Tag Archive | contemporary

Guest Interview: Author Jenna Rutland

Today my guest is Jenna Rutland, a fellow member of the Maumee Valley chapter of Romance Writers of America. Jenna writes contemporary romances and her first novel, Just For the Summer, was released on March 11, 2013 by Entangled Publishing.

jennaHow long have you been writing? I’ve been a romance reader since I was a teenager and have always been a daydreamer, but the interest in writing started about 15 years ago. After every story I read, I found myself coming up with different scenarios for the characters or different endings to the stories. It made me wonder if I had the ability to write.

What author(s) have most influenced your writing? Most of the well-known authors—Nora Roberts, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Janet Evanovich—have all made me a better writer. I have studied one author in particular – Rachel Gibson. Her characters are genuine, her storytelling is flawless, and her sense of humor all add up to the perfect read for me. I have all her books and some of my favorites are pretty worn!

Do you have a favorite quote or saying? My family will tell you that I say “happy medium” more than they’d like to hear. But that phrase can be used for everything in our life. With so much to juggle between working, writing, spending time with family, etc., I think the only way we can stay sane is to avoid trying to give everything our all, which only opens you up for failure.

Every writer dreams of getting “the call.” What were you doing when yours came? Who got to hear the good news first? I wish I had a glamorous story to share. But in truth, I was sick that day and had been for several days. When the phone rang, I was actually lying in bed dosing. I checked out caller ID and saw the name of the editor who’d requested my full. I ran into my office and grabbed up the phone to learn it was “the call.” Afterwards, I sat in a daze for a minute before dancing around my office, my upset stomach forgotten. Crying with excitement, I called my husband first. Because of my wavering voice, he thought I was calling to say I was feeling worse. Instead, I got to say the words I’d dreamed to say for a long time, “I sold my book!”

What are your favorite pastimes? I love to cook. I like to read through cookbooks just for the fun of it. Enjoying a good meal with family and friends always makes me happy. Gardening gives me a great deal of pleasure but, of course, in Southeast Michigan we have only the summer months for that. I’ve recently started an herb garden that I’m thrilled about. But nothing beats sitting on the floor playing with my sweet granddaughter!

Just For The Summer.jpg - high resolution copy 2About Just For the Summer

His temptation. Her secret. Their summer.

Dani Sullivan has come to Lake Bliss to write her latest cookbook…and to see if the baby she gave up for adoption eight years ago is happy. When she’s done with her reconnaissance, she plans to return to Detroit without any doubts about past decisions. But when she sees her little boy—indeed happy despite living with his single dad—she finds she can’t keep her promise to stay away…from her son or from his flirtatious father, who has no idea of her true identity.

Recently divorced sheriff Matt Reagan is ready for a new relationship, but he doesn’t want short-term—his son needs permanence, and so does Matt’s heart. Unfortunately, it’s the smart-mouthed and sinfully sexy Ms. Sullivan who catches his eye. But when Matt learns Dani’s secrets, will hne still want her to stay? Or will her chance for love last just for the summer?

Excerpt from Just For the Summer is available on the Entangled web site.

About the Author

Jenna Rutland lives in a small Michigan community with her husband, son and senior cat. Her daughter and son-in-law have recently given Jenna the awesome title of grandmother!

While her days are spent working as a medical transcriptionist, her nights are filled writing contemporary romance—stories of love, laughter and happily ever after. Guess which occupation is more fun?

She is a member of RWA and is active in her local chapter. After several years on the MVRWA board, she now chairs the group’s annual fall brainstorming weekend as well as acts as food coordinator for several other events.

Jenna takes pleasure in spending time with her family. She also enjoys reading, gardening and loves the challenge of a new recipe.

Jenna welcomes the chance to connect with writers and readers. For more information, head to her website, and hang out with Jenna on Facebook and Twitter.

Website:     http://www.jennarutland.com

Facebook:    http://www.facebook.com/JennaRutlandAuthor

Twitter:       http://twitter.com/jennarutland

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/jennarutland

Guest Interview: Author Carol Preflatish

My guest today is Carol Preflatish, who has a new contemporary romance out by the name of A Kitchen Affair. Welcome, Carol, and thanks for the Chocolate Rum Cheesecake Recipe too! Sounds luscious…and sinful. Just what I like!

Thanks, Susana, for hosting me here today. I love connecting with readers and I think interviews are a great way for them to get to know me.

What inspired you to start writing?

Ever since I was a kid in elementary school, I have loved to write. I took every composition class I could in high school. I did the same in college, but that wasn’t very many since the school’s English program emphasized literature.

CPreflatish_smsmHow long have you been writing?

My New Year’s Resolution for the Millennium was to write a complete novel. Hoping to get it published would have been frosting on the cake. It took me until 2009 to sign my first publishing contract.

What comes first, the plot or the characters? 

The last few ideas I’ve come up with for books have started with one character and then I build upon that. But, that’s not to say that I haven’t started with a plot idea because I have.

Are you working on something at present you would like to tell us about?

I’m trying to finish a novella about a cowboy. I have recently found that I love writing about cowboys, so there may be more of those stories to come.

What books or authors have most influenced your own writing? 

My favorite author is the last Robert B. Parker. I love how he can spin a mystery that brings you into the story to figure out who did it.

What did you want to be when you grew up? 

During my first year of high school, I wanted to be a laboratory technician, but chemistry thought me that I wouldn’t be able to do that. I graduated college with a physical education degree, but have never taught. I ended up going into social services instead.

What is your favorite food? Least favorite? Why?

I love food so much, it’s hard to decide on just one thing. I suppose it would be chicken. I think I could eat it every day and have loads of recipes to prepare it different ways. My least favorite is easy, coconut. I can’t stand it on anything and I don’t really know why.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? 

Normally, I’m a plotter and have my book roughly plotted out when I start on a new project. However, with the novella I am working on right now, I’m a pantser. I sit down and just start typing. So far, it’s worked out well.

What would we find under your bed? 

Oh my gosh, I would hate for anyone to look under my bed. I think right now you would find some of my daughter’s toys from twenty years ago, books that I read at night before falling asleep, and several pairs of shoes.

Do you write in multiple genres or just one? If just one, do you ever consider straying outside your genre?

I usually write romantic suspense, but I have plans to work on a police procedural mystery series. I have the first three books started with ideas for at least three more.

What is something you’d like to accomplish in your writing career next year?

I’m hoping to get four books released this year. I think I can get three of them out, but the fourth may be pushing it. I’d love for one of those books to be that first police procedural.

Thanks again for having me here today. For anyone wanting to keep up with my writing, you can find my web page at http://CarolPre.webs.com or on my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/AuthorCarolPreflatish.

hA Kitchen Affair

When culinary student Jenny Marshall struggles to pay her tuition, she decides to become a Personal Chef to make ends meet. When the most eligible bachelor in town, Derek James, has a crisis, he hires Jenny to cook for his party and there’s chemistry from the start. Then, a manager at his company sets her sights on Derek and does everything she can to sabotage the relationship. What lengths will she go to in order to keep Derek and Jenny apart?

Here’s a recipe of one of the desserts that Jenny prepares in the book for Derek’s dinner party.

Chocolate Rum Cheesecake

For the crust:

  • 1 1/4 c. crushed chocolate wafers
  • 1/4 c. cocoa
  • 2 T. sugar
  • 1/4 c. melted butter

For the filling:

  • 2 – 8 oz packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 – 12 oz. packages semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 t. almond extract
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1/3 c. rum
  • 2/3 c. sour cream

Preheat the oven to 300°f. Grease a spring form pan.

To make the crust, combine chocolate wafer crumbs, sugar, cocoa, and melted butter. Press into bottom of spring form pan and chill.

To make the filling, beat the cream cheese until it’s smooth adding sugar gradually. Add in eggs one at a time and mix at low speed. Add cooled chocolate, vanilla, almond extract, rum, and sour cream. Beat at low speed until completed blended. Pour into the spring form pan and bake for 1 hour. After the hour, turn off the oven, but leave the cake in for one hour longer. Cool at room temperature and then chill for at least 24 hours before serving.

Guest Interview: Authors Patricia Kiyono and Stephanie Michels

Susana: Today I’m pleased to introduce Patricia Kiyono and Stephanie Michaels, who are the co-authors of  The Calico Heart. Welcome to Susana’s Morning Room!

Patricia: Thanks for inviting us, Susana. We love to chat with readers!

Susana: When you write, what comes first, the plot or the characters?

Stephanie: It can be either for me. Sometimes I hear a quotation and it triggers a whole series of ideas that give me an idea for a story. Other times, I’ll see a picture in a magazine or on a billboard and I get a flash of an idea for a story about the person.

Patricia: For me, the plot comes more quickly than the characters. My story ideas tend to start with a conflict, and then I select characters who would be most affected by that conflict.

Susana: Are you working on something at present you would like to tell us about?

Patricia: I’m working on a sequel to my historical series, and we’re both hard at work on the next few stories in the Stitching Post series, as well as promoting!

Susana: What are you reading now?

Stephanie: I’m pretty much addicted to reading, so I always have several books going at once. I don’t know how it started, but I’ve been doing it for years. Currently, I’m reading the latest Gemma Halliday High Heels mystery Danger in High Heels on my Kindle, Kay Springsteen’s The Toymaker on my iPad, and I have an old Nelson DeMille paperback, The Lion’s Game on my bed table.

Patricia: On my ipad I have the kindle, nook and ibook apps with several books loaded on each app. Right now I’m reading The Ebay Plot by Charles Salter, The Ice Captain’s Daughter by SG Rogers, and Vidal’s Honor by Sherry Gloag. And on the end table next to me are several hardcover books I have for research.

Susana: What is your work schedule like when writing?

Stephanie: I am a real night owl, especially now that I don’t have to get up for a job in the morning. It’s nothing for me to start writing at 7 or 8 PM and write through the night.  I do not recommend this! It makes for a crazy lifestyle.  For example, I often am just signing off the computer to go to bed (I seldom sleep more than 5 hours) when Patty is getting out of bed to start her day.

Patricia: Each day of the week is different for me. My natural inclination is to be a night owl, but right now I’m working three days a week at a bakery and have to punch in at 4 am. I like to have at least two cups of coffee and a good breakfast before I start my day, so I get up at 2 am, open my laptop and check email and social media, and then write (while eating the breakfast my wonderful hubby fixes me) before going to work. I use a website called 750 Words as a way to keep myself motivated to write, and most days I’m able to get my minimum word count before I start my workday. Then after I get home from work at noon I work on editing what I wrote that morning, or take care of promotion, unless I have other family commitments. On days I don’t work at the bakery I teach at a local university, so my writing happens after I’m done grading papers and answering student emails, and I’m still up pretty early.

Susana: What is your favorite food? Least favorite? Why?

Stephanie: My favorite food – Prime rib, medium rare, served with creamy horseradish sauce not au jus. I love that combination of flavors.  My least favorite food is probably stewed tomatoes, because I don’t like the texture.  Of course there are some foods (like brains and tongue) that I simply refuse to try!

Patricia: Chocolate! I love any kind – dark chocolate, milk chocolate or white chocolate, in almost any form. There’s not much I don’t like, but I remember on one trip to Japan my aunt served raw eel, and that didn’t go down my throat too well.

Susana: Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book. Where would you most likely want to go?

Stephanie: Well, if our publisher, Stephanie Taylor, is listening, I’d love to visit The Texas Quilt Museum to get more ideas of vintage quilt patterns for our Stitching Post Quilt Shop Romance series.  But, seriously, I’ve always wanted to write a historical set in Czechoslovakia, where my ancestors lived. And I wouldn’t turn down an opportunity to go to Australia, Hawaii or somewhere warm since I have 6” of snow on my deck right now.

Patricia: My historical series is set in Japan, and although I’ve been there a few times to visit relatives, I haven’t been to the island of Hokkaido, where my stories are set. I’d love to go there. And I agree with Stephanie Michels, a trip to anywhere warm would be wonderful!

Susana: I would agree with that thought…anywhere warm is good, particularly this winter! Thanks again for coming today, ladies. I can’t wait to hear more about The Stitching Post Romances!


TheCalicoHeartsmThe Calico Heart is the first of The Stitching Post Romances, a series of stories about a group of women who belong to a quilt club in Grandville, Michigan. Here’s the book blurb:

On the surface, Sylvia Miller has a perfect life. She’s married to her college sweetheart, has three great kids, a rewarding career, and wonderful friends. But beneath the appearances, Sylvia is restless. She loves her husband, but wants to see more of the world than their peaceful Michigan town. For years, she’s dreamed of the interesting places she wants to visit. Now, their youngest child is grown, and Sylvia is ready for adventure.

Left a penniless orphan, David Miller promised himself his family would never know the same humiliation. For twenty-six years, he and Sylvia have lived frugally, saving for the future. Now, Dave is on the brink of a promotion that will ensure their financial security, but Sylvia wants him to retire and travel with her.


patriciasmAbout Patricia: During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level.

She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her children and grandchildren. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures.

About Stephanie: Stephanie Michels considers herself a “Jill of All Trades” having worked as a computer trainer, advertising copywriter, cosmetologist, personnel agent, radio DJ, magazine columnist, and a financial planner among other things. She recently left the corporate world to focus full time on her writing.

stephaniesmShe was raised in Michigan but has also lived in Ohio, South Carolina, Missouri, and Germany. When her children were young, she returned to the Mitten State to raise them near family.


The Calico Heart is available at Astraea Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other ebook outlets.

Patricia Kiyono can be found at her blog, on facebook, and twitter (@PatriciaKiyono)

Stephanie Michels can be found at her blog, on Facebook, and her website

Guest Interview: Author Kristina Knight


My guest today is Kristina Knight, a fellow member of the Maumee Valley chapter of the Romance Writers of America. Kristi had three books published last year by Crimson Romance and was up for Best New Author of the Year in the Sizzling PR blog poll. She has truly been an inspiration to the rest of us in the group!

Welcome to Susana’s Morning Room, Kristi. It’s an honor to have you with us today. What inspired you to start writing?

I’ve always had a love affair with books. First it was reading them, but before long I was daydreaming along with the books I read. When I read Grimm’s Fairy Tales I wanted to change them to be happy stories, and when I read The Three Musketeers I wondered what might have happened if the Musketeers had been girls like me…eventually, the stories in my head were all my own and I wrote them down.

What advice would you give writers just starting out?

Keep learning. Take workshops, practice, practice, practice…and own what you write. Don’t make excuses for writing romance or fantasy or whatever you write. Own it.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

I don’t believe in writer’s block, actually. That doesn’t mean I wake up every day cheering about my story. Some days I hate what I’m writing, but I think a lot of writers get stuck or go in a wrong direction and blame writer’s block rather than trying to work through the problem. Instead of completely stopping my progress, I look at the chapter or maybe 2 chapters before the spot that is giving me problems and try to figure out where I’ve gone wrong. 

What comes first, the plot or the characters?

Characters and usually a beginning scene…and from there, the rest falls into place.

Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.

What a Texas Girl Needs is the second in my Texas Girl series. Vanessa wasn’t always Vanessa, though…she started out her fictional life with a different name. It wasn’t until she admitted her name was Vanessa that the story got rolling.

Are you working on something at present you would like to tell us about?

I just turned in the third Texas book, What a Texas Girl Dreams, to my editor…Monica is the third and youngest of the Texas sisters and she’s more opinionated, stubborn and mushy than the other two combined! Oh, and I’m starting a new project this week that has a suspense edge to it – having a lot of fun with that!

What are you reading now?

I’m reading the Silver Creek series by Delores Fossen; I read the first book and loved it then realized there were five more. I’m devouring them right now and I’m already sad that there is a set number of books…

What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?

I like so many authors for so many different things. Nora Roberts does things with character is just floor me, Karin Tabke has a way with suspense that just…wow. I love Suzanne Enoch’s strong heroines and if I could write a love scene like Kate Walker…Oh, sigh.

What is your work schedule like when writing?

It’s as random as it is when I’m not writing. I have a four-year-old daughter, a radio show and I’m also a non-fiction writer. So everything gets squeezed in where it fits for that day. My M-W-F mornings are fairly routing – I take the kiddo to school and then write until 11:30 when she’s released. But other days I may write in the morning or late at night…it just depends on what is going on.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I’ve always wanted to be a writer and I’m blessed that I get to write every day.

What is your favorite food? Least favorite? Why?

How about food type? Anything Mexican—quesadillas, fajitas…Love, love, love authentic Mexican food. Um…my least favorite is probably liver and onions. I had to eat it as a kid and I’ve never made it as an adult…

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I’m a pant-lotter. I’ve found that an outline can help me keep the story elements in place. But I’m not rigid about the outline. Elements may get moved around or changed completely. Most of my outlines barely resemble the finished book, but it works for me.

Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book. Where would you most likely want to go?

Since it’s barely 20 degrees today and there are about six inches of snow on the ground, I’m going to the Caribbean. I don’t care where, but take me to a beach!

Do you have a favorite quote or saying?

I love the Joan Wilder quote from Romancing the Stone—’you’re the best time I’ve ever had’. I love the sentiment of that.


About Kristina:

Once upon a time, Kristina Knight spent her days running from car crash to fire to meetings with local police—no, she wasn’t a troublemaker, she was a journalist. When the opportunity to focus a bit of energy on the stories in her head, she jumped at it. And she’s never looked back. Now she writes magazine articles by day and romance novels with spice by night. She lives on Lake Erie with her husband and three-year-old daughter. Happily ever after.

Website: http://www.kristinaknightauthor.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kristinaknightromanceauthor

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/authorkristina

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/kristinaknight

What a Texas Girl Needs

Vanessa Witte is ready to finally claim her life. The middle of three daughters born into the Witte family – a powerful Texas name—she’s been content to float through life. Being dumped by her shady ex? A blessing in disguise. Having a one-night-stand with Matias Barnes? Not one of her more stellar moments. But she’s back in Lockhardt with a secret and a reason to start fresh: a baby.

Matias Barnes knows all about society women—it’s part of the reason he left his wealthy family behind and took a job on a ranch. He doesn’t like the endless string of parties, the inane conversation, or the gold-digging tricks those women have perfected. But that doesn’t stop him from wanting Vanessa Witte. Mat knows she’s so not right for him, but with her back in Lockhardt, can he resist her charms long enough to really let her go?



Guest Author: Téa Cooper

Set on the NSW Central Coast and in Sydney, Téa Cooper’s debut romantic novel is now available as an e-book from Amazon, Kobo, All Romance, Bol.com and Bookstrand.


About Téa Cooper:

Téa Cooper is an Australian contemporary and historical romance author.

Originally from England Téa came to Australia via India and a few other places in between. She has lived in Sydney, on the NSW Central Coast and now lives in the time-warp village of Wollombi near Cessnock.

To find out more about Téa, or to check out what projects she’s working on right now, you can visit her website http://www.teacooperauthor.com


Lurking in the back of Téa’s brain somewhere was the knowledge that one day she would write a novel. It probably started with a rather risqué story in the back of an exercise book at boarding school featuring the long suffering school gardener – not really the stuff romantic heroes were made of but it was before she knew any better.

Life and few heroes of her own showed her the error of her ways and with a baby under one arm, a husband and a half built house she entered a Mills and Boon competition. To her absolute earth shattering amazement she won second place – the prize was a bottle of perfume! Next time she determined she would do better.

But it was still the stuff of fantasy and her family, a herd of alpacas, a protea farm and teaching intervened until one day she decided it was time to do or die. No more procrastination. The characters and plots that had lived in her head for so long were clamoring to escape.

In August 2011 she got serious and joined Romance Writers Australia, entered the Harlequin Mills & Boon New Voices competition and to her horror discovered she hadn’t been – discovered that is. Not even a bottle of perfume this time. But in reality she had won. Procrastination was conquered and determination set in. It was time to get serious.

Tree Change is her first contemporary romance novel and is available now. Her second, a historical novel Lily’s Leap – set in Wollombi, the time-warp village she now calls home – was accepted by Lyrical Press and will be published in mid 2013. She has recently completed her second Australian historical novel Matilda’s Madness – inspired by some of the fascinating characters haunting the local museum.

When Téa is not haunting the Wollombi museum she can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or you can email her at teacooperauthor@gmail.com. 

Tree Change Synopsis:

Despite her success in the Sydney art world Cassia yearns for the idyllic life she once lead with Jake in their shack over looking the Pacific Ocean. Seeking closure she falls, like a recovering addict, straight back into his arms, and out again equally quickly.  Not only has he his taken up with his brother’s wife but it seems they have a child.

Truth is Jake is living a lie, sworn to secrecy and hamstrung by a promise. Cassia’s fey, artistic character and magical body possess his imagination and his heart. Can he convince her to trust him long enough to save the crumbling remains of their relationship?

Tree Change Short Excerpt:

She dismissed his words with a wave of her hand, but her eyes betrayed her. He knew her too well. The burn of hurt behind their velvety depths had nothing to do with the here and now, but everything to do with the past. His fault? Lyle’s fault? No one’s fault? Just circumstance.

“I need answers, and I need them now. I can’t go on like this. Either we are together or we are not. You have to make a choice: Madeleine or me. I can’t be a convenience you can pick up and put down as the mood takes you.”

“My feelings for you, Cass, are a million things but convenience isn’t one of them.” He shook his head in sorrowful disbelief. How could she not recognize the bond they had?

“Madeleine?” Her raised eyebrows challenged him.

“Right now I can’t explain what happened with Madeleine, but her safety is paramount.”

Her body shuddered as if she was trying to lift a great weight. What was he doing to her? Madeleine, Madeleine, always Madeleine. “I can’t do this again, Jake. I need to go home.” Jake slipped her cardigan over her frail shoulders and then stepped back to allow her to lead the way past the bar and up the narrow stairs to street level.

He unlocked the car door and held it open. Her skirt caught on the ribbons of her espadrille. As he leaned down to untangle them, she flinched. Closing her door with exaggerated care he walked around to the driver’s door and let himself in. He clicked his seat belt into its clasp before he twisted the key in the ignition. The engine sprang to life, and he pulled out into the darkened street.

“You have to trust me, Cass. I know it is difficult, but you just have to trust me and wait. Everything will be sorted out soon.”

Her sigh filled the car. “Jake, I can’t. How can I? I’ve tried and look where we’ve ended up. Me in Sydney, and you living with your brother’s girlfriend.”

“Wife,” he corrected, regretting the word the moment it left his lips.

Guest Author: Desiree Holt



Third in the Erector Set series.

Tyler McMann is a Dom looking for a sub in the bedroom who can also match him fire for fire everywhere else. At the private fetish club Finesse, he spots a redhead with a defiant stride and curves that don’t quit. Flame looks like the ultimate Domme, so Tyler’s shocked to discover she’s a switch. Their session together is unexpectedly explosive for both of them.

Tyler comes back night after night to play with Flame. Soon it becomes more than just club scenes but she’s afraid of fallout in her professional life. In her severe business clothes and uptight persona, no one knows about her secret weekend life and she wants to keep it that way. She also can’t risk another destructive relationship with a controlling man like the one who almost destroyed her before. If Tyler finds out who she really is, will he still offer his love and protection and a future together?

A Romantica® erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave