Monthly Archives: September 2016

Spotlight On…Joanne Guidoccio’s A Season for Killing Blondes!

Today I’m interviewing author Joanne Guidoccio about her exciting book, A Season for Killing Blondes!

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Q: How long have you been writing?

A: During my high school years, I dabbled in poetry and dreamed of writing the great Canadian novel. As graduation approached, I considered more practical career choices and obtained degrees in mathematics and education. Teaching was a good fit, but after thirty-one years, I was ready for a change.

In 2008, I put pen to paper and revisited my writing dream. I watched with delight as my articles and book reviews started appearing in newspapers, magazines, and online. Buoyed by this success, I took on the challenge of writing novels.

Q: Tell us about your road to publication.

A: I had written the first draft of the cozy mystery during my “cancer” year (2004/2005) and then filed it away. An integral part of my therapy, writing that novel helped me survive and thrive during the most challenging season of my life. It was now time to edit and polish the manuscript.

While querying, I wrote the first draft of Between Land and Sea (a paranormal romance about a middle-aged ex-mermaid) in three months and then spent a year editing and polishing. I was thrilled when Senior Editor Debby Gilbert of Soul Mate Publishing offered me a contract in 2013.

A year later, Editor Johanna Melaragno of The Wild Rose Press picked up A Season for Killing Blondes, Book 1 of the Gilda Greco Mystery Series. The novel was released in June 2015.

In August 2015, Soul Mate Publishing released The Coming of Arabella, the second book in the Mediterranean trilogy.

Too Many Women in the Room, Book 2 of the Gilda Greco Mystery Series, will be released by the Wild Rose Press in the spring of 2017.


Q: What advice would you give an aspiring author?

 A: Experiment until you find your own unique voice and a warm, supportive environment where your words can flow freely. Sign up for creative writing courses—online or offline—that expose you to short stories, children’s and adult writing, creative nonfiction, and poetry. And, most important of all, enjoy the journey.


Q: Tell us about your latest release.

A: On the cusp of my fiftieth birthday, I was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer and forced to take a leave of absence. While undergoing chemotherapy, I searched for light and entertaining novels that would provide a healthy diversion. I was grateful for the bags of books dropped off by friends but couldn’t get into any of the storylines. I found the spiritual books too intense and the comedic books unsatisfying.

Instead, I gravitated toward cozies, those delightful murder mysteries that include a bloodless crime and contain little violence, sex, or coarse language. I was familiar with Agatha Christie’s novels and pleasantly surprised to discover more authors in the genre, among them Susan Wittig Albert, MC Beaton, Mary Jane Maffini, and Denise Swanson. I read voraciously, often finishing a cozy in one or two sittings.

Toward the end of treatments, I decided to experiment with the genre and considered the following scenario: What if a woman wins a major lottery, returns to her hometown, and then finds herself embroiled in a murder investigation involving four blondes? Can she prove her innocence and solve this case before it’s too late?


Hours before the opening of her career counseling practice, Gilda Greco discovers the dead body of golden girl Carrie Ann Godfrey, neatly arranged in the dumpster outside her office. Gilda’s life and budding career are stalled as Detective Carlo Fantin, her former high school crush, conducts the investigation.

When three more dead blondes turn up all brutally strangled and deposited near Gilda’s favorite haunts, she is pegged as a prime suspect for the murders. Frustrated by Carlo’s chilly detective persona and the mean girl antics of Carrie Ann’s meddling relatives, Gilda decides to launch her own investigation. She discovers a gaggle of suspects, among them a yoga instructor in need of anger management training, a lecherous photographer, and fourteen ex-boyfriends. As the puzzle pieces fall into place, shocking revelations emerge, forcing Gilda to confront the envy and deceit she has long overlooked.



Carlo had removed his suit jacket and rolled up the sleeves of his light blue dress shirt. His tie lay on the desk. The rumpled look suited him to a tee. And his large black-rimmed glasses accentuated those unforgettable blue eyes. Bluer than blue. Sky blue. Cornflower blue. Robin’s egg blue. Years ago, Adele Martino and I had come up with thirty-seven descriptions of Carlo Fantin’s eyes when Mrs. Gillespie assigned one of her Monday morning English composition exercises. As I tried to recall the other thirty-three, I realized that Carlo was speaking to me.

“…he’ll be taking notes as well.”

Darn! Another officer in the room, and I had missed his name and more importantly, his title. Was he a detective or a constable? I’m sure Sofia would know. In the meantime, I better stop daydreaming and start listening. I nodded in the direction of the beefy officer. Dark hair. Dark eyes. Expertly trimmed moustache. A big bear of a man who reminded me of Magnum P.I.

Carlo cleared his throat. He was ready to get down to business. Police business. “It appears that Carrie Ann was your first client. You haven’t opened this office for business yet. How did that happen?”

My heart raced as I spoke. “After Sofia and my mother left…I’m not certain about the time…um…I…I heard a knock at the front window. I looked up and saw Carrie Ann. Hadn’t seen her in ages.” I paused and then added, “Still wearing the same pageboy hair style and that blonde color—”

Carlo waved his hand. “Stick to the facts, please.”

I felt myself reddening as those piercing blue eyes bored right through me. “Oh, sorry. Um, I let Carrie Ann in.”

“And?” Carlo said when I hesitated.

I shrugged. “We just talked for a while, then, uh…” I closed my eyes and tried to recall the conversation. But nothing concrete came to mind, only Carrie Ann’s infectious laugh and bubbly compliments about the decorating scheme. When I opened my eyes, the other officer offered me a water bottle. I thanked him and gulped down half the contents.

“You scheduled her for a session tomorrow morning,” Carlo said as he held up my appointment book. “Carrie Ann is…was considered one of the best interior designers in town. Why would she need counseling from you?” His dark brows drew together in a suspicious frown. “Were you planning to tell her to give it up?”


Buy Links

 Amazon (Canada) –

Amazon (United States) –

Amazon (United Kingdom) –

Amazon (Australia) –

Kobo –

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Where to find Joanne…









Posted by on September 22, 2016 in Spotlight On


Spotlight On…C.D. Hersh’s The Mercenary and the Shifters Turning Stone Chronicles

Today I’m interviewing Soul Mate Publishing’s C.D. Hersh about “The Mercenary and the Shifters Turning Stone Chronicles!”

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Q: How long have you been writing?

A: We’ve been writing together for a little over 19 years (wow, just realized how long that is), starting out with skits and plays for our church. We moved on to romance books because of one Catherine suggested Donald read. While reading he said that the male characters did not act or sound like men and he thought we could write them better.

Q: Tell us about your road to publication.

A: An interesting question since our road started on a “road” in New York. In 2009 we began working on the first book in The Turning Stone Chronicles Series while Donald was traveling for work. To pass the time on the road we started brainstorming plot ideas and came up with The Turning Stone Chronicles series based on a road sign in New York state. In 2013, after the first book was finished, we pitched it to Debbie Gilbert, of Soul Mate Publishing, at a conference over breakfast. She asked for the manuscript and how many books in the series. A month later we got an email with an offer for a contract.

Q: What advise would you give an aspiring author?

A: No matter what genre you want to write in you have to learn the craft. Find out what organizations are out there that represent the genre you want to write in and go to the conferences or meetings. Get together with other writers of the same cloth and help each other but you ultimately have to make your own decisions on your work. Looking at the writing of others will help you grow as a writer. Last you should just keep writing. Get the ideas out on paper or in the computer so you can share them. And never give up.

Q: Tell us about your latest release.

A: Our paranormal romance, urban fantasy The Mercenary and the Shifters is the fourth book in The Turning Stone Chronicles Series. The heroine, Fiona Kayler is in over her head when she decides to become a shifter. The hero, Michael Corritore, finds himself pulled between two women as he tries to fulfill a promise to an ex-military buddy.



When mercenary soldier Michael Corritore answers a desperate call from an ex-military buddy, he finds himself in the middle of a double kidnapping, caught in an ancient war between two shape shifter factions, and ensnared between two female shape shifters after the same thing … him.

Shape shifter Fiona Kayler will do anything to keep the shipping company her father left her, including getting in bed with the enemy. But when she believes the man trying to steal her company is involved with kidnapping her nephew, she must choose between family, fortune, and love. The problem is … she wants all three.


Opening the book again, she found the Gaelic incantation in her mother’s journal. To fight shifters, and keep control of the company, she had to become a shifter. Fear or no fear.

She traced her finger down the page to an entry below the incantation.

It hurts, her mother had written. Hurts as if you’re having a heart attack. But you’re not. It’s the magic loosing itself into your body. When the pain stops, the transformation will be complete. Then the hard work of learning how to use the ring begins.

You must find a mentor as soon as possible. Great power corrupts greatly, and once you experience the abilities shifting gives you, you must learn to control the ring. If you don’t, remaining on the side of good is difficult.

Drawing a shaky breath, Fiona read the incantation aloud. “Fear bean beathach tri an aon.”

Warmth spread across her left ring finger where the magic ring rested, and a tingle ran up her arm. Fiona glanced at the Turning Stone ring. The red lines in the dark-green bloodstone cabochon writhed and swirled, forming a circle, and another, and another. The circles spun, finally interlocking in a circular Celtic knot. The stone glowed softly as the three red circles pulsed.

Suddenly, the tingling in her arm intensified then shot to her torso. Fiona grabbed her chest as a bolt of pain knifed her heart.

“It’s just the magic,” she groaned to reassure herself. “I am not having a heart attack.”

Even though her mother’s journal entry had prepared her, terror gripped Fiona as wave after wave of stabbing pain shot through her. She tried to breathe the ache away, but her breath came fast and panicked. Another jolt pierced her like a shock of electricity, doubling her over so fast she pitched from the chair.

Then, as quickly as it had come, the pain left.

Fiona stared at the ring as the three circles slithered into nondescript lines running through the bloodstone. Except for the fact she now lay on the floor, everything remained as it had been.

For a moment, she sat motionless on the thick carpet, tuning her senses inward. Looking for some sign she had changed. But she found nothing to indicate she was now different.

But she was. Her mother’s journal said so.


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Putting words and stories on paper is second nature to co-authors C.D. Hersh. They’ve written separately since they were teenagers and discovered their unique, collaborative abilities in the mid-90s. As high school sweethearts and husband and wife, Catherine and Donald believe in true love and happily ever after.


Together they have co-authored a number of dramas, six which have been produced in Ohio, where they live. Their interactive Christmas production had five seasonal runs in their hometown and has been sold in Virginia, California, and Ohio. Their most recent collaborative writing efforts have been focused on romance. The first four books of their paranormal romance series entitled The Turning Stone Chronicles are available on Amazon. They also have a Christmas novella, Kissing Santa, in a Christmas anthology titled Sizzle in the Snow, with seven other authors.


Where you can find CD:



Soul Mate Publishing:


Amazon Author Page:




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Posted by on September 8, 2016 in Spotlight On


Spotlight On…Ryan Jo Summers’ Upon the Tide!

Today I’m interviewing author Ryan Jo Summers about her latest release, Upon the Tide!


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Q: How long have you been writing? 
A: I started when I was ten, taking a family situation and moving it to pen and paper, then colored pencils to illustrate it. At the time, it was a coping skill, now I see it as my first writing. A few poems followed. Then short stories. Finally novels in my mid teens. I did not get serious about becoming a writer until my early 20’s, and it still waxed and waned on life events like marriage, children, building a home and business and family. In the mid 2000’s, I found myself alone and turned to writing full time to fill the voids. It started paying off in short article publications and free lance work.
Q: Tell us about your road to publication.
A: It began in the mid to late 2000’s with magazine articles, devotionals, opinion and humor pieces. Still, I submitted short works and novels. One memoir took honorable mention in a national contest. No cash but a nice nod of acknowledgment. Finally, in 2012 I sold my first novel to Black Lyon Publishing. It was a contemporary/ paranormal/ mystery romance. That poured gasoline on the fire to write and publish more. I was starving to write and be a published author! In 2013 Soul Mate Publishing offered contracts for my second and third novels– a Christian time travel and a mystery romance respectively. Soul Mate then took a novella for their Christmas anthology in 2015 and released another two novels. I signed with Melange Books last year to release two novellas (one came out in Feb 2016) and a short story for their Food and Love anthology. It’s been a real roller coaster of a ride since 2012 but I am not complaining. Four years of living a dream come true!
Q: What advise would you give aspiring authors? 
A: Never give up! Learn your craft. Be honest. Submit only your best work when it’s ready, to the right places. Keep writing something. If you block on your masterpiece, find something else to write short term. Writing is a never ending road of learning, working and keeping your eyes open to opportunities.
Q: Tell us about your latest release.
A: “Upon the Tide” is a mystery romance. I originally wrote the storyline in the late 1980’s. It was a terrible love story but I liked the mystery element. I resurrected it a few years ago and rewrote it as a real romance. I absolutely love the boat that provides a home for the hero/heroine as they race for their lives and fall in love.The tag line is “Tossed together by happenstance, fleeing for their lives and falling in love under the Caribbean sun as paradise turns deadly”.
New York Fashion designer, Piper Kincaid, just wanted a pleasant visit with her cousin down in Florida. That was before she and handsome beach bum, Kade Wyatt, become the targets of a gang of robbers and killers.
Kade simply wanted some fish for his pet seagull. Now he and the lovely exec from out of town are caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse. He’s busy concentrating on Piper when he should be focusing on keeping them alive. 
Fleeing for their lives aboard Kade’s houseboat, ‘The Hightide’, they experience risk, surprises, mystery and romance during the Great Caribbean Boat Chase. However, the biggest surprises are waiting for them back at port.
“Seems we have a good thing going here,” he joked, handing his bowl over. “I cook and you clean. At least I won’t get dishpan hands.”
He remained at the table, sipping his sweet concoction while she cleaned the few dishes. As she passed the window, a gunshot rang out. The bowls she’d been about to put away crashed to the floor, shattering.
Instantly Kade lunged from his chair, grabbing her by the waist and landing on the floor, her body pressed under him.
“You’re heavy!” she complained, squirming. “Get off me.”
“Shh!” he hissed in a fierce whisper. “Someone’s shooting at us. That means they got past the guards. Stay down and keep still.”
The impact of their predicament hit Piper, feeling like a lightning bolt sweeping down from above. Like her dream of last night. She smelled his musky scent and felt his hot, anxious breath on the back of her neck. She inhaled the sweet coffee he had been drinking just seconds before. The fuzzy hairs on the back of her neck slowly pricked as her body hummed.
His hands covered hers and she felt the strength they contained and even his callouses. His long frame successfully held her pinned against the hard wood floor.
Lowering his mouth to her ear, he whispered softly, his words quick and hot on her skin.
“You smell really great. But aside from that, we’re no longer safe in this safe house. I have a plan, but we need to get out of here alive first. And I have every intention of doing just that. When I say ‘now’, roll over behind the sofa. It will give you some protection in case they storm the place. Stay down. Get ready.”
She went cold. Storm the place? Had they really come this far and were still to die at the robber’s hands? Numbly she nodded her understanding of his instructions. A volley of gunfire sounded outside, and she wondered who was winning. All she heard were echoing gunshots.
Kade’s trained ear picked out three different kind of guns. “One is a police issue service revolver and two are ordinary pawn shop pistols. But all three can kill.”
She felt Kade tense himself, and she drew in a painful breath, waiting for his word, her heart thumping loudly.
“Now!” he hissed, heaving himself off and away from her. She rolled over to the relative safety of the sofa, ducking behind it. Kade dove for the protection of the largest chair.
The gunfire stopped as quickly as it started. Breath held, they waited, Piper’s nails digging into the sofa, her pulse racing…
Ryan Jo Summers is a North Carolina author who specializes in writing romances with a twist. Love stories blended with inspirational, paranormal, suspense or time travel–or several at once. She also writes non-fiction for regional periodicals. Ryan’s dad is a songwriter and his aunt wrote poetry so she claims she came by her writing skill honestly. Apparently it’s in the genes.
Her hobbies include bird-watching, houseplants (50 ish and growing), poetry and yard work. She loves to gather with friends, hike in the forest with her dog, paint ceramics and canvas and work on wiggly word find puzzles. She lives in a 1920 cottage with a menagerie of pets. Living in the mountains, she dreams of the shore and frequently uses the water as scenes for her stories.
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Posted by on September 1, 2016 in Spotlight On