Tag Archive for: Book Giveaway

The Waffle House

by Bethany Maines

So, I forgot that I was supposed to blog today and instead used
my few minutes of writing time to write a scene where two of my characters go to
a Waffle House.  But as a west coast resident,
I’ve never actually been to a Waffle House. 
As a result, I spent way too much time looking at the Waffle House menu
on line and now I want hashbrowns and waffles. 
Sometimes we hear authors say that their characters speak to them.  My characters wouldn’t deign to do that.  They’re too busy talking to each other. And
honestly, if I left them to their own devices they would talk until my fingers
cramped up from trying to transcribe.  I
frequently have to cut off the conversations so that the story goes somewhere.  That’s part of the editing process, but these
conversations are excellent at helping me understand the characters.  When I discover what they find funny, what
they hate, what annoys them, and what their hard line stance is on Christmas
decorations after New Years, I can plunk them down in any situation and know
how they’ll react.  Which is how I know
that Jackson Deveraux would be quite happy at the Waffle House, but that he would
be shocked that his hoity toity grandmother Eleanor Deveraux knows to order Waffle
House hashbrowns scattered, smothered, and covered, but not chunked.  The Deveraux family is full of secrets and
surprises, but when I started writing about them I never would have thought
that hashbrowns would be one of the surprises.  The
Deveraux family, from my Deveraux Legacy, has become one of my favorite group of
characters.  They’re a very fractured
family that is struggling toward reconciliation while attempting to overcome the
periodic interruption of mercenaries, bank robbers, and greedy CEOs.

If you want to find out what the Deveraux family thinks
about Christmas décor you can check out book 1, The Second Shot, and
pre-order book 2, The
Cinderella Secret
(both currently ¢.99). 
Or you can…

Enter to win a paperback copy of The Cinderella Secret on

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Cinderella Secret by Bethany Maines

The Cinderella Secret

by Bethany Maines

Giveaway ends October 17, 2020.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Or you can join the Bethany Maines / Blue Zephyr Press Newsletter mailing list and get a free copy of the prequel novella, The Lost Heir in October! 


Bethany Maines is the award-winning author of the Carrie Mae Mysteries, San Juan Islands Mysteries, Shark Santoyo Crime Series, and numerous
short stories. When she’s not traveling to exotic lands, or kicking some
serious butt with her black belt in karate, she can be found chasing her
daughter or glued to the computer working on her next novel. You can also catch up with her on Twitter, FacebookInstagram, and BookBub.

National Writing Month

By Bethany Maines
National Novel Writing Month, officially abbreviated to
NaNoWriMo, is now over and many of my writer friends are crawling out of their holes
with fingers permanently curved into the typing position and blinking around at
the world that they left behind. 
Essentially, we’re all Gollum. 
What did we learn?  What did we
accomplish? Other than scoliosis and arthritic fingers.
The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write fifty thousand words, the
general baseline amount for a complete novel. I’ve completed a NaNoWriMo
before, but my goal this year was to complete about half the word count and
outline the rest of a novel that’s been lingering out on the edges for awhile.  I didn’t make it.  I made the word count, but I filled it on two
different projects, neither of which was what I set out to work on. 
One project was a holiday short story for a holiday giveaway
with several other authors I know from my time at the Girlfriend’s Book Club.  (Enter below).  I’ll also be sending my story to everyone in
my Reader’s Group, whether they win the raffle or not.  So that was not time wasted!  But it wasn’t exactly the challenge I was
setting out to meet.

I think the interesting thing about NaNoWriMo is that
imposition of an immovable deadline. 
There is no flex and no one you can complain to if you’re not going to
make it. We all deal with deadlines (even self-imposed deadlines) in different
ways.  Some of us rise to the occasion,
some of us rail against “the man” and some of us quietly head out of the office
for a drink.  I think you could safely
say that I headed out for happy hour.  So
now I’m scrambling to reapply my deadline to December.  That outline still needs to be written, my
rough draft still needs to be started. 
Will I make it?  We’ll find out in

Enter to win one of 50 copies of Baby it’s Cold Outside, a not-for-sale collection of holiday stories from USA Today & Kindle Bestselling Authors!  Including Oh, Holy Night – The Christmas Season is a lot more dangerous than it used to be.Violet Harper is usually found at her local Starbucks. Roman Knox is usually carrying a gun. Tonight they’re both in a bank and there’s a body on the floor. It’s a mess, but maybe a Christmas miracle can get them out of the bank and into love.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Holiday Gift Guide

Dear Readers,

It’s Thanksgiving and that means that the commercial holiday known as Black Friday is upon us. Today we have a great list of books to give or GIVEAWAYS to snatch up for yourself. So if you’d prefer to stay in your jammies and read or just order books from the comfort of your own home, then we have the reading list for you! Peruse our holiday book list and pick up all your favorites!
Thank you to all our readers – we hope that you’re all warm and safe and that your To Be Read pile is within easy reach!

The Stiletto Gang

Black Friday Gift List

Sparkle Abbey

Buy on: AmazonBarnes & NobleKoboiTunes

Barking with the Stars

Lights! Camera! Murder!
It’s a star-studded event and tongues are wagging. Laguna Beach pet therapist, Caro Lamont’s, ex-husband Geoffrey is spreading rumors and snuggling up to the biggest stars, including Purple – the temperamental diva, who’s the lynchpin of the celebrity line-up. All too soon, Caro is losing clients, her reputation, and patience with Geoffrey’s shenanigans. More trouble is unleashed when the high-strung headliner is found dead and Geoffrey was seen leaving her hotel room. With a potential killer on the loose, Caro is hounded by questions about who had reason to want Purple out of the picture and though all the evidence points to her ex, Caro believes the police are on the wrong trail. Even if her sleuthing puts her in the doghouse with Detective Judd Malone, Caro must dig up the truth before the real killer gets away with murder.

Juliana Aragon Fatula

Buy at: Bower House BooksMany Blankets Press

The Colorado Sisters and the Atlanta Butcher (forthcoming)— Atlanta billionaire and big game hunter, Reggie Hartless is found murdered, butchered, and frozen.The Colorado Sisters work undercover to solve the homicide and to unravel the legend of the Ute curse.

In Crazy Chicana in Catholic City, Fatula writes histories so terrifying they feel as if they were written with a knife. She writes with craft and courage what most folks are too ashamed to even think about, let alone talk about. Her fearlessness is inspirational. This is the kind of poetry I want to read; this is the kind I want to write. — Sandra Cisneros
In Red Canyon Falling on Churches, Fatula’s poems are gifts from the desert: nopales, chile ristras, and coyote tricksters offered with reverence to the earth and ancestors. Aztec goddesses speak, as do memories of star filled nights, and the love that remains from those we have lost in a tri-lingual, tri-cultural Chicana Azteca voice that reveal desert ways, the men, the women, tamales, beer, y la muerte. – Adela Najarro

Debra H. Goldstein

Buy on: AmazonBarnes & NobleWalmart

Should Have Played Poker

When attorney Carrie Martin’s mother reappears twenty-six years after abandoning her family, she leaves Carrie with a sealed envelope and her confession she once considered killing Carrie’s father. Before Carrie can find answers about her past, her mother is murdered. Although instructed by the detective assigned to her mother’s case – Carrie’s former live-in lover – to leave the sleuthing to the professionals, the investigative efforts of Carrie and her co-sleuths, the Sunshine Village Mah jongg players, quickly put Carrie in danger and show her that truth and integrity aren’t always what she was taught to believe.

Kay Kendall

Buy on: AmazonBarnes & NobleiTunes
Kay Kendall’s Rainy Day Women is the second book in the Austin Starr Mystery series. In 1969, during the week of the Manson murders and Woodstock, the intrepid amateur sleuth, infant in tow, flies across the continent to support a friend suspected of murdering women’s liberation activists in Seattle and Vancouver. Then her former CIA trainer warns that an old enemy has contracted a hit on her. Her anxious husband demands that she give up her quest and fly back to him. How much should Austin risk when tracking the killer puts her and her baby’s life in danger?
Learn more: AustinStarr.com or follow Kay on Facebook: www.facebook.com/KayKendallAuthor

Bethany Maines

Buy on: Amazon $9.99

The Carrie Mae Mysteries Boxed Set

The Carrie Mae Mysteries – 5 stars, 2 books, 2 short stories, 1 low price
Q: What do you get when you cross Avon Ladies with Charlie’s Angels
A: A world-class intelligence organization run by women who really know their foundation. You get CARRIE MAE.
These make-up ladies aren’t just selling lipstick – they’re packing heat and saving the world. Join Nikki Lanier and her team of kick-ass friends as they take on gangs, drug smugglers, arms dealers, and internal politics, all while looking fabulous or at least trying to remember clean underwear. Featuring the short stories Supporting the Girls, Power of Attorney and the novels High-Calbier Concealer, Glossed Cause.

HOLIDAY GIVEAWAY!! Shark’s Instinct

Fresh out of prison and fresh out of luck, twenty-something Shark wants back into The Organization. But when Geier, the mob boss with a cruel sense of humor, sends Shark to the suburbs to find out who’s been skimming his take, Shark realizes he’s going to need more than his gun and an attitude to succeed. With the clock ticking, Shark accepts the help of the mysterious teenage fixer, Peregrine Hays, and embarks on a scheme that could line his pockets, land him the girl and cement his reputation with the gang—if he makes it out alive.

Julie Mulhern

The Deep End

Buy on: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKobo
Swimming into the lifeless body of her husband’s mistress tends to ruin a woman’s day, but becoming a murder suspect can ruin her whole life.
It’s 1974 and Ellison Russell’s life revolves around her daughter and her art. She’s long since stopped caring about her cheating husband, Henry, and the women with whom he entertains himself. That is, until she becomes a suspect in Madeline Harper’s death. The murder forces Ellison to confront her husband’s proclivities and his crimes—kinky sex, petty cruelties and blackmail.
As the body count approaches par on the seventh hole, Ellison knows she has to catch a killer. But with an interfering mother, an adoring father, a teenage daughter, and a cadre of well-meaning friends demanding her attention, can Ellison find the killer before he finds her?

Cold as Ice

Buy on: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKobo
Ellison Russell’s life resembles a rollercoaster ride. And rollercoasters make her ill. Her daughter Grace has a crush on a boy Ellison doesn’t trust and she’s taken to hosting wild parties when Ellison goes out for the evening. Worse, the bank which represents Grace’s inheritance from her father may be in trouble.

When a meeting with the chef at the country club leads to the discovery of a body, Ellison can’t afford cold feet. She must save the bank, find the killer, and convince Grace (and herself) that powerful women don’t need men to rescue them.

Cathy Perkins

Buy on: AmazonBarnes & NobleKoboiTunes

Double Down

Every family has challenges. The Kaufman’s might include murder.
Murder isn’t supposed to be in the cards for blackjack dealer Maddie Larsson. Busted takes on a new meaning when her favorite customer, a former Poker World Tour champion, is murdered. His family claims—loudly and often—Maddie is the gold-digging murderer. She better prove she’s on the level before the real killer cashes in her chips.

If the victim’s body had been dumped five hundred yards up the road, Franklin County Sheriff’s Detective JC Dimitrak wouldn’t have been assigned to the Tom Tom Casino murder case. Instead, he’s hunting for suspects and evidence while dealing with a nemesis from the past and trying to preserve his own future. He better play his hand correctly and find the killer before an innocent woman takes the ultimate hit.

J.M. Phillippe

Buy on: AmazonBarnes & Noble

Perfect Likeness

Perfection can haunt you.
Quick-witted 24-year-old Allyson Smart is the perfect woman — in her dreams. In real life, Ally has to deal with the clumsiness of her size-16 body, the good intentions of her over-achiever best-friend, and the condescending attitude of her too-cool little sister. But when the fantasized version of herself shows up in her bathroom mirror, calling herself Allison (with an i because she says it’s prettier), Ally discovers how cruel perfection can be. In this contemporary fantasy novel, Ally learns that perfection really can haunt you.


Round one winner of the New York City Midnight 2017 Short Story Challenge, Plane Signals by J.M. Phillippe features a guy, a girl, and the four inches of space their arm rest shares at twenty-thousand feet. Is he interested or is it just the airline shoving him into Meagan’s personal space? If only she had some…Plane Signals.

AB Plum

The Reckless Year

Buy on: Amazon
Against all reason, ruthless Silicon Valley tycoon Michael Romanov, becomes infatuated with a totally unsuitable, but bewitching woman. Her loser boyfriend leaves no doubt money and power can’t derail real love. He laughs at titles, prestige, and good looks. Threats and bribes don’t work. He refuses to step aside.
Will Michael stop at murder to sweep his first love off her feet?

The In-Between Years

Buy on: Amazon
In exchange for saving you from kidnappers and probably death, what if your father grooms you to become a murderer?

What if he promises to make the risks you’ll take worth a small fortune?

How long would you hesitate?


Sign up HERE for a chance to name two characters in The Broken-Hearted Many, Book 5 in The MisFit Series, releasing in early 2018.

  • Deadline for signing up: Midnight (PST), November 30, 2017.
    One winner randomly selected. 
  •  Winner announced on my Stiletto Gang blog, December 12, 2017. 
  • Names submitted must avoid slandering or defaming living or dead persons, avoid racial and ethnic slurs and cannot be pornographic.

Author reserves the right to decide if submitted names meet all guidelines.
One submission per reader, please.

Linda Rodriguez

Buy on: Amazon

Plotting the Character-Driven Novel

In Plotting the Character-Driven Novel, Linda Rodriguez turns her sought-after writing course on using depth of character as a springboard to a strong plot into a book designed to help the aspiring writer who wants to tell a story made compelling by the truth and complexity of its characters. She provides examples of actual documents she has used in creating her own award-winning books to demonstrate the methods she teaches. Great plot springs from character and the motivations each character has for taking or not taking action. With this book, you will learn to create an exciting and complex plot, building from the integrity of the characters you create.

Judy Penz Sheluk

The Hanged Man’s Noose: A Glass Dolphin Mystery #1

Buy at: Barking Rain Press
Small-town secrets and subterfuge lead to murder in this fast-moving, deftly written tale of high-stakes real estate wrangling gone amok.
Journalist Emily Garland lands an assignment as the editor of a magazine based in Lount’s Landing, a small town named after a colorful 19th century Canadian traitor. As she interviews the local business owners, Emily learns many people are unhappy with real estate mogul Garrett Stonehaven’s plans to convert an old schoolhouse into a mega-box store. At the top of that list is Arabella Carpenter, the outspoken owner of the Glass Dolphin, who will do just about anything to preserve the integrity of the town’s historic Main Street.
But Arabella is not alone in her opposition. Soon, a vocal dissenter at a town hall meeting about the proposed project dies. A few days later, another body is discovered. Although both deaths are ruled accidental, Emily’s journalistic suspicions are aroused. Putting her reporting skills to the ultimate test, Emily teams up with Arabella to discover the truth behind Stonehaven’s latest scheme before the murderer strikes again.

Skeletons in the Attic: A Marketville Mystery #1

Buy at: Audible
What goes on behind closed doors doesn’t always stay there.
Calamity (Callie) Barnstable isn’t surprised to learn she’s the sole beneficiary of her late father’s estate, though she is shocked to discover she has inherited a house in the town of Marketville – a house she didn’t know existed. However, there are conditions attached to Callie’s inheritance: she must move to Marketville, live in the house, and solve her mother’s murder.
Callie’s not keen on dredging up a 30-year-old mystery, but if she doesn’t do it, there’s a scheming psychic named Misty Rivers who is more than happy to expose the Barnstable family secrets. Determined to thwart Misty and fulfill her father’s wishes, Callie accepts the challenge. But is she ready to face the skeletons hidden in the attic?


Sign up for Judy’s newsletter by November 28, 2017 11:59 p.m. EST for a chance to win an audiobook copy of Skeletons in the Attic from Audible.com OR an e-book copy (Kindle, Kobo or Nook) of The Hanged Man’s Noose (Winner’s choice). Three winners will be randomly selected and announced (first names only) on my post, Monday, December 4th. SIGN UP HERE

T.K. Thorne

Noah’s Wife

Buy on: Amazon
“. . . a novel of epic sweep, emotional power, and considerable beauty.”—Ron Gholson, The Blount Countian
Na’amah wishes only to be a shepherdess on her beloved hills in ancient Turkey—a desire shattered by the hatred of her powerful brother and the love of two men. Her savant abilities and penchant to speak truth force her to walk a dangerous path in an age of change—a time of challenge to the goddess’ ancient ways, when cultures clash and the earth itself is unstable. When foreign raiders kidnap her, Na’amah’s journey to escape and return home becomes an attempt to save her people from the disaster only she knows is coming.

Angels at the Gate

Buy on: Amazon
“A fantastic story about the mysterious woman who, until now, was simply a shadow among biblical heroes…The story is so compelling that I could not wait until I could read the next part of the adventure.” —San Francisco Review
ANGELS AT THE GATE is the story of Adira, destined to become Lot’s wife, the woman who “turned into a pillar of salt.” A daughter of Abram’s tribe, Adira is an impetuous young girl whose mother died in childbirth. Secretly raised as a boy in her father’s caravan and schooled in languages and the art of negotiation, Adira rejects the looming changes of womanhood that threaten her nomadic life and independence. With the arrival of two mysterious strangers, her world unravels. She alone can solve the mystery of what happened to her father and the abduction of one of the strangers.

Crunch Time!

by Bethany Maines

Ack!  I should be baking. Or possibly cleaning my filthy office.  Or writing any of the multiple stories I’m supposed to be completing. It’s crunch time for me.  I’ve got a sci-fi novella that is due back from the editor at any second (more info to come after the holidays!), a Christmas short story that needs completing ASAP, and mystery novel that is supposed to be way more underway than it is. And my business partner at my day job is about to go on maternity leave at any moment. I could use a holiday.  Oh, wait, one has just turned up.  Now I get to add baking to the list.  So excuse me, if I just complain for a minute and then dash off to put a pie in the oven.

But in the spirit of the holidays, how about a chance to win a print copy of Shark’s Instinct?  Reviewers are calling it an “amazing mystery with loads of action.”  Click the link below to enter!  And come back tomorrow for some instant GIVEAWAYS from the whole Stiletto Gang!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Shark's Instinct by Bethany Maines

Shark’s Instinct

by Bethany Maines

Giveaway ends November 30, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Thanksgiving Giveaway

by Bethany Maines

In my recently released novel High-Caliber Concealer, #3 in the Carrie Mae Mystery series, the heroine Nikki Lanier returns to her childhood home for what she hopes will be a nice, quiet visit.  Of course, since she’s a covert agent for an espionage agency, her hometown appears to be harboring drug dealers, and her mother is clearly hiding something, a quiet visit is probably not in the cards.  But a girl can dream right?

And I’m pretty sure that’s what we all dream of for Thanksgiving. A nice quiet meal where everyone gets along and the food is delicious.  We all want it, but judging by the amount of letters to Dear Abby requesting advice about dealing with crazy relatives, we’re not all going to get it.

As we approach the season of counting our blessings and remembering what we’re thankful for, I will say that among my blessings is lovely readers such as yourselves. And if I can’t guarantee you a peaceful meal, the least I can do is giveaway some escapist fiction that can be used to avoid your relatives.  Leave a comment here or on the Stiletto Gang Facebook Page to be entered to win a digital copy of High-Caliber Concealer.  Winners will be announced on Black Friday (the day for free stuff).  Winner will be chosen by random number generator or my dog if I can get him to wake up from the tryptophan coma.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!
Bethany Maines is the author of the Carrie
Mae Mysteries
, Tales from the City of
and An Unseen Current.
You can also view the Carrie Mae youtube video
or catch up with her on Twitter and Facebook.

Mystery Novel Seeks New Home

by Bethany Maines

As the release date for my newest mystery (An UnseenCurrent) approaches (April 28th – ahhhhhhh!!!) I find myself once
again pondering the cruel irony of nature that crafts writers to be introspective
sorts and then pits them against a task to which they are monumentally
unsuited.  That is to say: marketing. The
woman hours spent lovingly crafting characters, settings, and events leaves the
writer more than a little in love with their own book. To then have it
heartlessly thrust into the public where some reviewer will crassly thumb
through it and declare it to be passable is like being gently stabbed with
needles by someone who doesn’t really care about your problems.  We all want to be bestselling authors.  I mean, who doesn’t want to be RichardCastle? (I really am ruggedly handsome!) 
But in all honesty, I think most writers would rather have their books
treasured and loved than consumed like soda and disposed of.
I remember the first time I saw one of my aunt’s books at
Half-Price Books. My aunt, Linda Nichols, writes beautiful Christian fiction
with snappy plots and characters you want to hug. I had not yet, published any
books and I personally thought that seeing her books on the shelf of a used
bookstore was cool.  But Linda did not
think it was cool – there was wincing and the sad look of “ohh, I wish I didn’t
know that.”  Someone sold her book down
the river – the heathens, the Philistines! The bastards with not enough shelf
space!  After I had been published I
realized her pain.  How could someone not
love my book?! Why would anyone give my book away?  My books are awesome.  All right, yes, I recognize the shelf space
issue is a real thing – even libraries don’t have ALL the books.  But as each baby book flies out into the
world, forgive me if I hope that it will find at least one home where it will
be treasured.
And on that note – who wants a free digital copy of An
Unseen Current?  It’s looking for an
awesome home (and someone who will leave a review).  Leave a comment here or on Facebook to be
entered to win.  I’ll draw names on Friday morning.
When Seattle native Tish Yearly finds herself fired and evicted  all in one afternoon, she knows she’s in deep water. Unemployed and desperate, the 26 year old ex-actress heads for the one place she knows she’ll be welcome – the house of her cantankerous ex-CIA agent grandfather, Tobias Yearly, in the San Juan Islands. And when she discovers the strangled corpse of Tobias’s best friend, she knows she’s in over her head. Tish is thrown head-long into a mystery that pits her against a handsome but straight-laced Sheriff’s Deputy, a group of eccentric and clannish local residents, and a killer who knows the island far better than she does. Now Tish must swim against the current, depending on her nearly forgotten acting skills and her grandfather’s spy craft, to con a killer and keep them alive.
Bethany Maines is the author of the Carrie
Mae Mysteries
, Tales from the City of
and the forthcoming An Unseen
You can also view the Carrie Mae youtube video
or catch up with her on Twitter and Facebook.

Free Book! Free Recipe! Free Time?

by Bethany Maines

Ok, it’s the day before Thanksgiving and that means that you
are either baking like a mad fiend or you’re kicking back while someone else
bakes and wishing that you could be done with work so you could go home and get
your holiday on.  My mom does the
hosting for Thanksgiving and that means I skate by making the easy stuff like
cookies, pies, and the cranberry sauce. 
Only I make cranberry relish because it’s easier, and far, far tastier
than the gelatinous glop that comes out of a can.  (See below for the recipe!)

Hopefully, you’re in a similar position when it comes to the
holiday cooking and you’ll have a little free time to read something new this
weekend. And because I’m feeling ever so thankful for readers like you, the first
5 people to comment get a free e-book version of my short story collection
Tales from the City of Destiny. I will also be drawing one name after the five
person cut off, so leave a comment no matter what, and then hop over to the
Girlfriends Book Club for a second chance to win on my second blog of the day!  I will contact all winners by Friday 11/27.
Cranberry Relish:
  • 1 bag cranberries (the bags usually have holes, so a quick
    tip is to rinse them while they’re still in the bag and let the water drain
  • 1 orange (don’t forget to remove the sticker)
  • 1 cup white sugar (use less or more depending on taste)
  • Optional: pinch of cinnamon 
Directions: Rinse everything.  Chop orange in quarters.  Put orange and cranberries into food processor and
chop.  Add cup of sugar.  Chop until everything is of relish
consistency.  Put in bowl.  Pretend you slaved for hours.  Eat.

Bethany Maines
is the author of the Carrie Mae Mystery series and 
from the City of Destiny
. You can also view the Carrie Mae youtube video or catch up with her on Twitter and Facebook.

Sparkle Abbey vs. Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey’s long-awaited new season begins in just a few days!

just in time for the new season of Downton Abbey, we have a special contest for
all of you Downton Abbey fans!

idea came to us in part because we have a Google alert set up to notify us
whenever Sparkle Abbey is mentioned out there in the cybersphere. However, being
new at this gig and not exactly understanding the set-up at first, we kept
getting tons of notifications whenever the “sparkle” of anything in “Downton
Abbey” was mentioned. Needless to say, we got a bit of a giggle out of it.

a little while back we were guests on the Seekerville blog and the superbly
talented Vince from Philosophy of Romance asked if we’d ever considered doing a
TV series “Sparkleton Abbey.” He suggested perhaps it could star a roguish
English Wolfhound and an adorable red-haired Irish Setter. 

We had a lot of fun
with the idea and then…well, you know the creative spark that happens when a
bunch of writers get together. From that point on we were off and running with
the Downton Abbey and Sparkle Abbey comparisons.

we’ll start it off and then we’d love to hear your ideas on all the ways
“Sparkle Abbey” differs from “Downton Abbey.”

We’ll collect all the ideas and draw a winner from all the participants. The prize is the wonderful Downton Abbey bell ornament pictured above. 

And as an added bonus, if you sign up for our newsletter via the Sparkle Abbey website there will be a drawing for a “Downton Abbey/Sparkle Abbey” basket.

like fun? 

Okay, let’s get started!

All the Ways Sparkle
Abbey Differs from Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey has high fashion and intrigue, Sparkle Abbey has high fashion and
intrigue, plus pets!

Whilst Downton Abbey does full justice to the Queen’s English, Sparkle Abbey
kills the Queen’s English in a shroud of mystery.

Downton Abbey has the Dowager; Sparkle Abby has a dog-wagger.

While Downton Abbey is actually set in Highclere Castle, Sparkle Abbey stories
are more often set in a downtown alley.

you go…

An Exception to the Rules of Perfect Timing

By Laura Spinella
Amazing how the second Friday of the month (my high-heel
post day) sneaks up on me! A quick blog, as
Clarabel and Robert, September 24, 1949

Mother is visiting this weekend. If
you know Mother, you also know that my hands are filled with dust mops and
disinfectant, and that I have no time to devote to cleverness or chatty banter.

So I will keep this blog simple and relevant, noting first
and foremost that the Stiletto Gang has expanded their social media horizons by
creating a Facebook page!  I’m excited
about this new venture, and hope it will offer greater opportunities for us to
interact with Stiletto Gang followers, as well as with each other.  Please come by and “like” us!
If you haven’t heard, I have a new book out in a few weeks, PERFECT
! As excited as I am about the Stiletto Gang’s new digs, I’m
maybe a hair more stoked about this. Honestly? 
I believe the book’s existence can be traced to blood being drawn directly from
a vein—one in my neck. This is my second published novel, and I am excited to
share it with readers. One-thousand-and-one iterations later, the back cover
blurb goes like this:
There’s rock,
there’s a hard place, then there’s Aidan & Isabel

What’s a Jersey Girl to do when she moves to Catswallow,
Alabama? Isabel Lang finds the answer in friendship, an unlikely bond with the
musically gifted Aidan Roycroft. The two share everything from a first kiss to
startling family secrets. But when Aidan is accused of a violent crime these
inseparable friends flee to Las Vegas. The move seems like a jackpot win as a
long-awaited romance ignites and a major recording label offers Aidan a deal.
But Vegas luck doesn’t last when circumstance interferes and Isabel’s future
comes tumbling down.
Seven years later the past is history. That includes any
yesteryear bond with Aidan Roycroft—an entity better known as Aidan Royce,
Alabama’s own Springsteen. Isabel is busy running a radio station and closing
in on a commitment with Nate Potter, a guy who defines ideal. Life seems cozy
until new station management demands a sudden-death ratings grabber, putting
everyone’s future on the line. What should be a simple solution leads to a
stunning revelation as Isabel is forced to call on the past and the only rock
star she
If that tickled your
reading fancy, you can pop over to Goodreads where there’s a giveaway going on,
courtesy of those nice folks at Penguin. 
If you’d like to read a little more now, you can find the first chapter
on my website 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Perfect Timing by Laura Spinella

Perfect Timing

by Laura Spinella

Giveaway ends November 09, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Wishing you all a
wonderful fall weekend! Many thanks for visiting with us at the Stiletto
Gang while I visit with Mother!

Laura Spinella, a RITA
finalist, is the author of the award-winning novel, BEAUTIFUL DISASTER. PERFECT
TIMING is available November 5th!  

Guest Friday – Sarah Anderson

Hi all!  Welcome to Guest Friday!  Today we are lucky to have the lovely and talented Sarah Anderson don her stilettos and chat with us for a while.  She was nice enough to subject herself to an interview with yours truly! Her new book, A Man of Privilege, hits shelves next Tuesday.  Trust me when I say, after getting to know Sarah, you aren’t going to want to miss it!


(Joelle) Why did you get into
writing?  (AKA – what the heck were you
Sarah – I love this question, because it implies there was actual
‘thought’ involved. I had always wanted to be an author, but had never had any
idea how to do it and hadn’t even thought about it for some years. Then, when
my son was 2 ½ and my Gram was 92 ½ we took a weekend trip. Everyone was worn
out on the way home, and I desperately wanted both of them to sleep the whole
way home. I didn’t even turn on the radio. But I had to do something to keep
from falling asleep, so I let my imagination run wild and saw this scene of two
people fighting in the rain and then kissing. The whole thing intrigued me—who
were they, why were they fighting, and what was up with that kiss? This sort of
thing had happened before—I’ve been accused of having an overactive
imagination—but this time, instead of the scene slipping off into the void of my
faulty  short-term memory, those people
stayed with me. I finally had to write down what they were saying just to get
them out of my head!
What was one of the
most surprising things you learned while writing/researching a book?
That writing the book wasn’t the hardest part. Oh, it was
hard, but that first book, with the kissing in the rain? I loved writing it.
Something inside me had been released, and it felt good. Then, after I typed
‘The End,’ I started looking around the Internet and saw how much work it would
take to learn the business, to get published, to be a professional author. That
was a terrifyingly daunting prospect. I almost didn’t do it, it was so
What do you do to
unwind and relax?
Unwind? Relax? What are these words? Seriously, I watch a
lot of kid’s movies with my son, play solitaire, and, if I have the time, read
a book. If I get really wild, I knit. I’ve been working on the same scarf all
Tea or coffee?
Tea. Lots and lots of tea. Black, green, white, oolong—anything
but mate. And, in the summer, water and lemonade. But tea.
Chocolate or potato
No contest—chocolate. I’m really enjoying the chocolate with
the hint of chili in it—that edge of spice is wonderful!
Do you ever suffer
from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
When writer’s block hits, I take a calm, reasoned step back
and freak the heck out. Then I force myself to remember all the other times
I’ve drawn a blank—after I had the flu, when I wasn’t sleeping, etc. Sleep is
the first step, getting back into my routine is second, and third is reading a
book or two. I might as well enjoy the writer’s block, right? By then, usually
my Muse has had a nice little vacation and she’s raring to go again!
What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
As I said, I always thought I’d be an author. My mom had me
in a creative writing summer course for kids back as far as third grade. I’d
taken a couple of cracks at stories in college, but never could get back my
Dreaded Backstory Problem. (Trust me, it was a dreadful problem!). I’d
basically given up on achieving that goal, but through a caffeine-fueled road
trip, I found that spark I’d been missing. It took a hell of a lot of hard
work, but it’s really wonderful to say that, all those years ago, I knew I was
going to be an author and now I am.

What would you say is
your interesting writing quirk?

I write best with music—with lyrics. Part of my brain needs
to be distracted so the rest of it can focus on the words I want. I know a lot
of writers who cannot write with music or with music that has words, but
humming along with Toby Keith or Motley Cru keeps me from worrying about
laundry or dinner or whatever so all that’s left is the story.
Do you read reviews
of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence
your writing?
I do. I know I’m not ‘supposed to’ because I’m leaving
myself open to the slings and arrows of outrageous reviews, but I do. So far,
they haven’t overtly influenced my writing, but I gotta tell you, reading a
positive review makes me smile for days. I know that one day I’ll hit the
negative review that rips my heart out, but I just can’t quit those reviews!
Which of your characters would you like to invite to
Thanksgiving dinner and why?
Well, which one can cook the best? Probably Maggie in A Man of Privilege. She’s been baking
cookies and carrot cake for about nine years!
What is the best
thing about being a published author?
Ooh, it’s a toss-up between being paid to do something I
really like and having a reader tell me how much they loved something I wrote.
Both are pretty awesome!
What’s next for
It’s more a case of what’s not next for me! In addition to having A Man of Privilege out on July 3rd, my next book, A Man of Distinction, will be out on
September 4th. All three of the A
Man of
books are loosely related—Rosebud, the heroine from A Man of His Word, shows up in all
three.  After that, I have my very first
release from Samhain due on January 1st called Mystic Cowboy, a Valentine story from Desire called The Real Cowboy on February 5th,
and then a series called the Bolton Biker Boys from Desire out later next year.
Whew! I got tired just typing that!
Finally, tell us
about your pets!
I love my dogs. We have always rescued dogs. For almost a
decade, we had a three-legged wiener dog named Jake. Sadly, he went to Dog
Heaven last year. Right now, we have a beagle-terrier mix—a teagle!—named
Gater, as in Al E. Gater (say it out loud!). He doesn’t look like a beagle, but
boy, he sure barks like one. And a few months ago, we got Fifi, a ‘shepard
thing.’ She’s supposed to be Australian Cattle Shepard and Border Collie, but I
highly doubt the collie part. She’s mostly just a smallish shepard dog with a
whole lot of energy! 
Readers, is there anything you want to know that I forgot?
I’m giving away a copy of A Man of Privilege to one lucky commentator! Plus—bonus—every week I’m
giving away one of these handcrafted (by me!) book necklaces from everyone who
commented throughout the week! Check the
Moms blog

every Sunday to see if you were the winner!

A Man of Privilege :  She isn’t what he expected.

Blue-blood lawyer James
Carlson is working on the case of his life.  After winning this trial, his
career will be set.  He won’t let anything…or anyone… alter his
course.  Then he meets his witness.
Maggie Eagle Heart makes
him question everything–his family, his goals, his future. Because she’s the
one woman he wants, and she’s the one woman who is completely off limits. Yet
even as he struggles to keep their relationship all about business, he can’t
deny the attraction is mutual–and irresistible. James has always done what
is expected of him…until now.
A Man of Privilege is available! Visit
your favorite bookseller, at
Amazon, or for the Nook.
Award-winning author Sarah M. Anderson may live east of the Mississippi River,
but her heart lies out west on the Great Plains.
With a lifelong love of horses and two history teachers for parents, it wasn’t
long before her characters found themselves out in South Dakota among the Lakota Sioux.  She loves to put people from two different
worlds into new situations and to see how their backgrounds and cultures take
them someplace they never thought they’d go.
When not helping
out at school or walking her rescue dogs, Sarah spends her days having
conversations with imaginary cowboys and American Indians, all of which is
surprisingly well-tolerated by her wonderful husband and son.
Blog Boilerplate
This post is brought to
you as part of the A Man of
Blog Tour.  For a complete tour schedule and
rules, visit www.sarahmanderson.com. Comments on this blog will be entered
to win a signed copy of A Man of
Next tour stop is July 3: Video Interview at Happy Ever After