Monday, November 28, 2022

Flirthing with the Beast

  ~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~

Synopsis:  Quick pitch: It’s been five years since Andi McDermott’s husband died, yet she’s still alone for the holidays. That is until she crosses paths with her moody neighbor, Wolf Enders. The more time they spend together the more Wolf’s icy exterior melts and suddenly Andie isn’t so lonely anymore.


The story: When Andi McDermott’s holiday plans get derailed, she decides to go up to her cabin in Lake Arrowhead—a place she used to love to visit but hasn’t been to in years, not since the feud started between her husband and their nearest neighbor.
Andi starts to rethink her decision when being alone at the cabin proves to be more challenging than she expected—a heavy snowstorm hits the area, and Andi finds herself trapped there with no one to help except for her neighbor, Wolf Enders. A military vet who lives full-time on Lake Arrowhead, Wolf is as grumpy and intimidating as Andi remembers. But he’s also unexpectedly kind and uncomfortably sexy—his presence reminds Andi that she may be older, but her body still works perfectly fine. Can this good girl tame this sexy beast of a man, and will this snowy fling turn into a love of a lifetime?

Jane Porter, the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of 70 romances, holds an MA in Writing from the University of San Francisco and has been a finalist for the prestigious RITA award six times, winning in 2014 for Take Me, Cowboy. In 2008, Jane’s popular novel, Flirting With Forty, was made into a Lifetime movie starring Heather Locklear, and in 2021 two of her novels were turned into holiday movies for the new GAC Family channel. Jane lives in sunny California with her surfer husband, three sons, and three dogs.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Two Wrongs Make a Right

  ~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~

Synopsis (from Amazon):  One of Amazon's Best Romances of 2022!

Opposites become allies to fool their matchmaking friends in this swoony reimagining of Shakespeare’s beloved comedy, 
Much Ado About Nothing.
Jamie Westenberg and Bea Wilmot have nothing in common except a meet-disaster and the mutual understanding that they couldn't be more wrong for each other. But when the people closest to them play Cupid and trick them into going on a date, Jamie and Bea realize they have something else in common after all—an undeniable need for revenge.
Soon their plan is in place: Fake date 
obnoxiously and convinces the meddlers they’re madly in love. Then, break up spectacularly and dash everyone's hopes, putting an end to the matchmaking madness once and for all.
To convince everyone that they’ve fallen for each other, Jamie and Bea will have to nail the performance of their lives. But as their final act nears and playing lovers becomes easier than not, they begin to wonder: What if Cupid’s arrow wasn’t so off the mark? And what if two wrongs 
do make a right?

Chloe Liese writes romances reflecting her belief that everyone deserves a love story. Her stories pack a punch of heat, heart, and humor, and often feature characters who are neurodivergent like herself. When not dreaming up her next book, Chloe spends her time wandering in nature, playing soccer, and most happily at home with her family and mischievous cats. 

Learn more at:

Read an Excerpt and Purchase @ Amazon

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Daughters of Teutobod

 ~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~


Daughters of Teutobod is a story of love triumphing over hate, of persistence in the face of domination, and of the strength of women in the face of adversity.


Gudrun is the stolen wife of Teutobod, the leader of the Teutons in Gaul in 102 BCE. Her story culminates in a historic battle with the Roman army.


Susanna is a German American farm wife in Pennsylvania whose husband, Karl, has strong affinity for the Nazi party in Germany. Susanna’s story revolves around raising her three daughters and one son as World War II unfolds.


Finally, Gretel is the infant child of Susanna, now seventy-nine years old and a professor of women’s studies, a US senator and Nobel laureate for her World Women’s Initiative. She is heading to France to represent the United States at the seventy-fifth anniversary of the liberation of southern France, at the commemoration site where her older brother, who was killed in action nearby, is buried. The site is very near the location where the Romans defeated the Teutons.




Kurt Hansen is from Racine, Wisconsin, and has lived in Kansas, Texas, and Iowa. He has experience in mental health and family systems as well as in parish ministry and administration. He holds degrees in psychology, social work and divinity. Kurt now lives in Dubuque, Iowa with his wife of 44 years, Dr. Susan Hansen, a professor emerita of international business. Kurt is the author of Gathered (2019). Daughters of Teutobod is his second novel.






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Excerpt: Chapter One

The smoke of the grist fires rose incessantly, grey black against the cloudy blue sky as the day meandered toward its middle hours. It was the season of harvest, and those konas who were able were out among the plantings, gleaning grain or digging turnips, carrots, or beets out of the black, loamy soil. Some ground grain into flour and some baked bread, while others tended the fires and the fleshpots. Still others were about the business of tanning hides, mostly of deer, raccoons, rabbits, or fox, occasionally from a bear. The smells of death intermingled with the breathing life and beating heart of the sveit.

Gudrun liked this time of day best. She grabbed another handful of golden wheatstalks, slicing off the grain heads with a strong whisking motion and dropping the grain into her tightly woven flaxen gathering bag. She paused for a moment, wiping the sweat from her brow with the back of her hand. The sun was bright today, making the air steamy. Gudrun looked out across the hills, down the valley, past the wooded glades where she could see dozens of other kǫngulls like her own, and she knew there were even more beyond the reach of her eyes. Most of the kǫngulls contained about 100 persons, but some had more. As she fixed her gaze closer, to the kǫngull where she lived, she could see the jungen, chasing one another, some wielding sticks or branches, others seeking to escape the assaults of their aggressors. The jungmädchen were variously helping their mothers with cooking or cleaning vegetables or sewing hides; the kinder simply hid in corners or clung to their mothers’ legs.

Several hours passed, and now the sun was receding, thankfully, because its blazing, yellow glare kept breaking through the billowing clouds all day, intensifying the laborers’ fatigue. Gudrun emptied her grain bag into the large, woven basket at the edge of the planting. The basket was filled to the brim, and as she plunged both hands into the basket, letting the harvested grain sift between her fingers, a smile of satisfaction softened her face. Filling up her basket all the way to the top was for her, a measure of the goodness of the day. She hoisted the heavy basket, glad for the leather strap she had fashioned to carry it. Before she designed the strap, two women were needed to carry the woven baskets—one on either side—especially when full. But Gudrun decided to cut a long strip from the edge of a tanned deer hide and, with a sharp bone needle she affixed the strap to her basket, allowing her to shoulder the entire weight by herself.

When she first showed her invention, one of the men—Torolf—chastised her for taking the piece of deer hide. He pushed her to the ground and threatened worse, but Teutobod intervened, bashing Torolf on the head with his club and sending him reeling. Teutobod, Gudrun’s mann, was the undisputed leader of their sveit, and he had been their leader long before he took her for his wife, ever since the sveit’s earliest days in Jutland. He ordered that all the grain baskets be fashioned with straps for carrying, and Gudrun won the admiration of all the konas (and even some men). Torolf avoided her from then on.

As evening approached, it was time to prepare for the return of the männer. Most hunting excursions were a one-day affair, bringing in meat for perhaps a few days at best. But as the harvest season proceeded, the männer would leave for days at a time, seeking to increase supplies for the long winter to come. This foray had lasted nearly a week, but Gudrun was told by Teutobod to expect their return before seven suns had passed, and she shared this information with the some of the other konas. By now all the kongulls were preparing for the männer coming home.

As the sun began to set, the konas started pulling out skins from their bærs, unfolding them and laying them on the ground about the fire pits. The flesh pots were stirred and stoked, and a hearty stew was prepared with deer meats, mushrooms, yellow beans, potatoes, turnips and carrots, seasoned with salt and fennel and black peppercorns. Flasks of beer that had been cooling in the stream all day were brought to each firepit and hung on a stake which had been plunged in the ground for that purpose. Various dinner ware made from carved bone or fashioned out of wood or clay were laid out. All was in readiness.

An aura of anticipation and anxiety tumbled around the kǫngull, shortening tempers as the waiting lengthened. Finally, about an hour after the sun had fully set, the sound of the ram’s horn distantly blasted out its announcement: Die männer komme! The jungen were hustled away to the kinderbærs. One never knew the mood that might accompany the hunters when they returned, and things could and often did get ugly. The konas sat or knelt respectfully beside the firepits, twitching, nervously swatting insects away from the food, inhaling excitement and breathing out fear. 

Soon the rustling of leaves and the snap of twigs underfoot grew louder and closer until the shadows brought forth the whole troop of men, bustling in to the kǫngull, carrying or dragging the meat they had procured, pounding their chests, howling, pulling on their scraggly hair or beards, banging the ground with clubs or spears and smelling of the hunt and of the forest. Similar sounds of triumph and dominion could be heard resonating throughout all the kǫngulls below as the männer clamored in across the entire sveit.

Here in Gudrun’s kǫngull, the konas kept their gaze to the ground, their eyes fixed on the fire, and as the hunters’ swagger slowly abated, one by one the konas silently lifted their plates above their heads, each looking up to her mann as they all found their respective places. Once the providers were all reclining on skins beside the firepits, the konas stood and began to prepare plates of food for them. The men ate loudly, hungrily, slurping the stew from the lips of the bowls and using hunks of bread to grasp chunks of meat and vegetables.

The food having been consumed, skinflasks of beer soon followed, and before long the sated belches and grunts of the eaters gave way to boisterous banter, the proud providers reliving the thrill of killing a stag or the bravery of facing a bear. The konas scraped up the leftovers to take to the huts for themselves and the children, after which the cleanup tasks commenced. The women worked in groups of three or four, tending two large boiling pots to soak the dinnerware until all remnants of the food floated up to the top and were skimmed off. A little more soaking, then all the dinnerware was stacked and stored for the next use. Gudrun, along with two other konas, took the job of drying the cleaned dishes, swinging a dish in each hand to move the air. They playfully swung the wet plates or cups at one another, spritzing each other in the process and giggling like little meyas.

This being the end of a prolonged hunting venture, the children were tucked in early in the kinderhäusen, and the konas prepared to receive their husbands. For those unlucky enough to have brutish men, their wifely duties were not at all pleasant. Others were more fortunate. Gudrun was happy to be among the latter, hoping only that the beer ran out before Teutobod’s love lust. She retreated to the bær she shared with her husband, glad for the privacy his role as leader provided. This entire kǫngull was comprised of the sveit’s leadership and their skuldaliðs, and as such it claimed luxuries not generally known throughout the sveit by underlings. The leaders camped furthest upstream, and therefore got the cleanest water for drinking, cooking, and bathing. The leaders claimed individual space for themselves and their vifs, while others down below had to share living space with two or three other skuldaliðs. 

Gudrun removed her garments and lay nude on the soft deerskins in her bær to prepare herself for her husband. Covering herself with another skin, she began to move her hands over her thighs and abdomen, softly, back and forth, her rough-skinned fingertips adapting to their more delicate uses. She moved a hand upward, swirling around her breasts and throat, teasing each nipple at the edges, holding back from contacting the most delicate flesh.

Her stroking and probing continued, a bit more urgently as she felt her breath rise and grow more heated. The muscles in her abdomen began to pulse, and as her hands found the sensitive spot between her legs, she felt the moisture beginning to flow inside her. When she was young Gudrun had learned from the older konas how to help her husband in this way, to ease his entrance and hasten his joy. Along the way, over the years, she also learned to enjoy herself more in the process. As the instinctive rocking motion in her pelvis began, she eased her manipulations, not wanting to be prematurely excited. Breathlessly, she looked toward the bær’s entrance, hoping Teutobod would hurry.

Friday, November 11, 2022

Operation Mom

  ~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~

Synopsis (from Amazon):  Ila, a Mumbai-based teenager, is going nuts with Veena, her controlling, single mother who prevents her from stalking her pop idol, Ali Zafar. Veena wants her daughter to date real guys in the lead-up to finding a husband. But Ila decides that the only way to get her mom off her back is by finding her a boyfriend instead. With the help of her best friend Deepali, her crush Dev and her mother’s best friend Maleeka, they will come up with a plan to make it happen by setting up a profile in dating apps.




Reenita Malhotra Hora is a founder, executive-level content, operations & marketing leader, and prolific writer. With multiple years of experience in media, entertainment, communications, tech/innovation and wellness industries in the USA and Asia, she grows organizations, ranging from early stage startups through mid-size businesses, through storytelling, creative marketing and business strategy. 


Reenita has written seven books - five non fiction and two fiction. She is the writer, anchor and executive producer of Shadow Realm and True Fiction Project podcasts and founder of the Chapter by episode fiction app. She has contributed to The Hindu, South China Morning Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, CNN, Asian Investor, Times of India, National Geographic Kids, Cartoon Network Asia, Disney, and more.










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Excerpt: IT ALL BEGAN with Deepali wanting to experiment with her sexuality.

“It’s about discovering the feminine mystique,” Deepali said. She peered out of the corner of her eye towards the far end of the school canteen, twirling a thick lock of hair that hung down over her left ear.

“That’s a book by Gloria Steinem…No, Betty Friedan,” I replied.

“Yaar, don’t be so literal. Just think about it. If you kiss a girl, maybe you’ll understand how a boy feels when he kisses you. It’s an experiment.” Interesting…the only thing I had experimented with was with sulphuric acid in a lab.

“There must be something you want to experiment with this summer," Deepali continued, scrutinizing her perfectly manicured nails. “Something that you are obsessed with, that you love.

And that Aunty Veena probably despises you for.”

It was just like Deepali to have a dig at Aunty Veena, my mom. She did it only to test boundaries; riling me up was a matter of entertainment for Deepali. It had been ever since we were five. Every play date, every sleepover. Deepali was convinced that I was too over my head in trying to please my mother, so she did everything possible to encourage me to rebel. Although this trait had annoyed me throughout our twelve or so years of friendship, it was definitely a truism that helped me confront my inadequacies. Isn’t that what BFFs are for?

But back to being obsessed. Yes, I knew all about that. In no particular order, I was besotted with:


1. Ice-cream

2. Puppy dogs

3. Ali Zafar

4. Roller-coaster rides

5. Sleeping in on weekends.

6. Dev


Okay, okay, I admit that’s not entirely true. So let me rephrase.

In this particular order, I was crazy about:


1. Ali Zafar

2. Ali Zafar’s voice

3. Ali Zafar’s eyes

4. Dreaming about Ali Zafar

5. Ice-cream, puppy dogs, roller-coaster rides, sleeping in

on weekends, Dev.


No, not Dev! Perish the thought! He was far from being anywhere near my league. In recent days, I had more exposure to this particular so-called love interest of Deepali’s. Yes, I choose my words carefully, but as long as the ‘so-called’ part was still valid, I needed to put him out of my head and focus on Ali Zafar, Pakistan’s hunkiest singer-songwriter who, until my very recent experience with Dev, had been the object of my attention since I was fifteen.

Mom could never stomach my obsession with Ali Zafar. As far as she was concerned, two years was way too long to have a teen pop idol crush. “For god’s sake, Ila, get a grip,” she would grumble, perhaps on a weekly, if not daily, basis. I couldn’t understand why it so riled her, but I did try to reason. “I’m in love, Mom. You were seventeen once. You should know the deal.”

“Yes, I do know the deal.” She was, as always when it came to Ali Zafar, dismissive. “The deal being that, at seventeen, you can’t tell love from the backside of a bus.”

Mom’s metaphors are so confusing. “Ali Zafar is a beautiful man. He can hardly be compared to the backside of anything.”

“Still, you should set a more achievable target.”

Should. Conversations with Mom are always peppered with the word. Ila, you should this; Ila, you should that. Perhaps I should, but in my eyes, just one target counted—Ali Zafar. He was definitely more achievable than Dev.

I’ve never been much of a groupie, but I figured I could spend most of the summer following Ali around the country from concert to concert. Some people travel, some do internships. I could make an art out of stalking my celebrity. If not an art, a science. That’s what I wanted to experiment with.

Recently, while shopping at Phoenix Mills, I couldn’t help but notice a horde of people and cars in front of the mall. I finagled my way into the crowd, anxious to find out what the fuss was about. A big black sedan drove up to the front. A sedan in Mumbai? Must be some big shot. The car door opened and out stepped a black tank-topped, skin-tight-jeaned Ali Zafar, bodyguard and all! A lady-killing machine. You should have seen the jaw-dropping entourage cluster around him as he sauntered over to the popcorn vendor.

My heart pounded harder and harder with every step he took farther into the mall. He took off his dark glasses and smiled at the crowd. At one point, his eyes actually met mine—the ultimate moment of romantic connection.

“Hey, babe,” he said with a twinkle in his eye.

Of course, I couldn’t say anything. What can one possibly say in response to a ‘hey, babe’ from the world’s hottest teen pop idol? I just stood there, frozen to the bone, trying to conceal the embarrassment that spread through my being. What I was actually nervous about, I have no idea—the sheer thrill of being acknowledged by my heartthrob had rendered me utterly useless.

Within seconds, he had left me for someone else at the other end of the crowd. He posed coyly for photos with some girl and then with another girl, both of whom had been frantically pushing and shoving to get framed with him. And then his bodyguards skillfully maneuvered him into the lift.

What a colossal idiot I was. Instead of standing there like a victim of Medusa, I should have gone right up front and demanded a photo with him. I hate it when my nerves take over

my powers of judgement.

That was two months ago but, of course, I haven’t stopped thinking about it. Every day since, I have become increasingly obsessed with the idea of tracking him down.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022


 ~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~

Synopsis:  The Real Deal Wedding Insiders® Guide to Smart Wedding Planning gives you practical and actionable steps to take control of your wedding planning, make the best decisions, and keep your sanity along the way.


You’ll learn how to:

* Navigate stressful relationships

* Create a vision that represents you both

* Understand and build a realistic budget

* Choose the right venue and vendors

* Stay present and enjoy your wedding day




GIVEAWAY!!!: The authors are giving away 1 copy of the Guide to Smart Wedding Planning, a mug and edible treats to one lucky winner.

What do you need to do? Leave a comment regarding the last wedding you attended (or anything wedding related).  I will draw a winner on November 5th.

The last wedding I attended was my nephew's over Labor Day and it was absolutely perfect!

With a combined 30 years and hundreds of weddings produced, Edna Dratch-Parker, founder, and creative director of EFD Creative—Event Planning & Design, and Jeri Solomon, owner of Jeri Solomon Floral Design, bring their depth of knowledge and real-life experiences to help couples avoid common mistakes, reduce stress, and truly enjoy the wedding planning process.















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Excerpt: Being engaged is one of the most exciting times in your life, but it can cause some unexpected challenges, and at times it can get downright chaotic. So, let’s help you get organized and get into a more manageable mindset. 

Your life is already busy, and now you’ve emotions and multitude of details that come with it. We know you want to make wise choices from the get-go. And that’s what we’re here to help with. 

SMART Wedding Planning 

A lot needs to happen in order for you to realize your ideal wedding, no matter how big or small it may be. To get there, you’ve got to be SMART about your decisions. Your choices should be: 

S – Specific to your priorities and needs 

M - Manageable within your budget, time frame, and comfort zone 

A - Articulated clearly communicated to family and vendors 

R - Realistic of expectations

T -Timely made with enough information and with enough time to execute them 

This book gives you the SMART approach to develop and refined your wedding vision, bring it to life within your particular budget and timeline, and manage your family and vendors to get the best results. 

Real Deal Fact #1

Planning a wedding can be extremely stressful. There’s no other period in your life where the expenditure of time, money, and emotions churn together to create a perfect storm as much as when you’re trying to create The Most Important Day of Your Life! 


SMART wedding planning includes the Three Cs of what it really takes to produce the wedding you want: Communication, Comprehension, and Calculation. You will need to: 

  • Communicate with your family and partner, as well as your vendors. 
  • Comprehend what it takes to produce the wedding you envision. 
  • Calculate the real cost of your wedding. 

Almost from the moment you announce, “We’re engaged!” the tension starts to mount. Within days (or hours), the questions start coming: When’s the date? What’s your color scheme? Do you have a venue/photographer/dress? 

Your stress level rises as to-do lists swirling in your head. Your first instinct might be to try to get a head start by making appointments to try on dresses or visit venues. Our advice? The first thing you should do is press pause. 

Wedding planning requires you to look at the big picture. Every decision you make, from the venue you choose to the size of your guest list to the number of bridesmaids, will affect other decisions down the road. This road may be new to you, and it’s difficult to know what lies ahead, so it’s important to take your time and plan your journey. 


Real Deal Fact #2

If you’re going to have the wedding you envision, then shopping for your dress or finding your venue is not step one. These are all exciting and important aspects of planning but prioritizing, budgeting, and research need to be done before those steps are started.