Writer Wednesday: Meet Marie Johnston!

Welcome to Writer Wednesday! I’m glad you’re here for our weekly mini-break for a mini-interview with a magnificent author.

Today I’m happy to bring you Marie Johnston, author of paranormal and contemporary romance, whose website insists, “Life is too short to not read romance!” I whole-heartedly agree, and am thrilled to have Marie with us today.

So grab those Girl Scout cookies (I’m my daughter’s troop’s cookie mom, so cookies are on the mind, and in the house) and a cup of something to sip on, and enjoy getting to know Marie and her work a little better!

Which type of romance do you love most, and why?

Paranormal! I transitioned to romance after being a diehard fantasy reader. But when I noticed I was scouring blurbs, looking for the romance, I wondered why I didn’t just read romance. Paranormal was a natural transition and after a little Sherrilyn Kenyon and J. R. Ward, I was hooked.


Name one interesting thing you learned in researching/writing your last book:

I’m working on Navy short stories and it’s really, really hard to find a Sailor to interview when I live in the middle of the country. My husband’s friend recommended Carrier, a PBS miniseries that followed USS Nimitz on a deployment. It sucked me in and I binge watched all 10 episodes.


Name two things people don’t know about you:

I’m a veteran and a triathlete. My knees are shot, so I don’t know if I can get back to sprint triathlons, but I haven’t ruled it out. My soldier days are way past done, though.


What one piece of advice do you wish you’d had when first starting out?

Join RWA. Learn the craft.

I had zero knowledge about writing and publishing. But writing seemed so simple compared to self-publishing. I immersed myself in learning the business side, but my writing wasn’t where it should’ve been. I did a lot of things right but so, so many things wrong. I would’ve also loved if someone told me to become a marketing expert and handed me a list of reputable editors. All of it is a lifelong process writing and publishing, but I wish I knew more of those topics when I began.

A Bit About Ancient Ties:

Kaitlyn Savoy might’ve been raised human, but she’s fully embraced her shifter side in her role as Guardian. Protecting her species calls to her blood, but unfortunately, so does her new partner. She pretends indifference to his cutting remarks about her heritage and the inconvenient blackouts she experiences after each shift.

Chayton Eagle’s honorable bloodlines include an ancient father and full-blooded Sioux mother. When he joins the West Creek Guardians and meets Kaitlyn, he can’t believe fate chose her to be his mate. But it’s too late. He already swore himself to another female.

When the two Guardians have to partner for a mission, it brings them too close to resist their attraction. Until Chayton discovers the promise he made in the past may kill his future.

Find Ancient Ties here:

AmazonBarnes and Noble | Kobo

TypewriterA Bit About Marie:

Marie Johnston lives in the upper-Midwest with her husband, four kids, and an old cat. Deciding to trade in her lab coat for a laptop, she’s writing down all the tales she’s been making up in her head for years. An avid reader of paranormal romance, these are the stories hanging out and waiting to be told, between the demands of work, home, and the endless chauffeuring that comes with children.

Want to connect further with Marie? Find her here!

Website | Blog Twitter | Facebook Goodreads | Amazon Author Page 

Thanks so much for spending time with us today, Marie! I’m glad you could be a part of Writer Wednesday


Writer Wednesday: Meet Sarita Leone!

Welcome to Writer Wednesday, that lovely few moments of the week in which you can take a break from everything else and learn a bit about an author and his/her latest release!

This week I’m happy to present Sarita Leone, author of mainstream fiction, mystery and romance novels, short stories, and cookbooks. A “Jill-of-all-trades,” she calls herself on her website, and I couldn’t agree more. Today she’s here to give us a little insight into her writing life and her latest paranormal release, Regenerate.

Welcome, Sarita!

Which type of romance do you love most and why?

I like any romance that shows growth between characters. They need to develop into a romantic relationship. I like to watch the way characters evolve.

Name one interesting thing you learned in researching/writing your last book:

My recent release, Regenerate, is a paranormal romance with loads of action in it. Central to the story is a top-secret intelligence agency. I learned a lot about military terms and procedures. It was a challenge, but fun!

Gone With The Wind coverWhat’s your favorite romance novel of all time, and why?

I love Gone With The Wind. I have read it so many times I can recite passages!

I love it because Scarlett is such a strong heroine. She never gives up. She never gives in. She’s not always likable, but she sticks to her goals and underneath it all, she’s just a woman who wants to be loved.


A Bit About Regenerate

The Octopus isn’t an urban myth—and its agents are anything but ordinary. The intelligence bureau is so well-hidden most doubt its existence. A handful know its location. And fewer walk the halls in the subterranean compound.

Benjamin Sinclair didn’t ask to be a scientific miracle but every mission has its risks and one perfectly placed bullet ended his life—for a brief moment in time.

Nicole Anima battles demons every day. Life as a paranormal resources operative gives her tortured mind a rest—and keeps her from contemplating her own death.

When Anima and Sinclair partner on a globe-trotting race to eliminate the threat about to cripple humanity, all hell breaks loose. Leaping from planes, crashing into continents, dealing with voodoo priestesses, and running through jungles with zombies hot on their trail doesn’t leave much time for romance, but this duo somehow manages to sizzle.

Two agents. Telepathic mind paired with regenerated commando. One world—and a mission to save it.

Find Regenerate on Amazon!

A Bit About Sarita:

Sarita Leone lives in a remote area of upstate New York with her wonderful husband Vito. Their days are filled with laughter and their nights are spent dancing beneath the stars. When she’s not writing, Sarita enjoys hiking, boating, reading and drawing.

For as long as she can remember Sarita Leone wanted to be an author. In fact, when she signed her first book contract she shared the news with her closest childhood friend. Her friend wasn’t at all surprised, saying, “You always said you wanted to be a writer when we grew up. So does this mean we’ve finally grown up?”

That first book contract was for a novel called Snowdance, which was released with Whiskey Creek Press in August 2007. Since then, Sarita has sold several books and short stories.

With such a romantic husband for inspiration and a peaceful hideaway nestled in the hills it is easy to see how writing in the Leone household is a joy rather than a job.

Thanks so much for joining us, Sarita! It was a pleasure to host you. 🙂

Writer Wednesday: Meet Teresa LaBella!

Welcome to Writer Wednesday, that one marvelous day of the week on which you get to indulge in mini-interviews with authors and learn about them and their latest work.

Today I’m happy to bring you Teresa LaBella, author of contemporary romance and the New Life In Love trilogy. Teresa resides in my home state of Iowa, so a special shout-out from one former midwesterner to another!

Grab your favorite libation and settle in for this short but delightful interview with Teresa as she talks writing and her latest book, Belonging.

What inspires you to write?

Reading well-crafted stories written by other authors inspires me to keep writing. I’m always amazed at the power of the written word to open our imagination, take us to places we may never have been or will be, and care so deeply about the fictional characters that their story stays with us until and after we turn the last page. I write with the goal of taking my readers to that place of wonderment with the characters I imagine.

Name one interesting thing you learned in researching/writing your last book: 

There’s a scene in Belonging where Marisa watches her husband Alistair dress in his formal Clan McKenzie kilt. I researched the historical significance of the tartan and function of each kilt accessory – the sporran pouch, the flashes that hold up the kilt hose, and the sheathed sgian dubh once used for cutting food as well as self-defense. Then I asked my husband to put on his kilt for me as Alistair did for Marisa for a wee bit of authentic show and tell research!

What’s your favorite romance novel of all time, and why?

I just finished reading my favorite romance novel of all time and what could be the best book I’ll ever read. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover literally changed my formerly biased attitude toward women and men suffering the physical, emotional and psychological pain inflicted by domestic abuse. This first-person account of an intimate taboo is powerful storytelling at its best about a loving relationship at its worst.

A Bit About Belonging

When Marisa’s certain path to her future ends, the struggle to recover from heartbreak begins.

The daughter of Darien McKenna admires and adores her Michelin star chef father. Lessons learned at his side earn her acceptance into a prestigious school of culinary arts and an apprenticeship at the upscale mid-town Manhattan kitchen Chef Darien once commanded. Pressure to succeed in a high-stress career crushes her confidence. Devastating loss shatters her world.

Marisa’s search to find a new path leads to the land of the McKenna Clan and the arms of a heart-stopping handsome, yet lonely man. Alistair McKenzie traded his barrister career and life in Glasgow to preserve family history and honor on a farm in the Scottish Highlands. He’s tired of wearing his kilt to weddings and lifting a glass to another happy bride and groom. He yearns for everlasting love with the lass who will be his wife. Smoldering attraction and ignited passion bring them together.

Have Marisa and Alistair found forever love in their desired place of “Belonging?”

A Bit About Teresa:

Teresa LaBella published her first contemporary romance novel, Reservations, in 2013. The story continued in Heartland published in 2015 and concludes with Belonging, the final novel in the New Life in Love trilogy, published in October 2016. A freelance writer and consultant, the Iowa native resides in her hometown with her husband John and three rescued Husky kids.

Want to connect further with Teresa? Find her here:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Thanks so much for joining us, Teresa! It was a pleasure having you here. 

Writer Wednesday: Meet Irene Onorato!

It’s the first #WriterWednesday of 2017! WAHOO!

To celebrate, I’m bringing you clean military romance author Irene Onorato. Because nothing spices up a cold winter day (well, it’s cold here in Virginia, at least) like a love story, and getting to know the authors behind the romances is fun for everyone.

Thanks for joining us! I hope you enjoy learning about Irene and her work – and please do leave some love in the comments!

What inspired you to write your latest novel, A Soldier Finds His Way? Any real-life heroes you’d like to tell us about that might have been an inspiration to you?

A Soldier Finds His Way had been brewing in my head for several years before I wrote the first draft. I’ve always been drawn to military men, so it stood to reason my male leads would be in the service. My father had been in WWII and part of my inspiration was the stories he told me about his time overseas. Also, he and I were huge fans of the old TV show Combat! starring Vic Morrow, who played Sgt. Saunders. Go ahead and laugh, but I had a huge crush on him.

How would you categorize the sub-genre of romance you write?

My publisher listed A Soldier Finds His Way in several categories: contemporary, clean, inspirational, and Christian. But don’t let that give you the idea that there’s no action, conflict, or outright romantic moments. There’s plenty of that in Soldier. My target audience is women young and old who prefer their reading material to be profanity-free, and for romantic scenes to stray no further than passionate kissing and embracing. I stay within these boundaries for this audience.

Tell us about the craziest thing(s) you do in the name of “research” for your books:

The craziest? I don’t know if it counts as research, but sometimes, when I want to describe facial expressions or moods, I stand at the mirror making the face I envision on whatever character I’m writing about, and try to describe what I’m seeing. If I want to describe sorrow, I think sad thoughts (like how I felt when I had to put my dog to sleep, etc.), and write about how the pain goes beyond the heart, right down into the depths of my very soul. That kind of stuff.

What’s your favorite romance movie of all time, and why?

I have several favorites, and it would be hard to pick the one I like best. I’m a big fan of You’ve Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, While You Were Sleeping, Notting Hill (I’m just a girl standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her…Sigh…), and Dear Frankie. The last one on the list, Dear Frankie, wasn’t a very popular movie. Gerard Butler played the lead with his delicious Scottish accent. Need I say more?

What fellow romance author(s) do you recommend reading?

I’m particularly fond of Dana K. Ray, author of A Second Chance, Beatrice Fishback, author of Bethel Manor, and Linda Robinson, author of When Love Abounds.

Dana is an up-and-coming author with several more books lined up for publication. Bea is a diverse writer whose next published book will be a cozy mystery. Linda has several published novels on the market and has just added a compilation of short stories to her repertoire. Great authors, all.

So what’s next for you? Do you have another book in the making?

Yes. A Soldier Finds His Way is the first installment of the Veteran’s Heart series. More Than a Soldier and A Soldier’s Song will follow in June and December of 2017.

*Thank you so much for hosting me on this Writer Wednesday blog. It’s been an honor and a privilege.

[ML says: The privilege has been ours! Thank you so much for joining us!]

A Bit About A Soldier Finds His Way:

Sometimes getting lost is the best way home . . .

 After a painful youth spent in foster homes, Special Forces soldier Edward Giordano has all but given up on love. Returning to New York from a dangerous mission in Costa Rica with no one to welcome him home, he knows he must find a way through his bitterness and embrace faith, or he’s destined for misery and loneliness. But he never expects that saving someone else’s life might help him save his own…

Audra Lorenzo is a first-year school teacher with a bright future. All she’s missing is a man to share her happiness. Her father wants her to rekindle her relationship with her ex-boyfriend, but she can’t stop thinking about the handsome, kind, and courageous soldier who rescued her from a near-deadly car accident…

Edward too, has not stopped thinking of Audra. After making peace with God and with his difficult past, he’s ready to re-connect with her and reveal his feelings. Edward knows that opening his heart will mean risking pain, but he’s prepared for whatever comes—from a perilous deployment to Audra’s meddling father…

Find A Soldier Finds His Way here: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

TypewriterA Bit About Irene: 

Irene Onorato was born and raised in Bronx, New York. Her father, a first-generation American whose parents were born in Italy, was an Army veteran who had served with the 178th combat engineers during WWII. He told numerous stories of battles, hardships, tragedies and triumphs. The glimpses he gave into the hearts of many American warriors would later become the inspiration for much of Irene’s writings.

In 1972, a few months after graduating high school, Irene met James Onorato, a soldier who had just returned from Vietnam. After dating two weeks, they married, raised three children, and are still happily married today.

Irene and James, both radiation protection technicians, retired from the nuclear power industry in 2014 and now reside in Louisiana.

Want to connect further with Irene? Find her here:

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Author’s web page | Author’s blog   

Writer Wednesday: Meet Clair Brett!

Welcome, welcome to the final Writer Wednesday of 2016! *sob* (But don’t worry, we’ve got plenty more amazing authors in store for you in 2017!)

Today I’m happy to bring you Clair Brett, historical romance author of “strong heroines and the Lords who want to tame them.” Who wouldn’t want to read that? My first love has always been historical romance. There’s just something about a man in – and out of – a cravat.

So sit back and relax and soak in this brief but informative interview with Clair as we learn more about her and her upcoming release, Dealing With the Viscount.

What inspires you to write?

As an only child, I was forever making up stories to keep my Barbies and me occupied, so it is natural for my brain to be churning story ideas, and I need to do something with them. Now, as the mother of two girls, I want to create strong heroines who don’t always need saving and Heroes who I feel are worthy of one of my daughters as an example of what is possible. If they wouldn’t be one of my Heroes, they are not worthy of my daughters.

Which type of romance do you love most, and why?

I love a good historical romance. It sweeps me to a completely new world with different problems and obstacles, so I can fully get lost. I do have to admit if something gets blown up or there is a spy, I will fall in love with it even more. (I am a die-hard James Bond fan, so that is where that comes from).

What’s your favorite romance novel of all time, and why?

Confessions of a Scoundrel by Karen Hawkins is one I go back to over and over again. It is just a fun story from beginning to end. Ms. Hawkins does a great job creating a strong heroine with a great backstory, but one who is vulnerable and thus susceptible to falling in love. The hero is thrown into a situation that at face value is one thing, but in reality is something very different, so he starts out the story back peddling and forever trying to keep up, but in the end is the hero we all want in our lives. It is the story that made me think, “maybe I could do that”. I even keep it on my research shelf in a special place.

Name two things people don’t know about you:

Hmm, I am really an open book, but readers wouldn’t know that I am adopted. It has been a large part of who I am as a person. I have a relationship with my natural parents and siblings and thanks to the adults in my life, it has been a wonderful experience giving me a lot of support when I needed it. I am an advocate for adoption when possible…

And my nickname as a child was Charlie, but many people in my small little home town still call me by that name. My dad used to call me Charlie Brown and it got shortened. I didn’t always like it, though.

A Bit About Dealing With The Viscount

After making a wager of marriage to settle her father’s gambling debts, Ella Bowen-Thorn Renwick escaped the husband she foolishly began to fall for and disappeared into the Scottish countryside carrying a secret. Four years later, and the owner of her own bakery, she is still not free of the demands of men when a violent and anonymous blackmailer threatens her, her livelihood…and her daughter. And then, there is him…

Viscount Renwick still mourns the wife he began to love before her untimely death–that is until he discovers her alive and well living in Scotland. Now, Devon’s face to face with the wife he thought he’d buried and the daughter he never knew existed. He’d like nothing more than to welcome Ella back into his arms, but mysterious and troubling incidents and a history with an unloving father have Ella trusting no one.

But, if Renwick convinces his wife he’s the husband she always dreamed of and the father their daughter deserves, will the scandalous secret the blackmailer is holding threaten their future together once more?

Find Dealing With the Viscount here: 

Amazon Kindle | Nook | Kobo | Apple

A Bit About Clair:

Dragon keeper and historical romance author, Clair Brett lives in New Hampshire with her hard-working husband and two teenaged daughters. Her office staff during the day consists of Cinta, a black cat and the matriarch of the fur babies; Mojo, a yellow kitten who spends his day holding Clair down in her seat to get her word count in; a boxer/beagle mix puppy named Willow who sleeps next to her chair to make it hard to do an Oreo run without doing a pee run as well; a hermit crab who keeps to himself; and a bearded dragon, who is kind of upper management.

A former middle and high school English teacher, Clair has had a lifetime love affair with reading. Once she read Pride and Prejudice as an extra read in high school, she was hooked. Clair began pursuit of publication when she was a new mother in need of a hobby. Her oldest daughter will be graduating in 2017, so you do the math. Clair is a firm believer that a reader finds a piece of who they are or learns something about the world with every book they read. She wants her readers to be empowered and to have a refreshed belief in the goodness of people and the power of love after reading her work.

Want to Connect Further with Clair? Find Her Here:

Website |  Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Amazon Author Page | Pinterest

Thanks so much for joining us this holiday week, Clair! It was a pleasure to host you. 🙂