Penny Harmon On Indy Publishing Her Romance

I’m so excited to host author Penny Harmon today. She developed a fabulous premise for her recently published romance, and she has since published Fallen For the King, a second Rocky Isle Romance. In this interview, Penny inspires other writers to keep writing while sharing her experience publishing independently.

How long have you wanted to be a romance writer? When did you decide to write a book?

I started reading my mother’s romance books before I was twelve years old and I was hooked.  I’ve wanted to write a romance for as long as I can remember.  I’d been a web content writer since 2006, but in 2012, I decided to sit down and write a romance.  However, after unexpectedly getting custody of two grandchildren, ages 6 months and almost 3, I put that book on the backburner.  In December of 2015, I took it out and finished it.  The minute I finished that one I started writing “I Saw Him First”.

What inspired you to write this story?

I actually came up with the basic idea a few years ago.  I have a great set of friends and, honestly, if we had had the availability of cell phones and texting when we were all young and single, I can guarantee we would have done something like Mallory and her friends do in I Saw Him First.

Describe your process for writing this particular book.

I started out with the intention of making this a standalone romance, but the story simply took over and it became a series.  The original idea had Mallory and Megan fighting over Michael, but after I got to know the characters more, I knew they wouldn’t fight or ruin a friendship over a man.  I was flying by the seat of my pants until I made the change.  Once this happened, I created an outline and followed it as best as the characters would let me…it definitely made the writing process easier.

Was this the first book you had written?

No, I have written several before, but those were in my early days of writing.  Someday, I may give them another chance.

Did you work on simultaneous projects?

With this book, I wrote and wrote until I had a completed project.  I became obsessive about it as the excitement grew and grew each day, so I really didn’t have time or room in my brain for anything else.

How did you fit your writing into the rest of your life?

I have been a fulltime web content provider since 2006, so I am used to writing whenever I can squeeze it in.  For the most part, my grandchildren have gotten used to me sitting at the kitchen table in front of the computer and they expect it now.

Who gave you feedback as you worked through writing the book?

My mother, who is eighty-two, and still an avid romance reader, has always been the one I turn to when it comes to writing romance.  I am also lucky to have a sister who loves reading romance as much I do to help me out.

What kept you going through the process?

I realized that at 48, well, very close to 49 old, now is the time to do it.  I stopped writing when my own children were small and finally said I deserved a shot at my dream.  My grandchildren inspire me to be the best that I can be and I want them to be proud of me.

What made you decide to publish independently?

While I have never sent a romance book into a publishing house for consideration, I have sent in children’s book manuscripts.  Honestly, I got tired of the waiting.  Some say that it can take six months to be considered…others don’t even get back to you.  I chose independent publishing for this reason and the fact that I remain in complete control of my writing…I guess that makes me a control freak.  J

How did you decide to publish with Amazon?

I have always been a big fan of Amazon, so knew it would be the first place that I published if I chose the independent route.

What was the biggest challenge of publishing independently?

The biggest challenge for me is the marketing.  I’ve never been the type of person to stand up and yell, “Look at me!  Look what I’ve done!”  However, with encouragement and advice from a lot of great friends and family, I’m making it work.

What were the benefits of publishing independently?

There are many benefits to publishing independently.  You are in control of your story line, your characters, the plot, and the setting.  You choose the price you want for the book.  You choose the cover.  You also get higher commissions than you would through the traditional publishers.  However, the downside is that you also get to do all the work.  You will be wearing many hats throughout the process, but this just makes it more interesting.

What has surprised you most about the process?

The biggest surprise to me was how stressful it was.  Before I hit the Publish button, I went into panic mode.  The “what ifs” kept running through my head, but finally, after staring at the button forever, I decided it was time to take the jump.

What would you change if you could?

If I could change anything, I would turn back the clock and start publishing my work much earlier.  I’m having so much fun that I wish I would have decided to do this a long time ago.

What advice would you give aspiring writers?

I may sound like a Nike commercial, but just do it.  I let the fear of letting others read my work get the best of me for too many years.  Don’t let any fear, whether it is the fear of failure or the fear of success, stop you from living your dream.




Five single women living on an island off the coast of Maine. The men are few and far between, but the minute a good looking man comes in on the ferry, they all know about it.

When Mallory sees Michael when he gets off the ferry, the first thing she does is text her friends: I Saw Him First.

Michael is a writer who has come for peace and quiet to finish writing his novel. He didn’t expect to fall in love. As Mallory and Michael explore their new relationship, can they get past the differences in what they want and their two very different lifestyles?

Can love really conquer all?


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Penny Harmon began writing at an early age and developed a great love of words over the years. After her children were grown, she took her writing more seriously and has published in both newspapers and magazines. In January of 2016, her first novella, Complicated Inheritance, was published and in March of 2016, the first book, I Saw Him First, of the Rocky Isle Romance series was published in February 2016.  The second book, Fallen for the King, just came out in April 2016.

Penny lives in Maine with her long-time partner, Dan, two grandchildren, one dog, and two cats. She enjoys spending time with all nine of her grandchildren and enjoys working on DIY projects, especially those of repurposing.




Roni Hall On Her Debut, Montana Wild

I’m delighted to host Roni Hall, debut author who recently published Montana Wild, described by a reviewer as “an enthralling, action-packed novel…a real page turner.” In this interview, Roni shares her inspiration and the email that turned around a terrible day. Don’t miss her biography; Roni shares the beginning of a love story that could be a tease for her next novel. I’d love to find out how that charismatic guy in the diner wooed his waitress!

When did you decide to write a book?

My kids were finishing high school and life was slowing down. I had more time and instead of taking up knitting, I took up writing.

What inspired you to write this story?

As a nurse, I encountered numerous memorable patients, but there were a few that forever settled into my heart. Montana Wild is fiction, but Jacob, the patient in the story was real. In the span of a human lifetime, I knew him a very short time, but his spirit had a lasting effect on me. Jacob died decades ago, but he stays with me and inspired me to write.

Describe your process for writing this particular book.

I am a ‘panster’. I write by the seat of pants. I can’t plot a story out.

How long did it take to finish your book?

It took a few years because at first it was just a hobby. When life got busy, writing stopped. Once, I put it down for over a year!

How did you fit your writing into the rest of your life?

After my day job is finished at 5, writing is my go to. It relaxes me.

Who gave you feedback as you worked through writing the book?

My husband and daughter. My husband read it numerous times during editing. LOL

What kept you going through the process?

An inner calling to finish something I created.

What did you do when you got the go-ahead?

I remember the day well. We had a historical rain storm that flooded the streets and I was exhausted from a 3-hour white knuckled drive home from work. I was exhausted but once I opened the acceptance email the stress of the day vanished.

What happened between hearing your yes and getting the book to print?

Editing, editing and more editing!

What has surprised you most about this process?

It never goes as quickly as the author would like.

What would you change if you could?

It’s a learning process and I think your first book is like your first baby . . . you learn so much. It would be nice if it was a speedy ride with no bumps, but we know that is not life.

Spiraling downward after losing two loved ones within one week, Jamie’s world was closing in…until she grabs an unexpected lifeline and escapes. Knowing only New York City, Montana is another world and she is unprepared by how the land, the people and even the animals touch her. After risking her life to save a child, Jamie shares an undeniable bond and the beginning ripples of deep emotions with her co-rescuer, Kevin. However, her past follows her to Montana and threatens all that she loves there. Jamie has no choice but to hurt Kevin in order to save his life and returns to New York with her ex, Derrick. Broken, Kevin refuses to believe she doesn’t love him and searches for Jamie, only to find her in Derrick’s lair. Once again Jamie tries to protect Kevin but this time gets caught in the cross fire.


The summer after high school graduation, Roni worked two jobs to pay for nursing school. During the midnight shift as a waitress, a charismatic young man at the counter flirted with her for hours as he consumed seven cups of coffee. Their first date was eventful enough to be a book itself! Thirty-seven years and two kids later, the love story continues. Just like her novels, life can’t be too simple and you must make it an adventurous ride!

Her favorite place to write is in her hammock at their small Michigan cottage where she literally dodges the feeding hummingbirds while being serenaded by the lake’s loons. Besides writing, she loves Slow Rollin’ in Detroit and the combination of good food, better wine, and dear friends.


Mandi Benet on Her Love in the City Series

I’m thrilled to host romance writer Mandi Benet. After reading her explanation of what inspired her to write her series Love in the City, along with the blurb for her newly published To Rome With Love, you’ll want to go out and buy this book! Read on to find out more about Mandi’s journey to publication.

What inspired you to write this story?

Love can bloom anywhere, of course, and I adore small town love stories, but I tend to like romances the way the movies do them, with a love triangle: Her, Him, A city. Cities can be characters all on their own with a flavor and essence unique to them and truly can enrich a story. As to why I chose Rome for the setting of the first book in my series, “Love in the City,” quite simply, how could Rome and romance not go together? Also, it’s my favorite city in the world, a teeming, gorgeous confusion of ancient and modern replete with all the tales of human existence, connected in time and place to the stories and history of the past. Couples with a penchant for lip-locked selfies have a multitude of worthy backdrops in Rome—its epic monuments, baroque churches, breathtaking vistas, thousand-year-old fountains, multi-hued sunsets behind the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica, and charming trattorias. Few things, I think, can stoke the romantic fires as much as holding hands across a candlelit dinner table in the remains of an ancient stadium, boating on the lake at Villa Borghese, sitting on the Spanish Steps watching all the kissing couples, and an evening stroll over the Tiber on Ponte Sant’Angelo where you will meet up with Bernini’s famous angels.

Describe your process for writing this particular book.

I wrote a good chunk of it over a couple of months but then got waylaid writing a historical novel centered around Mary Queen of Scots. I came back to this book and after more research, finished it over two or so months. I spent some time polishing it and then a line editor went over it, which took a while. Two drafts later I was ready to submit to agents and publishers.

Was this the first book you had written?  

 No, I’d written a couple of literary novels and a women’s fiction book, published in 2013, The Blasphemy Box.

How did you fit your writing into the rest of your life?

This is an ongoing struggle that I don’t think anything will ameliorate. If I had nothing else to do in the world than write, I could turn out way more books. But life always intervenes so I try to marry all my obligations the best I can!

What kept you going through the process?

Someone once said to me that everything can be achieved with patience and persistence. So that is my mantra.

How many submissions did you send out?

Many, many, many!

What happened between hearing your yes and getting the book to print?

The book went through the editing process, which meant reading each revised galley all the way through until my eyes rolled back in their sockets in protest and I never wanted to hear about Gaby or Silvio again!

What has surprised you most about this process?

 What most surprised me is that things never go the way you think they will and how interesting and exciting a learning process that has proved to be. I’ve always said you are where you’re meant to be, and that you should grow where you’re planted.

What would you change if you could?

 Nothing. As long as I’m learning, I’m fine.


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When Gaby Conte’s Italian husband, Danieli, abandons her for a young Peruvian waitress at a restaurant they co-own in San Francisco, Gaby seeks refuge in Rome with her best friend Maria. There, she swears off romance for a long while and Italian men forever.

That’s until she meets Silvio, who belongs to an old, aristocratic Roman family and lives in a palace alongside the best private art collection in Rome. Silvio, who is the cousin of Maria’s husband, is going through his own divorce. He’s gorgeous, of course, which Gaby doesn’t tell him. And arrogant and condescending, which she does.

The last thing Gaby needs is more Italian trouble, but the attraction is instant and powerful, and against the backdrop of one of the world’s most romantic cities, both try—and fail—to resist the chemistry between them. But both Gaby and Silvio have made a rule never to make the mistake of trusting in love again. Will they realize some rules are made just to be broken?


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Mandi Benet grew up in England and published her first piece of fiction when she was twelve. She has been scribbling away ever since as an award-winning journalist— covering everything from the Democratic Convention to the Oscars for major American national newspapers and magazines — and as an author, writing women’s fiction and contemporary romance with rich, original characters. Mandi is a member of RWA National and the San Francisco branch of RWA.


To Rome With Love |



Romantic Suspense Author Mari Manning is an HEA Kind of Gal

I’m delighted to introduce Mari Manning, author of romantic suspense and contemporary romances who has recently published her newest release with Entangled Publishing. In this interview, Mari shares her experience with humor and a helpful nudge of encouragement. You’ll appreciate her smart insights into the romance writing world; her explanation of why she writes romance novels is so on target and well articulated, I wish I’d written it myself!

What made you decide to write romance novels?

I write about things that interest me, and the relationships of men and women interest me. The courtship leading to HEA is always a delicate dance of attraction, diplomacy, a little bribery, a little deception, a lot of hope. The expectations of men and women tend to be different, which is fun to explore. I love creating flawed characters redeemed by love. I guess I am just an HEA kind of gal.

What was your biggest challenge when you were trying to publish your debut novel?

Just learning all the rules! I started out as a pantser. I wrote what pleased me, completely ignorant of such things as character arc, backstory dumps, head hopping, deep POV, inciting incidents, etc. It took a while to understand these concepts well enough to incorporate them into my writing.

What would you have done differently if you could start all over again?

I would have joined a writers group sooner. I’ve learned so much, and it’s so nice to have people to turn to when I need advice or have questions. We are all at different places in our writing careers so I have a chance to help people behind on the writing path, and also get help from those ahead of me.

Can you imagine having a different career? What would it be?

I’ve had lots of careers, and right now I am a Director of Marketing. But writing is something I’ve always wanted to do. I also wanted to be a movie star, but even my mother, who’s my biggest fan, had doubts about my ability to do that.

What is the single most important thing an unpublished writer should do to get published?

Do not give up. I think writing success is fifty-percent talent and fifty-percent persistence. I’ve met many amazing writers (far better than me) who have stopped writing because they got discouraged. Don’t do it! If you love writing keep going. Get advice, take classes, find seasoned writers to critique your work. Keep submitting to editors and agents. Woody Allen once said something like, “Ninety percent of success is just showing up.”

What is the single most important thing a newly published writer should do?

If you have just published your first book, think of it as your ticket to the show. Use it to get on blogs, set up author pages on major websites, volunteer to do signings, start a newsletter, etc. Then write more books. For most authors, being prolific is going to be important.

The only thing standing between her and disaster is a man she can’t trust …

As far as Dinah Pittman is concerned, men can’t be trusted. Especially cops. Her own father was a cop and a convicted felon who stole a small fortune before dying in prison. The best part? No one knows where the money is…and someone is willing to kill off everyone who knows anything about it.

And Dinah is next.

Rafe Morales left the Dallas police force to settle down to a simpler life in the small Texas town of El Royo. Instead, he finds himself protecting an infuriating, tough-as-nails, oh-so-sexy victim—and driving himself crazy with a thoroughly unprofessional desire.

But as the body count rises, Rafe and Dinah must find a way to trust each other…before they both end up dead.



About Mari Manning

Let’s start with the fun stuff. I love small towns, mysteries, quiet men, laughter, old-fashioned spaghetti dinners. I love boots and shopping and jokes and Hershey’s dark chocolate and white wine. I love lots of things. But my first love is reading.

I love to read. Just about anything, but it has to be well-written. I go through periods where I am into historical novels or romance or mystery or history or biography. I never know when my desires will suddenly change.

Now for the writer-ish, official stuff: Mari Manning is the author of several contemporary romances and three romantic suspense novels set in the Texas Hill Country. Stranger at My Door is the first in her A Murder in Teas series. The second, Stranger in My House will be published by Entangled later this year. The third book in the series is Stranger in My Bed. Currently Mari is working on a series of cozy mysteries. She and her husband live in Chicago.

Stranger at My Door

Debra Elise on Writing and Publishing Her Sports-Themed Romance

I’m excited to host debut author Debra Elise today! Debra is a debut author who is about to release her first book, Saving Maverick, about a bad-boy pitcher and the media consultant who tries to rescue his image. Read on to find out how she got her book finished and then published by Bloomsbury USA.

How long have you wanted to be a romance writer?

This is a hard question because I’ve always loved to write. When I was in my twenties I bought a ‘how to book’ on writing romance but after reading it, I thought ‘this is really hard’ LOL. I put it away and went back to devouring my favorites…Johanna Lindsey, Nora and in recent years, Rebecca Zanetti and Kresley Cole.

When did you decide to write a book?

A little over three years ago fate stepped in and introduced me to one of my favorite authors, Rebecca Zanetti. With her encouragement I stepped into the this wonderful, crazy business.

What inspired you to write this story?

I grew up watching my brother play and my dad coach baseball. When sports romances became popular I was hooked and decided I needed to write a bad boy pitcher. I also knew I needed to write a strong heroine who could hold her own with an alpha athlete, and Kelsey Sullivan, public relations specialist was born.

Describe your process for writing this particular book.

I’m a visual person so I began with pictures for each of my main characters to focus on when writing the first draft. It was also important to me that I have a few scenes where the game was actually being played or practiced. I spent time watching games and thinking about what type of action scenes I wanted to include.

About halfway through writing the book the characters weren’t following the plot line I’d spent hours working on and in the end I wound up writing an entirely different book than what I started with. I’ve altered my writing process for subsequent books and do a bit of plotting and a lot of pantsing 😉

Was this the first book you had written?

My first book is a paranormal currently collecting dust bunnies under a desk in my office. I still love the characters, but the plot fell apart mid-way. One day I’ll go back to it.

What was the rest of your life like while writing the book?

Crazy…two boys and a husband who although very supportive, were not used to sharing mom with her laptop.  I also had to adjust what time of day I wrote. I really wanted to spring out of bed in the mornings and pour out all the ideas that were marinating as I slept, but the other members of our household really wanted breakfast. (I’ve since taught the oldest to get his own breakfast and I’m still working on hubby) Sometimes I’d wake up an hour earlier than normal, but often I would write after the kids went to school and hubby was at work and often after everyone went to bed.

Who gave you feedback as you worked through writing the book?

One of my writer peeps, Cathryn Cade, from my local RWA chapter was a huge help with Saving Maverick. I honestly don’t believe this book would be what it is without her.

What kept you going through the process?

I just kept at it. Every day. I found out that releasing a book with a traditional publishing house is a longer process than those of my friends who were self-pubbing, and the wait can be frustrating. But writing the next book and the next is what kept me going after this book was edited and complete.

How many submissions did you send out?

I think close to ten total between publishers and editors. I also pitched the book twice in person during Nationals in 2014.  I actually received my contract offer from an online pitch in 2014. But, it took almost four months after that before I heard anything and when I did it was very surreal. It took days to sink in that I was going to be a published author!


Maverick Jansen and Kelsey Sullivan fall into a complicated game of PR strategy by day and searing passion by night where they both find a new meaning to fast and hard.


Days before the biggest game of playboy pitcher Maverick Jansen’s career, his brother is killed in a horrific car accident. Determined not to let his teammates down, Mav pushes through his grief only to lose control of his signature pitch—and the series.


Still dealing with the backlash of his once adoring fans, Maverick learns his team’s owner plans to move the ball club to small town America. During a night of hard drinking Mav rails against the move to “Hicksville” while a fan records the entire tirade. His career takes another hit when the video goes viral right before spring training.

Kelsey Sullivan, Media Consultant, is hired by the team’s owner and her childhood friend, Thomas Scott, to help restore Maverick’s image and find a way to get his mojo back. As the daughter of a former minor league ball player who walked away from her and her unstable mother, Kelsey breaks her main client rule—no male athletes—to help her friend and gain a coveted position with the ball club.


Persuaded to pretend they’re a couple against her better judgment, Kelsey and Maverick begin dating as a last ditch effort to secure his place on the team, fix his public image and prove to an unstable groupie who’s begun posting doctored photos on the internet that he’s taken.

In order to convince Kelsey what they have is more than just soul-shattering sex, Maverick digs deep, overcoming his commitment phobia and unexpected news to prove to Kelsey love can save them both. Can Kelsey bury her long-held belief that a bad boy baseball player isn’t the happily-ever-after type so they both can make the Show.


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Debra Elise lives with her husband and their two sons in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She loves to read, nap, write, and watches entirely too much reality T.V. She also enjoys hanging out with other author-type individuals and teasing her three ‘boys’ into displaying their killer smiles. Most days find her carpooling, avoiding laundry and daydreaming about her characters and how to make them come alive for her readers.

You can find her on the following sites:





INSTAGRAM: DebraEliseAuthor

J.C. Rimell Shares Her Journey From Twilight Reader to Paranormal Writer

I’m happy to host J.C. Rimell, who recently self-published Eternal Souls, the first of her Shadow Creek series, and will soon publish the second book, Tainted Souls. Readers have loved her storytelling; one reader writes, “Rimell has a wonderful talent for setting a mood and giving us those little details which place us right in the action.”

In this interview, you’ll learn what got J.C. writing, what’s helped her the most, and why she chose to self-publish.

How long have you wanted to be a romance writer? When did you decide to write a book?

Even as a kid I was always creative, but I’ve been writing ‘seriously’ over the past six years and have always loved the romance genre. I was driving along in my car one day and the beginning of a story just popped into my head! I got home and just started to write and haven’t stopped!

What inspired you to write this story?

I fell in love with the Paranormal Romance genre after a friend introduced me to the Twilight Saga. I know…I know…but I loved it and still do! After that, I was hooked and couldn’t stop reading. When I decided to take my writing more seriously, it felt natural to write what I love.

Describe your process for writing this particular book.

The outline of the story was there from the beginning. It had a different name, and some of the characters had different names, but the ideas were all there.

Nothing is ever set in stone, though! As my characters developed, the story shifted and changed too. My characters have minds of their own!

How long did it take to complete?

It took around four months to complete the first draft. The writing part is the easy bit! After that, it took months of editing.

Was this the first book you had written?

No. I’ve written other novels, but the writing and prose just weren’t there. Writing really is a craft, and you only get better by doing it all the time. Plus, it can take a while to find your own voice and style. I’m still learning. Eternal Souls is the first book I’ve published.

Did you work on simultaneous projects?

While I was writing Eternal Souls I concentrated solely on that project. Now, I’m writing the second book in the series, but I’m also dabbling in other areas of romance too.

What was the rest of your life like while writing the book?

Busy! I’m a mom of two (a nine year old and an eleven year old), and my husband works away so I have to hold the fort and do everything. Some days I don’t even get to sit at my desk, especially like recently, when one of the kids are sick. I’m too mentally fatigued to concentrate.

How do you fit your writing into the rest of your life?

I squeeze it in wherever and whenever I can. I mostly write at night, but if I have quiet time in the day I’ll nab the chance.

Were you involved in a writers’ group?

I live in rural France and so there aren’t many writers’ groups or book groups. I rely heavily on the internet and social media.

Who gave you feedback as you worked through writing the book?

I gave a copy to someone my husband worked with, someone I didn’t know personally. She loved the story, and that gave me the confidence to move forward. When my book was complete I contacted an editor, who gave me the initial feedback on the story. It was expensive but worth it.

I re-edited and filled in those loopholes I just didn’t see. Once the book was out there, a reader contacted me with a very honest critique. It was invaluable to me.

I unpublished and contacted another editor who kindly helped me get my book into shape. As writers, we don’t always see our errors.

It taught me that having other people read and proofread your work is crucial before you publish.

What kept you going through the process?

The writing is fun, and it just came naturally. I love to write, so I write for myself first. The hardest part was getting requests from agents and then rejections. But it was a great learning curve. My writing wasn’t ready then, and when I felt that it was, I decided to self-publish. I suffer from self-doubt, highs, and lows just like anyone. You really have to believe in yourself to keep going and remember that reading is subjective. Not everyone is going to like what you write.

What made you decide to publish independently?

I think independent publishing has come a long way. It’s easy with all the options available to Indie authors now. It can be stressful, though!

I believe in traditional publishing too. Self-publishing felt right at the time and allows me the freedom to write without critical deadlines.

How did you decide to publish with Amazon?

Amazon felt like the right place to start and was a great introduction to self-publishing. Now I’m reformatting my novel so I can publish on other platforms and print on demand too.

What was the biggest challenge of publishing independently?

The formatting! I’m no computer whizz, so this was frustrating.

What advice would you give aspiring writers?

The best advice I can give aspiring writers is paying close attention to the editing! One thing I’ve learned is that you need beta readers and proofreaders.

It took me twice as long to edit my book because I didn’t have either. In the end I had to pay a professional to help me, but it was worth it.



A lethal soldier and a deadly shifter, Cade has pledged his life to serve and protect alongside his Shadow Pack members. Dangerous missions and assassinations are what he lives for, but all that changes when Kit McCoy arrives in Shadow Creek. She’s beautiful and fascinating and has stirred an animal instinct within him he can’t escape.
Kit can’t deny she wants the elusive and darkly handsome Cade Grayson. Everything about him sets her pulse racing and her body craving his touch, but wracked with guilt and emotionally scarred by a tragic accident, Kit refuses to give in to her desires.

When Kit is snatched by the unknown, supernatural species they call the Others sweeping through the town and taking humans with them, she is thrust into a world that blurs between reality and one still unknown to her. A hunt is on for the killers, and Kit has a choice to make that will change her life forever. To surrender her heart means losing a part of herself she isn’t sure she can sacrifice, but walking away means forsaking the only man she’s ever loved…





J.C. was born in London, England but grew up in a few different locations as a child. She had various jobs from the age of sixteen, her longest career was as a police officer, until marrying and settling in rural France with her husband and two children. A friend introduced her to the world of paranormal romance novels and she’s been hooked ever since.

J.C. is a lover of animals, films, music, reading, hitting the gym, coffee, and chocolate. When she’s not shut away in her own fantasy world writing, her favorite past time is walking in the forest with her two best doggy friends, Skye and Mini. She loves being a mom, and she could never forget the two little people in her life that rule my heart – forever and always.

J.C. writes about love and seduction in a world where shifters are lethally sexy, vampires are dark and tempting, and the Alpha male is a force to be reckoned with…



Mary Buckham Tells You Pretty Much Everything You Need to Know About Publishing a Romance

I am absolutely thrilled to host USA Today Bestselling author Mary Buckham! I attended a workshop with her this past fall, and I was so impressed, overwhelmed, and energized by all the useful information she provided on hooks, settings, and building your brand. She is my new favorite writing expert!

In this interview, Mary shares incredibly valuable information on the publishing industry, time management, the business side of writing, and publishing the first book. Mary is such a smart, savvy, and funny writer; she will inspire you to stop making excuses not to write (I think she’s talking directly to me on this one!)

What made you decide to write romance novels?

When I started out I looked at the publishing market as a whole, what types of books were out there, how many books were being purchased from new authors, where were the biggest opportunities to get a foot in the door? Sounds rather cold and calculating, but it was a business decision. To me too many people look at writing as a hobby or as simply for fun and then go into publishing. Right from the beginning I knew that I wanted to be published, so I looked for who bought the most books and put out the most books in a given year. Romance novels being half the traditional publishing market made it a clear, easy-to-follow path that made perfect business sense. Plus I love the juicy complexities of relationships while also knowing I like a story that ends on a positive, we-can-do-this resolution.

What was your biggest challenge when you were trying to publish your debut novel?

What wasn’t a challenge when I first started writing for publication! I had five children under the age of eight. I also worked full time. I was like a lot of writers juggling a lot of demands on my time. I also didn’t know any writers or any writing groups. I didn’t know how one went about getting published, so it was a big new scary world and it took a lot of ramp-up time to get to the point where I felt that I was truly writing for publication as opposed to simply writing to learn if I was indeed capable of writing a full-length book.

How have you dealt with that challenge as you were published more?

Well, for one thing, the kids did grow up and what I discovered was, a piece that we all have control of in our career is how we focus on our challenges. I quickly realized that having children [five under the age of eight at the time], as young as they were and with their needs, they were the best time management tools out there. The same with the work environment. When I was at work it was work, but when I wasn’t there I had my choices, so instead of looking at the challenges as insurmountable, or using my children as justification for not writing; when they leave grade school and go to high school I will write. Or, when they leave high school and go to college I will write. I’m saying that, for me, learning to make time instead of focusing on why I couldn’t write, became a priority. The longer we can make excuses to ourselves, the longer the process of focusing on what’s not working and what is keeping us from writing, the easier it is to let a few months turn into a few years, into a lifetime with a project that never really gets finished.

What would you have done differently if you could start all over again?

I would focus more on my strengths and not listen to the ‘rules’. As an example, when I started writing I could write fast. I could write a lot. 20 pages in a day was not a challenge but I listened to too much feedback that said—No, that’s not right. You should only be writing maybe 10 pages at the most but 5 would be better. It took a long time to get over that pattern of working to others expectations, not my own.

Can you imagine having a different career? What would it be?

I don’t think joining the Circus is an option anymore, and being a pirate was much more glamorous when it was swashbuckling in wooden ships with swords! I love this career because it’s about people. It’s about challenges and overcoming challenges and learning to trust yourself and connecting, and it’s an ongoing career that never really stops. You never stop learning as a writer. You always have the opportunity to expand your horizons. I can’t imagine any other career.

How has the market changed since you first published?

I feel like the market has undergone this huge, amazing process and it’s exciting to be in this business at this time because it’s very much like the industrial revolution. When that showed up on the horizon a lot of people’s response was, I’m going to ignore it till it goes away or I’m not going to deal with that. It’s too big. It’s too scary. It’s too frightening. The reality is that the difference between when I started when my children were small and now is the difference between writing by hand and writing via computer. A world of changes. Access to the reader is so much greater now. The need to be an entrepreneur and a businessperson has increased dramatically, and I love that. I love that sense of opportunity that is available to writers now.

How has your life changed as you have published more books?

I think that for many of us when we start writing the goal is to get published and is a good goal and a clear goal, but we take it for granted that it’s an end goal. We don’t think enough about what happens after that book is published. What happens to the time demands and what happens if your publisher drops your publishing line or what happens if the return on investment for the time and effort and energy that we put into a book is not enough to be financially viable. So how has life changed? A huge world has opened up that was never there for me when I worked in an office and that has been wonderful and exciting. The demands have also changed. When I started in the business there were no e-books. There was no internet. Man, it sounds like I started in the caveman days! You really could focus on simply writing the book and sending it out, but that’s long gone and I doubt it will ever come back. Writers are in the entertainment industry. We have become personalities, and we have responsibilities to our readers. Access goes two ways between readers and writers, so the time allocation that is allotted to writing the next book must be juggled against the business needs. I would say that once you’re published and the more books you publish the allocation becomes 20% writing, 80% business.

What is the single most important thing an unpublished writer should do to get published?

This is a hard one! Writers, published and unpublished, should believe in themselves, but they should also learn what readers expect from the type of book that they are writing. Yes, write the book of your dreams, but then, if you want to publish it, you have to take it out of your fantasy, your needs, and now you have the needs of the reader to be met. So if you love this romance that you wrote with two cats and a goat and it is the book of your dreams that’s great. But if you bring it to the marketplace, and expect to make a living on it, you must understand that you’ll be selling to a much smaller niche market. Be aware of the trade offs of your decisions and don’t bemoan publishing because you’re not an overnight success with a cat/goat ménage-a-trois novel.

What is the single most important thing a self-published writer should do?

The same thing that any writer whether they are indie published, traditionally published or whether they are hybrid published. They should understand the marketplace. They should think in terms of the product that they are selling. They should plan for success and do everything possible to surround themselves with others who are also planning for success.

What is the best writing advice you have ever gotten?

Again, another hard question, because it’s not one piece of advice. Writing is a journey. As we progress in our journey, there are different pieces that we need to hear. There are different messages that can help us get over the next hill or around the next corner. I recently read an author who called herself a quote master, someone who actively looked for quotes that helped her do that next thing, helped her keep going when she thought she couldn’t continue. So, the best advice that works for one author at an early point in their career is not the same advice they need to hear when they’ve been writing for a number of years and are not where they want to be. It is different for the author who is juggling multiple projects while their home life is falling apart. The good news is that there is not one piece of advice. The better news is that there is always that quote, that word of wisdom that can help you as a writer keep going.

Do you have a favorite debut author? If so, who?

I don’t have a favorite debut author because I read like many romance readers started, voraciously. I look for debut authors because these authors are the ones who are competing against the published authors who already have a track record, have a relationship with a publisher, have readers in place. The debut authors have to bring more to the game initially. What I look for is the debut author who continues to improve as a writer because, at one time, for the publishing houses, ten published books was about the number that a writer needed under their belt before they started finding their audience, their core readership; before they started gaining traction. Those days are long gone. The expectation now is that the first book has to be a home run and it has to attract everything that you need without the experience to know how to handle it. Without the understanding that it’s now the next book, that now that you’ve gotten a lot of accolades, or you got good feedback, or you didn’t get good feedback, it’s the next book that becomes the biggest challenge, because you have to write that and the one after that and the next one. So I read a lot of debut authors to see how they play the game with their second and their third and their fourth books.

What I find is what a lot of publishers have found, that the first book may have taken 10 years to polish to that point, but for the second one the author is given a year or 6 months, bam! And maybe they don’t get as much feedback as they did before. Maybe friends that were willing to help them before they were published are no longer there for them. So that second or third book can oftentimes start falling off. And that’s a shame, because the writer who wrote that first book could write to that level again if she or he understood the changes coming once that first book has been published. So I think it’s important to us as writers that we know that we must start building our support groups, start honing ourselves and our craft for success, and start looking down the road. The first book is simply the first book. Whether it’s a home run or not, it just gets you in the game. It’s what we do at that point that determines whether being published was a dream that was reached and then we go back to doing something else, or whether we have a career as a writer.



The Underworld screws even a good plan and this one didn’t start out good.

Half-witch/half-shaman Alex Noziak must lead two fellow Invisible Recruit agents deep into the Underworld to track a powerful demon who rules his realm with a bloody fist and has kidnapped a teenage Seer. The team faced this demon leader once before and the result was devastating. Now? The odds are far worse this time. Alex and her team must stop the demon before he forces the Seer to open a portal, which will unleash the Seekers to wreak vengeance on humans and take possession of the mortal world. Everyone faces sacrifice, but this time Alex stands to lose.




USA Today Best selling author Mary Buckham learned to get into and out of trouble at a very early age. Time has added to her opportunities—detained by Israeli intelligence; strip-searched by a Greek border patrol while traveling with a priest, sneaking into Laos. When not personally avoiding nuisances caused by her insatiable curiosity she creates lots of disorder in her Urban Fantasy Invisible Recruits series. Her characters at least have paranormal and preternatural abilities!

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Her Urban Fantasy series is centered around five women drafted to combat preternatural beings agitating for world domination and combines a fantasy/paranormal element with high stakes and the pace of action-adventure stories. Mary loves creating thrills, spills and spells as she follows the ups and downs of fascinating characters starting with Alex Noziak, the heroine of INVISIBLE MAGIC, INVISIBLE POWER, INVISIBLE FATE and INVISIBLE JOURNEY and Kelly McAllister, the heroine of INVISIBLE FEARS, INVISIBLE SECRETS and INVISIBLE EMBRACE. A prolific writer, Mary also co-authors the young adult sci-fi/fantasy Red Moon series with NYT bestseller Dianna Love.

When taking a break from the paranormal Mary crafts Writing Craft non-fiction including, A Writer’s Guide to Active Setting (Writer’s Digest Books), Writing Active Hooks and Break Into Fiction® co-authored with Dianna Love. If Mary’s not hiding out, find more about her and her writing projects by visiting:


She can also be found on Facebook at:
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Goodreads at
For information on Mary’s street team, Mary Buckham’s Book Ninjas, go to

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