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  • Blog

    New Release Friday for October 4

    10/3/2019

    New Release Friday
    Here are some fun new releases to get you reading this weekend!

    Moonlight, Magnolias and Magic - Cover
    Moonlight, Magnolias, and Magic (More in Heaven and Earth Book 4) Kindle Edition
    A cursed ring. A forgotten grave. A magical enemy. Can Annabella escape her family’s fate?

    Annabella has done her best to put behind her all memories of her childhood being raised as an unwanted ward in the gothic family mansion. As the secretary to the flamboyant Errol, Duke of Winchester, she’s seen the world and avoided her family’s clutches.

    But now she must return to that elegantly-decayed, antebellum house on the historic Battery in Charleston, South Carolina, where the “moonlight and magnolias” atmosphere hides some deadly family secrets. Returning for the wake of her aged relative, Henrietta, who hasn’t left her South of Broad showplace for decades, Annabella walks into the chilly embrace of her Cousin Beatrix and the woman’s much-too-attractive new assistant, Armand, whose words of encouragement and warning keep arriving inexplicably in her mind.

    In just a few hours, the house reclaims her. She finds herself waking up in her deceased relative’s bed and clothes, Henrietta’s ring on an unremovable chain around her neck. And, even as she begins to realize that magic is real and her friends and Armand hope to save her with it, it’s starting to look as though the terrifying mansion and its demonic secrets may never let her leave.

    Katherine Gilbert, author of the quirky urban fantasies Protecting the Dead and Unearthly Remains, shows a more serious side in this chilling Southern Gothic tale (but not without a bit of quirk!). On a Gilbert wackiness scale of 1-to-10 sarcastic talking cats*, this one is about a 3.

    *Warning: Not all stories contain talking cats. Wackiness may take other forms.

    The More in Heaven and Earth series is all set in the same magical universe filled with angels, witches, werewolves, demons, vampires, ghosts, and many other supernatural creatures. They can be read either in order or as stand-alones and will introduce you to a variety of fascinating characters, as they take you to various parts of this unusual earth. Get it here

    King and Queen of the Poker Game - Cover

    King & Queen of the Poker Game (King & Queen series Book 4)

    Tess is fearless, from her fiery red hair—complete with tiara—all the way down to her rainbow-striped knee socks. She’s on the hunt for a unicorn. Who knew it would be so hard to find a man who could keep up with her, let alone pass her rigorous second date test? But when Oliver draws a royal straight, all hearts, she’s the one who’s running scared.

    Oliver used to think love was the safe bet. After witnessing his parents’ marriage tumble like a house of cards, he tries to break his habit of clinging to love. But old habits die hard.

    When Oliver goes all in, Tess folds. They up the ante by changing the rules only to face unforeseen challenges. Will they discover that life—and love—don’t require tests and schemes, and is this the secret to drawing the winning hand?

    Place your bets on love with the King & Queen romantic comedy series. Get it here

     

     

     

     


    Christmas at the Chateau - CoverChristmas at the Chateau: Marsh Saga Series Novella
    Following on from Millie, the first book in The Marsh Sagas series, now comes a holiday novella, Christmas at the Chateau!

    Join the family again as they spend Christmas with Millie and Jeremy at Chateau Dumont.

    It’s a time of coming together, yet sisters Prue and Cece have very different ideas about how to celebrate the holiday and their clash of personalities also causes damage to their hearts.

    All Millie wants is a happy home, yet her warring sisters try her patience and she’s stuck in the middle! Not only that, but her husband Jeremy is dealing with his own problems regarding his parentage, her mother is acting strangely, and her grandmother is as opinionated as always!

    Will Christmas at the Chateau bring the family together or tear them apart?
    This novella is an accompaniment and should be read after Millie.

    Get it here

     

     

     

    Snowflakes and Sparks - CoverSnowflakes and Sparks: A Small-Town Christmas Romance (Old Pine Cove Book 1)
    One small town. One swoon-worthy neighbor. One second chance at love.

    Old Pine Cove is the one place on earth Suzie swore she’d never return to, but then her boss asks her to manage one of their bookstores there. Since it’s only temporary, she agrees. Besides, what could possibly go wrong?
    Gosh, how naïve of her.

    Alex Denverton opening the door with that smoldering look of his, that’s what could go wrong. It’s been ten years since she broke his car and his heart. How is she supposed to focus on work knowing he’s right next door? And why did she even agree to organize the annual Winter Walk with him?

    One thing is certain, though. If Suzie wants to have a magical Christmas, she can’t ask Santa to make it happen. It’s up to her to decide: go big or go home.

    Snowflakes and Sparks is a small-town Christmas romance in the Old Pine Cove series, full of humor and heart.

    Get it here.

  • Blog

    New Release Friday June 23 – 3 new books for the weekend

    6/22/2018

    New Release Friday
    Three new releases for your to enjoy this #NewRelease Friday. Happy reading!

    Aloha Love by Susan Murphy
    Aloha Love - Cover
    From the author of the Confetti Confidential series, Susan Murphy, comes a new women’s fiction novel about finding yourself through the toughest of experiences and learning how to not only love again, but how to love yourself.

    They say ‘true love comes but once,’ but what if you missed it?

    Jennifer Bell knows she missed her chance more than twenty years ago. Heartbroken and alone, she fell into the arms of a charming guy and into his violent hold. Barely escaping with her life with scars that would likely never heal, she vowed never to let herself fall in love again.
    Throwing herself into her work as a marriage celebrant, she spends her time helping others achieve their fairy tale ending. But what if the chance for love found its way back to her?
    While on a working holiday to Hawaii, with her best friend Anna (who is having a major life crisis of her own), an encounter with the man she lost all those years ago could change everything.
    Will she have the courage to fight for what she wants?

    Get your copy here

     

    Ellen the Bride by Diane Michaels
    Ellen the Bride - Cover

    Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. For an experienced wedding professional like Ellen, planning her own wedding should be as simple as the age-old rhyme.

    Unfortunately, her something old is an ex-boyfriend itching to get back together, her something new is being the first bride to walk down the aisle at a venue still under construction, and her something borrowed is time. It’s enough to make a bride quite blue.

    Trying to land her dream job offers her a distraction from her wedding blues. But when her fiancé Josh takes off for a Broadway tour without so much as a kiss goodbye, will Ellen’s plans for the perfect wedding disappear with him?

     

     

    Get your copy here

    Ms Medicine by Olivia Arquette
    Ms Medicine - Cover
    Her new career is everything she’s never dreamed of…

    MSadvised
    Caprice Bello is broke, living in her grandparent’s basement, and in need of a new career. When a friend offers to help her land a job selling pharmaceuticals she’s reluctant, but then caves. After all, the pay is decent, the company car is free, and doctors are the nice guys. Besides, how hard could it be? Turns out, plenty.

    MSbeliefs
    After completing a crash course in pharma sales, Caprice hits the field determined to earn a top award and luxury trip to Australia. Too bad she’s unprepared for mean doctors and even meaner coworkers. Add to that Caprice’s unrequited crush on an irresistible colleague, and suddenly her easy job is anything but.

    MSadventures
    Before long, Caprice experiences a series of unexpected snafus that cause her once rising sales to tank. Not only is her goal of winning the top award and trip waylaid, but her new career is in real jeopardy. Desperate, Caprice gambles on a risky strategy that will result in either glorious victory or spectacular defeat.
    ​Grab your copy here

  • Blog

    Writers on Wednesday Featuring Diane Michaels

    1/14/2018

    Writers on Wednesday

    Diane MichaelsDiane Michaels is a professional harpist living in New Jersey. Her career has taken her from Carnegie Hall to the wedding hall (she has played at least 1000 weddings). Her articles on establishing and sustaining a career as a musician have appeared in Harp Column and Allegro. When not performing or writing, she and her husband make up songs about and for their miniature poodle, Lola.
    1. What was the inspiration for your latest novel?
    My newest novel, “Ellen at Sea,” follows Ellen aboard a cruise ship where she will work as a harpist. I’ve borrowed a little of my own biography for this novel, having performed as a harpist on both the QE2 and the Seven Seas Navigator. Cruising is awesome, as is working aboard a cruise ship. I hope my readers enjoy taking a vicarious cruise!
    2. When did you take up writing?
    I always dove into my creative writing assignments back in elementary school. When I was seven or eight, I wrote a parody of “The Night Before Christmas” as a Thanksgiving present for the relative who was hosting our family dinner. It was so fun to write, and I loved sharing it with my relatives.
    3. How important is setting/place in your writing?
    Whether a novel is set in an exotic locale or someplace more familiar, I want to bring the reader into the world I’m creating. Plot may drive a novel, but as a reader, I love taking my time to savor the words authors choose to set a scene.
    4. Do you have a favourite character (s) in your current novel?
    Hmm… One character I found especially fun to write was Sheldon, an older gentleman and pianist who torments Ellen with his unsolicited though immensely valuable advice.
    5. What’s the best piece of writing advice you were ever given?
    Best may be too hard to pin down. “Just write,” for starters. My ninth grade English teacher taught us there is nothing new under the sun. When I grow frustrated that I can’t prove her wrong when I’m looking for ideas for a novel, I turn to this quote by the composer, Igor Stravinsky: “Lesser artists borrow, great artists steal.” This is why my first books are about a harpist: I’m stealing from myself. Write what you know, they say!
    6. Do you have a schedule for writing?
    I prefer to write in the middle of the day. I often get a lot of ideas — or work through ideas — while I’m at the gym after breakfast. I take a few months off from writing during the year as I’ve found writing and practicing the harp sap the same sources of inspiration and energy. If I have a lot of concerts to prepare for, I’ll shift into an editing or marketing phase.
    7. Are you a plotter or someone who tends to wing it?
    I am a plantser – a hybrid between plotter and pantser.
    8. Can you name three of four of your current favourite books or recent reads?
    I’ve had a lot of fun reading Kate O’Keeffe’s Cozy Cottage Café series. I enjoyed David Sedaris’ “Theft by Finding: Diaries 1977-2002.” He has a gift for understatement and misdirection in his humor.
    9. Can you tell me a little bit about what you are working on now?
    I’ve just begun to write book three of the Ellen the Harpist series. But I keep distracting myself with ideas for a different novel.
    10. What advice would you give to a fledgling writer to assist them on their journey?
    ​Just write. No, there are a lot of other things worth doing, too. Read great books in the genre similar to the one you want to write. Understand why they work. You can read about writing, too, but it’s important to go to the source. The biggest mistake I made with my first novel was not building an author platform. I kept my work on the manuscript private. No one was expecting (or waiting for) my novel when I set her free.

    Ellen at Sea
    Ellen at Sea - Cover​​Who a harpist brings with her for a four-month long gig aboard a cruise ship:
    Her best friend. A lock-picking pianist. And a blow up doll.

    Who she leaves behind…

    When Ellen’s boyfriend Josh goes on the road with a Broadway touring production, Ellen takes to the high seas. Can tropical destinations, a busy performance schedule, and cheap booze in the crew bar distract her from the heartache of her separation from Josh? Or will her mother’s devastating news and her best friend’s antics send her overboard?

    Excerpt of Ellen at Sea
    ​Halfway through my last set of the night, an older man in a tuxedo with velvet lapels and a ruffled tux shirt entered the lounge. He leaned against the wall, staring at me with a laser-like focus. Atop his head sat a jet-black hairpiece of such girth, I was sure it had a heartbeat of its own. His skin was a well-seasoned shade of tan. It stretched tightly from side to side, pulling his mouth and eyes into horizontal lines. His eyes never left me. I shuddered. Tapping the lower right corner of my tablet to turn the page when I finished Embraceable You, I smiled in anticipation of playing the next tune, Adele’s Someone Like You.

    The arpeggiated pattern of the intro soothed me. I plucked the ascending and descending notes with my left hand and floated the melody line above it. My new fan was having none of it.

    “What are you doing? You’re going to lose your audience. Look around. Who do you see?” He asked, his tone implying I possessed a less than agile mind.

    A group of guys my age was doing shots at the bar, their laughter and playful swats at each other indicating this wasn’t the first round. People my mother’s age filled most of the tables near me, but none had paid any attention to me since they came into the lounge.

    “The guests want to hear something lively. Play Under the Boardwalk.”

    Who did he think he was, instructing me what I should or shouldn’t play? “I don’t know it.”

    “You’ll learn it.” Mr. Bossy Pants pounded out the bass line on the piano and called out, “I’m in G. Play this pattern. Good. Keep the rhythm going.” I plucked along for two bars before he came in with the melody. The room came to life. People sang along. A boisterous round of applause broke out as we ended the tune. Rather than allow me to savor our success, he commanded me to play something else.

    I scrolled through my repertoire list on the tablet, struggling to think of a tune he’d approve of. “What’s taking you so long? Just play anything. And who told you to put the harp like that? Here.” He grabbed the column of my harp and tugged it to face into the room. How dare he move my harp without asking! Doesn’t he know how expensive it is? I grimaced at him through lowered eyelids as I readjusted my bench and stand to my harp’s new position. Fearful of frustrating my tormentor further while I mulled over what tune to play next, I turned off the tablet and played Eleanor Rigby from memory.

    “Well, now you’re playing the right music, but the guests can’t hear you. Play the right hand an octave higher. That will cut through the room noise.” I jumped my hand up the strings, wincing at how my new arrangement sounded like a track from the Chipmunks’ Beatles tribute album.

    I endured fifteen more minutes of his harassing interference until 9:30 finally arrived. Even while I covered my harp, he refused to leave me alone. “I’m Sheldon. I’ve been doing this since before your parents were born. Everyone in New York knows me. I’ve played in every club, I’ve played with every great musician, and I’ve played for everyone who matters. I’m the real deal. I’m too old now to perform like I used to, but I like to work aboard a ship once a year for a month during the holidays. You have a lot to learn. I want to teach you how to be an entertainer because I see something in you. You’re great at playing the harp. I will train you how to be great at playing for people with drinks in their hands. Now get this harp out of here. It’s blocking the seats around the piano.”

    Where to Buy Ellen at Sea
    Amazon
    iTunes

  • Blog

    Musical Monday with Harpist and author Diane Michaels

    4/17/2017

    Musical Monday
    Diane MichaelsI’m really excited to have harpist and author stopping by for Musical Monday this week.

    My career as a harpist informed both of the books I have published. Stories from my gig life became a backdrop against which to set the plot of my novel, Ellen the Harpist, and my experience working with soon-to-be married couples occupies a central place in my wedding ceremony music guide, From Here Comes the Bride to There Go the Grooms. Each of my books comes with its own playlist.

    The marriage between my musical and writing careers melded together harmoniously in Chapter 25 of Ellen the Harpist. I play tea at the St. Regis New York a few days each month. Four years ago, while playing Perfect Day by Lou Reed at the hotel, my mind wandered. I pictured a scene in which Ellen and her bff’s, Chloe and Gwen, spend a day following the activities laid out in the song’s lyrics.
    Traffic jams at the Lincoln Tunnel that afternoon delayed my bus’s departure by half an hour. I scrawled my ideas from teatime into my notebook as I waited in line at Port Authority. Route 3 westbound was equally snarled. I continued scribbling away as we crawled home. After a quick dinner and a glass of wine, I spewed a 2500-word chapter into my laptop. We follow the three friends on their Lou Reed-inspired journey in this excerpt from the chapter:

    And now we were heading into Manhattan. Without the budget of ladies who lunch, we invented games to play whenever we hung out in the City. On an adventure last August, we followed the itinerary laid out in Lou Reed’s Perfect Day. We opted to see a movie first and were stuck watching the only thing playing at 11:30 am at the theater on East 72nd St., The Expendables. After far too much explosive action from Stallone and friends, followed by hot dogs from a cart, we headed over to the Central Park Zoo. We planned our visit to the zoo to coincide with the 2:30 penguin feeding, but they had shut the penguin enclosure for maintenance. Gwen’s backpack harbored a bottle of some pre-fab sangria. We passed the contraband back and forth while we perched on top of Rat Rock in the park and wished we had purchased a more palatable selection. We laughed with the sense of abandon of women getting drunk in public under the August sun. By the time we emptied the bottle, we were ready to go home, even though it was not yet dark.

    The music continues to play in my work-in-progress. In my first novel, Ellen attempts to use her arrangements of Radiohead tunes to seduce Josh when the two of them play their first duet gig together. She takes her love of Radiohead’s music with her into book number two. Here’s a sneak peek of a passage from my WIP:

    A perception of someone scrutinizing me from behind my back sent a wave of shivers across the surface of my skin. I glanced over my shoulder and saw that Sheldon had taken his place at the piano. Squaring my shoulders, I plucked out the next verse, prepared to ignore whatever criticism he planned to hiss at me. It was the piano, not Sheldon, who raised his voice, singing along with the harmonies.

    “What did I just play?” Sheldon asked when we reached the end of the song and my set.

    “Creep.” He lifted himself to his full height and leaned back, his eyes telegraphing his sense of horror at a perceived insult. I stuttered, “I mean, the name of the song is Creep. It’s by the band Radiohead.”

    In order to bring the music to life in my next novel, I plan to embed links within the digital editions connecting the reader to videos of me performing music cited in the book. I have begun my recording project, and I am excited to share with you the video I will embed in this passage of the novel. You can check out my new cover of Creep over on YouTube. Thankfully, I didn’t have a creepy, haranguing pianist hovering over my shoulder as I recorded it!

    Bio: Diane Michaels is a professional author and harpist living in Bloomfield, NJ. Her career has taken her from Carnegie Hall to the wedding hall (she has played at least 1000 weddings). Her articles on establishing and sustaining a career as a musician have appeared in Harp Column and Allegro. When not performing or writing, she and her husband make up songs about and for their miniature poodle, Lola.

    Ellen the Harpist - Cover
    Available on Amazon:​https://www.amazon.com/Ellen-Harpist-Diane-Michaels/dp/0997710713/

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    From Here Comes the Bride to There Goes the Grooms
    You can find more about Diane’s books and music here http://dianemichaelsbooksandharp.com