Category: Guest Authors

Jacquie Biggar – Summer Lovin

Today I’m happy to welcome my friend Jacquie Biggar, the last of my small town romance guest authors.

Jacquie Biggar copy

Hi Jacquie. Tell us about your latest published book.

Summer Lovin’ will be the fifth in my Wounded Hearts series. It releases May 24th in the multi-author box set Summer Heat: Love on Fire, and then separately the end of June.

I see that’s the ebook we’ll be giving away to one reader who comments this week. Here’s the cover blurb, as we writers call it.

Summer Lovin’

Mitch Taylor and Rebecca Sorenson share a secret.

Rebecca’s job as secretary of Cascade Elementary, the same school she attended as a child, is rewarding. She has a great group of friends, many of whom are married now. And if sometimes she wished it were her up there in that sparkling white dress…

Except, wait—she did get to wear bridal white. Granted, it was a slinky party dress and the justice of the peace was Elvis in a gold lame jacket, but still, the deed was done.

She’d tied the knot.

Mitch Taylor doesn’t do regrets. It would be a waste of energy bemoaning the mistakes he’d made in his life. The end of his promising football career taught him nothing in life was a guarantee.

JacquieBiggar_SummerLovin200Like love.

What were the chances two people from the same po-dunk town in Washington would end up together in a nightclub in Las Vegas?  A few too many drinks later, a hasty ceremony performed by the king of rock ‘n’ roll, and they’d been hitched. The night that followed lived on in his dreams, but when he’d woken the next morning she was gone.

Can these two mismatched lovers find a way past their mistakes, or will they keep their lonely hearts forever guarded?

Fun set-up. We’ll put an excerpt at the end of this post. Where is the rest of the series set?

My first series, Wounded Hearts, is set in the fictional town of Tidal Falls, Washington, and my second series, Mended Souls, is a paranormal set in Chicago.

Love it. What sets “your” town apart?

The amount of sexy ex-SEALs who live there? 🙂

What attracted you to the small-town romance genre?

I like the closeness of a small town. Everyone knows you, cares about you, and wants what’s best for you, whether you agree or not! This mentality can make for some interesting storylines.

How much has your writing been influences your own life?

A lot. I was born and raised in a small town, and I owned and operated a restaurant like Grace and Grits, featured in my books.

How would you describe your writing process?

Hap-hazard 🙂 Seriously, I usually spend  the day on emails and social media, then approx. two-three hours a night writing.

What do you feel are the pluses and minuses of writing a series?

All pluses for me. As a reader I like the connection I gain from a set of characters, they become almost real over a series of books. As a writer I think it’s easier to build one world and then expand on it, than to create a new one for every story.

Where do you get your story ideas? Mostly news stories I hear on TV

Why did you decide to self-publish?

A good friend once told me I could take the months, possibly years, polishing my work and submitting to agents and publishers and then give them a large percentage of my profits, or I could self-publish and be my own boss. She’s a smart lady 🙂

Do you listen to music when you write? No, I need silence to write. Too easily distracted, I guess, lol

What do you find easier to write, male or female characters?

Male, I’ve been told more than once my male voice is strong. I’ll take that as a compliment.

What themes does your most recent book explore?

The theme for Summer Lovin’ came to me when I heard some friends were going to Las Vegas for a convention. It made me wonder how many hook up with someone and then regret it later. Or do they? Maybe instead they wish for a second chance. I like to think we all deserve a second chance, don’t you?Summer Heat banner

Do you have a new book coming up?

I’m just finishing a Christmas novella for a multi-author box set releasing in October 2016. It’s near and dear to my heart. The heroine is a single mom with a type 1 diabetic daughter who meets a surly mystery writer and sparks ensue.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?

Gardening and spending time at the beach with DH (Darling husband :))

Can we expect more books in your current series?

Yes, I have ideas for two-three more books in the Wounded Hearts series, and the Mended Souls series will have at least two more stories.

What makes you laugh? My husband. He has a knack for lightening any bad situation we’ve ever been in, and I love him for it.

What is your favourite TV show and why?

Toss up between Blacklist and Lucifer, both for the same reason. The bad guy isn’t all bad. I like how the writers draw us into their lives with flashes of kindness and caring from these characters. One is a known killer and the other is, well, Lucifer, what’s not to like?

Do you prefer coffee or tea? Coffee in the morning, tea at night, preferably herbal.

Wine , whisky or beer? Beer, I’m a Corona girl.

Thanks for taking part Jacquie. And how can readers get in touch with you?

You can contact me on you favourite social media platform.

Facebook Street Team:


Or follow my website below. Check out the giveaways page – you’ll find tons of great prizes every month!


And readers, don’t forget to comment for a chance to win the ebook Summer Lovin. Now, here’s the excerpt.

Excerpt from Summer Lovin:

Rebecca was in Hell.

What other explanation could there be for the reappearance of Mitch in her life when she’d worked so diligently to avoid him for the best part of eighteen hundred and eighteen days—not that she was counting.

The divorce papers sitting on the desk at home were burning a hole through her brain, making her ache with things she dared not admit.

He looked amazing, by far the handsomest man in a room full of fine-looking men. His white dress shirt emphasized the breadth of those impossibly wide shoulders, honed to steel by years of honest manual labor. But then she’d always admired that about him. When his football career had come to an abrupt end he could have turned to a bottle and no one would have faulted him for it. Instead he picked himself up, went to a community college, got his welding ticket, and opened a business. Now his work was often sought after from all over the state and his shop had grown from a backyard garage to a fully equipped warehouse on a prime piece of Tidal Falls land. Mitch Taylor was a local success story.

He grasped her hand and she reluctantly followed his lead across a floor now packed with swaying bodies. He didn’t stop until they reached a shadowed alcove off to one side of the stage. When he turned and held out his arms she stepped forward like a lamb, letting his jacket drop onto a nearby chair. The moment his arms wrapped around her and his calloused fingers found the bare skin of her lower back, Becky knew she was in trouble.

Her startled gaze rushed upward and tangled in the molten heat of his amber eyes. The light and shadows created by their surroundings turned his face lean and mysterious and oh-so-hypnotic. Someone bumped into them but she barely noticed, she was so caught up in his aura. It had been like this before—in Las Vegas.

Rebecca tried to pull away, her heart beating double time, an out-of-sync counterpoint to the drums playing on stage. Mitch simply tugged so that she had to grasp the front of his shirt to keep from falling—not that he would have let her. There were many things about Mitch Taylor that bothered her, but she never doubted his kindness.

He bowed his head and rested his cheek against her temple and his voice rumbled through her soul. “It’s just a dance, sweetheart. What are you afraid of?”




Check back next week to see who the contest winner is.

Thanks for reading.

Judy sig



Author Stacey Joy Netzel

Stacey Joy Netzel – Love where you least expect it.

I want to welcome Stacey Joy Netzel to the Guest Author blog this week.

Thanks so much for inviting me Judy!  I love small town romance and am excited to share my little part of the genre with all of you.

Tell us about your latest Book.

It is Spring Serendipity, book 8 of the Romancing Wisconsin Series

Sometimes love happens when you least expect it…
Lora Howell is stunned to find out her husband cheated on her before his death, but drinking too much and picking up a one night stand to get back at him might not have been the smartest thing to do. Facing the stupidity of her actions, the thirty-two year old mother of two recognizes the emptiness in her heart can’t be filled by sex—especially not with the town playboy whose reputation for loving-and-leaving is legendary.
Charismatic SWAT Officer Shane Parker was perfectly happy with his carefree bachelor ways until that one night with the beautiful widow. Now he can’t get the woman out of his head, and the more time he spends with Lora and her young boys, the higher the risk to his heart. Convincing her he’s ready to settle down becomes the most important negotiation of his life—until one last unexpected bombshell threatens everything.

Available at all retailers listed here:

8StaceyJoyNetzel_SpringSerendipityWhere is your series set?
Romancing Wisconsin is set in northeast Wisconsin, in the real town of Pulaski—well known around WI for its lively Polka Days Festival every year. I live about 8 miles out of town, and while I’ve kept the name, flavor, and a few businesses true to life, I’ve also taken liberties to create some fictional parts of the town and surrounding area, as well as fictional events.

The series is broken up into ‘seasons.’ The first 3 books revolve around Christmas (though Book 1 is a Christmas in July story), the next 3 are set in Autumn, and I’m currently working on the Spring set. Each season has 3 books and one short bonus story. When I get to Summer next year, you can be sure some of the characters will be going to Polka Days.

What sets your series apart?
In each book of the series there is a matchmaker named Santa Butch who has a hand in getting the hero and heroine together. Sometimes it’s very subtle, and leaves the reader guessing, “Was that Butch?”, and sometimes it’s very obvious he had a hand in the match. Even the townspeople are starting to catch on to him.

Butch holds a special place in my heart because he’s loosely based off my dad, who played Santa for families around the lake while we were growing up.

Very cool to use your dad. What attracted you to the small-town romance genre?
I grew up in a small town of just under 1000 people, about an hour north of Pulaski. And even then, that’s mostly where I went to school. We lived 14 miles out of town on a lake, and my parents didn’t drive us many places, so that lake, and out of town vacationers were what kept us active (swimming/ice skating). As a kid, I wasn’t so sure I liked being so far away from everything, but once I left home and ended up in bigger cities, I longed to go back to country living. I like setting my characters there because I can write them from the standpoint of where they can’t wait to get out of the boondocks, and others are relieved to be away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Do you have a new book coming up?
I’m currently writing book 9 in the Romancing WI series, Spring Dreams, and then I’ll also have the short bonus story Spring Spark (9.5) that goes out FREE to all my newsletter subscribers. (make sure to sign up at

What a great idea! What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?
Reading, watching TV, gardening/canning. Though the older I get, the less my back can handle being out in the garden for too long. This year, I’ll be supporting the local organic farm a few miles away by ordering my canning veggies from them.

Is it coffee or tea for you?
Tea. Unfortunately, I have to limit myself to a cup or two a day because I only like it with sugar and honey.

Wine , whisky or beer?
None. I like raspberry vodka slush (a recipe I came up with by modifying a brandy slush recipe), or some Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur) over ice. And even then only occasionally, because again, lots of sugar, and I’ve never been much of a drinker.

Hazelnut liqueur sounds fantastic. What’s on your desk?
Besides the usual pens, books, notebooks…Puffs Plus with lotion, tea mug or water glass, a little stuffed K-9 dog from when I attended the Writer’s Police Academy, Himalayan salt lamp, a match-box sized Delorian from my son because we love all the Back to the Future movies, a smooth rock with the word ‘inspire’ from my daughter, a ‘Joy’ knickknack from a good friend, and occasionally peanut butter M&M’s, marshmallows, and fresh flowers.

If money was no object, where would your next vacation be?
Alaska. Cruise, train tour, hiking…all over the course of a month or two so I’m not rushed and stressed. That’s a version of Heaven to me.

Thanks again, Judy! It was great visiting!  I’d love if you all visited Pulaski in the Romancing 1StaceyJoyNetzel_MistletoeMischief_200pxWisconsin Series and let me know how you like it. In addition to giving away an ebook copy of Spring Serendipity, Book 1 in the series, Mistletoe Mischief, is perma-free on all retailers.  Go to

You can find all of my books at my website, and you can also sign up for my newsletter for FREE reads, new release information, and exclusive sneak peeks, and cover reveals.

Okay. Thanks for doing this today Stacey. To qualify for the draw next Monday to win an eCopy of Spring Serendipity, send Stacey a comment below. Come back next Monday to see who the winner is, when I’ll be talking to Kimberley Lang.

Thanks for stopping by.

Judy sig









Corrissa James – Back to the Heartland

headshot croppedAward-winning author Corrissa James, my guest author this week, was not always a country girl. In fact, she fought it all her life, traveling the world to live in far-flung cities like St. Petersburg, Russia, Caracas, Venezuela, Varanasi, India, and Guadalajara, Mexico. She didn’t realize she was meant to live in the country until she returned to her roots in Nebraska, where she discovered the beauty of the fields around her (even if she was allergic to them) and the intensity of Mother Nature, who sure packs a wallop!

Corrissa’s contemporary western romance novels offer afternoon reads focused on strong women and the men they choose. But it’s never without some struggles along the way.

This week we’ll be giving away a kindle version of her Great Plains Romance Series novel, So Wills the Heart. (Check the sidebar for the winner of last week’s draw.)

Hi Corrissa. Good to have you with us. I drove across the US last summer and passed through Nebraska. Beautiful country! Where is your series set?

The Great Plains Romance series is set in a group of fictional towns in northeast Nebraska. I grew up in the area (and spent my entire youth trying to escape it!), but never really understood how exciting small towns could be until I returned later in life. Everyone knows everyone else (and their family business!) or is related to everyone in some way, and people are quick to offer their two cents on any situation.

There are exhaustive lists of shared memories, but everybody remembers things differently, and the details can be argued about for hours (ahem, years?). Every person in a small town has secrets, but usually the “secrets” aren’t really secrets at all. Some people are desperate to escape the small towns while others refuse to leave.

All in all, the setting offers a great opportunity for all sorts of drama—and people in small towns are experts at creating their own drama, whether at a family event, a street dance, or even over coffee at the local gas station. Oh sure, people in small towns may look like they are leading a laid-back life, but scratch the surface just a little and an exciting spectacle is sure to ensue. That’s one of the characteristics that made me want to write small-town romances.

That’s a great explanation of the appeal of small town romance. Where do you get your story ideas?

Almost all of my ideas start with a single moment and I build the characters and stories around that. For example, So Wills the Heart was inspired by a discussion about swimming in ponds and how you always have to be careful because you never know what you might find, especially in the smaller ponds (our talk focused on snapping turtles from that point forward). I liked the idea of having a startling, unexpected encounter in this very out-of-the-way place and used that to create a pond scene for So Wills the Heart. Ultimately that same idea—being surprised by what you find in new places—permeates throughout the story.

Evie, the heroine, heads to rural Nebraska to clean out the house of a deceased relative whom she’s never even heard of. Although she initially agrees to the project as a way to run away from some of her own skeletons (which she has a habit of doing), she quickly becomes bored with the endless parade of glass figures on the shelves, so she heads out to explore the countryside.

Enter Jonathan, the youngest of four close-knit brothers running a cattle operation. I won’t give So-Wills-The-Heart coveraway all the details, but suffice it to say that their initial meeting takes place in a pond and it is electric! Ultimately, Jonathan opens Evie’s eyes to the beauty of the area, and she starts making all sorts of discoveries about herself and what she wants out of life.

But of course we all know that in small towns, drama is always part of the package, which creates a difficult decision for Evie: Stand up to the challenges or fall back on her tried-and-true reaction of running away and starting over.

Sounds like a great premise. Do you have a new book coming up?

I am fleshing out a new series related to rural vineyards (which has been a great excuse to visit all the wineries in the area!). Some of the stories incorporate the vineyard in the heart of the conflict, others use events that take place at the wineries, but they’re all still very much small-town romances. I’ve committed to having two new books available for a readers’ event in early November, so I guess I’d better get cracking!

The research sounds brutal! Looking forward to seeing them next fall.

Now here’s an excerpt from So Wills the Heart:

Evie sat down on one of the stools and waited. She checked her phone. No messages. No data service either. She could pull up a map using one of her apps, but the GPS service couldn’t track her location. The Internet wouldn’t load.

“Great. Stuck in a bar, but I don’t know where.”

“It’s the Porterhouse.”

She swung around on the stool to see Jonathan Clark standing just inside the doorway.

He smiled. “Can’t get enough of me, huh?”

“Oh, you can help me! Where am I?”

“Porterhouse Bar.”

“No, I mean what city.”

He frowned, then cocked his head. “Excuse me?”

She slid off the stool, laughing at his expression as she moved to show him the map on her phone. “I’m visiting the area and went out exploring today, kinda got lost. This is where I need to be.” She held up the phone, but he ignored it.

“Visiting, huh? I guessed as much.” He pushed past her to walk behind the bar, where he filled a red plastic cup with ice and water from a soda dispenser. He drank the entire cup without pausing, never taking his eyes off her. He refilled the empty cup and handed it to her. He leaned both elbows on the counter, then looked up at her as she drank. When his eyes dropped to her neck, she nearly choked on the water. He looked back up at her and smiled.

“You sure you’re just visiting? Couldn’t you at least pretend to be thinking of staying?”

She shrugged and set the plastic cup down on the bar. “I could see myself living out here, with all the open skies.” She caught her breath. What made her say that? She hadn’t even considered leaving Denver to live here, but when she looked at Jonathan, who was watching her closely, she smiled. Yes, she could see herself enjoying more afternoon swims with him


Catch up with Corrissa at her website,, on facebook, or twitter.

If you want to read more of Corrissa James, visit her Amazon Author page, or comment below to enter this week’s giveaway of So Wills the Heart.

Then, see you next week when New York Times bestselling author Stacey Joy Netzel will be my guest, and I’ll announce this week’s winner.

Thanks for dropping by.

Judy sig










Tamra Baumann – It Had To Be

My guest this week on the small town romance series is Tamra Baumann.

Tammy writes stories she calls, Fun, small town contemporary romance with lots of heart. Sounds perfect for the series!

I Hi Tammy. What is your latest book?

– My latest puBaumann-ItHadtobeFate-21904-CV-FT-V3FrontCover copyblished book is the third in my IT HAD TO BE series,  IT HAD TO BE FATE. Here’s the blurb:

Falling for a bad-boy rock star is the last thing single mother Casey Anderson-Bovier should do. Embroiled in a custody battle with her ex, Casey is fighting to raise her boys in their quaint Colorado hometown—a secret haven for celebrities. But when it comes to her hotel’s newest guest, Casey can’t connect the dots. Is Zane Steele the out-of-control rocker plastered all over the media, or the captivating man with a killer smile who’s charming her and her two boys?

Zane has a good reason for letting the world believe the worst of him—and that’s a secret he’s sure he can never share…until he meets Casey. After years of having fans fall at his feet, he’s found the one woman who brings him to his knees. Casey is beautiful and intriguing—and thoroughly justified in not trusting him one bit, especially with her family at stake. But the only way to be together is to convince her to take a chance on him, on fate, and on their crazy, unexpected love.

What sets “your” town apart?

–  My town is a secret celebrity hideout, and the crafty mayor has provided incentives for all the townspeople to keep their guests’ identities secret.

Sounds like a fun premise. Lots of room there for trouble. What attracted you to the small-town romance genre?

–  My parents both grew up in small towns in Iowa, while my sibs and I were Navy brats, moving constantly and stationed in much larger cities. It fascinated me how even strangers (to me) knew who I was. And I loved going into the town’s diner for ice cream on hot summer days.  We never needed money to pay for our treats because everything went on my grandparents’ tab. You couldn’t do that in Southern California!

How much has your own life influences your writing?

– As writers, we have the opportunity to live vicariously through our characters. So while you’ll never open my closet and see row after row of Louboutin red soled shoes, some of my characters might have them.  I was a real estate appraiser for 25 years before becoming a full time writer last year, so I’ve seen thousands of closets! And seen lots of other things that I have used in books.  (With names changed to protect the innocent, of course.)

– Wow! What a great resource for quirky characters.  How would you describe your writing process?

–  I’m a hybrid writer. I plot just enough so I know where the story will go and what the big turning points are in the story, and then I let the in between happen naturally. Now, don’t misunderstand, I WISH I could plot down to the nitty-gritty, but it’s just not how my busy brain works, so I end up going back and weaving in story threads all the time. Not the most efficient way to write, but it works for me.

– me too. What do you feel are the pluses and minuses of writing a series?

–  It’s fun to write series because characters from previous books show up, but it can be hard too.  I have to keep the characters consistent, the facts about the town the straight, and I can’t forget that the name I chose for a beloved character changed after I turned the book in because my editor didn’t like it. That happened to me in the second book of my series. I was talking to a fan who said how much they enjoyed a certain character and I had to stop and think for a moment who the heck she was talking about!  That was a “Duh!” moment for me for sure. LOL

Do you watch any reality TV?

– Yes! I am a reality TV JUNKIE! I love all the Housewives on Bravo, their outfits and lifestyles are outrageous, and I have watched Survivor from the early years. I don’t actually know people like those on the Housewives, so I enjoy studying them and using parts of their personalities in my characters. I like The Voice and Dancing with the Stars because I love to root for underdogs!  It’s fun to see others striving for and living their dreams.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?

–  When I’m not writing I like to cook, take walks, play tennis, and travel. But my son is getting married next month, so I’m doing a lot less cooking and much more walking and dieting to fit into my dress! (And I bought some spanx as a backup plan!)

– I’m with you! That was me last year. What do you read?

–  I read many genres, but I try to limit other contemporary romance while I’m writing (which is most of the time) because I worry I’ll accidentally borrow a line or phrase that I admired in another book. I have no clue where my words come from sometimes, so I don’t want to risk stealing a good line.  I like to read historical novels and light mystery while writing, but while in editing mode, my must-read authors are Jill Shalvis, Nora, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Kristan Higgins, and many more. They are my reward for getting through my copy edits. ;0)

Do you have a new book coming up?

– I do! I’m writing the second book in my Matchmaker series right now and don’t have a title as of yet. I’m hoping that one will be out in September.  And then the fourth book of my IT HAD TO BE series, IT HAD TO BE THEM, will be out October 11th.Baumann-ItHadtobeFate-21904-CV-FT-V3FrontCover copy

Thanks Tamara. I’ll be giving away IT HAD TO BE FATE as this week’s contest giveaway, next Monday to one person who comments on this post. It could be you!

You can connect with Tamra on her website,, and find her books at Goodreads and her Amazon Author Page.

Next week’s guest author is Nanette Day, so be sure to come back next Monday to see who this week’s winner is.

And watch for my own giveaway this coming Friday to celebrate the launch of Summer of Fortune, the first full length book in my Fortune Bay series!

Thanks for reading. Don’t forget to comment!

Judy sig







Stephanie Berget – Romance Beneath a Rodeo Moon.

Stephanie Berget was born loving horses, developing a lifelong love of rodeo when she married her Bronc Rider. They traveled to rodeos throughout the Northwest while she ran barrels and her cowboy rode bucking horses.

Welcome to the blog Stephanie. And Happy Birthday! Tell us about your latest published book.

Thanks Judy. The book is called Gimme Some Sugar, the first in my Sugar-coated Cowboy series. It is set in the ranching country of central Oregon.

Sounds tasty. Coincidentally, that’s the book I’ll be giving away this week. What’s it about?

Pastry chef Cary Crockett is on the run. Pursued by a loan shark bent on retrieving gambling debts owed him by her deadbeat GimmeSomeSugar_200ex-boyfriend, she finds the perfect hiding place at the remote Circle W Ranch. More at home with city life, cupcakes and croissants than beef, beans and bacon, she has to convince ranch owner Micah West she’s up to the job of feeding his hired hands. The overwhelming attraction she feels toward him was nowhere in the job description.

Micah West has a big problem. The camp-cook on his central Oregon ranch has up and quit without notice, and his crew of hungry cowboys is about to mutiny. He agrees to hire Cary on a temporary basis, just until he finds the right man to fill the job. Maintaining a hands-off policy toward his sexy new cook becomes tougher than managing a herd of disgruntled wranglers.

I had so much fun writing this book. Micah West’s daughter, Willa Wild West, kept me laughing the whole time.

How much has your own life influenced your writing?

I started writing to bring a more realistic view of our western life style to the Romance genre. Some of the information on rodeo and horses in romances was so wrong and I try to fix that in my stories. Also, I married my own rodeo hero and most of my friends either rodeo or ranch. I try not to base my characters specifically on acquaintances and friends, but bits of all of them show up from time to time.

How did you find your most recent hero and heroine?

Out of the blue, Pansy Lark appeared as a secondary character when I was writing Gimme Some Sugar. When I got ready to write the sequel, Sweet Cowboy Kisses, she demanded to be the star. I wanted the hero to be a professional bull rider, and Pansy told me she had history with bull rider Kade Vaughn. Sometimes I have to work hard to come up with the characters peopling my books, but for this one, Pansy led the way. Sweet Cowboy Kisses will be out in August.

You sound busy. What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?

I raise a salsa garden every year, tomatoes, peppers, and onions along with zucchini and green beans. Reworking old furniture is another thing I love to do, adding cowhide and rope to make it western. My biggest passion is training barrel racing horses and competing at rodeos. I haven’t found anything that matches the thrill of racing a horse I’ve trained at full speed.

Can we expect more books in your current series?

Yes, the third book in the Sugar-coated Cowboy series will be Byron Garrett’s story. He’s one of the cowhands on the Circle W Ranch. As a man who’s totally happy working for rancher Micah West, he’s not sure what to do when he finds out he’s not only inherited a wagon load of money, but a little girl, too.

You’re going to start your next project. What’s first?

The next book in line is the sequel to Radio Rose. The title is Love and Other Useless Things and is the story of Stevie, the blue haired twin. Her hero is saddle bronc rider, Will Bogarts, who after years of competing, just qualified for the National Finals Rodeo for the first time. He’s living the dream—at least until Stevie tries to help him out.

What do you read? Do you read different genres when you’re writing vs not writing?

I’m up for a wide range of genres, but contemporary romance is my favorite. I like mysteries, time travel, YA and anything really that is well written. Jennifer Crusie and Susan Elizabeth Phillips are my all time favorite authors and I reread them often. I’m on a humorous paranormal binge right now, inhaling Molly Harper, RL Naquin, Charlaine Harris and Darynda Jones. I’m also a big audio book fan and I’ll listen to anything read by Amanda Ronconi.

Judy here: You can follow Stephanie on Facebook, Twitter @stephanieberget or Pinterest at Stephanie Berget. And be sure to check out all of her books on her Amazon Author Page.

Come back next Monday to find out who the contest winner is, and catch up with Tamra Baumann, next week’s guest author.

Here’s an excerpt from Radio Rose:

Cover Radio RoseThe little red car was all she could afford. Though it got her where she needed to go, it could be finicky. She rubbed her hands together, the friction warming the key in her palm. As she patted the dash, she pumped the gas pedal three times. Holding her breath, she placed the key into the ignition and . . . nothing.

“Come on Miss Cool.” Stroking the steering wheel softly, Rose pumped the gas pedal once more. When she turned the key again, the engine ground a few times then stopped. She took the key out and reinserted it, stroked the dash with her fingertips and pumped the gas pedal one more time.

“I promise you nothing but super premium for the rest of the month if you’ll just start tonight.” As she turned the key, the engine caught, and when she pumped the pedal several times, the little engine roared.

“I wouldn’t trade you for a Ferrari,” she said, her good mood coaxing her frozen lips to curl into a smile.

The statement was an out-and-out lie, but she was talking to a car so what possible difference could it make? The last thing she wanted was to be stuck in the parking lot bribing a stubborn red scrap of metal. 

Of course, if the heap hadn’t started, Rose could have gone back inside and spent the time calling Irwin on the office line to get advice on her own love life, which was nonexistent. But since Miss Cool had decided to cooperate, her love life could remain imaginary, at least for tonight.

With no snow or ice on the road, Rose was driving on autopilot. She’d taken this route so many times the last few years she could drive it in her sleep.

The quarter moon threw out just enough light to outline the stately lodgepole pines that stood sentinel along the edge of the rural highway. Since hers was the only car around at two in the morning, she let her mind wander to the subject of next Monday’s show, Aliens Hidden Amongst Us. She was right on top of it before she noticed the big black thing planted in the middle of the road.

 “Ohhhhh, shit!” She jammed her foot on the brakes, and jerked the wheel to the left. Panic sped through her veins on ice skates as she lost control. The car slid toward the barrow pit, teetered back and forth for a split second then dropped over the edge.

Flickers of pain traveled from her neck to her brain and back as momentum pushed her up so hard her head slammed into the roof. The flickers melded into an explosion as she collapsed, her forehead bouncing off the steering wheel. The hot burn of tears stung her nose, filled her eyes then flowed down her cheeks.

She really had to start wearing her seatbelt.

Though her mind was still spinning like a helicopter rotor, the feeling of flight had ended. The car had come to a stop.

Holding her head between her hands, she took several deep breaths, groaned and tried to figure out what had happened. One minute she’d been driving along minding her own business. The next she was flying through the air like a drunken duck.

The thought of the black thing in the road caused her heart to bounce off her stomach and lodge in her throat. Some of her callers described their alien abductors as floating, just like the thing she’d seen in the road.

Buzzing rang through her head like a cheap alarm clock, and she squeezed her eyes shut in a feeble attempt to drown out the sound. She pressed her fingers into her eyes, took deep breaths and waited until the pain receded to just-below-migraine level.

Concentrating on the ignition, she managed to turn the key, but of course, Miss Cool wouldn’t start.

A tap at the side window caused her to jump. As she slowly turned her head, all she could see were two dark, shadowy blobs, floating. Floating? Sharp, prickly spots of fear wormed their way down her back as she tried to crawl from beneath the steering wheel.

The door was wrenched open, and whatever was out there drifted inside.

Through the fog that inhabited her brain, she heard words. “Easy there. I’ve got you.” She turned toward the voice, leaning away at the same time, but could only see a shadowy splotch.

She was trying to make sense of what was happening when the dome light flickered, dimmed then went out. At the same time, she felt something take hold of her hand and pull her toward the open door.

“Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God,” Rose cried out as she jerked back. Breaking free, she crab-walked her butt back across the seat until she bumped into the passenger door. With her left hand, she fumbled for the door handle, with her right she felt for the ridiculous helmet she never thought she’d need.

 She hadn’t believed in aliens, but then she’d never come across one before. Reality had a way of dispensing with untested doubts. Something was reaching into her car, grabbing hold of her hands. Then it hit her, and her skin turned to ice. Tentacles! With suckers!

Terrified, but determined to do everything in her power to survive, she tried to pull a sufficient amount of air into her lungs. She only succeeded in catching one single breath.

Rose swept her hand along the floor of the car, her fingers coming into contact with the rough edge of a nylon strap. Bursts of panic pulsed beneath her skin when she realized the helmet was wedged beneath the seat. Tears fell one by one from her chin.

Wrapping the strap around her hand, she jerked frantically. With one superhuman tug, it came free. Swinging the mind-protector up to her head, she fought through the fear, settling it into place. With her thumb, she flipped a switch on the side, and the bright colors lit up the interior of the car like a carnival carousel.

As she caught her reflection in the windshield, the hope she’d been holding on to disappeared. She looked like a porcupine decorated in Christmas lights, more ridiculous than frightening. She wasn’t going to scare the alien. Hell, she wouldn’t scare a girl scout.

She’d laughed at the horrible stories of abductions from little-used stretches of country lanes and of the excruciating experiments that followed. They’d happened just like this. Aliens appeared in the middle of the road, and the drivers lost control of their cars.

Though most of the stories had the cars just losing power, not crashing.

With her Novocain numb hands, she couldn’t get the damn straps on the helmet to stay hooked. She had to try. One thing was for sure. She wouldn’t let any creepy aliens make her a statistic.

As she fumbled with the mind-screen’s buckles, the door opened behind her and Rose felt herself being lifted out of the car. She had to get away, to save herself. She had to escape.

Pushing with her arms, and flipping like a fish, she dropped free of the being’s grasp. Her mind said run, but her feet were on strike, and she collapsed like a well-worn rag doll. As she attempted to crawl away, a force lifted her off the ground.

Swinging her legs in desperation, one foot connected with something solid. She heard a string of angry sounds as she was pushed face first, against the car. She tried to kick again, but found her legs pinned against the metal. She punched something hard with her elbow and was twisted around to face her attacker.

The thing grabbed her upper arms and shook her. “Stop fighting me. I’m not going to hurt you.”

“That’s what they all say,” Rose shrieked, “just before they abduct you.”

“Stop it!” The tone and volume of the words penetrated the static in her head, and she quit struggling. This alien spoke perfect English in a deep voice with no sign of an accent.

She focused her eyes on the way his T-shirt stretched across his muscular chest then slid her gaze up until she came to his face. She was surprised to see a very good-looking man. No not a man, an alien in human form.

With dark blond hair, long black lashes surrounding his eyes and a delectably, kissable mouth, he was the personification of her make-believe boyfriend. She licked her lips and lifted one hand to touch his face before coming to her senses.

Boy, aliens had taken morphing to a whole new level. It would be easy to relax into his strong arms, but she needed to keep what senses she had left sharp.

“Are you hurt?” he asked.

Rose was still in shock and shook her head. Glass shards of pain sliced into her brain. She slammed her eyes shut and sucked in a breath.

The helmet slipped to the side, and he gently lifted it off her head. Pressing it into her hands, he waited for her to open her eyes.

She peeked at her helmet and saw half the lights had burned out. “Damn, piece of shit helmet. This piece of crap is guaranteed for ten years. How am I going to make good on the guarantee if I’m abducted? Answer me that.”

“Are you dizzy?” he asked. “Can you walk?”

As she lifted her gaze to his eyes, firefly sparkles flashed across her vision. She’d forgotten he was there. She tossed the helmet to the ground. I must be out of my mind. Abducted by aliens, and I’m worrying about that piece of junk.

As she tried to answer, the words froze into little clumps of ice and melted back down her throat.

“How many fingers do you see?” he asked, holding up one hand.

“Hold them still so I can count.”

“How many?” he asked again, impatience riding on each word.

It seemed a stupid question for an alien to ask, but now was not the time to question these guys on their mathematical skills. Focusing her eyes, she counted the fingers slowly, twice then told the truth. “Seven.”

“You need to sit down while I try to get us out of here.” He carried her to a vehicle, opened the door and placed her on the seat.

“Don’t take me with you. Please. I’m not a normal human. I wouldn’t make a good specimen,” Rose pleaded as she stuffed her trembling hands between her knees to hide the shaking. “Really, I’ll skew your results.”

She focused her vision and concentrated on his features. Nothing was making sense. He looked like a human, a darn nice one, but her callers had told her aliens could change form at will.

He placed her helmet in her lap. Only a light, here and there, was blinking now. Forty-nine dollars and ninety-nine cents down the drain when she didn’t have money to spare. But if she disappeared into outer space to be experimented on, money would be the least of her worries.

She didn’t have the energy to fight him when he lifted her legs, put them in the spaceship and dug around until he found the straps to tie her down. He reached across her, belted her in and shut the door. Now she was trapped. Running her fingers over the door, she tried to find the handle. Before she could make her move, she felt the spaceship lifting off.

She’d listened countless times as her callers talked about their experiences with this exact thing. In her mind, she’d discounted them as being delusional.

Now she remembered what Louise, a regular caller, had said. “They put me in a huge, bright capsule. The takeoff was smooth as glass, and silent as a forest after a snowstorm.”

Her spaceship jerked. With each move, her head spun and noise burrowed into her skull with all the finesse of a jackhammer. There was no beautiful machine here, just a piece of junk, kind of like her Geo.

Just her luck she’d get this puny, puddle jumper of a spaceship. They probably didn’t even serve inter-flight drinks, and she could use a shot of bourbon. As the vehicle jerked again, she grabbed the edge of the seat. Make that two.

Many nights on her show, she’d pretended to believe the people who called in when they’d described this very thing. Some said their ship lifted straight up and some said it flew away, skimming the treetops.

As these thoughts raced through her mind, the spaceship rocked back and forth several times then bounced off the earth.

She didn’t want to leave the earth. Heck, she didn’t want to leave Tullyville, Colorado or KTLY. Who would talk to her callers about aliens if she were abducted? Who would reassure them?

The only thing she could think to do now was pray, fighting aliens with God’s help. Some of her callers insisted it was the way to go. She hadn’t been inside a church since her dad’s funeral, but at this point she needed all the help she could get.