May I introduce: Kay Springsteen "The 13 of Hearts"


The 13 of Hearts
by Kay Springsteen

It's such an honour to have Kay Springsteen as my guest today. I've read and loved Kay's "Heart" series, and I cannot wait to read this one as well.

She's one of the wonderful authors who are always willing to help others.

Please help me welcome her here with a big applause!
1 - Tell us how you came up with the story for The 13 of Hearts.

Well, 13 is book #5 in the Heartsight series. I started writing that series as a kind of U.S. Marine version of the TV show Army Wives. Rabbit had a supporting role in the third book of that series, Operation: Christmas Hearts. But the quirky, superstitious marine played so well off the other characters in the book, it soon became clear he would need his own story. I didn't want it to be a story that focused on his PTSD while at the same time that disorder would play a role.  So what better than a damsel in distress in the form of a  young mother on the run to liven up his time in the States?

2 - The book is dedicated to the wonderful Monique O'Connor with the royalties going towards a cancer fund. Tell us a bit more about this wonderful cause.

I knew Monique from before our Astraea Press days. I knew she had lost her own mother to cancer while at a tender age, so it's one of those particular ironies in life that she would pass away with her children so young. Anyone who has read The Keepers might have seen the original cover and noticed how similar to Monique the picture on the cover looked. We all kind of joked about it at the time, but she drew a lot on her own experiences of losing her mother to write that book. Now, Monique had a sense of humor that would actually appreciate the irony here. I have no doubt she hated leaving her children and family at such a critical time in their lives. But the storyteller in her would have put her own particular spin on things and joked that this was some kind of family curse. I loved that girl! Monique and Kristine Cheney were also close. When Monique found out Kristine has breast cancer, she was devastated - it had to have brought up tons of memories. But she dove right in and offered moral support. When I wrote the dedication for The 13 of Hearts, I fully planned to donate a couple of months' royalties to Monique's family. But at the last minute, I felt a strong conviction that Monique wanted that donation to go to Kristine's fight. So with great love for both of these women, I am dedicating the book in part to Monique and offering 100% of my October and November 2014 royalties in her name to aid Kristine in her fight.

3 - As big fans of you and your books, we'd love you to tell us about your next project.
The next project is actually two next projects. I have another installment in the series that began with my Regency, The Toymaker in the pipes - another book using a strong secondary character. And the final book of the Heart Stories, which will be called Heartsong. This one will center around returning USMC vet Greg Fiskar (whom we met in Heartsent and again in Heartfelt and also in The 13 of Hearts - the guy just won't go away). And where the opening book in that series (Heartsight) dealt with Down syndrome and blindness, Heartsong will revolve around deafness. But whose... that's kind of a secret.


Peter "Rabbit" Kincaid wasn't always superstitious but after several deployments with the US Marines, he's picked up a few quirks. His last tour of duty didn't go so well, and now he's back home recovering from injuries and awaiting clearance to get back in the fight. The fight is about to come to him in a different way.

Melinda "Lin" Doyle is a two-time US Marine widow on the run from the fallout of an incident that threatens to separate her from her two children. Making their home in a motel where she works for board and half pay, with her oldest child attending school under an assumed name isn't her idea of being Mother of the Year. Then again, neither is being at the center of a murder investigation.

Rabbit believes everything happens for a reason so when he and the young family cross paths multiple times over the course of a couple of days, he pays attention. Lin would rather the handsome Marine officer take his attention elsewhere before he ruins everything. How can they ever get along when everything they do appears to be at cross purposes?



Kay Springsteen is a romance junkie and a chocolate addict, who makes her home in Virginia near the Blue Ridge Mountains. She can and does write anywhere, and often incorporates little oddities of her everyday life into her stories. Her family has learned the hard way to maintain a low profile in order to stay off her radar, for fear they will find themselves crafted into her latest novel. Kay is a Christian, who is passionate about all life. She has been an outspoken advocate for homeless persons, family preservation, shelter pets, the environment, military and first responder personnel, community outreach, education, and people of all ages who have disabilities.

Kay can often be found taking long hikes in the mountains with one or two of her terrific rescue dogs, but she's just as content to stay home gardening or simply spending time with her wonderful family. You might even find her at Starbucks writing. But if she sees you, watch out! You might just end up in one of her books. She believes in magic and real-life fairy tales, and the romance of life, and knows everyone has a happily ever after waiting out there somewhere. But until you get to it, why not pick up a good book and think about the possibilities? 



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 The stiff September breeze puffed out the hood on the sweatshirt and the guy reached up a hand to push it off his head. Rabbit could have tripped over a grain of sand with shock. It was just a kid — early teens at most. He wasn’t nearly as tall as Rabbit had first judged, and he was skinny. Dark brown hair fell past his ears in bushy curls. His face was the color of paste, as though he spent a lot of time inside. And for as long as he’d been standing in front of the bill changer, he hadn’t managed to so much as scratch the front of the machine.

Not exactly a highly successful criminal.

“How’s it going?” asked Rabbit.

The kid jerked upright and then whirled and pressed his back against the wall, his hands curled into poorly formed fists. Rabbit sprung back, giving the kid lots of space, and held up his hands surrender-style.

“Hey, relax.” He kept his voice low and strove to inject calming tones. The kid looked like a scared jackrabbit, an irony that wasn’t lost on Rabbit. “I was just over there and saw you fighting with the machine. What it do? Eat your dollar or something?”

Surprise flickered in the silver-blue eyes before the kid averted them. “Yeah.”

Rabbit made an exaggerated show of looking around. “I don’t see a car. What were you planning to wash?”

The kid clamped his mouth closed and gave a one-shouldered shrug.

Oh, joy. Why did I decide to confront the kid again? Rabbit rubbed at the tension in the back of his neck. “Okay, I get it. None of my business anyway.” He glanced at the machine, noting that it could change anything from a one to a twenty. He reached into his back pocket and slipped his wallet in two fingers. “A stranger did me a favor once, so how about I do you one now? How much did you lose? Ten? Twenty?”

The kid raised a startled glance, his eyes wide. He closed his mouth quickly and shrugged. “It’s not important,” he mumbled, dropping his eyes. “It was just a buck.”

Rabbit hesitated with his fingers on a twenty. Either the kid was straight up or he was smart enough not to try to score off a stranger. He moved his fingers to separate a ten from the middle of a bunch of ones and extracted it. “Sorry, kid. I don’t have anything smaller. Go ahead and take this.”

The kid shrank against the wall. This time when he looked up at Rabbit, his eyes held a trace of defiance. “No, thanks.” He inched toward the bay.

Rabbit offered an unconcerned shrug as he stuffed the bill into his jacket pocket and took another step back to give the kid some space. His gut told him the boy was in some kind of trouble that had nothing whatsoever to do with the bill changer. His brain reminded him he wasn’t everyone’s superhero.

“Maybe I’ll see you around sometime. Take it easy.” Rabbit gave a sharp nod and turned. He got two paces.


Rabbit halted in mid-step and looked over his shoulder. “Yeah?”

The kid had picked up his backpack and slung it over one shoulder. He kept his arms slightly bent, his hands still curled into ineffectual fists. A muscle worked in his jaw but he looked less angry and more… wary?

“What do I have to do to get the ten?”

“Not a thing,” Rabbit answered, slowly turning the rest of the way around while he tried to gauge the reaction he was seeing. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the crumpled bill.

The kid licked his lips and took a hesitant step forward. “Really? Nothing? You’re not like — a perve or something?”

An electric jolt shocked Rabbit’s awareness. How old was this kid? Old enough to be well aware of the ways the world could go wrong, apparently. “Ah, no.” Rabbit shook his head. “I like my dates female, willing, and close to my age. What about you? Why aren’t you in school?”

“We got a half-day.”

Interesting, since he was the only kid around on an alleged half-day. Rabbit held out the ten. “Yeah? Lucky you.” And if the kid was hooking school, so what? Not your business, man. “Just tell me one thing,” he said as the kid took the bill and skittered sideways.


“You use drugs?”

The kid narrowed his eyes as he pulled himself up to his full height and jutted his chin out. “No. Users are losers.”

Rabbit nodded his approval. “Good. So why’d you change your mind?”

Eyes narrowed and hard, the boy stared at him for a few heartbeats, and Rabbit recognized that he was being sized up. Too bad the kid was such a difficult read. He’d love to know his overall score.

“That’s your second question.”

Rabbit had no power over the urge that pulled one corner of his mouth into a half smile. The kid had definitely bested him there. “Yep, it is. So I guess you don’t have to answer.” He stepped backward. If the kid was ready to end the conversation, Rabbit wouldn’t prolong it. But to his surprise, the kid’s face screwed up with some vague emotion.

“I’m hungry,” he blurted. His hand shook, but he offered the ten back. “I didn’t lose any money in the dollar changer. I was trying to get something out of it.”

So much for not his business. The kid’s admission had just made it exactly that. Rabbit waved off on the fluttering ten and then rubbed his jaw while he considered what to do. Obviously the boy was at least a little savvy about strangers. He’d maintained some distance and he didn’t trust easily. It had taken a lot for him to admit to being hungry, though, and something wasn’t ringing right.

“I’m… Pete,” said Rabbit, still smiling, though he was unsure why. “But most of my friends call me Rabbit.”

The kid snickered. “You’re name’s Pete Rabbit?”



Tuesday Tale - Picture Prompt #freeread #prompt #TuesdayTales

Welcome to Tuesday ... Welcome to Tuesday Tales ...

I continue with my story about Connor and his dad Jack, who's ill with cancer. Connor lives in London and is visiting his father who lives in a small town along the Victorian coast.

Today's prompt is a picture.

Enjoy - and feel free to leave a comment. And don't forget to click the link below to go back to the main Tuesday Tale site for more stories by very talented authors.

Connor had been just over seven years old when he and his mother had left Australia and made their new home in London. There were vague memories in the back of his mind about the first days in school. He’d been the newcomer, but fitted in very well and had made friends easily. They’d lived with his grandparents until his mother had found a job, and she’d been able to afford a small apartment.

Squeezing his eyes shut, Connor was desperate for the slightest bit of memory.


But he came up empty.

“Your dad really appreciates that you’ve come here.”

Connor shot around and met Emily’s eyes. He had no idea how to answer that, so he turned to watch the virga above the sea.

“How long will you stay?”

Letting out a sigh, he contemplated the question and after a moment said, “I’ve taken a year off work.”

When she placed her hand on his shoulder, an unexpected jolt went through him.

“Are you all right?”

No, he wasn’t. Not even close. A week ago, he’d enjoyed a cocktail with the woman who he'd later found out had cheated on him, and a few days after that he’d said farewell to his mother and Duncan, the man he’d called father for the last twenty years. Embarking on a flight to the other end of the world, Connor had been determined to find out about the first seven years of his life.

With a smile he replied, “Of course, I am. Just a bit tired.”

Click her to read more Tuesday Tales


Out 7 October 2014 

Sunday Snippet - My untitled WIP 19/10/2014

Meet Jeri.
Jeri lives in Hobart where she owns a gallery. Since her divorce, many years ago, she's finally ready to "be" with a man again. But finding the right one seems to be harder than she thought.

Ely nodded, but didn’t say anything. His mood was still on a low and even though he knew better not to forget his manners, he simply couldn’t bring himself to smile.

“It would make things a bit more comfortable for the next few days if you’d told me your name, Mr Stranger.”

Well, if that didn’t crack a smile on his face. “Ely. Sorry, crappy day.”

Jeri choked back a chuckle as she turned and walked down the narrow hall. “Join the club.”

He followed her into a small room in the back of what seemed add-on part of the building.

“This is the room in need for more space.”

Looking around, knocking at the wall here and there, stepping over piles of paperwork and files, he said, “I can see that.”

“Can you do some magic here?” she asked hesitantly.

He laughed softly. “Magic is for dreamers. I’m a carpenter.”


Thank you all for your support and kind comments.
 I do appreciate each single one of them!

And check out Sunday Snippets  Facebook site for other writers.


Krysten Lindsay Hager - "True Colors" Blog Tour

Character Interview with Landry Albright from True Colors.

What's the worst thing that's happened in your life? What did you learn from it?

When my friends all got mad at me—first when Ericka and Tori stopped speaking to me after we all tried out for the American Ingénue reality show modeling competition and I made it to the next round and they didn’t. But I learned who my true friends were after that.
Tell me about your best friend.
I have two or three besties. Tori used to be my best friend, but after she got mad at me over that modeling thing…I just don’t trust her the same way. Ashanti Russell is one of my closest friends. We became closer after getting to know each other better. She always has my back. Peyton Urich is another of my best friends. We met when Tori and Ericka weren’t speaking to me. She’s been such an amazing friend. And Devon and I have best friend bracelets together, but…sometimes she gets a little controlling.

What is one strong memory that has stuck with your character from childhood? Why is it so powerful and lasting?

I was in a dance recital when I was four years old. We were supposed to be little ballerinas and have scarves attached to our tutus, but my mom was still in school at the time and she came home late and forgot to give me my scarves. So all the other little girls pulled out their scarves, and there’s a video of me looking on either side of my tutu for my scarves and then bursting into tears crying “Mommy!” as I ran off the stage. My grandmother said I was adorable, but I don’t think it was any coincidence my grandfather died two weeks later.

What is your greatest regret?

That I messed up my introduction during the American Ingénue competition. All I had to do was say, “Hi, I’m Landry Albright from Grand Rapids, Michigan,” and instead I said, “Chicago, Illinois,” my old state and when I went back to correct it, I totally slammed into the next contestant, made the microphone shriek and embarrassed myself. If I could go back in time, I’d totally choose that moment to change.

Do you ever lie?

Well, I don’t outright lie, but when my dad asks about my math grades, I do point out how awesome I’m doing in English and hope he changes the subject.

What do you like best about yourself? Least?

Best? I think I’m a nice person and a good friend. Least? My hair. I’d much rather have Devon’s dark, curly hair or Peyton’s dark red hair.

What is in your refrigerator right now?

Leftover butterscotch and vanilla pudding from the variety packs my mom and I eat all the chocolate out of.

What’s on your bedroom floor?

Dirty clothes—like my Hillcrest school uniform that makes me look like a dead goldfish, my mom’s favorite sweatshirt that I borrowed and got something blue on (when did I have fruit?), and some magazines.

What’s on your nightstand?

Magazines, YA mystery novels, gum wrappers, and my favorite lip gloss.

Imagine you’re doing intense spring cleaning. What’s easy to throw out? What is difficult to part with?

Did my mom put you up to asking this? I hate cleaning my room, but whatever. I guess the easiest stuff to throw out would be all the candy wrappers and to put my soda cans in the bin to take back for a deposit. What’s difficult to part with would be my magazines. I like to hang onto them and look at them at night before I go to bed. And I would never part with my stuffed animals—especially the blue mouse my dad got me when I was little.

If you could spend the day with someone you admire (living, dead or imaginary), who would you pick?

Talisa Milan, my favorite model who won the American Ingénue competition. She’s so busy that I doubt I could keep up with her, but I’d love to see what it’s like to be her just for one day. She hosts a video show, does makeup and hair care commercials, goes to school, and she’s dating a member of the band, The Puking Baby Dolls.

Are you upset your name is not in the title?

Not really. Krysten almost used it for the title of the sequel, but at the last minute she changed it. She told me she might use that one for the third book though.

Did your story end too soon?

I’m getting a sequel and she’s working on a third book, so I’m okay with it as long as she lets Vladi call me and stuff.

Did you and your author agree on the storyline?

Well, at first she told me I had no say in any of it, but she can’t really control what I say or do. I’m just me and she has to figure out what to do with that. She calls it, “frustrating,” but hey, I told her, “You’re the one who became a writer. What did you expect, genius?” So whatever. She’s got to deal with it.
Book Blurb:
Every day I walked down the sidewalk to school and wished I were one of the interesting popular girls who ran up with exciting news. Just once I’d like to be one of those girls instead of the being the one who didn’t get invited to things because people “forgot” about me.
Landry gets pushed into trying out for the American Ingénue reality show modeling competition with her two best friends. She doesn’t think she stands a chance, but she advances to the next level in the competition and her friends ignore her when they get cut.
Enter the gorgeous Devon, who also makes the first cut and includes Landry in her clique. Devon becomes the perfect best friend, but can their friendship survive the competition?
Landry hopes her big break could come at any moment, but soon sees there’s much more to modeling. She begins missing out on being with friends and has the chance to have a boyfriend when she meets a boy named Vladi from another school.
Part of Landry wants to be famous (and have her hair look good for once), but part of her just wants to be accepted. She learns about friendships, being true to yourself, and that a good hair conditioner doesn’t hurt.
Krysten's Link:

May I introduce: Lucie Ulrich "The Rose Ring"

The Rose Ring
by Lucie Ulrich

Please give Lucie Ulrich a warm welcome!

1 - How did you come up with the idea for "The Rose Ring"?
When I first wrote The Rose Ring, I had a marriage in-name-only in mind. The original story took place in New York City, and the ring showed up early in the story. After my first book was finished, I decided on a more laid-back setting, so I moved the characters to Montana and gave them new names. The biggest difference was that I added a brother, and struggled as to whether I wanted the female lead, Sky, end up with Micah or Noah. Made for some fun writing.

2 - I'm jealous - traveling through the US. Asking you the impossible - what's been your favourite spot so far?
I’m currently on a road trip with my husband (for the month of October). When we return home, we will have visited all 50 states. We’ve also traveled abroad, so choosing a favorite place is next to impossible. Overseas, I’d have to say spending time in Israel touched me deeply, but Paris is definitely a favorite spot. As for the U.S. if there are mountains, I’m there. Glacier National Park in Montana will always bring back special memories, which is why I set The Rose Ring in Montana.

3 - Tell us about your current project.
I’m about halfway through a sequel to The Rose Ring, which I’m calling Finding Hope. I did set it aside for a while so that I could work on something a little more lighthearted. I’ve titled my romantic comedy Diamonds or Donuts. This story revolves around Sarah Alexander, an elementary school teacher who is engaged to an archeologist from a wealthy family. When a chance meeting with a handsome policeman has her questioning everything she thought was written in stone, Sarah has a huge decision to make. I really love the fun and quirky characters in this one. .

With a will that reads like a piece of fiction, the return of his long-lost brother, and the possibility of losing the family ranch, Micah Cooper calls on high school friend, Sky Baxter, to bail him out of a bad situation.
Though her brain tells her no, Sky’s heart says yes. She accepts Micah’s in-name-only proposal, knowing it’s unlikely anything permanent will come of it. She’s been in love with him since the ninth grade, and if he hasn’t figured it out by now, there’s little chance he ever will.
When an unexpected kiss ignites a spark, giving Micah hope for a possible future with Sky, a tragic accident threatens to take it all away. Torn between following his heart, doing the right thing, and forgiving the past, Micah is lost in a whirlwind of pain and emotions. Will he make it through the next two years, or will a long-kept family secret be the undoing of them all?
Lucie Ulrich took her time becoming a writer. Not much of a reader as a child, writing was of no interest to her--until she joined a church drama team. The desire to write a skit, and not simply act out someone else's was so strong, that once she started, she couldn't seem to stop. That first skit led to her becoming the drama team director, then eventually, the performing arts director at a small Christian school.
Lucie's first novel was penned under a tree in a field in Holland. Though her first, second, and third attempts never saw the light of day, parts of each of them became the foundation for "Broken Vessels," her first published work.
No longer involved with the performing arts, Lucie enjoys going on photo shoots with her husband, and taking long (or short) road trips. She hopes to find inspiration as she and her husband explore the four corners of the United States.
Twitter: @LucieUlrich
Purchase Links:
 Micah took Sky’s hand and they hurried across the street, stopping in front of the double wooden doors. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a shiny gold ring. “Here, it’s a bit big for me, but it’ll do for today.”
She held out her hand and he dropped it into her palm. They’d gone shopping a few days ago and he’d bought her a thin gold band, but not one for himself. The fact that he only planned on wearing the ring for the ceremony solidified her in-name-only status. “Your dad’s?”
He nodded.
Sky fingered the ring. “Other than this nick, it looks brand new.”
“That nick nearly cost Dad his finger. He got it hooked on a piece of farm equipment shortly after he and Mom married. He made Noah and me swear never to wear any jewelry while working.”
“Did he ever wear it again?”
“And your mom didn’t mind?”
“Not that I was aware of. Then again, I was just a kid.”
At least she’d have a good excuse for why her husband didn’t wear a wedding band. She, on the other hand, would wear hers proudly. He might be a lug, but for the next two years he’d be her lug. “We’d better go. Don’t want to keep the judge waiting.”
The judge’s secretary ushered them into the office. His Honor stood when they entered and greeted them with a firm hand and warm smile. “Robe or no robe?” he asked.
She looked at Micah. “What do you think?”
 He smiled. “Your call.”
“In that case, I vote for the robe.”
While the judge put on his robe, Sky took in her surroundings. The walls were painted standard office-beige, but the large mahogany desk, and photographs of Montana’s mountain ranges and plains that lined the walls added some warmth to the room. What she especially appreciated were the live Ficus trees that flanked the tall window behind the desk. It was no church, but at least it wasn’t the cold, barren room she had envisioned.
The ceremony was short, with only the court clerk and judge’s secretary in attendance. But that didn’t bother Sky. Nothing else mattered at the moment. This was her wedding day, perhaps the only one she would ever have. For that reason alone she chose to absorb every detail and print them on her heart.
Micah stood ramrod still until the judge had him place the ring on her finger. His hand shook a little, but his tender smile was one Sky would forever remember.
Her next memory would be their first kiss. She knew it was purely out of obligation. After all, what would the three people staring at them think if a newly married couple didn’t seal the deal with a kiss?
When Micah leaned in, one side of his mouth lifted in a smile causing her stomach to flip. Assuming the kiss would be short, she was taken by surprise when his warm lips lingered longer than she’d expected. The scent of his spicy cologne tickled her nose. The feel of his hand on her cheek sent her heart rate soaring. She couldn’t even imagine what her reaction would be if he ever kissed her for real.

Cover Reveal: "Orion's Curse" by Amy Bartelloni


Author: Amy Bartelloni
Genre: YA Dystopian
Series: Andromeda series, Book #2
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
It's been two months since the blowout with President Vise. 

The Valley is rebuilding and elections have been planned, but things are about to change when a new group of refugees arrives seeking the cure. They've brought with them someone Anyon never thought he'd see again, but he's not the only one who's surprised.

While Anyon sorts out the new arrivals, Malachi's loyalty will be tested when Dax and Raven, old friends from his time on the streets, show up baring secrets he's tried hard to keep hidden. He's never shared that part of his past with anyone, and finds himself going along with Dax to prevent anyone, especially Sera, from learning what they did on the streets to survive. 

But how far will he go to keep his past hidden?

Things take a turn for the worse when Dax and Raven pit Malachi against his friends. Will Sera's love be enough to prevent him from sliding back into his dark past, a past that's more brutal than even she can imagine?

November 11th


~ The Andromeda Series ~

Series: The Andromeda Series, Book #1

Genre: YA Dystopian
Publisher: Limitless Publishing

Ten years after a pandemic swept the globe, survivors were forced into factions and camps in order to survive.

Jade and Sera are two orphans who have found refuge in a government camp. It's there where Jade falls in love with a young soldier, Anyon. But Anyon has his own secrets, carefully guarding a past that involves Sera. Before Jade and Anyon admit their feelings to each other the camp is attacked and they're separated.

Jade knows to lead Sera to Albany, the last free camp in the east, but the road is dangerous.

Not only must they dodge pockets of infection, but they're threatened by drifters and gangs. When they arrive in Albany, they find it deserted.

Anyon and his friend Malachi are close on their heels, but not close enough. The Provisional Government is on a mission, and no one is quite prepared for what lies ahead.


Amy Bartelloni

Amy Bartelloni is a reader, writer, & coffee addict who lives with her husband, 3 children, and various animals in the northeast US. When she's not playing mom-taxi, you can find her with her nose in a book or her head in the clouds. A people watcher and science fiction junkie, she still believes dreams can come true. Some of her favorite authors include Neil Gaiman, Jasper Fforde, Paulo Coelho, and Stephen King.

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