WANA Wednesday: Mystery, History and Romance!

My writing friends have been busy these past couple of weeks! Like most writers, my To-Be-Read pile (or list on my Kindle, rather) runneth over, yet I had to snag these.

Bad ReligionFirst up, we have crime fiction from my IRL friend Jim Winter, the latest in his Nick Kepler P.I. series. This is one of the covers I designed a couple of weeks ago, and I had tons of fun with it! In Bad Religion, Nick and Elaine are shadowing the pastor of a suburban church. So far, they’ve found nothing on him, but one of Nick’s operatives comes across something that tells them they’ve been on the wrong track. But a collision on a lonely rural road keeps Nick from finding out what. It also forces Nick to look more closely at the church itself. Who’s really skimming the money? Is it Calvin Leach, the church leader who wants to be the next great televangelist? Is it Alex Pullman, whose real estate fortune was made paving over perfectly good neighborhoods to build upscale shopping malls? Is it one of the church board? Or is there more going on here, a religious schism that’s closer to Nick’s past than he imagined?

In the background is Nikolai Karpov, the Russian mobster who seemingly likes Nick enough to want to bring him into his organization. Meanwhile, Elaine is dealing with the disintegration of her marriage and what her budding partnership with Nick means, both personally and professionally.

It’s not obvious from Jim’s description, but there’s some great humor in here, too – enough that, when I was beta reading this at work several years ago (I had nothing to do), my coworkers kept giving me weird looks because I kept trying to stifle laughter. More info and buy links on Jim’s blog.

COLLATERAL CASUALTIES_BarnesNoble1-662x1024Want some more mystery and suspense? Kassandra Lamb has released Collateral Casualties, the fifth in her Kate Huntington mystery series. When a former client reaches out to psychotherapist Kate Huntington and reveals a foreign diplomat’s dark secret, then dies of ‘natural causes’ just days later, Kate isn’t sure what to think. Was the man delusional or is she now privy to dangerous information?

Soon she discovers her client was totally sane… and he was murdered. Someone is now trying to eliminate her, and anyone and everyone she might have told. Forced into hiding, she and her husband, Skip, along with the operatives of his private investigating agency, struggle to stay one step ahead of a ruthless killer. Skip and his P.I. partner are good investigators, but this time they may be in over their heads… and they could all end up drowning in a sea of international intrigue. More info and buy links on Kassandra’s website.

MASQUERADEHow about some history with a little romance? New out from Maria McKenzie is Masquerade, the second in her Escape Trilogy.

Celebrated actress Lavinia Hargraves performs her most challenging role offstage. Although born in 1872 to Daniel Taylor, a white man and wealthy landowner in southern California, Lavinia’s mother, Lori, is a Negro and former slave. Lavinia, who appears white, is desperate to hide her Negro ancestry, as well as pursue her dream of becoming the world’s greatest actress. After eloping with the much older Vernon Hargraves, owner of New York’s premier theater company, Lavinia is provided with all she could ever want: a new life as white, stardom on the stage, and an abundant supply of money. Soon Lavinia’s seduction by a young and handsome actor sets in motion a devastating turn of events. Dashing millionaire contractor Andrew Standish comes into Lavinia’s life at a time when she needs him most. However, the secret of Lori’s existence could demolish her daughter’s carefully constructed facade. To what lengths will Andrew go to uncover Lavinia’s past? More info and buy links on Maria’s blog.

Conquest-of-the-HeartIf you prefer your history with a lot of romance, Michele Stegman never disappoints (at least me!). Conquest of the Heart is “a lighthearted romp through the dark ages,” in which Madeline wants a big, brash, never-defeated-in-battle, Norman knight. What she gets, by order of the king, is a wiry Saxon who once studied for the priesthood instead of warfare. But is this gentle man she has fallen in love with entangled in the rebellion now sweeping the land?Ranulf wants to marry the girl next door. What he gets, by order of the king , is a lush, strong Norman woman who just might be a spy reporting his every move. He wants her in every way a man can possibly want a woman. But can he trust his heart to a woman who might have been sent to root out the struggle for freedom his people are engaged in? More info and buy links on Michele’s website.

ROW80Logo175Quick ROW80 update: This is it for Round 2! Or rather, Thursday is, I believe. I’ve made a good dent in re-reading Holly Lisle’s How to Write a Series, and the ideas for my next Saturn Society book keep coming, so I consider that a win! Next round, the words!

How about you? Think you might just have to add to your overflowing TBR list or pile? If you’re doing ROW80 – or even if you’re not – how did you do on your goals this spring? Please share – I’d love to hear from you!


Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

WANA Wednesday: Romance is in the air! And so is ROW80

We have new releases this week, and romance is in the air! But first, a quick note of something fun for those in the Dayton area: I’m going to be appearing at the Wilmington-Stroop branch of the Dayton Metro Library this Saturday, Feb. 16th, at 10:00 AM to talk about writing romance with readers and fellow authors Macy Beckett/Melissa Landers, Lorie Langdon, Jess Granger/Kristin Bailey, and Stacy McKitrick. There will be coffee and chocolate! If you’re in the area, we’d love to see you there! Just call the library at 937-496-8966 to reserve your spot.


Perfect Girls

We also have some new releases to celebrate, starting with YA romance from Denise Gwen! Perfect Girls is the story of Mindy Chapman, who exchanges life as a Southern belle to one fraught life with terror and pain at Bloomington High School North. It’s a strange new world, filled with unflappably-chic girls.  How will she ever fit in?  When Keith Nelson falls in love with her, though, she trades one set of problems for another.

For Mona Bloodworth, it’s another year of torture as she alternately pines for Esau Stein and for Keith Nelson, two gorgeous boys who don’t appear to have ever noticed her.  And for Tiffany Delacourt, it’s a brave new world of fears and worries as she embarks upon her fledgling ballet career.  She wonders if she’s not made a terrible mistake, leaving her high-school life—and Keith Nelson—behind.

And for Gustave Moeller, good old, familiar, goofy geek Gustave, it’s yet another year of being picked on and laughed at by everyone in the school. Something’s got to change. More info and buy links at Sweet Cravings Publishing.

assassinPrudence MacLeod has a new release too, in her Novan Witch sci-fi series. In Assassin of Nova, the most deadly assassin in the galaxy has been enhanced with cybernetic implants; now he’s gone rogue. What could have set him off? Better yet, who will pay the price? What will happen when he encounters Nova Crew? Will he survive? Will they? This is Book Two of the series, one I already have on my TBR list! More info on book is on Prudence’s website; as well as more info on the overall series.

How I Met My HusbandAnd here’s a book that isn’t new, but is perfectly suited for the season. Denise is a contributor, and so am I! Edited by Michele Stegman, How I Met My Husband is a collection of 25 real-life stories of how romance authors met their one and only. Some were surprised, and some knew right away he was “the one.” Some are funny, others poignant, and some are just cute and sweet. In my story “Looking for Mr. Goodwrench,” a Pontiac Sunbird GT with an oil leak changed my life when I was a young graphic designer who didn’t have the money to take my car to a shop. Following each story is a brief excerpt of one of the author’s current releases. More info is on my books pageHow I Met My Husband is Free at Amazon | BarnesandNoble.com | Smashwords.com and other ebook retailers.

Hangar 18: LegacyI haven’t officially mentioned my own latest release, other than in a Sunday ROW80 update, so here it is! Hangar 18: Legacy is a science fiction romance about  U.S. Air Force research psychologist Adam Keller, who is an empath, accustomed to sensing the thoughts and emotions of others. Because of his gift, he keeps people at a distance. When a disembodied presence full of anger and fear invades his mind and demands rescue, dark thoughts of death threaten to overwhelm Adam. Then he meets a woman whose attraction to him quiets the voice. All he has to do to keep his sanity is risk his heart and experience the emotions he’s long denied himself.

Lisa Stark wants nothing more than to finish the subliminal messaging software she’s worked on for over a year. When someone wants it badly enough to kill for it, Adam senses Lisa’s in danger and comes to her rescue. Lisa fights her feelings for the sexy officer with an uncanny ability to guess what she’s thinking, but their attraction to each other grows, and not only because Lisa’s the only one who can warm Adam’s chilled body and soul. When he discovers the source of his mental invasion is an extraterrestrial thought dead for decades, Adam realizes that Lisa’s software is the key to releasing the being – if he can gain her trust and keep her alive long enough to finish it. Hangar 18: Legacy is currently available at Amazon in Kindle format and paperback. Review copies are available in other e-formats; contact me if you’d like one!

ROW80Logo175Quick ROW80 update: I have been reading Eat That Frog, by Brian Tracy, on recommendation by Kristen Lamb. It’s full of ways to figure out what’s the best use of one’s time, and to spend the most time where it will have the biggest results in relation to our big goals.  I’m working on focusing on one task at a time, and so far, it’s helped: I’ve spend an hour brainstorming my next book, the lace for my daughter’s prom dress is dyed, and I’ve gotten two workouts in. So far, so good!

What about you – do you like to read romance? Even guys have enjoyed my book. 🙂 Are you doing anything special for Valentine’s Day tomorrow? I’d love to hear from you!


Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

WANA Wednesday: Lots of News to Share!

I’m trying something new today. So many of my author friends have new releases. I want to share this exciting news with my blog readers!

What is WANA? It stands for We Are Not Alone, a guide to blogging, social media and networking for authors by Kristen Lamb. Many of my author friends have taken the  WANA class, either with me, or another offering, and I met them online at one of the many WANA hangouts. I have a lot of IRL (In Real Life) author friends, too – and they are also not alone.

So here’s what some of my friends have been up to lately. Who knows, you may find your next book to read here – there’s a bunch of good ones!

My IRL friend and fantastic beta reader Michele Stegman released her short story, “A Pirate’s Tale,” last month. This is a different kind of romance, as it’s told from a third character’s point of view. Normally, this would be tough to pull off, but it totally works here, as it adds to the mystery and suspense of “what will happen?” Also, this story has a special place in my heart – I got to read it before the release, and I designed the cover! 🙂 If you’re looking for something fun and quick to read, I highly recommend this one. More info at A Pirate’s Tale | Michele Stegman.

My IRL friend Maria McKenzie recently released her new novel, Escape: Book One of the Unchained Trilogy. The Unchained Trilogy is an explosive three book series of love, deceit, emotional destruction and in the end, forgiveness. In Escape (Book One) Daniel and Lori love each other, yet to live as one in 1856, they must escape from the unyielding society that imprisons them.

I loved Maria’s first book, The Governor’s Sons. This story of a slave and the white man she loves promises to be every bit as good. It’s on my Kindle app, and I can’t wait to read it! More info at Maria McKenzie: Release Date of Escape, August 21.

Myndi Shafer celebrated the release of Shrilugh, a YA fantasy and her debut, a couple weeks ago. Shrilugh is the story of a recent high-school graduate wrongly accused of trying to murder her step-sister, who flees her vengeful stepfather with an otherworldly stranger through a mystical Door. It’s already getting some great reviews, and sounds like a great read! Ebooks are available at Smashwords, Amazon and iTunes, and it’s also available in trade paperback. More info at TODAY’S THE DAY! « Myndi Shafer.

Fabio Bueno also has a debut release in YA Fantasy. In Wicked Sense, witches inhabit our world, organized in covens and hiding behind a shroud of secrecy—the Veil. Skye’s London coven sends her to Seattle’s Greenwood High to find the Singularity, an unusually gifted witch who may break the Veil and trigger a dangerous new era of witch-hunting. More info at WICKED SENSE – Book Release! – Fabio Bueno, Author.

Louise Behiel celebrates the release of her second novel, Family Lies. I’ve read her first, Family Ties, and really enjoyed it, so I’m definitely looking forward to this one! Family Lies promises plenty of suspense, surprises, and family dynamics as the characters learn of secrets that make them question everything they value. More info at My Latest Release, Family Lies is the Featured Book Today | Louise Behiel.

Prudence MacLeod has been busy too. Last month, she released Hunter, an action-adventure story featuring aliens, psychic attacks, and a bit of romance. (Sounds like my kind of book! :D) She’s offering Hunter and another of her books, Moira, for free through the end of September. Even better, let her know you’ve downloaded one, and she’ll enter your name for a drawing at the end of the month for a $25 gift certificate from Purple Raven Boutique on Etsy, or $25 in editing services from Powder River Editing. More info at Valkyrie Rising, Prudence MacLeod’s Blog.: Free books and Bling!.

Fellow WANA author Angela Orlowski-Peart celebrated the release of her well-nurtured baby – her debut Young Adult paranormal/fantasy novel, Forged by Greed. It’s the story of two Seattle 16-year-old Shape Shifters, Jatred and Jasmira, who are torn between following their hearts and protecting the order of the world. The path of the star-crossed lovers leads only to destruction. More info at Forged by Greed published! | Angela Orlowski-Peart.

And just this weekend, my IRL author friend Tonya Kappes has a new release in her Magical Cures Series. A Charming Cure is the second in the series and full of June Heal and all her fun. Tonya’s blog is well worth a read for authors – she’s also the author of The Tricked-Out Toolbox and has all kinds of great promotional tips for writers. She shares all the details of how she prepared for the release of A Charming Cure on her blog at Author Tonya Kappes: A CHARMING CURE RELEASE DAY!

Did I miss anyone? If you’re a WANA friend or an author I’ve connected with, and you have exciting news to share, let me know! I’ll be glad to give you a shoutout in the next installment of WANA Wednesday.

All of the books linked above offer free samples, so check them out! And whether or not you’re an author, what do you think? See something that sounds good here? I’d love to hear from you, so please drop a comment below!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

Guest Post: Michele Stegman on How Stories are like Gemstones

Michele Stegman

I love garnets, and I have several. Some are set in silver, but, to me, they look best in gold. Diamonds, on the other hand, look good in either white or yellow gold settings. Either way, the setting must be right to show the stone off to its best advantage.

It works the same way with the stories we write. Some stories are like diamonds and can be set just about any place or time because they are so universal. Other stories, like garnets, work best in a specific setting. Either way, the setting is going to affect the story and the characters.

Romeo and Juliet was originally set in “fair Verona,” but Bernstein made the same story work in 1950’s New York. He had drugs, gangs, and guns instead of feuding families and swords. The same story would probably work just as well in the American West with a family of cattle ranchers versus sheep ranchers. Then you would have horses and six-guns and lots of wide open spaces. But those different settings definitely affect the characters and the story.

Fortune's Foe by Michele StegmanOther stories need a very specific setting. The movie, Out of Africa, with Robert Redford and Meryl Streep would not work well in New Jersey. Not even if you change the title. Africa was too much a part of that movie and that story. Someone suggested Africa was the third character.

My story, Fortune’s Foe, had to be set in Spanish St. Augustine, Florida, in 1740. The setting, and the history, in that book are a very big part of the story. The fort, Castillo de San Marcos, Ft. Mose, the war between the English and the Spanish, the prisoners captured after James Oglethorpe’s failed siege, the runaway slaves who have found safe haven in the colony, are all part of the story. To take that setting away would collapse the story.

Mr. Right’s Baby is set in San Antonio, Texas. The hero is one quarter Comanche, works in the oil business, and lives on a ranch. I guess I could have let him live on a farm outside Cincinnati and work at P&G, but I don’t think the story would be nearly as effective–or as interesting. I think I found the perfect setting for that one.

I hope you find the perfect setting for all your stories. And when you read, pay attention to setting.

Tell me about your favorite book. How does setting affect the story and characters? Would the story work in any other setting?

Thank you, Jennette, for hosting me today.

Michele Stegman is the author of warm, sensual romances. You can find out more about her and her books at her website: www.michelestegman.com. You can find her books on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and in the iBook store.

Jennette says: Thanks for being here, Michele! I know that Time’s Enemy could not have been set anywhere besides Dayton.  Readers, what do you think? Michele and I would love to hear from you! And if you enjoy well-researched historical romance with engaging characters and chock-full of sexual tension, Fortune’s Foe is a don’t-miss! I’m going to be away from the computer for awhile, but please know that I appreciate every comment, retweet, and Facebook Share. I’ll be back to reply and visit your blog (if you have one) as soon as I can!

The Stylish Blogger Award: Favorite Things

Last month, blogging friend Debra Kristi honored me by awarding me the Stylish Blogger Award. Thank you, Debra! She actually posted this on Nov. 5th, but I had other posts booked already, and Stacy McKitrick had awarded me the Versatile Blogger Award just a few weeks earlier, so didn’t want to post something similar so soon.

The Stylish Blogger Award works in much the same way: post seven random things about yourself, then name four or five blogging friends you’d like to pass the honor on to. I’m posting seven of my Favorite things:

Favorite drink: Mountain Dew. I love this stuff. I could drink it all day, but in the interest of health (and my waistline), I limit myself to one per day. Among the many cool things we saw when I went to China a couple years ago with my daughter’s choir, was finding Mountain Dew at the Terra Cotta Warriors museum in Xian. Being made with cane sugar, it tasted like our Throwback Mountain Dew, which is the best!

I will use this photo on my blog whenever possible, because it’s that awesome

Favorite car: Camaro – especially the new ones, but I like them all. This probably started with my earliest memory: going to get my dad’s new car when I was two and a half. It was a red, ’69 Camaro with black stripes, and my brother still owns it.

Favorite children’s book: Black and Blue Magic, by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. I was probably twelve when I read it for the first time, and I still remember it. It’s the story of a lonely, geeky boy who lived in a boarding house in the 1930’s (I think), where a boarder gave him a special, magic ointment that would make him grow wings for the night. You can imagine the trouble this kid got into! It’s gone through several different covers since, and when I searched, none looked familiar until I found this on a book collector site. The book was first published the year I was born, and this was the original cover. It gets a lot of blame for the book’s initially low sales.

Favorite band: Rush. Actually, I’d be hard-pressed to choose between them, Front Line Assembly, KMFDM, and Emerson Lake and Palmer right now, but Rush has been a favorite longer than any of the others. Please don’t ask me to pick a favorite album or song! I got my first Rush album, Exit Stage Left, when I was in ninth grade. What’s funny is my teen daughter is into vinyl records, and has been listening to all of my old Rush albums! I now have them all on MP3s.

Favorite movie: Beavis and Butthead Do America. I really can’t explain why, but almost all of my favorite movies are comedies. Maybe it’s because I can’t write funny to save myself. So imagine how excited I am that MTV brought them back last month, and I can now watch every Thursday night at ten PM. Only now, instead of making fun of music videos, they make fun of other MTV shows, like Teen Mom and Jersey Shore. Suddenly two shows I can’t stand are funny!

Favorite place to shop: Amazon. That goes double during the holiday season, because I HATE crowds. Amazon has just about everything I want or need, and I can get free shipping on orders over $25, which isn’t hard to do.

Favorite holiday show: The Grinch who Stole Christmas. Yes, I can be one, and once I actually was one, in a play. It was a choral reading rendition, and all the actors were girls. I got to play the Grinch, because I was the only one who had a suitably dark voice. My favorite scene in the original TV special is where the Grinch is slithering beneath the Christmas tree like a snake, collecting stuff. This is also my family’s favorite.


And now for the Stylish Bloggers to whom I’m passing the award! To accept, all you need to do is save the award image to your computer, then include it on your blog (or a post) where you list seven random things about YOU, and then pass it on to four or five other fantastic bloggers!

Samantha Warren: The author of fantasy novels like Blood of the Dragon and the Vampire Assassin series shows that generosity is never out of style. Samantha’s 30th birthday is this weekend, and to celebrate, she’s giving away free books every day this week, and a Kindle as a grand prize! Be sure to stop by and check out her Blog Scavenger Hunt for details on how you can search, answer, and win!

Karen McFarland: Karen blogs about odd yet uplifting things in the news, and hosts a bunch of cool guest bloggers. Whatever the topic, it’s about people – the fascinating, the positive, and sometimes just strange, but always a fun read.

Deborah Dale: Deborah’s Making the Most of a New York Minute blog touches on a variety of topics that include a four-part series on her and her family’s brush with the supernatural during their visit to Gettysburg.

Michele Stegman‘s Thoughts from a Writers’ Block covers all things writing, with an emphasis on things readers who also aren’t writers can find of interest too.


So check out those blogs, and in the meantime, pop in and share – what are some of your favorite things? Do you have a favorite scene in The Grinch Who Stole Christmas?