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!”

MERCENARY AND THE SHIFTERS_505x825 (2) (1).jpg

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.


hersh_small (1)


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!


Upon The Tide Final


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


Spotlight On…Roni Hall’s Montana Wild!

Today I’m interviewing fellow Soul Mate Publishing author, Roni Hall about her new release, Montana Wild.


Q: How long have you been writing?

A: I started writing about 8-9 years ago . . as a hobby. Once my kids were grown I found myself with some spare time. Instead of knitting I sat down with my laptop. Writing relaxes me and manipulating words to create a story is FUN.

Q: Tell us about your road to publication.

A: Once I realized my writing was getting to be more than a hobby, I joined RWA (Romance Writers of America) and learned so much about the writing craft. Two years later I joined the local chapter (Greater Detroit RWA) which brought editors, agents and publishers to us for great opportunities. It was there that I was able to pitch Debbie Gilbert of Soul Mate Publishing.

Q: What advise would you give an aspiring author?

A: #1 Don’t quit! Keep learning the craft and believe in yourself.

#2 Join a local writing group. I can’t say enough about our GDRWA group. Every single member, novice or experienced, is so supportive of each other and generous with sharing their experiences, what worked and didn’t work for them. Almost every month, GDRWA brings in an editor, agent or publisher to speak to us and provide pitch opportunities.


Q: Tell us about your latest release.

A: As a nurse, I encountered numerous memorable patients but there was one that always stood out in my mind.  Montana Wild was inspired by the spirit of a real patient that touched my life and my heart. However, the rest of the tale is fiction.
Jamie is a spirited young woman that makes some uncharacteristically spontaneous choices once she decides to follow a new friends’ advice and Kiss Life in the Face. Realizing that if you want to make changes in your life, you can’t be a passive onlooker…you have to go after what you want.


Montana Wild Blurb

Spiraling downward after losing two loved ones within one week, Jamie’s world was closing in…until she grabs an unexpected lifeline and escapes. Knowing only New York City, Montana is another world and she is unprepared by how the land, the people and even the animals touch her. After risking her life to save a child, Jamie shares an undeniable bond and the beginning ripples of deep emotions with her co-rescuer, Kevin.

However, her past follows her to Montana and threatens all that she loves there. Jamie has no choice but to hurt Kevin in order to save his life and returns to New York with her ex, Derrick. Broken, Kevin refuses to believe she doesn’t love him and searches for Jamie, only to find her in Derrick’s lair. Once again Jamie tries to protect Kevin but this time gets caught in the cross fire.


Montana Wild Excerpt

Swept up into the sea of travelers at the airport, she focused her attention back to the present as she followed the human current through check-in and security gates. It wasn’t until she was buckled into her seat that she registered the panic present in the far corner of her mind. What am I doing? A sickening wave of nausea rose in her throat as clammy beads of sweat trickled down her face. What the hell am I doing? Get up. Get off the plane now. It’s not too late, go!

Dizzy with indecision, she reached for the buckle on her seatbelt as her alternate conscience spoke up. No, stay. Do I really want to go back to my cramped little studio and spend more time alone? Her fingers released the grip on her seatbelt and she closed her eyes, deliberately trying to relax the tense wires in every fiber of her body.

Uneasy thoughts lingered after her internal schizophrenic conversation and she tried to leave all doubts behind as the plane ascended. Finding it impossible to concentrate on reading, she tried to distract herself by striking up a conversation with the unlucky soul sitting next to her.

“Have you ever been to Montana?”

“Oh yes, my sister lives there and I try to visit her every few years. How about you?”

“No, I’ve never been. This’s my first time and I’m nervous,” Jamie admitted.

“It’s pretty enough, but it’s rough country. I couldn’t live there. What brings you?”

Well, I finally got enough backbone to break up with my abusive, criminal boyfriend Derrick three months ago, and then my best friend and only ally, Noah, left on tour. I have NO family since my father died an agonizing death from lung cancer ten years ago, resulting in my mother becoming depressed and committing suicide two years later. I was pathetic enough to attach myself to one of my patients and become a helpless spectator as death cruelly consumed him. Only days after his death, my only surviving relative and second mother died, leaving me a 31-year-old orphan. So you see, I’m a loser and terribly lonely. So when this man I’ve never met in person asked me to join him on an intriguing escape across the country, I accepted.

That was the whole enchilada she wanted to spew out to the sweet, unsuspecting gray-haired matron in seat 21A. Instead she answered succinctly, “Just visiting a friend.”



The summer after high school graduation, Roni worked two jobs to pay for nursing school. During the midnight shift as a waitress, a charismatic young man at the counter flirted with her for hours as he consumed seven cups of coffee.  Their first date was eventful enough to be a book itself! Thirty-seven years and two kids later, the love story continues. Just like her novels, life can’t be too simple and you must make it an adventurous ride!

Her favorite place to write is in her hammock at their small Michigan cottage where she literally dodges the feeding hummingbirds while being serenaded by the lake’s loons.  Besides writing, she loves Slow Rollin’ in Detroit and the combination of good food, better wine, and dear friends.



Web site:


Amazon buy link:


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Posted by on August 25, 2016 in Spotlight On


Spotlight On…D.R. Grady’s Nerds Unite!

This week I’m spotlighting author D.R. Grady about her new release, Nerds Unite!

Nerds Unite cover

Q: How long have you been writing?

A: Ever since elementary school when I first learned the magic of putting words together to form sentences and then paragraphs, and finally, a story. I’ve been writing toward the goal of publication since 1998.

Q: Tell us about your road to publication.

A: I found an agent and after a time, she encouraged many of us on her list to self-publish. So I published two series, The Me Series which is contemporary romance with suspense elements and complete. The other, The Morrison Family series, is on-going and nerd-centric. J Nerds Unite is book 10 of The Morrison Family Series.

Since then, I’ve been published by a small press in paranormal romance, The Dragon Chronicles series, and I have several more series at various stages (from still brewing to ready to sell) of development, so stay tuned…

Q: What advice would you give an aspiring author?

A: Finish the book!

Q: Tell us about your latest release.

A: Nerds Unite is one of those stories that wrote itself. Love those! I adore Leo de Vosse and Katy Greene. They’re best friends but I wanted this to be different than the usual what-if-we-mess-up-our-relationship best friends story. So I wondered what would happen if they were dating but didn’t know? And Nerds Unite was born.

Leo and Katy are so comfortable together they don’t even realize they’re dating. It took a stalker to make them realize things aren’t quite what they seem. Once they figure out they are dating, they need to decide what comes next in their relationship.

Don’t miss this great best friends story!


Life is full of promise for Katy Greene. New town. New job. New BFF. Everything is great…except for the creepy feeling that someone is watching her. 

After they confirm Katy’s stalker is real, she has some explaining to do to BFF Leo de Vosse. Not to mention some explaining to herself. When did her feelings for Leo turn into something more than friendship? The stakes are high as she fights for her life with the stalker, and for her heart with Leo.


Something snicked with ruthless precision, and the sound of a blade leaving the sheath caught her attacker’s attention. Anyone familiar with blades should recognize that sound. It wasn’t a scalpel, but the streetlights still glinted off the deadly blade. Katy had never seen a switchblade before but there was no mistaking this one.

“Don’t come any closer,” Chrissy warned in guttural tones.

Katy couldn’t see her face, but the other woman’s stiff, ready-to-pounce body language conveyed her intent. A vast amount of Katy’s fear leeched out. It was apparent Chrissy knew exactly how to use the weapon in her hand. A hand that remained steady and confident.

Skirting around her bodyguard so she could see Chrissy’s face, more of Katy’s fear fled. Never before had she seen such savage eyes.

They advertised Chrissy’s intent as effectively as a billboard. Even Freid faltered. He halted at first sight of the lethal blade. Or maybe it was the harshness in Chrissy’s demeanor.

“Just hand over Dr. Greene and nothing will happen to you.” Freid resorted to his reasonable voice.

Chrissy slashed his wrist, the one holding the scalpel. He yelped and dropped the sharp instrument, jumping away from her.

“Back off or I’ll use this again,” Chrissy warned in that same harsh tone, at odds with her usual melodious inflection.

Her hand didn’t so much as quiver.

Buy It NOW!

D.R. Grady photo.JPG

About the Author:

D.R. Grady lives with her husband near Hershey, PA. She adores chocolate, laughing, collecting bags, books, and shoes, and writing stories that resonate with others.


Twitter: @drgradybooks

Amazon Author page:

Facebook Page: D.R. Grady

Google+: D.R. Gradybooks


Posted by on August 18, 2016 in Spotlight On


Spotlight On…C.T. Collier’s Planted!

This week I’m interviewing author C.T. Collier about her exciting new release, Planted.



Q: How long have you been writing?

A: I started writing as soon as I knew words on paper had meaning. About four years ago, I promised myself, even though I was working several jobs, I’d find one hour every day to write for myself. Within a year, I had a contract for my first novel.

Q: Tell us about your road to publication.

A: I pitched to Debby Gilbert of Soul Mate Publishing at a writer’s conference in Rochester, NY. She liked the concept of my book and thought it carried a message of hope. That led to publication of my romance series (as Katie O’Boyle) and the branding for my romance website “Healing Hope and Love.” This year I published a spin-off mystery, Planted, first in a new mystery series, The Penningtons Investigate, under my own name, C. T. Collier, and a new imprint, Asdee Press.

Q: What advice would you give an aspiring author?

A: Write every day, believe in your unique message, and work at developing your voice as a writer. Membership in a writer’s group, local or professional, will broaden your vision and connect you to valuable resources.

Q: Tell us about your latest release.

A: Planted is the first in a traditional mystery series, The Penningtons Investigate, set in a fictional college town (Tompkins College in Tompkins Falls) in the Finger Lakes of upstate New York. Lyssa and Kyle Pennington are both PhD’s, and when their clever minds start asking questions, clever killers can’t hide.


It’s Monday of spring break when Professor Lyssa Pennington’s backyard garden project unearths a loaded revolver. With no record of violence at their address and no related cold case, the Tompkins Falls police have no interest. But the Penningtons and a friend with the State Police believe there a body somewhere. Whose? Where? And who pulled the trigger?

The Penningtons’ canvass of their quiet neighborhood turns up disturbing secrets about the family who lived in their house for decades and another ill-fated family a few doors away. No one seems to know how to contact the only sons of either family. Lyssa follows the young men’s money stories and finds twenty million dollars, a neighbor who’s not what he seems, and a long-buried rivalry. Kyle goes after homicide data in six states and finds a body. Their next surprise is a murderer who will go to any length to conceal the crime.



Lyssa yanked a pillowcase off the clothesline, tore into it with her teeth, and ripped it into wide strips. “The ambulance is on its way, Mrs. Winkel. I’m going to stop the bleeding the best I can.” When she lifted Mrs. Winkel’s right hand away from her left arm, blood pulsed from the wound.

God, help us. With shaking fingers, she wrapped strip of cloth tight around the wound. Hands slippery with blood, she wiped them on her shirt, then twisted another strip of pillowcase to make a tourniquet and tightened it with a clothespin.

What am I forgetting? “Bree,” she yelled, “I’ve got a tourniquet on the wound, and I can’t let go of it. What else do I need to do?”

“Right beside you.” Bree squatted next to her. “She’ll need her insurance card and doctor’s name, and they want me out front to meet the ambulance.”

“In my purse,” Mrs. Winkel gasped. “Hallway table.”

“I’ll get it.”

“I want to go with her to the hospital,” Lyssa said.

“Then take my car and follow them, but don’t let the police see you, or they’ll make you stay here to answer questions.”

“Evade the police?” Keep it together. “Mrs. Winkel, once the ambulance arrives—”

“Stay with me.” Her neighbor’s voice quavered.

“I will. I promise.”

Mrs. Winkel’s bloodied right hand grabbed at Lyssa’s T-shirt. “Call Mary. My sister.” She groaned, her grip loosened, and her arm dropped heavily.

“I will.”

Mrs. Winkel’s eyelids fluttered and her head rolled to the side.

Buy It Now:



Author bio:

T. Collier grew up in Seneca Falls, NY, left the area for college and jobs, and always wanted to return to the Finger Lakes. Today she lives in a beautiful small city on one of the prettiest of the Finger Lakes, not unlike fictional Tompkins Falls. Most days you’ll find her writing in her tiny office looking out on a woods populated with fox, deer, wild turkeys, and songbirds. In her career as a tech-savvy college professor she has been endlessly fascinated with campus intrigue. Entirely fictional, Tompkins College is no college and every college.


Links for C. T. Collier:


Facebook: kate.collier.315

Twitter: @TompkinsFalls



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Posted by on August 11, 2016 in Spotlight On


Spotlight On…Linda Bradley’s Maggie’s Fork in the Road

Today I’m interviewing fellow Soul Mate Publishing author Linda Bradley about her new novel, Maggie’s Fork in the Road.


Q: How long have you been writing?

A: I’ve been writing since I was a child. In grade school, I wrote and illustrated books for the Calbery Contest. This yearly event was designed for students in grades 4-6 and the word Calbery is derived from the words Caldecott and Newbery. I always thought I’d publish children’s books because I wrote and illustrated a picture book titled, The Hunter for my Master’s project for teaching. It wasn’t until my own boys were older, that I found myself reading a lot of Women’s Fiction and that’s when I became interested in writing stories for women about women.

Q: Tell us about your road to publication.

A: I finished a full-length manuscript and wasn’t sure what to do next. That summer I met an editor from Random House who suggested that I find my local RWA chapter, so that’s what I did. From there, I went to monthly meetings, attended workshops on writing, attended a couple National Conventions, practiced pitching, and networked with other authors. Some years later, I pitched to Debby Gilbert from Soul Mate Publishing when she came to the Greater Detroit Chapter of RWA. She requested the full manuscript which turned into a three book deal.

Q: What advise would you give an aspiring author?

A: Keep reading. Keep writing. There’s no timetable for getting published, so be persistent. Don’t take all criticism to heart, but be fierce and follow your heart.

Q: Tell us about your latest release.

A: What do you get when you cross a middle-aged woman caught in a hiccup of life with a pesky eight-year-old on a mission to understand her Hollywood mother? You get a cast of misfits waiting to steal your heart.

Writing Maggie Abernathy is a great deal of fun. Her sarcastic wit and hearty dreams make for intrigue, but she wouldn’t be Maggie Abernathy without the eccentric characters that drive her life. Each have their own tribulations and through their interactions find themselves with an ironclad bond, but just when they’ve become connected, their dreams drive them in different directions and it’s never easy to say goodbye. Writing youngster, Chloe McIntyre is a delight as well and she’s still not willing to take a backseat to anyone.



Maggie Abernathy learns that pesky neighbors, John and Chloe McIntyre are moving to Montana. The only problem is…she can’t fathom living without them now that they’ve stolen her heart. While trying to digest the news and accept John’s decision to leave Michigan, Maggie ventures to Chicago with Chloe to see Chloe’s Hollywood mother in a photo shoot, where the three kindle a quirky bond making it even harder to say goodbye. With the support of Maggie’s meddling mother, best friend Judy, and a surprise visit from Montana rancher, Winston Ludlow McIntyre, Maggie begins to wonder which fork in the road leads home.



Chapter 1

John’s news knocked the wind out of me leaving me breathless, speechless . . . paralyzed.

Breathe, I told myself.

The dim room grew foggy as my eyes searched John’s face. “Really,” I said. “Why now? And why here?” What was it about delivering bad news in a restaurant? First, Beckett, now John. For the love of God, I wondered if breaking a woman’s heart in public got them into a secret men’s club.

Letting my guard down proved one thing. Hurt was inevitable. John and Chloe’s absence would leave a hole in my heart, a gorge of sharp edges. We were more than neighbors. We’d become friends that navigated life’s ups- and-downs together. And now they were moving. I’d have new neighbors and I didn’t want new neighbors. I wanted John and Chloe. I needed John and Chloe. We bonded last summer when I dealt with breast cancer. Their craziness made mine seem normal. John and Chloe weren’t any ordinary neighbors; they were family, eccentric misfits, like myself that conformed to the beat of life while traversing the bumps in the road.

Massaging my temples, I caught my breath. The throb pierced my skull. Since John and Chloe’s arrival, there’d never been a dull moment. Mom came around more often. And Chloe’s mother, Brook. Jesus, she flitted in and left like a summer storm leaving sky-high humidity and heat that scorched everything in its path.

Broken-hearted, Chloe had wept over false promises, her bags packed, her hopes magnanimous. And God, Beckett.

My ex-husband found his footing with a new lifestyle that didn’t include me, or any other woman. I’d heard through the grapevine that he was dating and wondered if his better half was as handsome as he was.

I searched John’s face for an answer.

“I didn’t know how to tell you. I’m sorry, Maggie. I don’t belong here,” he said, lowering his voice. “I can practice medicine in Montana and my dad could really use the help.”

Montana was one hell of a long ways away. I swallowed the sting of disappointment. John’s eyes searched mine. His news left a bitter taste at the back of my throat. “You can’t leave. I love you,” I whispered.

The pressure behind my eyes burned something fierce. How was it possible that I felt so much for someone I wasn’t romantically involved with? I certainly thought about it enough and the few recent kisses we shared established a deeper connection spurring buried promises that I’d made to myself. Moving forward in the wake of waiting for perfect timing proved difficult.

The corners of John’s mouth drooped. His jaw clenched.

“I can’t believe I said that.” I stared into my half-empty glass of Merlot, my cheeks smoldered from the realization that he didn’t return my sentiments. My chin quivered as he touched my hand from across the table.

“I want to put the house up for sale when Chloe’s school year ends.”

My forced smile hurt. It was the kind that everyone knows is fake and by John’s expression, my attempt to lighten the moment had failed. He squeezed my hand. I sipped my wine trying to avoid eye contact with the waitress. Her return with the dessert tray came at the most inopportune moment. After listening politely, John asked for the check. I wrapped my shawl around my shoulders trying to hold myself together. “I’ll meet you outside,” I said, fumbling with my purse.

“I won’t be long,” he said. “Maggie—”

The leg of my chair got stuck on the carpet. I shook it loose in disgust, studying the face of a man that I thought just might be a permanent fixture in my life. His eyes sadly apologetic.

“Damn, you’re beautiful.” With a heavy sigh, he paused. “I’ll be out in a minute.

The cool spring breeze sent shivers down my spine as I exited the restaurant. I caught my breath. How could I have told John I loved him? Why now? I wrapped my arms around myself. If I could survive cancer, I’d survive this. Hearts mended. Beckett taught me that lesson the hard way, but this was John and Chloe. Our attachment was the seam that mended that wound, made it invisible.

John opened the car door for me. I climbed in. His stare rustled my nerves. Pretending to rummage for something in my purse, I rooted around inside my bag and finally decided I was searching for my sanity. It wasn’t there. I even checked the hole in the satin lining. Nothing. How could I be so upset over something I didn’t ever really have? John reached over and buckled me in before shutting the door.

“I know you’re not okay.” He turned the key in the ignition. “This wasn’t an easy decision,” he added.

I studied his profile. “I know it wasn’t easy. I know you’re unhappy here in Michigan.” My heart skipped a beat. Saying the right thing tasted bitter. I wanted him. I wanted him before, but couldn’t admit it. I wanted him now, but he was leaving. “Thanks for dinner,” I said, trying my best to be grateful.

“I know this wasn’t the evening out you were expecting.” He checked the mirrors and backed out of the parking spot.

The jazz on the radio couldn’t fill the silence between us. The ten-minute car ride by the lake seemed like an eternity. The sliver of moon like a dagger in my heart as its white glow washed over the glassy lake. I loved the lake. The lazy cove in Grosse Pointe was the place where my only son, Bradley, grew up. It was a place of solace, a place for meeting new friends like Judy and her two boys, Harry and Walter. It was the place I first saw that horseshoe tattoo on John’s left shoulder as he strolled down the beach holding Chloe’s hand. It was the place where Bones peed on Brook’s leg, the place where Brook and I bantered over Chloe, and took photos in an effort to prosper from our differences. It was the place where I held the snarky seven-year-old when Brook broke her heart and went back to Hollywood, California, after promising her daughter a life together.

John coasted into his driveway. “I’ll walk you home.”

A thin grin passed over my lips, lips that he’d kissed just before telling me that he was moving to Montana. My empty stone house waited for me, along with a wrinkly- faced Bulldog. I’d still have Bones, thanks to Mom. Maybe that’s how it was meant to be.

John parked the car then gazed into my eyes. He longed for something, something I secretly hoped would keep him here, close to me. He got out and walked around to open my door. As I swung my legs out of the car, my skirt cascaded over my freckled shins. He linked his arm with mine and led me home. “All seems quiet. Chloe must have been good for the sitter.”

“We’ll see. Only time will tell,” he said. “She’s older and wiser now.”

“She’s eight, and being in third grade doesn’t make you necessarily wiser, it makes you taller with bigger teeth.”

We sauntered up the stairs to the porch. Digging in my purse for the key to the front door of my house, I stood like a pillar of salt waiting for John to say something, to tell me he’d changed his mind on the way home. “I’m not sure what to say,” I whispered. John caressed my cheek. I shut my eyes, memorizing his touch. I nuzzled into the palm of his warm hand. Please don’t leave, I secretly wished. I had no right to ask. He stepped closer, his breath in my ear.

“You’re not making this easy. You never do, Maggie Abernathy. Look at me,” he murmured.

Afraid to open my eyes, I swallowed away emotion. John was always doing stuff like that, telling me I was beautiful, telling me I had a hold on him, but not a strong enough hold to keep him here. I gazed into his Irish eyes. I heard my heart shatter as it broke all over again, leaving me with a pit in my stomach. John led me inside, his hand on the small of my back. His eyes gleamed with intent. He tugged at the fringe on my shawl making it drop to the ground as he kicked the door shut. John picked me up then carried me upstairs. As much as I knew I should have stopped him, I couldn’t. I didn’t want to.

Moonlight flooded my bedroom. John took off his shirt then unbuttoned my blouse exposing my lace bra. He ran his fingers along the edge of the cup, tickling my skin, leaving me with goose bumps, wanting more. His mouth covered mine. Laying me upon the bed, I closed my eyes, and let him in.

Moonlight washed over his skin. It caressed every muscle and curve of his brawny body. I snuggled in behind him, tracing his horseshoe tattoo with my finger. “Did this hurt when you got it?” My lips grazed his skin as I whispered into the darkness. “Maybe if I got one, I’d have better luck.” I closed my eyes then crawled beneath the covers. John’s square jaw and simmering eyes held my stare. He crawled back to where I’d settled in and peered down at me. Lowering his head, his lips met mine. I squeezed my eyes shut damming the deluge. My heart pounded against my rib cage, telling me it was time, time to let go. John was leaving and this would be our perfect goodbye. “Chloe’s probably wondering where you are,” I said, caressing his whiskery cheek. “So, you’ve decided to grow a beard?”

“No, just a little scruff. I hear women like that.”

He leaned over me and kissed my lips as he brushed strands of stray hair away from my face. His Adam’s apple twitched when he swallowed. I waited for the words, the words I wanted to hear, but they didn’t come. “You’re so damn beautiful,” he said, caressing my cheek. “We should have done this a long time ago, Maggie Abernathy.”

Nervous knots filled my belly as I listened to his deep coaxing voice. My eyelids fluttered. Fierce emotion mounted beneath my calm surface. Reaching up, I wrapped my arms around his neck. “Yeah,” I whispered. “We probably should have.”



Linda’s inspiration comes from her favorite authors and life itself. Her women’s fiction highlights characters that peel away outer layers of life to discover the heart of their dreams with some unexpected twists and turns along the way. Her writing integrates humor found in everyday situations, as well as touching moments, thus creating avenues for readers to connect with her characters.

Linda has an Associates Degree in Interior Design and a Master’s Degree in Reading and Language Arts with undergraduate work in Elementary Education and Fine Arts. She wrote and illustrated a children’s book titled, The Hunter for her Master’s Degree. Linda is a member of RWA, as well as the Greater Detroit Chapter of RWA.

Linda has two grown sons, lives with her husband, and rescue dog in Royal Oak, Michigan.







Other Books by Linda Bradley:

Maggie’s Way (Montana Bound Series Book 1) – Buy It Now on Amazon!

Maggie’s Way (Montana Bound Series Book 1) – Buy It Now from Schuler! 

Maggie’s Way (Montana Bound Series Book 1) – Buy It Now from Barnes & Noble!


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Posted by on July 28, 2016 in Spotlight On


Spotlight On…Dawn Ireland’s Highland Yearning!

Today I’m interviewing fellow Soul Mate Publishing author, Dawn Ireland, about her new release, Highland Yearning!


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Q: How long have you been writing?

A: I started in college. (And I will not tell you how long ago that was.) I’d spent most of my teenage years with my nose in a book, and it occurred to me that I had stories I wanted to share. I write in a linear fashion, so for me it’s like reading the story as I write. This is why I only have main plot points in mind before I start a book. And, of course, I know my characters, although even they can surprise me along the way.

Q: Tell us about your road to publication.

A: I spent many years honing my craft, trying to glean what I could from successful authors. I was very fortunate to discover Pat Ryan’s courses at Writers and Books. She had been an editor in New York City, and is a Rita winner for Silken Threads. I learned a great deal from her, and went on to final, or win, several contests.

When Soulmate Publishing accepted my manuscript, Love’s Guardian, I was thrilled.

Q: What advice would you give an aspiring author?

A: Never stop learning. Our craft is very fluid. What readers want, and techniques for creating a good story, keep changing. Talk to other authors, take classes, listen to your readers, you’ll be surprised at how your writing improves if you keep yourself open to new ideas.

Q: Tell us about your latest release.

A: Highland Yearning is pure entertainment. It’s a bit of a mystery, and a light-hearted look at the clash between our modern ideas and the Highland culture in 1775. This book is also my first with a dog as a character. For such a little Westie-Mix, Scruffy has a big personality.

Highland Yearning Blurb

Caden Mackay would never bed a Sutherland, let alone marry one. Bloody hell, what had possessed his twin brother to propose to one of the she-devils? And what is Caden to do with the Sutherland beauty who appears, as if by magic, in his library? The defiant intruder is the enemy, but she is unlike any woman Caden’s ever known, and her tantalizing curves and wide green eyes could tempt a monk. He must devise a way to stop the wedding. But can he stop the desire that makes him long to make Ariel Sutherland his own?

Ariel’s life had never gone the way she’d hoped, but ending up in eighteenth century Scotland was a stretch, even for her. If not for her dog, Scruffy, she might have thought she’d walked into a romantic daydream. Especially since the object of her desire appears to be entirely too virile. But can she find her way back to her time, before her too-handsome Highlander makes her believe that love can conquer in any century?

Highland Yearning Excerpt

Caden turned to his cousin. “We’ll search the windows above. By now the coward has fled, but we may yet find something to unmask our would-be assassin. Then we’ll attend to your urgent matter.”

He drew Ariel aside far enough that Ian couldn’t hear them. His expression screamed, I’d rather fight a dozen well-armed warriors than be in debt to a Sutherland. “Thank you for . . .” He simply stared at her.

“Saving your life?” She waited. Nothing. “Kissing you?” She raised her eyebrows. “Just trying to fill in the blank here.”

He blanched, but then heat filled his eyes. “Aye.”

“Well, one of us had to take the bull by the horns.” Okay, best not to dwell on that image. “I mean, I was curious. I wanted to kiss you. No big deal. It was just a kiss.”


“Will you stop agreeing with me.”

His smile was genuine and she felt it to the tips of her toes. Good heavens, the man had charisma.

“I’ve nae had a woman who wanted me to disagree with her.”

“Well, I’m not like most women.” That was true enough. She’d never done the ‘let’s talk about boys, clothes and makeup thing’ with a group of girls. Somehow, she’d never fit in.

He smiled down at her. “Aye.”

“There you go, agreeing again.”

“Perhaps it’s because you make yourself so agreeable.”

She couldn’t contain the laughter that burst from her lips. “Really?” The word came out between gasps. “Oh, I wish you could have been there to tell my teachers. Not that they’d believe you. They thought I questioned everything.”

“Then they didn’t ken you.” His brows drew together. “I believe the stone was meant for me, but just in case, I want you to take care.

Her laughter died. “Why would anyone want to kill me?”

“Have you offended anyone aside from Ranald, the Countess or Robertson since I met you?”

“I don’t-So, I speak my mind. Is there a law against that in this century?”

“No. And I prefer plain speaking, but I’m nae most men.”

“No, you’re not.”

Highland Yearning, Available Now on Amazon! 


Dawn Ireland

(Stories about love through the ages.)

Bio 6


“Once Upon a Time” are four of Dawn’s favorite words, because she never knows where they will lead. She writes stories to remind herself that even though things may seem bleak, there is always the possibility of a “Happily Ever After.” If along the way she makes readers smile, cry or see the magic in their everyday lives, then she’s done her job.

Dawn’s written several award-winning novels set in Georgian England and the Highlands – an era filled with rules and intrigue. Her characters often defy “Society” as they pursue love, run away, pursue, run away – well, you get the idea.

Then again, she might write romance in order to do the research. What other profession encourages you to sit in the audience at Harlequin’s Male Model search, and take notes, or just sigh?

When she’s not writing, Dawn may be found singing, gardening, learning to play the harp or wood carving. She lives in a Victorian home in Upstate New York with her husband and very independent cats.

Dawn hopes you’ll read her books, and together you’ll bring to life characters that aren’t perfect, but have a story to tell.

Visit Dawn’s website at:

Contact info:


Posted by on July 21, 2016 in Spotlight On