Friday, August 23, 2019

Friday Feature: Excerpt from Breaking the Rules, by Katie O'Sullivan

My new book for the summer is a paperback compilation of three novellas - 
Breaking the Rules
Bending the Rules
Changing the Rules 

Together, the series - and the paperback - is titled Cape Cod Dating Rules.

I thought it was a clever title, until I started doing book events.
People thought it was some kind of "How To" Rule Book for Dating.

Um, no.

It's fiction. It's three friends who each have rules about dating, designed to keep their hearts safe.
And the hot guys that convince them to break those rules.


Recognition jolted through Abbie like an electrical surge. Whatever she was about to say to the captain evaporated from her mind while she stared into the most gorgeous blue eyes she’d ever seen.
What was the hot blond god from the bar doing in her boss’s office?

Her first thought was that he’d tracked her down, but she quickly dismissed the idea. They hadn’t even spoken last night, something she’d regretted all the way home. She cleared her throat and was about to introduce herself when Captain Nickerson interrupted.

“Abbie, I didn’t realize you’d already met my, uh, nephew. He’s on Cape looking for a job. We were discussing the possibilities with John.”

She furrowed her brow and dragged her eyes away from the depths of the blue pools. “I didn’t know you had any nephews besides my brother, Uncle Charlie.”

Nickerson chuckled and twisted his silver watch band. “Jake’s dad is an old family friend, just like your dad and me, Abigail. When the boy needed to get out of Boston for the summer, his dad requested my help.”

Her eyes slid back over to Jake, appraising him. He looked like he was about her age, give or take a few years. Strong jawline, sculpted lips, wide shoulders, capable looking hands… she drank him in from top to bottom, every nerve ending in her body kicking into overdrive. Well-dressed and clean shaven, he certainly didn’t look like some punk kid whose father needed to call in favors to find him a job. And those eyes… she dared another glance at his face and found him looking straight at her, amusement twinkling within that sea of blue. She could happily drown in eyes like those. She wondered whether he was seeing anyone. Not that she’d had much time to date recently but for the right guy she could make time. Maybe. Her gaze slid along angular cheekbones to the scruff on his jawline… yeah, she should definitely carve out some time to get to know this guy.

She wondered what those sculpted lips would taste like, how they would feel on the sensitive skin along her neck… her cheeks blazed anew at the sudden and intimate direction of her thoughts. Nerves jangling, heart suddenly beating faster, she almost missed the rest of what Uncle Charlie was saying.
“…and at least now he’s learned his lesson about making time with the owner’s daughter. Unfortunately, come to find out the man has unsavory connections so we all felt it would be safer for Jake to make himself scarce for a few months. Thanks for offering him a position in the kitchen, John.”

Her eyes widened as she processed the meaning behind the words. “Wait a sec, Uncle Charlie. Let me get this straight. You want to hide a playboy who can’t keep it in his pants at work… hide him from the mob… and put him on my kitchen staff?”

Captain Nickerson chuckled. “Abigail, you’re being overly dramatic. No one calls them ‘the mob’ anymore, like something out of a Godfather movie. Besides, the boy is experienced in the restaurant business. Right, Jake?”

The “boy” in question cleared his throat, looking suddenly sheepish despite his rugged good looks. “I don’t think we need to share quite so many details, Uncle Charlie. And yeah, I know my way around a kitchen.” He kept his gaze trained on her, as if willing her to see it was all some sort of misunderstanding.

A strangled noise of frustration escaped from Abbie, realizing the blond was a player. Of course he was. He probably had lots of practice smiling at women in bars and seducing them with the kind of soul-searing kisses she’d just been daydreaming about. Yeah, totally not the kind of distraction she needed this summer on top of everything else. 

 Grab this first story on Kindle for 99 cents

...or get the paperback of all 3 stories for the beach.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Writing Wednesday: Speaking Up to Self Promote

So I was at my usual Monday evening yoga class and realized during opening meditation that I hadn't paid. Yeah, it harshed with my relaxation a bit, but I quickly decided I had enough cash in my purse to hand the teacher cash at the end and be all set for the next month.

I had a fairly successful book signing on Friday where everyone paid cash. What better way to spend it than on yoga class, right?

Afterward I spoke with the teacher, and she said, no problem, don't worry, and I said "I had a good book signing, so you should take the money while I have it."

The teacher - and the entire class - did a double take. Silence filled the room for a split second or two before they all began asking questions at once, and I realized NONE OF THEM KNEW I WROTE BOOKS.

This is an affluent group of women, mostly older than myself, who do yoga once or twice a week, drink wine, travel, and of course read... and I'd never thought to mention to any of them that I write romance and romantic suspense.

Granted, it's not like we go out for cocktails after class or anything. But I've seen many of them once a week for the last six or eight months.

Do you have groups of friends like that or does everyone know you're an author?

Am I the only one who "keeps secrets" as one of the ladies accused?

Maybe it's because I'm not sure how to open that conversation. How do you work it into a conversation when you meet new people? Or with a group of people you know or work with?

If you have told people, how did they react? Were they interested in buying and reading your books?

Now I need to decide if I'm going to take some books with me next Monday to class. The teacher already said she thought it would be a good idea. So maybe....

In the meantime, Happy Writing to All!

Monday, August 19, 2019

Monday Book Review: The Shadowheart Curse, by Karilyn Bentley

The Shadowheart Curse, by Karilyn Bentley
Published August 2019 by The Wild Rose Press

About the Book:
Escaping New York after a client's untimely death, medium Adrianna Sinclair flees to her family property in Italy. All she wants is to avoid ghosts, but an attractive one tempts her in ways she never knew possible.

Luca Fausto has been trapped on the Romani property for over a century for a crime he didn't commit. Adrianna may be the answer to breaking the curse that keeps him bound.
Standing in their way is a demonic spirit's plan for revenge. Will they prevail or will Luca be cursed to the shadows forever?

My Take:

Adriana Sinclair is a well-known psychic in current-day New York City. Luca Fausto was the bookkeeper for a grain mill in the Italian countryside at the turn of the last century. A most unlikely hero and heroine for a love story. Especially when it's not a time travel romance in the classic sense of the genre, or even the Diane Gabaldon-twisted sense.

In 1910, Luca was cursed by the mill's owner, thrown from reality into the twilight spirit world along with his evil brother Marco. Luca's only crime was being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and now he's been trapped along with his brother for over a hundred years, destined to roam the mill property as a shadow, a spirit. Not really a ghost because he didn't really die.

Adriana has been able to see and talk with ghosts since she was a little girl, a gift passed down through generations of her family. As a medium, she connects spirits with their loved ones to give both the ghost and the living people some degree of closure. She takes pride in the fact that she helps these spirits move on to their final rest.

As the book begins, she's returned to Umbria, Italy on a sabbatical of sorts in the wake of a media storm after one of her clients was killed right outside her home. She blames herself for the death and vows to find a new line of work, one that doesn't involve conversing with the spirit world... until she encounters Luca. With his rugged good looks and the genteel manners of a time long past, she begins to fall for him - while wondering about her sanity, because, come on, he's a ghost. How's THAT going to work out? Read the book and find out!

I love the way Karilyn Bentley writes, although this story was a bit different than her Demon Huntress series (which I adored! All five books, and was so sorry to see them end!) While Adrianna has the same spunk and tenacity as Gin Crawford from that previous series, she's got less moxie and bravado, and a little less snark when the story first starts. Adrianna took the death of her client to heart and lost her confidence, I guess, and it's reflected in her tentative attitude. As the book progresses she regains some of her inner strength as well, which is good to see. Just in time to fight back against the evil.

The cursed brothers, Luca and Marco, exude the attitudes and language of their original time period, but are also earthier and less proper than I would expect them to be. Perhaps it's because they're originally from the counryside or perhaps it's because they've witnessed the world progressing for a hundred years, albeit from the shadows. And don't forget, Marco is evil - Bentley writes evil demons and their abilities with panache.

Unpredictable and filled with interesting twists on the spirit world, I enjoyed this ghost story romance. Four-and-a-half stars, because I really liked it, but didn't love it. I do recommend it if you enjoy ghosts and demons and stories where true love conquers all. One of the most exciting aspects is that it'll be turned into a movie, where they are planning to live stream the making of the movie... so you have to read it first. I can't wait to see how they portray the spirit/human interactions, and the ghostly underground cotillions. (See? Unpredictable!)

Grab your copy now on AMAZON ($3.99 on Kindle) and start reading!

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Karilyn Bentley and her #New Relase THE SHADOWHEART CURSE

My guest today is Karilyn Bentley, author of a number of fabulous paranormal novels including The Demon Huntress series (one of my favs) She's visiting today to celebrate the release of her latest paranormal romance THE SHADOWHEART CURSE - and share the unique story behind it! I'm currently reading this book (loving it!) and my review will be up on Monday... in the meantime...

Welcome, Karilyn!
  Hi Katie! Thank you for letting me drop by for a visit today! I'm excited to announce the release of my newest book, The Shadowheart Curse. This book is special for a number of reasons, the main one is:  
it's being made into a movie!

You can live stream the movie as it's being made. Which is a pretty cool idea! How did this come about, you might ask? Well, I got a call from my publisher asking if I'd be interested in writing a book based on the movie director's idea. Long story short, I said yes. (If you want the long story, here's a link to my publisher talking about what happened: )

So what's it's like to write a ghost story based off someone else's idea? (I'm a ghostwriter, get it? Okay, sorry, dumb pun, just couldn't help myself) This was a new experience for me, one that I enjoyed. 

As a little background, for the last year, the writing muse had totally abandoned me. I guess she wanted an extended vacation at the beach or something because she wasn't around no matter what I did. It was so bad, I thought my writing career was over. Then my publisher called and I accepted this offer. 

The fun part was I didn't have to come up with my own story idea. The director told me what he wanted. He didn't have an ending to his story so I wrote one. He had to approve the synopsis I wrote and once that was done, I started writing the story. There were several scenes he had in mind as well as the location which meant I needed to write the scenes according to his direction. He sent a bunch of pictures of the place where he'd be filming and gave directions for scenes where there were no photos available. 

This pantser found having a guideline to be relaxing. No more sitting in front of the laptop wondering where my story was going. The plan already existed. 

On the flip side, it's nerve wracking to write someone else's story since I'm constantly wondering if he's going to like it. As far as I know, he has not yet read it but is convinced he'll like it as long as I stuck with the synopsis. Okay, but my insecurities still make me a little worried. The worry is getting better as time passes. Also, it helps to know that he already has this story as a movie vision so he's going to produce it the way he sees it no matter what I write. And yes, I'm good with that. In an odd way, that knowledge chills out my insecurities.

Which brings me to whether or not I'd do this again. Yes, most definitely! I enjoyed the experience of writing someone else's idea. I've learned things about me I did not know (I can write a story in six weeks and I can write from a synopsis without killing my creativity.) While stressful, it's been a lot of fun!

If you are interested in watching the movie being made, go to and sign up. You'll get email alerts for all the movies and can pick and choose which to live stream. The movies (all ten of them!) will release on 2/14/20. The Shadowheart Curse is currently scheduled to be filmed in September. Read on for the blurb and excerpt.


Escaping New York after a client’s untimely death, medium Adrianna Sinclair flees to her family property in Italy. All she wants is to avoid ghosts, but an attractive one tempts her in ways she never knew possible. 
Luca Fausto has been trapped on the Romani property for over a century for a crime he didn’t commit.  Adrianna may be the answer to breaking the curse that keeps him bound.  Standing in their way is a demonic spirit's plan for revenge.  Will they prevail or will Luca be cursed to the shadows forever? 

Lights drew her attention to the opposite wing of the mill, where a man stood staring at her window. At her. Breath caught in her lungs as she froze.
But only for a brief moment until she realized it wasn’t a man, at least not a living one. Her breath escaped on a whoosh of relief. Intuition whispered the man was the spirit who’d watched her last night.
The one from her dream.
Shadows clung to his body, ghostly fingers releasing as he stepped into the dim slash of moonlight. Lights flickered from behind him, like the dying gasps of sputtering candles. Dressed in a white shirt with an old-fashioned high collar, sleeves rolled halfway up his forearms, and dark trousers, he reminded her of a working man in a World War I photograph. As if he had removed his coat and tie and rolled up his sleeves to get to work.
Except the men in those photos didn’t sport the wide-eyed, happy look of this man. Ghost. Whatever. Yeah, he wasn’t the only one surprised. She’d sworn never to see a ghost again, yet there stood a ghost, captured by her gaze. The man was hot, in an old-fashioned way. At least he didn’t sport a handle-bar moustache.
He gestured to her, his hand beckoning in a “come here” motion.
She squeezed the bridge of her nose. Was she actually thinking of heading his way? Judging by the way her feet pointed toward the door, she’d already decided. Dammit. She might not want to see a ghost or speak to a spirit, but past experience told her if she ignored them, they ramped up the annoying factor.
       How bad could it be to talk to an attractive spirit?

Karilyn Bentley's love of reading stories and preference for sitting in front of a computer at home instead of in a cube, drove her to pen her own works, blending fantasy and romance mixed with a touch of funny.

Her paranormal romance novella, Werewolves in London, placed in the Got Wolf contest and started her writing career as an author of sexy heroes and lush fantasy worlds.

Karilyn lives in Colorado with her own hunky hero, two crazy dogs, aka The Kraken and Sir Barks-A-Lot, and a handful of colorful saltwater fish.


Where to find Karilyn: