he was lying in bed one night. The idea for the plot came to him as “the idea of a very normal person going out with an unbelievably famous person and how that impinges on their lives.”

The birthday dinner scene in Notting Hill is one of my favourite movie scenes. Ordinary gent William Thacker shows up with famous actress Anna Scott to a friend’s house for dinner. From awkward first impressions to heartbreaking confessions, we get a look at how the other dinner guests react to the surprise guest.

It’s the same with novels, of course. I wonder what arrow of inspiration pierced the author’s interest. Sometimes it’s an idea for a plot, a glimpse of a possible character, maybe the concept is driven by theme, premise, or setting.

Setting was certainly the inspiration for my romantic suspense, Off The Grid, set in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, British Columbia. The first time I heard about the DTES, infamously known as Canada’s poorest urban postal code, the story ideas started flowing. A historical ‘skid road’ because of the city’s history in timber and logging, it has since fallen from grace and is known to many as the Low Track. An area plagued by urban decay associated with poverty, drug use, and crime. Fortunately, for the many people who call the Downtown Eastside their home, the DTES is also known for its community activism. As developers move in to gentrify the neighbourhood and push them out, activists move to stop them.

The stories behind the statistics were the inspiration for my characters: activist and inner city Dr. Sophie Monroe, ambitious Family Law expert Caleb Quinn, and corporate development kingpin Jason Drummond. I couldn’t resist the pull of the Downtown Eastside. It’s a dangerous place. But hope exists there. Families are formed. To a fortunate few, it’s second-chance kind of place. What better setting for a romantic suspense?

Off The Grid is on sale for 99 cents until January 22nd.

How about you? Have a favourite setting? Small or big? Urban or Rural?

Off The Grid by Karyn Good On Sale For 99c

Review: Chill Out - A Candy Hearts Romance

Chill Out by Jana Richards.

Renata Cabral hides at her friends lakeside cabin for the weekend. She arrives exhausted and falls asleep on the couch.  When she awakes, there’s a man in the cabin stocking the cupboards with food. 

Enter Noah Brownlee, who worked with Doctor’s Without Borders and has his own reasons for hiding out.  He has permission to use the cabin and arrives in the middle of a snowstorm with his big goofy dog, Spike.

The blizzard makes it impossible for either to leave the cabin. The last thing either expects is the attraction the feel for each together.  Will Valentine Magic and candy hearts bring them together?  I’m not telling, you’ll need to read the book to find out.

What I will say is I’m a sucker for a big lovable dog and a Valentine’s Day Romance.  This was a fun, flirty story that I enjoyed a lot.  This story sucked me in and kept me rooting for the characters until the story’s satisfying end.

On Amazon

Tena Stetler
Author of A Demon's Witch release 9-25-15
Charm Me release date 1-6-16
and A Witch's Journey late 2016
from The Wild Rose Press
Remember the Magic for Happily Ever After!
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, WOW what a ride!"
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Fictional Casey’s Real-Life Counterpart

Still Counting opens with Casey, a cancer-stricken Labrador retriever, being put to sleep. As I shopped the manuscript around, I heard a consistent comment about the opening: very powerful but perhaps too sad for many readers. My Wild Rose editor felt the same way and asked me to tone it down. Which I did.

I fully understand this emotional reaction because I wrote most of the scene through teary eyes. Two years ago on December 27, 2013, Ruby, my sweet and gentle 12-year-old Lab succumbed to cancer of the spleen. I often refer to it as the saddest day of my life, which strikes some people as odd. I have, after all, lost my parents and grandparents to illness and old age. I’ve lost friends to suicide, auto accidents, and illness. So how could the loss of a dog be sadder than the passing of a loved one?

I actually don’t know the answer to that question. Sometimes I think it’s because our love for dogs is free from emotional baggage. It’s steady and unequivocal. There are no memories of difficult moments, harsh words, broken promises, or any of the other zillion ways that people invariably disappoint each other. Sometimes I think it’s because dogs are totally dependent on us. They view us as God-like creatures who can make food and fresh water magically appear. 

Most of the time I think it’s because – to paraphrase Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire – they complete us. They serve as life-is-way-too-short role models. Ruby loved everything. No matter what she was doing, it was the best thing she could imagine doing. And if I interrupted her rapture while she was playing fetch, swimming in the ocean, or chewing a favorite toy, she was never hesitant. She was always excited to move on to the next activity because that was going to be even more fun.

We have a plaque in our house that reads, “May I become the person my dog thinks I am.” I often think the more appropriate wish is that I become the kind of person Ruby would have been.

Phil Fragasso

Monday, January 11, 2016

Review: 3 Wishes - A Candy Hearts Romance

3 Wishes by Peggy Jaeger

I was given an ARC of this book for an honest review.  5 stars

Chloe San Vantentino is a chocolatier in her own candy shop. Valentine’s Day is her favorite day of the year and it’s also her birthday. Years ago she made a list of the perfect man, he would have one blue eye and one green eye (like her), care about people and it would be love at first sight. Chloe pulls out this list every year on her birthday.  Despite the matching making efforts of her huge Italian family, Chole is now the big 30 with this dream man nowhere in sight. Until….

This year Chloe’s birthday celebration with her family is interrupted and she winds up spending it in an unlikely location.  Will she ever meet the man of her dreams?  What about the three wishes?  To answer these questions, you are going to want to read the book.

3 Wishes is a quick, enjoyable read.  The characters are engaging and entertaining. I found myself rooting for Chloe and the cast of characters from the very beginning. A great Valentine read that comes to a satisfying resolution.   I highly recommend this book.   
On Amazon

Tena Stetler – review

Release date 2-8-16
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Review: ASK ME (A Candy Hearts Romance) by Laura Strickland

Reviewed by Peggy Jaeger

5 stars!

ASK ME, by Laura Strickland, asks one very important question: do opposites really attract, and the answer is a resounding “Yes!”

History professor Leo Rankin and tattoo artist Geraldine “Gerry” Webb are as different from one another as chalk is from cheese. When they both find themselves alone on Valentine’s day, they venture to their local library to attend the BLIND DATE WITH A BOOK event, billed as a way for people to vault out of their literary ruts and discover new genres and authors.  What Leo and Gerry discover is an attraction to one another that neither makes sense nor seems plausible. Along with the book (wrapped so the title is unknown, hence the BLIND part of the program), they are given a bag of candy Sweethearts, which seem to hold only one message on the embossed candies: ASK ME. So, when faced with that question and the undeniable attraction between them, Gerry “asks” Leo if he’d like to come home with her and not be relegated to spending Valentine’s Night alone. His affirmative answer surprises them both.

Opposites in every way, Leo and Gerry at the same time seem made for one another and doomed. Persistence, though, runs through Leo Rankin like his life’s blood and when he wants something, his tenacity knows no end. And he wants Gerry Webb.

Getting her to admit she wants him just as much is a task he is up for.

ASK ME was a delightful, romantic read and I highly recommend you add it to your Valentine’s reading list. Hopeful romanticism is a genre everyone can enjoy reading, no matter if you’re a staid professor or a carefree artist.
Available for Pre-order on Amazon and other retailers.
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Sunday, January 10, 2016

Review: Breakfast With Santa

Breakfast With Santa by Carol Henry
Katelyn and Mark were high school sweethearts.  Then he joined the Special Forces leaving Katelyn to deal with an unexpected pregnancy of which he was unaware.  Six years later, Mark returns with a young son.  No matter how hard Katelyn tries to avoid him it’s not in the cards, playing elf for Santa sends them on a collision course.
During Mark’s six-year absence, Katelyn moved on with her life and became engaged, This Christmas her fiancĂ© is in Norway due to a family celebration.  Events unfold and she flies to Norway to be with him.  She arrives only to discover a startling truth. Katelyn’s reaction and behavior dealing with the situation in Norway, was very brave.  Upon her return to Lobster Cove more surprises await her.

I love a feel-good Christmas story.  I could relate to the characters as they dealt with loss, picking up the pieces and moving forward.  They were meant to be together.  Will unearthed secrets be the key to their happiness or heartache?  You’ll have to read the book to find out!  I truly enjoyed this read and highly recommend Breakfast With Santa.
On Amazon

5 stars

Tena Stetler - Review

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Interview with Two Murder Cops

An interview from Author Trisha Sugarek
Art of Murder - Coming Soon to The Wild Rose Press

TS.  I thought an interview with my two protagonists; my murder cops, would be fun to write and hopefully fun for you to read.

TS. We are sitting in an interview room.  It is windowless, small and claustrophobic.  Some kind of foam soundproofing covers the walls and there are bare spots where nervous suspects have picked at it.  In the far corner, at the ceiling, there is a camera.  Why do I feel so guilty?

Sargent Detective O'Roarke is other word for it...big!  He seems to take up most of the room's space and more than his fair share of air.  Handsome, tough and his Irish heritage is mapped on his features.  Detective Stella Garcia, sitting next to him, is a lily amidst the stones.  Refined features, with cheekbones that could cut steak.  Clear, sharp hazel eyes and streaky light brown hair cut in an effortless pageboy.
I begin.

TS.  Tell me, have you always wanted to be in law enforcement?

O'R.  I was raised in Hell's Kitchen before it was gentrified.  I had my share of brushes with the law and I saw some of my friends go to jail or get dead.  The writing was on the wall.  Did I want to end up in prison or worse?   As a juvie; I think I was fifteen, a cop picked me up for shoplifting.  It was my sister's birthday and I didn't have any money for a present for her.  First he put the fear of hell in me.  Kept me handcuffed and stuffed me in a room just like this one.  Left me alone there for two hours.  When he came back he had a sandwich and a soda for me.  He moved the cuffs to the front and I had to eat like that.  He told me I was damn close to the age where he could charge me as an adult. What was I going to do with my life?  He confirmed what I already knew, prison or dead.  Then he asked me if I'd like to ride along
with him some night?  I remember feeling like an anvil had fallen on me.  Be a cop?  Really? Was this guy joking?  I rode with him and his partner a couple of nights later and that was all it took. The old cop started mentoring me and helped me get a partial scholarship to NYU.

TS.  And you, Detective Garcia?  (O'Roarke snorted and barked out a laugh)

SG. Cut it out O'Roarke.  (She turned back to me)  I grew up on a horse farm, upper Connecticut.  Lived atop a horse or in the barn until I was eighteen, when I went to UC.  The first year I had no idea what I wanted to do, didn't declare a major until the middle of my sophomore year.  Some sonority sisters and I went to Manhattan to see a show one weekend.  When we left the theatre, a half a block down, three cop cars suddenly converged on the street, lights and sirens.  Six cops jumped out of their cars and grabbed what we heard later were three armed perps.  One broke away and ran up the street toward us waving a gun. People scattered but my friends and I were frozen to the pavement. A female cop chased after him and, as luck would have it, tackled him right in front of us. It was a flying tackle; she landed on his back and they both went down.  She disarmed him and had him in cuffs by the time her partner got to them. The cop stood up; she'd lost her hat and she had a split lip but she was grinning like crazy at her partner.  From that moment on I was toast.  Monday morning I went in to school and declared my major in criminal justice.  I made Detective two years ago.

TS.  And you're in NYPD's Homicide Unit.

O'R. Yeah, I was in Vice for a few years and then moved to Homicide.

SG.  Domestic Violence and Kids at Risk Unit and then I went over to Homicide. So many deaths result from domestic violence but once the Homicide detectives arrive we’re done. I wanted to be able to follow my cases to the end. O'Roarke and I have been partners since my transfer.

O'R. (Grinning at his partner) Yeah, I had to train the rookie, here.  A dirty job but somebody's got to do it.

TS.  You get some pretty high profile cases assigned to you.  That famous Broadway director, the celebrity chef on the Food Network Do those kinds of cases require anything different?

O'R.  No.  Because under all that wealth and glitter they're just people like you and me.

TS. Wasn't Chef Jeff Kirikos the mayor's brother-in-law?  That had to add some pressure on the NYPD. (O'Roarke snorted again, this time in disgust.  I had the distinct impression he didn't suffer fools or politicians, in this case.)

SG. That was a cold case.  The mayor requested that we take another look at it. We were happy to get it solved.

TS.  Are either of you married? Have children?

SG:  I am, with two boys. R.J.'s eleven and Robbie is seven.

TS.  'R.J'?

SG.  Nickname.  He's Raul Garcia, Jr., for his father.

TS.  And you, Detective O'Roarke?  (Now it was Garcia's turn to snort.)

O'R.  Single, and no further comment.

SG.  I have high hopes for O'Roarke here. (She poked him in the ribs.) Someday some woman will gob-smack him into marriage.

O'R. Cut it out, Garcia!  Right now!  (The rough detective was blushing.)

TS.  Must be tough on home life.

SG.  Yes. At times very much so.  But I have an amazing husband.  He teaches high school and coaches the swim team.  He can be home when my boys get there and they're amazing too.  They always tell me how proud they are their mom’s a cop.

TS.  What are the toughest cases on you personally?

O'R. SG. (They answer simultaneously.)  Domestic.

TS. Why so?

SG.  The children. (Her eyes were suddenly bright with tears.)

O'R.  We just closed a case where two little kids, toddlers, hid behind a chair while their father beat their mother to death.

SG.  Those cases stay with you the rest of your life.

TS.  What do you do for fun?  Do you have time for a personal life?

O'R.  I work out, watch soccer on the tube.  Meet with friends for dinner occasionally. But we're on call 24/7 so when the mobile lights up we go.

TS. And you Detective Garcia?

SG. Still riding horses.  Our family tries to get up to my parents' farm at least once a month.  We ride, help around the barn and visit with my folks.  (She beams with pride.)  My boys are naturals.

O'Roarke's mobile lights up and the theme from 'Dragnet' comes from his jacket pocket. Garcia's starts playing the theme from Star Wars and vibrates across the table. O'Roarke opens his text.

O'R.  Speak of the devil.  We got a body.

Trisha Sugarek, AuthorPlaywright, Poet, & Blogger
Art of Murder - Coming Soon to The Wild Rose Press

'The Taste of Murder', Book 5: The World of Murder 

NOW AVAILABLE!!  The Creative Writer's Journal

Friday, January 08, 2016

TATTOOS – All You Never Needed to Know

Not sure why exactly, I became fascinated with tattoos and did an immense amount of research. I even thought of getting a tattoo myself, but felt at my age, I didn’t want the pain, so I opted for washable tattoos.  What fun! I appeared at a writers group with an Egyptian type tattoo just below my neck. It was a great conversation piece. Move over, Nefertiti.
While my second book MY DIVINELY DECADENT DUKE, by Sandra Masters, will be released January 29th, it features the above cover. My duke originally did not have a tattoo, but as the hero in the book called to me, this author decided he would have a tattoo inked on him by a Barbados witch doctor to protect him from evil. He has a Lion Clan tattoo. Thanks to RJ at The Wild Rose Press and my graphic artist, Debbie Taylor, my cover is picture perfect.

Effective January 8th through 22nd, the e-book will be available for 99 cents. Thereafter, it will be $5.99.  You can preorder this book on
The history of tattoos goes back centuries and is referred to in the bible. It was common around the world, especially in China, Japan, Asia and Polynesia. It spread throughout Europe like wildfire. It already held a place in Central America and Australia. In fact, some anthropologists claim that the history of tattoos may date back as long as 15,000 years. Certainly, we know that many of the ancient civilizations used tattooing techniques.

Throughout history, tattoos have been used as:

·         Signs of status and place in society

·         Magical amulets against evil (My novel’s reason)

·         Punishment

·         Reminders of a religious belief

·         Adornments for the sake of beauty

·         Gang members to establish identity

Between 1766 and 1770, Captain James Cook made three voyages to the South Pacific. When Cook and his men returned home to Europe from their voyages, they told tales of the ‘tattooed savages’ they had seen. The word tattoo itself comes from the Tahitian tatau and was introduced into the English language by Cook’s expedition (though the word ‘tattoo’ or ‘tap-too’ , referring to a drumbeat, had existed in England since at least 1644.

It was in 1769 that Cook first noted his observations about the body modification and is the first recorded use of the word tattoo to refer to permanent marking of the skin. He recorded it in his Ship’s log book. This method is a painful operation and is performed but once in their lifetimes.

Cook’s Science Officer and Expedition Botanist, Sir Joseph Banks, returned to England with a tattoo. Banks was highly regarded as a member of the English aristocracy. Cook brought back a Tahitian Chief whom he presented to King George and the English Court. The talk of many in society was the tales of the “tattooed savages.” Many of Cook’s men, ordinary seamen and sailors, came back with tattoos, a tradition that would soon become associated with seamen and men of the sea in the public’s mind. In the process, sailors and seamen re-introduced the practice of tattooing in Europe and it spread rapidly to seaports around the globe.

In fact, many tattoo artists held permanent residences in the ports of England, Spain, France and Italy. It is claimed there was a tattoo artist in every major port city.

Some Popular Symbols:

Anchor: Refers to a someone who has sailed across the Atlantic

Dragon: Refers to a sailor that has served in Asia

Fully rigged ship: Represents traversal of Cape Horn

Golden Dragon: Means a sailor has crossed the International Date Line

Harpoon: Refers to a member of the fishing fleet

Rope around the wrist “Hold Fast” across the knuckles” Represents a sailor who was a deckhand

Swallow: Obtained when first setting out to sea. It was considered good luck.

By the 19th century, tattooing had spread to British society but was still largely associated with sailors and the lower or even criminal class.
It is said that aristocratic and royal families of Europe may well have been the first celebrities to indulge in the taste for tattoos. The royal court was fascinated and the Tahitian Chief’s tattoos were admired. The Chief was presented to King George V and he himself got inked with the “Cross of Jerusalem” when he traveled to the Middle East in 1862. The Dukes of Clarence and the Duke of York were

similarly tattooed in Japan while serving in the British Admiralty solidifying what would become a family tradition.

In later years, Lady Randolph, Winston Churchill’s mother, sported a snake tattoo around her wrist, and for formal occasions, had a specially made diamond bracelet to cover it when she was in society. Winston Churchill also had a tattoo!!

Hope you enjoyed knowing more than you’ll have to about tattoos worldwide.