Featured Author: Julie K. Cohen ~ Debut Sci-Fi Romance: THE TRAITOR’S TOUCH

I’m pleased to welcome debut author Julie K. Cohen to my blog. Her Sci-Fi Fantasy/Romance THE TRAITOR’S TOUCH, Mindwipe Book 1 was released on June 12, by Soul Mate Publishing.

 

Kira’s people blackmailed her into spying on enemy Commander Tal Kaegen—the one man who can prevent interplanetary war. As she falls for Tal, assassinations and a mole threaten his Command. She’s the only one he trusts… The only way to save him is to betray him.

AVAILABLE NOW ON AMAZON

 

 

In this post, Julie was great enough to give an interview. I read THE TRAITOR’S TOUCH and it was riveting. My review is included, as well as where to buy and how to reach and follow Julie.

Enjoy:

THE TRAITOR’S TOUCH #1 of the Mindwipe Series. Where did you get your inspiration for this series? How will the books by tied together?

I grew up watching all the sci-fi television shows: Star Trek, Battle Star Galactica, Logan’s Run, Bionic Man, Bionic Woman, etc. My love of Star Trek is what attracted me to reading. I read all the Star Trek novels that were out at the time, which led to my reading other books. I always sought books with emotional connections between the characters. It never occurred to me to read romance, not until much later in life. I still focused on the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre and came across authors such as Doris Egan, Barbara Hambly, Lois McMaster Bujold, and Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (The Liaden Universe). McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan series remains perhaps my favorite series and the inspiration for The Traitor’s Touch. All of my favorite books have a romance subplot but also include great world-building, action, and intriguing plots.

The next book in the Mindwiped series, The Traitor’s Truth, will feature Tal and Kira who are caught up in a plot that endangers the planet and their future as a couple. They will have to rediscover one another and fall in lover all over again if they and their world are to survive. As for book three… I have a great concept brewing in my head and hope to create the time to write it in between all my other writing projects.

This Sci-Fi Romance/Fantasy takes place on the planet Serriss, but Kira, the heroine is a pilot from Derid. What year does the story take place and where are the planets located with respect to our known galaxy?

While there is no year specified, the story takes place in the future. People are still people, using and misusing technology, fighting over territory, and suffering from greed, miscommunication and all the faults that plague humanity. The characters are human with all the same fears, hopes, dreams and flaws that we experience. While they travel between planets, that doesn’t mean all planets in the story are advanced, either technologically speaking or from a cultural/human rights perspective. Therein is where much of the conflict arises between our hero and heroine, from the differences between their planets and cultures.

THE TRAITOR’S TOUCH is such a clever title. How did you come up with it?

Kira, the heroine, is branded a traitor for circumstances beyond her control. Her status as a traitor is a key part of the plot. As for “touch,” the word has multiple meanings in the book. This is a romance and I like characters who can be intimate with a simple touch, which of course can (and does) lead to steamier intimacy. But the main meaning behind “touch” is how the heroine affects the hero, how she “touches his heart and his life” if a way that leaves him forever changed. Of course, this goes both ways.

Tell us about the heroine Pilot Kira Jensen. What kind of person is she? How different is she from other women on Derid and Serriss, as far as what the hero, Tal saw in her?

She’s a fighter, but not a kick-ass woman who strives to best every man or adversary simply to prove she’s ‘better’ than they are. She’s trying to navigate life and the inane policies of her world. Kira will do whatever it takes to survive. It’s her determination to fight for herself and never leave her fate in the hands of another that sets her apart from the women of her word, Derid. As for Tal’s world, Serriss is a restrictive society for women, which makes acclimating there a challenge for Kira on several levels. There’s only so much she’ll put up with from a cultural standpoint. While Kira isn’t quite ready for the challenges of Serriss, Serriss is certainly not prepared for Kira’s fierce nature and refusal to be anyone other than who she is. Tal is in a unique position. While raised very traditionally on Serriss, he’s been exposed to other worlds and cultures through his time as an operative. He’s more open-minded and tolerant of different customs than his contemporaries.

What about Commander Tal Kaegen? What makes him such a swoon-worthy hero?

While he’s well-built (Of course he is, right? This is Romance!), he’s a decisive man who knows a good thing when he sees it… in this case, Kira. Tal makes no excuses for who he is or what he does. He can be quite arrogant, but he’ll do anything—anything—to protect those he loves. There’s an honor, and endless determination to save his people and his family, that shows in everything he does, good or bad, and that is what makes him so appealing.

Here’s a recent 5-star review on BookBub:

“Loved it! Who doesn’t want to read a good romp through space that includes super-secret codes, a mystery mole, a rescue of the love of the hero’s life, a traitor to a planet, a heroine REALLY good with knives, a bad guy who is nasty as hell, and a hero who is arrogant yet amazingly romantic at the same time? Oh, I forgot about the political intrigue and Councilmember whack-a-mole, puppets and puppet masters, stinky flowers to honor the dead, and siblings who get along like, well, siblings. And a psychedelic bracelet. All of this is as specific and general as I can make it without spoilers. You want explanations? You’ll have to read the book. Yes, there are declarations of love, explosions, intrigue, mystery, espionage, betrayal, and romance. But anyone can write those tropes. It’s the moments in between and the special details that make The Traitor’s Touch stand out as a great read.”

What is Tal and Kira’s first meeting like?

Their first meeting was in the middle of a kill or be killed situation, with Kira and Tal on opposing sides. Needless to say, neither was focused on much beyond survival.

Here’s a short excerpt from THE TRAITOR’S TOUCH:

Tal raised a brow at her daring, though he wished for her sake she would remain silent, or better yet, divulge the beacon’s location. She didn’t know how dangerous it was to aggravate Leukker like that, especially with his knife threatening the back of her knee. Leukker slammed the blunt end of the knife down on the back of her knee instead.

Tal winced, which was an oddity in itself. He’d seen Leukker do much worse and had never been this affected. Tal inched close enough to hear her short, rapid breaths. No, this was not how a woman, this woman, should be short of breath, from pain and fear. He envisioned her below him, her beautiful lips curving into a smile and her hazel eyes shining as he slid into her warmth. Together, they’d find a rhythm that brought them pleasure, perhaps even an intimacy that his parents had shared, rare as that was. Whether or not he would ever have her in his bed was moot, but he knew one thing. He couldn’t let her sacrifice herself without trying to save her.

“You can end this,” Tal said to her, again reminding himself that he should not be interfering, that his sergeant was doing his duty. Even now, Leukker was shooting him a look, one that said he found the interruption unsettling. Her facial expression had already given her away. She knew exactly where the beacon was. The problem was she wouldn’t give up the location, even to save herself.

Another muffled cry tore from her lips, and Tal’s fists clenched. “Leukker.”

Leukker glanced up, his knife just a hair’s width above the back of her knee. “Sir?”

The blood running down her leg was containable, if Leukker stopped soon. She was shaking, from fear or pain, both most likely. Maybe that last cut had done the trick and she’d divulge the beacon’s location before more damage was required. Tal squatted beside her. A clump of mud-encased hair fell to the side, revealing one deliciously curved jaw and a graceful, delicate neck. The urge to let one fingertip glide along her rich skin rose within him. It hadn’t been long since a woman had entertained him, but that had been nothing more than a release. This woman, she would be worth knowing, he was sure of that now. If nothing else, to understand the allure she held.

She rolled onto her side to face him, drawing a sharp breath as the wires dug deeper into her wrists. “Nasty shoulder wound you have there,” she said, the corners of her mouth hitching upward. “I bet it hurts.”

The anger returned. Not because she bit out words intending to incite, but because she felt the need to go on the offense, trussed-up as she was. It was her only recourse, short of offering them something they needed. What they needed was the location of the beacon, and that was the one thing she wouldn’t give them, not willingly.

And still, he had no idea what to do about her. She should be with her family, not here, living minute-to-minute at his mercy. Her blood had already been spilled because of him. If she didn’t cooperate, there would be more.

Another excerpt, an intimate moment:  

She closed her eyes. All she could see were the mindwipe needles that would soon pierce his skull. “You should have left me there to die.” 

He sailed forward and entwined his fingers in her hair, working their way along her jaw and down to her neck. A lover’s touch, memorizing every detail. Intoxicating . . . the feel of his fingers dancing over her skin was utterly intoxicating. The feel of his hand, the promise it held, would help her through the long days and lonely nights ahead, but it wouldn’t be enough.
How could she have lived her life without ever knowing a touch could speak louder than words? She did not deserve his touch . . . or him. She had come here on orders, to betray him. “The risk . . .”

“Was necessary,” he said a second before a soft, delicious kiss landed behind her ear. She pressed her palms to his chest, intending to push him away. Then another kiss, more delicate than the last, caressed her cheek. Mindwipe, she reminded herself. If she failed, they’d mindwipe him. “A soldier must also have the mettle to let another die,” she whispered in his ear. “I meant nothing to you, you should have . . .”

Anger, pure and swift, swept over him as if she had dealt him an unforgivable blow. The soldier had re-emerged for a split second, long enough to tell her that he still saw her as a Deridian, his enemy. He turned his back to her. She should not be here, she realized. Whatever this was between them wasn’t real. It couldn’t be.

“I was not prepared to discuss us,” he said.

Us? Kira sank to the cot. The scratchy cotton against her palms reminded her of just who and where she was. “There is no ‘us’, Commander,” she said, staring down at the floor.
Legs appeared before her, but she couldn’t look up at him. What if she saw that grin that made her heart speed up? What if he wore his stoic face, the one that said nothing could hurt him, even though deep down she knew that wasn’t true.

Warm fingers touched her chin and guided her head up. “Then why are you here?” he asked.

I don’t know.

“Why are you here?” he insisted, his voice gaining in intensity as he knelt before her.
He trusted her. She could feel it in her soul. He had no reason to trust her, of all people, yet he did. If he knew her past, he wouldn’t trust her, he’d turn away like all the others. Yet her past was not the issue here. She couldn’t let Kaegen be punished for her wrongs. For him to trust her as he did, it was an honor, one she could not ignore, even if it was sorely misplaced. Her father would have liked him, this man of unerring faith and loyalty. No, she could not let them mindwipe him. He needed to return home. One way or another, she’d find a way to get him there, away from her people who would mindwipe him without a second thought.

What makes Tal and Kira perfect for each other?

Kira doesn’t allow Tal’s arrogance or often overbearing manner intimidate her in the least. Her courage and her ability to push forward no matter the circumstance makes her a perfect match for Tal, who has all but given up on life. Tal’s sense of purpose is tied entirely to the well-being of his people and planet, until he falls for Kira. Her undeniable spirit has renewed his zest for life. As for Kira, she sees the man beneath the cold exterior, the man who’s afraid of letting his people and her down—the man whose unerring loyalty to her may finally allow her to find a peace and happiness she thought she’d never have.

What for you is the most romantic moment between them?

Enjoy another intimate excerpt:

Tal placed his hand on her back. The tenderness in that touch quenched her soul. She wanted more of it, more of him, but she had less than twenty minutes to get him off of Derid.

Kira kept moving, ignoring Tal behind her, as much as she could. He’d moved up so close, she could feel his breath on her neck. More than once, she had to resist the urge to lean back against him and simply breathe him in. He was leaving, returning to his home, his life. Just like she’d return to hers. She’d be alone, except for Danny, but that was no longer enough.

Tal, the enemy commander she barely knew but nonetheless trusted, the Serrissian who challenged her in ways she’d never expected, the man who warmed her soul despite his cool façade, would probably never think about her after today. She’d have to do the same.

A few more turns and they found the hangar. Kira removed the screws to the grate and dropped down to the cargo bay floor. Tal followed, slipping behind a stack of pallets with exceptional stealth for a man of his height. Except for a handful of maintenance crew servicing a fighter aft, the bay was empty. Tal followed her, his steps as silent as when she had met him. As soon as she found the courier ship, she slid into the pilot’s seat. Pre-flight systems check proceeded smoothly. Tal strapped into the co-pilot’s chair, familiarizing himself with the ship’s systems. Within a few minutes, Kira locked in her pilot’s code and rose.

His arm reached across, blocking her exit. “Come with me.” His voice was heavy with need.

She squashed the cry that threatened to burst from her lips. Danny would be expecting her to call soon, knowing her latest rotation was ending. She couldn’t leave her brother, not like this.

“There’s something between us,” Tal continued, green eyes sure and unyielding.

“We don’t know anything about one another.” Her words sounded as empty as they felt.

“We know enough. What we don’t know, we’ll have fun learning.” He flashed that charming grin of his.

She had to clamp her hand over her mouth to keep from laughing. She marveled at how this one Serrissian could make her laugh when her darkest fears and memories threatened to overwhelm her. Kira reached up and traced his scar with one finger. “We’re enemies, Commander. We should part as friends and—”

His mouth enveloped hers. Soft, tender, and very sure, his tongue prodded at her lips, demanding entrance. It was so easy, natural, opening to him as if he was the piece of her soul she’d been missing her entire life. There was promise and hope in that kiss, which was more than she could give in return. Why must he tempt her so? She was already finding it hard leaving the ship instead of strapping herself in and flying off with him. Kira let his tongue glide over hers one last time before pulling away and slamming her hand against the palm lock. The door swished open and she stepped out.

Which character in the series was the hardest to write? Why?

Tal. He tends to lock away his emotions, and yet he’s a very passionate person when it comes to defending those he loves. Striking the balance between his reserved and his open sides was perhaps the hardest to do. That led to what Kira considers the ‘two sides of Tal’. His military side and the gentler side—the one he shows only to her.

What kind of research did you have to do to write this book? Please share an interesting fact or unique behind the scenes experience.

I’ve never thrown knives, though I want to learn how to. I’ve read about the various techniques, attempting to understand the physicals involved (physics was definitely not my favorite course in school) as well as what goes into training. In my mind, I saw a correlation between my daughter’s training in karate and the training Kira needed to master knife throwing. Both required years of hard work, dedication, and determination. As it turns out, my daughter just passed her black belt test two months before The Traitor’s Touch was released!

Please give us a sneak peek at book 2 in the series.

The Traitor’s Truth

(Mindwiped, book 2)

Tal: “You’re my wife.”   Kira: “Prove it.”

Stranded on an enemy planet with no memory of her past, Kira’s confronted by the powerful Commander Tal Kaegen who claims she’s his wife. She has her knives and her wits . . . just what she needs to escape Kaegen and his world. If only her body didn’t crave his touch . . . Commander Tal Kaegen may well be the key to her past—and the instrument of her destruction.

The Traitor’s Truth

(Mindwiped, book 2)

Chapter 1

Tal

A living nightmare, his worst in years. He had found her at last, entwined in another man’s grasp. Her eyes widened the moment he entered the cabin. Fear. Fear of him, her husband. The one who had tied the kenut on her wrist only six months ago.

Thought held no part in what he did next. Pummeling the man with the flat end of his gun had been instinct, nothing more. Kira’s screams pulled at Tal in a way that only deepened the wound in his soul. Beautiful hazel eyes clamped shut as she wrapped her arms about the fezak and used her body to shield him against Tal’s fists. She left him no choice but to stop. He would not risk injuring her, though she had dealt him a blow he knew would never heal.

His men moved in, separating Kira from the man, roughly pulling her hands behind her as if she were the enemy. Reason began to pierce the fog of his rage. Whatever had happened here, she was still his wife.

“Release her,” Tal said, unable to stop the growl that accompanied his words.

“Ayella, protect me,” the fezak said as Tal’s men dragged him out of the small farmhouse. The fezak sounded like he was ordering a slave to do his bidding.

Tal could almost see the mental shift in Kira the moment the fezak spoke. The fear in her face washed away. In fact, all emotion drained from her. Never had he seen her appear so blank.

“Leave my husband alone,” she said to the soldiers.

Her husband? Tal’s head snapped up at that. Could Driss and everyone he knew have been right? That she had not been kidnapped but instead had run off? Tal swallowed hard as he surveyed the cabin, with its one bed. Had she forsaken her marriage with him and married this fezak?

Bile rose in his throat. He was going to be sick. It was too much to take. For months, he had searched for her, putting everything he had at risk. He had nearly lost his seat on Council, was barely on speaking terms with his brother, once again, and scarcely maintained his hold on the Intelligence sector. They had all called him a fool for pursuing her. The note, they kept reminding him, had said everything. She could no longer deceive herself into thinking she belonged with him after what he had let happen to her brother. She knew the people around her all wanted her gone.

They were right about her, in part. She was an outsider and would always be one here on his world because they wouldn’t accept her. They all theorized that she had left, of her own will, to find some peace and happiness off of Serriss.

They were wrong.

Tal knew firsthand that notes weren’t to be trusted. More importantly, he knew Kira, unlike no other. He knew her soul. She would not have left him because others disapproved of her or their marriage. He had vowed his life to her when he laid the ancient threads of the kenut on her wrist. And he had vowed that he would not quit until he found her. And now he had, here with another man.

Tal peered into her beautiful eyes. Angry, frightened eyes. Full of hatred . . . for him. “Shaiya?” His name for her sailed from his mouth without thought.

She took two large strides forward and slapped him. There was a fire in her still, but not for him. “How dare you! I am not your shaiya.” Her gaze fell to him, the fezak kneeling in the dirt, with his hands bound behind his back.

“Get him out of here,” Tal ordered.

Two of his men clamped their hands around the fezak and dragged him toward one of the flitters.

Her eyes followed. “My husband,” she said, her voice barely a squeak.

“He’s not your husband!”

Delicate brows lifted, and she tilted her head, like a confused child. That gave Tal pause, especially when he heard her sigh of relief as the fezak disappeared into the flitter.

What had the fezak done to her?

With two fingers against her cheek, Tal turned her to face at him. “That man stole what is mine, Kira. And you are mine.” He pushed her sleeve up to reveal the kenut she wore on her wrist, to prove his claim to her.

He nearly winced at the condition of the kenut. Dark. Blacker than night. The ancient ceremonial threads should be dancing wildly, weaving colorful new patterns even as she stood there, seething at him. Except for two lone red threads that moved about, sluggish and lost, the kenut was lifeless.

The bond between Kira and him, nearly gone. It couldn’t be! He looked to her, for an explanation, but she yanked her arm free.

“Don’t touch me! I don’t know who you are or why you’re here, but you will not touch me.”

Too many emotions surged through him. Fear, hatred, hurt. Fear again. “You don’t know me?” Confusion added to an already dangerous mix of emotions.

She rubbed where he had held her arm so tightly. “I’ve never seen you before.”

“You have to remember me. Concentrate, please, Kira.”

“Ayella,” she corrected him, her voice pitched with newfound strength. “My name is Ayella.” She nodded her head slightly, a welcome one gives a stranger.

Something was definitely off about her, more than her failure to recognize him.

Kira pulled her shoulders back into a less threatening stance. “Does this mean that you have come here by mistake?”

When he said nothing, she continued, forging forward, showing the same strength of will and courage he had fallen in love with all those months ago. Then that blank look came over her again as her eyes searched among the soldiers outside. “My husband doesn’t want you here,” she said, her voice a pale copy of what it was moments ago.

A whistle from outside cut through the pain that had started anew. His men were scurrying into a defensive position. “It’s not safe here, Commander,” said one of his men as he poked his head in.

“Secure her,” Tal ordered. He didn’t miss the shock on Kira’s face as one of his men pushed her out toward a flitter. “And keep them apart!”

Tal briefly glanced inside the cabin one last time. The place was nothing more than a hovel, with a kitchen, a few chairs by the fireplace and one bed. Their bed . . . the one they shared. Tal stormed out and his lieutenant immediately fell in step beside him.

“Burn it. Burn it to the ground.”

 

My Review of THE TRAITOR’S TOUCH:

A fantastic debut. The Traitor’s Touch drew me in from page one and held me until the whirlwind ending. If you enjoy creative world-building, romance, suspense, juicy subplots and steamy love scenes, this is the book for you. Can’t wait for Book 2.

 

~Author Bio~

Julie K. Cohen has always ‘played’ with stories and plots in her head, but never conceived of putting pen to paper until her high school years. While building a career and family over the years always held the highest priority, Julie never gave up writing. Through the years, family, husband, and friends encouraged her to keep writing. Without their love and support, and the additional support of the writing community, she wouldn’t be where she is today, sitting in front of her computer, creating new characters, plots, and romances for her readers to enjoy.

~Author’s Website / Blog / Facebook / Twitter links/ Newsletter~

Website:          JulieKCohenRomance.com

Newsletter:      JulieKCohenRomance.com/newsletter

Facebook:        https://www.facebook.com/JulieKCohenRomance/

Twitter:           @JulieKCohen

Amazon:          https://www.amazon.com/author/juliek.cohen

BookBub:        https://www.bookbub.com/profile/julie-k-cohen

Instagram:       https://www.instagram.com/juliekcohen/

Pinterest:         https://www.pinterest.com/juliekcohen/

Goodreads:     Julie K Cohen

How, how, HOW did this happen??

It’s a day that most authors love. Release Day!

I should be happy. But honestly, I’m exhausted. If you’ve been following what’s happened, you know my publisher closed down  Oct 1st. My release Must Be Crazy was in galley reviews (my last chance to find errors) and was supposed to be released yesterday. Then the bomb dropped.

Must Be Crazy is Book 3 in my Darling Cove series. Collateral damage from the publisher closing was, Books 1 and 2 were removed from all retailers. Since Book 3 was on the 1-yard line, why not just publish it myself? What was the point if Books 1 and 2 were unavailable? That put me back punting range.

I had to publish THREE books.

And I did.

This post is about why?

Why did I stop everything I was doing (including finishing another book for a new series that I planned to pitch at the NJ Romance Conference)? Looking at the calendar, I cringed. I had 3 back-to-back-to-back weekend trips planned. I had EVERY EXCUSE to give up and walk away from this series. My favorite line “I’ll deal with that BS later.”

So why didn’t I?

Writers peak at different points in their career. Some write a masterpiece out of the gate and then fizzle. Some write best sellers again and again and again. My skills are slowly sharpening with every book. Must Be Crazy is technically the 5th full-length serious novel I’ve written. For a contemporary, it’s my best work to date. I am so immensely proud of it. Even if it’s still a dud compared to the masters. What’s important to note that, while I had help from Donna Alward (who loved it enough to let me put her name on it), I had ZERO development input from the editor. That’s important. This book is mine. All mine.

Authors openly brag about how amazing their editors are. I’ve yet to experience that. If you’ve read Must Love Fashion or Must Have Faith, for better or worse, that’s ALL ME. And it’s the same for Must Be Crazy. So back to the question…why?

I truly love how this book came out. I finally got it in this book as far as pacing, emotion, and conflict. And that was why I dug in and fought against the odds to get it out. I was lucky enough to find bloggers who already read the publisher’s ARC and posted positive reviews on Goodreads. (check it out 🙂 The book that’s up for sale as of today, is the same book. Only better actually because I was able to go in and clean up mistakes missed in the editing process.

I had already written a Christmas Novella for this series which will be available immediately after Must Be Crazy (A Must for Christmas). And I really really really want to keep this series going. I have outlines for two more novels, but I can’t make any promises. Self-publishing is expensive. I’m tremendously lucky to have the resources to put my love on the page and hand it out.  That’s kind of what it feels like. And I’m okay with that.

So this post is just explaining what’s going on. I have a newsletter coming out later with all kinds of blurbs, sexy teasers, and links. There’s none of that here. This is just me saying thank you for staying a subscriber to my website.

I plan to chat more in the coming year. I have a vampire series coming out next year from Soul Mate Publishing and I am really excited to announce 3 publishers asked for Forty Times Platinum.  I’m not the greatest writer, but I don’t exactly suck 🙂

Have a wonderful day xoxo

In case you’re wondering where all my books went…

My publisher announced a few days ago they were closing.  Must Love Fashion and Must Have Faith have been removed from Amazon and all other retailers. Must Be Crazy was also scheduled for release October 22.

I had a couple of choices to make.

Oh, I cried, that wasn’t really a choice.

Option 1 (the easy lane)- Let it go. Can you hear Elsa singing? The easy thing would have been to deal with this in a couple of months.  When I got this news, I was in the middle of editing Drawing Bloodlines, I am putting the final touches on Forty Times Platinum (2.0) for pitching at the New Jersey Romance Writers Conference later this month and I have to go away the next three weekends. Then as I’ve done the last few years, starting November 1st, I will sit down and write, Matching Bloodlines, the 3rd book in my vampire series.

Option 2- Bulldoze ahead and get these books back up on my own.

Ignoring all the reasons why I can’t do this, I am doing it.

So stay tuned. Must Love Fashion* and Must Have Faith will be back up for sale soon.  When they do, for a short time, they will be available in e-book only format. I have paperbacks and will be at a few signing events (listed below). Must Be Crazy, will be available in both e-book and print and hopefully will still be released on the intended date Oct 22.

Keep me in your thoughts and prayers, please.

*One piece of exciting news, Must Love Fashion is getting a little bit of a makeover. I will be unveiling a new cover when the book is ready for sale again. I just saw a mock-up and teared up.

Upcoming Signings:

New Jersey Romance Writers, Put Your Heart in a Conference Book Fair, Saturday,  Oct 20, 4:30-5:30, held at the Woodbridge Renaissance Hotel, Iselin New Jersey, Diamond Ballroom

St. Stephen’s Fall Author Fair, Saturday, Nov 3, 3-5pm. Raffles! Held at St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church, Hicksville, New York.

 

 

Must Have Faith is open for Pre-Orders!

Hi Everyone!

I just wanted to drop a quick personal note to let you know that Must Have Faith is available for Pre-Order on all the sites listed below. Orders placed during Pre-Order do not get charged until release day (June 4th). And all Pre-Orders are counted as Release Day sales and will help me with my overall sales rank.

If you liked Must Love Fashion, you will LOVE Must Have Faith… The Runaway Bride is Back.

Amazon     Barnes & Noble     iBooks     Kobo     Goodreads TBR

You can read an excerpt HERE

Privacy Policy- A Notice to Subscribers

Hi there!

So there’s been a lot about “privacy” in the news lately. The EU (European Union) has set forth new policies and penalties “GDPR” for anyone doing business in the EU who violate such policies.

As an author, my only reach to “do business” in the EU would be if someone purchased my books via one of the retailers and those retailers are responsible for protecting information provided in order to complete the sale and shipping.

But as the owner of this website (which collects ‘subscribers’ information) I have an obligation to keep that ‘information’ private and notify you of my policy. And so I have posted an official “policy” on my site.

Click HERE to view. It is also part of the main menu and will remain there.

Something else important to note: subscribing to this website now, sends your information to a third party MailChimp, which collects the data for me. The current list at MailChimp is GDPR compliant. Because I still communicate via this website through blog posts (like this one), I will be manually adding subscribers that come through MailChimp to this website as well, which privacy is protected via the policy mentioned above.

Anyone can UNSUBSCRIBE at any time from either this website or any Newsletters delivered from MailChimp.

Any questions? Feel free to contact me. 

Does it really matter? Flawed Philosophy #1

I picked up a craft book recently, Matt Bird’s, The Secrets of Story where he states that a hero must go into the story with a ‘flawed philosophy’. And throughout his or her journey, change will come from fixing that flaw. It made me think about my ‘flawed philosophy.’ I have a few, folks.

The one that is most relevant because I’m getting on a plane tonight to fly to Florida, revolves around the ‘idea’ that I don’t need to walk around with a pristine appearance all the time. Of course, that’s the ideal. Pristine. All the time. One of the ‘passes’ I had always given to myself was for personal travel. Why get dolled up to get on a plane? I have two reasons for this. First, the odds I would run into anyone I knew, was a million to one. So why bother?

Changing my life to pursue writing full time, has skewed right into my flawed philosophy head-on. Being a published author means that at any time now, someone could recognize me. But that only cuts the odds down to  999,999 to 1. I did have a moment in my town when someone asked me, Are you the one who wrote the book? It put “Stars without makeup” into a new light for me.

In addition to that, writing full time, as with any ‘work from home’ position, became dangerously easy to skip all that shampooing and makeup nonsense on a daily basis. I have books to write, I don’t have time for a hairdryer. I started this journey in October 2016, and by that December I’d gone so far off the rails, that I had to actually make a New Year’s Resolution to step it up. Like most resolutions, I didn’t really stick to it.

But recently, I motivated myself with an odd carrot (that I won’t reveal, it’s too bizarre) and have been ‘hanging in there’. What I figured out, while it’s instant gratification to just towel off (Btw, what saves me, is that I go the gym every morning. So, I am FORCED to shower), throw my hair in a messy bun, pull on a pair of sweats, a tee-shirt and get to work. What I’d found though, that was short lived. And when I spent the day, even if I didn’t have to leave the house, not only showered but with styled hair and some color on my face, I felt good all day. As opposed to the five minutes of euphoria.

I still dress casually. Lounge wear can be stylish. And I love that Victoria Secret has (or had) a “supermodel sexy’ line of lounge wear. Those girls work so hard, that they deserve to be comfortable, while still looking sexy. Thank you Victoria Secret 😊

So, I’d said there were two parts to my flawed philosophy. The “who cares”, being one, the other is similar but different. The second part of the philosophy is/was, why bother getting all dolled up, when I’ll get off the plane looking like I sat on the wing anyway. There’s definitely a shorter distance to fall if you get on a plane with your hair in a bun and no makeup to when you get off. More than likely, you’ll look the same. Anyone who’s had their hair flatten out spectacularly or their mascara clump under their eyes and blush disappear has had that ‘Good God’ moment when they get into the arriving airport’s bathroom. That’s a tough blow.

The show Everyone Loves Raymond had some great moments and small scenes that stick with me. I remember the scene where Robert’s Italian long distance girlfriend Stefania visits. Robert brings her to Ray and Debra’s house right from the airport, where she looks flawless. And Debra says: “This is you after a nine-hour flight? Now I want to kill myself.” Right??? No one walks off a commercial flight out of coach looking like a million bucks. Still, it’s become a small challenge, let me give it a try.

So, as I try, like a hero in a novel to get over my flawed philosophy, that it just doesn’t matter. It feels good, that maybe, just maybe, it does matter.

 

 

 

 

 

Shameless Plug

Don’t forget Must Have Faith drops June 4th!

Click HERE to sign up for my Newsletter, or subscribe on the home page of the website.

 

Let me catch you up…

Happy Friday!

I realized I hadn’t written a blog post on all the exciting upcoming releases scheduled.  I know readers are choosy about what they will read and want to invest their time in an author who will not leave them hanging. My first Darling Cove book Must Love Fashion was released August of last year and I’m guilty of the hang! Just a note about Must Love Fashion, it reached 50 Reviews on Amazon (click HERE to read), which was my goal. Thank you to everyone who was a part of that number. I’d like to add, that all reviews were either 4 Star or 5 Star, most being 5 Star.

 

Darling Cove Release News:

Book 2, Must Have Faith will be released June 4th (Sorry for the lag!). BUT…

Book 3, Must Be Crazy will be released October 22nd!  So the wait this will only be 4 months. AND…

Book 4, A Must for Christmas, a Darling Cove Novella is set to be released on November 19th! How’s that??

I intend to keep the Darling Cove series going. There are many secondary characters itching to have their own stories told. There might also be a Mallory surprise guest at a family event soon. Maybe 🙂

 

Who Likes Sexy Vampires?

With so many Darling Cove books ready to be released, I diverted to another path: Paranormal romance. My sexy vampire romance, Drawing Bloodlines, Book 1 in the Princeton Allegiant series is under contract with another publisher and can expect to be released in April 2019. (So I may slip in another Darling Cove book in February maybe, to keep everyone’s belly full, LOL). This series will at least four books, and Book 2, Guarding Bloodlines is currently a healthy 60K word Work in Progress.

 

Wait there’s more!

I submitted a 50K word Erotic Romance, That’s Not Me,  to Harlequin Dare this week! Originally intended as a stand-alone, of course, a handsome intriguing brother reared his head and this may be a Duet.  Keep your eyes out for that one. If Harlequin passes, I’ll submit to some other houses and or maybe release on my own.

And if you can believe it, I have two more novellas sitting on my laptop in WIP format. For so many years, I ignored the ideas that came into my head, thinking… I’ll get to it one day. No more. One day is here!

 

Final Thoughts…

For those who loved Must Love Fashion and especially those who either told me in person, sent me an email, or put it in their review that they hoped the next book was about Gwen’s brother Greg, I’m really happy to give the people what they want. Yes, Must Have Faith features jilted groom/good guy Greg Mallory and his runaway bride, Faith who has come back to Darling Cove.  So I hope Must Have Faith is worth the wait. I’m sorry for the ten month lag between releases, but I hope I detailed here, that I have a lot of good stuff coming and I can be an author who will be on your #mustread list.

Come along with me…I don’t think you’ll be disappointed

Ways to stay in touch and caught up:

 


 

Like my new Facebook Page: DeborahGarlandAuthor

Follow me on Amazon:  Deborah Garland Author

Follow me on Twitter: @deborah_garland

Follow me on Goodreads: Deborah Garland Author

Follow me on BookBub: Deborah Garland Author

Author Spotlight- Jennifer Wilck and review of her new release, “Five Minutes to Love”

Last summer I had the pleasure of getting to know Jennifer during another book release of hers. She’s a fellow member of the Romance Writers of America, New Jersey Chapter. I’ve met so many great writers from that chapter and Jennifer is one of them. I’m proud to spotlight her and her new release, “Five Minutes to Love” on my blog.

My review is highlighted below.

Get to know Jennifer and take a minute to hear about, “Five Minutes to Love”:

Aviva Shulman has had enough of the dating scene. Her father valued his high-powered career over his wife and family. She wants something more, someone who values her. But her roommates are determined to find her the perfect match.

Jacob Black doesn’t have time for relationships. A third-year law student, he’s focused on studying and getting a high-paying job with a top-notch law firm. But his overbearing mother wants him to find someone and settle down.

Their paths cross at a speed dating event and sparks fly. But is five minutes long enough to determine a future together?

 

You can purchase “Five Minutes to Love” at the following retailers:

         

 

Bio: When Jennifer was a little girl and couldn’t fall asleep, her mother had to tell her to make up a story. Soon, her head was filled with stories and characters. One day, she started writing them down. It was that or check into the local mental hospital. Now she’s published author. Her first book, “A Heart of Little Faith”, was a Finalist in the Fiction: Romance category of the 2016 Best Book Awards.

Learn more about Jennifer:

Website: http://www.jenniferwilck.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jennifer-Wilck-201342863240160/

Facebook Readers Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2055470311366345/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JWilck

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorjenniferwilck/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/jennifer-wilck

My Review of “Five Minutes to Love”

While Five Minutes to Love is the second book in Wilck’s Serendipity Series, it can be read as a stand-alone. The setting is Northern New Jersey, particularly Hoboken and Jersey City. This appealed to me, since I used to live in Hoboken and worked in Jersey City. Wilck nicely captured the feel of two twenty-somethings who are trying to find their place in the workforce and balance a social life. For some young people that may be easy. But when you throw in a couple of ‘endearing’ Jewish mothers, the stakes rise considerably. The story flowed nicely starting with Aviva (love that name) and Jacob’s chance meeting at a speed-dating event they were both forced to attend. After escaping together, a small spark ignites. They both initially ignore it, but as much as they don’t want to be in a relationship because of work commitments, they can’t stay away from each other. It’s what I liked the most about this story. The way they struggled with the balance and sacrifices they made for each other. And Wilck argues both character’s cases for and against falling in love, beautifully. Five Minutes To Love, took a few turns I didn’t expect, so it kept me guessing. The final twist, I never saw coming, sending Aviva and Jacob right into a satisfying happy for now, but I have a feeling it will be forever.

Happy New Year!

I said goodbye to 2017, long before midnight on December 31st.

Perhaps, it was even weeks before that.

If you’ve been ‘following’ me, you know 2017 was both a great and horrible year. Which makes me eager for 2018.

In my Long Island RWA chapter last January, we were encouraged to pick a word to guide us through the year. I had chosen Finish. I needed to finish what became my first published novel, Must Love Fashion. I also wanted to finish my paranormal romance, Drawing Bloodlines, which I did and it’s currently out on submission. The surprise of 2017 was that I completed 2 more novels, Must Have Faith, Darling Cove Book 2, which will be released this June and Book 3, Must Be Crazy, which is in final editing stages and ready to go to the publisher. (But it was written in 2017!)

I had a few meltdowns in 2017 as well. And when I looked back and glossed over the tragedies of that year, I also noted something important… I hadn’t shown up for my life…much. I was in front of this laptop most of the year. And my phone. Nearly every waking hour, weekends included was devoted to my writing. I dragged my laptop on vacations and snuck away often in search of WiFi to check emails and chase down any and all possible marketing leads for the release of Must Love Fashion.

So 2018 is where I search for balance. #balance 2018.

I’ve set realistic goals and a writing schedule that works for me and my family.  That schedule includes NO writing on weekends. And fill those hours with reading. Thanks to Book Bub, I’ve been snatching up some great reads. And I want to get at them. Yes some of them, are for pure research purposes (Vampires and Rock Stars), some just looked darn interesting.

That brings me to a new feature for 2018. Besides being behind on my reading, I’m behind on reviews. For all the begging and pleading I have done to get people to write reviews for my book, I’ve been lax in writing reviews myself. (So I get it) There is a bit of a backlog and I don’t want a mass exodus of subscribers by bombarding you all with a deluge of posts and emails. If you see a review and you’re not interested, by all means, delete the email, but please don’t unsubscribe.

 

 

Merry Christmas from Darling Cove!

And Happy Holidays!

While Must Love Fashion is not a “Christmas Romance”, one of my favorite scenes takes place Christmas Morning.

Enjoy:

On Christmas morning, the roads were back open. Andrew decided to go to the end of the earth for Gwen—he just didn’t realize she lived there. His eyes bulged at his phone when he put her address into Google Maps.

“Are you even going to call her to let her know you’re coming?” his mother asked, pouring hot coffee into a to-go cup.

“No, I want to surprise her,” he said pulling his phone off the wireless charging pad on the counter.

Sarah stopped mid-pour. “Hasn’t that got you in enough trouble already?”

He raised a warning look at her.

Rolling her eyes, she said, “A least take the ring with you.”

Shaking his head, he bit out a quick, “No.” He didn’t care to propose in a house she shared with another man. But he’d keep that objection to himself. “I’m just driving out there to bring her back here.”

“This Darling Cove got a lot of snow. Take my car, so I can at least not worry about you two.” Sarah handed him the keys to her Cadillac.

The roads should have been jammed, but the blizzard must have changed millions of plans for the holiday. Still the Time to Destination on his phone made him cringe. And it hadn’t taken into account he was only going forty miles an hour in the one lane that had been plowed.

“Jesus, Gwen. Even the Expressway didn’t want to go out as far as Darling Cove,” he said getting off at the last exit. And he still had forty minutes to go.

Once he was on Sound Avenue, Andrew’s breath escaped him taking in the beauty. Even covered in white, the landscape was incredible. The storm released inches of heavy wet snow and all the trees looked like its branches were holding little snowballs ready to engage in a winter battle.

The white puffs of smoke from the houses he passed made him fondly imagine families were opening presents, laughing and snacking on cookies. And a little hungry. The blankets of powder in front of all the homes were untouched, clean and smooth.

The lady in the map app told him he needed to make a right in about a mile. Looking at the screen, swaths of blue on both sides meant he was surrounded by water. The little red upside down teardrop appeared and Andrew shuddered. There was his destination.

Gwen lived right on the water.

Turning onto her street, brought a rush of anxiety he wasn’t expecting. He stopped the car to catch his breath. A cop car was in front of the address on the GPS. Andrew’s hackles rose on his neck, worried. But a man bundled in a cop’s leather bomber jacket and hidden under a hat came to the car. He released a quick siren blast and put the lights on. But only for a brief moment and drove off. Andrew’s cheeks ticked up, remembering Gwen’s heart-filled story in Milan about how her father used to do that.

Her father! Andrew slapped himself in the forehead.

He threw his car into drive and raced past Gwen’s house to follow the cop. As the police cruiser drove through the town, Andrew admired all the lampposts which were decorated in lights and wreaths. Darling Cove was not what he had expected. Every corner was a picture of elegant charm…like Gwen.

The car he’d been following turned and parked in front of a station house. Crap! There were several police cruisers. The cop who he’d been following got out of his car and took off his hat. That couldn’t have been her father, though. Too young. Greg. Andrew recognized him from the pictures. He became a cop…like his father.

Andrew blew out a puff of air, got out of his mother’s Cadillac and stepped into the precinct.

Inside, it smelled of fresh paint and metal. A man in a uniform stood behind a wood paneled desk, his hands resting on a shiny granite countertop. The man threw a look at another officer and turned back to Andrew.

“If you’re looking for the Hamptons, you took a wrong turn about an hour ago,” he said with a sly smirk.

Andrew accepted that he looked like the typical Hamptons visitor. Not all of eastern Long Island was created equally. The North Fork was very different from the Hamptons. But he’d rather fit in and be accepted here. “Actually.” He wrung his hands to keep them from shaking. “I was wondering if I could speak to one of your officers.”

“Who are you looking for?” a voice echoed from a side doorway.

Andrew glanced to his left; the cop he was following approached him. “Greg?”

Officer Mallory,” the desk captain said in a stern voice.

“Excuse me, yes. Officer Mallory. I’m actually looking for the other Officer Mallory.”

Martin Mallory is in the—”

“I got this, Carlin.” Greg was formidable in his dark long sleeve shirt and matching tie held down by an American flag clip. But it was the two guns on his waist, a set of steel handcuffs dangling from his pants and a long brown stick tucked into another holder that stood out the most. Greg’s chin lifted defiantly to meet Andrew’s eyes, which were a few inches above his. “Who are you and what do you want with my father?”

If he’d not been surrounded by several guns, one of which Greg’s hand rested on, Andrew’s answer might have been a stout, That’s my business. Instead he said, “My name is Andrew Morgan. I’m a… It’s about your sister, Gwen.”

Greg’s probing words may have been tough, but his mouth curved and his lips trembled. “Gwen? Has something happened to my sister?”

“No, she’s fine.” Andrew brought his hands forward to dismiss Greg’s panic. “In fact, she’s more than fine. She’s wonderful.” He wanted so much for Martin to hear what he had to say first. That was the proper thing to do. But Andrew had to improvise, if for no other reason than to get out of that station house in one piece and not end up on the news. Man dressed in Prada gets pounded by North Fork police officers. He cleared his throat and continued. “I’m here to ask your father’s permission to marry her.”

“You have my permission!” Martin answered from the opposite corner.

Andrew breathed in relief. Ignoring the others, he walked toward Martin who was beaming. “Sir, Andrew Morgan, sir. Thank you. I promise to make her happy and do the right thing by her always.”

“Hey Mallory, looks like you’re getting a new brother-in-law,” the officer named Carlin said. “You may not want to pick on this one so much. He’s taller than you.” The officers jolted with laughter at Greg, their polished silver badges gleaming with reflected light.

Andrew walked toward Greg in an effort to be the bigger man and stuck his hand out toward the officer.

Greg’s eyes trailed over Andrew’s shoulder. His father was probably giving him a stern look by how his expression changed. A reluctant sigh escaped Greg’s tight lips. His gaze trailed to Andrew’s hand. The firm grip made Andrew wince slightly. He nodded and turned back to Martin.

“I’d like to go to her house now and get her.” Andrew tugged on his coat. “I have a ring for her in the city.”

Martin touched Andrew’s shoulder. “Why don’t you let me give you an escort to her house. I think that would make up for a ring. Gregory, get your coat.”

**The E-Book version of MUST LOVE FASHION is on sale for $1.99 through January 2nd.**