Archive | August, 2012

Welcome Author Donna Alward

29 Aug

I am happy to have fellow Samhain and Harlequin author, Donna Alward, on my blog today. Her latest book, In the Line of Duty, was released YESTERDAY! Congrats, Donna. I can’t wait to read it. Okay…here’s the interview:

  1. Describe your perfect day.
My perfect day starts at 6:30 a.m. and happens during the school year. I get up, shower, have breakfast, get husband off to work, kids off to school, walk the dog in the sunshine, come home to absolute quiet and work – uninterrupted – until noon. I make myself lunch and then work until 2:30 or 3 – again uninterrupted – and then kids arrive home on the bus. If it’s a perfect day there are no extracurricular activities that require me to be chauffeur. Husband arrives home with a smile, we sit down to dinner together as a family, and kids quietly do homework before bed. Now you know why perfect days are so rare! But they do happen occasionally, and I appreciate them all the more. And I really don’t mind the chauffeur bit for the most part. I love watching them take part in things they enjoy.
  1. What’s the hardest part about being an author? The best part?
Juggling. The hardest part of the past year wasn’t the actual writing of all the projects I finished, but the “after” work, like revisions, edits, proofs, art fact sheets, promo – all the little jobs that add up and distract from being able to just sit down and WRITE. The best part is hearing from readers, hands down. When a book hits the shelf, and someone bothers to drop you a personal note about it, it’s a pretty special thing.
  1. If you decided not to write anymore, what other career could you see yourself doing?
I used to say Teacher, but after working as a teacher’s aide I would do that instead. Less money, but less having to deal with admin, school boards, parents, and prep work. It’s like being a teacher but with the ability to go home at 4:00 and actually be DONE for the day. I loved being with the kids and in the school atmosphere, and yes…I did take prep work home occasionally.
  1. Describe your best “author moment.”
I have to say that as of this moment, getting the call telling me I’d finalled in the RITAs is right up there. It’s one of those things you dream about when you’re still waiting for that first publishing contract, and second only to getting The Call.
  1. What do you think readers would be surprised to learn about you?
I can’t make Jello. It NEVER sets right for me, not ever. I cook a lot. I love to bake, and there’s a recipe corner on my website. I can whip up a delicious dinner and a 12 Layer Cake with Chocolate Ganache, and yet…Jello defeats me. I have no idea why.

Jello, huh? That’s funny! Now for some crazy reason, I have a craving for lime Jello. 🙂  Here’s a little bit about Donna’s brand-new release:


When it comes to love, sometimes a girl has to go above and beyond.First Responders, Book 2

Jake Symonds has been a thorn in Constable Kendra Givens’s side since the night they first met, when she’d had to arrest him. In his boxer shorts. The drunken comments he made that night are worsened by the truth she’ll never admit. For a fleeting moment, they’d connected.

Two years later, when she’s called to investigate a break-and-enter at his pub, the last thing she expects is for the now-competent businessman to cook her breakfast. But she’s no fool. The former bad boy still lurks beneath the charm. And his business involves the one thing that she’s hated since it ruined her childhood. Alcohol.

As far as he’s concerned, Jake has changed, but Kendra still has a stick up her butt. Yet he can’t help but like her sass and quick wit. One well-aimed baseball at the carnival dunk tank later and he’s got a date.

Their spark of attraction quickly flares out of control, but their emotional baggage is stacked too high to risk anything deeper—until one tragic night strips the barriers from their deepest fears. And Kendra realizes the greatest danger Jake presents is to her heart.

Product Warnings
Readers should be aware that any sexy comments made to police officers will be used against them in the hottest way possible.

The afternoon was waning when she heard a shout go up from the games area. Curious, she wandered over that way and found a group surrounding the dunking booth. The local school principal came out sopping wet and made room for the next victim. Kendra smiled and clasped her hands behind her back, relaxing and enjoying the sound of laughter. She wondered who they’d put up there next.

She didn’t have to wait long. There was more giggling, and then she saw Jake take a precarious seat in the top of the tank.

Kendra squeezed her fingers together. Did she dare? There was always the chance she’d miss the button and the lever wouldn’t drop.

But there was the chance she would hit it and it was oh-so tempting. For a few minutes she watched some teens line up and take aim. One came close to hitting the edge of the button, but didn’t quite make it. Jake leaned back a little, put his hands behind his head and preened.

His cocky attitude was enough to make up her mind. Casually, she sauntered forward, dug into her pocket for the dollar it cost for three chances and tossed the first ball up and down in her hand. She looked at Jake and grinned.

His smile widened and he spread his elbows wider, as if to say, “Go ahead, lady, take your best shot.”

“Get him, Constable Givens!” A boy of about twelve sent up the first cheer as she weighed the ball in her hand. A crowd was gathering now, and she wiggled her eyebrows at Jake. He didn’t look the least bit worried.

She planted her feet, drew back and let the first ball go.

It just missed the button, hitting the booth a little to the left of the trigger with a hollow metal sound. A chorus of disappointment went through the crowd, but she took her next ball and turned it over in her hands.

Jake sat up, raised his hand and yawned. Then he laughed.

She couldn’t help the smile that touched her lips. Lord, but he was a cheeky one. She’d be the last one laughing. Had to be. There was a certain amount of pride at stake, especially after his harsh dismissal of her earlier.

She pulled her shoulder back, stepped into it and missed again, overcorrecting and hitting slightly right.

“Come on, Givens. Your aim’s a little off,” he called out, and the crowd laughed. “I hope you shoot better than you throw!”

This time she didn’t hesitate or think. She grabbed the third ball, curled her fingertips along the curved stitching and let it rip.


There was a moment of surprise where his face completely blanked, and then a splash as he hit the water. Kendra couldn’t stop the laughter that bubbled up and out of her mouth. The crowd joined in, clapping and cheering as Jake stood up, his face dripping, his T-shirt sopping wet and clinging to his broad shoulders and chest. All in all, he looked pretty damn good when he was wet. And she’d salvaged her pride. A good afternoon’s work, to her mind.

“I’ll get you for that,” he warned loudly, running a hand over his hair before resuming the seat.

“Careful, Jake,” someone called out. “She’ll have you up on uttering threats or something.”

He looked down at her, affecting a scowl, but he couldn’t maintain it. He laughed and then sent her a wink. It should have been silly. Instead it was sexy as hell.

Great excerpt, Donna. I can’t wait to read In the Line of Duty.

Buy links:  Samhain and Amazon.

Donna Alward’s Bio: A busy wife and mother of three (2 daughters and the family dog), Donna Alward believes hers is the best job in the world; a combination of stay-at-home mom and romance novelist.

An avid reader since childhood, Donna always made up her own stories. She completed her Arts Degree in English Literature in 1994, but it wasn’t until 2001 that she penned her first full-length novel, and found herself hooked on writing romance. In 2006 she sold her first manuscript, and is now an award-winning author of more than a dozen romances.

From her home office in Nova Scotia, Canada, Donna loves being back on the East Coast after nearly 12 years in Alberta where her career began.

Donna loves to hear from readers; you can contact her through her website at, on twitter @DonnaAlward, or on Facebook.

Donna was kind enough to announce my big news on her blog on August 1st. Click here if you want to check it out.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today, Donna. Best of luck with your latest release. 🙂

Alison Stone

Motivational Monday ~ First Day Back After Vacation

27 Aug

Last week I took a break from writing. I had family in from out of town and we spent a few days at the beach followed by my nephew’s christening. Now, it’s Monday and back to work. I often hear other writers say they jump back into writing after a break. I struggle to get back into something after taking time off. I believe it’s the whole “momentum thing.” Yet, I will force myself to start. Starting, I find, is the hardest part.

I like this quote by Steven King in his book On Writing:

Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy. Some of this book–perhaps too much–has been about how I learned to do it. Much of it has been about how you can do it better. The rest of it–and perhaps the best of it–is a permission slip: you can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will. Writing is magic, as much the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink.

Drink and be filled up.

If you’re a writer, do you find it difficult to get back to your project after a long break?

Be sure to stop by on Wednesday when I’ll have author Donna Alward as guest!


Alison Stone



Welcome Guest Julie Jarnagin

22 Aug

I’m very excited to welcome my first guest, Julie Jarnagin. She writes inspirational romance and her book, Canyon Walls, has recently been re-released as an e-book. The cover is gorgeous! Welcome, Julie, and thanks for answering a few fun questions. 

Thanks for having me, Alison! I love to meet readers and writers. I hope you’ll stop by my blog at

What does your writing day look like?

 With a four-year-old and a full-time job, I’ve become an expert on how to squeeze writing into our busy schedules. My writing usually happens around 5:30 a.m. When I’m on a deadline, I’ll write in the evenings too.

Did you always want to be a writer?

When I was young, I wanted to be a broadcast journalist. Later I discovered I loved writing, but I thought I would write nonfiction. It wasn’t until I wrote a (pretty lousy) short story as a junior in college that I figured out fiction might be what I wanted to spend my life doing.

If you no longer wrote, what profession would you pursue?

I currently work in marketing in the real estate industry, which I enjoy. If I didn’t stick with that, I’d probably be a librarian, working in a bookstore, or anywhere I could be near books.

What is your favorite TV show and why?

I love “So You Think You Can Dance.” I think most of the show’s viewers are teenage girls, but there is something about the combination of artistry, athleticism, and competition that draws me in.

What is your perfect Sunday afternoon?

There is nothing better in the world than when the whole family takes a nap on a Sunday afternoon. It’s the simple things in life that make me the happiest.

Ah, a Sunday afternoon nap sounds wonderful, Julie. I agree that it is the simple things in life that make us happiest. Thank you so much for stopping by. And now…a little bit about Julie’s book, Canyon Walls.

 I’m excited to announce that my first novel, Canyon Walls, has recently been rereleased as an ebook! Here’s a little more about Canyon Walls:

Sunset Camp changed Cassie’s life, and she is determined to keep it alive.

Cassie Langley gladly accepts the interim director position of the church camp she loved as a child. As the camp’s financial mess comes to light, Cassie feels she must singlehandedly pull the camp out of near bankruptcy and make it viable again. But it seems there are forces working against her every step of the way.

Will Overman’s dad has a plan for the camp, too. As the family real estate firm is approached about brokering the sale of the camp, Will is given an opportunity to finalize this deal and move up the ranks of the family business. But as Will falls in love with the camp—and Cassie—the deal doesn’t seem so cut-and-dried.

Can Will help Cassie save the camp and win her heart, too?


Barnes & Noble:

Julie Jarnagin Bio:

Julie Jarnagin writes inspirational romance. She earned a B.A. in Journalism/Professional Writing from the University of Oklahoma and is a member of America Christian Fiction Writers. She is the author of three Barbour / Heartsong Presents novels: Canyon Walls, Canyon Crossing, and Canyon Cafe. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband and four-year-old son.

Motivational Monday ~ The beauty of nature

20 Aug

I took this photo while walking on the beach at sunrise. There is nothing more inspiring to me than the beauty of nature. I am especially fond of the ocean. It fills my creative well. Are you inspired by nature?  By something else? Do you prefer mountains to beaches? Warm weather to cold?  I’d love to hear from you in the comments section.

Happy Monday. Today I am spending the day at the beach. I plan to be inspired. 🙂

Be sure to stop by on Wednesday, August 22, when I’ll have guest blogger Julie Jarnagin telling us about her re-released e-book, Canyon Walls!


Alison Stone

Motivational Monday ~ A Motivational Roundup

13 Aug

Good morning. Happy Monday. Today I’m going to cheat a little and direct you to a post I wrote for Savvy Authors: 8 Things I Wish I Could Go Back and Tell Myself, the Newbie Writer. Click here to read it. Here’s a hint: believe in yourself!

Last night, I came across a wonderful quote posted on Karen Salmansohn’s blog: “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” ~ George Eliot. Check out her blog for an inspirational photo.

And lastly, I’m also on Roxanne Rustand’s blog today talking about a boy and his dog.  It all ties into my latest release, Too Close to Home. Really, it does. Check it out here.

Have a wonderful week.


Alison Stone




Happy Release Day ~ Too Close to Home

7 Aug

I am thrilled to announce the release of my second romantic suspense, Too Close to Home.

They say you can never go home. If you do, better watch your back.

Ten years ago, after her father’s gruesome death was ruled a suicide, Kathryn McNabb left her hometown, vowing never to return. And never to let anything—business or personal—break her heart.

Now an overachieving manufacturing engineer, she thrives on order, control and solitude. But an unexpected inheritance makes her the co-owner of the company her father founded, forcing her to face the ghosts of her past. Including Ben Nowak, childhood friend, secret crush, and son of the man who ruined her father.

Ben hadn’t planned on returning home either, but with his own father’s death it falls to him to continue the family legacy. When he learns Kathryn plans to sell the plant out from under him, his quest takes on new urgency—Midport Industries is the main source of jobs in town.

Butting heads strike sparks of attraction that entangle business and pleasure into a hopeless knot. And someone is watching. Someone with a darker reason to prevent the deal from going through. Someone desperate enough to kill…

Warning: Beware of the shadows, disgruntled employees, and childhood crushes all grown up.

Buy links for Too Close to Home: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Samhain Publishers

I am also visiting a few blogs today:

I’m talking about where I get my ideas on the Samhain site.

On Just Romantic Suspense I’m talking about the perfect setting for murder. I’m also giving away a copy of Too Close to Home to one random person who comments on the JRS blog. The giveway ends tonight, so hurry by. #GiveawayAlert

Lastly, I am on the front page of Savvy Authors discussing eight things I wish I knew before I got published. (Note: it appears the website is currently having technical difficulties. Hopefully it will be back up soon. This site is a fantastic resource for writers!)

Have a wonderful day!


Alison Stone



Motivational Monday ~ If you keep believing…

6 Aug

Happy Monday! Today I am sharing the words I have neatly written on an index card posted on my wall. I did a Google search, but I can’t find any attribution. The quote popped up in one of Dr. Phil’s books, but I saw the quote at least 15 years ago on a wall at work, predating Dr. Phil fame. Does anyone know who said it first? (Let me know in the comments section.)

“If you keep believing what you’ve been believing,

Then you’ll keep achieving what you’ve been achieving.”

Doubts in our abilities can really mess with our heads. Once you shift your way of thinking, you’ll start making progress on your goals. After a long journey filled with craft books, critique groups and rejected manuscripts, I’m thrilled  my second eBook, Too Close to Home, will be released tomorrow by Samhain Publishing.

I also recently sold my third manuscript to Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense. I don’t have a release date, yet.

A few years ago, I finally shifted my way of thinking from “Why am I wasting my time writing? I can’t do this?” to “Why not? I can do this!”  Changing my mindset was the first step.

Have you ever felt your beliefs hindered your achievement?

I’d love to hear from you in the comment section.


Alison Stone