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Tuesday Round-Up welcomes Barbara Barrett with Keeping it Casual #mfrwauthor #romance

Osiyo~

Welcome one and all! Grab a beverage of choice, something sweet and sinful. 😉 Take a comfy seat for another, or a first, spin in the Round Pen.

I’m thrilled to welcome my talented guest today, Barbara Barrett, who is sharing Keeping It Casual with us!

Please show Barbara­­­­­­­­­ some real Ranch love!

Before I get to the questions, please, tell us a bit about you.

Thank you, Calisa, for the warm welcome to the Ranch.  

B_Barrett08.23A little bit about me. I lived most of my life in Iowa, and since I’ve retired, I now spend my winters in Florida just outside the Disney Parks and my summers in Iowa. I started my college career majoring in anthropology, but when I realized I’d have to do field work to gain higher degrees in this area—you know, tents, bugs, no air conditioning, no Diet Coke—I switched my major to American History. My plan was to teach at the community college level once I received my Masters Degree, but when I could only get hired on a part-time basis, I took a job in human resources management with Iowa State government, although we called it Personnel Administration back then. My husband and I were both floor counselors in the dorm system our senior year in college. I met him in sensitivity training.  The class focused on non-verbal communication. The thought freaked my future husband, so he spent his time making faces. Needless to say, I wasn’t impressed at that point. It took running into him a few more times to convince me this was the guy for me. We now have two grown children and eight grandchildren.

When I’m not working in my lovely new office upstairs, my writing area is my easy chair in the living room. What does your writing space look like?

My writing space is my own private retreat in both locations. Both are comfy with either a loveseat or sofa for relaxing when breaks are needed. The walls of both are filled with pictures and items that are special to me. Framed photos of three of my favorite authors, Nora Roberts, Linda Howard and Janet Evanovich, stare down at me and provide motivation in my Florida office. I gaze out on six palm trees in the courtyard below. In Iowa, I look out on a boulevard. All day I see people walking their dogs, parents and grandparents with strollers and kids and adults on bikes, roller skates and skateboards. I love to watch all the activity. Some of the teapots and teacups I’ve collected over the years adorn two sets of wall shelves. Since it is just my husband and me, I enjoy long periods of uninterrupted writing time, which I cherish. But if I have to, I can be mobile with my writing space, since I use a laptop.    

For a lot of writers it’s a life-altering event coming up with titles and character names. Others it comes as naturally as breathing. Which is it for you?

Most of my books have experienced more than one title prior to publication. I needed to get into the book, maybe even finish the first draft, before the essence I wanted to convey in the title came to me. I struggled naming the first book in my “Sullivan’s Creek” series. It features two architects with very different approaches to design who are forced to work together. At first, I focused too much on their occupation; I kept trying to find catchy ways to use “Blueprint.” Finally, I realized what really brings them together is the Salsa dancing class they teach together so they can learn more about their target audience, baby boomers. Once I came up with Saved by the Salsa, I’d set my course for the next two books in the series. I had my two titles before I had any stories for them. Tough Enough to Tango was released last year and Not Your Mama’s Mambo should be released later this year. But here’s a caveat: as much as I love those titles, finding covers has been a challenge.

My latest release, Keeping It Casual, just came to me, because that’s the whole point of the story, until the H/H realize what they have with each other is much more than casual. It was originally going to be titled The Escape Clause, because the first book in the series was titled The Sleepover Clause and I wanted “clause” to be in each title. But that just didn’t work for the second book. I wanted something “sexy” but not overtly sensational. After much thought, I finally arrived at Seduction on Wheels rather than The Travel Clause. I probably agonized over that one and Salsa the most.

What advice would you offer aspiring and new writers?

From others, never stop learning. With yourself, never stop analyzing your own work.

I recently attended a Michael Hauge workshop at the RWA Annual Conference in San Diego. I’ve heard him speak before on more than one occasion, but this time his words and writing advice struck me differently because I had more writing experience under my belt. When I returned home, I reread my current work in progress and, thanks to his class, realized why this manuscript wasn’t resonating with me. I didn’t need to rewrite the story, but I did need to add more depth to my characters. His advice was invaluable.

The constant shift of the industry makes me often scratch my head and ask ‘what next?’ So, what do you think it takes to be a successful author at the moment?

Don’t I wish I knew, but I’ll give this a shot. First, every writer needs to determine for herself what “success” means to her: having a bestseller, making lots of money, getting published, seeing your name online somewhere. I’m still at the point in my career when a heartfelt fan letter is much appreciated. I don’t need to know that I changed someone’s life, but it’s wonderful to learn that for the space of time it took them to read one of my books, they learned something or applied something I wrote to their own life or, and this is my favorite, I made them laugh.

I write because I have to write…for myself. It gives me great joy to bring my imagination to life on the computer screen. Every book is a journey that starts with a protagonist desiring something they don’t have or cannot do without overcoming what at the start appears to be an insurmountable challenge, and it’s up to me to guide them to a satisfactory end.

Who would you like to meet in the publishing industry- dead or alive- and why?

For romance novels, I wish I would have had the opportunity to meet Kathleen Woodiwiss. I never imagined myself writing a romance novel until I read Shana and then The Flame and the Flower. Yes, she wrote of damsels in distress who needed the strong alpha male to help them save themselves, but she also conveyed deep emotion that touched the heart and made you want to root for the heroine up until the last page. And to be frank, her sex scenes struck another kind of note that made you keep reading long after midnight.

For mystery novels, I would have liked to meet Dame Agatha Christie. Where Woodiwiss focused on emotion, Christie highlighted the cerebral. Figuring out whodunit before the end of one of her mysteries was a favorite pastime, because her heroes, Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot, in particular, used their “little gray cells” to discern motive and then apply it to means and opportunity to solve the case. I’m more a fan of the mystery than the suspense or thriller.  

It’s time for some fun! I’ll ask the questions and you answer them in one word. 😆

Favorite animal? cat

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter? spring

Favorite food? pizza

Well done! J So let’s share a bit.

What are you working on now?

Not Your Mama’s Mambo is currently in galley stage and hopefully will be out before Christmas because it ends on that holiday. I’m also working on a new series, yet to be named, that features different types of cable interest shows.

What are you sharing today?

Today I’m sharing from Keeping It Casual.KeepingitCasual_BarbaraBarrett08.23.16

Talent manager Alex Appleby needs Geoff McKenna’s help. Her vicious client is threatening the reputation of Alex’s television-star father if Alex can’t convince her stepsister to go along with the client’s demand.  Alex turns to Geoff to make the case to her sister.

Geoff has his own proposition for Alex. Thus far, his case of multiple sclerosis has been mild, but he’s unsure of his future. When his girlfriend pushes for a stronger commitment, he enlists Alex as his new pretend love interest so his girlfriend will break things off. 

When they discover they actually are attracted to each other, they agree to keep things casual, since Alex is only in town briefly and Geoff isn’t interested in anything serious. But fate intervenes as their feelings deepen. Alex must decide whether to relocate to Iowa from LA, and Geoff must place faith in his future. 

Excerpt:

Around a hundred miles, he turned onto I-29 to go north.

He pulled off at the first exit and headed for a fast food place. This had been fun. Best time he’d had in days. He sat back and slapped his thighs.

            Alex returned an “I-told-you-so” look.

            In response, without giving it further thought, he gripped her shoulders, brought her toward him, and kissed her. 

            When he released her, she breathed out, “That was unexpected.”

            “For me, too. But not at all unpleasant.”

            She remained only inches away, her breath grazing his face. Her eyes didn’t leave his. Without uttering a word, she invited him to return to the scene of the crime. So he did. Big time.

            When she didn’t back away, he increased the pressure on her mouth, drew her closer, his arms encasing her, his right hand massaging her back. His left hand remained at her waist, awaiting its destination.

            Though spontaneous—yeah, there’d been some kind of vibes going on since Pella, but it wasn’t like they’d been flirting or engaged in more serous sexual byplay—neither seemed shocked nor turned off by their actions. It was like they’d both been waiting for some sign from the other since the day they first met.

            When had he last made out in a car? Not since college. Maybe even high school. Forgotten how the intimacy of front seat lip lock could give a guy such guilty pleasure. Could send his insides into overdrive, even in broad daylight.

            Broad daylight. Right. Get control of yourself, man.

Where can we find you and your books?

www.barbarabarrettbooks.com

Facebook: http://bit.ly/2aXZvG9  (This is new and could use your likes.)

Twitter: http://twitter.com/bbarrettbooks

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/barbarabarrett7/

Buylinks:

The Wild Rose Press (digital)

The Wild Rose Press (paperback)  

Amazon (digital)    Amazon (paperback)

All Romance Ebooks (digital)

Barnes and Noble (Nook)

Kobo (digital)

Where will you be next?

August 31, www.zarawestsuspense.com/blog

September 9, Nancy Fraser Blog, “Reading Other Genres

September 12, Burlington Community Library, 3-4 p.m.

November 17, Authors Bare All, www.casimclean.com

Here’s a question from me to your readers: For a romance novel (steamy but not high heat) what grabs your attention on the cover that gets you to read the book?

Thank you so much for playing along, Barbara! Wishing you much luck with your book and writing. I hope you’ll come visit again one day.

Dodadagohvi~

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Calisa Rhose presents ~ Uncover Monday ~ July #MFRWAuthor #CoverReveal

UnCover Mondays on The Ranch!!!

Hey-Ho cover oglers! To satisfy your stare reflex urges–here’s July’s red hot cover art and the awesome authors, publishers and artists who made them possible for you to gaze upon this month. It would be great if you leave a comment letting everyone know what you like (or don’t like) about them and maybe even check out a few author links to meet those behind the books. Or just say hi. Don’t forget to tell your friends to stop by so they can appreciate some greatness too!

UnCover Mondays on The Ranch!!! This feature is only to highlight the authors (though if you see one you want to buy I’m sure the authors won’t mind 😆 ). Enjoy this months’ covers to ogle and explore. If there is one provided, you can follow the artist links by clicking on the name, or if there’s an artist link provided, to learn more about the amazing creators of these beautiful covers. I think they deserve fair mention since they helped create the book! As always, click the covers for author websites to find out more. I wish everyone a fabulous new year in 2014!

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AnUncommonLove_MJSchilling07.14Title: An Uncommon Love    

Website: www.mjschillerauthor.blogspot.com

Genre: Romance

Publisher: Kissmet Publishing

Cover artist’s name: Steven Novak

Release date: August 22, 2013

Princess Adriana had her life all figured out. Or, to be more precise, she had her life all figured out for her. Before she was even born she was betrothed to Garin, and that was perfectly acceptable as he became her childhood friend, and then, eventually, the person she would swap kisses with inside the palace gardens. She never questioned it, never had a reason to, until the day a commoner was brought before her father, the King, to be punished.

As soon as Adriana’s eyes connect with Seth’s across the stone courtyard, she begins to question everything in her life. For his part, Seth Hobbes is confused about his feelings for the beautiful princess who refuses to match any of his preconceived notions of what a princess should be like, starting when Adriana begs her father to release him. When Seth creeps into the castle at night to thank her, they begin to build a relationship with one another that is often as explosive as it is endearing. When fate ends up separating the two, they must undertake a long and arduous journey to be reunited and then overcome the objections Adriana’s father has to their relationship. Will Adriana be able to make Seth see her for herself and not as the princess that he imagines? And if she does, will she ever be able to convince her father that, despite his objections, there is nothing “common” about Seth at all?

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

AnUnwillingHusband_TeraShanley07.14Title: An Unwilling Husband

Author: Tera Shanley

Weblink: www.terashanley.com

Publisher: Lyrical Press-Kensington Publishing Corp

Cover artist: Renee Rocco

Release date: May 5, 2014

Will a child of Society have the backbone to love a tough, wild west cowboy?

For adventurous Margaret Flemming, arrived from Boston to be with her father, the Old West town of her childhood is a far cry from the drawing rooms and balls of the high society life she’s used to. Her fancy gowns and proper manners have no place in the dusty, cruel land inhabited by Indians and rough cowboys. And her fiercely independent streak constantly gets her in trouble. When tragedy strikes, there’s only one person she can turn to–her childhood friend, Garret Shaw–but he’s disgusted with her Society ways.

With his ranch under attack from the land-grabbing Jennings, the last thing Garret needs is to be saddled with a high-falutin’ lady. Even if she is his friend’s daughter and her kind ways tug at his hardened heart. Duty to her father forces them to wed, but he knows sure as anything, when the chance comes along, she’ll go back to Boston. No matter how much he wants her, loving her is not a risk he can take.

Will Maggie choose a life of luxury and ease over struggle and hardship with an ill-mannered cowboy? Only her heart can answer.

CONTENT WARNING: A potty-mouthed proper lady, a reluctant bridegroom and all kinds of trouble.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

AshRising_MelissaFox07.14Title: Ash Rising

Author: Melissa Fox

Weblink: www.melissa-fox.com

Genre: Romantic suspense

Publisher: Melissa Fox

Cover artist: Melissa Fox

Release date: May 20, 2014

Blurb: Infiltrating an international drug cartel is the dangerous chance of a lifetime for Asher Beaulieu of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Falling in love while running the op isn’t part of the plan, but he never had much use for plans anyway. Shrouded in deception and surrounded by temptation, his charmed life explodes in betrayal and tragedy.

DEA Special Agent Emmaline Justice is determined to be recognized for her work, not her sex. She doesn’t have time for an intriguing, wounded RCMP inspector. When the contacts she cultivated over long months of an international undercover investigation keep showing up dead, Emma must use her instincts as both an agent and a woman to determine Beaulieu’s role in the case and in her life.

One woman tore him apart. Another is brave enough to put him back together—if his past doesn’t kill him first.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Changling'sCrown_JuliDRevezzo07.14Title: Changeling’s Crown

Author: Juli D. Revezzo

Weblink: www.julidrevezzo.com/

Genre: New Adult paranormal romance

Publisher: Raven Queen Publications

Cover artist: Boulevard Photografica

Release date: June 5, 2014

When Ianthe began her career as a faery godmother, she stumbled so badly that Snow White will probably never speak to her again. After a long suspension, she’s finally been given a chance to redeem herself…but everything on this latest assignment is going wrong.

But why?

Worse, she definitely doesn’t need an attractive mortal man distracting her from her duties. Of course, needs and wants are two different things.

Briak has had his eye on Ianthe for a very, very long time, but he’s been waiting for just the right moment to make his move. Despite the fact all hell’s about to break loose on his watch, he can’t resist the opportunity to insert himself into her earthly assignment. Can he convince Ianthe of her true calling and thereby win her heart? Or will his subterfuge ultimately cost him her love?

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

EarthEnchanted_BrynnaCurry07.14Title: Earth Enchanted

Author: Brynna Curry

Weblink: www.brynnacurry.com

Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense

w/ Paranormal Elements

Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corp. /Lyrical Press

Cover artist: Renee Rocco

Re-release date: February 3, 2014

Writer Liv Corrigan has the worst luck with men — her telepathy tends to make them run for the hills. When she meets widower and ex-cop Jack Roarke, she decides to keep her talent hidden. Things are looking up until their third date crashes and burns as the man who murdered Jack’s wife turns out to be after him too.
Injured, Jack retreats with Liv to his house under armed guard. But with Liv’s mysteries rapidly coming unraveled, a diamond-thief killer to stop and passion in the air, the safe house is anything but safe for their hearts!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

EclipseLake_MaeClair07.14Title: Eclipse Lake

Author: Mae Clair

Weblink: www.maeclair.net

Genre: Romantic Mystery

Publisher: Mae Clair

Cover artist: Laura Gordon

Release date: June 23, 2104

Small towns hold the darkest secrets.

Fifteen years after leaving his criminal past and estranged brother behind, widower Dane Carlisle returns to his hometown on the banks of sleepy Eclipse Lake. Now, a successful businessman, he has kept his troubled past a secret from most everyone, including his seventeen-year-old son.

But memories in small towns are bitter and long.

Ellie Sullivan, a nature photographer for a national magazine, has a habit of ping-ponging across the map. Her latest assignment leads her to Eclipse Lake where she becomes caught up in the enmity between Dane, his brother Jonah, and a vengeful town sheriff. When freshly-discovered skeletal remains are linked to an unsolved murder and Dane’s past, Ellie is left questioning her growing attraction for a man who harbors long-buried secrets.

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FlirtingWithFire_KyraJacobs07.14Title: Flirting With Fire

Author: Kyra Jacobs  

Weblink: www.kyrajacobs.wordpress.com

Genre: Romantic suspense

Publisher: Kyra Jacobs

Cover artist: Kyra Jacobs

Release date: July 8, 2014

Look, touch, but don’t fall in love.

Massage therapist Liz Williams lives by one rule: never date a client. A rule she’s never had trouble following until she lays hands on fireman playboy Torrunn MacKay. Trouble is, Liz’s sexy new client is dating her arch-rival at work…and has a strange habit of appearing just before the fire alarm sounds.

Firefighter Torrunn MacKay has got it made: killer job, downtown condo with a view, and hot blonde girlfriend with no more desire to tie the knot than he has. But the surprise attraction he feels toward his new masseuse is threatening to change all that. And what’s with the string of fires that seem to follow her everywhere?

Can Liz mind her table manners and keep Torrunn at arms’ length? Will Torrunn put his commitment fears aside to keep Liz safe? More than hearts will be in jeopardy when the two start Flirting with Fire.

CONTENT WARNING: Beware of darkened rooms, delicious fire fighters, and desperate pyromaniacs.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

SavedbytheSalsa_BarbaraBarrett07.14Title: Saved by the Salsa

Author: Barbara Barrett

Weblink: www.barbarabarrettbooks.com

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Cover artist: Debbie Taylor

Release date: August 8, 2014

How can junior architect Lacey Rogers keep her mind on her design project when her most potent designs are on her senior partner, Jack Dalton? Jack has always worked alone. Now he’s been assigned a partner. Is he losing his touch? But their mutual resistance melts as their bodies meet in the vibes of the Salsa. Can the dance keep them collaborating after the music ends?

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

SoulTaker_KarenMichelleNutt07.14Title: Soul Taker

Author: Karen Michelle Nutt

Weblink: www.kmnbooks.com  

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Romance

Publisher: Rebecca J. Vickery Publisher

Cover artist: Karen Michelle Nutt

Gillian’s Book Covers, “Judge Your Book By Its Cover”

Release date: June 2014 Audiobook

No soul is safe…

A vampire from the Grim Sith sept is sucking the souls out of young women from the Boston area, but this sinister crime is far worse than a vampire seeking substance. He’s selling the souls to the highest bidder and it seems business is booming.

A vampire, a werewolf, and a Necromancer are a most unlikely team, but Garran, Harrison, and Isabella plan on putting a kink in the dubbed Soul Taker’s plans. It’s personal now. One of their friends has fallen victim to the Soul Taker’s charms, but to stop him from hurting anyone else, their efforts may involve raising the dead.

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TakenBySurprise_ValerieJClarizio07.14Title: Taken by Surprise        

Author: Valerie J. Clarizio

Weblink: www.valclarizio.wordpress.com

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press

Cover artist: Molly Courtright N/A

Release date: July 1, 2014

Everyone is shocked when Clare Ulster leaves her rich and handsome fiancé, and chucks her well-to-do Milwaukee city life and moves into her grandparents’ old homestead in a remote area of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  The quiet small town of Iron City is just what she needs to get her life in order and learn to stand on her own.  No men needed! 

Unfortunately, disaster follows her.  Unable to let her go, her abusive, cheating, ex- fiancé finds his way to the U.P. and sets out to make Clare’s life more of a living hell then he’d done in the past.  Additionally, Clare’s involvement with the Fire Chief, aka, town player, lands her in a world of trouble with his ring of female admirers, sending her on a dangerously chaotic adventure including murder and kidnapping.  Will Clare be able to survive the deceptively peaceful Iron City?

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I want to thank all the authors who submit and make this a special place to share their work!

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To see YOUR cover here visit my UnCover Monday page for detailed instructions.

Calisa Rhose Presents ~ Teaching is Learning by Barbara Barrett