Friday, July 21, 2017

My Review for Ali Spooner's 'Back in the Saddle'

Hello everyone and welcome. Recently I finished Ali Spooner’s ‘Back in the Saddle.’ I am happy to see that it is doing very well on Amazon and once you read my review you’ll understand. This is the sequel to ‘Cowgirl Up’ and the story picks up where it left off. Many times, you need to read the books in order to get the full picture. Not so here. The author provided enough background on the characters to fill in what was presented in the first book. What I like is that this story it is much more than just the romance.  And the tone of it will draw you in. Come see why this is a must read.

Melissa Conway is the owner of the MC2 ranch where Coal is hired as a new farmhand. Melissa is soft spoken and respectful. She gave me a mother hen feel in that she is always looking out for her workers and making provisions for them. The crew in return look up to her. Her actions made my eyes water.
Coal is part Apache and full of wisdom.  She is not afraid to embrace her masculine side while still being a woman.  She crosses many boundaries and shows us she is who she is and doesn't care what others think.  I admire her confidence and immediately felt her energy. But she tends to avoid eye contact with upset and holds in her emotions.
She is in tune and is in her zone with her talents.  This showed me a timeless side to her. She enjoys simple but fine things. She has a great sense of humor and does amazing work. People can’t help but love her. I felt her genuine soul. However, Coal has her own secret that you will have to read to find out.
Mary Leah is Melissa's younger sister.  She has had her share of set-backs. She tends to hold up a fa├žade in front of herself. She has a sweet persona and like Coal, she doesn’t give into negativity. In ‘Cowgirl Up,’ Mary Leah and Coal became a couple. Read the book to find out how their relationship works out.
There are three other women who come into play – Stormy, Del, and Cam. Stormy is another rancher and Del is a doctor. They are close to Coal and she trusts them. Stormy is adventuresome and isn’t afraid of a challenge. She is supportive and really shows her tenderness at times. She has a great fondness for Coal and they make a great team.
The couples that were created are harmonious and supportive of each other.
Cam is the new ranch vet who has sworn off relationships. Or has she? She has a tender heart. 
In ‘Back in the Saddle,’ Coal and Stormy go to Montana for an opportunity they could not miss. Here they get to appreciate the things they have. The mission is rough, but there is a fun reward, which they both enjoy.

 Coal pulled a T-shirt over her head and climbed into the bed. Mary Leah followed her, and Coal wrapped her arms protectively around her lover. She held her until Mary Leah’s breath slowed, indicating she’d fallen asleep. A tear ran down Coal’s cheek as she held her close and drifted off to sleep.

There are so many temptations and it kept me reading.
There is plenty of romance in this story as the author has included other relationships.  The chemistry is hot. Nothing beats a tender scene where the loving partners make love. Then there’s the looks and hands touching and of course, flirting. All of the scenes were written tastefully spicy.
I loved how the author included a pan sexual relationship/romance.  This is where one falls in love with another soul regardless of their sexual orientation. There isn’t much written on this subject and I’m glad it found a place in this story.
There are some heavy storylines. One character suffers with a condition, which the author goes into detail about. Challenges like this can take a long time to learn how to cope with.
There are crisp descriptions of pretty scenery throughout.  The story reminded me of a modern-day western and it is shown exactly how it is. The author made me want to visit the places mentioned in the book. She included some priceless touching moments, so be prepared for some cuteness. You will really appreciate the humorous moments. There are so many touching scenes that it will keep you wrapped up for hours. The best part is that the story gives you a taste of what a loving family is like. I really felt the love bond between everyone. 
‘Back in the Saddle’ took me about five hours to read, which is perfect for a nice afternoon. The flow is beautiful. The book offers everything you want in a story. This is why I’m recommending it as a must read for everyone. 


Here is an excerpt.  

A few minutes later, someone knocked on the door. Coal glanced at the clock and chuckled. “Stormy’s right on schedule. Do you want to put a robe on so you can see us off?”
Coal went to the front door to let Stormy in. “Good morning, you’re right on time.”
“Morning, I had to drive painfully slow to arrive at five. I drove past the turnoff and busted a U-turn just to give you a few more minutes. Are you all set?”
“Yes, I am, let me get my bag.”
“Don’t be in such a hurry, Stormy Braxton. May I at least get a kiss good-bye?”
“I’m sorry, Mary Leah. I didn’t mean to rush her.”
“Relax, I’m just teasing you. I know you’re both excited about the trip. You keep her safe and get back here as fast as you can, you hear me?”
“Yes, ma’am, I’ll do my best.”
“I know you will.”
“Take this.” Coal tossed a small duffle to Stormy. “I’ll be out in just a minute.”
“See you later, Mary Leah.”
“Good-bye, Stormy, have fun.”
Stormy carried the bag out to the truck, and Coal embraced Mary Leah and kissed her sweetly. “I love you and will be home soon.”
“Not soon enough,” Mary Leah pouted. “Go have a great time and call me when you can. I love you.”
“I will. See you soon,” she promised and walked out to climb into Stormy’s truck. Coal looked back at the house to see Mary Leah still standing in the doorway to watch them leave. She waved and smiled when Stormy pulled away from the house.
“Let’s do this,” Coal said, turning back to a wildly grinning Stormy.

Five Stars

Thank you all for stopping by. I want to thank Ali for creating this wonderful story. I am waiting for another installment to see what adventure is brought forth. Stay tuned next week as I will be interviewing author Jaime Clevenger, author of ‘Party Favors’. See you then.

Until Next Time,

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Copyright 2017

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Song of Summer

Hello friends.  It is good to see you all this afternoon.  Things have been going great with me.  We have been keeping us busy by doing fun things.  Our latest adventure was down to San Diego.  While there we got to see the Dodgers play the Padres at Petco Park.  This was the first time that I'd seen my team as the away team. 


What was amazing was that half of the stadium were Dodger fans.  I felt like I was at home.  Whenever the Dodgers scored, there was a lot of noise from the crowds.  The stadium itself was really nice and I liked the vibe.  The fans were considerate of each other from both teams. 

Afterwards they presented a fireworks show set to the Eighties music.  I haven't been to a fireworks show in over 10 years and will admit that this one was much more spectacular than the last one I saw.  It took me to another place.  Most of the fans (from both sides) stayed for this aftershow.  When we left we were in total bliss.

Like many people know, SoCal, is in a serious drought and needs rain badly.  Now they have cut our watering down to two times a week.  This is not good.  I grew up in Michigan and always had a green front yard.  Here I have grass and as much as I love it, we had to make a decision. 

Our department of water and power has a program in which they will replace your grass with drought resistant plants.  You all know how much I love my big succulent.  All you have to have is healthy grass and they will replace it for free.  We are so excited to be getting a new look, hopefully one that will inspire our neighbors to do the same.  There is one yard in our neighborhood who did the transition and it looks gorgeous.  They have barrow cacti in the center of the yard and draught resistant bushes around the perimeter.  We are thinking about doing something like.  If anything the bushes will deter the neighborhood dogs from using our lawn.  I think this is a great program and after all we live in the desert where most of the foliage here isn't native. 
We signed up for the program and had a rep come out to take pictures.  After a long wait, we finally got approved for the project.  Now is the waiting period.  We are very excited about our new front yard.

Here is more information regarding this program:

Recently, I was invited to participate in two blog tours.  The first author is Adrian J. Smith, who's book, "Making of a Memoir" is now out.  This story capsulated me from the start and kept me glued throughout.  When I wasn't reading I often found myself thinking about the main characters.  I'm not going to say anything more except that as I was reading I felt the good parts of a certain time of my youth being brought out.  Needless to say I have some very pleasant memories from then.  My review has been posted so check it out.  Prepared to be wowed.  Adrian is an artist with words.

The other tour I wrote for was for author Stacey O'Steen's, whose book, "Endless Days of Summer" debuted on 1-July-15.  What I liked about this book is that it was different from all of the other lesfic books that I have read.   It deals with a somewhat rarely talked about sexual subject.   By the end of the book I had a better perspective on it. Big-time kudos to Stacy for diving in.

Recently I interviewed author Jen Silver.  She is an amazing woman and has so much to tell.  In addition to being an avid golfer, she loves archeology and participated on a dig!  She shared some of her "dig" pictures on facebook.  All I can say is what an adventure of a lifetime.  Her latest work, "Starting Over" revolves around an archeological dig.  Don't forget to read "Arc Over Time" as it is a continuation of the story. 

As I read Jen's interview, I got to thinking about my favorite heroine, Lara Croft, from the Tombraider series.  I love Lara because she is brave, strong, yet is a lady.  Also she is an archeologist who travels to various places all over the world, in search of fighting justice.  I could just picture Lara being a site where something incredible is being uncovered.  Except that she would be doing all of the heavy work. 

It is also fun to imagine what life was like at these sites during their golden ages, even though I know that the games are fiction.  I've been to old ruins in England so I got a taste of an old site.  I am so impressed with the sophistication of these people's lifestyle.  It was amazing. 

I am looking forward to more literature by Jen Silver.  If any of you love archeology, please feel free to share on my fb page about your adventures.  Also feel free to start up a discussion about Jen's books.  I'd love to hear what you thought of them.

I have something serious that I'd like to talk about.  As an author, I understand and have seen first how much work goes into creating and publishing and promoting a book can be.  I was shocked to learn that many of my favorite authors work has been published to "free sites".  This is such an insult to the author and I'm going to discourage all of you from going to these sites.  Besides, I have been told that some of them are phishing sites.  This to me is not worth it.  Besides I love my authors and want to them to succeed.  They depend on fans like me to support them.  That is why I purchase my books and give reviews when I am finished.  This is telling the author more than just "Thanks."  It is saying that I really appreciate you.  So please, please, don't go to those so called "free sites" sites.  

Many times the authors publisher will have the books for sale on their website, so here is another place besides Amazon that you can purchase.  In the long run you're going to be doing yourself a favor by being honest now.
And speaking of reviews I find it disturbing to hear that some people have written bad reviews on purpose in order to lower another author's rank on Amazon.  This is so immature and does not help anyone.  If you love an author give them a review from the heart that says what you like about them. If we want lesfic and lgbt literature to gain more popularity, we need to stand sting together and support each other!    We're not going to gain respect of some people if we continue to pit us up against one another.   Let's show the world that we are awesome authors and have phenomenal work.  I want our work to flourish and for us to be respected as the artist that we are!  We are worthy, intelligent, and creative souls who have something really awesome to say.  When my book comes out, I will not only be promoting myself.  I am only part of the bigger picture, one that includes all of us.  This is why I enjoy working with other authors.

I read from one reader that jealousy is a wasted emotion and I agree.  Instead use that energy to generate something good for the all.  I believe that those who we are jealous of we also admire them.  With this said, go out and share their strengths instead of beating them up.  Their five star reviews are helping the genres grow and prosper for all of us. 

I want to end todays post with uplifting thoughts.  One of my author friends, Suzie Carr posted on Twitter, "We Bother.  Because we can."  I added my two cents to that and retweeted it.  What I said was, "And you are worth it."  I believe this as truth and want to thank Suzie for posting it.  Today go out into the world and make it a better place for you and for all.

A moment in time

Hello everybody and a good morning to you all.  I am sitting outside sipping coffee with my spouse as my black cat takes off.  As soon as I open the door, she darts over to the tree and jumps over the wall and into the neighbor's backyard.  She's so fast that I can't even catch up with her.  Thankfully, she returns about 10 minutes later.

Pets are such wonderful beings.  My cats actually speak a language and believe it or not I can understand it.  Onyx sometimes acts like a dog in the sense that she fetches and will come when prompted.  She also loves to get her belly rubbed.  Sometimes she growls.  She is my best friend and I love how lively she is.  Never a dull moment around here.

The one thing I love about Southern California is the early mornings.  We normally get up at 5:15 in the morning.  I like to get up at this time because the energy of the early-morning is so warm.  Right now I hear an orchestra of birds.  The early morning sun feels refreshing and new.  I don't experience this at night.  For me the energy at sunset is different.  

I have been up to a lot of things since my last post.  Recently I watched a film that was so profound that it brought heavy tears to my eyes.  The name of the film is "For the Bible Tells Me So".  It's a Christian based film discussing how the bible has been used over the years to exploit others, including gays and lesbians.  Its target audience are those who have been misinformed and blinded by their religious beliefs.  In the film, there was one woman whose lesbian daughter committed suicide because of lack of support from her family.  I thought this was the saddest thing.  I felt that the film had a lot of positives in it.  People are realizing that their family members need each other no matter what.  Teens especially need extra love from their families since they are being exposed to so many things, some of which is hurtful.  If I had a lesbian or gay child, I would love them no matter what.  I don't want them to die because of any ignorance on my part.  No, I would be involved helping them adjust to our world as a gay or lesbian person.  I don't have the consciousness to abandon this child because they are gay or lesbian.

I feel that the film that I watched was very eye opening.  I am grateful that I have  family who support me and want me to do well.  I send out prayers to those in our community whose families have abandoned them.  Too many young people end up in the streets because they never had a solid foundation growing up.  How can someone embrace themselves when their folks have different expectations for them that clash.  It's these people who need to wake up and realize that their children are beautiful beings who deserve to be loved for who they are.  It doesn't matter what their sexual orientation is.

I am so glad that things are changing.  People are starting to open up and are becoming more understanding and accepting of things that they shunned away from in previous times.  Recently I wrote a blog about marriage equality.  I mention several updates regarding the law in several states regarding gay marriage.  

My blog was part of a blog hop and I felt good participating and giving back.  If anyone knows of any other blog hops, whether it is for an issue or to feature a guest author, please let me know.  

Until Next time.


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Friday, July 14, 2017

My Review for Renee MacKenzie's 'Pausing'

Hello Everyone and welcome. Today, I am sharing my review for Renee MacKenzie's 'Pausing'. For those of you who don't know her, she was here on 12-May-17 for an interview. You can read it by clicking the below link. Her new book is doing very well on Amazon and one that I know you’re going to enjoy. Read on.

The story is set in Naples Florida. There are three main characters - Jordy, Liza, and Kiera. The first woman, Jordy, works in a criminal mental hospital and takes her job very seriously. No one crosses her during working hours.  She really cares about the clients and extends her heart out to the community by using her talents.
However, she looks to the past for answers, which may or may not be a good thing. Her character draws out the readers emotions with her insecurities. At one point, I was angry with her over something she did. At the same time, I had to remember that this was needed for the direction of the story, not to mention add some ravishing drama.
Next is Liza, whom in my eyes, is a little girl in a grown woman's body. She loves to overstep other people's boundaries and not seem to care. She is sneaky and never accepts no for an answer. She’s the one who will call you at 6:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning just because. Her role is brilliant. It created intense stimulation for everyone. She drove me crazy. I couldn’t wait to turn the page.
Kiera's family owns a family business and she is very successful. She is forced to make a choice and soon finds herself rather isolated. She takes action and reaches out. Her tender heart draws the best out in people and with the difficult ones she makes an effort to just be kind. I could imagine her speaking in a soft, but direct tone, while maintaining a gentle vibe.
 At the same time, she's dealing with her own family issues. Although she is able to maintain a positive outlook, I could clearly see her sorrow and friction. I give her credit for being such a strong woman during these circumstances. Well done!
I was also impressed with another particular scene (find where). Both women’s feelings are explored. Anticipation of how they were going to come off to the other was a main factor. This totally touched my heart and I felt how special it was.
If you love sensual scenes, this is the story for you.  The love is clearly there and the author shows us the emotional attachment. Be prepared to be swept away.  It was sexy as the lovers flirted with each other throughout.  It will make you starry-eyed and feel the passion of the players.
I applaud the author for providing history and fun things about the city of Naples.  Her descriptions made me want to go there to visit. She includes many special moments that further expressed the love whether it be people, places, or things.  These added depth and intrigue to the story.
 There are more page turning parts to keep you on your toes. The story is well written and believable. I wouldn't recommend squeezing it in during breaks, Instead, devote a few hours so you can savor the full flavor without interruptions. Enjoy. 
  Jordy got a beer from the fridge and popped off the top. She took a sip of the Killian’s, and then turned to go back into the living area. She stopped at the corner of the kitchen countertop and watched Keira standing by the front window. In silhouette, she was perfectly curved. Jordy wanted to take her in her arms and make love to her, but knew it was too soon. She didn’t want to mess things up by moving too quickly.
The sound of piano came out of the speakers, and Keira stiffened. Jordy stood and watched as Keira grew rigid. Charlie Puth’s voice filled the room as he sang the opening to “See You Again.”
Jordy took several steps in Keira’s direction when she saw Keira’s shoulders heave. Keira turned then and Jordy saw the tears running down her face.
“Hey,” Jordy whispered when she stepped closer and pulled Keira into an embrace. “Hey, what’s wrong?”
“Can you just hold me, just like this, just for a minute?” Keira asked into Jordy’s neck.
“Yes. Yes, of course.” 

Five Stars

Stay tuned for next time as I will be sharing another book review with you. If you love modern western romance, you’re going to love Ali Spooner’s ‘Back in the Saddle.’
Until Next Time,

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Friday, July 7, 2017

#FF Flashback Friday My review for Linda Bates' 'It Drew Pale'

Hello Friends and welcome. I recently caught up with author Linda Bates, author of 'It Drew Pale'. She is hard at work with her next book, which is under wraps. Later on this summer, she will be publishing some poetry. I will keep you updated. Today I am going share with you my review for It Drew Pale, originally posted on 25-Nov-16. Enjoy.

Good Afternoon Everyone!  I hope you all had a lovely holiday, for those who chose to join in.  Today  am featuring my review for Linda Bates' It Drew Pale.  This book recently debuted, just in time for this holiday season.  Come on in and join us for this fun journey.

it-drew-pale-coverAuthor 3

Her greatest asset was her determination, and if you wanted to succeed in something in Oregon, or anywhere in the world for that matter, you had to have plenty of spirit!
Linda Bates

It Drew Pale takes place in the 19th century in the rural west. A lad named Jack Preston was moving to Oregon to start a new life. Jack is tough, but even keeled. Jack is witty, has a nice sense of humor, and is respectful of others. Jack is as honest as much as possible. However, this person has a big secret that your going to need to read the book to find out.

Eleanor and Marianne are sisters who enter Jack's life. They are daughters of a shop keeper and they dress very well. Their beauty radiates and they are both very nurturing.   it's no wonder that their family business is doing so well. These two women reminded me to stay optimistic. You can't help but feel good when you are around them. They are both attracted to Jack's charm. It's no wonder that Jack is attracted to them. The question is how are they going to feel once they learn Jack's secret.

All three players are solid. They are brave in their own ways. Marianne, under pressure, never showed any weak characteristics.   Nor did she cry out for a man when she was in an unpleasant situation. Marianne's heart is as big as the world. Her strength is very visible and I applaud the author for creating her.

Eleanor doesn't put up with nonsense. She knows how to hold her own ground and get her point across clearly. She isn't afraid to use force either. She knows what she wants. No isn't an option for her. If she wasn't so attached to her family, I could see her going out on her own and starting a life someplace else. I found her to be a bit standoffish, but after learning a few things, I understood.

Jack has inner strength that is comparable to a super human. Jack isn't afraid and doesn't allow physical pain to slow him, especially when fighting for justice. Emotions are well tamed and never take over any situation.   I could see Jack stealth across a battlefield unnoticed.

This story is quite an adventure. There is a little bit of violence that made me pause from reading for a moment. The read itself kept me at a slow pace and I had to backtrack a few times so I wouldn't miss anything. The story hooked me and I enjoyed the ride. You are going to want to carve out time so that you can fully experience the entire story without interruptions. And don't forget to read the introduction before the story. I found it to be very inspiring.

Here are two excerpts from this fine story for you to check out.  Enjoy!

Excerpt 1
Stepping onto Oregon soil, Jack immediately began to feel the familiarity of it all. It had been eight months since the tired legs had set foot on some good old honest earth. It felt wholesome and fresh. And firm, too, after the bobbling about on the schooner. People were still around to trip over in the busy port-side, yet already Jack felt free. It was certainly a welcome contrast from the life Jack had led back at the claim. There were some real women milling about! Jack was not the type who discriminated against those women who wore trousers and flannel open-necked shirts. After all, in the gold fields it was more practical for a female’s needs, but in Jack’s mind, there was no female figure that was not the embodiment of nature in crinoline and frills! It was the way of it, and Jack had no mind to change the laws of nature. The others, Jack observed, were also viewing the magnificent local scenery.

Excerpt 2 
The busy storekeeper and her sister heard the slam of a door, but were too busy to attend their aggrieved relative. Besides, they had experienced the tantrums of the twenty-year old, and were quite used, after years of the same, to Eleanor’s behaviour. Her father always had the same answer when Eleanor was ‘in a sweat’ as he would call it, and deduced she would desist being out of sorts as soon as she found herself a strong man to calm her temper. And that would anger Eleanor the more her father would vocalise his philosophies. They would never see eye-to-eye on the ideals that matched the general populace, because Eleanor did not see herself as one of the crowd. Rather she was an individual, with needs of her own she had not quite worked out yet.

Four Stars!

Stay tuned. Next week I am sharing my review for Renee Mackenzie's 'Pausing'. You don't want to miss out with this one.
Until Next Time,

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Friday, June 30, 2017

Meet Author Ali Spooner

Good afternoon, friends and welcome. Today I am featuring author Ali Spooner who is here to talk to us. I recently read her latest book, “Back in the Saddle” so stay tuned for my review in the upcoming weeks. For those of you who don’t know Ali, she is the author of sixteen books that are available for purchase. Come on over and join us and if you’d like to ask Ali a question, you can put it in the comments below. 

“A writer only begins a book. A reader finishes it.”

Samuel Jackson.

To me that says it all. As a storyteller, I relay the events of characters, and hopefully the reader emerges from the story with new experiences or knowledge, that meets their expectations of an adventure.

Tell us about yourself and what gets your creativity flowing?
I’m a native of Florida, but have lived in Alabama, Tennessee, and Wisconsin for short periods. I live with my partner of 22 years, Rhonda in our home in Pensacola. I began writing as a hobby to entertain myself and some online friends while in hotels on the road for work. I fancy myself as a storyteller who is learning to write, so I’m still a work in progress. I travel frequently for work, so driving, or flying gives me a great deal of time to think about story lines and often I’ll see a sign or an object that triggers a story idea. For instance, I was driving through Mississippi a few years ago and saw a crop duster pilot spraying fields of cotton, in preparation of harvest and it spawned a story I self-published on Smashwords around 2010, called The Painted Cat, and of course the main character was a thrill seeking, female, crop duster pilot. Sometimes a vivid dream will trigger a story or character and I never have difficulty coming up with story lines. I have on average 3-5 stories in various stages of development at any time and I work on whichever character speaks the loudest in my imagination.

What inspired you to create the prequel, ‘Cowgirl Up’?
Growing up in central Florida, my family had several businesses. My father and uncle shared a grove caretaking business, managing orange groves for investors and our family groves as well. Our second business was the Crescent A Land and Cattle Company where we again managed herds for other’s as well as our own. During my childhood, I spent a significant amount of time on horseback as we “worked” cattle, moving them to different fields, penning them to provide healthcare or sending them off to market. So Cowgirl Up was a natural story for me to write. Many of the events the crew of the MC2 experienced from the long hours of baling hay, to training young horses were experiences from my youth. The title Cowgirl Up came from a sticker I saw on the back window of a truck pulling a horse trailer, presumably going to a rodeo or horse show somewhere in Florida. It was fun reliving some fond memories of working with my family.

What is ‘Back in the Saddle’ about?
Back in the Saddle is a continuation of the journey the crew of the MC2 is experiencing. Coal, Stormy and Gene, the youngest of the crew get to live out a dream of participating in a live cattle drive in the mountains of Montana. Coal continues to struggle in her battle with PTSD, and in Montana, the flirtation of a beautiful cowgirl tempts Coal to stray in her relationship. However, Coal’s heart, is claimed by her partner, Mary Leah, and she stays true to this love. Melissa, the widowed owner of the MC2 and Mary Leah’s sister, for years after her husband’s death, felt she was satisfied with her life until a surprisingly new love interest steps into the picture.
Rhonda and I had a winter vacation in Montana years ago, and I fell in love with the country and it’s beautiful, wild nature, so the use of that setting for the cattle drive was easy for me to use.

How much of Coal is actually you? Or do you relate more to Mary Leah?
A bit of both actually. Coal has a bit of my younger spirit, with her love of horses, being a cowgirl and an out of doors type person. Like Mary Leah, I am also a cancer survivor, so there’s a part of me in her character as well. I think it’s natural for every writer to inject a bit of their personality or life experiences in their stories.

Are you an animal lover? Tell us about your experience.
That’s an understatement!  I learned to ride a horse before I could ride a bicycle and we’ve always raised animals or had a variety of pets. As kids, we experienced showing steers through 4 – H or the FFA (Future Farmers of America). We did our share of horse shows and loved to go to rodeos. As an adult, I have mainly had cats and dogs as companions, and they have graciously allowed me to live in their homes. I spent four and a half years living apart from my family for work and my two rescue cats kept me sane during those times and came home to live with us in our forever home. Just recently, Kiwi, our 9 year-old blue heeler, lost her battle with cancer and traveled across the Rainbow Bridge. She was considered Rhonda’s dog, but she was my snuggle-buddy and playmate. In her younger years, she would wear me out throwing a tennis ball for her to retrieve. She spent hours beside me in my office as I worked or created stories and was always the first to greet me when I came home from a trip. Rascal, my first rescue cat in Memphis, was the beautiful, tiger cat in The Painted Cat, and Kiwi has certainly filled her share of roles in stories, especially, Cowgirl Up and Back in the Saddle in the blue heeler puppies Bo and Dolly that Coal purchased as Christmas presents for Mary Leah and Gene. Kiwi has a special place in my heart and her spirit will grace futures stories as my companion in writing.

If Coal could go anywhere for a first date, where would she choose to take her beau?

Probably the first date setting she helped Stormy arrange for Del when they first met. A beautiful spot on the MC2 where they looked across a valley and watched the sun set, the final rays of sunlight creating a brilliant palette of colors across the landscape, while she grilled a meal for them. They would share a meal, maybe a bottle of wine and then stretch out in the bed of a truck to watch the stars emerge in a sky free from manufactured light.

Do you like live music? Which bands have you seen live?
I love music of all types, but country music holds my heart. I’ve been lucky to see most of my favorites such as Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts, Gretchen Wilson, Alan Jackson, Merle Haggard, Conway Twitty, Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker, and so many others. I’m still hoping to see Garth one day, but as of yet, our paths have not crossed. There are many other artists I’d like to see, such as Fl/Ga Line, Jason Aldean, Keith Urban, Little Big Town…and the list goes on, so I have catching up to do.

What is your favorite musical instrument? Do you play? If so, tell us about it.
I can’t play a lick of music, but I love the sound of a banjo, and if I ever learned to play an instrument, it would probably be the one. Deirks Bentley, put out a folk album with a song on it called Up on the Ridge, that I love. It has a great feel of Appalachia to it.

Me: One of your characters plays a mean flute which I heard as I was reading along. Very well done.

What was your inspiration for choosing the settings for these two books?
I love the wide open, ranching space in Texas and thought that would make a perfect spot for the MC2. When I think of large ranches, I automatically think of Texas. There’s a few left in Florida, but I thought readers would relate more to Texas. As I mentioned earlier, I fell in love with the beautiful scenery in Montana, and would love to return there to see it across all seasons. The deep green of the woodlands against the backdrop of majestic, snowcapped mountains seemed the perfect setting for a cattle drive adventure.

Tell us more about your passion for college softball.
In high school, I played every sport. My first love was basketball, and I played my freshman year in college. Softball was the one I played into my thirties, but only slow pitch, as the fast pitch craze didn’t catch on in the southern states until years later. I was born and raised a University of Florida Gator and follow our sports teams as a die-hard fan, win or lose. We are fortunate to have a great coaching staff and great softball team. I love watching the South Eastern Conference teams in all sports and hope to be able to attend the College World Series of Softball in the next few years. I’ve also found this to be a great way of finding new and different names for characters. I was amazed, but delighted to see a young woman named “Bubba” on a team this year. I enjoy college sports over professional ones because I believe college athletes play for the pure love of the game. It’s not a career for them and they don’t make millions or have products named for them, but they truly love their sport and appreciate the opportunity given them to play.

Have you ever gone on a rustic outing in nature? If so where?
I enjoyed camping, but will now admit my camping is limited to a pull behind camper or cabin, as these old bones can’t tolerate sleeping on the ground. Some of my favorite spots are in western North Carolina and middle and eastern Tennessee. As a kid, I was a member of the Trail Riders Association in central Florida and we would camp long weekends in the summer with our horses in and around the Ocala National Forest. It was great fun swimming with your horse and cooking meals by campfire. Hmm, sounds a bit like Back in the Saddle.

Who was the last Affinity author you read?
I was honored to do some beta reading for Annette Mori on a couple of her upcoming titles. I love her quirky characters and the variety of her story plots. I also read Renee MacKenzie’s, book Pausing, which is an excellent read. I’m fortunate to publish with some fantastic authors, so I’m never at a loss for great stories to read. 

Me: Stay tuned for my review of Renee Mackenzie’s Pausing next week.

Can you share with us your love of photography? Where is the most interesting place you’ve travelled to take pictures?
Photography is creating a visual story or record of memories I’ve experienced or shared with loved ones. I enjoy wildlife and landscapes as well as capturing family and friends. I have two grandbabies that give me plenty opportunities to photograph, as well as my fur family. With the creation of digital photography, I find myself taking hundreds of photos on a trip, so I have plenty memories to choose from as favorites when we return home.  
One of my most exciting places to go was to Stonehenge when I visited London. I was in awe of the power of the setting. I could feel it vibrating through me as I walked amongst the monuments. Rhonda and I also traveled to Alaska in 2015 and the scenery there was amazing. I also love the waterfalls of western North Carolina, especially Whitewater falls. The falls are gorgeous no matter what season you choose, but I love it in the fall with all the foliage, turning colors. Yes, before you ask, these falls will be the ultimate destination in a short story, scheduled for release in February of 2018 called Shotgun Rider. These falls hold some special memories of my Mom and Rhonda, my partner.

Do you have beta readers read your manuscripts?
Absolutely! I couldn’t live without good betas. I have a variety of readers who volunteer to read the drafts of my stories and provide excellent feedback on how I can improve the story. I try to mention them in the acknowledgement for each book, as they have been a tremendous help to develop it into the published story.

What is next for you?
I am currently working to develop a new series of books I call the Strong Southern Women series. There are five stories under development as a part of this series, but more to come. The first, Diamond Dreams, contracted by Affinity Rainbow Publications, will be published in the first quarter of 2018. It’s the first of three books regarding the lives of the St. Angelo sisters in rural Louisiana. Diamond Dreams follows the eldest daughter, Cameron (Cam) St. Angelo as she follows her dream to play college softball at LSU.
I believe in the concept of strong, southern women, as they have been the basis for most of my stories. These women are the characters that I know, and have grown to love. Ordinary people, that I feel that many readers can easily connect.

I’m also working on some other stories as well. A third book in the Hunter series is about two thirds of the way drafted. The fourth and final book in the Sasha Thibodaux vampire series is also underway. A sequel to the Cowgirl series has also begun to percolate in the back of my mind. So many stories, so little time to write!

As I mentioned earlier, I read ‘Back in the Saddle’ and have an excerpt to get you started.

Harley watched as the two women stepped off the porch. When they’d taken three steps, the clouds opened up. As they dashed for the house, laughing, Harley couldn’t help but smile. Melissa skidded to a halt when she reached the porch and waved to him. Harley waved back and returned to the kitchen, shaking his head. 
“Whew, that was cold,” Melissa cried out when they entered the house, and then broke out laughing again. They were both sopping wet, but Cam couldn’t prevent herself from joining Melissa’s infectious laughter. When she could finally stop, she looked at Melissa, who was still bent over laughing. Her wet hair framed her face when she looked up at Cam, whose chest tightened, making it hard to breathe. Cam slid down to the floor, unable to look away from Melissa. “What in the world are we laughing at?” 
Melissa sat down in front of her. “I have no clue, but I’m having a hard time stopping.” 

Here is an excerpt from Diamond Dreams. As a baseball lover, I’m definitely going to check this out when it debuts next March.
The sound of the ball hitting the leather of the catcher’s mitt made a loud pop as it whizzed past Cameron St. Angelo. The inside pitch was meant to brush her back from the plate, but Cam barely twitched as she felt the air moving in the flight path of the ball in front of her face. After the umpire bellowed out “Ball two,” Cam stepped out of the batter’s box, and tapped the aluminum bat against her metal cleats. She turned her head toward the pitcher’s mound and grinned. “Is that the best you got Bugsy?”
“You damn well know it isn’t,” the angry pitcher growled back.
“Are y’all gonna play ball or jabber the rest of the game?” 
Cam stepped back into the batter’s box. “Sorry Blue.” She twisted her right foot in the packed clay until she felt comfortable and dropped her hand indicating she was ready for the next pitch.
“Bout damn time St. Angelo,” the catcher barked at her. “This gear is hot, so let’s get a move on.”
“Bring it,” she called out to the pitcher.
Ursula Bugg, or Bugsy to Cam, was a top ranked pitcher on the opposing team, and Cam knew she had a wicked fast riser. She also knew that Ursula had a weakness and it was Cam herself. They had competed against each other in every sport since they first met in high school, and Cam had always won the battle as the superior athlete. As hard as she tried, Bugsy had never bested her in any sport, and facing her now as the opposing pitcher, would make no difference. Yes, Bugsy was good, but Cam was better, and she understood how much she got into Bugsy’s head. They battled through three years in high school and by their senior year, Bugsy’s condition had grown to an obsession. 
It didn’t matter that Cam was an All-State shortstop and team leading cleanup hitter, bound for Baton Rouge in the fall with a full ride to play softball for LSU. Bugsy was determined to strike her out. Cam could almost hear the grinding of Bugsy’s teeth as she reached deep down inside for extra strength as she released the next pitch. 
“High and wide,” the umpire called out, “Three balls and one strike.”
Forced to throw a strike, or risk walking her, Bugsy stepped off the mound to wipe her hand, as Cam waited on the fastball that would be nestled in the center of the plate. She watched Bugsy step up to the pitching rubber, digging the hole beside it deeper for more traction and power, then begin her wind up. Her movement seemed like slow motion to Cam and the ball looked the size of a cantaloupe as it approached. Her eyes locked on their target as she tucked chin to her chest, her eyes glued on the ball as she started her swing. Her teammates were probably holding their breath, but Cam had no doubts. She caught the ball on the sweet spot of her bat, and that ball was going out of the park for a walk off home run. She rushed out of the batter’s box toward first base as the left fielder backed toward the fence until she realized there was no keeping the ball in the field of play. Cam rounded the base and slowed her pace to a jog as Bugsy glared at her from the pitcher’s mound. When her cleated foot touched home, the umpire called, “Ball game.”
Welcomed by her teammates with high fives and slaps to her helmet, she made her way to the dugout to drop off her gear before joining her friends in congratulating the other team on a game well played. When she approached Bugsy at the end of the line, she smiled, “See you next fall.”
“You better believe it,” Bugsy answered finally cracking a smile. She too, would also be attending LSU to play ball. “Maybe we’ll meet again next week if we make it to the tournament.”

I’d like to thank Ali for stopping by. Be sure to check out her links below for more new and exciting news. 'Back in the Saddle' is available and I'm encouraging you to check it out.
Ali's Amazon Profile -  Here you can check out her sixteen books.

Until Next Time,
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Copyright 2017