OLYMPUS is going to be a television show!

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The very same week that “Drama Queen” – book two of my Hollywood to Olympus series –  was released I read the most incredible news ever on the Internet. OLYMPUS is going to be a real television show! It’s coming to SyFy in 2015 (and hopefully to SPACE as well).  Details are still scarce but it’s happening!

Granted, it has absolutely no connection to my series whatsoever besides the title but it is still freaking cool! I’m definitely going to watch when it airs next year.

Fast Five with Haley Whitehall


Today my fellow author Haley Whitehall is dropping by for a visit. I enjoy reading historicals for a change of pace (no pun intended) and since I don’t talk about them much, I’m thrilled she could talk about them.

1. What are you doing for your summer vacation?

I recently bought a house. My summer vacation is actually one work project after another as I am buried in home renovations.

2. What is your favourite part of the writing process? 

I like editing the first draft. My initial ideas are down on paper and it is in this editing phase that I flush out my story and can really bring my characters and my vision to life.

3. How did you pick your characters’ names?

I have to make sure the names are historical and appropriate to my character’s class and nationality. Sometimes I check government records for lists of names. Often, however, that a character will come to me and I will know their name right away. It just fits their personality.

(One thing I especially like about historicals is the names, especially finding ones that have fallen out of favour. Some of them can be so interesting!)

4. What is your favourite chore to do around the house?

I like to do the laundry. I find the chore relaxing and I love the smell and feel of laundry when it comes right out of the dryer.

5. How do you treat yourself after finishing a book?

I treat myself to a large Frappuccino or mocha. I’m addicted to coffee. If I am really in a celebratory mood I will splurge on a doughnut.

Can you tell us about your latest book?

Wild and Tender Care Blurb:

The town of Big Rock, Colorado is changing its wild-west ways, and ex-madam Ida Page and new town doctor William Steere are finding it difficult to be accepted for who they are. But when these two outcasts meet, they find their rightful place in each other’s arms. Haley Whitehall burns up the pages in her hot, new historical romance, Wild and Tender Care.

Buy Links:

Liquid Silver Books    ~    Amazon US     ~    Amazon UK     ~    Barnes and Noble     ~    ARe

Bio and Contact Links:

Haley's Author PictureHaley Whitehall lives in Washington State where she enjoys all four seasons and the surrounding wildlife. She writes historical fiction and historical romance set in the 19th century U.S. When she is not researching or writing, she plays with her cats, watches the Western and History Channels, and goes antiquing. She is hoping to build a time machine so she can go in search of her prince charming. A good book, a cup of coffee, and a view of the mountains make her happy. Visit Haley’s website at http://haleywhitehall.com.


LSB Cover Art Template for PhotoShopIt’s here! It’s here!  DRAMA QUEEN is finally out! Russ and Layla’s story is now available for your e-reader. I’m really excited about this because Layla got such a bad rep in Screen Idol and she isn’t the ice queen she pretends to be. She deserves a happily-ever-after with a good guy who’s willing to put in the effort to melt her heart.

Layla Andrews isn’t really a bitch – she just plays one on television. For the last eighteen months, she’s acted like one in real life too while she was forced to serve probation for something she didn’t do. Now the Queen of Olympus has done her time and she’s ready to start living again … but she’s forgotten how.

Russ Vukovick, the show’s fight coordinator, had been attracted to Layla since the first time he saw her. Recently he’s caught glimpses of a new side of her – one that makes her irresistible. But as he gets closer to her, he also sees more of what she hides beneath the mask she wears.

As Layla and Russ try to navigate their new relationship, families, danger and secrets work against them at every turn. Can they find a true happily-ever-after when they are surrounded by lies?


Buy it from my publisher Liquid Silver Books  (MOBI for Kindle, EPUB for Kobo and iTunes), or get it directly from  Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, Barnes and Noble/Nook, ARe

DRAMA QUEEN – Sneak peek #2

LSB Cover Art Template for PhotoShopChapter One – part two

He was improving. He hadn’t stuttered or drooled while he talked to her. Russ Vukovich collapsed against the brick wall of the soundstage and scrubbed his face with the palms of his hands. Then he held them there when he realized they smelled like the lilac skin cream Layla used. He was such an idiot.

After he’d left the Navy, a friend of a friend had hired him to help out with his stunt business in Los Angeles. They quickly discovered that Russ’s talents lay more in teaching actors how to fight than standing in for them. When a no-name show needed

someone to do sword fights and wrestling, as the newbie, Russ drew the short straw. Fortunately, he got along with the cast members and when the show was renewed, his contract was too. He’d mostly worked with the men but the few scenes he’d done with Layla had reduced him to a babbling wreck.

He sniffed his hands again and forced them down to his side. He’d only come in to organize his equipment. Running into Layla had been an unexpected bonus. Before he could move, he heard shouting from around the corner. It was Layla’s voice and she sounded pissed, which made it a regular day.

Two security guards he recognized were escorting a skinny dude out of the make-up trailer and the guy was not happy to leave. Russ looked at Todd Olson and nodded towards the trailer. The tall guard shook his head.

He was on his way back out when he saw Layla bolt from the trailer. A minute later, the show’s tiny stylist left too, locking the door behind her. He was going to let it go until he saw that Erin had obviously been crying.

The bitch queen strikes again. Yes, Layla looked like a wet dream walking but, personality wise, Russ was glad he didn’t know her other than by sight. She’d been utterly professional and completely emotionless in their sessions but she hadn’t gone out of her way to annoy him like she had most of the other crew.

“Erin, are you okay? What happened?”

The woman stared up at him, surprise overtaking her red, puffy eyes. “Nothing.”

“I know how hard it can be when actresses get,” he paused, “difficult.”

“No, it’s fine.”

“Layla may be one of the leads but that doesn’t give her the right to make you cry. I can talk to Chris or Nick,” Russ offered. Chris Peck and Nick Thurston had pulled him into their circle of friends after the Greek gods accidentally targeted him during one of their prank wars. Since then, the targeting had been on purpose until they learned that he was the person who’d invented payback. He was currently two up on them.

“She didn’t do anything. My ex-boyfriend showed up and Layla called security for me to get rid of him. She was really nice about it too. She said she’s going to put him on a watch list at the gate so he can’t get back in.”

Maybe there was a special effects shot coming up and they had a double on set. After all, the woman in the car had smiled at him. Now she’d been nice to Erin. It had to be a different person.

“We’re still talking about Layla Andrews, aren’t we? Hera, Queen of Olympus with the attitude to match?” he asked.

Erin smiled. “I know, right! She was really quiet last week. And nice so far this week.”

“Maybe she’s been replaced by a pod person.” Although it was easier to not act on his crush when he knew she was a bitch. If she were nice, it would be a lot harder to stay away from her.

“I vote we keep this version.”

Russ put his finger to his lips and looked over his shoulder in mock fear. “I won’t tell if you don’t.” They shook hands in a silent pact.

* * * *

It had to be an imposter. Some kind of android look-alike. Because there was no way

that Sean Glenn would be looking at the real Layla Andrews with anything near awe. He listened and nodded while he drank a bottle of water while Layla explained the set-up for the fight that was coming up. Sean stood quietly to the side, staring at her.

“Sean, you okay?”


Layla looked over her shoulder. “I think he’s in shock at the thought that I went to college.”

“I’m fine with you going to college,” Sean protested.

She transferred her gaze to Russ and he could have sworn the corners of her chocolate brown eyes crinkled at him. “Okay, I think he’s in shock at the thought that I may or may not have wrestled in Jello and whipped cream in college.”

Russ didn’t understand why they thought him dropping his water bottle was so funny.

Sean left early since his part of the fight consisted mainly of not stepping on the small actress as they wrestled. Layla asked if Russ could stay a bit longer so she could run through everything a couple more times and he easily agreed. Aside from the Jello wrestling comment, which he tried very hard to forget whenever he had to position her, Layla had been her usual cool, professional self. When she was confident she had her moves down, she thanked him for his help and headed out. She got to the door before she turned around and came back.

“I need to apologize,” she told him.

“Why? I thought the session went really well.” She even cracked a smile. It had been a shockingly nice change actually.

“No. About not saying ‘hi’ to your friends at the volleyball tournament last weekend.”

Russ really didn’t want to get started about the tournament. That entire day was a disaster from start to finish when it came to the cast of Olympus. The plan was to have a cast member, one of the gods, serve as a fan’s slave for the day and Chris was designated as the volunteer. When Zeus showed up at the contest winner’s house that Saturday he learned that his now ex-assistant had tried to torpedo the whole event, going as far as to lie to the sweepstakes organizers about the winner’s agreement and participation. Nobody had been informed he was coming.

According to Chris, when he knocked on Sydney Richardson’s house that morning, she shut the door in his face. Russ smiled in spite of himself as he remembered Chris telling the story of hearing her dismiss him, saying “I’m busy” while he was tried to convince her to go along with the studio’s publicity stunt.

She’d eventually agreed, at a price. She would help Chris out if he agreed to show up at a fundraiser she had running that day to raise money for a charity she’d established that helped burn victims like herself. She’d played her part but then Chris had ditched her before he could follow through on his half of the agreement. To make up for it, Sean, Nick and Layla had to substitute for him by attending Sydney’s “Curse the Darkness” beach volleyball match. Russ tagged along—officially to act as security, unofficially to keep an eye on Layla.

Fortunately for everybody, Chris showed up eventually and the guys were a hit with the crowd, helping raise a lot of money for Sydney’s foundation. Layla, on the other hand, refused to go anywhere near any of the burn victims who were there to cheer on the

teams, including some of Russ’s wounded military buddies in the crowd. It worked out for Chris and Sydney in the end; the pair had ended up dating and were still going strong. But the rest of the cast and crew who had been involved were still suffering through the new, added tension between Chris and Layla that the contest had raised.

“You don’t have to say anything about that afternoon. At all. Really,” Russ told her. The sooner he could forget about it, the better.

“I do. I’m truly sorry. I didn’t mean to insult you or your friends. I just don’t do well around burn victims,” she tried to explain.

“It’s fine.”

“No, you have to understand. I really don’t do well around them. When I was little, my dad was an insurance claims adjustor. On his last case, he was checking out an accident site and it blew up. My mom and I had to visit him in the burn ward every day for two months. It was…beyond horrible. He was in so much pain all of the time. I remember the smell and the bandages and the crying. It never fades. Ever since then I can’t do the hospital thing. Or the burn patient thing. I’ve tried but I can’t. So I’m sorry for disappointing you and upsetting your friends.”

She didn’t give him time to respond after that. He blinked and she was gone, the heavy security door clanking as the brace at the top eased it shut.

Definitely a pod person.


Read the whole story on July 28th. Save 20% with pre-orders available from Liquid Silver Books.


Fast Five with Tara Quan and “Operation Owl”

OperationOwl_300x450My friend Tara Quan is back to talk about her new book Operation Owl, a contemporary romantic comedy with hints of intrigue and a multicultural couple that’s just up my alley.

Five years ago, Maya Jain kissed her best friend only to have him run out of her dorm room and leave the state. When he shows up in Washington, D.C., a wanted fugitive sought after by every branch of the US government, she can’t bring herself to ignore his plight. As their physical relationship picks up where it left off, she decides it’s time to make him see her as more than the bespectacled, bookish girl he once called “Owl.”

After being accused of espionage and treason, Zack Strong needs a forensic accountant to help clear his name. Not knowing who he can trust, this white-hat hacker has no choice but to ask his former best friend and math tutor for help. Together they unravel a cyber conspiracy at the Barn, an NSA facility tasked to intercept electronic communications. But as they traverse the nation’s capital to avoid capture, Maya insists on letting their simmering sexual tension take its natural course. Even though he’s never been able to shake the memory of their one kiss, he refuses to let her give up her life for a man with no future.

Sounds good, right?

Since she’s visited before, I’m going to jump right into her Fast Five interview:

1. What are you doing for your summer vacation?
Funny you should ask! Remember how we commiserated about Italian noun declensions the last time I stopped by? Well, I’m moving to Rome in exactly 3 days (which is why I’ve been madly pre-scheduling promotion). As excited as I am about the prospect of living in Italy, I’m probably going to spend the better part of this summer unpacking, settling in, and getting a feel for the city.

No kidding! I can’t imagine getting to visit Italy, let alone moving there. Bon voyage! (I don’t know how to say that in Italian.)

2. What is your favourite non-writing blog?
Ever since we received pictures of our new apartment, both my husband and I have been addicted to this Tumblr feed. This move will be the first time in over four years that we’ll get to stay put long enough for painting and decorating to be worthwhile. On the flip side, the cost of living in Rome is higher than we’re used to, so I’ll need to base my design aesthetic on flea market finds.

3. What is your favourite part of the writing process?
The moment I lean back, stretch, and smile over a completed first draft is one of the few times I feel my book is actually good. Before this happens, I’m not 100% sure I’ll see the story through, and once I start revisions and edits, I begin to think the manuscript is complete crap. I’ve learned to savor the ten minutes or so of contented bliss.

4. How do you treat yourself after finishing a book?
Once I hit send on a submissions email, I always get hit by a bad case of nerves, which calls for a glass of wine (or two). I prefer to sip it while nibbling on cheese and indulging in a book good enough to keep my mind off the fact that I might get a rejection letter in the near future.

5. Last question—is the wine red or white?
Red—that way I can convince myself I’m getting minor health benefits.

Lucky for you, I hear there is red wine in Italy.

Operation Owl sounds like a fun book. Where can we find it?

At Amazon, Barnes and Noble/Nook, Decadent Publishing, All Romance e-Books

Very cool. Thanks for visiting! And please have some vino for me.

About Tara Quan

TaraQuanGlobetrotter, lover of languages, and romance author, Tara Quan has an addiction for crafting tales with a pinch of spice and a smidgen of kink. Inspired by her travels, Tara enjoys tossing her kick-ass heroines and alpha males into exotic contemporary locales, fantasy worlds, and post-apocalyptic futures. Armed with magical powers or conventional weapons, her characters are guaranteed a suspenseful and sensual ride, as well as their own happily ever after. Learn more at www.taraquan.com

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DRAMA QUEEN – Sneak peek #1

LSB Cover Art Template for PhotoShopChapter 1

It was a top down, wind in her hair, cruising kind of day. The fact that it was raining, the convertible’s top was firmly raised, and she was stuck in traffic did nothing to diminish Layla Andrews’ good mood. Freedom was in the only slightly smoggy Los Angeles air and she was breathing it in for the first time in ages.

Layla beamed at the security guard who waved her through the studio gate. Even after two years, he still looked at her like he didn’t know her until she lifted her sunglasses and he saw her face. Then he couldn’t lift the gate fast enough.

She cruised the busy throughways until she pulled into her personal parking spot outside the small soundstage with the Olympus logo on the side. It had been home for a while now but this was the first time she stopped to really look at it. This was the place that had made her famous as Hera, queen of the Greek gods, and television wife to the hottest man on television. Getting that role had been the best and worst day of her life. Today was the day the scales started to tip back towards the good side and she was going to do everything possible to keep that momentum going.

When the show began almost two years ago, it was one more cable show tucked in among all the others that was thankful for a first season of thirteen episodes. Then it went to air and the world fell in love with the Olympians and their assorted love affairs, wars and tragedies. The second season started with a bang and the show’s popularity exploded exponentially. Today was a non-filming day for the second episode of season three.

Layla snatched the script off her passenger seat and double-checked the dialogue she had to learn for the week. With her face in the pages, she didn’t notice the crack in the pavement just outside her car door. Her toe caught on it and she stumbled as she stepped out of her car. A pair of muscular arms kept her from hitting the pavement.

“Careful, Miss Andrews,” a growly voice whispered in her ear.

Layla didn’t try to stop the shiver that went down her spine. Some women were about the chest or the butt or the face. To be honest, any of those aspects could be appealing. But Layla had two weaknesses, and arms like the ones around her were the first. The deep voice like the one speaking to her was another. In the abstract, they got her every time. These arms and this voice in particular…she was lucky their owner kept her from falling as she went weak in the knees.

She got her high heeled boots tucked underneath her and tried to stand again. She looked into his light brown eyes and smiled. “Thanks, Russ,” she said as she patted his chest. His deeply tanned skin was warm to the touch through his cotton shirt.

The show’s fight coordinator held her a moment longer before letting her go. “You’re welcome, Miss Andrews. You’re early this morning.”

“I have to stop by Hair and Make-up.”

“I won’t keep you then. Have a good day.”

Layla stood in the parking lot, staring blankly at the logo on the wall again as she tried to remember where she was going. Once Russ’s muscular legs vanished around the corner of the building, her brain managed to reboot. She had a consult with her stylist before the table read. She flipped through the rest of the pages to make sure she’d be working with Russ again. The extra hours of training made days incredibly long but working with the show’s fight coordinator was something she never complained about.

She passed a roving security cart as she headed to the hair and make-up trailer, which was a few doors down from hers, separating the stars from the recurring and guest actors. A flood on the soundstage two weeks before filming began for the season had everything topsy-turvy. The main sets had survived but everything else had been moved to portable trailers. Layla knocked on the door and when she didn’t get a response, she pushed it open and went in.

The stylist she saw most often was Erin Thorne, and the woman was in the trailer. The busty blonde hadn’t answered because she was too busy crawling around on her hands and knees, groping for a little packet of white powder that had fallen under one of the styling chairs. A small pile of similar packets sat on top of a manila envelope on the seat of the chair. Color her shocked. Despite Layla’s regular icy demeanor, such things couldn’t be kept secret for long in a stylist/client relationship and she’d never seen the woman high or even heard her talk about drugs.

“Oh, shit!” Erin cried. She stood too quickly and cracked her head on the steel underside of the chair, the thump loud enough for Layla to hear. “Shit, I am so fired.”

Layla didn’t have a chance to answer her before a flush came from the tiny bathroom in the back. The thin door opened and an acne-scarred man in a golf shirt and slacks stepped out. He didn’t bother to look at who he was addressing when he announced, “We’re in a meeting. Get out.”

Despite her personal problems since getting the role of Hera—of which she’d had plenty—Layla had been one hundred percent professional on the job. She knew the name and face of every cast member, crew member, production staffer and studio person that worked on Olympus or who had ever come onto the set. She might not bother talking to them but she recognized them. This guy wasn’t one of her people so professional rules did not apply.

Her good mood chilled and the unamused look she’d worn as a shield for so long slid back into place. “Try that again.”

“Listen, bitch—”

Layla threw the trailer door open. “I need security in here!” She left it open and pointed to the drug stash. “Is that his or yours?” she asked Erin.


“You have about fifteen seconds,” Layla informed him.

The guy scrambled to jam the baggies into his coat pocket. He still had the envelope in his hand when a pair of security guards arrived at the door.

“Is there a problem, Miss Andrews?” the taller one asked.

“I don’t think he has clearance to be here. Unless he was with you, Erin?” Layla looked at the shaking hairdresser. “Is he your boyfriend?”

Erin shook her head and swiped a tear from her cheek. “He won’t leave.”

“I can take care of that.” Layla stared at the guards. “He’ll be leaving the lot now, gentlemen. Thank you.” One took the skinny man’s arm and the other pulled the door shut behind them.

Erin collapsed into the chair and her tears started falling in earnest. “I’m sorry, he’s my ex-boyfriend. I haven’t seen him in months and then the gate called to say he was here to see me and he owes me money so I thought he was finally coming to pay me back,” Erin babbled. “Then he tells me he’s going to pay me in H because he knows there’s a demand on set and you walked in and now I’m broke and fired.”

The tears flowed faster and were joined by shoulder-shaking sobs. Layla had no idea what to do but she knew all about a person’s past sneaking up and ruining everything. She picked the tissue box off the counter and held it out. Erin grabbed a handful of tissues and tried to blot her face. “When did you get fired?” Layla asked.

“You aren’t going to fire me?”

“You don’t work for me.”

Erin sniffled. “I might as well. If you file a complaint, I’m out of here. All because of Dickhead Jeremy.”

“Did you lie to me? Were those drugs yours?”


“Are you using?”

“No! Why do you think I dumped his ass?” She stared at Layla and her breathing evened out a little. “Are you saying you’re not going to say anything?”

“If I ever see you with drugs again, I will. Or if you invite your ex back. For this, no. It wasn’t your fault. I don’t think you should be punished for it.”

Layla braced as Erin launched herself at her. “Oh, thank you, thank you.”

With her arms pretty much pinned to her side, Layla awkwardly patted the woman on the back. She wasn’t the touchy-feely type. At all. “It’s fine.” It took a few more pats before Erin released her. “Is he going to cause you any problems since I got him tossed out of here?”

“I don’t think he’s that stupid.”

“Never underestimate the potential of stupid.” It would bite you in the ass every time. “Do you want me to talk to security at the gate?”

This question earned her another hug, requiring more back patting. When Erin let her go in a rush, Layla fell into the chair and tried to catch her breath.

“Why are you even here?” the stylist asked her.

Layla grabbed the thick black braid that fell down to her waist and hauled it over her shoulder. “We were supposed to talk about an up-do you wanted to try for the next episode.”

“Oh, right.”

She actually had a good time with Erin. The conversation started professionally as they discussed the merits of hair clips versus bobby pins before it veered into bad ex-boyfriends. It was the first time she’d participated in a deeper, personal conversation with her. Layla had listened in for two years as Erin and Suzan, the other hair and make-up artist, chatted over her about their lives but she’d never joined them. Now she found herself in the position of being able to offer advice on how Erin could protect herself from people like Jeremy Bowen who wanted to use her position. She completely skipped the part where she hadn’t taken her own advice until it was too late.

Their chat ran so late that Layla darted into the meeting room just as the clock on the wall flashed over to :01. “Apologies,” she said to the room as she took her seat.

The read went fine until they got to the end of the second act. Layla scanned ahead and swallowed when she saw what was about to happen to her character. She knew that she didn’t have many friends in the cast but, seeing the upcoming scene, she was going to have to lower that number to none.

Two seasons of looking out for only herself had led her to this low point. She had nobody else to blame. Well, there was one other person who wasn’t in the room, so this

situation was on Layla. She had at least one more season, more if the show got lucky. If she was ever going to turn this around, she was going to have to take her lumps and pick herself up from the very bottom, starting now. They finished the scene and every actor at the table looked at her expectantly.

“Is there a problem?” Chris Peck, the show’s lead and her television husband Zeus asked.

“The thing with the wine,” Layla began.

“Jesus, Layla, it’s a joke.” His voice was sharp. Since Chris had found out about her involvement in the car crash that injured his new girlfriend, their already strained professional relationship had been pushed to the very edge. “It’s just a glass of wine, for fuck’s sake.”

“It would be better if he used the bowl of ambrosia on the table.” The gelatin, marshmallow and whipped cream salad would provide a much better visual than a glass of wine as the instigating act of a fight between Hera and Eros.

Sean Glenn – Eros-spat his mouthful of water across the table. “What?”

“It’s a fun episode. If we’re going to do this scene, we might as well go for it and let it deteriorate into an all-out food fight instead of sticking with half measures. The ambrosia would work better, don’t you think?”

Chris stared at her hard. She didn’t say another word.

Finally, Sean spoke. “Layla’s right. It would be funnier.” He looked at Chris’s frown. “I think.” Sean looked over at Warren Reams, the episode’s director. “What do you think?”

It was the man’s first time working on the show and he was still learning the power politics behind the scenes. “I like it. We’ll run with it,” he agreed.

“One thing,” Layla added.

“There it is.” Chris’s hatred practically burned her as she sat silently, not reacting to the insult.

“I know it’s last minute but I’d like Sean and I to work with Russ first. If that stuff spills on the floor, it’s going to be slippery. I’d rather have Sean not land on me.” Sean was a foot and a half taller than her 4’11″.

“What’s slippery? The ambrosia?”

“Jello and whipped cream? Oh, yeah. Once you start wrestling in that stuff, knees and elbows can go flying very easily.”

“How do you know that?” the god of love asked with a leer, much to the enjoyment of the other actors around the table.

“I went to college.”

Sean dropped his glass entirely.


Read the whole thing on July 28th. Pre-orders available from Liquid Silver Books.


DRAMA QUEEN cover reveal

LSB Cover Art Template for PhotoShopI’m thrilled to give you a sneak peak at the cover for DRAMA QUEEN, book 2 in the Hollywood to Olympus series.

Layla Andrews isn’t really a bitch – she just plays one on television. For the last eighteen months, she’s acted like one in real life too while she was forced to serve probation for something she didn’t do. Now the Queen of Olympus has done her time and she’s ready to start living again…but she’s forgotten how.

Russ Vukovick, the show’s fight coordinator, has been attracted to Layla since the first time he saw her. Recently he’s caught glimpses of a new side of her – one that makes her irresistible. But as he gets closer, he also sees more of what she hides beneath the mask she wears.

As Layla and Russ try to navigate their new relationship, families, danger and secrets work against them at every turn. Can they find a true happily-ever-after when they are surrounded by lies?

DRAMA QUEEN is coming July 28th, but check in over the next couple weeks for sneak peeks!

July reading list

free photo booksAfter a particularly miserable June, July has dawned sunny and bright and full of days to read out outside on a lawn chair (mosquitoes permitting.) So what should you be reading? Here’s a list of what I currently have on the go:

SAVING ITALY – THE RACE TO RESCUE A NATION’S TREASURES FROM THE NAZIS by Robert M Edsel.  This is by the same man who wrote the book “The Monuments Men”, recently turned into a movie starring George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray and a ton of other notables. I tried reading that book but I felt it was a little dry after seeing it played out in a much more exciting format on the silver screen. This book is going a lot smoother since I don’t have a preconceived idea of how the story is going to play out. The men and women on the Monuments teams and the locals they worked with were truly exceptional people trying to save little pieces history in the middle of a war so people would have something to come home to. I’m looking forward to the rest of it.

NEVER DEAL WITH DRAGONS by Lorenda Christensen.  Dragons are cool. Sexy dragons are even cooler. Dragons, people, need I say more?

NO IFS, ANDS OR BEARS ABOUT IT by Celia Kyle. I read one of Ms.l Kyle’s freebie books and was not impressed with it but since I like to try at least 2 books by a prolific author to make sure I won’t be missing anything if I scratch them off my list, I found another series and tried it. I’m so glad I did. There’s nothing wrong with sexy shifter series but FUNNY, sexy shifter series are so much better and this one hits the marks. Besides, bears are my favourites of all the shifters. (Yeah, I know that one book ago I said dragons were super cool – and they are – but they still aren’t bears.)

DEAD OR ALIVE by Tom Clancy – The Jack Ryan Jr books are all co-written, but I love them anyway. I have them all but the last 2 made it onto my TBR pile with me actually cracking the covers, so I’m starting over and am currently elbow deep into book 2. Nobody writes thrillers like Clancy.

Then, of course, are my old standbys who have books coming out in July – The Promise by Kristen Ashley and Nikolai (Volume 2) by Roxie Rivera. It’s going to be another tough month on the pocket book.


How badly do you want it?

      Jealously is a nasty companion. The green-eyed monster serves no purpose but to make you feel badly about yourself, but knowing that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with.

The worst part is that you are seldom jealous of strangers. If they have a better job/nicer outfit/sexier spouse, you can make rude comments about how they got them and not feel too badly about it. But when somebody you know – maybe are even friends with – gets something that you want, your options are limited because you know the truth. You know how hard your buddy worked and sacrificed to get the prize you had your eye on. And saying differently just makes you sound like a whiner.

Nobody likes a whiner, and nobody sympathizes.

Somebody is always going to be doing better than you. Somebody is always going to be doing worse. So how do you judge how well you’re doing?

Personally, I have a simple answer. I try to judge my successes in a golf-like manner (which is ironic since I’m not a golfer.) That means, I have to compete only against myself. I try to improve from my last score and move ever forward.

I said it was simple, not easy.

I’m on-line friends with a lot of other authors. Some of them can write a 80,000 word novel in 2 weeks. 5000 words a day? No problem. I’m doing great if I can get 5000 words in a week. Some of them code their own websites, or create their own covers and format their own manuscripts for self-publication. Dude, I know how to turn my lap-top on – be impressed. Some of them have had their first book out of the gate be a breakout bestseller – I’m still looking for a moderate success. Hell, I’ll take a small one. And yet I’m still doing better than others.

To be fair, yes, some of them did get hit with a lucky stick and that part I can be jealous of. Anybody would be. Writers have absolutely no control over how an audience will react to their books. That is lightning striking, pure and simple.

The rest of it is under my control and I cannot be jealous of somebody who works their ass off for their success. Well, I could be but that would just be displaying my ignorance. Writers who have a high-tech promotion schedule and who have studied marketing and business earn every dollar they make. Some work 90 hour weeks. I could do that. I could write 5000 words a day; I did it once. It was a very long day. Frankly, I’m not willing to put in that type of time. The effort/reward ratio isn’t there for me. I also don’t have the motivation. If I were going to lose my house in 60 days, you can be sure I’d find the motivation, but right now I’m plodding along and getting proportionate results. So how can I be jealous if I know I could have what they have if I wanted it badly enough? It’s the downside of being a grown-up. You realize you should be thankful that you don’t get what you deserve, because in most cases what you deserve is a frightening thought; you get out what you put in.

In time, my writing speed will inevitably increase. Practice makes perfect. Fortunately, it’s still early days in this full-time gig. I can train myself to write more and for longer periods. And to stay off the internet (man, is it a productivity killer!) Still, I know that if I want to take it to the next level, I have to take it to the next level.

I think I’m getting to that point.  I’m really enjoying what I am doing now, but there is another truth. As a writer, I will inevitably grow in what I’m capable of and in what I want to write. It’s a natural progression and I’m looking forward to it. To extend the metaphor, if I want to get take it to the next level, it going to be on like Donkey Kong.

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day! I hope wherever you are, you can get out to enjoy this great country of ours. Or, if you’re in Winnipeg (or the whole Man/Sask region) that you aren’t pumping out your basement.

Barbecue! Pop! Chips! Bison burgers! Poutine! (not barbecue food but we have a theme going) Beer! Smarties!  Nanaimo bar! Butter tarts!

Whatever it takes to make today a celebration, I hope you have it.