Author Friends: Carolyn Reilly

Are you a panster or a plotter?

Definitely plotter. I plot in excruciating detail. To me, it’s the best part of the writing process. Once I start writing, it gets complicated since English is only my second language. Thankfully, I have a fantastic team of editors, betas, and proofreaders.

Do you believe in Writer’s Block? If so, how do you kick its arse?

I don’t believe in writer’s block, but I do believe in procrastination. Sadly 😉


What book is your comfort read on a bad day? The one you go back to reread over and over. 

Oh, I wish I had the time to reread some of my all-time favorites. But with my day job, writing my own novels, and all the books on my TBR, that’s just not possible.


Describe your perfect writing space: 

Easy. Next to my horses’ pasture. Nothing soothes, relaxes, and grounds me like the sight and sound of grazing horses.


Do you write your title first or story first?

For the Deadly DNA Series it was stories first, for my upcoming Everdark Crossroads Series it was titles first.


And lastly, write a one or two paragraph flash fiction inspired by the last photo or text you got on your phone:

Why in the ever-loving hell had he agreed to visit this hilltop castle? Climbing 120+ flights of rough-terrain stairs in the pouring rain, acting as if they were petty human tourists. Three flaps of his wings would have taken them both there.

But she’d opted against it, not because the voice of reason told her. Or because she was afraid they might be discovered. No. Her point: What’s the fun in it. Really? Fun? To this day, he thought he knew her. But apparently, he hadn’t been aware of her masochistic tendencies. Wait. That wicked smile she tossed him made him think twice. Make that sadistic tendencies.


Carolyn Reilly has been working for the German Federal Foreign Office (aka Department of State) for more than 20 years. A good part of that time she was assigned to German Embassies in civil war Lagos/ Nigeria and Khartoum/ Sudan, with the German Consulate General in New York and with German Embassies in Central Asian countries Kirgizstan and Kazakhstan. She still works part-time for the Foreign Office, but has meanwhile exchanged those restless and not exactly hazard-free postings abroad with a quieter life in the Bavarian countryside.


When she isn’t reading or writing, she enjoys spending time outdoors with her Icelandic horses. She advocates animal welfare and a percentage of the proceeds of her books goes to Farmed Animal Sanctuary Hof Butenland in Northern Germany.


Author Friends: Kelly Collins

Are you a panster or a plotter?

I’m an outliner which is neither. I always know where the story is going but I don’t plot scene by scene. I write down pinnacle moments and plan my way from one to the next, leaving plenty of room for organic things to happen in the book.

Do you believe in Writer’s Block? If so, how do you kick its arse?
I don’t really believe in writer’s block as much as I’d say I believe in lack of motivation. If I’m not feeling a scene or can’t come up with something then I will scrap it because if I don’t like it my readers won’t either. No use writing yourself into a dead end.

What book is your comfort read on a bad day? The one you go back to reread over and over.

I haven’t reread any book really. There are so many to read that would be knew and entertaining to me. Although I was gifted a book I read as a child called Harriet The Spy and I plan to read it again. It was my favorite book in like fourth grade. I also recently purchased The Outsiders by S.E Hinton which is also an elementary school read that I want to enjoy again. As far as a comfort read on a bad day, I love a good heart-wrenching romance. Anything Nicholas Sparks will make me cry and then it’s out of my system and I’m good. 

Do you write your title first or story first?

I’ve done both, but generally I have a title and a cover before I ever dig into writing the book. 

And lastly, write a one or two paragraph flash fiction inspired by the last photo or text you got on your phone:

The last text I received was, “Thanks for breakfast.”
“Thanks for breakfast,” she said.
You’re welcome.” His jovial tone didn’t match the war he fought inside himself. Did he pull her to him and kiss the breath from her lips? Did he walk her to her car and let her drive out of his life forever? He’d been in love with her since high school. Ten years later they were both single and back in town. This was his chance at love. “What about dinner?”
The amber flecks in her eyes brightened and danced. “You want to have dinner with me?”
He risked a kiss—really a brush of his lips to hers. “I want so much more, but let’s start with dinner.”
International bestselling author of more than thirty novels, Kelly Collins writes with the intention of keeping the love alive. Always a romantic, she blends real-life events with her vivid imagination to create characters and stories that lovers of contemporary romance, new adult, and romantic suspense will return to again and again.

Kelly lives in Colorado at the base of the Rocky Mountains with her husband of twenty-seven years, their two dogs, and a bird that hates her. She has three amazing children, whom she loves to pieces.

You can learn more about Kelly at

I have a new small town series that recently released. Here’s book three. Aspen Cove is a sweet with heat series. These are connected full-length novels but can be read independently of one another. 

There is always a free read on my website:

Author Friends: Jeanne St. James

Are you a panster or a plotter?

Pantser. I want my characters to surprise me.

Do you believe in Writer’s Block? If so, how do you kick its arse?

Yes. I rarely have it. But reading a book is the best way to get my creative juices flowing.

What book is your comfort read on a bad day? The one you go back to reread over and over. 

 I don’t have any that I reread. I have too many good books on my TBR list to go back and reread any.

Describe your perfect writing space: 

 On a balcony overlooking the Caribbean Sea in a comfortable chair.

 Do you write your title first or story first?

It just depends on the story. I’ve done it both ways.

Tempting Him (An Obsessed Novella)


Buy Link:


It’s not just a love story, it’s an obsession…


Every time my neighbor jogs past my house, I do my best to tempt him. Washing my car, watering my lawn, doing yoga in the grass with all my assets in the air. I’m not sure if he notices me, but I sure can’t miss him.

Then one day he falls… into my arms and into my bed. Surprisingly, we’re better matched than I would’ve expected. But when he reveals who he is, my world comes crashing down around me because if he finds out my secret we’re finished before we’ve even begun.


Three days a week, I put myself through hell by jogging through my neighborhood. I suffer through it simply to catch a glimpse of a woman I don’t know. Every time I pass her house she’s outside tempting me. Until one day I fall… over my feet, over my heart, over this woman and into her arms.

I know nothing about her, but I want to discover everything. Even her deepest, darkest secrets. However, little does she know, I have one, too. One that may sever the tie that binds us.


Chapter One



I watch as sweat drips one bead at a time onto my over-priced yoga mat. The sun is so freaking hot and here I am, like an idiot out in my yard, bent over in the downward facing dog pose for the past million years. Okay, not years… maybe more like a million seconds. But my body has decided it hates me (nothing new) and is cramping while my head spins. Even better, my over-priced yoga pants have clawed their way up my crack (as well as one other place). And still…

No neighbor.

What the hell?

Despite my eyeballs’ attempt at bulging out of their sockets, I peek at my sports watch. He should’ve been by here two-point-five minutes ago.


The man is usually like clockwork, jogging by my house on Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons every week. For the most part, anyway. Though, thunderstorms seem to discourage him from his cardio. (Not sure why.)

On those days, I would be willing to recommend another type of cardio to get his heart pumping. And maybe get his hips pumping, too.

Anyway… look at me! Doing yoga on my front lawn, on the uneven grass, waiting like a desperate woman. (I’m not, really, I promise! It just looks that way.)

But, damn, the man is fine and when he jogs past shirtless, he’s shiny with sweat, which makes me want to drag him inside and give him a sponge bath with my tongue.

My thighs start shaking as I peek between my spread legs, because, of course, my ass has to be facing the street. I want him to get a good look at what I’m offering.

I may even wiggle it a little when he jogs by.

That is if I don’t pass out into a heap first.

I sigh.

Then sigh again a little louder just for good measure.

Maybe it would be easier if I just took up jogging. Wear one of those sexy sports bras, put my hair up in a cute little pony tail, plaster a smile on my face and follow him around the block at a perky pace.

I’ll die first.



Why I ever started this shit, I’ll never know. No, I lie. I know. I thought, “Cade, dude, wouldn’t it be great to up your cardio game and start running?”

I answered myself with, “Yeah, man, that would be great and fun, too!” And then maybe I won’t get so winded when I play basketball with the guys. I’ll have more endurance, I’ll look and feel younger, and…

Fuck that.

Running sucks. And I don’t even think what I do can be considered as running. No, it’s more of a jog. Or a lope. Or trotting like a donkey with a lame hoof.

Inhell. Exhell.

My chest burns, my leg muscles spasm, my balls feel like they’re floating in a puddle of sweat, and the crack of my ass…

I’m not even going there. (Trust me, you don’t want to, either.)

So, why don’t I just stop the torture? (Good question!)

I’ve asked myself that for the past month.

And the answer has always been…


I sacrifice three days a week just to see a woman I don’t know.

Not sure why, but she always seems to be outside at the same time of the day. For that reason, I make sure that’s when I go running (jogging, trotting, limping) by.

Am I crazy to torture myself because I find someone attractive and I’d like to get her attention?

Eh. Maybe.

Why don’t I just knock on her door and ask her out? (Another good question.)

Maybe I want to impress her with my physique and athletic prowess.

But honestly, something has to give and it has to be soon. Because this running shit sucks balls and I’d rather stick razor blades under my fingernails.

At least my slow trot is the right speed to observe her without being creepy. Walking would be too slow and obvious. Driving too quick and useless, not to mention dangerous when she’s clearly a distraction.

And, of course, my pace always allows me enough time to enjoy the show she gives me.

On Wednesday, she was out washing her car, her top soaked, her nipples pushing through the thin fabric of her shirt, and when she bent over to scrub the hood of said car, my boner just about popped out of my shorts. You know, those little nylon running shorts. The ones with the mesh liner, clearly not made for sexual arousal.

But I digress.

The week before, she was out watering her lawn. And, once again, her top was wetter than her grass.

Here’s the thing, the entire neighborhood has built-in sprinklers.

Maybe hers are broken.

It’s possible.

I grunt as I turn the corner and try to push myself a little faster since I’m off my game today. I’m later than normal, and I want my running to look as effortless as possible. It needs to look as though I’ve got my shit together and I’m not secretly suffering.

My eyes swing to the left as I jog. She’s the fourth house up. The brick ranch home with the two-car garage.

Two houses to go yet.

One house.

My eyes widen as I see her ass in tight black yoga pants in the air. My step stutters but I can’t stop my momentum.

My mouth becomes an O, partly because I’m falling over my own two feet, the other because she’s dropped to her knees and is now arching backwards grabbing onto her heels, her generous tits straining against her top.

Last thing I see is her blinking upside down at me as her head hangs down her back.

Suddenly, I’m staring at nothing but pavement (and my loss of manhood). The little bit of oxygen I had sucked into my lungs is now gone.

Then, what seems like seconds later, bare, cute, red painted toes come into view.

I want to just die.

About the Author:

JEANNE ST. JAMES is a USA Today bestselling erotic romance author who loves an alpha male (or two). She was only thirteen when she started writing. Her first paid published piece was an erotic story in Playgirl magazine. Her first erotic romance novel, Banged Up, was published in 2009. She is happily owned by farting French bulldogs. She writes M/F, M/M, and M/M/F ménages. Want to read a sample of her work? Download a sampler book here:

To keep up with her busy release schedule check her website at or sign up for her newsletter:

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Author Friends: Sarah Hadley Brooks

Are you a panster or a plotter?

To be honest, I am a bit of both. When I come up with a story idea, I like to roll it around in my head for a week or two, just getting my characters down. I make notes, of course, and build a Pinterest board to help keep myself organized. From there I end up plotting out or I just start writing. I let the story lead me. A lot of times when I plot things out, I end up veering off in another direction anyway.

That being said, I have learned that when it comes to longer stories, I do better when I plot. It keeps me on track.

 Do you believe in Writer’s Block? If so, how do you kick its arse?

I am not sure if I’ve ever had true “Writer’s Block”, but there are days I struggle to write, for a variety of reasons. Time, exhaustion, and life in general can all get in the way of writing.

I’ve learned that when I am stuck on a scene, I try for a short time and if nothing comes to me, I make a note there and continue, otherwise I can lose an entire afternoon of writing.

If I’ve had a bad day, or worked later at the day job, it definitely influences my writing. Somedays I can push through it, somedays I can’t. Over the years, I’ve dealt with depression and agoraphobia and those issues can absolutely bring my writing to a complete halt for a day, a week, or even a month. That old saying ‘get back on the horse’ is something I try to adhere to. It may be hard, but at some point I make myself write something. Anything. After not writing, for any reason, the hardest thing is the first step—even when writing is what brings me joy. It know it doesn’t always make sense, but I’ve learned to accept my issues and move forward. I have to admit though, most of what I write during those times is awful! Something I wouldn’t share with my cats. But it gets me going again.

What book is your comfort read on a bad day? The one you go back to reread over and over. 

I love “The Secret” by Julie Garwood. I have it in paperback and when I want to sink into another time and place, I grab it and lose myself in old Scotland.

 Describe your perfect writing space: 

I am easily distracted, so it’s important for me to have a clean and blank space—meaning I have just what I need at the desk. My laptop, my phone to listen to music, my tea or flavored water, and maybe one or two items to just make me smile. (Currently I have my new Star Trek Voyager Chakotay action figure sitting on the desk.)

 Do you write your title first or story first?

I’ve actually done both, but for the most part I write the story and the title usually comes to me. There have been a couple of times, though, where I’ve finished the story and struggled to come up with a title. If that happens I brainstorm by listing words pulled from the story, or feelings the story gives me. Even songs I listened to while I wrote. There’s a title hidden in there somewhere!

 And lastly, write a one or two paragraph flash fiction inspired by the last photo or text you got on your phone:

The last picture I received on my phone was one of my one-year old grandson chewing on his new shoes.

 The young mother exited Famous Footwear, guiding the high-priced stroller out onto the walkway, protected from the sun by a series of awnings. Her phone glued to her ear, she was unaware her son had declared war. Seated on a wooden bench, I watched in fascination as the cherubic little boy grabbed his feet and wrapped his pint-sized fingers around the offending new shoes. His face scrunched in concentration as he quietly protested his mother’s latest purchase. When she rolled him closer, pausing to glance in the window, I heard him and smiled. He was softly growling.

The boy shifted in his stroller, lifting one foot to his face and that’s when I saw the sparkle in his eye. Those shoes never stood a chance. He yanked hard and the shoe came off in his hands. The look of glee was unmistakable as he held his hand over the side, dropping it without another sound. His mother pushed on and I caught his eye as they passed. I winked, but he ignored me and turned to his other foot. He had a mission to complete.

Motorcycle Man was just published on January 13th, through JMS Books. It’s a very short story that I had a lot of fun writing.


Sarah Hadley Brook lives smack-dab in the middle of the Heartland and is the mother of two wonderful young men, as well as two cats. During the day, she works in the non-profit world, but reserves evenings for her hobby-turned-passion of writing, letting the characters she conjures up in her mind take the lead and show her where the story will go. When not working or writing, she can be found reading, working on dollhouses, trying her hand at new recipes, or watching old movies and musicals. In her ideal world, Christmas would come at least twice a year, Rock Hudson and Doris Day would have co-starred in more than three movies, and chocolate would be a daily necessity to live. She dreams of traveling to Scotland some day and visiting the places her ancestors lived. Sarah believes in “Happily Ever After” and strives to ensure her characters find their own happiness in love and life.

You can check out her website here:





Twitter: @SarahHBrook

Author Friends: Maria Vickers

Are you a panster or a plotter?
I’m both. Most of my stories are pantser, but there are a few that I completely plotted. If I do plot though, I leave enough room and an open mind so that I can change things if needed.
Do you believe in Writer’s Block? If so, how do you kick its arse?
I do and I hate it. LOL. I get it often enough and it usually happens when I overthink things. To get over it, sometimes I will work on something else to get my mind off of it, or I will sprint with a friend. When I sprint, I write without thinking and can a lot of times push through that block.
What book is your comfort read on a bad day? The one you go back to reread over and over. 
I have a few. FastTrack By Julie Garwood, The Virgin Romance Novelist by Meghan Quinn, and Found You by Dahlia Donovan. I love reading a good love story with a. happy ending when I’m having a bad day.
Describe your perfect writing space: 
I love a lot of light where I can see the sky. I’m currently designing my writing office, so right now I wander from my bedroom to the living room to the outside deck at my house. Eventually, I will have a writing space with a chaise lounge, lots of natural light, and bookshelves with all of the books I’ve collected over the years and another to hold my writer stuff including books and swag.
Do you write your title first or story first?
Half and half. LOL. Sometimes I have a story first and sometimes I know what the title will be before I ever write the story.
And lastly, write a one or two paragraph flash fiction inspired by the last photo or text you got on your phone:
The last text I got was from my best friend talking about my nieces (her daughters) and how they are doing…
Family had always been important to him, something that grounded him and people who supported him without question. It didn’t matter if it was when he came out or when he wanted to try new things. Even when he’d decided to leave everything behind and start over, they’d only asked if he was certain. He’d never been surer, and when Caleb told them that, they stood beside him 100% and never tried to talk him out of it. Caleb left his job, moved from New York to Indiana, and started a new career that had nothing to do with his previous life. It was a big change. Of course it wasn’t only the move. Moving from being a stock broker to a baker. Talk about 180 degrees.
And now they stood behind him and supported him as he took the next step into his future. Walking down the aisle, his best friend and siblings stood at the end to his left, and on the other side of the aisle, stood people he considered friends and family. But it was the man in front of him that meant the most to Caleb. He never expected to find love, but Issac landed in his life in a cloud of flour – quite literally. Today, Caleb’s family would grow and Issac would forever be part of that.
Maria Vickers currently lives in St. Louis, MO with her pug, Spencer Tracy. She has always had a passion for writing and after she became disabled, she decided to use writing as her escape. 

Life is about what you make of it. You have to live it to the fullest no matter the circumstances.

She has always loved Not only creating the stories, but reading them as well. Books transport her, and when she was younger, she would run into walls because she refused to put her books down even for a second. Take note, walking with books is not advised. LOL. 

With the books she writes, she wants to share my stories with the world. She dreams of transporting others and would love for them to feel the emotions her characters feel. That’s her goal with her writing. If she can do that for even one person, she feels like she succeeded. 

Getting sick changed her and her life, but it also opened doors that she never thought about. Today, even though she cannot do as much as she once could, she can still write.


Author Interviews: Helen Barnes


Do you argue with your characters? If so, who wins most frequently?
I constantly argue with my characters, a few times I wanted to slap Jessica Stark in my first novel and shake her by the shoulders.
I usually win the arguments though.

What makes a story interesting to you to write? How about to read?
I think what makes us who we are is interesting alone, we all have our own character traits and we all react differently to different situations. To me a story of life throwing a curve ball at someone who you least expect to handle it and them survive in their own way is interesting, whether it be a marriage breaking down or losing your job, meeting and falling for someone who is very wrong for you. Everyone has a story but how we handle it is what makes it interesting to me. I can read almost anything and I’m constantly looking to learn so I find almost anything interesting to read but again I like to read about well developed characters or real, non fictitious people.

How do you escape writer’s block?
I step away from writing and just live my life, enjoying family life and being a slave to the family, I soon find that I’ll be doing something domesticated like washing the dishes while the kids play games or watch cartoons and an idea will hit me. I’ve actually woken in the night with the story fresh in my head and had to write it down asap before the dream fades from my mind!

What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t stop, keep writing! I doubt there are many authors or aspiring writer who can say they have completed every story they started. I was told to keep going, even if you’re feeling like dumping the manuscript and leaving it to rot on the hard drive, keep going! That was how I finished my first book.

What’s your writing fuel?
Tea, music and tuna sandwiches. Without those three things I would be dead at the laptop in my writing den.

The best joke you ever heard:
It’s pretty offensive so if you’re Scottish look away now.
English man, Irish man and Scottish man are in a plane going over Britain.
Irish man says ‘We are above Ireland’ and he proves it by leaning and out through the clouds he pulls up a leprechaun.
English man says ‘We are above England’ and pulls a pot of tea up through the clouds.
Scottish man says ‘ We are above Scotland’ and puts his hand down through the clouds, when he pulls his arm back inside the plane his hand is empty.
‘Where’s your proof?’ asks the Irish man.
The Scottish man pulls back his sleeve to show his bare wrist. ‘ Some bastard stole my watch!’

The Rapid Fire section:

Ink, Typewriter, Computer: Computer

Coffee, Tea, or Hard Liqour: Tea

Hot, Cold or Warm: Warm

Cat, Dog or Bird: Dog

NC17, R or PG13: R


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