Blog Archives

Fallen Snow

Athena Jackson has found herself in a predicament—she is twenty years old, pregnant, and stuck in an abusive relationship with her boyfriend, Silas. When Silas finds out about the pregnancy, he demands Athena end it and forces her to a woman’s clinic. Before the procedure can be completed, Athena reaches out to an old friend from high school, Lily Rhodes Marx. Lily comes to Athena’s rescue, spiriting her away from the abusive Silas. Lily and her husband Rowen graciously welcome Athena into their home, where she finds out that family isn’t always blood, and that faeries and magic are real.

Fallen Snow, by Abby Farnsworth, is the third book in the EverGreen series. Taking place after the events of Moonlit Skies, Fallen Snow picks up with Athena and her journey to accept her own pregnancy and save herself from Silas. With several twists and turns that will keep readers on edge, Fallen Snow explores relationships, how someone could continue to love their abuser, and how new love can bloom even without the help of faerie magic.

The author has a knack for developing interesting character personalities and giving them believable physical descriptions along with faerie powers. These traits allow each character to shine on their own. There are several twists and turns throughout this alluring young adult romance novel, making this an unpredictable but enjoyable read.

I always enjoy the quick pace of the EverGreen books. I think the story moves a lot quicker here because, this being the third book in the trilogy, the author doesn’t need to spend time developing the character’s background. The characters are already established and their relationships feel genuine and the reader can feel their love for one another. Farnsworth’s writing style has developed and grown just like her characters in the story.

Fallen Snow is a seductive paranormal romance story that fans of emotionally-resonant teen fiction will enjoy. I loved the way fantasy and reality are blended throughout this story and I think readers will too.

Pages: 170 | ISBN: 1956788468

Buy Now From Amazon

Longing And Limerence

Debbie Burke Author Interview

Glissando follows a divorced woman who is successful in her career and is ready to try her hand at love again, what she ends up with is two men and some big life decisions to make. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I was in a community jazz band in northeastern Pennsylvania (I play alto sax) and just like any other group of people, there were relationships formed, wished for, begun and discarded. When love and lust were put against a backdrop of jazz, this became fascinating to me.

Ellie recovers from her divorce and builds a good life for herself before getting involved again. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

She’s flawed. She knows better, but doesn’t always choose to do the things that will help her evolve. It was important to show a smart woman who was nevertheless stuck in her bad decisions.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Longing and limerence; loneliness and companionship; and ultimately, seeking the right, loving partner.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Thanks for asking! It’s a noir mystery about a sax player who falls to his death, but the question remains: accident or murder? The protagonist is once again a woman, and she goes to Russia to find a very rare jazz record. Once there, she learns more about the jazz world and what likely caused the death of the sax player. Like it or not, she finds herself involved in the investigation. It’s out in December. Watch this space: https://bit.ly/DebbieBurkeAmazon.

Author Links: Website | GoodReads | Twitter

LOVE – LUST – and JAZZ Sharp-witted paralegal Ellie Greenberg has a dynamite career at a law firm in the Catskill Mountains of New York. Happily divorced, in the middle years of her life and keeping sexy ‘n’ sassy, she decompresses from the demands of her career by joining the jazz scene at a local college. The instant she sees the very-married new soloist, trumpet player Vincent Keyes, she’s speared directly in the heart by Cupid’s arrow. Unfortunately, Ellie has also walked straight into the romantic cross-hairs of ace lawyer Stan Feldman. Ellie tries to gain her footing in the emotional tornado, where the ride is thrilling but ultimately unsustainable. She agonizes over choosing between the two men…or changing her life completely.

A Dramatic Re-interpretation

Sophia Alexander Author Interview

‘Silk: Caroline’s Story’ follows three women as they look for love, for themselves, and navigate the drastically changing culture of the south, some doing whatever it takes to get what they want. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

My own family tree! I’ve been obsessed with genealogy since I was a girl, and there are some unclear, unexplained branches that I’m fairly sure I’ll never discover the absolute truth about. Why did Caroline choose to marry whom she did? What happened to her? Many of the main characters are based loosely on real people, but I’ve changed names as it’s so fictionalized. Silk is a dramatic re-interpretation of my own family’s obscured past, in which Jessie was likely not so evil at all.

What were the morals you were trying to capture while creating your characters?

Hmm… I generally shy away from spelling them out, but you seem to have already gathered that my novels are rife with morals, if only because it’s simply how I think. Silk is flat, Lowcountry terrain compared with the mountains that exist of all my soapboxes!

Perhaps the most pervasive moral in the book, however, is one nearly universal for novelists: that it’s important to try to understand where others are coming from, to develop empathy—even for those with bats in their belfry, as Anne would say. That moral is not so much taught as experienced with all the head-hopping—and studies have shown that fiction readers do become more empathetic.

Honesty and fidelity, the value of friendships, the dangers of alcohol and extremism—these are other moral themes in Silk. I’m afraid, however, that many of the moral analogies I personally draw to today’s society are bound to be missed by readers. For instance, readers sometimes express their disdain for brothels and their understandable relief that brothels aren’t still widespread in America today. Rampant pornography is, however, now far more available than brothels ever were, is damaging to psyches and relationships, and objectifies people entirely.

Gracious, for all that I was hesitant to jump on an invitational soapbox, I’ve gotten started now! Countless moral ideas guided my writing of The Silk Trilogy—even if they barely brush the surface and are hardly mentioned. For example, broad-brimmed hats and parasols protect from the sun, which my characters do actively consider; this might not sound like a moral issue and certainly isn’t presented as such in the novel but, in fact, folks do need to protect themselves from skin cancer—I’ve personally had melanoma—yet most sunscreens are endocrine disruptors, even carcinogens themselves, while also damaging coral reefs. So as you can see, I can only relate a fraction of what’s relevant, just hoping to plant little seeds.

Other moral elements are briefly shared when Dr. Connor goes on about his dilemmas in practicing medicine—how to choose the safest, most effective therapies; being aware of the marketing ploys of pharmaceutical companies; issues with not being able to follow up with patients, etc.

One of my most heartfelt morals was difficult to flesh out satisfactorily, so to speak. I’m a vegetarian, quite against factory farming, so the meals feature casseroles, biscuits, cobblers, butterbeans, collard greens, pickles, etc. Reluctantly, I also include dishes like turtle soup and crabcakes, hoping to muster a traditional Southern table while not sending people salivating to their kitchens, inspired to throw on a pan of fried chicken. Jessie does eat barbeque in the first chapter, however, which helps set a Southern tone. Sigh… I tried, but I doubt that Silk helped my animal-rights mission one iota, except maybe through Caroline’s love for Julep.

I will say, however, that an overarching purpose/moral of the novel was to conjure up a fairly authentic Southern historic setting to help readers relate to Southerners a bit more. I’m thoroughly convinced that Southerners are one of the most maligned groups these days—so often parodied as ignorant, selfish, racist, bigoted, etc. Frankly, it’s now trendy to disparage Southerners, so I’m doing what I can with The Silk Trilogy to balk against that ugly bias.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

One theme is dealing with women’s issues—how to exist as a woman in society, the joys and difficulties of motherhood and/or of having a career, clarifying and validating how difficult our choices can sometimes be.

Another theme is how extreme thoughts, fixations, and desperation can distort facts and lead to unspeakable acts, acts that perpetrators justify and too often entirely get away with.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Homespun, the last installment of the Silk Trilogy, is due to come out next St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th, 2023. It centers on Caroline’s granddaughter, Ginny. Jessie’s still as deadly as ever, but her energies are channeled in a surprising new direction.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Headless dolls, horse races, and arson—the tools of passion.

It’s 1899, and Caroline Corbett is ready for the twentieth century. She’s excited to find work and meet new people—but gets more than expected when a rough-hewn Lowcountry farmer and a small-town doctor both engage her affections.

The broad-shouldered, genial farmer is clear about his desires, and he’s there for her. The doctor is sophisticated, educated, and obviously the right choice—but sees no reason to dwell on certain realities.

In trying to decide between them, Caroline fails to consider the girl Jessie. A young sociopath bent on her own way, Jessie Bell sees very good reasons to dredge up unpleasant realities—and to create new ones. Before long, this South Carolina landscape is riddled with the detritus of her intense jealousies, which have set astonishing and horrifying events into motion.

Innocence Derailed

Innocence Derailed, by Jane Catherine Rozek, is an inspirational book that turns the mundane events Kate experiences into a deep encounter each and every time. In today’s world, where everybody prefers the comfort and safety of one’s home, her story goes to show that there are people who opt to surround themselves with the outside world, specifically nature and all its beauty, and find out that there is a higher being within the smallest things one sees daily.

The author has written the book in a way that makes it feel personal even to its readers. The first pages makes the story seem like a romantic novel, but when the relationship ends, readers will see that there is more to this story than meets the eye. It motivates its audience to think about philosophical queries and reflect on their own answers. It also raises questions about rights, politics, and religion that are often silenced, not just during the 1970’s, but still today. Lastly and surprisingly, it also promotes the importance of taking breaks, may it be through the means of traveling, surrounding oneself with new people, or having a single day to yourself. You never know where your decisions will take you, and that is the fun of it all. In Kate’s case, her entire journey only brought her to a new one, only this time, she is now an enlightened woman; more prepared to take on what her next story holds.

Innocence Derailed is an emotionally-resonant coming of age novel that provides readers with a compelling exploration of a relatable and fascinating character. I would recommend this to young adults, because I personally share the struggle of not knowing where I am supposed to be in this age. The fact that the story is also based on true events will serve as a great inspiration for its readers, for it is a positive reminder that one’s path can progress with the will of God.

Pages: 315 | ASIN: B0B2D6KW88

Buy Now From Amazon

Stand Tall, Stand Strong, and LIVE!

Kya Wolf Author Interview

Serenity follows an embattled prisoner of war who is haunted by a hidden magical past. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The story has been with me since I was a young teenager. Many characters have a base from some beloved kids show characters that I developed backstories to back in the 90’s. Slowly, over the last 20 or so years, they blossomed into their own unique characters. What started as a simple story soon evolved into something more complex. Mental illness came into play, and the project took on a whole new meaning to me personally. I no longer wanted to just share my world and story but my message. That we can all rise above our mental illness. That we can all be happy no matter what. That we call all Stand tall, Stand Strong, and LIVE!

Kain Raingel is an intriguing character that I loved following. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

At its core, I wanted to show that no matter what you live through, you can always find a way to be happy and to find peace. Kain has lived through some horrific times at such a young age. All he wants is to be left alone but in the end, he finds something more to hold on to. I also wanted to share that you don’t have to be alone in your internal struggles. Having a support team can be beneficial to the healing process. Seeking help isn’t weakness but strength and we shouldn’t shame ourselves or accepting help and support.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

When mental illness became a major role I pulled from my own personal experiences to truly show what it is like to live with a mental illness. I also heavily researched what I didn’t know so I could portray it correctly. Living and battling mental illness can be a silent battle that no one would know about unless they know and understand the signs or live with it themselves. Many of those with mental illness battle in silence in fear of not being understood or looked down upon. One important theme in this book is that mental illness is real and it can be debilitating. Kain is a seasoned warrior but feels helpless at times because of his PTSD and anxiety.

What can readers expect in the next book in The Blood Moon Prince series?

The story will continue from where Serenity left off. The relationship between the main character and their love interest goes through some growing pains as everyone adjusts to what happens at the end of Serenity. Readers will begin to dive a bit deeper into the hidden magical past of Kain and of course a new foe arises. Readers can expect more magic, more suspense, and of course more action.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Serenity (The Blood Moon Prince) follows Kain Raingel, a war-torn surviving prisoner of war, who not only lives with the memories of the past year of his life but is also haunted by a hidden magical past.

Through newfound love, Kain begins to heal and learns how to live again. When his new companions are taken hostage, he must find the strength within himself to face the man who tortured him, risk losing his memory, or allow everyone to die. Serenity (The Blood Moon Prince) strives to bring light to mental illness and shows that through love and support, anyone can overcome anything. It strives to show that even though one may feel broken inside, they are worth something and deserve to find happiness. The awareness of mental illness in today’s youth has become more apparent. Today’s youth struggle with socialization, mental illness, and accepting themselves. Serenity (The Blood Moon Prince) brings relatable topics in a fantasy setting with a new world, fun characters, and magic.

Silk: Caroline’s Story

Silk: Caroline’s Story is the first installment in a trilogy set in post-Reconstruction South Carolina. This first novel centers on Caroline Corbett, a sanguine southern belle. At the story’s beginning, Caroline suffers from a lack of romantic success. So, at her uncle’s request, she moves to his plantation. She had dual purposes: to work in a clothing factory and find herself an acceptable husband. Shortly, she meets two handsome men, Dr. Stephen Conner and Clayton Bell. Quickly, Caroline is swept up in romances with both men. Dr. Conner is handsome and well-off, while Clayton Bell is a sharecropper, followed by his lovesick little cousin, Jessie.

From the opening pages, author Sophia Alexander takes readers back in time to experience what life is like for women as society is just beginning to accept them as more than homemakers. There is a romance story in this exceptional novel. However, the portrayal of how different life was for women drew me in and kept me. Jessie is a young girl in this story and clings to the old ways, wanting a simple life with the man she has decided is the only one for her. A time when marrying your cousin was not considered strange or inappropriate. Caroline is a dreamer, full of passion and the desire to be different from the elderly women in her life, wanting more than just a suitable husband for her future.

Sophia’s character development as the two leading women is what gives this novel its life. Readers will feel as if they know Jessie and Caroline intimately, though, with Jessie, they may also be afraid of her. Her twisted and dark reasoning to achieve the things she feels she deserves in life is genuinely terrifying at times. It is as much a psychological thriller as a historical romance following these characters.

Dr. Conner and Clayton Bell are prime examples of the class differences in the Carolinas. Both bring something different to the story, and readers will be torn between who is the favorite and who should end up with Caroline. It is a whirlwind following the three of them and watching Jessie maneuvering in the background to make things go as she wants.

The novel’s pacing keeps readers engaged. There is never a dull moment in the plot. The descriptions are vivid, and you feel like you are there in the old south, experiencing the changes in the society as they happen.

Silk: Caroline’s Story is an emotionally charged historical romance that gives readers a complex love story from multiple points of view and a riveting plot that takes this novel beyond the genre of romance.

Pages: 362 | ASIN: B095CVP3G7

Buy Now From Amazon

We’re Hesitant To Be Authentic

Kimberly Greer Author Interview

Masked Intent tells a romantic story that explores our relationship with the truth and how it motivates us. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

As I was working on the novel and authenticity became an issue between the main characters, I saw a larger opportunity than what the traditional romance genre affords, a bigger story than boy meets, falls for, and gets the girl. I began to wonder what Truth – if personified – might think about alternative facts, their genesis, and their role in human interaction. Social media, reality TV, the world’s obsession with celebrity, and other artifacts of current society have fostered unrealistic standards of what beauty, success and happiness look like. They’ve obfuscated the truth. So, I imagined that my character and narrator Truth isn’t happy about that and wants to teach us a lesson of what happens when we stop listening to the still-small voice inside.

That’s when the “morality play” idea sprang to life. The Catholic church of the Middle Ages used morality plays to teach its Faithfull, most of whom were illiterate, about virtues. Similarly, Masked Intent uses the love story between the main characters as a convention–an allegory—to explore how, even in our most intimate moments, we’re hesitant to be authentic for fear of not measuring up.

Your characters are intriguing and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Oscar Wilde said, “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”

My male lead, Mateo, is quick to pick up on this truth in his dealings with his love interest, Alexa, yet both are slow to admit to such tendencies within themselves. It will take time for them to admit and resolve these flaws, which is an ironic dance they do around each other. As a professional communicator, Alexa is quick to spot and call out disingenuity in others but slow to admit her own such transgressions. Similarly, Mateo, a psychologist and, therefore, student of human nature, willfully refuses to admit that he has yet to come to terms with a heartbreak from years past, a past he can shed only after he deals with it.

It’s also important to note that these aren’t young, inexperienced people. Alexa is 43; Mateo is 36. Although this fact is mentioned early on, their age difference isn’t discussed in great detail. We have a name for women who date younger men…but aside from her age, Alexa doesn’t fit that stereotype. This is intentional as was my decision about their ages. We tend to think that life ends after 40, that we know all we’re supposed to know or that we are no longer creative or vibrant enough to serve a useful purpose. My characters disprove those assumptions.

Each of my characters is named with deliberation, and there are important clues to each of their personalities therein. The name Alexa means “defender of mankind.” She tends to believe that she is. But, as the saying goes, you can’t set yourself on fire to keep others warm, which is exactly what she does—ad nauseum—to her own detriment. Samson Stone, for whom Alexa works, is self-centered and ill-intended. The alliteration in his name suggests a slithering snake, which is fitting for this character.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

I wanted my characters to be likable and relatable, which means they must be inherently flawed. Each character in Masked Intent carries the scars of disappointment, struggle, and, in some cases, abuse. I wanted to play up their shortcomings as they follow their individual paths towards self-discovery.

With that in mind, I hope my readers will consider the cornerstones of this novel:

  • The biggest lies we tend to believe are the ones we tell ourselves.
  • Self-deception is an epidemic as many of us choose to focus on what our lives look like to others as opposed to whether they’re a reflection of all that is good within us.

More subtly, but no less important, a key takeaway from the novel should be that the ageist ideas society can tend espouse are based on the myth that requires us to accept as fact that success, happiness, love, and discovery are the stuff of our youth. To the contrary, learning and growing never stop, so we never stop being solid contributors to the world around us.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I currently am completing a “prequel” to Masked Intent called Intermezzo. Though it is very much intended to be the intermission between my first novel (hence its title) and the story’s conclusion in Intents + Purposes, I call it a prequel because it provides some context around when and how the main characters met. It also gives readers the origin stories for two of the supporting characters in Masked Intent: Becket Oliver and Phaedra Sheppard. I plan standalone novels for each of these characters once I’ve completed The Morality Plays Series.

Intermezzo will be available in July 2022. Look for Intents + Purposes in the late fall of this year.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

There may be more than one mask.
From being denied by her birth parents to marrying the wrong man, Alexa Winston has learned to cope with disappointment and heartache by masking her true self from the world. Divorced and finally living on her own terms, she shrouds herself in half-truths and bravado, content to live her quiet, predictable life – until she finds the job and the man of her dreams. As she falls deeper into both, and into a world ruled by powerful players jockeying for influence and dominance at all costs, she’s forced to weigh her truths against reality. Trouble is, though she’s a master at detecting self-deception in others, she’s slow to recognize it in herself.

Masked Intent takes a taut, complex look at how we hide behind inauthenticity to guide us through interpersonal relationships. Through a series of detailed, interconnected storylines, the novel takes a timely look at our relationship with the truth and how it drives our actions and motivations. Where do you draw lines in a world where authenticity takes back seat to the power and seduction of influence?

Masked Intent is the first installment in The Morality Plays Series and ends in a cliffhanger. The story concludes in Intents + Purposes, which publishes in 2022.

Bullets and Bustles in the Cowboy Desire Anthology

Emma Tombs is not your average woman. The moment her husband was murdered she had to figure out something new to sustain herself. With an unusual talent and earning the name of “Angel of Death”, she starts hunting wanted outlaws to get some money. But with time, the cruel nature of the job starts to haunt her and give her nightmares. She tries to leave the bounty hunter life behind and searches for a normal life. She opens a diner, but her world is turned upside down when a mysterious man shows up. They meet each other and the connection is instant and intense. However, the lives of both are riddled with secrets, and they’ll have to overcome their own demons to build the relationship that their souls so desperately need.

This story might be short, but it isn’t missing anything. Smith’s ability to include so much in a few pages is incredible. As she introduces Emma, we get the idea of a strong woman that’s able to command herself in a group of powerful men. She’s voracious and skilled. She’s also quite vulnerable though, and realizes that she’s been hurt all throughout her life; a pain that will hardly go away. Then we meet JD, a mysterious man that’s new in town. From the beginning the intrigue is felt, not only because JD’s identity and past are completely unknown, but also because his connection with Emma is fiery and heartfelt, an undeniable bond that they clearly share.

The build up for this romance was skillfully done. With an engaging writing style that excellently portrays what the characters feel and hope for, a vivid picture is provided through which the birth of this unexpected romance can be seen. Readers can feel the tension and the desire, and will yearn to see where Emma and JD’s story lead. This, coupled with a few intense action scenes from the bounty hunter lifestyle, make for an all-around tense and powerful romance plot that will keep readers glued to the page.

When love feels like something unachievable, Smith’s story brings the tension and the magic that one longs for, using her storytelling skills to weave a passionate romance story where the lovers will have to fight to keep it alight.

Pages: 29 (Page 354-383 in the paperback anthology) | ASIN: B08VYQZ17H

Buy Now From Amazon
%d bloggers like this: