Thursday, February 25, 2016

Starr Gardinier's Newest Release -The Other Side-Trent's Story

Starr Gardinier is making a return visit today to Journeys with Jana. She's here to talk about the sequel to The Other Side - Melinda's Story. The Other Side - Trent's Story released January 22, 2016.


Melinda James is finally out of Skyview Haven—an asylum where she was confined for years—and is living her life, free at last. However, things are not going as planned; harassed by unexplained paranormal experiences, she doesn’t feel safe in her own home. And when she turns to her best friend Trent for help and support, she is surprised to find her feelings for him have grown far beyond a simple friendship.

Trent Miller isn’t prepared to fight evil, but he will do whatever it takes to save Melinda from an evil entity that is seeking revenge for past events. Armed with knowledge gleaned from television shows, a team of paranormal investigators, and the prayers of family and friends, he is ready to face anything.

The question is, does he tell her about his feelings for her before or after he fights a battle with evil for Melinda’s very soul?


“Melinda, what are you looking at?”

She doesn’t answer, so I repeat my question.

She finally looks at me and says in a voice not hers, “You will pay for your father’s sins.”


I’m so shocked I almost fall over. Her voice…its voice…whatever...sounds like a man’s and it definitely sounds mean.

“You will die,” the voice says.

My mouth is hanging open and I’m unable to do anything but stare at Melinda…or whoever or whatever has taken over her body. I glance around the room to see if another spirit is present. My heart is beating rapidly and my insides are shaking. My hands are trembling and my fingers are cold and I’m having difficulty breathing. I want to run from this room, but know that’s the last thing I can do. It takes me a few minutes to realize that something must be possessing Melinda. I try to call out again to her, but can’t find my voice. I have to do something. I finally find the floor beneath my feet and quickly dart the few steps to her bedside.

“Melinda,” I’m shaking her. “Leave her alone! Whoever you are, leave her alone!”

“Die,” it whispers and Melinda’s hands reach up to my throat.

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Social Media Links:

Twitter: @StarrGardinier

Author Bio:

A paralegal by day, Starr Gardinier is an author by night. Apart from being an award winning author for her short story “Cut,” Starr has appeared in a blaze and made her mark on the literary world with her Ivanovich series and now her Other Side series.

Having studied and obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Literature/Creative Writing, she has found her unique style and is known for her works' distinctive voice, making every character stand out. 
She’s the founder and owner of Editing by Starr. She’s also the former executive editor for Suspense Magazine. She has been interviewed in the newspaper and on the radio with relation to her fiction work. She has been a co-host on Suspense Radio.

Starr is a member of International Thriller Writers (ITW) and of Sisters in Crime, Los Angeles Chapter and nationally. She has won three Best Speaker awards as well as Best Evaluator at the Voice Ambassadors chapter of Toastmasters. She has always been active in events. As co-chair and main coordinator for the West Coast Author Premiere, she arranged weekend-long events to help authors from all over network, learn and share their work with the public. Starr has also been instrumental in compiling authors and planning a local author event at Barnes and Noble in Ventura, California along with the store’s event manager.

Please see more on her editing service at, read more about her at, and/or visit her blog at

Monday, February 22, 2016

Ilona Fridl Joins Me for Clothes Make the Character Monday!

Today is Monday and that means it's Clothes Make the Character Day! Ilona Fridl is here to talk about the clothes her character Cat is wearing in the 1880s. I'm just glad I can stick with my jeans and t-shirt. I definitely don't need a bustle! Take it away, Ilona:

Writing historical fiction, I've done a lot of research on styles of clothes in the decades I've written about. For That Monroe Girl, this has been the earliest time, so far. For a young lady like Cat Monroe who was brought up in the east, being up to date with the latest fashions was paramount.

When the 1880s started, the bustle of the 1870s was on its way out. The padding and stays that gave the skirt a draped look changed to a straight, less full style. Then, by 1883, the bustle came back into style with a vengeance. The back of the skirt became massive with what some detractors said, they could place a teacup and saucer on it.

Cat's day dresses probably didn't have the full bustle and her riding clothes wouldn't have one at all. Work dresses we would be familiar with as the prairie dress. Underneath would be a corset, corset cover, pantaloons, and at least two petticoats. Knitted stockings of some sort would be held up with garters above the knee. Then there were shoes/boots sometimes with buttons. A hat and gloves completed the outfit.

Here's an excerpt from the book when Cat wanted to alter an out-of-date ball gown:

After thanking Jake for the midday repast, Cat hurried up to her room. “Edna, could you find my ball gown?”

Edna looked up from her mending. “Whatever for?”

Cat picked up her magazines and searched for the fashion plates. “Jake invited me to a ball in two weeks, and I’ve got to find something suitable to wear.”

Rummaging through Cat’s trunk, Edna emerged with a pale yellow gown wrapped in tissue paper. Cat held it up by the shoulders and studied it critically. Edna glanced at one of the fashion plates and back at the dress. “The bodice is suitable, but it has very little bustle.”

Cat nodded. “And the skirt is straighter than the fashion now, with too much bric-a-brac on it. You know, we could take that all off and get more material to drape a bustle.”

Edna pointed at one of the gowns. “We could add some material on either side of the skirt to make it fuller, too.”

“Yes, yes! And I’m sure we can have it done in two weeks!” She held the dress to her shoulders and gazed in the mirror; then she whirled around the room. “I’ll accept Jake’s invitation tomorrow, and then I will go shopping for material.”

She found her sewing scissors and sat down to strip the lace, bows, and flowers off the skirt. Dancing with Jake entered her dreams that night. 


Cat Monroe arrives in Tombstone, Arizona searching for her father and brothers, who left Virginia for the West right after the Civil War. With the help of newspaper reporter Jake Spencer, she finds her family and a whole peck of trouble. She's falling for the newspaperman, but she discovers his family and hers are feuding over water rights. When her father finally accepts that she is his daughter, he wants to marry her off to a rich neighbor who has a dark past.

Author Bio:

Ilona Fridl was born in sunny California where she spent the first twenty years of her life. Dreaming up stories took up a lot of her time. She then followed her parents to Wisconsin where she met her husband, Mark. They started a locksmithing business, but there were still stories in her head. Finally, she started putting them on paper―actually, a computer. The rest is history. She has an adult daughter and a granddaughter.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Peggy Jaeger has 3 WISHES - A Candy Hearts Romance!

Fellow Candy Hearts and Wild Romance Press author Peggy Jaeger is here today with a sweet recipe for Valentine's Day. I'll let her heroine Chloe from 3 WISHES tell us all about it!

Chloe San Valentino here! Hi everyone. As a Chocolatier, I love Valentine’s Day more than any other holiday. Of course, it also has a special place in my heart because it’s my birthday! Today, I’m sharing with Jana (and you all) one of my favorite candy recipes to make for the shop on Valentine’s Day. If you’re a sweet and salty kind of treat eater, you’ll love these Caramelle Sale Marino, Sea Salt Caramels. They are made with love in my shop kitchen, and now hopefully in yours. The best part of being a chocolatier: I get to sample everything I make. Over and over again!
Love, Chloe.

·         1 1/3 cup heavy cream
·         2 cups sugar
·         1/2 cup corn syrup –light is better to use
·         1/3 cup fresh honey
·         6 tbsp real unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
·         1 tsp vanilla extract
·         3 tsp Sea Salt
·         1 lb bittersweet chocolate, chopped
·         1 baking sheet
·         1medium sauce pan
To make the caramels:
1. Prepare an 8-inch baking pan by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with PAM
2. Place the cream in a saucepan over a medium-high heat and bring it to a slow boil, not rapid and bubbling. Stir in the sugar slowly, the corn syrup and honey next and stir until it begins to boil. Periodically wipe down the sides of the pan with a brush dipped in warm water to prevent crystals from forming.
3. Cook the candy, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 257 degrees on a candy thermometer. Make sure it is at least this hot but not scalding.
4. Remove the pan from the heat immediately and stir in the butter, vanilla, and 2 teaspoons of salt.
5. Pour into prepared pan and let set at room temperature until firm enough to cut, about 3-5 hours.
6. Cut the caramel into small squares with a sharp, thin blade.

To make the squares:

Temper the chocolate and dip the caramels in the chocolate one at a time. Place them on a wax or parchment covered baking sheet. Immediately sprinkle on the remaining salt and allow to set completely. It is best to add the sea salt when the caramel square is still “wet” or newly glazed.


Valentine’s Day is chocolatier Chloe San Valentino’s favorite day of the year. Not only is it the busiest day in her candy shop, Caramelle de Chloe, but it’s also her birthday. Chloe’s got a birthday wish list for the perfect man she pulls out every year: he’d fall in love with her in a heartbeat, he’d be someone who cares about people, and he’d have one blue eye and one green eye, just like her. So far, Chloe’s fantasy man hasn’t materialized, despite the matchmaking efforts of her big, close-knit Italian family. But this year for her big 3-0 birthday, she just might get her three wishes.

Excerpt from 3 WISHES:

At about five minutes of ten I was almost ready to turn the Closed sign on the door when it opened. I heard Janie’s breath hitch and turned from where I was sweeping up. Staying open late is always a risk, with the thought thieves will invade at the end of the day.

If the guy standing at the door glancing around the shop was a thief, then Dio mio, I wanted to be robbed.

About six foot, his hair was the color of a deer’s pelt, with autumnal golds and browns shot together in a glorious patchwork that grazed the collar of his jacket and curled a little at the ends. He wore a faded brown bomber jacket over a shirt I couldn’t see, but he had shoulders almost as wide as my doorway. A pair of well-worn jeans covered his mile long legs, and the fabric on the stress points at his knees was practically white.

“We’re about to close,” I heard myself say. “Can I help you?”

It was at that moment he looked over at me.

His face could have been sculpted by Da Vinci or Michelangelo. A broad, smooth, forehead housed naturally arched eyebrows I knew some of my gay guy friends would have paid a fortune to have on their own faces. His cheeks were carved from marble, high, smooth and deep. And his mouth, mother-of-God, his mouth. Full, thick beautiful lips sat perfectly over a chin with a dent you could shove a button into and have it stay put.

“Sorry,” he said, those fabulous lips pulling up a little shyly at the corners. “I got stuck at work and couldn’t get here until now. I’ll be quick. Promise.”

So here’s the thing: the guy was gorgeous. But even if he’d looked like a frog with raw antipasto smothering his face, I would have dropped to my knees when he opened his mouth. Warm honey, a shot of raw whiskey, and a little hot puff of smoke wafted from his mouth like a fine and rare brandy being decanted.

Author Bio:

Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance author who writes about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can't live without them. 

Her current titles, available now, include SKATER'S WALTZ and THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME, and FIRST IMPRESSIONS books 1 through 3 in her 6-book The MacQuire Women Series, published by The Wild Rose Press.

Peggy holds a master's degree in Nursing Administration and first found publication with several articles she authored on Alzheimer's Disease during her time running an Alzheimer's in-patient care unit during the 1990s. 

A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, she is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.


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Monday, February 8, 2016

Heidi Kneale and MARRY ME, A Candy Hearts Romance

Heidi Kneale is a fellow Wild Rose Press author, and she has also written a Valentine novella in the Candy Hearts series. She's here today on Clothes Make the Character Mondays to talk about what her character Millie would have worn back in the early 1900s when MARRY ME takes place. Heidi, take it away!

The period between 1890’s and the start of World War I went by many names. The British called it the Edwardian period after King Edward. The Americans called it the Golden Era and the French called it Le Belle Epoque.

However, fashion crossed boundaries. With the death of stuffy old Queen Victoria and the promise of a new century, fashion reflected the fresher and optimistic outlook of the world at large.

Or perhaps not so large. With the onset of telegraph and telephone, faster ships and trains, the world began to shrink. No longer did it take weeks or months to travel, but now, mere days.

This exciting new world sparked a revolution in fashion.

The stiffness and fullness of Victorian fashion relaxed. Edwardian fashion became looser with more flowing lines. Hoops and crinolines disappeared. Even the bustle, that wanted to hang on until the very end, disappeared. Sure, curviness and a small waist remained, but it was no longer restrained and poofled like an over-stuffed chair.

Soft drapes accentuated the popular feminine S-shape, with their pigeon breasts and plump behinds. Heavy gaberdines and wools gave way to soft cottons, sensual silks and other fine fabrics. While puffed-up mutton-leg sleeves enjoyed a popularity, eventually these softened and dropped into something gently flowing.

Thanks to the 19th Century’s Industrial Revolution, the middle class had grown exponentially. The fashion idea of Gibson Girls and New Women led the way in making fashion more functional, more moveable. This led to less-full skirts. As the 20th Century progressed, hemlines rose to above the ankle to display elegant shoes. These shorter hemlines and narrower skirts gave a freedom of movement that had not been seen since the Regency. (It wouldn’t be until after World War I that hemlines shoot straight to the knee.)

This freer clothing allowed women to participate more in sport and other active pursuits. With the invention of telephones and typewriters, employment opportunities opened for women. These new career fields demanded freer, less fussy clothing.

The Suit, inspired by menswear, came into fashion. Gone were the lovely Morning Gowns

with their yards and yards of fabric. Simple straight skirts with gauzey shirtwaist blouses and an overjacket became popular. Originally designed for travel, the suit became very popular, being worn for nearly everything, from work (paid or volunteer) to morning callings and even acceptable dress for wedding guests.

While clothing became more elegant in its simplicity, the hats and the hair upon which they rested went overboard. Big, poofy bouffants became the must-have hair-do of the day. Waves and curls piled high enough to rival Marie Antoinette was what everyone wanted.

Big hair needed big hats. The Cartwheel hat became popular, as did the Merry Widow and the Picture Hat. Plus, one could never have too many ostrich feathers. It was as if they needed something to balance out the simpler lines of their narrower skirts.

Colours eased up. With the invention of synthetic dyes in the last half of the 19th Century, it seemed the Victorian era went overboard with brilliant colour. But as the new century dawned, everyone got over the eye-burningly bright colours and toned things down a bit. White became popular as a day colour, especially for summer. Muted, nature-inspired colours such as pale blues, dusky roses and gentle greens were also in fashion. Suits could go darker, like plums, midnight blues and chocolates, but they remained subtle. No one would wear anything as bold as orange or red. Even opulent evening gowns kept such garishness to a minimum.

In “Marry Me” our heroine Millie Moore enjoys the New Woman fashions. She likes the soft blouses and narrow skirts. Even her day dresses reflect these paler colours and ease of movement. When Guy Elliot insists she wear a red dress for their afternoon stroll, Millie is at a loss. No New Woman of her age and station would own a red dress that year, much less wear a red dress out as day wear. As a young, unmarried woman, sashes about the waist were in fashion and provided a lovely contrast to pale day dresses. The best she can do is a pink sash and hope that Guy will be content with her wearing “light red”.


In 1905 New York City, affluent Millie Moore wants to be outspoken like the suffragettes she admires. She also wants to rid herself of an annoying and controlling suitor. For a well-brought up young lady whose mother fears her impending spinsterhood, speaking her mind is an uphill battle.

When Raymond Wilson sees Millie at a rally, it’s love at first sight. Not wanting his stutter to ruin his chances, he enchants a little candy heart to do his talking for him.

For Millie, Raymond is a breath of fresh air. And maybe, just maybe, someone she could love. But for her social-climbing suitor Guy Elliot, he’s a threat to his plans. And Raymond isn’t the only one who knows something about magic. Now the ante has been upped and Millie is the prize…


A giggle rose up inside Millie. “Do you always carry around candy?”

“A g-g-ood uncle is a-a-a-always p-prepared.”

Raymond patted down his pockets. His hand rested over his heart for a moment. A coy little smile played his lips. Then he reached into another pocket and brought out a rumpled white bag from Smith’s. He pulled out a heart.

“I—I been s-s-aving th-th-these in c-c-ase I f-found you ag-g-gain.” From the inside of his jacket he produced a pencil. He wrote a tiny message on the heart before he gave it to her.

“Eat me!” it squeaked.

How adorable.

Her laughter bubbled up unrestrained. “Is it safe?”

He nodded.

She looked at the heart, hesitated, and then held it up to his lips. “You first.”

He opened his mouth and accepted the heart from  her delicate fingers. He sucked on it and closed his eyes in delight. “Mmmm…” He leaned back against the iron railing and gave himself over to the joys of a little conversation heart.

Millie let out a breath. “Are you teasing me?”

He lifted a single eyelid. “Yep.”

Extracting another heart, he wrote, “Sweet Lips.”

He held it up for her. “Y-your t-turn.”

Buy Links: TBA


About the Author:

Heidi Kneale is an Australian author of moderate repute best known for her escapist fiction--especially Fantasy and Romance. She lives in Western Australia, near the ocean. Like most humans, she's got a family. She also associates with the World's Most Boring Cat. When not writing novels, she composes music and stares at the stars.

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Friday, February 5, 2016

Veronica Lynch plays FOR KEEPS!

I'm very happy to spotlight Veronica Lynch and her Candy Hearts Romance FOR KEEPS today. Enjoy a blurb and excerpt from this wonderful Valentine story!

Meghan Muldoon is at a cross-roads: struggling to balance the demands of a  high stress vocation as an advocate for victims of violence with her feelings for Keenan Rossi, a man who wants to make their relationship permanent.

On Valentine's Day, a series of routine crises force Meg to question staying in a profession which fulfills her both professionally and spiritually—or devoting the rest of her life to the one person who completes her.

Which one is For Keeps?

Excerpt from FOR KEEPS:

“Crime Victim Services. How may I help you?”

The caller's voice was low, husky, and exquisitely male. “Do you know the difference between a barracuda and a victim advocate?”

Her heart skipped a beat. “Lip gloss.”

“Well damn,” Kee muttered. “You already heard it.”

“An oldie but a goodie, pal.”

“Aren't we all. How you doin' on this gorgeous February day, gorgeous?”

Bringing his handsome face to mind took no great effort. They had worked together for more years than either cared to count. When the relationship progressed beyond professional Meg felt they should keep things under the radar. At first Keenan agreed, claiming he wasn't in the mood tor any crap from his peers about exploring his feminine side. But after a while he began to push for something more permanent. And she wasn't so sure she was ready for that, especially marriage. Meg liked being able to come and go as she pleased, responsible only to herself, and for herself.

Even though she heard the tease in his voice now, she was still smarting from last night so proceeded with caution. “Not too bad. How's by you?”

“Lemme tell you, cara. If I was any better, I'd scare myself.”

Veronica Lynch can be found at

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Monday, February 1, 2016

J.C. McKenzie with BE MY LOVE!

Fellow Wild Rose Press author J.C. McKenzie is here today with her Candy Hearts Romance offering BE MY LOVE, which releases today!  J.C is participating in Clothes Make the Character Monday. Let's start with a couple of excerpts from BE MY LOVE that talk about what her characters are wearing, or rather what they're not wearing!


            “Why are you naked?”

            Broad shoulders, chiseled abs, a defined V of muscle and a trail of dark brown hair led to fitted black boxer-briefs with a definite bulge, left little to Brenna’s imagination. An image flashed through her mind, one of her peeling down the elastic waistband of those briefs while tasting his skin and trailing the rippling muscles with her tongue.

            The candles she had tucked under her arms and clasped in her hand fell to the floor in a clatter.

            The boxer-briefs clung to Eric’s tight ass and accentuated the muscles of his strong legs.

            She licked her lips.

            The heady scent of the burning logs and unlit candles along with her imagination of what could transpire left her head spinning.

            “Well,” Eric crooned. “I’m almost naked because this beautiful woman dumped hot chocolate all over me.”


            Eric shook his head. “You’re beautiful.”

            Instantly, warmth spread across her cheeks. “I was going for cabin-fever chic.”

            “It’s a good look on you.” He closed the distance, placed the package of condoms nearby, and leaned toward her. With an outstretched arm, he traced her lips with the tip of his finger. “I like your mussed hair, swollen lips and flushed cheeks. I like the disheveled clothes, too…”
His voice trailed off as he leaned in farther to kiss her neck.


            “I want you naked.”

            Her heartbeat sped up, and her ears filled with white noise. Was she really going to do this?
He straightened, and his green gaze held her in place.

            Yes. Heck, yes. Despite her nerves, her skin danced, begging for his touch. His calm, yet anxious, presence somehow reassured her. His expression open, his demeanor accepting. She took a deep breath and met his gaze. Whatever he saw in her expression must’ve screamed the same “hell yeah!” repeating in her mind.

            Slowly, he plucked open her purple, chocolate-soaked shirt, one button at a time. The absence of his mouth and hands on her skin gave her chills, but she didn’t care. Her nerves sang on high alert. She watched, mesmerized as Eric unwrapped her.

In J.C. McKenzie's own words:

As you can see, clothes play a role in my new release, Be My Love. Mainly, the characters trying to find ways out of them!  After Brenna accidentally spills hot chocolate on both Eric and herself, they need to change into dry, clean clothes. Only problem? They’re stranded in a cabin during a blizzard and there’s nothing to change into. They quickly find other reasons to remain undressed.


Broken-hearted and bitter, Brenna Jones plans to spend Valentine’s weekend at her parents’ cabin, reading romance novels and devouring heart-shaped candy. When her truck hits a snowdrift and plows into a bank—during a storm, no less—her plans take a drastic detour. Eric Buchanan, the playboy jerk from her past, comes to her aid. He’s her only option for reaching safety.

Eric can’t wait to escape his parents’ latest attempt to set him up. He’s given up on happiness, knowing he blew his chance at love a decade ago. When his snowmobile ride turns into a harrying escape from a blizzard, he discovers Brenna stranded in the storm. After he ensures her safety, he plans to explain the misunderstanding that tore them apart. Can a secluded cabin help Eric convince Brenna to be his love?

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About the Author:

Born and raised on the Haida Gwaii, off the West Coast of Canada, J.C. McKenzie grew up in a pristine wilderness that inspired her to dream. She writes Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance.

Contact Information:

The Wild Rose Press:

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