Monday, April 22, 2013

Sweet Romance Author Donna Wright Shares Her Series and Her Tips

Donna Wright, although raised near New York City, is a country girl at heart.  Born in East Tennessee, she thinks of it as the only place to live.  She’s written stories all her life, but became serious about romance writing in 1997 when she discovered a local chapter of Romance Writers of America®

As an extremely active member of the Smoky Mountain Romance Writers, she entered all the contests they sponsored. After being a finalist in several of them, she won one that bragged Erin Niumata as the final round judge. Erin offered her a contract as soon as the book was finished and the rest is history.

 Donna now has four books with Avalon/Montlake called the TENNESSEE: LOVE series. She has spoken at the Romance Writers of America® National conference, and several other conferences and chapter meetings.

Donna's Advice:
The Cautionary Tale by Donna Wright

I was once asked that if I could give new writers advice, what it would be. I think that there are 2 pieces of advice that I would like to share. I hope that someone will benefit from my experience.

First, Be careful.
I can’t stress this enough. Let me explain why. There are several choices writers can make that can damage their careers. First, be careful who you do business with. If you have been offered a contract with and agent, check her out. Compare her contract with others. Is this agency trying to charge you anything up front? No?  Then, they pass the first test. But, make sure you have all your ducks in a row, you’ve done your research and you are going into the relationship with your eyes open.

Be careful what you say and to whom you say it. If you have a beef with someone in the business, keep it among friends. That doesn’t mean all your Facebook friends. It means keep your business your business. Publishing is a small community and everyone knows everyone. Maybe today you aren’t looking for a contract with New York, but plans change. If you look at the face of publishing today it doesn’t look remotely like it did ten years ago. Who knows what it will be another ten years? Cover yourself by keeping your cards close to the vest. Lastly, with all this talk of what publishing is like today, know your industry. It changes almost by the minute. Whatever you decide to do whether it is New York, indie publishing, or finding an agent go into it with your eyes open. Bottom line: Know your stuff.

And the other piece of advice:

I hope you find these thoughts helpful. And, I wish you all the best in writing.


The Tennessee: Love Series by award-winning author Donna Wright takes place in the small fictional city of Ft White, TN. 

In book one; we meet two attorneys who are fighting the biggest custody battle in the state. After much ado they realize the child is really a pot bellied pig, Joey. This little guy appears in all four books and keeps the reader laughing while playing match maker. 

For More About Donna Wright:
Please welcome Donna to Sweet Not Spicy by leaving a comment below. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Please Welcome Shirley Martin, Author of Enchanted Cottage, a Sweet, Discreet, Unique Romance

Shirley Martin
About Shirley Martin
Born near Pittsburgh, Shirley Martin attended the University of Pittsburgh. After graduating from "Pitt", she taught school for one year, then obtained a position as a flight attendant with Eastern Airlines. Based in Miami, she met her future husband there. After raising three sons, she devoted her time to writing, something she had always wanted to do.

Shirley Shares How Enchanted Cottage Was Created 

It was fun to write Enchanted Cottage. Whenever I write a novel, I do a rough plot that gives me an idea of where I want the book and the characters to go. I do a Goal, Motivation, and Conflict chart for my main characters, external and internal. Before I started on Enchanted Cottage I wondered what it would be like if a wicked witch placed a curse on a beautiful woman. In this case, Alana is the beautiful woman whose curse makes her break out in ugly purple spots on her face. At the same time, the witch places a curse on the village that causes many of the villagers to die. Then the witch blames the deaths on Alana, and she is chased from her village. She finds a strange cottage in the forest and makes her home there.

Enter the hero, Colin, a mercenary soldier who's been demoted and badly wounded in battle. On the way home to recover, he takes a shortcut through the woods and comes across this isolated cottage in the woods. There in this strange cottage, Alana and Colin find they can help each other. There, too, they find that true love can break a curse.

Enchanted Cottage
Avador Book 3

An evil witch places a curse on Alana Cullain, turning the once beautiful woman into an ugly hag. Chased from her village, Alana seeks sanctuary in the dark forest. There she finds a strange cottage, one she had never seen before,and makes her home there.

Demoted and badly wounded in battle, mercenary soldier Colin Duffrey heads home to recover. Along the way, he discovers a cottage in the midst of a forest and finds refuge there. 

A woman, marred on the outside, and a man, afflicted on the inside, meet in an isolated cottage. There, they learn that they can help each other. And with a bit of magic, miracles can happen.

Find Shirley Martin at: 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Anne Ashby Shares The CEO Gets Her Man

Leave a comment and your e-mail address for your chance to win a PDF copy of  The CEO Gets Her Man - or, if you've already read CEO, you can choose one of Anne's backlist stories.

Anne Ashby grew up in a very small coastal town in Southland, New Zealand. An eagerness to travel, fostered by her mother, led her to join the Royal NZ Navy where she enjoyed a very satisfying career. She has travelled extensively and lived in Singapore and Maryland USA. Her stories are either set in NZ or have NZ characters. It is her dream to bring something of her beautiful country to romance readers everywhere.  Anne has a keen interest in genealogy, an obsession for rugby and a definite dislike of housework. Anne has recently begun speaking and teaching about the skills required for romance writing. When not reading or writing, Anne finds plenty to occupy her time with her family commitments. She lives in Auckland with her husband and the youngest of their four children.

Anne Tells Us How The CEO Gets Her Man Was Born -Hi, thanks for having me visit with you today. I thought I would tell you a little about the 'birth' of my latest book The CEO Gets Her Man.
A few years ago my older sister took me to task (as older siblings are prone to do) about the settings for my stories. She pointed out that while I have based most of them in New Zealand, I had never set a story in Southland where I grew up and my extended family live. It took me some time to come up with the idea, but The CEO is primarily set around my childhood home. I changed the name of the town from Riverton to Riversleigh so I couldn't be 'caught out' by possible changes since I left the area to join the Navy, and to disguise the most certain fact that this quiet backwater of a town would never be the location of a 5 star resort hotel despite its beautiful coastline. But as writers we're allowed a little poetic licence and I used this to the max.
The title is pretty cheesy, isn't it? I admit I'm not good at coming up with titles, but this one sort of struck me right away. I figure it tells a reader up front quite a bit about the story. My heroine is a CEO, so we can assume she's hard-nosed, focused, confident and not one to suffer fools gladly. That's Debra! Or at least the persona she projects to the world. Badly duped by a relationship in the past, she's determined no-one will ever take advantage of her again. Learning someone is skimming money from one of her hotels is enough to send her into attack mode. No one cheats Debra Laurie!

Since reading some of the reviews of The CEO, I admit there are a couple of things I could have done differently. But I don't regret the abrupt change of location two thirds the way through the story. Once Debra unearths the culprits, her job at Riversleigh is done. It would have been totally out of character for her to stay even a moment longer. By transferring the story to Wellington, and her home ground, she regroups and returns to the cold, hard businesswoman that had been showing signs of crumbling under Jase's influence and in the friendliness of Southland. I believe presenting a new situation in Wellington where Jase gets the upper hand allows for the continuing thaw in her character which eventually leaves them together. Having that change occur completely in Riversleigh would have had me as a reader asking "what about when she goes back home?" The CEO isn't a 'holiday' romance where you're left pondering that question. You find out what happens when Debra's life returns to 'normal'.
NB: CEO is a sweet romance, but it is a modern contemporary - there is the inference of sex (outside of marriage) behind closed doors

Leave a comment and your e-mail address for your chance to win a PDF copy of  The CEO Gets Her Man - or, if you've already read CEO, you can choose one of my backlist stories.

What The CEO Gets Her Man is about -
Ensuring her company's success is Debra Laurie’s life. But when she goes undercover to investigate a failing hotel in southern New Zealand, she finds her confidence crumbling. Masquerading as a waitress is a disaster—especially when the hotel’s assistant manager is a former rugby star she once had a crush on.

Jase McEwan is struggling to keep the hotel afloat. An unpredictable manager, ridiculous demands from the head office, and employee unrest are problems enough. Now a haughty new waitress is causing mayhem in the restaurant—and in his heart.

Determined to be impartial, Debra sets out to discover if Jase is responsible for the hotel’s drastic situation. But the more she investigates, the more she likes his work—and the more their attraction sizzles. Before long, Jase has turned Debra’s world upside-down. But what happens when he learns the new waitress is really his CEO?

Buy link:     
Currently part of the Amazon KDP programme this story is only available through Amazon until 15 April 2013 when it will be released in both print and digital format by The Wild Rose Press. Until it's full release it's on sale!
Get your copy here for half price!

Remember to comment with your e-mail address for a chance to get a free copy of The CEO Gets Her Man, a sweet, discreet book, with some sensuality.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sweet Romance Freebie March 1 Thru March 3

For our Sweet Romance Readers --
Her Handyman
by Morgan Mandel
Here's your chance to get a free copy of Her Handyman, a romantic comedy chick lit featuring a hardworking guy, a zany artist and a crazy dog. When Jake the handyman answers a frantic call in the middle of the night about a bathroom flood, little does he know his perfectly laid out life is about to be disrupted!

Mark your Calendar for March 1 through March 3 and get your freebie copy of Her Handyman at:

Monday, February 18, 2013

Leanne Tyler Shares Ava, her Love Letters Novel

Ava by
Leanne Tyler
When You Are Clueless, You can Still Find Love, says Leanne Tyler

When my editor asked me to write a novella for the Love Letters series I agreed. She told me about this a few months before the actual call for submissions went out so I began trying to come up with a story idea. After a few attempts at it, I found I was getting nowhere. This was frustrating, but I finally had inspiration hit while watching adaptation of Emma by Jane Austen. I had always loved that story. I even liked the teen flick Clueless with Alicia Silverstone. At first it wasn’t the matchmaking schemes of Emma that attracted me to the films. It was Emma and Mr. Knightly or Cher and her older step brother once removed. In other words, it was the potential for romance between the characters that drew me into the story.

However, that isn’t what inspired me when I tried to write my Love Letter story. It was the matchmaking. I thought what if Ava did the same thing and what if John tries to stop her. And what if John is secretly in love with Ava, but she is too clueless to notice? And then there was the character of Miss Jane Tippens. She was the perfect lamb for Ava to meddle in her life. I even heard Toni Collette’s voice in my head as Harriet Smith every time Jane spoke. (Yes, I hear voices in my head when I’m writing. I think most writers do!) I had lots of fun writing this American inspired story. And I hope you will enjoy reading it too.

What is Ava About?

Ava Monroe loves matchmaking and even though she promised her best friend John she'd stop, she can't. Determined to find her new friend Jayne a suitable mate, Ava even contemplates matching her with John. 

John Franklin wishes nothing more than to marry Ava, but she is too engrossed in her mischief to see his love. Taking matters into his own hands, John attempts to foil Ava's match for Jayne by proving love is better left to fate than a matchmaker.

Can a clueless matchmaker and a literary scholar find happiness when she breaks her promise to him?

Buy Links:
About Leanne Tyler:

Award winning author, Leanne Tyler lives in the South and her writing reflects her heritage. She writes Sweet and somewhat Sensual Southern romances whether historical or contemporary. Leanne's debut release Victory's Gate was the 2007 American Rose winner of the Through the Garden Gate contest and was released electronically by The Wild Rose Press in December 2007. Finally in December 2009 the Through the Garden Gate Anthology became available in print and includes the four winning entries.
Stepping into the Contemporary circle, she debuted with her Class of '85 Reunion story It's Always Been You in August 2011. And her first full-length historical novel Season of Love (Nov. 2011) is a time-travel set in 1850 Charleston, SC. A recent release from Books to Go Now A Country Kitchen Christmas (Feb. 2012) is a light inspirational romance. In May and August 2012 the first two books of The Good Luck Series was released from Amazon The Good Luck Charm and The Good Luck Spell. Ava, a novella in the Love Letters Series was released in November 2012.
She invites readers to step into her world and enjoy the passion.
Author website/blog site:
Twitter: @LeanneTyler

Monday, February 4, 2013

Stephanie Burkhart Has A Polish Heart to Share!

 If You Could Speak a 2nd Language...By: Stephanie Burkhart

If you could learn another language…
Growing up, I always wanted to learn French. My hometown, Manchester, New Hampshire, is the 2nd largest French speaking city in America. (New Orleans is #1). I love listening to French being spoken. The accents and words have such a natural flow and graceful feel to my ear. I took 3 years of French in high school and I wish I could have taken more.
I have to say my high school offered a wide variety of languages, too. There was German, Spanish, Latin, and Greek.
I have a lot of respect for those who can speak a 2nd language. It requires a talent, a tenancy, a passion for learning, and a dedication that I admire.
For my day job, I work for LAPD as a 911 dispatcher and we staff 4 dedicated lines for Spanish, so if we have a person calling in who only speaks Spanish, we can transfer them to our Spanish lines. Our Spanish interpreters are sharp, witty, have a sense of humor, but also caring, sensitive, and kind – very well rounded if you ask me.
That's how I envisioned my interpreter, Sofia, in "A Polish Heart." She's kind, caring, and sharp. She adores her family and loves her country. When Sofia meets Darrin, she wants to do a good job interpreting for him. Her wholehearted honesty shines through and that's an inner quality, which Darrin can't help but be attracted to.
Question: If you could learn a 2nd language, which one would it be? Why?

A Polish Heart Answers the Question:

Will Sofia's faith give Darrin his heart back?

Enjoy this Excerpt:  

The train came to his stop. He walked up the stairs and found Sofia waiting for him, her auburn highlights shining in the sunlight. Her face glowed like a rare gem.

"Hi, yourself," she replied. The warmth of her smile echoed in her voice.

Darrin fell in step beside her and pointed to a busy market square filled with retail shops.
"So, why do you want a prepaid phone?" she asked. Her chocolate eyes sparkled up at him.

"Well, I want something local so you don't have to make an international call to reach me."

"I'd like for you to be able to call me, and I thought it would be smart to put the construction company's number in there as well."
"All right." She paused. "Do you like veal?"

"I do."
"Mama's making breaded veal chops for dinner. She wants me to stop by the local market for a fresh loaf of bread and vegetables. Do you like peppers and corn?"

"Papa also wants me to buy a bottle of his favorite vodka so he can share it with you."

"Interestingly, you have his approval."
"I do? How did that happen?"

"I suspect he was very impressed with the fact you opened the door for me last night."

"I was just being a gentleman."
"Papa says there aren't very many gentlemen left in the world."


"Sofia and Darrin's story is a heartwarming one. Totally enjoyable read." - Tara Manderino, Amazon Reader



Please welcome Stephanie by leaving a comment.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Larriane aka Larion Wills Shares Cross of Death, Her Historical Fantasy Romance

Larriane aka Larion Wills
Larriane Wills, a multi-genre author, also writes under the name of LarionWills. From science fiction to western romances she holds up to her tag of ‘two names, one author, thousands of stories.’
Two names, one author, thousands of stories.
 Born in Oklahoma, but raised in Arizona she feels a native to the state and has settled in the high desert country in a quiet, rural area with a family who tolerates her writer’s single-mindedness and their two dogs. As Larriane she presents us with new worlds in fantasy and science fiction adventures. Larion creates  a series of unique westerns while still producing contemporary romances, many laced with paranormal settings. All possess strong characterizations and suspenseful plots, capable of dragging you into a story in a genre you thought you didn’t care for. 
At her website, , you can keep abreast of releases under both pen names, keep up with new releases through various publishers, and she invites you to contact her at

Cross of Death, previous published as The Knowing. Historical fantasy romance.
Cross of Death by
Larriane Wills
What it's About:
Garran of Lockmer, a soldier for hire, knew an ancient prophecy had marked him as Atat Comm and turned him into the hunted by those who carried the Cross of Death. Still he sought a normal life. Able to leave battle, he became the Governor of Sheritan.

Princess Fayahstella, future Queen of Ives, fled from Caslock, the conqueror of her nation, seeking sanctuary in Sheritan. She can be no more than a helpless pawn to Garran to use the time of negotiations with Caslock surrender her to safely evacuate the people he governed. He cannot consider her freedom more important.

Still, when the sun dawns, the princess has disappeared, Garran is a prisoner on his way to Caslock’s torture chambers, refusing to say where she has gone, and fractions of an ancient religion struggled to fulfill the prophecy, one to save him and another to kill.

Garran and Evemet had received only a few hastily spoken words from the messenger as guidance in what protocol they were to follow. They had been told not to approach her and not to speak till she gave them leave to do so. Garran and Evemet, slightly behind him, did not move or speak. Likewise, the princess did not speak or move, nor did the ladies behind her.
As the seconds passed, Evemet said from the side of his mouth, "Mayhap something is expected of us."
"You will forgive me, my Princess," a male voice said from behind the women, and a dark shape slithered through the door. Wearing a black, heavy silk cassock, he moved forward. His movements, controlled in mincing little steps beneath the folds of his garment, disturbed not the gold link chain around his waist with a cross of Oldspushner hanging from it. The skirt of his garment didn't move at all, giving the impression he glided to where he stopped a few feet from Garran, his hooded eyes flickering over the governor's plain, gray uniform in distaste.
Garran stiffened at the sight of him and set his jaw firmly. Beside him Evemet, who knew well the signs of Garran's anger, drew a breath and held it.
"You will kneel," the priest ordered.
 "I will not," Garran returned coldly.
A collective gasp came from the ladies. Garran, stone-faced and rigid, ignored it. The priest, his height considerably less than Garran's, jerked up straight and slid closer.
"I am High Priest Bashsay, Consular to the King, Guardian to Princess Fayahstella, future Queen of Ives. You will kneel to her."
Garran responded tersely. "She is not my sovereign, and you are not in Ives."
Both Garran and Evemet had heard stories of the royal voice, given to the princess, it was said, by Oldspushner to protect her from evil. They were not prepared, however, for the assault on their senses when the princess spoke. The high-pitched sound pierced their eardrums and grated upon their nerves. Evemet visibly flinched, and though Garran maintained better control, he grimaced slightly.
"Why do you insult us?" She maintained her still posture despite the volume of her voice. "’Tis no carpet for our feet to walk upon, no reception of prominence, we are shown to an office of business, and greeted by servants in common dress!"
"We had no proper notice of your arrival," Garran snapped. "And with circumstances considered, we felt the less attention the better."
Bashsay snarled, "Is not for you to speak of our circumstances."
With the emphasis on the single word, you in the sentence, he conveyed not just disrespect for Garran but contempt. Evemet moaned softly over the look in Garran's eyes, but the priest, too arrogant to notice, continued.
"You will evacuate the mansion. The—"
"Nay," Garran said quietly, but coldly. "You came to us requesting sanctuary, not by our invitation. I will put no citizen of Sheritan from their quarters to accommodate—"
"The Supreme presence demands respect!" Bashsay shouted furiously.
"She is a guest of the Sheritan people. No Sheritan citizen will kneel to her, and she will respect the beliefs of her hosts as any guest of good manners."
A shrill hiss rent the air, making even Garran flinch. Everyone knew where it came from, but looking at the princess it was impossible to tell she had made any sound at all. She made no perceptible movement until giving time for every eye to be upon her, as if they would not be. When she did move, the gesture was so slight Garran and Evemet nearly missed it. However, none of her ladies, nor Bashsay, missed the bare flick of her hand.
Although astonished and confused, the ladies responded to the command. In a well-practiced move, they stepped backwards and sideways at the same time, fitting between one another in line as they backed out the door.
Bashsay, whose astonishment turned to anger, slid toward her, his hands folded together at his chest and his head bowed. He spoke to her in an urgent whisper, and she hissed at him.
"Do you want this man to leave?" Garran asked. His cold, dark gaze met Bashsay's muddy green one when the priest turned toward him.
Her high-pitched whine answered him. "That is our command!"
"Show him out," Garran told Evemet.
"You take too much on yourself," Bashsay retorted at Garran and turned back to the princess. "If you persist in this forbidden—"
Bashsay cringed at her double hiss while Evemet rushed forward to push him from the room, moving both to save his own ears and to prevent a possible explosion from Garran.
Changing tactics, Bashsay moved ahead of Evemet to prevent being touched and told Garran, "You will speak only of matters concerning our brief stay. Matters of the royal house are forbidden."
She responded with the royal voice shriek. "The door will close with leaving!"
Evemet stopped in the act of shutting the door from inside the room to look to Garran for instruction. Evemet assumed she meant for him to leave as well, since Bashsay was already in the hall, deep in shocked whispers with the ladies.
Curious then as well as angered, Garran asked, "Did you wish for my second to leave as well?"
Evemet mouthed, "Use caution," and shut the door softly.
With choked down anger, Garran tried courtesy again. "Would you care for some refreshments?"
"Our veil of innocence prohibits consumption of food or drink in other than the privacy of our chambers!" she screeched
"Are you permitted to sit?" he asked sarcastically.
"If a proper connivance is provided!"
"If our furniture…." He looked at the nearest chair and broke off. The chair was too narrow to accommodate her extravagant gown. A quick look around told him what he already knew, since it had vexed him repeatedly. All the chairs were narrow between the arms. She seemed to have already made the same assessment and moved toward him.
Where Bashsay had seemed to glide, she seemed to float. Despite the weight of the train pulling the front of her skirts back, not once did the movement of her legs ripple the fabric. Fascinating to watch to such a degree, he stared and jolted when she spoke again in the piercing sound, especially since she was only a few feet away from him.
He asked sharply, "Must you speak so?"
In a whisper so low he found himself leaning forward to hear her, she told him, "It is required, and Priest Bashsay will be listening. Tell us quickly what you know of our circumstances."
She caught him off guard by revealing herself as a person beneath her tower of silk, feathers, and gold ornaments. He recovered with biting sarcasm. "Matters of the royal house are forbidden," he quoted, throwing Bashsay's parting words at her.
To gauge the effect of his words upon her was impossible. Her face and any expression there might be was invisible behind the cloth of her shroud. Even her eyes were obscured. The heavy clothing masked her body movement, and her shrieking voice hid all emotion. Yet he was sure she was angry enough, had she been able, she would have spun and stalked to the door. As it was, hampered by her elaborate dress, she walked a rapid circle with the heavy train dragging behind her. She still seemed to float, but at a much quicker pace until she stood at a distance from the door equal to its swinging width where she stood silent and motionless.
It took a moment for Garran to realize why she didn't just leave. "Can't you even open a door?"
Using the royal voice again, she told him, "You are beneath me! You may do so!"
"I am not a servant, nor will I be treated as such in my own quarters. Call for Bashsay. No doubt he is lurking just beyond the door."
In the barest of whispers she answered. "He always lurks."
This is a new Buy link that bypassed the hot page, but it does still have the same heading:
It isn't on amazon yet, but I can send that link when it goes up. It's only been on the site two days. Below are my links.