Friday, September 30, 2022

This week in The Loft: Author Gretchen Lovett!

Joining me today in The Loft is author Gretchen Lovett. Gretchen writes in a broad range of genres, including romance, as an author, freelance writer, and ghostwriter. Previously a secretary for a large nonprofit organization, after the COVID lockdowns Gretchen decided to stay home and write full-time. The author of seven contemporary romance novels, she has also ghostwritten 21 romance novels for other clients and six nonfiction titles on subjects ranging parenting to healthcare. She is the mother of two sons, both of whom are getting ready to leave the nest. She says they are not allowed to read her books, nor are they interested.

Author Gretchen Lovett

S:  Good morning, Gretchen! Thanks for joining me today!

How has romance changed in your lifetime? 

G:  When I was a child, my mom and her sisters traded paperback romance novels every time they got together. When I was first introduced to the genre, I read historical romance, but now I only write contemporary romance. I am fascinated by the rise of the billionaire trope, but I think it’s almost exactly the same as the titled gentlemen in historical romance, only now we have businessmen instead of Dukes.

S:  Similar plots, just different characters.

What do people get wrong about publishing a book?

G:  I think a lot of people imagine that it’s a difficult process. It’s not. It’s fairly simple and I do believe anyone can do it.

S:  Do you write in genres other than romance?

G:  I actually have two collections of interviews published under a different name. I’m drawn to nonfiction because I like little stories. Even though a lot of novels focus on the rich and powerful, I prefer every day humans in my work.

S:  Not everyone is destined to focus just on romance. There are so many genres out there. Why not explore other types of stories?

If you had to do it all over again, would you still choose to write books?

G:  Yes!

S:  What’s the best advice you have ever been given?

G:  From a marketing perspective, the narrower you can get your targeted audience, the better. I attended one entrepreneurial workshop in which the presenter suggested identifying a single client. What is she looking for? How can you meet her needs? Instead of trying to appeal to everyone, focus on what you can do for a single customer, and surprisingly, more revenue will follow.

S:  What inspired "Second Chance Louisiana?"

G:  I was asked to write a sweet, small-town romance by my publisher.

S:  Is there anything special you would like people to know about "Second Chance Louisiana?"

G:  I cut my literary teeth as an action/adventure novelist, so some of that comes out in this book. While there are definitely romantic elements, there is also some heart-pounding action. It may not be the next Tom Clancy, but it won't disappoint!

Here's the blurb--

Tyler went to the bank to take out a loan. He was down to his last dollar, and his new wife and baby girl didn’t even know they were in financial trouble.

Fifteen years later, he is released from prison. Two masked men robbed the bank and framed Tyler for the crime. He missed his daughter’s entire childhood and hardly recognizes the woman he’s still married to.

As he and Misty attempt to reconnect, Tyler feels jumpy. It seems like someone’s watching him. He can’t be sure, but he thinks he recognizes the man in the feed store.

The progress they’ve made burying the hatchet is encouraging. But will there be time for a second honeymoon when the past is coming up behind them?


S:  Where can readers buy "Second Chance Louisiana?"


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

Friday, September 23, 2022

This week in The Loft: Author Kayelle Allen!

Joining me today in The Loft is best-selling author Kayelle Allen. Kayelle writes Fantasy, Science Fiction, Science Fiction Romance, Gay Romance, and non-fiction. Her unstoppable heroes and heroines include contemporary every day folk, role-playing immortal gamers, futuristic covert agents, and warriors who purr.  Kayelle enjoys attending science fiction conventions and has been a speaker at DragonCon, GaylaxiCon and NerdaCon. She holds an honorary lifetime membership to OutlantaCon, an Atlanta Sci-Fi convention. A veteran of the U.S. Navy, Kayelle also manages the successful Romance Lives Forever blog, and is the founder of Marketing for Romance Authors, a support group for romance writers. 

Author Kayelle Allen

S:  Welcome, Kayelle! Thanks for joining me today.

In your opinion, is true romance--the wooing, courtship, passion, seduction, the little gestures of affection, etc.--dead?

K:  It's true for me. I've been married almost 49 years, and my husband and I still say, "I love you" more than once a day. We have this little gesture where we flatten a hand and stretch toward the other person, and they do the same and tap the hand. It's completely voiceless, but it's a way of showing affection. How it came about was we used to joke about Harry the Elephant, who lived in our house and tended to leave clutter everywhere. It wasn't us doing it, of course. So Harry got the blame. Then we started stretching out a hand and wiggling it like it was an elephant sniffing with his trunk. Over the years, it morphed into this little gesture. No words needed. Each knows what it means and we always smile at each other when doing it.

S:  That's so sweet! What a loving gesture.

What inspires your stories?

K:  Ideas fly through the air and land on me. I have no shortage of them. Anything at all can inspire a story. I was once watching the Super Bowl with hubby, and thought, "I wonder what this would be like in the Tarthian Empire?" Boom! Whole new story idea. Women being forced to veil in Afghanistan inspired Alitus. In his story, Betters are enhanced humans whose pheromones and voice can addict and enthrall. They are forced to wear an electronic veil that hides their faces and changes their voices to a genderless robotic sound.

S:  What do you want inscribed on your tombstone? How do you want to be remembered?

K:  I'm going to quote my immortal king here and say, "Vacant." I hope to be remembered as someone who helped others, and who was open to change her entire life. So much of my life has been realizing I needed to do X instead of Z, or that B was not true and it was actually C. When I learn something, I run with it. I love to learn and hope new knowledge always stretches me to embrace truth.

S:  What inspired "A Stolen Heart?"

K:  The series, The Antonello Brothers, was written backward. I released Senth's story, "At the Mercy of Her Pleasure," and then wrote a sequel about his brother, Khyff, in "For Women Only." A few years later, I released "Bro," which was the story of how the Antonello Brothers met and took place prior to "Mercy." In that story was a scene where Senth's father has a sweet recollection of playing hide and seek when Senth was a toddler. I always knew Senth had been adopted, but had never written the story. I decided to explore that. "A Stolen Heart" was born from that single scene, and it's probably my longest book. It serves as an excellent origin point for most of the characters in my story universe. This year, I released "Crystal Clear Truth," which is the final book in the series.

S:  Is there anything special you would like people to know about "A Stolen Heart?"

K:  First off, this book is free. "A Stolen Heart" is a found family story with generous helpings of rescue, redemption, and wide-eyed innocence, mixed with a badass hero. Readers tell me how much they adore the little boy in this story and I have to agree. Senth grows up to be a fun-loving young man who actually inspired my debut novel, "At the Mercy of Her Pleasure," and has been in multiple books since. So if you like "A Stolen Heart," you have plenty more stories where that came from!

Here's the blurb--

Luc rescues a toddler, with no intention of keeping the tot. A pirate with a monstrous past can never be trusted with an innocent child, not even one who looks up to him as if he were a hero. But this child, however young, is adept at breaking into things. Nothing is beyond the boy's reach. He even steals Luc's heart.

Love can heal, but will a monster ever deem himself worthy of being saved?

Maybe not, because when your king is immortal -- and your ex -- can you ever catch a break?


S:  That sounds like a heartwarming story. Where can readers get a free copy of "A Stolen Heart?"

K:  The Universal Buy Link is https://books2read.com/ab-stolen-heart. It's also available on Radish at https://radish.app.link/RzeYnHbVpsb.

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

Homeworld:   https://kayelleallen.com
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/kayelleallenbooks
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/kayelleallen
Kayelle's Keepers:  http://facebook.com/groups/KayellesKeepers
BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/kayelle-allen
Every book everywhere:  https://books2read.com/ap/nEokkx/Kayelle-Allen
Newsletter:  https://KayelleAllen.com/immortality
Meet Kayelle and become a Tarthian Empire citizen (and an immortal), among other reader exclusives at KayelleAllen.com/immortality

Friday, September 16, 2022

This week in The Loft: Author Christina Lynn Lambert!

Joining me today in The Loft is author Christina Lynn Lambert. Christina writes paranormal romance and romantic suspense, as well as poetry and science fiction. She enjoys creating characters who are imperfect but determined who find the courage to love and the strength to survive in a world where there are no guarantees. When not writing, Christina enjoys spending time outside and finding ways to avoid cooking. She lives in Virginia with her husband, two daughters, a sweet hairy monster of a dog, and two devious cats.

Author Christina Lynn Lambert

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

How has romance changed in your lifetime? 

C:  Romance has evolved from the stereotypical process of women making themselves up pretty and passively waiting to be courted with grand gestures. I like that we are now able and encouraged to take an active role in the whole process, from sweet gestures of affection like giving flowers and meaningful gifts to planning exciting dates and showing a potential partner what we like versus waiting for someone to figure things out, often without proper clues.

S:  Given changing role of women, is true romance- the wooing, courtships, passion, seduction, the little gestures of affection, etc.- dead? 

C:  I don’t think true romance is dead, but the dynamic has changed. Women now take a more active role in the exchange between partners. Additionally, what was considered a passionate, seductive game in the 1950s might no longer be viewed as desirable. Times have changed. Love and romance will never cease to exist, but how one expresses their desires has evolved. I think people have also moved away from thinking that expensive jewelry and fancy dinners are the go-to gesture of courting a partner and have come to embrace the concept of acts of love and service, like building one’s partner a bookshelf or spending a day doing the things their love-interest enjoys, as equally, if not more, important.

S:  I think the changes have been for the better, too. It's more satisfying to be an active participant in a romantic relationship.

What do you appreciate more--brains or brawn/beauty?

C:  I definitely would prefer brains over brawn and beauty if I had to choose. I enjoy looking at beautiful scenery in nature, but when it comes to a romantic partner, I want to be able to have a good, meaningful conversation, otherwise, after a few weeks, I would be bored.

S:  Looks fade, but conversation can go on forever.

What attracted you to your current partner?

C:  He invited me to a barbecue and I was so impressed with his cooking abilities that I spent a long time talking with him about anything and everything. We’ve been together ever since.

S:  A man who cooks! That's always hard to resist!

Do you write in genres other than romance?

C:  In addition to romance, I write poetry and plan to start writing down some of my science fiction story ideas soon.

S:  What inspired your paranormal romance, "Bear’s Dream?"

C:  Aiden “AJ” Shepherd and his brother Greg were both a small part of "Bear’s Edge," Stranger Creatures, Book 2, and the characters stayed on my mind. Eventually, I decided that the Shepherd brothers needed their own series, so I had the brothers open up a shifter resort in the Haven Forest Resort series. The first book in the series is AJ and Ellie’s story.

S:  Is there anything special you would like people to know about "Bear’s Dream?"

C:  Here are some fun facts about the main characters of "Bear’s Dream"--Ellie makes decisions quickly and sometimes worries that she’s being impulsive. She is an amazing cook and kind-hearted. She has a giant dog named Curtis who she found tied to a tree and starving when she was on a hike with a friend. AJ is quiet and serious. He spent a lot of time in the Shifter Enforcement Army and saw some horrible things which have weighed on his mind. He and his brother want to open the resort so shifters can have a place to celebrate things and run free without worries.

Here's the blurb--

She had every reason to hate him.

Aiden “AJ” Shepherd’s mistake during a Shifter Army Enforcement rescue mission cost Ellie Ortiz’s brother, Marco, his life. Ellie hates AJ with a burning passion until a chance encounter with him on New Year’s Eve reveals he’s not the cold, heartless man she once thought him to be. Her attraction to him takes her by surprise, and she vows to ignore her feelings. When a new job puts her in contact with him every day, the heat building between them threatens to flare out of control. Her resolve to keep the sweet, sexy man in the friend zone is weakening by the day.

He’s convinced she’s his mate, but a secret could ruin everything.

Whether they’re fighting off fanatics who target shifters or working together to get his shifter resort, Haven Forest, ready for the grand opening, AJ can’t get enough of Ellie. Convincing her to give him a chance, more than the one-night-of-fun idea she’s proposed, might be impossible, but he’s fallen too hard for her not to try. During a disastrous assignment with Shifters United, AJ uncovers some information that changes everything. Keeping the secret from Ellie is killing him but he might lose her forever if he tells her the truth.

When Ellie ends up at the heart of a reporter’s plot to prove the existence of shifters, she and AJ must fight their way to freedom. The survival of shifters everywhere depends on it.

S:  Wow. That sounds pretty suspenseful. Where can readers buy your book?

C:  It's available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Bears-Dream-Haven-Forest-Resort-ebook/dp/B09XT1WX5G.

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

Website:  https://christinalynnlambertwordpress.com
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/christinalynnlambert
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/christinalynnlambert
Twitter:  https://www.twitter.com/chris4lamb

Friday, September 9, 2022

This week in The Loft: Author D. V. Stone!

Joining me this week in The Loft is award-winning author D. V. Stone. D. V. writes fantasy, contemporary, and paranormal romance, as well as romantic suspense. Before retiring, she held a variety of positions, including Emergency Medical Technician in a women’s state prison, and the proprietor of a coffee shop and a small restaurant/ice cream stand.  When not behind the wheel of 2Hoots, a Fifth Wheel camper, she rambles around northern New Jersey in a white Camaro. 

Author D. V. Stone

S:  Good morning, D. V. Thanks for joining me in The Loft!

What do people get wrong about publishing a book?

D:  That it’s easy. A lot of time, effort, self-doubt, and heartache can go into a manuscript. Rejection by agents, editors, and publishers can squash your spirit. Another myth is that we make a lot of money—pennies on the dollar for most of us. There are millions of books out there. Trying to get someone to spend their hard-earned money on you is a daunting task. Sometimes, it takes years to get a book published. The editing process itself can take months to a year.

S:  I love it when people tell me they could write a book. I always reply, "Then why don't you?"

What do people get wrong about writing romance?

D:  Many people consider it fluff. Let me tell you, romance books deal with life--all the nitty gritty down and dirty parts of it. Our characters often have obstacles most of us deal with daily. And if I include a happily ever after—sue me. HEAs make me happy.

S:  I have to agree. Romance comes in all shapes and sizes, and it is woven into our daily lives in ways we barely notice. I think the difference is that romance tales focus on the romance, while other genres focus on other elements.

If you had to do it all over again, would you still choose to write books?

D:  Despite all the obstacles, yes. I find it fulfilling and enjoyable most of the time.

S:  Do you write in genres other than romance?

D:  I do. In the beginning, I considered myself a fantasy writer, but now six years later, my bookshelf is fantasy romance, contemporary romance in the subgenres of romantic suspense and various levels of paranormal romance, and I’m working on my first historical action-adventure romance. There is romance in all of my books. People sometimes look down on romance books. But so many of the classics have romantic elements. They just aren’t called romance.

S:  What attracted you to your current partner?

D:  Funny story about my husband of 28 years, Pete. We met in a women’s state prison. He was a new corrections officer and I’d been an EMT there for several years. Recently divorced, I wasn’t looking for another relationship—but several of my co-workers had a different idea. One officer went to work and convinced me that Pete wanted to go on a date with me. The other did the same to him. It was our first argument. “You wanted to go out with me. No, you wanted to go out with me.” Well, I ended up falling in love with his kindness, humor, and sincerity. After the first date, we were like peas and carrots. Engaged within three months and married in a year. Twenty-eight later, I’m still in love. He’s my best friend, biggest cheerleader, and an all-around great guy.

S:  What a great story! What inspired your book, "Jazz House?"

D:  "Jazz House" is my second book about First Responders and people making an impact in the lives of others. As a former EMT, I understand their life and dedication. "Rock House Grill" was Book One, and the main character is an EMT. In "Jazz House," the main character is a police officer. In the past, I owned a small restaurant as well as a coffee shop, and I love to cook, so basing them in restaurants felt natural.

S:  Is there anything special you would like people to know about "Jazz House?"

D:  Sadly, so many think harshly about our police force. The small percentage of bad cops has tarnished the rest. I know these people. Most are heroes. Michael Machau is a small city police officer. He loves his friends. He rescues dogs. He keeps the people safe. He loves Jordon. Michael is like most of the cops I know. Also, my next in the series, which is a work in progress, will be about firefighters.

Here's the blurb--

Jordan Vasilakis is on the run, living under an assumed name. After a disastrous marriage to a notorious Greek business tycoon, she flees to the States and starts rebuilding her life. But her ruthless husband is determined to destroy her…once he finds her.

Michael Machau is drawn to the new singer at Jazz House restaurant, but the guarded woman is harboring dangerous secrets. The dedicated police officer may have to risk more than just his heart to forge a connection with the woman he knows as Madeline Cielo, especially when he discovers she’s living a lie.

Worlds collide. Lies entangle. Survival, much less love, is in question. They must quickly distinguish friends from enemies or risk losing everything—including a future together.

S:  That sounds suspenseful! Where can readers buy "Jazz House?"

D:  It's available at--

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Jazz-House-Impact-Book-2-ebook/dp/B0B1Z2KKN8

Barnes and Noble:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/jazz-house-d-v-stone/1141502643

iTunes:  https://books.apple.com/us/book/jazz-house/id6442847677

Universal Link:  https://books2read.com/u/mZQq0e

Book Trailer:  https://youtu.be/VKyvNBD56e8

S:  D. V., thanks for joining me today. If you'd like to learn more about D. V. and her books, please visit--

Website:  https://www.dvstoneauthor.com/

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/d.v.stone/

Friday, September 2, 2022

This week in The Loft: Author Maggie Blackbird!

Joining me today in The Loft is Canadian author Maggie Blackbird. Maggie writes contemporary and historical romance about Canada's Indigenous People. An Ojibway from Northwestern Ontario, Maggie resides in the country with her husband and their fur babies, two beautiful Alaskan Malamutes. When she’s not writing, she can be found pulling weeds in the flower beds, mowing the huge lawn, walking the Mals deep in the bush, teeing up a ball at the golf course, fishing in the boat for walleye, or sitting on the deck at her sister’s house, making more wonderful memories with the people she loves most.

The avatar for author Maggie Blackbird

S:  Good morning, Maggie! It's always a pleasure to chat with you in The Loft.

What do people get wrong about publishing a book?

M:  They think it’s easy. It isn’t. It’s a long process. Writing the manuscript is fast. But self-edits can take some time. Then it’s subbed to the publisher. Again, more edits and proofing. They also think it will automatically become a bestseller and they will get all kinds of money. That is also wrong. It’s hard work and tons of marketing. Like right now, I am working on marketing by answering these questions, instead of writing. That’s another thing they get wrong. They think you can sit and write all day. Wrong. Between writing-related work, marketing, promo, website updates, blah blah blah, it can become a job and a half. You really have to love what you’re doing.

S:  You are certainly right about finding time to write. Sometimes, all of the other tasks related to publishing a book are overwhelming and writing is almost pushed aside. 

What do people get wrong about writing romance?

M:  They think it’s all about sex. No, it’s not. Not even close to that. It’s about building a story for readers that involves two characters overcoming external and internal conflicts that are keeping them apart. The characters are so much more than two people falling in love. They are battling their own problems, again, whether external or internal. Building strong character arcs is a must, along with believable conflict, and a compelling storyline.

S:  I think writing romance has really evolved in recent years. There is a more dedicated focus on building relationships and that's a good thing.

Do you write in genres other than romance?

M:  I’d love to try women’s fiction, or even contemporary fiction ala Jackie Collins with an Indigenous twist to it, but we’ll see. Right now, I've got too many irons in the fire to give those a second thought.

S:  What inspired "His Proposition?"

M:  People think writing category romance--a trope-driven novel with a somewhat flexible formula--is easy. It’s not. This novel was originally supposed to be category romance, but as I started writing, the characters changed their minds on me. To write a category romance, I used the billionaire and fish out of water tropes. But I decided to add my own signature twists to it. I must admit, I had a lot of fun writing this one.

S:  Is there anything special you would like people to know about "His Proposition?"

M:  Racism and how it impacts future generations is a big theme in this novel. I really enjoyed the Irish Canadian take on what they experienced in contrast to what Canada’s Indigenous People experienced. The two main protagonists have a lot more in common than they think, even though she comes from a First Nations community and he’s a trust-fund baby. So it became a bit too heavy for category romance.

Here's the blurb--

Her biggest dream’s offered on a platter, but the clincher is, she has to marry a perfect stranger.

When her employer offers the no-nonsense Shannon Nadjiwon the position of chauffeuring Séamus Daugherty, she jumps at the chance. To work for one of Toronto’s most powerful families means she can make her biggest dream of owning a fleet of limos come true, something her female relations tooling away at her Ojibway community want badly for her, and she won’t let them down.

His reckless need for speed cost Séamus Daugherty his license. If he doesn’t marry, as demanded by his overbearing father, he will lose not only his lucrative job with the family business—the only positive aspect in Séamus’ gilded cage life—but everything Daugherty.

The unpretentious and gorgeous Shannon will make the perfect bride, and Séamus is ready to strike a deal with her, one that will ensure he keeps everything he holds dear if she puts a wedding ring on her finger. However, they face three big obstacles: His family, her family, and a marriage neither truly wants, leaving both wondering if the sizzling sexual chemistry and cozy rapport they share is enough to create a happily ever after.

S:  I love this story line! Where can readers buy your book?

M:  It's available at--





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





eXtasy Books Author Page:  https://www.extasybooks.com/maggie-blackbird/

Newsletter Sign-Up:  eepurl.com/gJu2VL

Friday, August 26, 2022

This week in The Loft: Author Christi Barth!

Joining me today in The Loft is USA Today best-selling author Christi Barth. Christi typically writes contemporary romantic comedy, including the Naked Men and Aisle Bound series.  On October 25, she will release her first paranormal romantic comedy novel. A part-time writer, Christi can be found stirring up trouble in a wide variety of locales with a wide variety of characters after working at her day job, usually between the hours of 8 to 11:30 p.m. each evening. A resident of Baltimore, Christi took time from her annual vacation in Ocean City, MD, to visit The Loft and chat about her latest book.

Author Christi Barth

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

What was your worst date ever?

C:  My blind date was a sales rep for Proctor & Gamble. He gestured to his stuffed back seat and offered me all the feminine hygiene products I could possibly want. That was not sexy!

S:  I would have grabbed a handful and fled!

What do people get wrong about publishing a book? 

C:  That's a two-part answer. First, that if you write a book and pay an editor, it is automatically good enough to publish. Just because you can publish something doesn’t mean it is necessarily ready. Finishing a book is a huge accomplishment to be celebrated – but there is a lot to be learned by doing, and two or four or more books might have to be written before one is truly ready. And second, that writing a book is all you have to do as an author. That is not true. You are a full-time business owner. Even with traditional publishers, you have to market your books. I’m super happy to be chatting with you today, but this takes time. Now imagine doing 15 of these blogs during release week--all with different questions to answer – and 15 more when there is a sale, and multiply that by your back list. Actually, writing the book is the easiest part!

S:  That is so true. Book marketing is not only a series of trials and errors, but also time-consuming.

What inspires your stories?

C:  Often, it is travel. My first book idea came from a visit to Charleston. I tripped over a tree root in the cobblestones and landed on the fence around a cemetery. Instantly, I had a book idea. Same thing happened when I visited the Finger Lakes--my Shore Secrets series--and took a cruise, Cruising Toward Love." But my fave inspiration story comes from when I was sitting in "Anastasia" on Broadway. I knew I had to write a book with similar themes. I spent all of intermission scribbling the idea down on the back of my ticket--and it became my Sexy Misadventures of Royals series.

S:  How has romance changed in your lifetime? 

C:  I don’t think romance itself has changed, aside from it being more of a two-way street. I think the romance genre has changed, and for the better. I grew up on absolute bodice-rippers. Loved them at the time, but see them now as very, very not okay. Today’s romances are more balanced--the hero and the heroine are both smart, both have careers that matter, and the dumbing down of women has very much dissipated.

S:  When I was studying for the bar exam, someone passed around a big bag of "bodice-rippers" their mother had sent. Those books were a great source of entertainment, and a nice break from studying, but so removed from reality that it was a little disturbing.

What attracted you to your current partner?

C:  We were great friends. He was married--nothing hinky was going on, I promise--and we played romantic leads in an operetta. We didn’t flirt or anything, we just had a lot of sitting around time to talk and laugh and do crosswords and we became fast friends. Okay, I did notice how handsome he was, but would never, ever have done anything about it. And I truly think that is the secret to a great marriage--sure, you love each other, but being best friends is truly the foundation.

S:  What inspired "Hottie On Her Shelf?"

C:  It was actually a suggestion from my publisher. I know, not a super eventful inspiration story. She suggested that a librarian run against a mayor. Period. Which yes, sounds fun, but is actually incredibly hard to make into an entire book. Because in these partisan times, I had to ensure that this election romance had zero politics in it--since everyone deserves to enjoy a romance no matter their political leanings.

S:  Is there anything special you want people to know about "Hottie On Her Shelf?"

C:  I, myself, visit small towns and break out in immediate emotional hives with the thought of everyone knowing my schedule and thinking they can comment on my life. But I do adore reading--and writing--small town romance. And this book takes place in a tiny coastal Maine town, full of quirky, adorable side characters. They are my favorites. Plus, there is a--no spoilers--dream date for a reader--because my heroine is a librarian. Trust me. You’ll all want to go there and this date is a real place!

Here's the blurb--

Hallie Scott expected the hangover from her thirtieth birthday. She did not expect to find her calm, orderly life as Swan Cove’s head librarian to completely change overnight when her best friend added Hallie to the mayoral ballot because of one little remark. One. Now she’s going head-to-head with the small coastal town’s prominent “prince,” Fitz Montgomery…whose charm is about to get seriously checked.

All Fitz wants is to prove himself, beyond being the latest in the unbroken line of Montgomery mayors. Nobody, least of all Fitz, expected the town’s cute-as-hell librarian to step up and run against him. Hallie’s definitely in over her head, which is a problem, since Fitz wants a fair fight. But is he helping Hallie level the playing field…or arming his opponent?

Hallie and Fitz are on completely different sides. Their backgrounds, their lives, their ongoing ebook vs paperback argument. But they’re both about to learn that the art of war is nowhere near as complicated as falling for the enemy...

S:  That sounds entertaining. Where can readers buy your book?

C:  It's available at--






S:  Christi, thanks so much for taking time from your vacation to join me today. If you'd like to learn more about Christi and her books, please visit--





Friday, August 19, 2022

This week in The Loft: Author Pauline Baird Jones!

Joining me today in The Loft is USA Today Bestselling Author Pauline Baird Jones. Pauline writes in a broad range of romance sub-genres, including gothic and time travel romance, romantic suspense, romantic comedy, and science fiction. For motivation, she devours chocolate and bacon, and collects flamingoes and mid-century modern anything. She also enjoys reading and building Lego houses. After living with her husband in the south for 34 years, they have returned to the state of their birth--Wyoming.

Author Pauline Baird Jones

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

What would you like people to know about you?

P:  I am from small town Wyoming, homemade bread, from black and white television, 8MM movies with no sound, and drinking soda pop from bottles with caps that didn’t twist off. I am from long, hot summer days that began at sun up and ended only when the sun went down--reluctantly—with a nap in the middle for my mom’s sanity. I’m from sleep outs under the moon and snow angels and sledding in the winter. I’m from a grandma who raised her family in a two-bedroom log cabin, and another who came from the city, but married a cowboy and moved to Wyoming. I am from short, from wishing I were taller. I’m from jowls. I’m also from Louisiana. I’m from pastries I can’t forget, beignets and bread pudding. I’m from Texas. I’m from barbecues, the Cotton-eyed Joe, and hurricanes. I’m from the USA, from Earth and the Milky Way and from when Pluto was still a planet. I’m from books that introduced me to the world and inspired me to become a writer.

S:  That's quite an adventurous introduction! What attracted you to your current partner?

P:  One of the hub’s most enduring qualities is his ability to look past the surface of people to the person inside—and to like them. People see that and they are drawn to him because he is truly interested in them. From the first moment I met him, I felt like I could be better with him around. And I wasn’t wrong about that. We’ve been married for 47 years now and I still feel special when he looks at me.

S:  What inspires your stories?

P:  I always struggle with this question and I answer it because it is good for my character to answer difficult questions. The thing that drives me to write, I think, is because there is a book in my head that I want to read. I want to read it bad enough that I wrestle with the story, argue with characters, and write-delete-write until I find out what happened. I think I also write to figure out who I am. I grew up in a time of flux and change for women and their roles, so that seems to run through my books quite a bit. And I write to entertain myself and others, to escape sometimes challenging reality. What I hope is that those who read my books will laugh, shiver with fear from time to time, and sigh at the happy ending achieved.

S:  What is the best/worst thing that has ever happened to you as a writer?

P:  My best and worst thing are the same thing. I had an agent and I was on the cusp of making a sale to a major, New York publisher. I balked when they insisted I add sexual content to my book. I thought about it and realized I just wasn’t comfortable with that. I said, "No," and I lost the agent and contract. I thought it was the biggest setback of my career, but it turned out to be a wonderful blessing. When independent publishing arrived, I owned the rights to all my books. I love managing my books and my own business. I won’t lie, it is challenging at times to be author, publisher, publicist, designer and more. I do all my own formatting, but I do have a wonderful cover designer, and editor. I like being in charge of what happens to my books and what goes inside them. And if I had taken the contract? My Big Uneasy series would be completely different from what it is--the editor didn’t want 13 siblings! 

S:  Sounds like you were true to yourself and reaped the benefits. If you had to do it all over again, would you still choose to write books?

P:  Completely and utterly yes! I love being a writer. When I’m asked about my dream job, well, I am living it.

S:  What inspired "The Family Way?"

P:  "The Family Way' is a story about Alex and Nell,  from "Relatively Risky," having a baby. It was inspired by two things. First, Alex is the oldest of 13 siblings. When his mom and then his step-mom died, he helped to raise them. He never wanted to have any more children to take care of. But then he married Nell. Nell attracts kids to her like flowers to bees. Second, Nell is related to the mob, which are sometimes called Family. And when she got “in the family way," well, I knew I had to write the story.

S:  Is there anything special you would like people to know about "The Family Way?"

P:  I personally only go to baby showers out of friendship and for the cake. So it was kind of a peculiar punishment for me to write about a baby shower. And of course, because I write comedy romantic suspense, things were going to go wrong. Early reviews call it “a short, sweet funny read,” “…a fun-to-read romantic suspense/cozy mystery…” and also said that “This book had all the feels. It was charming and quirky and you simply cannot help but love all of the characters.”

Here's the blurb--

Alex and Nell are expecting!

At Nell’s baby shower, she’s hoping for a ceasefire between the law-enforcing Bakers and her criminal cousins (not to mention her scary grandmother, the mob doyenne).

The girls just want to have fun, but when the silly shower games are interrupted by some unexpected guests, it takes the “fun” right out of this dysfunctional family shower.

Can Baby Baker help these families inch closer to neutral ground and begin to heal old wounds and fractured friendships?


S:  Sounds entertaining! Where can readers buy your book?

P:  It's available at--





S:  Pauline, thanks for joining me today. If you'd like to learn more about Pauline and her books, please visit--