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What Makes a Good Beach Read? – Guest Post by Katie O’Sullivan, Author of My Kind of Crazy

1 Aug

My Kind of Crazy, a contemporary romance by Katie O'SullivanThanks so much for inviting me to visit your blog today, Babette! I’m currently celebrating the world-wide release of my newest novel, My Kind of Crazy, a contemporary romance from The Wild Rose Press. I’m so glad it’s a summer release, because it truly is what you’d call a “beach book.

It’s set on Cape Cod (a place I know well since I live here year round) and is a fun, light read sprinkled with comedy, mystery, and a dash of sizzling romance, all with the backdrop of beautiful beaches and endless blue skies.

Several readers and reviewers have called it a “perfect beach read” – but what is it that actually makes a good beach book? Is it having a “beach” as part of the setting? Or is tone more important? Or do you prefer to have a book that you’re able to put down at the end of a chapter, and stuff it into your beach bag to pull out again the next day?

I was an English major in college, and very serious about my literature for a long time. I was one of those people on the beach with thick, sleep-inducing tomes, and a pencil to make notes in the margins. You know, Shakespeare for fun. Even my “light” beach reading wasn’t as light as it could be – I remember reading The Grapes of Wrath and The Lost Weekend one summer vacation in Hilton Head. Not as cheery as it could have been.

When the kids were young, we spent countless hours next to the ocean, making sand castles and playing in the waves. I still read books on the serious side – Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bojahlian had me in tears (and other beach goers wondering what was wrong with me.) One day at the library getting new books for the beach bag, my younger sister coaxed me into checking out a Jennifer Crusie book, Bet Me. “It’s summer,” she said. “Lighten up and read something just for fun.”

Fun, fast, flirty, smart, sexy, sizzling… the book gave me a whole new perspective on what I could – and maybe should – read at the beach. I went back to the library. I took out a stack of Crusie books. Jennifer Weiner and Charlaine Harris followed. My love affair with smart, sexy heroines and feisty female authors had begun.

The main point of reading at the beach, I’ve decided, is to relax and get away from everyday life. It’s more fun to read something lighthearted than something dark and dreary. An element of surprise always helps to hold my interest – whether it’s a dash of mystery or adventure, imaginative plot twists or paranormal characters.

Now, I like to think of myself as one of those feisty female authors. Hopefully, My Kind of Crazy is the first of many more “beach books” – books that are both set at the beach and perfect to stuff into your beach bag.

So, what makes your perfect beach book? And what’s in your beach bag this summer?

Whether it’s heavy, light, romantic or paranormal (or all of the above!), happy summer reading!


Kendall Roarke is betting everything on making her Harwichport Bed & Breakfast into the premier wedding destination on Cape Cod, despite her recent messy divorce.

Jonathan Reynolds moved back to the Cape to take over his uncle’s business and start fresh after his own marriage ended. He’s not looking for anything complicated – until he meets Kendall, with her big plans and wild mop of curls.

Throw an unruly foster puppy and an uptight new neighbor into the mix and things get a little crazy. Now Kendall has to decide if it’s the kind of crazy that she can live with… for the rest of her life.


“Excuse me?”

She turned to find the stranger from the corner table on the sidewalk next to her. He was much taller than she’d guessed, maybe six feet or a little more, with long legs and wide shoulders. “You left these on the counter.” He held out her sunglasses. “I thought you might need them.”

She looked from the glasses up into his smiling face, and felt her knees go a bit weak. Up close, his eyes were the most brilliant shade of green Kendall had ever seen. Her stomach tightened into a knot and the air around her seemed to disappear, making it hard to breathe. Laugh lines radiated from his eyes and the small creases of dimples in his cheeks as he smiled.

Kendall exhaled, and reminded herself that it didn’t matter how breathtakingly cute he was. The guy was having an affair with a married woman. “Umm, thanks, I guess.” Her voice sounded as awkward as she felt. She reached to take her glasses, and realized that both hands were full with the coffee cup and bakery box. She juggled to balance the large box on top of the cup’s plastic lid to free up a hand.

“Here, let me help.” He stepped in even closer. Instead of taking either the box or the cup out of her hands, he slipped the sunglasses on her head, sliding them through her long curls and into place over her ears. This close, the clean scents of soap and citrusy shampoo wafted from his still-damp hair. Major sparks tingled throughout her entire body, his hands lingering for a moment in her hair before he seemed to catch himself and take a step back. “My name’s Jon, by the way. And you are?”

You can buy My Kind of Crazy at:

Katie O'Sullivan, Author of My Kind of Crazy, a contemporary romanceBio:

Katie O’Sullivan lives with her family and big dogs next to the ocean on Cape Cod, drinking way too much coffee and inventing new excuses not to dust. A recovering English major, she earned her degree at Colgate University and writes romance and adventure for young adults and the young at heart.

Living next to the Atlantic influences everything she writes. Her YA mermaid series begins in Nantucket Sound with SON OF A MERMAID, and continues the undersea adventures with BLOOD OF A MERMAID, coming from Crescent Moon Press in May 2014. Her latest contemporary romance from The Wild Rose Press is MY KIND OF CRAZY, a Cape Cod story of second chances and starting over.

Website ~ Blog ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads ~ Amazon Author Page



The Rule of Three – Guest Post by Dawn Luedecke, Author of Midnight Room

29 Jul

Midnight Room, a paranormal romance by Dawn LuedeckeI would like to start out by thanking Babette James for hosting me and introducing myself to those who don’t know me. My name is Dawn Luedecke and I’m an author, mother, veteran, displaced country girl, and military wife. I believe that whatever you do in life, you must have passion in order to succeed. As a result, my personal mantra is ‘Always Have Passion.’

In high school, I was a nerd. I’m talking band geek, choir singing, business club, thespian kind of nerd. Fortunately, for me, nerds tend to succeed in later in life. I learned many things in these clubs and classes that I have been able to take with me into the adult world. One of them I learned from my thespian teacher (for those of you non-nerds who don’t know, thespian is the drama club). One day in class, I learned the rule of three.

The rule of three states that something can only be repeated three times before it looses its charm and becomes redundant. This is also important in writing. When I have an important component in my book that needs to be repeated, I try to use this rule. For instance, in my new release, ‘Midnight Room‘, my heroine find herself the target of an attack within her circle of friends. I let my heroine be attacked three times, anything less would and I wouldn’t have made the point enough for the story line, anything more and I’m pretty sure my readers would think ‘oh geez, not again’. I’m a true believer that balance is the key to success (in virtually anything you do).

Is there a specific rule, whether written or unwritten, that you like to follow in your profession?

Below is an excerpt from one of the scenes in ‘Midnight Room‘.


 She clutched the bed sheets to her chest when she opened her eyes, but she was alone and whole in her room. With the blankets balled in her fist, she searched the darkness. The room remained black, motionless except for the gentle sway of the curtains in the open window. She squinted, certain she’d closed and latched the frame before she went to bed. She was too frightened of the strangers on her property to leave the windows unlocked.

Shadows enveloped her and transformed the room to an eerie stillness, intensified by the fear that ebbed from her dream. She reached down and pulled the mattress up to search for her pistol.

“You won’t find the weapon you seek,” a deep silky voice spoke from somewhere in the dark. Her heart began to pound with dread. “It will not protect you from me.” Silence stretched long enough to heighten her panic. “Those two outside are dangerous. Do not trust them. They seek only the Zephyrus.”

She searched the dark, desperate to find the face of the man who spoke. She lay back against her pillows and closed her eyes tight. Through the blackness, the man who spoke was invisible, so eyes were useless anyway. The sound of his slight movement showed his location in the corner, next to where she’d placed the dresser when she moved in. “Who are you?”

“We come from the deep to watch and protect, and sometimes to kill.” His voice slid like silk through the night. “But not you Alana. You can see the true color of the stone.”

She stretched her senses to the corner where she thought the voice originated, but now she wasn’t sure. Did he move? “What stone? Who are you?”

The cool wind caressed her face and a whisper caught on the winds tide, almost inaudible as it faded with the wind. “Devlin.”

She sat up with a sudden need to know, ready to ask the many questions that formed since she first encountered the wolf, but found herself alone.

Her chest heaved. What just happened in her midnight room?


Haunted by the murder of her parent’s years ago, Alana Roseburg strives to disappear into the trees of Miranda’s Forest, a place marred by a dark Legend. When she finds a lone wolf stalking her property, she can’t help but be drawn to the animal, despite his dangerous aura. She soon discovers a secret no mortal could accept. The wolf is Devlin—a man, a shape shifter, and Guardian of a woman known as the Windrose of the West. This Windrose controls and protects a magical gem that holds to powers of Mother Nature’s elements.

To her surprise, Devlin believes she is the Windrose of the West and his rightful mate. Soon she is taken to his home and drawn into a world she’d never imagined. But can her growing love for Devlin overcome the effects of the stone as they become too much for her to bear? Soon she is taken to his home and drawn into a dangerous world of passion, secrets, and murder. Can she overcome her fear and accept her destiny before it’s too late?

You can buy Midnight Room at:

Amazon Kindle

Coming soon to Nook and in print

Biography: A country girl born and bred, Dawn Luedecke has spent most of her life surrounded by horses, country folk, and the wild terrain of Nevada, Idaho and Montana. As a child she would spend many afternoons reading books, watching western classics, and Rogers and Hammerstein movies. When she grew up she decided to leave the quiet country life for a chance to find adventure by serving a successful tour in the United States Coast Guard. During that time she found her soul mate (and alpha male) and started a family and writing career. She enjoys writing historical and paranormal romance and spends as much time as she can working on her current manuscript. For more information visit

You can find Dawn at:







Dawn Luedecke Blazing the West Book Tour


Interview With Ilona Fridl, Author of Iris Rainbow

22 Jul

Iris Rainbow, a women's fiction romance by Ilona FridlI’m delighted to welcome Ilona Fridl for an interview and a look at her new women’s fiction with romance, Iris Rainbow.

Hi, Ilona, so glad to have you here today. Tell us a little about Iris Rainbow.

The story is set in California and takes in a thirty year span. It shows the darker side of the 60s rock and drug scene and how two people eventually overcame their crucibles.


Rebellious teen Teri Darden comes of age in the Summer of Love, 1967, falling hard for Tim Olson, who plays bass guitar in a soon-to-be-famous rock band called Virgin Ram. When the band goes on a lengthy tour, Tim and Teri not only lose touch with each other but the lies of his spiteful ex-girlfriend push Teri into the dark side of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll in the San Francisco of the 1960s. As his year-long tour comes to a close, Tim realizes how much he has missed Teri, but his efforts to find her again are futile. He goes from one bad marriage to another yet is always searching for Teri, until they meet again thirty years later. Neither could quite forget the other, but can they rekindle what was lost?

What inspired this story? 

The song “Your Wildest Dreams” by The Moody Blues. When the song first came out, I thought it would make a hell of a story, so I wrote one. Also, at the same time there were many stories about lovers who were pulled apart at an early age and met years later and fell in love again.

What are you working on now? Do you have any releases scheduled for this year? 

My work in progress is a western set in Tombstone, Arizona Territory in 1883. I decided to try a nineteenth century romance, but it isn’t too far off the times I have been writing about. If I get my tail back to work on it instead of working on promo and marketing, it’ll probably be out next year.

Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, character, or…? 

A little bit of all. I find a time and place that is interesting to me. I like to know what was happening there at the time and weave a story around it. Sometimes I know the type of characters I want to inhabit my world and take it from there.

Do you have a favorite hero and/or heroine in your books and why? 

Zeke and Addy from my Dangerous Times series were my favorites. Since they appeared in all the books I got to know them well. Zeke had anger issues and Addy did too. Through their love they learned to overcome themselves when they had to face down gangsters in 1920s Hollywood. That was Silver Screen Heroes, my first book.

What is your favorite scene from this story and why? 

It’s the excerpt I posted here. It’s been thirty years since Teri and Tim were together and they both were very hurt at the separation. Teri’s husband died a year before and Tim was through two failed marriages. The power of emotion at this scene after all they’ve been through always makes me cry.

What do you like to read? 

I love all kinds of books; fiction and non. Whatever catches my fancy at the time. I love doing research and finding out facts of times past. This I incorporate into my stories.

Who influenced your decision to become a writer?

Louisa May Allcott and Ray Bradbury are my two favorite writers. Those authors made everything so clear that I was caught up in the stories every time I read them. Reading them again made me feel like I was visiting old friends. I wanted to make people feel like that, too.

These are few of my favorite things:

1. Family

2. Camping

3. Chocolate

And now Ilona has a question for you: Has a song ever inspired you? Which one? A free ecopy of Iris Rainbow to one lucky commenter!

And thank you, Babette, for hosting me on your blog!


The crowd was beginning to thin out when they reached Music World. It was fifteen minutes to closing. Marcy and Teri walked into the store and stood behind a group of people. She saw the band at a desk still signing a few autographs. After thirty years, of course, they’ve aged. Roy had white hair, and Luke had aged well, but he had a rugged look. John’s hair was very short and she didn’t recognize him at first. There at the end of the desk sat Tim. Her heart skipped a beat, and those old feelings welled up in her. I haven’t stopped loving him. Just remember how he walked out on you. Outside of short, thinner, gray hair, he was still very handsome. Teri glanced at her own image in the security mirror. She saw a woman with a fairly nice figure and short gray hair with red streaks. In fact, David had given her the nickname of “Rusty” before he died. Teri turned her attention to the band members. John looked up and nudged Tim. She smiled when she noticed they were looking in Marcy’s direction. Her daughter resembled Teri at that age. She walked beside her daughter and put a hand on Marcy’s shoulder. As Teri waved, Tim’s reaction was startling―he jumped up and grabbed Teri in an embrace.

“Teri! Oh, my god! Teri!” he shouted. He turned to the manager. “Can we borrow your office?” The surprised man motioned them in.

Teri’s emotions ran rampant. She wondered if she should open the door she’d shut so long ago. Should she open old wounds? But how wonderful to be held in his arms again. I can’t look him in the eyes or I’ll be lost.

You can find Iris Rainbow at: 

The Wild Rose Press

Ilona Fridl, author of Iris Rainbow, a women's fiction romanceBio: 

Ilona Fridl was born in sunny California, but moved to the frozen tundra of Wisconsin in her early twenties. Studied creative writing and journalism in high school and college. Didn’t do much with it for a while, because she never got along with typewriters. Got a computer in the mid nineties and started writing articles and short stories for magazines. Started writing novels and sold her first in 2008. Lives in SE Wisconsin with husband, Mark.

You can find Ilona at:






The Problem with my Leading Men – Guest Post by Ava Bleu, Author of Glorious Sunset

21 Jul

Glorious Sunset, an inspirational time-travel romance by Ava BleuYou’ll read my novels and you’ll think I want an old-fashioned Neanderthal man, but nothing could be farther from the truth.

I was typing up the blurb to my second romance and describing my hero “king looking for his submissive queen” and I thought, I hope no one gets the wrong idea.  And then I thought about my first romance with the country man with wide shoulders and the “stick up his backside” and I thought, hmm, I hope no one gets the wrong impression.  Because I do not want a Neanderthal. Let’s make that clear.

What I do want?

A man who understands what he needs to do.  A man who knows he needs to be a stand-up guy, take care of his family, fight for what is right, stay true to his beliefs and do it all in a greater than six-foot chiseled frame draped in cocoa-colored skin that smells as good as it tastes.

Oh, don’t get all shy, I know you romance readers have read a lot steamier stuff J.

What I don’t want?

I don’t want a man who thinks he can treat me like they treated women back in the day.  So long as he knows how to be as strong as above and also knows how to respect that boundary of not trying to impress all that upon me, we’re fine.  Cause I’m a modern woman.  I only listen to men when I want to and half the time I forget what they say a second later. Women do not need men to run roughshod for them.  Now, I don’t mind letting one think I do every once in a while.  I don’t mind turning one loose on the world if it will serve my purpose.  I don’t mind letting one pick me up and carry me to the bedroom every now and again (got to work those muscles).  But I will never allow one to think they have dominion over me.

I think the key is in the boundaries.  And the respect.  So long as a man, or a character, respects the woman he is with — her mind, her opinions, her power to get things done – he can be comfortable being the man he is for himself.  So sure, my heroes are tall and handsome and slightly stubborn and grouchy.  But my heroines are beautiful, curvy and even more stubborn and much grouchier.  So you see, it all works out.  Everyone’s happy.

Do you think sometimes heroes are too mired in Neanderthal jerkdom to be attractive?

Glorious Sunset


African King Taka Olufemi has traveled over four hundred years to find the woman who holds the soul of his murdered queen and he’s a little cranky.  With a ruby brooch as his vessel, the former king is forced to grant wishes to ungrateful mortals hoping to one day find, and win, the heart of his lost love.

But it will take more than good looks, superior intelligence and an impressive pedigree to earn the love of Violet Jackson.  The ambitious interior designer doesn’t remember Taka or their history.  Love—with its inevitable heartbreak chaser—has no place in Violet’s immediate life plan.  All the handsome “genie” can do for her is pony up on the three wishes he’s promised and try not to be a pain while he’s at it.

While the arrogant king is praying for his submissive queen and the faithless object of his affection isn’t praying at all, guardian angel, Aniweto, is praying for them both.  With Ani’s help, Taka and Violet’s epic love will be rekindled and this royal couple-behaving-badly will finally earn their happily-ever-after through the grace of the Almighty.


1600 A.D., Jaha, West Africa

The acrid smell of a burning village brought King Taka Olufemi awake, sputtering, coughing and wincing in pain as he did so.  Slowly memory returned and with it the horror.  He cracked his eyelids open, his eyes immediately burning with the pebbly smoke that floated in a low hanging cloud.  Pushing himself upright from where he lay causing sharp pain to streak through his torso and the agony brought his gaze down as he sucked in his breath and jerked his hands to the source.  Seeing the jagged, torn flesh of the wound in his side, the rest of his memory came and with the memory…

“Oh no … no, no, no….”

He forgot his pain.  He fought off the sway of the world as he stood, struggling to focus and see through eyes watering with smoke and something else he didn’t dare identify.  He didn’t need to see when he could smell.  He was a king and warrior; battle was in his bones and death always a close companion.  He smelled both here.

He looked around.  Men, women, children; the massacre was complete.  Beyond the hall huts and houses of his village were blackened ash.  The air still burned with the stench of fire.  He couldn’t understand this.  In all his life he’d never seen such brutality; never known such dishonor.  Still, he firmed his jaw and kept looking, turning in a wide circle until his feet staggered to a stop before his brain could even register.

His body knew how to find its heart…

You can find Glorious Sunset at:

Preorder at

Preorder at Barnes & Noble

Bio: Ava Bleu lives and loves in the Midwest, countering bitter winters with smooth jazz and tasty edibles. Ava Bleu is the author of the contemporary romantic comedy, The Diva of Peddler’s Creek, and Glorious Sunset, an edgy inspirational romance with a time-traveling king, an angel and a love for the ages.

Ava can be found in bookstores and the public library camped next to the cookbooks and/or on the town keeping an eye out for hero-material.  She can also be found at her website and visitors are always welcome.

You can find Ava at:






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