Friday, October 16, 2020

This Week in The Loft: Author Madison Michael!

Joining me today in The Loft is Madison Michael, who writes steamy contemporary romance. The author of the Beguiling Bachelor and B&B Billionire Bachelor Series, Maddy is also a blogger and indie publisher. A Chicago native, her stories employ the sumptuous backdrop of Chicago's elite society. Although she began her career in the business world, she soon turned to writing books. Maddy writes surrounded by feline assistants and when not writing, she can be found lost in a book, fighting for the rights of the mentally ill, or dining on Chicago's famous cuisine (hot dogs and pizza).

Author Madison Michael

S:  Welcome to the Loft, Maddy! Thanks for taking a leap across the border to Wisconsin to chat with me today. I don't often entertain authors from the land of da Bears!

Why did you become an author?

M:  I was already in my 60s when I penned my first novel. In fact, I had no intention of writing a romance novel, although I had wanted to be a writer my entire childhood, and was a journalist through my teens and college. I worked on the high school and college papers, but when it came time to fight for a job on a newspaper, I went to grad school, getting an MBA and moving into the world of finance, banking and eventually, high tech. More than 30 years later, I dusted off my writing tools and took an online class titled, “How to Write a Romance Novel.” Eleven weeks later, I had meat on the bones of my first book and things took off from there. I have just completed the first draft of my ninth novel and I’m doing a complete rewrite of my first novel, "Bedazzled." That sends goosebumps up my arms. The little girl who dreamed of being an author is now a full-time author and CEO of her own company--Madison Michael.

S:  Congratulations! Obviously, your detour into business paid off.

Do you write full or part-time? 

M:  While I am a writer first and foremost, as an independent author, I do so many other tasks. I spend mornings writing, but afternoons are filled with editing, education and training, advertising, promotions, networking, blogging, and the dreaded social media--a time suck if ever I saw one. It takes all of this to launch a book that readers can find and hopefully, love. I am fortunate though. The business of novels excites me as much as the writing of them.

S:  Authors are always surprised when they learn they have to do more than write. They also have to promote. I was surprised at how time-consuming the business of writing is.

What is your writing process?

M:  In the writing world, there are plotters and pantsers. Plotters have the story mapped out before they begin. Perhaps they have completed all their research and know their characters intimately. Many plotters can describe their story chapter by chapter before they write a single word. Yeah, that’s not me. Pantsers fly by the seat of their pants. That’s not me either. My process is to start with characters and to know and love them. I have to understand who they are, what their flaws are, and how love will change them. I start there, along with a very basic outline. But somewhere along the writing process, my characters take over. They morph and in doing so, change my plots and plans. I guess my process is to remind myself that I am not schizophrenic, that the characters are still fictional, but to let them determine the direction of the story. For me, that means revising my plot plans and going with the flow.

S:  My characters always take over. I always know the beginning of the story but I never know the end. 

What attracted you to the romance genre?

M:  I grew up on romance--movies like “My Fair Lady” and “Sound of Music” and novels by Jane Austen and Barbara Cartland. My eldest sister could read a romance a day--she still can. I love modern romcoms, too. I can watch “Sweet Home Alabama” over and over. When I first considered writing, I thought I would tackle mental health topics. I wanted to convey a message, to make a difference. But I quickly discovered that my passion was passion. Life is tough. I want to crawl in bed with a hot book-boyfriend and escape reality for a few hours. That is the difference I have chosen to make in the world.

S:  These days, everyone needs an escape, even if only for a few hours. I think it's so satisfying that as writers, we can provide that.

Do you write in other genres?

M:  I wrote "Broken Time," which is a time-travel romance, and added adventure and suspense to "Bedeviled" and "Besotted" from my Beguiling Bachelor series, but ultimately, I return to contemporary, steamy romance. My characters are in their 30s, they have been dating a while and know what they want. My men are successful and powerful,  and often so are my women. My novels are about escaping into a luxe, sumptuous world of designer dresses, private jets, mountain top retreats, and finding the perfect love.

S:  I worked in Chicago for many years. I often got a glimpse into that world and it has always fascinated me.

What's your definition of romance?

M:  My definition of romance is a relationship that allows both partners to flourish and be happy. In a perfect romance, partners support each other’s dreams and goals, they provide a shoulder when you need to lean, and a leg up when you need to stretch and grow. It is cozy but offers space, full of passion and laughter. For me, a romantic partner offers constant opportunities to discover new things about yourself, the comfort to be lazy together, and the confidence to reach for new heights.

S: Wow, that's a near perfect definition!

What is your favorite thing about writing romance?

M:  I hate to admit it, but the sex scenes are my favorite thing to write. They are also the hardest to complete well. When I finish writing a hot scene that titillates the reader and conveys the passion, the intimacy and the connection of two people in love, I feel great.

S:  When I start blushing, I know I have written a sex scene well! 

Have you ever experienced what you consider the perfect romantic evening?

M:  Perhaps I have softened the memory over time, but years ago I went on a date that I thought was perfect at the time. It was a glorious summer night. We were in a convertible and we did a summer blockbuster movie and burgers. Doesn’t sound very romantic, but the whole evening had the feel of something out of a Sandra Dee movie. It was filled with laughter, an easy camaraderie, and some hot sex to top it all off. Okay, that part wasn’t very Sandra Dee but…

S:  But those are the memories that put the steam in those sex scenes!

Do you remember your first kiss?

M:  Oh my God, I remember it like it was yesterday. I was 13 and kind of skinny. He was 15 and on the swim team--tall and muscular.  He was also very handsome and more than a little cocky. I was hanging out in front of the house, hoping to see him, I imagine. He lived down the street and we had just discovered each other a week or so earlier. Finally he walked by, chatted me up for a few minutes and then kissed me. I felt it to my toes, seriously, and everywhere in between. He bowed me over his arm, holding me just the right amount of tight, using just the right amount of tongue. When he released me, I stood dazed and aroused and wanting more. Instead, he lifted me up and dropped me into a nearby garbage can, butt dangling down, legs draped over the side, and walked away. I wriggled a long time to get out of that can, but the kiss lingered way longer.

S:  I certainly hope you used that scene in one of your books! That's too precious to lock away!  

What was your worst date ever?

M:  I’ve had a few, but the first one to come to mind happened when I was 16. First date, older boy. It was a bitter cold night, winter in Chicago. We tried to get into an NC-17 movie and of course, I was turned away. Then we went to a pizza place that was closed, and finally the car got stuck in a snowdrift and we had to call friends to come dig us out. All in all, a disaster. We dated for several years.

S:  Well, if you kept dating, I'm guessing that was a "no harm, no foul" situation.

What attracted you to your current partner?

M:  I fell for my ex-husband on our first date, and I fell hard. He was in town for one night only and we met at a dinner party. I went home that night and told my family, “If I can contrive to see him again, we’ll get married.” I was right. It took one date to fall for Michael, too. We met online, so he still calls our first date "an interview,” but it was dinner, so I think that counts as a date. He was smart and funny, chattier than most men, and we had so much in common. About halfway through dinner, his phone rang and he apologized but took the call. “It’s my daughter, calling from college,” he told me. “I can’t pass up a chance to talk to her.” I don’t know why, but that touched me--the fact that he was a loving father. He was a good kisser too, which didn’t hurt. We just celebrated eight years together.

S:  You have some wonderful stories. Great inspiration for writing romance.

What would you like people to know about you?

M:  What a broad question. Here are a few things. I love cats and I love dogs. Big dogs. I’m addicted to coffee  and Diet Dr. Pepper. I love people, but I covet my privacy. I write romance, but I’m told I'm not romantic. I'm a junky for news, tons of it, but I love to escape with a good novel. I'm addicted to sugar, yet I am always on a diet. Writing is incredibly hard work, but I do it for the fun. 

S:  Maddy, this has truly been a delightful conversation. Thanks so much for joining me today.

If you'd like to learn about Maddy and her books, please visit--

Website:  www.madisonmichael.net 

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/madisonmichaelromance

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/madisonmichaelromance

Pinterest:  www.pinterest.com/madisonmichaelromance

Twitter:  www.twitter.com/madisonmichael

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

All of my books are 30% off until Halloween!


Check out the Halloween sale at eXtasy Books! These great deals are sure to spook you!

Get great discounts on the following--


Friday, October 9, 2020

Today in The Loft: Romance author Anna Taylor Sweringen!

Joining me today in The Loft is Rev. Anna Taylor Sweringen, who writes under the pen names Anna M. Taylor, Anna Taylor, and Michal Scott. She offers a diverse range of romance tales, from sweet, gothic, and inspirational to erotica and erotic romance. She uses her stories to provide insight into the African American experience, and as a bridge between the sacred and the secular. A retired United Church of Christ and Presbyterian USA minister, Anna recently relocated from New York to the southwest, where she resides with her husband of 30 years and her rescue cat, Scully.

Rev. Anna Taylor Sweringen

S:  Good morning, Anna. Thanks for joining me today!

You've had an illustrious career as a minister. Why did you become a writer?

A:  I was a storyteller from a young age. I remember creating stores around my spelling words to help me prepare for spelling tests. Being an avid reader, I naturally began to pen stories of my own right through college. However, it took my mother-in-law to set me on the road to becoming a published author. When she learned I wrote X-Files fan fiction, she asked, "Why aren't you writing stories about characters of your own?"

S:  Did you undergo any sort of education or other preparation/training to become a writer?

A:  Yes, I have been taking craft and industry courses since I joined Romance Writers of America (RWA) in 2003.

S:  Did you have a mentor when you became a romance writer?

A:  Yes, Mary Buckham. I attended my first writing class with Mary early in my association with RWA. I never miss a chance to take classes with her or one-on-one opportunities. It was Mary who got me to think of myself seriously as an author. She asked me to be on a panel for a possible workshop at the RWA national conference. When I said, "But I'm not published," she answered, "You're a writer whether you're published or not." She meant that being published had nothing to do with whether or not I had something to say and share through my writing. I will be forever in her debt for that bit of counsel.

S:  (Nods.) That's so true. While publishing provides validation, everyone who pens a story is a writer. That's important to remember.

Complete this sentence--"When I started writing books, I wish I had known..."

A:  When I started writing books, I wish I had known to take classes that dealt with writing as a career and the business ins and outs of the industry. I started writing with an understanding of the industry colored by tales of Edmund Wilson at Scribner's and Sons. 

S:  I think the business end of the industry is the most difficult part of writing as a career. Learning the legal, marketing, and business implications is so important.

What is your favorite thing about writing romance?

A:  In my day job as a minister, I was continually reminding people that they are loved, that they deserved to be loved and to share love in healthy ways. Once I started learning about writing romance, I became hooked by the concept of the emotional justice that every story, no matter its subgenre, seeks to deliver.

S:  (Smiles.) It all comes down to love. 

Why did you write, "A Little in Love With Death?" What was your inspiration?

A:  "A Little in Love With Death" (Haunted Harlem, Book 2) was inspired by a line from Eugene O'Neill's, "A Long Day's Journey Into Night." In that play, Edmund, the younger son, describes how he belonged nowhere until he had a metaphysical experience that left him a little in love with death. I also wanted to try my hand at a dual time to slip time story, a story told using two parallel plots. The result is this tale of two women--one set in the present, the other in the past--dealing with issues of guilt, and the need for belonging and acceptance. 

Here's the blurb--

Ten years ago, no one--not even the man who said he loved her--believed Sankofa Lawford's story of being attacked by a ghost. Ten years later, a new ghostly assault brings her back home to a mother going mad, a brother dangling at his wit's end, and a former love wanting a second chance. She's at a loss what to do because the pain created by memories of her own attack prove stronger than her desire to heal her family and find love again.

Mitchell Emerson believes science and reason can account for the ghostly happenings at Umoja House. He seeks a rational explanation to prove him right and regain Sankofa's trust and love. Instead, what he learns leaves his belief system shattered.

Now reluctant allies, Mitchell and Sankofa uncover years of lies that threaten to pull them apart until help comes from an unexpected ally: the ghost itself.

S:  Wow, a spooky love story. Perfect for Halloween!

Where can readers buy your book?

A:  It's available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Little-Love-Death-Haunted-Harlem-ebook/dp/B08JD5FD16.

S:  Anna, thanks so much for joining me today. If you would like to learn more about Anna and her books, please visit--

Website:  https://annamtaylor.webs.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/annamtaylorAuthor/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Revannable

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Anna-M.-Taylor/e/B0894LFCTV

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Congratulations to Lisabet Sarai on her re-release!


Blurb: 

Bitter and alone, Etienne de Rémorcy haunts the forest around the ruined plantation of Fin d'Espoir. He has sworn to never again taste human blood. Then a fierce storm and a runaway horse bring a slender, raven-haired beauty to his lair. When she begs him to take her, he cannot resist. 

Madeleine and Troy hope that a carefree vacation in tropical Jamaica will reignite their faded passion. On a mountain trail ride, Maddy's horse bolts, carrying her deep into the jungle. Injured and lost, she is saved by a giant of a man whose mere presence kindles unbearable desire. By the time she understands his dark nature, it is far too late for her to escape. 

When Maddy returns, Troy finds her greatly changed : ravenous in bed, restless and disturbed otherwise. The elegant stranger he meets on the beach holds the key to her transformation - and soon has seduced Troy as well. 

Tortured by his conscience, Etienne is determined to set the young couple free. But their love may be his last hope for redemption. 

Note: This book was previously published by Totally Bound under the title Fire in the Blood. It has been edited and updated for this release. 

Excerpt: 

She must have loosened her grip. Lightning arced through the sky, followed by a crack of thunder that rattled her bones. The stallion froze, screaming its terror to the freshening wind. It rose on its hind legs, beating the air with its front hooves and dashing Maddy to the ground. 

Lightning snaked across the clouds. Like its twin, fiery pain forked in Maddy’s ankle. The horse reared above her prone body, ready in its mad fear to crush her into the muddy earth. Grimacing with the effort, she tried to roll out of the way, though she knew she was too late. 

“Whoa now, my pretty. Du calme, du calme.” 

A man’s voice, deep and resonant, full of power. The stallion responded immediately, dropping back to all fours and hanging its head. A tall figure stepped out from behind a tree and grasped the bridle. “Good boy,” he murmured in the horse’s ear, gently stroking its muzzle all the while. “No need to fear now. Calm down.” 

The transformation from a crazed beast to a docile pet was close to instantaneous. The man’s voice had a similar effect on Maddy, slowing her racing heart, even easing the throbbing in her ankle. 

The stranger loomed over her, a huge man-shaped shadow. Full night had arrived, and Maddy could see nothing of the man’s features. She shivered and felt her heartbeat quicken once again. She was lost and alone, crippled by an ankle that was sprained if not broken. What could she do to protect herself? 

He sank on his haunches next to her aching, muddy body. “Are you hurt, Miss?” he asked, his vowels rounded by the traces of French. Maddy’s fear melted in the warmth of that rich voice. The scent of roses tickled her nostrils. The pain in her ankle dwindled to an occasional annoying twinge. 

The man’s skin reminded her of the Blue Mountain coffee she and Troy had enjoyed at breakfast, a brown so dark it was almost black. Raindrops gleamed on his smooth cheeks and pooled in the hollow of his throat. Looking at him made her thirsty. He was powerfully built, with massive shoulders swelling out from his worn denim vest. Underneath, his muscled chest was bare. A tight frizz of black hair grew in the furrow between his breasts. 

As he crouched at her side, his jeans stretched taut over his thighs but hung loosely around his narrow hips. Another line of kinky curls ran down from his navel to disappear under his waistband. 

His face was the visage of a Nubian king, prominent cheekbones and a fleshy nose with elegant, flared nostrils. His liquid-brown eyes were set wide apart, in deep sockets protected by the fine arch of his brows. His proud forehead rose above them, up to the tight-knit black frizz that covered his skull. 

And his mouth… Maddy couldn’t stop herself from staring at those full lips, mahogany-red against his rosewood-dark face. They were parted in a half-smile that revealed the pearly white of perfect teeth. 

Buy Links: 

Kinky Literature:  https://kinkyliterature.com/book/8227-fin-despoir-a-bisexual-vampire-romance/ 

Amazon  US:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08K55W8QD 

Amazon UK:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08K55W8QD 

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1045343 

Barnes and Noble:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fin-despoir-lisabet-sarai/1137780673?ean=2940164262006 

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/th/en/ebook/fin-d-espoir-a-bisexual-vampire-romance

Friday, October 2, 2020

The week in The Loft: Author Christina Lynn Lambert!

Joining me today in The Loft is author Christina Lynn Lambert. Christina writes dark, suspenseful, and sexy  paranormal romance, science fiction, and poetry. Her favorite themes revolve around love, courage, hope, and second chances. When not writing, Christina enjoys spending time outdoors and finding ways to avoid cooking. She lives in Virginia with her husband, two daughters, and a sweet, hairy monster of a dog.

Author Christina Lynn Lambert

S:  Good morning, Christina! Thanks so much for joining me today!

Why did you become a writer?

C:  Being a writer wasn’t my original career plan. I have written poetry and essays for fun ever since I was a kid, but I had no intention of ever becoming a writer. Before I had the crazy idea to write a book, I worked in a few different fields. I was in sales, I worked with adults with special needs, and then, when my children were little, I worked as a personal training and running coach. I started writing stories when I was supposed to be studying for a fitness training certification. Finally, I gave in and acknowledged that writing is what I'm meant to do. 

S:  Did you undergo any sort of educational preparation or training to become a writer?

C:  I didn’t study literature in college. My undergraduate major was psychology. During my senior year, I took a creative writing class as a fun elective course. During the class, I wrote a short story about a self-involved, workaholic woman whose life got turned upside down by a terrible accident. I saved the story and it ended up being the inspiration for Shayla’s character in "Bear’s Edge," Book 2 of my Stranger Creatures series.

S:  Complete this sentence-- “As a writer, my dream is to…”

C:  ...create stories that bring readers joy and give them strength when they need it most.

S:  What is your favorite thing about writing romance?

C:  With the idea of love, there is hope, and hope is what carries us from one day and into the next. I enjoy writing steamy paranormal romance because I like bending reality to create something extraordinary. I thought at first that I would stick with only writing paranormal romance, but when I got an idea for a suspense series, I decided to follow up on that. What I realized is that I can still bend reality to create an element of strange on the pages even when the story I’m writing is not outright science fiction or paranormal.

S:  What attracted you to your current partner?

C:  I met my husband almost 20 years ago at a neighborhood barbecue. I was impressed by his cooking skills. I hate cooking and he told me he’d be happy to cook for me any time. Then, I found out he loves animals and had raised several orphaned kittens. We were married three years later.

S:  (Sighs.) A man who cooks. You are so lucky!

Why did you write "Tiger's Last Chance?" What was your inspiration?

C:  I was inspired by Sean’s character in the book. He had a rough childhood and endured a brutal interrogation that tore apart his life and career, but he survived. In spite of everything, he endured. His empathy for others never faltered.

S:  Is there anything about this book that makes it special to you? To readers?

C:  Sean is a recovering alcoholic and music is his lifeline when things get too intense for him to bear. The song, "Ball and Chain" by Social Distortion is playing in Sean's truck in the first chapter of the story becayse that song kept popping up in my head as I wrote his character. For Sean, music is the temporary armor that gave him strength and peace while he healed. I think music is a temporary armor for many people. The rhythm and sound gives us joy and comfort in the darkest times.

S:  Tell me more about "Tiger's Last Chance."

C:  Here's the blurb--

While working a case, Sean Whitman is tortured for information, drugged, and bitten against his will by a shape shifter. The fallout leaves him jobless, friendless, and dumped by his girlfriend. Needing a fresh start, he leaves town and opens a private investigation business. Learning to live life sober isn’t easy, but he makes it to the two year mark.

When Detective Nikki Jackson with the Great Oaks, Virginia Police Department calls him, accusing him of breaking into his ex-girlfriend’s house, Sean can’t help but like the sound of her voice, despite her ridiculous accusations. He’s shocked when she calls him back with an apology then asks for his help as a consultant on a case. On the phone, her sweet, slightly Southern voice captivates him. In person, she's unlike any other woman he's encountered, and nearly impossible to resist. But could the sexy detective ever want a man like him?

After Nikki’s last dating disaster, the mountain lion shifter has sworn off men. Then she meets Sean, and with every second she spends around the tall, dark-eyed man, her resolve crumbles. But for some reason, despite the undeniable attraction between them, Sean seems determined to push her away.

An investigation into missing refugees leaves Nikki with more questions than answers. Her refusal to let the matter drop leads her to the discovery of a radical political group’s horrifying plot for dominance. Traitors are embedded within the very organizations meant to keep shifters safe. As the list of people she can trust dwindles, Nikki calls on Sean to help her unravel a web of deceit.

As Nikki and Sean fight for survival, his fear of losing her could become a reality. Will he get one last chance to show her he loves her?

S:  The sounds very suspenseful! Where can readers buy your book?

C:  It's available at all major booksellers, including--

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/b088p6mydb

Barnes and Noble:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tigers-last-chance-christina-lynn-lambert/1137033221

iTunes:  https://books.apple.com/us/book/tigers-last-chance/id1513644203

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/tiger-s-last-chance

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1022227 

S:  Christina, thanks for joining me today! If you would like to learn more about Christina and her books, please visit--

Website:  https://christinalynnlambertwordpress.com

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Christina-Lynn-Lambert/e/B01MCYK0K7

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/christinalynnlambert

Twitter:  https://www.twitter.com/chris4lamb

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/christinalynnlambert

Friday, September 25, 2020

This week in The Loft: Author Gayle M. Irwin!

Joining me today in The Loft is author Gayle M. Irwin. Gayle enjoys incorporating her passion for pet rescue and adoption into her stories. A former editor and reporter  for the West Yellowstone News, Gayle has won three Wyoming Press Association awards for magazine writing. Now a freelance writer, as well as an author, she donates a percentage of her writing income, including book sales, to animal rescue and adoption organizations. Gayle's books range from children's stories to adult contemporary romance.

Author Gayle M. Irwin

S:  Welcome, Gayle! Thanks for joining me today!

Did you undergo any sort of educational or other preparation/training to become a writer?

G:  Yes. I studied journalism, creative writing, and public relations while attending college. My first job upon graduating with my bachelor’s degree was as a reporter for newly-formed weekly newspaper in western Montana. I went on to become the reporter and editor for the West Yellowstone News in West Yellowstone, Montana – the western gateway into Yellowstone National Park. I covered topics such as endangered species, introduction of wolves into the park, tourism, and the usual community news, including police reports, council meetings, etc. I also became a freelance writer, creating short stories for various publications, work that I continue doing today. I enjoy sharing stories, for newspapers and magazines, as well as in book form. I don't enjoy ambulance chasing, arrest records, and court proceedings, and therefore, no longer work as a reporter or editor. I like the creative aspect of writing, sharing human interest stories and providing encouragement and inspiration. Those are a few of the reasons I became an author. As an adult, I’ve taken a few college classes on creative writing and I’ve attended several writing conferences, in person and online. I’ve certainly grown as a writer during the past 30-plus years!

S:  (Laughs.) I spent a few years on the courts beat and then I became a lawyer! 

Complete this sentence: "As a writer, my dream is to..." 

G:  ...inspire, educate, and entertain, and to do so as a full-time author and freelance writer. Whether writing stories for magazines, sharing uplifting stories for children, or entertaining adult readers with clean romance, my goal is to put smiles on people’s faces, encourage them to turn the page with engaging content, and inspire them in various ways.

S:  Do you write in other genres?

G:  I’ve written children’s pet books that weave life lessons, such as courage, perseverance, and friendship, as well as Christian devotions for dog-lovers. I believe animals can teach people amazing life and faith lessons. Therefore, I use my passion for pets as a catalyst for my book writing, including my romance books.

S:  (Nods.) Children and pets. A perfect combination.

What is your favorite thing about writing romance? 

G:  I can relive my younger years and recall moments of romance, as well as envision romantic escapes that can and do happen. I enjoy creating various settings for romance, such as an evening meal, bistro-style, set up near a river with the moon and stars, and a few candles for light. That’s a scene I created for my book “Rescue Road.” I believe the outdoors creates opportunities for romance, whether walking hand-in-hand as snowflakes filter to the ground or a candlelight dinner on a patio. I like reminding people of the sweet and simple aspects of romance.

S:  Have you ever experienced what you consider the perfect romantic evening? Can you describe it? 

G:  I traveled to Victoria, British Columbia with a boyfriend. We enjoyed a meal at the Empress Hotel in that lovely city. We dressed in evening attire, strolled through the grand hallways, and ate a most delicious meal, being waited on to the extent of being given wet towels to clean our hands after the meal. Then we strolled outside in the crisp autumn air along the bay that came in from the Pacific Ocean. That was nearly 30 years ago and an evening I’ll never forget.

S:  That sounds lovely. A perfect romantic evening.

Why did you write "Finding Love at Compassion Ranch?" What was your inspiration?

G:  "Finding Love at Compassion Ranch" is based upon a real animal sanctuary in Wyoming. I’ve visited that place, called Kindness Ranch, a few times, and I am so impressed with their mission and their results. I wanted to create a story about a place that provides second chances for animals so that they have a life filled with love, compassion, and freedom. Both Kindness Ranch, the real place, and Compassion Ranch, my fictionalized version, takes in animals that have been used in research, many of which are trapped in small cages for years. I wrote this book about second chances, for both the human characters and the animal characters, because many of us experience second chances, including adopted animals. The setting and the theme tie in nicely together and as author, I have the opportunity to subtly educate people on the importance of pet rescue and adoption.

S:  Pet rescue and adoption is an important issue and it's great that you can bring attention to it with your writing. My nephew and brother work with a parrot rescue. They have gotten some rather interesting birds in there, but so far, nothing I can incorporate in my stories.

What about this story makes it special--to you? To readers?

G:  For me, the story, which is part of a series I called Pet Rescue Romance, is set in a beautiful part of the world--The Yellowstone National Park. "Finding Love at Compassion Ranch" is set in the state in which I live, Wyoming. For readers, I think this book is special because it’s based on a real place and because many dream of or do experience a second chance at love, whether because a spouseor partner dies or we get dumped by our previous spouse or partner. Or perhaps, we left a relationship. Or we knew a certain person in school and many years later that person comes back into our life. We all need second chances now and then, and so do adoptable pets. I enjoy tying the two together--second chances for the people and second chances for the pets.

Here's the blurb for "Finding Love at Compassion Ranch"--

A ranch like no other …

Erin Christiansen is still adjusting to life as a widow. She seeks additional healing by volunteering at Compassion Ranch, a sanctuary for former research animals. Upon arrival at the majestic and unique northwestern Wyoming ranch, she meets Mike, a man she knew in high school, whose compassion for animals and people might be the balm Erin needs.

Retired veterinarian Mike Jacobs is no stranger to loss. Five years after the accidental death of his wife, he now serves as ranch manager of Compassion Ranch. He not only fixes fence and provides tours, but he applies his veterinary skills and his heart for animals to his work. Upon recognizing Erin from high school, he can barely believe his first love will spend a few weeks at the sanctuary.

Can Erin and Mike span the years since they have seen each other or do they, like many of the rescued animals, have wounds that run too deep to trust and love again?


S:  Nothing like a second chance at love! Where can readers buy your book?

G:  It's available at all major booksellers, including--

Amazon/Kindle:  https://amzn.to/2AM7sLk

Amazon/Print: https://bit.ly/2XhZbq3_CompassionRanchPrint

Draft2Digital:  https://books2read.com/u/4j2RNZ

S:  Gayle, thanks so much for joining me today! If you'd like to learn more about Gayle and her books, please visit--

Website:  https://gaylemirwinauthor.com/books/

Blog:  https://gaylemirwinauthor.com/blog/

Author Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/GayleMIrwin

Twitter: https://twitter.com/wyoauthor1

Pinterest:  www.pinterest.com/gaylemirwin

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Today in The Loft: Fellow eXtasy author Tim Smith!

Joining me today in The Loft is best-selling author Tim Smith. Tim writes romantic mysteries and thrillers, as well as contemporary erotic romance for eXtasy Books. His novels featuring former CIA agent Nick Seven have garnered several awards and international critical praise. The prolific author is also a photographer, blogger, freelance writer, and editor. He can often be found tooling around the Florida Keys, in search of the perfect Pina Colada or parasailing. 

Author Tim Smith

S:  Good morning, Tim! I'm am so happy you could join me today.

Why did you become a writer?

T:  I’ve had an interest in writing since I was in high school, but I didn’t really pursue story writing until years later. I had gone through some life changes, and decided it was time to indulge my interest. I had an idea for a character and a story I wanted to tell, and finally told myself to either write the damn thing or stop talking about it. For once, I heeded my own advice. 

S:  (Smiles.) Some of the best advice you can give a fledging author is to "just do it." It starts with a single sentence.

Do you write full or part-time? Do you have another job or other responsibilities?

T:  I write full-time now, and have been able to for the past few years. I’m a freelance writer, editor and blogger, in addition to producing three new books a year. These consist of one full-length adventure in one of my ongoing series, a summer beach read, and a holiday romance. I don’t have another job to distract me from that, unless you count home maintenance. 

S:  Complete this sentence--"When I started writing books, I wish I had known..."

T:  …how much time and effort I’d need to put into marketing and promotions. I wish I had spoken to people with more experience in the field, because it’s very competitive and hard to know what works and what doesn’t. When I first became published, print books still dominated the field, and most writers didn’t have an online presence. Book signings and personal appearances were what you went after. When eBooks became the new standard, online self-promotion became a necessity just to keep up with the number of new books released each year. I had to catch up or get left in the wake.

S:  (Nods.) I began writing when social media exploded, so I not only had to learn how to market a book, but also how to navigate social media. I'm not sure I have figured it all out yet. Still, it does take a lot of time and effort.

Is there anything you wish you had done differently when you began writing books?

T:  I would have researched the market more thoroughly to identify the audience for my books. I primarily write romantic mystery/thrillers, with tough guy heroes getting into all sorts of adventures while finding romance along the way. That crosses over into several sub-genres, and it’s still hard for me to categorize my books when I release a new one. I think the other thing I would have done when I signed with my current publisher is change my name to something ambiguous. Being a male who writes straight contemporary romance under my real name has made it tough to get accepted. 

S:  More and more men are "coming out" as romance writers. I think it's a good thing. It brings a more authentic male perspective to romance.

What's your writing process?

T:  When I come up with an idea for an adventure story, I decide which of my two series characters it would best fit. Some of my plots may work well for a private eye, but not for a former CIA spook trying to live off the grid. When I begin writing, I typically have a beginning, middle, and ending in mind. Along the way, the plot might change as new ideas come to me. I’m not one of those writers who has to produce a certain quota of words per day, because I’m not that disciplined. It all depends on my mood when I wake up that morning.    

S:  (Grins.) You are certainly not alone. I can't force myself to write. If the words aren't flowing, I'll bake bread or take a walk down by the lake. My mind seems to know when it needs a distraction and I just go with it.  

Tell me about your new book, "The Big Fall?" What was your inspiration?

T:  In “The Big Fall” I wanted to put my hero, former spy Nick Seven, in a difficult position that he would have to get out of by using his skills and training. He’s being set up as the fall guy for a murder he didn’t commit, and in addition to proving his innocence, he has to unmask the real killer and motive. When you drop your hero into a situation like that, it’s fun to see how they’re going to get out of it. Some of my inspiration for this one came from current events and the crazy world we live in, where social media seems to influence everything.  

Here's the blurb--

Just when you think life can’t get much better, a crashing wave wipes out your sand castle. Former spies Nick Seven and Felicia Hagens are taking a break from Key Largo to visit a casino owned by Nick’s friend, Rock Bianco. An unexpected, nasty encounter with one of Nick’s former lovers turns disastrous when she’s killed shortly afterward. The police and the girl’s wealthy father are convinced that Nick did it, despite the lack of hard evidence. The billionaire industrialist wages an online smear campaign to make Nick look guilty, including sordid details from his past career in the CIA. The stakes become more personal when the fallout impacts Felicia, testing their relationship. Nick fights back, but why is the man determined to hold him responsible for his daughter’s murder? Who really killed her and why is their identity being shielded? Can Nick and Felicia resolve this crisis and reclaim their idyllic life in paradise?


S:  Sounds like you have another bestseller on your hands. We've all seen reputations trashed on social media, often for no reason other than it amuses others. What a test for a relationship!

Where can readers buy your book?

T:  It was released last Friday by eXtasy Books and will be available soon from all major booksellers. Here's the eXtasy link--https://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-3076-4-the-big-fall/.

S:  Tim, thanks so much for joining me today and sharing information about your new book. If you would like to learn more about Tim and his books, please visit--

Website:  http://www.timsmithauthor.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004088102018 

AllAuthor:  https://allauthor.com/author/timsmith/

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Tim-Smith/e/B002HDEN4M