Book Signing in Raleigh

A couple months back, I was invited to do a book signing at Dog-Eared Books in Raleigh, NC. It was the first time someone approached me instead of the other way around, so I accepted. Since Dog Eared Books is a second hand book store, I knew I wasn’t likely to sell many books unless people I knew personally attended. I even had other authors discourage me from doing a book signing at a used book store. I did it anyway.

The weather was terrible. It rained. Hard. And although there was a steady flow of traffic into the book store, none had come to see me. They were there to buy or trade used books.

But, my youngest daughter and granddaughter attended, so I wasn’t bored or lonely. In fact, my little granddaughter (and the basket of candy I offered passersby) drew people to my table. Even if I didn’t sell those people a book, I met them. I got my name out there. And it was good exposure.

I also did a live reading on Facebook that generated over 500 views in less than 24 hours. You can’t buy that kind of publicity. Even if I didn’t sell all the paperback copies of by book, it doesn’t matter. I make more off of e-books anyway, and people noticed me. Some took my cards, others just stopped for a second to chat.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FDogEaredBooks%2Fvideos%2F904693109692672%2F&show_text=0&width=267

The live reading on Facebook was just good marketing.

So, would I do another signing at Dog Eared Books despite the low (and I mean low) sales? Yes. Yes I would. In fact, I plan to do another one in July or August to promote my new release, Winds of Time. I’m hoping to get my cover model to join me at the signing, and maybe she’ll even do the live reading.

Sometimes, a book signing isn’t about sales. It’s about meeting readers and getting your name out there. Keep that in mind the next time someone questions why you’re doing a signing in a location that’s not likely to generate a lot of sales.

Winds of Time Cover Reveal!

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Cover Reveal!

I have a cover! Thanks to AGWDesigns and cover model, Caroline Kelly, I got my cover before I got a release date. Not sure of the exact date, but  I can tell you  Winds Of Time will release sometime in June.

Tagline:

The past is her future, her future the past, but can she save a falsely accused man’s life before history repeats itself?

Blurb:

In 1872, Mary Tillman disappeared without a trace. A year later, the half-Native American army scout accused of the crime was murdered on Mary’s front porch. Now, an attachment spirit is haunting Selena Tillman through Mary’s necklace.

As long as Selena dreams of Mary, she’ll never find peace. As long as she dreams of the army scout, she’ll compare every man she dates to the fantasy man of her dreams. So she heads to Texas where Mary and scout died and she sees more than just ghosts. She sees a phantom tornado kill Mary in real time just before the storm jumps to the twenty-first century and takes Selena back in time with it. Stuck in the past, Selena believes it’s her fate to prove Dylan’s innocence and save his life, but she soon realizes Dylan isn’t just the man of her dreams; he’s her destiny.

Fed up with the army, bigotry, and women—especially white women, Captain Dylan Casey dedicates himself to solving the mystery of Mary’s disappearance, proving his innocence, and trying to stop a war between the whites and the Indians. Then Mary’s cousin sows up claiming a tornado killed Mary. Dylan doesn’t trust Selena, but she’s his only ally in Canyon Creek. Yet despite their common goal, growing mutual attraction, and a Comanche shaman’s prophecy of a white woman who will change his destiny and foretell the fate of the Indian Nation, Dylan refuses to take a chance on another spoiled, white woman—until fate changes his mind.

Lilly Gayle Book Signing!

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MAY19

Lilly Gayle Book Signing!

Public

 · Hosted by Dog-Eared Books

Come out and see me on Saturday, May 19, 2018 from 1-4 PM at Dog-Eared Books

4027 Atlantic Ave, Raleigh, North Carolina 27604.
I’ll be signing copies of my Western Hearts series: Helpless Hearts and Wilder Hearts.

Can a former gunslinger find redemption through love?

Former gunslinger Noah Sinclair returned home so he could regain his respectability. Instead of redemption, he finds temptation in Juliana Jeffries—a woman engaged to the man who offered him a job and a second chance. Despite Noah’s loyalty to his boss, Noah’s Helpless Heart still yearns for Juliana—a woman with dreams and ambitions that don’t include a former gunslinger.

Noah stole Juliana’s heart years ago, but then he left town to avenge his father’s death. Now, she dreams of becoming a doctor and she’s obliged to marry Avery, a man with a secret she’s sworn to protect. Noah’s return could test her loyalty, her ambition, and her heart.

Writing about the outlaw, Jake the Snake, could be the opportunity of a lifetime—if it doesn’t get her killed.
When Ellie Wilder takes her sister from their grandfather’s home, she’s determined to put her family back together and write of their adventures. Then she runs into Jacob Harper, a man who resembles Jake the Snake, a notorious outlaw who once rode with Billy the Kid. Is it possible the outlaw who escaped justice has mended his ways? Or is the handsome Mr. Harper now murdering servant girls in Austin? Finding out the truth could be the journalistic opportunity of a lifetime.
Former Texas Ranger Jake Harper has returned to Texas to help solve the Servant Girl Annihilator murders. But when a similar murder occurs in Harmony, Texas, Jake goes undercover as Jake the Snake to find a connection between the series of brutal murders. Then Ellie Wilder shows up. Her snooping could blow his cover and get her killed, but Ellie soon becomes a bigger threat to his heart than his investigation.

My Review of The Three Sisters: Family Like it or Not

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I used to read all the time, but now I don’t get to read nearly as many books as I’d like. I still have my favorite authors, but I also enjoy checking out new authors from time to time. My latest author discovery is Rose Borden. Her first book, The Three Sisters: Family Like it or Not, is a family drama about, well, three sisters.

Fran, Dixie, and Carm are sisters with some serious issues, but everything isn’t as it seems and perception isn’t always truth. When the sisters’ mother dies, the three women are forced to spend time together and what ensues is a hilarious journey as the sisters discover secrets they never knew their mother was keeping.

Heartwarming and fun! I thoroughly enjoyed the story and laughed out loud more than once. There were a couple of places in the story where I thought the author could show more and tell less, but it was still so well done, it didn’t pull me out of the story.

This was Ms. Borden’s first book, and I look forward to reading more from this author.

Blurb:

Fran Mattison is living peacefully in the hills of Vermont when her mother’s unexpected death plunges her back into a world she had left behind.

Her mother’s last wishes force Fran to take a long trip with her two sisters, overly cheerful Dixie and the irritating Carm, and to Fran that is the worst punishment ever. She hates to be with them, especially Carm who deceived her and broke her heart twelve years ago. Forget the fact that Carm never shuts up.

Fran would rather stay in the secluded, bitter shell she has created for herself, where there is no forgiveness. The task before her will not be easy but she has to try and do it for the mother she loves so much.

As they travel to different parts of the country to settle Mom’s affairs, the three sisters are in for one shock after another. They learn that their lives have been a lie from the start, they’ve been deceived, and their mother is not the person they thought she was.

A roller coaster of feelings is encountered as each new place they visit brings a new surprise. Their emotions keep blending and tearing apart as they face these situations together. A new layer is uncovered when Fran learns that there is yet another deep secret being hidden between the sisters themselves.

What should have been a simple road trip turns into life shattering changes that test the already strained bonds between the women. Their journey makes them question the true meaning of the word family. It may not be what they expected but it’s their family whether they like it or not.

 

Rose Borden has enjoyed living in different parts of the U.S. and has spent the last 18 years in sunny North Carolina. She loves spending time with her family, writing, traveling, and relaxing at the beach.

Don We Now!

“Don we now our gay apparel!”

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays, and Merry Whatever You Celebrate this time of year. But do you don your gay apparel?

I used to. EVERY year–even if it was just Christmas sweats. Even when I didn’t wear holiday clothes, like my black sweater vest with snowmen and snowflakes on it, I’d wear Christmas colors. 

 

 

 

 

 

As recently as 2016, when my children asked me not to re-wear an old Christmas shirt or sweater, I wore my Santa apron, but I missed my Christmas attire.

I used to own an adorable denim shirt with kitties in Santa hats and a black velvet collar that I loved. I think I wore it more than one year. Then a couple of years ago, my daughter asked to borrow an ugly Christmas sweater for a themed Christmas party. I sent her a Santa sweater I wore back in the 90’s..one in which not a single picture exists because I’m usually the one behind the camera…and my Santa kitty shirt. My daughter was appalled that I still owned them. She threatened to burn them. lol!

 

I did get them back but have since donated them. Apparently, the Santa hat kitty shirt was more then 15 years old. I don’t have a picture of me in it the year I bought it, but here are pics from 1997 and 2007–proof my daughters are right. I do need to update my wardrobe. lol!

 

 

Some years, I don’t think I was festive enough…although, my girls always wore Christmas shirts or dresses until they were old enough to refuse. lol!

 

I actually miss those times, and I love seeing my granddaughters in Christmas clothes.

This year, I don’t have any new holiday outfits, just holiday earrings. Still, I’m not abandoning my gay apparel completely. I plan to wear Christmas colors. But is the headband too much?

 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

Life at Warp Speed

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Dear Lord, where does the time go? My last post was back in April? April? Really? What did I do all spring, summer, and half of the fall? Publish a book?

No. Sadly, I will not get a book out this year. I did, however, complete a time travel that is now sitting in the hands of an agent. So, fingers crossed there. I also started the third book in my Western Hearts Series. This book will be Brett Henderson’s story. Brett was the ranch owner readers met in Wilder Hearts.

Reading? Yes. I’ve done a bit of reading this summer and can recommend a few books. There was a political spoof I read back in April. I don’t remember the name or the author, but it held my interest, despite reminding me how much I’ve come to detest politics and the media’s reporting on everything ugly in politics.

I also read a couple of romance novels and a romantic drama. Those I remember and can recommend. So, here goes:

Small Changes by Donna Steele

Blurd:

Melanie Daniels is back home, reconnecting with friends and taking over the family business. She’s content even if there isn’t that one special person in her life. Then she sees the man of her dreams stalking toward her.

Jonah Sanders and his daughter have been on the run for nearly two years. It’s time to regroup and rest. He doesn’t know what has drawn him to this small town but he’s learned to live by his instincts. So why does the woman next door override his instincts and cause him to think of a life he can’t chance?

My thoughts:

I’ve read several Steele stories, but I think this one is my favorite. It reminds me of an early Dean Koontz novel but with more romance, and there is a child in the story with special abilities secondary to genetic manipulation instead of a golden retriever. The hero, Jonah, is strong but vulnerable, and Melanie is self reliant and brave without being over the top.

It’s a good story with strong characters, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. If you like romance with a dash of paranormal in the style of Dean Koontz’s early works, you’ll enjoy this one.

Next on my summer reading list was Laura Browning’s Healing Touch-

Blurb:

A Place to Call Home…

It’s exactly what widowed father Luke Allred is looking for when he brings his son and daughter back to his hometown of Mountain Meadow, Virginia. Luke knows he needs to be a better daddy for his troubled kids, but his work as a veterinarian made it difficult in the past. He’s vowed to change, but he needs help while he settles into his new position with the local animal hospital.
Rachel Hastings is a woman with a healing touch. She takes in injured and orphaned animals, so helping out with two new-to-town children shouldn’t be tough. What she hasn’t counted on is their sexy father, her secret crush from back in their high school days.
Their attraction is immediate, but so many obstacles stand in the way. Luke and his family still grapple with the shock of the accident that killed his wife. Rachel carries baggage from her own failed marriage. Worst of all, Luke’s children hide a secret that is tearing them apart and may destroy any chance Luke and Rachel have of building a future together.

My thoughts:

This was my first book by this author, and I wasn’t disappointed. I love stories set in the south, and I love romantic suspense. This story fit the bill perfectly.There was good character development, especially with the son, Jared. He came across as obnoxious while still being likable and sympathetic at the same time.

The hero, Luke is a jerk in several places, but the motivation is believable as is his behavior…just like real men. Both Luke and the heroine, Rachel, are wonderfully flawed and quite believable, and I fell in love with them both.

Browning’s writing style is reminiscent of Nicholas Sparks, only her stories are set in the mountains of Virginia instead of coastal NC. Hers has a guaranteed happy ending though. So, I can’t wait to read the second book in this series.

Last but not least, I read my first Megan Hart Novel, All the Lies We Tell, first in the Quarry Road Series.

This sexy romantic drama from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Megan Hart explores the tangled lives—and loves—of childhood friends.

My thoughts:

It was definitely a drama with very strong romantic elements. The sex was off the chart hot, and the characters were flawed to the point that I wanted to slap Nikolai and Alicia a couple of times over. But I still liked them both. They were sympathetic and likable with all the flaws of real people.

There were good supporting characters, and the author managed to redeem Alicia’s ex-husband toward the end so he wasn’t a total tool. There was also several hints within the book that a particular death might have been a murder. Or maybe that was just my interpretation. At any rate, I hope the lingering questions surrounding the death of Alicia’s sister are addressed in the second book.

So, what else have I been doing since April? Everything and nothing. Life has just been crazy chaotic.

My oldest daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter came up from Mississippi and joined my youngest daughter, her husband, their dad and me at the beach for a long weekend back in June. If you’ve never squeezed 7 people into a camper before, I don’t recommend it unless you’re a really close knit family. We managed not to kill one another and actually had an awesome time.

We spent time at the beach, ate out, walked on the pier, and squeezed an entire summer of fun into 4 days and 3 nights of cramped, family fun.

We spent very little time around the pool this year and didn’t make it to the beach much after that great weekend. And the times we did go, we spent repairing water damage to the camper and installing a new air conditioner.

We remodeled the kitchen, which looks fabulous, but some unforeseen circumstances led to some financial issues we weren’t expecting. In September, my oldest and her family made a second trip to NC to attend my youngest daughter’s baby shower, so that was another hectic, family-filled week.

Family was a big priority for me this year. My dad’s in failing health and made 3 trips to the hospital since April with COPD and congestive heart failure. He’s made some improvements and thank God, he’s still kicking, just not as high or as often.

There have been a lot of ups and downs this year from my dad’s health to job losses and career redirection to family weddings, and my mother-in-laws worsening dementia. For every up, there’s been a down, but the ups are still higher.

On October 19, my youngest daughter gave birth to our second grandchild–an adorable baby girl. Isn’t she just perfect?

So, as life moves ahead at warp speed and I feel as if I’m getting lost in the ups and downs of late middle age, I take some pride in the fact that I have an amazing family and some pretty good friends.

My day job may not be going in the direction I’d like, and my writing career may not be where I’d like it to be, but I’m still counting my blessings, and life is pretty amazing.

 

 

 

Why Do Electric Service Providers Advertise?

I’m not financially savvy, and I don’t know a lot about marketing or advertising, but I’ve often wondered why electric service providers advertise.

In North Carolina, you don’t get to choose your electric service provider. If you are in Duke Power’s region, you use Duke Power. If you’re in Central Electric’s or Progress Energy’s territory, you have to use Central Electric or Progress Energy. Some electric service providers are membership co-ops. Others are not. Duke Power is not.

I have Duke Power.

In 1999 Texas deregulated the electric power industry. The law was passed to encourage free market competition and lower prices. Although some areas, such as municipalities and cooperatives, were not required to deregulate and don’t have electric choice, at least some people do.

In North Carolina, there is no choice and no free market competition.

In other words, the electric companies can charge what they want and there’s not much you can do about it unless you want to live off the grid.

So, here’s my question. If there is no free market enterprise and I’m stuck using Duke Power and have no choice, why does Duke Power have so many commercials? It’s not like they have competition and can lure customers away from Progress Energy.

Maybe they’re trying to lure in new customers in the area who don’t have electricity. Nope. That can’t be right either. If you don’t have electricity, you can’t see the commercials. So, I’m stuck with the same question. Why advertise?

Maybe if they didn’t waste all that money on commercials, they could lower their rates. Or provide free or reduced cost services to the poor and elderly.

What do you think?

Another Time: A Unique Time Travel Romance From Donna Steele

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I love time travels. Usually, either the hero or the heroine goes back in time or travels forward in time. But in Donna Steele’s Another Time, both the hero and heroine travel back in time. This allows for more interaction and less introspection so they come to the realization that time travel is real much sooner. Naturally, they have their moments of doubt, but rather than read what the character is thinking, Dee and Dusty discuss what’s happened to them and we get to see how they respond to the situation as well as how they respond to one another.

Another Time is a spicy romance with an eco message that doesn’t bash you on the head but instead, makes you reflect on how the world might have turned out differently.

What if the big oil companies had never gained footing in America? What if there’d been more exploration into solar, wind, and water power? What if we’d never invented one use products but instead, had invested time and energy into renewable resources?

Filled with humor and bits of interesting historic and scientific details, this is one of the most unique and fun time travel romances I’ve ever read. I’m looking forward to the next book in The Guardians of Now series.

Blurb:

When Dusty Williams walks into a strange bar to contemplate the ruination of his career, the last thing he expects to find is a compelling woman. He’s not even in the mood for a one-night stand. He just wants to escape from all humanity.

Dee Stevens can’t believe she’s in a bar at all. She’s just lost two patients due to drunk driving. Whatever could have drawn her into a strange bar tonight, of all times?

When the two meet, and they feel an odd vibration that seems to pull them together, they have no idea what’s ahead, or behind, them . . . and what it can mean for mankind.

Excerpt:

Her eyebrow rose but she didn’t push away his hand as his finger traced the
stitching of her jeans along her outer thigh.
“Tell me about this trip.” She glanced over at him.
“I’d rather talk about when I get back.”
“We can do that too. Tell me what kind of meeting you’re attending.”
“We have a contract with a firm in Denver for a solar farm. It’s experimental and I’ve
incorporated some new designs. They can’t seem to follow my directions. My supervisor is going along to ensure I don’t call them morons to their faces and screw up the deal.”
“Would you do that?”
“Not on purpose, but my feelings might leak out the side.”
“You don’t accept mediocrity.”
He shrugged. “I never thought about it that way. I mean, the designs are written out.
If they follow the directions . . .”
“Is the information in words of one syllable? Maybe they don’t have anyone as good
as you at their end.”
The discomfort the topic had started vanished. “Thanks. Like I told you last night,
I’m not good with people. Leave me alone to work and I do great.”
“Last night with me was on the great side.”
“You’re the exception proving the rule. Besides, no one else gives me the buzz you
do.”
She laughed out loud. “What is that, anyway? You’re right. I’ve never felt anything
like it before.”
“No clue, but I’m damn grateful. I haven’t been this non-stressed since I can
remember.”
“Don’t tell me you aren’t good with people. That didn’t even sound like a line.”
“Because it wasn’t. Intellectually I’m aware I don’t know you, yet . . .”
She nodded, her eyes on the road. “I agree.”
That’s when the world turned upside down.

Purchase Another Time on Amazon!

About the Author:

Donna Steele writes science fiction, paranormal romance novels, and small
town romance novels, often with an eco-twist.  You can visit her on her blog.

 

A Hopeful Cancer Story

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As a writer, mammographer, and nine year breast cancer survivor, I support cancer research and celebrate survival stories.  Today, I’m celebrating Katherine Keys’ story. Katherine is a nine year Mesothelioma cancer survivor, and this is her story.
A Hopeful Cancer Story
Most stories about this aggressive type of cancer are anything but hopeful. But Katherine Key’s story is much different. When she was diagnosed with mesothelioma, an aggressive form of cancer, she was given no more than two years to live. Today, nearly ten years later, she is thriving. It is hard to decide to fight against such terrible odds, but Katherine credits that fighting spirit, her hope, and of course the care from her medical team with saving her life.

X-ray of patient with right middle lobe pneumonia

A Cancer That Mimics Other Diseases

When Katherine first started to feel sick, she thought she had the flu or some other type of respiratory infection. She had a cough, trouble breathing, and chest pains. This is part of what makes mesothelioma so insidious. This is a cancer that attacks the lining of tissue around the lungs. It is most often caused by exposure to asbestos, but it does not develop into symptoms until decades after the exposure occurs.
In the meantime, people like Katherine have no idea that they are getting sick. When they do start to experience symptoms, they are often diagnosed as having an infection, pneumonia, or even lung cancer. Luckily for Katherine, although she was not diagnosed correctly right away, she still received her diagnosis when the cancer was in an early stage. Others are not so lucky and do not get an accurate diagnosis until much later.

Normal chest x-ray

X-ray of patient with mesothelioma

Fighting for Survival

Even though Katherine was diagnosed with stage I, or early stage, mesothelioma, her prognosis was still not good. Most people do not survive this cancer, even when treated in the early stages. Her doctors gave her an estimate of about two years if she was lucky. She was only 49 and not willing to accept those odds.
Katherine opted for the most aggressive and riskiest treatment option, but also the one most likely to cure her cancer. As optimistic as ever, Katherine underwent an extrapleural pneumonectomy. Her surgeon removed the tissue called the pleura, in which the cancer originated, her entire right lung, and part of her diaphragm. She followed up this major and risky surgery with months of radiation treatment to try to kill every last cancer cell.

X-ray of patient with surgically removed left lung

Hope and Recovery
After several months of treatment and recovery from treatment—and adjusting to life with just one lung—Katherine returned to her doctors for regular checkups. After a few months, then six months, and finally a year, Katherine still had no signs of cancer in her. She had achieved remission—an accomplishment that is so rare for anyone with mesothelioma.

Katherine didn’t fight this battle alone. She was helped greatly by the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma Lawyer Center. They helped her obtain financial compensation through special trust funds the government has set aside for cancer victims like Katherine. This compensation helped with her treatments and quality of life.

Today Katherine is alive and well nearly ten years after her doctors gave her only two years to live. She credits her own relentlessly positive attitude and willingness to fight instead of backing down in the face of terrible odds with her survival and long years of remission. She enjoys life to the fullest now, knowing she beat such a difficult cancer. Katherine knows how lucky she is and, while she has some physical limitations because of the surgery, she loves life and most of all relishes the time she still has with her family.

Reviewing Andris Bear’s Angel Unclaimed

Please note this book picks up immediately after All Wicked’s Eve.*
Gifted with the curse of darkness, Nina Blackfox’s life has never been her own. She’s accepted it—Hell, embraced it. Until the destined path crumbles out from under her, leaving her on the precipice of destruction.

The battle she was meant to face has become a war, and she’s not sure which side she’s fighting for—Heaven or Hell.

Cursed with the gift of Volition—the ability to press his Will on another—Archangel Benaiah avoids temptation at all costs. Which was a hell of a lot easier before a meddlesome Fate assigned him a woman who threatens to scorch his soul with one look from her cool, midnight eyes.

Heaven has fallen to the enemy, the world into darkness, and all Benaiah wants is to follow Nina into the shadows…

Andris Bear does it again with book 7 in the Deadly Sins series. So, let me preface this review by saying one thing. Read the rest of the series. This book pics up where All Wicked’s Eve left off. Ms. Bear is kind enough to warn the reader of this fact in her usual snarky and hilarious way. She’s also added a cast of characters to the back of the book as a reminder to those of us who’ve read them all and for those who are coming in at the middle of this unique and complex series.

I think a reader could probably just read the last 3 books and still know what’s going on, but why would he/she want to? This is an engaging series and I can’t wait for the next installment.

So, what’s Angel Unclaimed really about? Armageddon. It’s here. Extinction Level Event. End Times.

But if the apocalypse isn’t exciting enough, we have a cast of passionate characters willing to sacrifice all to save the world, and Nina and Beniah are no exception. They know what they must do to stop Satan, and they know saving humanity could mean the end for them and their love. But the scariest part is knowing the world isn’t supposed to end this way. Nothing is right. Fate and destiny no longer have meaning in this new world order.

So, how can they stop the apocalypse if the old rules no longer apply?

This is a fast paced romance with a lot of snark, a dash of comedy, and sexual tension that will leave you as breathless as the action.

About the Author:

Andris blames her mother for her fascination with books.  Growing up in northern Indiana, there wasn’t much to do and she’d often complained of boredom.  Her mother handed her a book and told her to shush.  She’s been obsessed ever since. 

Though  she spent most of her time in between the pages, fantasizing of other worlds,  she didn’t write her first book until she’d had three children—just in time to have not a moment to herself.  In an attempt to keep her sanity, she writes.  Her favorite stories contain strong heroes and heroines, fighting an attraction stronger than both of them.

She lives in eastern North Carolina with her hero and their three mini villains in chaotic bliss.

You can find Andris at https://andrisbear.com/my-writing/ and on Amazon.