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Friday Fanfare welcomes J.J. DiBenedetto #DreamWedding #MFRWauthor

DreamWeddingInvitationimgJDB11.13.15Osiyo~

Welcome one and all! Grab a beverage of choice, something sweet and sinful. No-no, not the men or women. What’s the matter with you? You know the hands-on rules… The guest gets first pick! For today’s guest, I’ve invited some special lovelies to join us. 😉 Take a comfy seat for another, or a first, spin in the Round Pen.

coloreditI’m thrilled to welcome my guest today, J.J. DiBenedetto. James is a prolific and wonderfully talented indie artist and sharing his latest book, DREAM WEDDING with us!

Please show ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­J.J. some real Ranch love!

Please, tell us a bit about you. What made you decide to write romantic fiction and do you find it difficult as a man in a woman’s world so-to-speak?

Honestly, this was just the story that came to me. The Dream Series began as a mystery idea, and the romance just developed as the first book went along.

I haven’t had any difficulty as a man in a woman’s world. It might seem weird, but it’s been easy for me to write in Sara (my heroine)’s voice. The books are all in first person, so we’re in her head the whole time, and I’ve found writing her to be very natural.

That’s great, J.J. Okay, I’ll begin with five questions, then follow with three more, and end with four final ones. My writing area at the moment a recliner in my living room. What does your writing space look like?

A computer desk in my bedroom, sometimes also occupied by our cat!

The remodel of my office/craft room is almost finished after four years without. I can’t wait! 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?

The character names were easy. That’s just who they were – for the most part, the names just came to me along with the idea of who they were. Titles were harder. I didn’t come up with the title for the first book of the series (DREAM STUDENT) until the second book was halfway finished!

What advice would you offer aspiring and new writers?

The work doesn’t end when you get to “the end”. That’s when it starts. Selling your books (whether as a self-published author, or to an agent/publisher) is insanely hard, and it never ends.

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?

Adaptability. Things are changing so fast, I think of it like surfing (not that I’ve ever surfed myself!). You have to catch the wave at the right moment, ride it as long as you can, and then you have to find the next one. Over and over again.

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

It’s a tough question.  Maybe Frank Herbert, so I could ask him what he really intended for the end of the Dune chronicles, because I refuse to believe that what his son wrote is what Frank was going to do had he lived to finish the books.

It’s time for 3 in 1! I’ll ask the questions and you answer them in one word. 😆

Favorite animal? Cat

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter? Winter!

Favorite food? Fondue

Well done! Fondue…really? Interesting, I’ve never tried it. 🙂

Okay, Flash four. Ready? What are you working on now?

An adventure/romance story following an archaeology student who finds herself way out of her depth. The working title at the moment is “Queen of the Idiots” (a title the heroine gives herself at one point in the story) but that’ll probably change.

What are you sharing today?

I’ve got an excerpt from DREAM WEDDING, book ten of the Dream Series. Our heroine has a visitor – her daughter’s boyfriend…

DreamWeddingJDB11.13.15

Seth Taylor is a senior at Crewe University, and he lives in the building next to her, just a few hundred feet away. He’s also been her on-and-off boyfriend for most of her three and a half years at college, and to hear Lizzie tell it it’s been a lot more on than off since their senior year began in September. If he weren’t smiling – although the smile is becoming more nervous with each passing second – I’d wonder if he was here to deliver bad news about my daughter.

“No, Dr. Alderson. She doesn’t know I’m here. It’s – it’s a surprise.” Yes, it is. Especially because Lizzie isn’t flying home until Wednesday, two days from now.  

I let that pass. I also let it pass that it’s a little bit presumptuous to show up unannounced on our doorstep and expect me to find a spare bed for him for two nights. Not that I have any problem with him visiting, or sleeping in Ben’s room for a couple of nights. He’s done it enough times the last four years he’s known Lizzie, after all.   Still, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect some advance notice.

I put all that aside. “It’s Sara. Please. How many times do I have to tell you that?” I gesture for him to sit, and he does, but he can’t quite meet my eyes.

“I’m sorry I didn’t call ahead, Doctor.” I’ve never known him to be this nervous. Granted, I don’t know him that well, but he’s always struck me as a very confident young man. “I didn’t want – I mean, it’s not the kind of thing you do over the phone. And I didn’t want her sister to find out and tell her. I want it to be a surprise.”

I have no idea what he’s…

Yes, I do. What was I just saying to myself? More on than off? I think he’s about to tell me that it’s about as “on” as you can get.

“Oh! You’re – Seth, you knew perfectly well that Lizzie won’t be here until Wednesday, don’t you?” He nods. “You expected to catch me alone. You probably went to the hospital first, didn’t you?” Another nod. “You came here to ask me…” I can’t say the words out loud, but he nods just the same.

How is this possible? She’s not even twenty-one yet! She doesn’t graduate for another six months, and then she’ll be going on to medical school. How can he possibly think that I would approve…

Where can we find you and your books?

My website – http://www.writingdreams.net

My Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/DreamSeriesBooks

My Amazon author page – http://viewAuthor.at/JJDiBenedetto

Twitter – https://twitter.com/JJDiBenedetto

Where will you be next?

I’m always at my website – you can follow me there anytime!

Thank you so much for playing along J.J! 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 and Friday Fanfare Welcomes ~ Brenda Whiteside

Calisa Rhose presents ~ A Small Degree of Hope by Lyndi Alexander

Osiyo~

Welcome one and all! Grab a beverage of choice, something sweet and sinful. No-no, not the men. What’s the matter with you? You know the hands-on rules… The guest gets first pick! 😉 Take a comfy seat for another, or a first, spin in the Round Pen.

But before we get started today I wanted to announce that as of April 20th the Ranch is now a .com site! That’s right, I finally purchased my domain name so if you noticed the ‘wordpress’ part missing in my URL, only http://calisarhose.com, that’s why!! Now back to business.

I’m thrilled to welcome my wonderfully talented guest today. Lyndi Alexander is sharing her book, A Small Degree of Hope, with us!Alana_Barb_Lyndi Lyndi also just happens to be a new Lyrical sister.

Please show ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Lyndi some real Ranch love!

Before I get to the nosy 5-3-4 part of this interview, tell us a bit about you.

I’m so pleased to be here! In my day job, I’m a family law attorney (not nearly as glamorous as it looks on TV), and at night I’m a wife, and a mother to two children on the autism spectrum and a Japanese exchange student. I’ve lived all around the country, in Montana, in tropical Florida and now in Pennsylvania. I wrote my first novel at age 14, worked as a journalist for several years before law school, and finally, I’ve been fortunate enough to have nine of my novels published.

You sound like a very busy, hands-on mom. It’s great you work in time to write though! Okay, I’ll begin with five questions, then follow with three more, and end with four final ones.

My writing area at the moment is a corner of the couch in my living room. What does your writing space look like?

Because my kids required therapy/services for their younger years, I’ve had my law office in the house for the benefit of the therapists. I write there at the same desk, wishing I could let the phone go to voicemail sometimes, but I just can’t! It’s like an obsession. If the phone rings I’m compelled to answer.

LyndysofcSo writing is sometimes a hit-and-miss session. After several of my novels were published, though, I got the idea to have the covers made into posters, like movie promos. They’re all framed up on the wall next to the desk, so they provoke me to keep on writing. Or else.

I. LOVE. These! How awesome! It’s something I do, but on a smaller scale. *thinking I need to go BIGGER!*

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?

Character names are a breeze for me. I love looking through baby name books, discovering names just a little off the beaten path, especially in the foreign derivations.

Titles, though, I have a harder time with. I usually search through quotations to see if I can find something that fits. The title for this book I found there. But I try not to get too attached to titles, because almost always I get the request from an editor for something different anyway.

What advice would you offer aspiring and new writers?

Persist.

No, really, that’s it.

Like I said, I wrote my first novel when I was 14, and I got a contract for my first published novel when I was 53. I wrote all through that time, for a newspaper, for the law school paper, as a blogger, wrote tv reviews for an online company, published short stories and submitted every chance I got. At the same time, I took writing classes every year, at conferences or online, continuing to build my repertoire of writing skills. Since 2009, I’ve received 18 contracts for novels. Sometimes you just have to keep on keeping on.

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?

Continuing to produce work, no matter what’s shifting in the industry. The question of who’s going to publish it may constantly be up in the air, and it may be that, like many of the pros now, after a writer builds a following he or she can begin to self-publish and actually make a living at this. I’m thinking of authors like C.J. Lyons, who’s been on the bestseller lists for both her traditionally published and self published books.  The other thing I believe is that authors should appreciate the readers, and interact with them in a positive way. Without our audience, we couldn’t share our stories.

That’s very good and true advice, Lyndi. Something I’m sure a lot of writers learned early on, and new writers will too. With that said, who would you like to meet in the publishing industry- dead or alive- and why?

I’d love to have met Anne McCaffrey, who wrote such wonderful science fiction/fantasy with strong women characters. We shared a birthday—April 1– which is a whole category of wacky in itself. But she really had a gift for drawing characters, and I would love to have learned from her about it.

How cool to share a birthday with someone you look up to!

It’s time for 3 in 1! I’ll ask the questions and you answer them in one word. 😆

Favorite animal? Giraffe

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter?  Spring!

Favorite food? So hard!  Um… veal marsala?

Giraffes and veal…interesting! Well done! 🙂

Okay, Flash four. Ready?

What are you working on now?

I’ve got several books in various stages of production, so I’m going back and forth between making a first draft, editing the final copy, and doing promotion. Some days my head spins a bit. 🙂

My head spins most days! 😆 What are you sharing today?

A SMALL DEGREE OF HOPE is science fiction romance, coming out June 3 from Lyrical Press.

Here’s the story:  Against her wealthy father’s demands, and the usual blockades of a male dominated profession, Kylie Sanderson proves worthy of her position as lead investigator of planet Andan’s Scientific and Investigative Research Taskforce. Someone is killing Andan’s women in an attempt to mutate them into reptiles. Kylie makes it her mission to discover who’s behind the murders and prevent more grotesque deaths.

Shapeshifting lizard Griff comes to Andan to stop his brethren from mutating other planets’ women into mindless breeding stock. Overcoming Kylie’s suspicious and defensive nature proves difficult, but he must in order to help the SIRT team thwart his planet’s scientists.

When Kylie is abducted and becomes the first human to survive the transformation, it’s up to Griff to rescue her so SIRT can restore her human form. On the run and desperate to unravel the mysteries of Kylie’s past to solve the crimes of their present, can she and Griff forge a future for themselves?

asmalldegreeofhope_LyndiThis excerpt is after the first full day Kylie spends autopsying a mutated woman, and she’s spending it in a cop bar, letting the alcohol and atmosphere erase some of the memories for her:

As Kylie took another drink, she noticed a man at a table near the door stared at her, dissecting her in a way that felt not like he was undressing her, but more like he looked past her skin, into her psyche, or perhaps her soul. Kylie stared back, putting a forbidding expression on her face. Usually, that was enough to scare off a would-be masher. But it didn’t seem to faze this one.

The man’s persistence triggered a defensive response, and she lost interest in the alcohol. She left half a dozen plat coins on the counter, enough to cover her tab and something for Lin, and then headed for the door.

As she approached the man’s table, he stood up. “Please join me,” he said.

“No, thanks, I’m on my way out.”

“Please,” he said firmly. She stopped to look at him. That glance froze her steps. His eyes were the exact yellow tone of the dead woman’s. Exact.

She surveyed the room, but no one seemed to be paying attention. One gesture from her would have garnered assistance, but those eyes compelled her to wait. “Why should I?”

His voice softened. “I have information that could be of use to you.”

“Then perhaps you should come to the Cendiary. That’s where SIRT’s camped while this investigation is going on.” Her mind clicked along frantically trying to reject the half bottle of alcohol she’d consumed. There was something about this man, something about him. His eyes, but more than that. Taller than most men, and broad-shouldered. Hair, perfectly combed, his skin, without a blemish. Not even the hint of an old scar. Clothing, unremarkable. Hands, not quite perfectly proportioned, his fingers a little long, the nails even but lengthy for a man.

“No. I need to talk to you now.” His gaze continued to dance with hers.

She blinked and looked away. “This isn’t a good time, friend.”

He cocked his head, a, thin eyebrow raised. “You consider me your friend?”

His hesitation made her miss a beat, too. “No, I don’t consider you my friend.” She frowned. “Come to the Cendiary in the morning.” She turned to go, but her wrist was suddenly caught in an iron grip.

Tugging on her captured hand, she looked over her shoulder. He held no apology in his eyes, and his expression was grim. He nodded to the empty chair beside his. “I need to talk with you, Investigator Kylie Sanderson. Please hear what I have to say before any more females are damaged or killed.”

* * *

Where can we find you and your books?

http://lyndialexander.wordpress.com/a-small-degree-of-hope-coming-soon/  is the page for this specific book, and we’ll have more detailed information next month, but my other science fiction and fantasy books, many of which have romantic storylines as well, are also listed there.

Where will you be next?

I’m currently teaching a local fiction-writing class, but in July, I’ll be teaching a fiction seminar at the Ligonier Valley Writers Conference in southwestern Pennsylvania (http://www.lvwonline.org/lvwCon2013.html).

Thanks so much for having me, Calisa. The Ranch is certainly beautiful this time of year.

Thanks for the kind words about my ranch. It’s about time for some spring décor. Don’t you agree? I thought the blue diamond theme suited April, but it is awfully busy so I hope you like the new background in honor of the Ranch’s new status. 😀

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

As a bonus for your readers, I’ll give away an ARC of my fantasy novel THE ELF QUEEN to one lucky commenter. We’ll choose from those who answer this question: 

Do you believe that true love can overcome any obstacle, even if your potential match is of a different faith, race, or in this case, alien species?

That’s a great question you ask. I think I’ll sit back and see what others say. A free book? Who doesn’t love that?!

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

Dodadagohvi~

Friday Fanfare Presents…

You won’t believe who my guest is today!

Osiyo~

I know you’re jealous. Admit it. 🙂 I’m the lucky one today and I am verra thrilled to be the caboose of the multi-blog scavenger hunt for sister TWRP debut author (and I’m proud to say, my friend!), Mackenzie Crowne’s Gift of the Realm. We’re doing an interview and she’s here to tell you more about why you will want to read this book—besides that enchanting and haunting cover and the scrumptious Colin! So let’s get this ranch jumping!  Please give a Ranch welcome to Mac Crowne! *indicates the screen door in a grand gesture…gawks…at…*

Donovan O’Brian Quinn be me name.

Calisa: Wha-? Wait a minute…

Donovan: I’m pleased to make yer acquaintance. The lovely Calisa was kind enough to invite me to visit today, to tell ye about me book. Gift of the Realm, it’s called. Oh, I didn’t do the actual writing of the thing. Mackenzie Crowne had that honor, but the story is mine. I’m the star, ye see.

Calisa: Uh-huh… *glances around for the hidden camera then back at the dog talking? to her* Hello? *a talking dog! pinches her arm and winces* Am I being Punk’d? I thought Mac was supposed to be here today. Where’s Ashton? Oh, well. Who am I to turn away a talking dog? Welcome to the ranch, Donovan, was it?

Donovan: I know what ye be thinking’. A dog? Really? Dogs don’t type and they certainly don’t blog.

Calisa: Of course you know “what I be thinking.’ I just expressed that. What I want to know is…how?

Donovan: Well now, I’m here to tell ye, if ye hadn’t noticed already, an ordinary dog I’m not. An Irish wolfhound I be, living in the world of folklore and fairies in the mystical village of Dunhaven, Ireland, where strange and wonderful happenings are the norm. My people are Halflings, ye see. Ye might have heard of them. Keely and Colin Quinn be their names.

[image deleted]

Calisa: Actually, I have— Ooh! That’s beautiful! I’ve always dreamed of going to Ireland and seeing a cliff like this one. *sighs*

Mac: Donovan!

*Calisa jumps from her reverie*

Donovan: *Yelp* Oh, Mac! Ye frightened a full seven years off me life. I didn’t see ye there. Tis the author herself, me friends. Say hello, Mac.

Calisa: Mac, what a pleasant surprise to see you! *eyeballs Donovan suspiciously*

Mac: Hello, everyone, nice to meet you. What are you up to, Donovan? Sorry, Calisa. I hope he’s not bothering you.

Calisa: Not at—

Donovan: I like that! Invited, I was. Calisa and I are having a wee visit. The lass smells of sweet, cinnamon candy, don’t ye know. I like that in a human.

Calisa: I didn’t actually know it was going to be Donovan, Mac. But since he’s here… He does say such kind, flattering things about me. 🙂 And I do enjoy spicy cinnamon now and again…which Donovan noticed. Flattery…

Mac: Yes, she is a sweetheart. *winks at Calisa* A wee visit, huh?

Calisa: I don’t mind, really. And you are a sweet darlin, Mac. And he was about to tell me some of his story which I’d love to hear! I’m sure my Ranch guests are all ears, as well. I mean, how often does one have a chance to *chat* with a talking Irish dog?

Donovan: Aye. I’m sharing a bit of our story with the lads and lasses who’ve popped in for a visit. It’s a fine tale ye’ve woven, even if it tis a romance.

Mac: Keely and Colin don’t seem to mind Gift of the Realm is a romance.

Calisa: My guests and I LOVE romance! *bobs head back and forth between Mac and Donovan wondering if either are really listening to her*

Donovan: Hah! Humans, even those with fairie blood running through their veins, are silly with it when they find their one true mate. But I didn’t say I minded. After all, it’s a tale full of curses and fairies, and an ancient ring of stones. And then of course, there’s me. Who doesn’t love a tale includin’ a charmin’ Irish wolfhound?

Calisa: *raises hand, whispers* I do.

Mac: I’m not sure Keely would use the word charming. Not when you have a habit of digging up her lilacs.

Donovan: Ah, that. Well, I’m a dog, ain’t I? It’s what we do. And Keely doesn’t mind so much, not when her black wolf has a paw in that bit of mischief, more often than not.

Mac: Hmmm. *grins* She does have a soft spot for that Halfling of hers.

Donovan: And isn’t that how it should be, I ask ye? No matter. She can’t stay mad at me. Not for long, anyway. I helped her solve the mystery of the ring, after all.

Mac: Yes, you did, but you don’t want to share too much with your new friends here. You’ll spoil the story for them.

Donovan: Aye. Ye have a point. Still, we might tease them with a bit of our tail. An excerpt, I believe it’s called. Ye have one, don’t ye? And are ye still running yer scavenger hunt contest, over at yer own web home? The one where me friends have a chance at winning a free copy of Gift of the Realm and a $25 Amazon card?

*Calisa’s ears perk at this idea*

Mac: I do have an excerpt, and the Virtual Scavenger Hunt runs through today.

Donovan: And I’m thinkin’ ye should give away a free copy of our story right here, to one of the lovely Calisa’s friends.

Mac: That’s an excellent idea, Donovan. I’m glad you thought of it.

Calisa: *claps hands and hops in joy*

[image deleted]

Donovan: Then what are ye waiting for? Give me friends the chains, so they can find out more about me…I mean, yer book.

Mac: I think you mean the links.

Calisa: *snickers*

Donovan: *snort* Dog, remember?

Mac: *laughs* Here are the excerpt and the links. And don’t stay too long. You’re scheduled for a grooming today.

Donovan: *growl* I thought to chat with me new friends a bit. There be dog lovers here, ye know. I’ll be gifting our book to one of them, after I hear what breed, other than Wolfhound, take their fancies. I’ll be along in me own good time.

Calisa: Erm… I love my Chihuahuas and cried when I had to find a new home for my beautiful Boxer… *eyes the cover of Mac’s book hungrily* Too bad hostesses can’t win. *pouts*

Mac: *waves at Calisa* Thanks, my friend. Don’t let him climb on the furniture. He sheds like crazy.

Calisa: That’s ok, Mac. I have plenty of duct tape around here I use for my own four-legged hair balls. *waves Mac off*

Donovan: *snort*

Calisa: What? I use the tape to remove hair from the furniture! Oh… Just let the visitors read the excerpt… *rolls eyes*

Excerpt:

She tossed a thick stalk onto the small pile at her feet and set the claw at another. Her continued silence said she was done with him and expected him to go.

He abused her of that expectation by taking a seat at the small table beside the garden. He sat with his legs spread, elbows propped on his knees. Donovan lifted his head to stare at him, his dark brows puckered above darker eyes that seemed to plead with him to bring peace to the garden once more.

“I am your friend, Keely,” Colin told her, “and I’d like to help if I can.”

She paused at her chore, tilting her head to eye him suspiciously from beneath the brow of the hat. “Why would you want to do that?”

He rubbed a hand over his jaw. “Well, now, there’s a question. It turns out I’m not the sort of man who can ignore a mystery.”

“That’s not the impression you gave yesterday.”

“Yesterday I was near to being speechless.” A slow smile spread across his face as he decided how to break through her pique. “A man can be excused for being a bit rattled when sitting across from a lovely woman who’s just admitted to dreaming of him for the better part of a decade.”

She fell back on her heels, her eyes widening. “I didn’t admit to dreaming of you, Quinn.” She jabbed the claw in his direction. “I said you joined me in the dreams.”

“You’d consider that a distinction, and yet you admit you’ve been dreaming of me. I prefer my own interpretation.” Confusion knit her brow, and he could see she wasn’t sure if she wanted to blast him for being an arrogant ass, or smile. He pressed the advantage. “I’ve a clearer head this morning, darlin’. I’m here to offer my help.”

She didn’t react to his use of the endearment, but he didn’t miss the flash of interest in her eyes at his offer of help. “How, exactly, do you propose to do that?”

“These dreams we share.” He paused, pleased to see a faint blush spreading color on her cheeks. “They always take place at the Door?”

She nodded.

“The way I see it, you’ve made Dunhaven your home, but you’ve spent little time here. I, on the other hand, have lived the whole of my life in Dunhaven, except for the time I spent at university, and you’ll not be holding that against me.”

“I won’t, huh?”

He grinned. “No, darlin’, you won’t.”

“Hmm.” She glanced away, fiddling with the tool clutched in her lap. He winked at Donovan, and gained a dog grin. Now they were getting somewhere.

Find Mac at: http://mackenziecrowne.com (The details of the Scavenger Hunt are there, as well as all the clues)

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/MacCrowne

Face Book: https://www.facebook.com/MackenzieCrowne

Buy Links:

The Wild Rose Press  http://tinyurl.com/84agxz2

Amazon http://tinyurl.com/84mxmrj

What a great excerpt, Mac!!! And I really think I might print and frame that cover just so I can drool over it. Remember, black wolf shifter fan here. 🙂 Thank you so very much for the contest, Mac!

Donovan…it was wonderful, and interesting to meet you. Thanks for surprising me with your visit. What more can I say but, stay away from my lilacs—don’t lift that leg there! Go get your groom on. 🙂

For everyone else, don’t forget to visit Mac’s cyber home- which is one you don’t want to miss, it’s gorgeous! Leave a note in the ranch comment box telling Donovan your email and what your favorite dog breed is (except Wolfhounds- no buttering allowed on the ranch unless it’s by me!) for the chance at a FREE copy of Gift of the Realm!!!

Dodadagohvi~