Friday, November 26, 2021

This week in The Loft: Author Robecca Austin!

Joining me today in The Loft is Canadian author Robecca Austin. Robecca writes historical, contemporary, and billionaire romance stories, with a preference for sassy heroines and alpha heroes with a soft center. When not creating her happy-ever-after stories, the prolific author can be found outdoors, enjoying nature and lots of sunshine--when there are no bugs--and hugging family. Robecca is a Cystic Fibrosis warrior. She lives and works in Canada.

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

Why write romance?

R:  I grew up reading romance stories or having them told to me by way of creepier tales meant to scare me. Through it all, I remember hanging on for the happily-ever-after (HEA).

S:  I'm always amazed when people tell me they grew up reading romance. I grew up writing, but I didn't read my first romance novel until I was studying for the bar exam and needed a break. Someone had a bag full of paperbacks and passed them around. They became a great stress reliever!

Do you write in other genres?

R:  Because of all the ghost stories I heard growing up, I do enjoy writing paranormal tales, but those musings are private. My published books are all romance, either billionaire, contemporary, or Regency historical.

S:  Do you believe in love at first sight?

R:  I am a believer in love at first sight. Though it has never happened to me, my husband swears he knew when we met--honestly, he might be singing that song because I cooked on our first date. I’ve also heard enough stories through friends to believe in it.

S:  My mother always said the way to a man's heart is through his stomach!

What do people get wrong about romance?

R:  That it’s just about sex. There is little regard for the relationship, trust, and the growth happening between characters.

S:  Exactly. I focus on the relationships in my stories. The sex is part of building the relationship, but not the sum of it. 

What’s the best advice you have ever given?

R:  Keep practicing what you love--er, keep it legal, please--and follow your gut. It doesn’t matter what you love--fishing, writing, snowboarding. It you love doing it and it brings you joy, have fun. At the turn of self-publishing in 2012, I received a ton of push back for wanting to self-publish, so I didn’t even though my gut was screaming. Eight years later, I wish I had.

S:  Learning to trust your gut is very difficult for some. I have friends who claim if you trust your gut, you have no one else to blame when things go wrong!

What inspired "The Christmas Gift?"

R:  Heather Lauren, another author, got me excited about her Christmas collaboration. She had me at stories with curvy heroines set in a small town. That I could add billionaire boss and one-night stand to the mix was a bonus.

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

R:  The relationship between my hero and his friends is modeled after my own friendships and I was happy to bring some of our jesting, teasing personalities to the page. Spencer, the friend in the story, sparked real-life debates about just how standoffish and germaphobic he really is. But don’t worry, I gave him his own short novella, "The Billionaire Touch."

Here's the blurb--


It was supposed to be a one-night stand. A hot night of sweaty indulgence with a man she’d vetted. A man she could play with and then walk away from, someone who ticked all her boxes. Instead, she was facing off with Corin, a man who hijacked all her rules and made her knees weak.

When the pregnancy stick turns pink eight weeks later, all her carefully laid plans go down in flames.

Starting over in a big city is no challenge for Ivy. She’s intelligent, successful, and can readily form a plan. Too bad her strategy didn’t involve her new boss turning out to be her baby’s father.


Straight-laced and uptight ought to be kryptonite to Corin’s carefree, love-them-and-leave-them lifestyle. Yet, the memory of the one night with a mystery woman haunts him. When he’s finally convinced himself his memories of that night are overblown, she turns up at his firm with the Christmas gift he didn’t know he needed.

S:  Nothing like a holiday surprise! Where can readers buy "The Christmas Gift?"

R:  It's available for free on Kindle Unlimited. It can also be purchased at--




Universal Buy Link:

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




Amazon Author Page:

Historical Newsletter:

Contemporary Newsletter:

Friday, November 19, 2021

This week in The Loft: Ruth A. Casie!

Joining me today in The Loft is USA Today Bestselling  Author Ruth A. Casie. Ruth writes historical, medieval, Regency, and time travel romance as well as contemporary romantic suspense. Prior to finding her "voice," Ruth worked as a speech therapist, client liaison for a corrugated manufacturer, and vice president at an international bank. Currently, she lives in New Jersey with her hero, three empty bedrooms, and a growing number of incomplete counted cross-stitch projects. 

Ruth A. Casie

S:  Good morning, Ruth. Thanks for joining me in The Loft.

What do people get wrong about writing romance?

R:  They call romance novels "bodice rippers " or "mommy porn." At a recent gathering (socially distanced), I heard those words from men who I believed were progressive, educated, understanding. They thought they were being cheeky. They thought they were being brash. They thought they were being funny. When in fact, they weren’t thinking at all. And rather than correct them, teach them, embarrass them, I said nothing. I smiled and ate a tasteless sandwich. And the position isn’t unique to men. While I didn’t attend a meeting of a woman’s organization I belong to, a member who was there mentioned with regret that she suggested my book for the book club but was told no one reads those types of books. In a repressed environment, prior to the 18th century where women had no rights, women wrote stories from their heart--dreams of independence, control, and freedom. To quote Maya Rodale, “We are writing stories about women who triumph in a world that doesn’t want women to triumph.” It breaks away from the accepted norm of the era, which is threatening to those in control and can be linked to the rise in the call for women’s rights. Romance stories take you on a journey as a woman in any era, who finds her fulfillment and a deserving happily ever after.

S:  Isn't it sad that so many don't see that? 

What attracted you to your current partner?

R:  I was a single mom with two young daughters. I had no idea how to socialize other than with other moms, usually in play groups. I joined a singles group that played softball. I’m not an athlete, so I volunteered to handle the BBQ. As the seasons changed, a small group in my age range broke off. They asked if I would host parties at their houses. At the time, our local paper had a singles page. I advertised the parties and if you wanted to come, you had to call for reservations. A gentleman called to make a reservation for the Super Bowl Party. He came to the party and called me the following day. He thanked me for the dinner and asked that I put him on the list for the next party. Then he invited me to the Philharmonic. During a light supper, I took out index cards of women his age and went through them to see who he was interested in. He humored me. We spoke during the week and went out the following Saturday. I took out another bunch of index cards. He showed no interest in any of them. I was quickly running out of people to introduce him to. At our third meeting, I took out the cards, looked at him, then put them away. He took my hand across the table. “I’ve been waiting three weeks for you to realize it is you I want to be with.” It is 37 years later. He is called Daddy by my girls and our son, and Poppop by our grandchildren. He is my hero in so many ways.

S:  Great story! You are so lucky to have found your forever love.

What is the best or worst thing that has happened to you as a writer?

R:  This is a hard question. There are so many wonderful things. Fangirl moments with Diana Gabaldon, Eloisa James, Nora Roberts. Inclusion in anthologies with some of the best romance authors. The first time a person recognized me and showed me my book on her Kindle. A call that my story made the USA Today Bestselling Books list. 

S:  What would you like people to know about you?

R:  Nothing is more important to me than my children. Give me an opportunity and I will tell you all about them My oldest daughter, a pre-school teacher, has rallied during the pandemic to teach 15 three-year-olds remotely. Her younger sister just started a cottage cookie business. Her creations are awesome. Her brother is a cyber security engineer--I would proudly tell you what he does, but even his mother doesn’t know--his work is top security. We have four grandchildren and cannot wait to see them all for the holiday. I am passionate about my family, and I bring that passion into my writing.

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

R:  Yes, but I wouldn’t have waited so long. I loved my job at the bank and spent over 25 years there. However, the creativity and camaraderie I have found in the writing community has been wonderful, and I find out more about myself with each book I write.

S:   What inspired "The Lady and Her Quill?"

R:  A combination of things. I was so excited when my first book was published. Okay. I will admit that I get excited when each book is published. It really never gets old. But with my first book, I was so eager and hungry to be part of this new world. My author friends were enthusiastic, encouraging, excited for me. I signed books for them and was asked to speak at meetings, in front of readers. It was exciting and wonderful. I remember my first five-star review and the ones that followed. I diligently read all the reviews to see what worked and what didn’t. Then there was this one-star review. I remember staring at the rating before reading what the reviewer had written. When I got the courage--yes, it took courage--to read it, I was shocked. There was little about the story in the review, but a whole lot about me. It was a personal attack. I remember the hurt, the fear, the I’ll-never-write-again feeling. My editor and friends set me on the right course. But that review lingered in the back of my mind. So, my heroine, Lady Alicia Hartley, is one of those scribbling women of the Regency who gets a review that attacks her self-confidence and sets her in a tailspin. Sound familiar? Today, I would thank that reviewer. She made me stronger, more resilient, and much more determined.

S:  You know, constructive criticism is always welcome. It's the one-star rating with no comment or a personal attack that truly hurts. Sure, it's a risk authors take, but that doesn't mean it hurts any less.

Is there anything special you would like people to know about "The Lady and Her Quill?"

R:  "The Lady and Her Quill" is Book 1 in the Regency series, The Ladies of Sommer-by-the-Sea. Welcome to Sommer-by-the-Sea, a vibrant village nestled on the rugged northeast coast of England, 15 miles north of Newcastle upon Tyne. There, the world is centered on the country village and the lives of the landowning and professional families. Sommer-by-the-Sea is populated with aristocrats, gentry, self-made men, shop owners, local workers, and servants, a cross-section of the people of the time. Steeped in history dating back as far as the Vikings, the villagers are proud and celebrate their heritage. Everyone from the elite summer residents to the year-round residents keep businesses flourishing and gossip thriving. As with any small town, there are challenges and successes, secrets, disagreements, and feuds. There is no shortage of romance, mystery, drama, and even a murder or two. Graduates of the Sommer-by-the-Sea Female Seminary have a unique education. Along with the usual studies available, the head mistress has nurtured each woman’s innate ability and helped them develop into the women they are today. This shared unique experience has kept the graduates close. Each lady has her own story to tell as she is called to action and must demonstrate she is smart, strong and sensible, and must challenge the accepted definition of a woman’s place. For these women, arranged or political marriages will not do. If they choose a husband, it will be for love, on their own terms, and with a man who will accept her as a partner. Book 2,"The Lady and the Spy," will be released February 2, 2022. Book 3, "The Lady and Her Duke," will be released May 27, 2022.

Here's the blurb for "The Lady and Her Quill"--

Her mind kept telling her to stop loving him, but her heart couldn’t let him go.

Renowned author Lady Alicia Hartley has lost her muse after a bad review. She blames it all on the author JC Melrose. A chance encounter with a handsome, witty Justin Caulfield has her heart racing, and her muse seemingly back. Is he her savior or her worst nightmare?

He didn’t see the turbulent ocean. He was too busy dealing with a different tempest.

The recently retired Captain Justin Caulfield is facing his own demons. As gifted author JC Melrose, his stories honor men who died at the hand of one man. His only focus is to avenge their deaths, that is, until he meets and falls in love with Lady Alicia.

The two authors take on a writing challenge based on a story of stolen gold taken from the newspaper headlines all to determine the better writer. While researching the story, Lady Alicia is captured by the thieves’ ringleader. Can Lady Alicia turn this mystery into an award-winning story? Can Justin save his real-life heroine? Can they both overcome their own challenges for a happily ever after?

S:  Where can readers buy your book?

R:  It's available at

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



Facebook private reader’s page, Casie CafĂ©:

Facebook Author Page:


Amazon Author Page:

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Friday, November 12, 2021

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

Joining me today in The Loft is contemporary romance author Gayle M. Irwin. Gayle writes inspirational pet books for children and adults. Her Pet Rescue Romance series is a collection of sweet romance stories set in the Rocky Mountain West. She has also contributed to seven "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books. When not writing, Gayle volunteers for rescue organizations and donates a percentage of book sales to that cause. Gayle resides in the western United States with two dogs and two cats, all rescues.

Author Gayle M. Irwin

S:  Good morning, Gayle. Welcome back to The Loft!

You have been a journalist for many years. Why write romance?

G:  I began writing romance after taking an adult education class at the community college where I live. Many in the class, including the instructor, wrote romance and since I enjoy Hallmark movies, I decided to delve into the genre. That was nearly eight years ago. I enjoy entertaining people through stories, but I also want to subtly teach the necessity for and joy in pet rescue and adoption, therefore, my series, Pet Rescue Romance.

S:  Do you write in other genres? 

G:  My authorship began in children’s stories, and I plan another children’s book in 2022 about our adopted springer spaniel named Sadie. My first children’s book, a chapter book, was about another springer spaniel living with my husband and I at the time--her name was Sage, and she became blind due to a genetic disease. She exemplified courage, perseverance, and self-confidence, and I wanted to inspire children to face adversity with those characteristics. I believe animals can teach us many life and faith lessons, and that’s what I seek to do with my children’s works. I also write nonfiction guidebooks for pet owners and one of my stories appears in the August compilation release, "The Animals in Our Lives: Stories of Companionship and Awe," published by Cladach Publishing in Colorado.

S:  What inspires your stories?

G:  Animals, nature, and Hallmark movies!

S:  What would you like people to know about you? 

G:  I volunteer for various animal rescue organizations as a transporter, taking dogs and cats either into rescue or to their forever families. My most recent transport included nine kittens that were found and fostered by an organization in my community. I drove 250 miles one way to take them to a cat rescue organization in Colorado, where they are being cared for until they are adopted. I’ve also transported large dogs, like Great Danes, and small dogs, such as Boston Terriers.

S:  What inspired "Paws-ing for Love?"

G:  "Paws-ing for Love: A Pet Rescue Christmas Story" looks at the primary characters in my first romance novel, "Rescue Road," about three years later. A missing friend, a winter outing accident, and a major illness impact not only the couple--Rhiann and Levi--but also the community of Colter, Montana. A stray dog and cat play a large role in whether Rhiann and Levi and their close-knit small town experience heartbreak or hope during the Christmas season. The book’s setting of southwestern Montana is a place near and dear to my heart, having spent nearly 12 years in that area. It’s beautiful during all seasons of the year, but winter’s layer of snow and the small population with mountains, valleys, and forests make Christmas extra-special. I wanted to bring the magic of the setting and the love small town residents have for their citizens to life in a story about a magical time of year--Christmas.

S:  Is there anything special you would like people to know about "Paws-ing for Love?"

G:  "Paws-ing for Love" is a clean, sweet, contemporary romance about a couple in their mid-to-late 40s, their friends, family, and community. The story features lots of romance, but also the love between friends and extended family. Readers will also discover animals in need of loving homes, elements of drama, beautiful settings and scenes, and, at the back of the book, recipes that can be used for Christmas dinner--foods my mother and grandmother would create for our family holiday meals. This is a story of joy, challenges, love, and uncertainty, just like we experience in real life, but also filled with hope, even amid adversity. 

Here's the blurb--

Christmas Hope or Heartbreak?

Colter, Montana waltzes in brilliance during winter, with glistening snow on mountain peaks and diamond-like frost on trees and rivers. Romance and dreams flourish in this Christmas card setting. However, news of friends missing after a raging blizzard and a later accident and subsequent illness disrupt the lives of Rhiann and Levi Butler, who operate a horse ranch and pet rescue sanctuary. Will the joy of Christmas be silenced or strengthened after a pair of stray animals take refuge at the Butlers’ property? Can a cat named Mina and a Corgi christened Maverick deliver hope or will they add more heartache for a couple and community struggling with fear and sorrow?

S:  Sounds like a moving holiday story! Where can readers buy your book?

G:  It's available for $1.99 on various e-book platforms, including Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Apple Books. Here's the Universal link--

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

Facebook Author Page:

Pinterest (under Waggin' Tales):


Amazon Author Page:

Friday, November 5, 2021

This week in The Loft: Author Jana Richards!

Joining me this morning in The Loft is award-winning author Jana Richards. Jana writes contemporary, paranormal, and historical romance (WWII), and romantic suspense. Her paranormal romantic suspense novel, “Seeing Things,” was a 2008 EPPIE finalist. When not  writing, Jana is an accountant/administrative assistant, a mother to two grown daughters, and a wife to her husband, Warren. She enjoys golf, yoga, movies, concerts, travel and reading. Jana and her husband live in Winnipeg, Canada.

Author Jana Richards

S:  Good morning, Jana! Thanks for joining me today. Let's start with the basics-- why do you write romance?

J:  Because it’s so hopeful. In a world where people are more divided than ever, I think we all need stories that remind us what is really important--love, relationships, family, and friendships.

S:  I have to agree. I also think romance novels got many people through the pandemic. They offered a break from a troubled world.

Do you write in other genres?

J:  So far, I’ve only ever written romance. But lately, ideas for a mystery series have been whirling around my brain. Maybe someday I’ll tackle mystery!

S:  I'm sure your readers will love that! 

What do people get wrong about romance?

J:  That it’s nothing but fluff and frivolity. I’ve read romances that tackle some serious issues like disease and death, infidelity, divorce, the loss of a child. In a romance novel, people overcome all the obstacles that life throws at them through love. We’re always stronger when we’re part of a loving partnership.

S:  That's so true. A lot of writers pride themselves on bringing light to social issues. 

What would you like people to know about you?

J:  That I really care about the quality of my stories and that I sweat blood trying to write an entertaining story.

S:  What's the best or worst thing that's happened to you as a writer?

J:  The worst thing was probably a writing conference that I attended several years ago. Everything that could go wrong did and a lot of my hopes were dashed. I sent in a manuscript for a contest the conference was running, thinking it was some of my best work and it was received with a “meh." A big-name writer I had arranged to interview for a newsletter ignored me. Some of the other conference attendees were rude to me—one I remember in particular. In fact, I was so discouraged after this conference that when I got home, I seriously thought about quitting writing. In hindsight, I probably had a lot of unrealistic expectations about this conference. I was going to win that contest, land an agent, and sell my manuscript, none of which happened. Which brings me to the best thing that ever happened to me as a writer. I didn’t stop writing after the disastrous conference, but I was getting pretty discouraged by all the rejections I was getting. About two years after that conference, one of my writer friends suggested I try submitting to her publisher. They were a brand-new small press that only published ebooks. I figured I had nothing to lose. But honestly, after so many rejections, I had very low expectations. Imagine my surprise and delight when I got an email from the editor with an offer to publish my manuscript! I was thrilled! Getting that offer gave me the confidence to continue to write and persevere in this business.

S:  Unfortunately, rejection seems to be part of the "author experience." 

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

J:  Yes, because I can’t not write. Even when I was at my most discouraged, I didn’t stop because being a writer is part of who I am.

S:  What do you consider your greatest achievement?

J:  Hands down, being a mother to my two adult daughters. They are amazing people.

S:  What inspired "Unexpected?"

J:  "Unexpected" is Book 3 in my Masonville small town romance series, set in the fictional town of Masonville, North Dakota. I’ve lived in small towns and I know they have the reputation of being a kind of a fishbowl--you know everyone and everyone knows your business. But they can also be very supportive places, so I wanted to set a series around characters living in a small town. Ben Greyson arrived in this series in Book 2, "To Heal a Heart." His sister Blair moved to Masonville to look after their ailing grandfather. Ben and Blair, along with their brother Damon, grew up in a deeply dysfunctional family with an alcoholic father and a mother who could be best described as a sociopath. I wanted to explore the effect such deep dysfunction had on a person. Could someone whose childhood was so scarred learn to have a loving relationship as an adult? Ben has deep trust issues. Is it even possible for him to have a happily ever after with Jamie?

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

J:  I want readers to know what reviewers have told me. They’re probably going to love Jamie, but they’re likely going to be frustrated with Ben. Some reviewers have said they wanted to smack him for being so stubborn. He is quick to mistrust his stepdaughters, grandparents, and even quicker to condemn Jamie when she does what she thinks is best for the children and for Ben. Considering the way he grew up, I felt that it would be unrealistic for Ben to overcome his trust issues too quickly. So be prepared to be angry with him for a while, but please be patient. He’s worth giving a second chance.

Here's the blurb--

A marriage of convenience. An unexpected love.

Single dad Ben Greyson wants only to retain custody of his two stepdaughters. A dysfunctional childhood has made family the most important thing in his life. When his late wife's parents sue for custody, a desperate Ben is left with two choices – run away with his girls or marry his next-door neighbor.

Jamie Garven wants to be a mother. She's intrigued by her handsome new neighbor and falls in love with his little girls. Then Ben is faced with losing his children, and Jamie agrees to marry him for a chance at motherhood. They're determined to show the world, and the girls' grandparents, two loving parents.

Their marriage of convenience turns into unexpected love. But Ben interprets Jamie's efforts to save their family as betrayal—they could lose everything, including each other.

S:  What a hopeful story! Where can readers buy your book?

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

The Wild Rose Press:


Barnes and Noble:



S:  Jana, thanks so much for joining me today and good luck with "Unexpected." If you'd like to learn more about Jana and her books, please visit--





Amazon Author Page:

Amazon UK Author Page:

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