Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Spotlight & Giveaway: Changing the Rules by Catherine Bybee

 So, I'm supposed to have already read this, but I'm running behind! I didn't want to miss out in posting this amazing giveaway, though! $100 Amazon Gift Card & a digital copy of Changing the Rules is up for grabs to mark the release of Catherine Bybee's new series!  I'm a big fan of Catherine Bybee's stories, and I'll be starting Changing the Rules this weekend. Stay tuned for my review, but in the meantime I have details about the book and the giveaway below.

Changing the Rules (Richter #1) by Catherine Bybee
Publication Date: March 23th 2021 by Montlake
Pages: 335

About the book:

As an employee of MacBain Security and Solutions, Claire Kelly can certainly hold her own. Armed with an impressive set of covert skills, she’s more than prepared to tackle any job that comes her way…except one involving Cooper Lockman.

Cooper and Claire used to work together before his feelings for her sent him packing to Europe for six long years. But now he’s back and determined to ignore the still-smoldering heat that lingers between them.

Their current mission: go undercover together at a California high school to root out the mastermind behind a prostitution ring targeting young girls. The closer they get to the truth and the closer they get to each other, however, the deadlier their task becomes. As Claire and Cooper risk their lives to bring down their target, will their hearts be the final casualties?

Excerpt from Changing the Rules by Catherine Bybee


Claire collapsed onto the living room sofa the second she walked in the door. Not only had she suffered a headache the entire day, Cooper ran her like a trainer working an Iron Man competitor. 


“That sounds like a bad day,” Jax said as she walked around the corner of the kitchen. 


“You don’t want to know.” 


Claire flung an arm over her eyes to block out the sun. 


She heard Jax walk in the room and then exhale as she sat down. “You’re right. I don’t give a crap what happened in school, unless it involved Cooper. What I want is the details of last night after I got out of the car.” 


Before Cooper picked them up, Claire and Jax had agreed that Jax would give them a few minutes to have a private conversation. Now Claire regretted that plan. 


“The long story, or the short story?” Claire asked. 


“Whatever one you want to deliver.” 


Claire’s arms slid off her head, and she pushed herself into a sitting position. 


“Cooper has a thing for me.” 


Jax sat silent, blinked a few times. “Okay, and?” 


“What do you mean, ‘okay, and?’” 


“Sorry, Claire, but that’s obvious. I think you’d have to be an idiot to not see it. Even the guys on the team see it.” 


“What? Are they talking about—” 


Jax stopped her with a shake of the head. “Of course not. But you can tell by how they look at the two of you that they know there’s an attraction.” 


Claire pointed to her chest. “I’m not doing anything, it’s him.” 


“Maybe it’s more him.” 


She kept shaking her head. “No, it’s all him. I’m not instigating anything.” 


“You flirt with him all the time.” 


“I do not,” Claire huffed. 


One look from Jax and she rescinded her statement. “Okay, we banter. But it’s always been like that. I have the pool stick, he makes some kind of phallic joke. It’s banter. Not flirting.” 


Jax sat back, crossed her arms over her chest. Claire couldn’t believe her best friend was calling her out. “We’re friends. And last night he ruined that by telling me he’s had a thing for me since we met. Told me he left sunny California for dreary London because I was too young and naive to handle him when I first got here.” 


Jax narrowed her eyes. “Is that really how he said that?” 


Claire’s headache was coming back. “No. He said I was a child.” 


“A child?” 


Claire stood up from the couch, started for the kitchen. “He kept repeating that I was eighteen back then.” 


Jax followed behind. “Which is true.” 


Claire yanked open the fridge, pulled out a beer. “Whose side are you on?” 


“Yours. Always. But I just don’t see where all the fire is about this. Cooper owns up to the flirting comments and puppy-dog looks he gives you, and you’re pissed because he walked away six years ago.”


Like picking a lock, the pieces slid into place and finally started to click. “But he’s my friend.” 


“Trying to say you’ve never thought of him as more?” 


“No.” Her denial was quick. 


Jax started to smile. “You’ve never checked out his ass? The guy can fill out a pair of jeans.” 


Some of the anger she’d harbored all day eased. “That’s true.” 


“And that smile. When he’s belly laughing he has the tiniest dimples.” 


Claire closed her eyes, pictured his smile. She hadn’t noticed the dimples, but now that she thought about it . . . She opened her eyes to find Jax staring at her. 


“Sounds like you have a thing for him,” Claire said. 


“Wouldn’t matter if I did, and I don’t, by the way, but it wouldn’t matter. The guy can’t stop looking at you.” 


“God, what am I going to do with him?” 


“I don’t think you have to do anything. It’s not like he asked you out and you said no and now it’s awkward.” 


“You’re right. It’s worse than that.” 


“You’re overthinking it.” Jax pushed off the counter. “You know what, let’s gussy up a little and hit a proper happy hour. We’ll talk in German and pretend we don’t speak English and shamelessly flirt.” 


Claire abandoned her beer. “Now that is exactly what I need to do and get my mind off of boys.” 

About the author:
New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bybee has written twenty-eight books that have collectively sold more than five million copies and have been translated into more than eighteen languages. Raised in Washington State, Bybee moved to Southern California in the hope of becoming a movie star. After growing bored with waiting tables, she returned to school and became a registered nurse, spending most of her career in urban emergency rooms. She now writes full-time and has penned the Not Quite Series, the Weekday Brides Series, the Most Likely To Series, and the First Wives Series.

Connect with Catherine Bybee:

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Monday, March 29, 2021

Blog Tour Review: The Path to Sunshine Cove by RaeAnne Thayne

The Path to Sunshine Cove ( #2) by RaeAnne Thayne
Publication Date: March 30th 2021 by HQN Books
Pages: 336
Source: Publisher

My Thoughts:
Jess rarely spends more than a few weeks in any place, going from job to job as a clean-up/declutter guru for her business, Transitions.  This is just the way she likes it. No close, long-term attachments that can drag you down and damage.  However, she’s taken on a job in Cape Sanctuary, her younger sister Rachel’s hometown because she sensed an undercurrent of stress coming from her.  It’s been a long time since the two have been close, but maybe she can help and close some of the distance between them.

Rachel for her part is stressed out. Trying to emulate the perfect housewife and mother as an influencer has become just about impossible with her three-year-old Silas throwing tantrums daily. Finding out he’s on the spectrum wasn’t a shock, but it’s disheartening to feel so helpless as Silas becomes frustrated and at times out of control. It’s definitely put a strain her marriage, and Rachel feels like she’s drowning under the pressure.  Having her older sister visit only adds to the stress, as their relationship has been strained for many years.

Can these two sort out their problems and find happiness? Jess and Rachel each faced relatable, realistic problems, that made it easy for me to put myself in their shoes and root for a solution, a HEA for both. There’s not one, but two romances here: Rachel and her high-school sweetheart hubby facing the challenges dealing with a special needs child and Jess finding a man in Cape Sanctuary when she had no plans on ever settling down. I loved both romances and each were low on drama. I appreciated that the conflict made sense and didn’t drag on and on.

Loved the Northern California coastal setting that came to life with Ms. Thayne’s beautiful descriptions! It’s such a gorgeous area, sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean that take your breath away! There’s a spot I visit at least yearly, close to the Oregon border that I pictured in my mind as I read (see pictures below). Now I want to go again!

The Path to Sunshine Cove was such a lovely, feel-good kind of romance that I’d recommend to anyone who enjoys an uplifting story!

4 Stars

About the Author: New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne finds inspiration in the beautiful northern Utah mountains where she lives with her family. Her books have won numerous honors, including six RITA Award nominations from Romance Writers of America and Career Achievement and Romance Pioneer awards from RT Book Reviews. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at

Connect with RaeAnne Thayne:

About the book:
She knows what’s best for everyone but herself…
With a past like hers, Jessica Clayton feels safer in a life spent on the road. She’s made a career out of helping others downsize—because she’s learned the hard way that the less “stuff,” the better, a policy she applies equally to her relationships. But a new client is taking Jess back to Cape Sanctuary, a town she once called home…and that her little sister, Rachel, still does. The years apart haven’t made a dent in the guilt Jess still carries after a handgun took the lives of both their parents and changed everything between them.

While Jess couldn’t wait to put the miles between her and Cape Sanctuary, Rachel put down roots, content for the world—and her sister—to think she has a picture-perfect life. But with the demands of her youngest child’s disability, Rachel’s marriage has begun to fray at the seams. She needs her sister now more than ever, yet she’s learned from painful experience that Jessica doesn’t do family, and she shouldn’t count on her now.

Against her judgment, Jess finds herself becoming attached—to her sister and her family, even to her client’s interfering son, Nate—and it’s time to put everything on the line. Does she continue running from her painful past, or stay put and make room for the love and joy that come along with it?

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Sunday Post #114 (Late edition....)


The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated reviewer book blog, and is a post to recap my bookish and non-bookish things from the last week.

Work was a nightmare this last week and traffic coming home seems to be going back to pre-Covid congestion *sigh*.  I wish everyone who was able to work from home would continue to do so.  Seems to me employers would save money on office space, and it would reduce stress, travel times and help with cleaner air. But what do I know?  

I am enjoying the weather lately. We got a nice mix last week of drizzly clouds a couple of days and a lot of beautiful sunshine as well. My wisteria is blooming! I go outside and enjoy all the flowers coming back to life this time of year.

Click on cover for Goodreads link.

With work being so crazy I didn't have the headspace for reading this last week so I just came home and vegged in front of the TV which put me behind. I was supposed to finish The Path to Sunshine Cove and have a review up Friday, but I didn't get it done until yesterday. I ended up loving it so much. It was the perfect low stress, feel-good story I needed after a stressful week. Meet Me is Paradise and Wild Embrace were both wins as well. The Devil in Her Bed was my least favorite in the series. I loved the two previous stories. Oh, well.

Received/Purchased/Library Lend:
Click on cover for Goodreads link:

Two ARCs and two library lends. Excited about all of them.


There were six episodes featuring six different castles. Arundel was my favorite. Dan Jones chronicles a bloody history full of injustice! The British Monarchs were not a nice lot for the most part.

I watched the second season not realizing there was a first. I'll have to go back and watch the first season. 

How was your week?

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Review: Meet Me in Paradise by Libby Hubscher


Meet Me in Paradise by Libby Hubscher
Publication Date: March 23rd 2021 by Berkley Books
Pages: 352
Source: Publisher
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
Marin has been stuck in protective, safety mode since she lost her mother at the age of seventeen and had to be the adult for both her and her younger sister, Sadie. Marin’s sister took after their mother and is the risk taker, living life on the edge while traveling around the globe as a photojournalist. Marin hasn’t ever left the state.

Sadie invites Marin to take a trip with her to recharge. A sort of sister spa vacation and Marin can’t say no to her beloved sister the only family she has left.  Marin is forced to take her life out of the safe zone, have fun, and live life. Something she hasn’t done since her mother died.

Meet Me in Paradise is not the light, fluffy beach read it appears (from the cover) to be. It’s so much more. My emotions were all over the place! The story was at times funny, flirty, and silly, with outings of adventure that felt more like magical dates, but then it’d take a sharp turn into serious and heart wrenching! I must confess I sobbed! Ugly, snotty crying and I wasn’t expecting that at all! I don’t want to scare people, so know this: This romance junkie has a to have happy ending and I wasn’t disappointed but be prepared to break out the tissues!

 5 Stars

Goodreads Description:
Marin Cole has never:
Seen the ocean
Climbed a mountain
Taken a risk on love
....But if her sister's plan works, she just might do all three.

Ever since her journalist mother died on assignment, Marin has played it safe, refusing to set foot outside the state of Tennessee. Her wild-child younger sister, Sadie, has trotted the globe as a photographer, living off of art and adrenaline.

When Sadie returns from a tough assignment abroad and looks a little worse for wear, Marin reluctantly agrees to a sisters' spa weekend on the tropical island of Saba. But her lifelong fear of travel is affirmed when Sadie misses the flight, Marin's luggage gets mixed up with another passenger's, and an episode of turbulence sends her hurtling into the lap of Lucas Tsai, the handsome stranger who stole her sister's seat.

For the first time in a long time, Marin has to step outside of her comfort zone as she explores the island with Lucas and learns what she's been missing out on. With each breathtaking new experience, Marin gets closer to her real self, the man she's falling for, and the heart-wrenching truth about why she's there in the first place.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Blog Tour Review: Tell No Lies by Allison Brennan

Tell No Lies (Quinn & Costa Thriller #2) by Allison Brennan
Publication Date: March 30th 2021 by MIRA
Pages: 432
Source: Publisher

My Thoughts:
Agent Matt Costa and Detective Kara Quinn are in the small town of Patagonia, Arizona investigating the murder of a college student/environmentalist. A couple years back Southwest Copper was under investigation for illegally dumping toxic waste, but they didn’t find any evidence of wrongdoing. However, the death of the student leads them to believe they were right the first time, and she may have been killed for finding the evidence. 

Human trafficking, drug and weapon running, among other things figure into this mystery and it’s a dangerous, tangled web. There are some nasty characters in this one, but thankfully Kara and Matt are on their tale! Kara is working undercover at the local watering hole as a bartender, perfect for getting to know the town gossip and players without incurring suspicions. It’s a boon that she catches the eye of Joe Molina, the son of Southwest Copper owner. Other members of the team are undercover as well, and it’s a bit tense wondering if a cover has been blown and who can be trusted.

There was an undercurrent of tension between Matt and Kara much of which stemmed from Matt worrying about her safety and Kara thinking he was being overprotective, because they’d slept together. She’s a no strings kind of girl, completely taken with her job, and Matt doesn’t seem like that kind of guy.

Matt for his part doesn’t want to repeat the past even though he’s still very much attracted to Kara. It wasn’t a problem in the last investigation because Kara wasn’t really working under Matt at the time, but now that she’s officially a member of their team Matt doesn’t want any impropriety or a deadly mistake happening because of their feelings.

I love Allison Brennan’s brand of mysteries! Here in Tell No Lies I cared about all our players! Matt and Kara are at the center of things, both full of heart and the motivated to get justice for the wronged and stopping the bad guy. These two are not without flaws, but that made them even more relatable.  I was on the edge of my seat wondering how all the pieces fit together, and how it’d all play out! 

This is the second book in the Quinn & Costa Thriller series, and you don’t necessarily have to read the prior book first, but you’d miss out on the start this team and the beginnings of Matt and Kara’s relationship. Tell No Lies is more police procedural/thriller with a hint of romance, but I look forward to more of Matt and Kara! 

4 Stars

About the author:
ALLISON BRENNAN is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of over thirty novels. She has been nominated for Best Paperback Original Thriller by International Thriller Writers and the Daphne du Maurier. A former consultant in the California State Legislature, Allison lives in Arizona with her husband, five kids and assorted pets.

Connect with Allison Brennan:

About the book:

New York Times bestselling author Allison Brennan's newest thriller again features an edgy young female LAPD detective and an ambitious special agent, both part of a mobile FBI unit that is brought in to investigate the unsolved murder of a college activist and its alleged ties to high stakes crime in the desert Southwest.

Something mysterious is killing the wildlife in the desert hills just south of Tucson, Arizona. When Emma Perez, a college-intern-turned activist, sets out to collect her own evidence, she too ends up dead. Local law enforcement seems slow to get involved. That’s when the mobile FBI unit goes undercover to infiltrate the town and the copper refinery located there in search of possible leads. Costa and Quinn find themselves scouring the desolate landscape that keeps on giving up clues to something much darker—greed, child trafficking, other killings. As the body count continues to add up, it's clear they have stumbled on more than they bargained for. Now they must figure out who is at the heart of this mayhem and stop them before more innocent lives are lost.

Brennan's latest novel brims with complex characters and an ever-twisting plotline, a compelling thriller that delivers.


Saturday, March 20, 2021

Sunday Post #113


The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated reviewer book blog, and is a post to recap my bookish and non-bookish things from the last week.

It's been a busy week. I worked as usual, then went up to Central California Thursday after work.  It was rainy, cold, tiring and I'm happy to be home with my kitties. It was beautiful, though. Green hills with flowers beginning to bloom. We came back today (Saturday) and I spent the rest of the day reading a real tear jerker (my eyes are still red and swollen)! I didn't list it below, but I'll have a review up this week. 

Click on cover for Goodreads link:

All audios except for Tell No Lies, which was a multi-layered mystery that kept me reading well into the night to finish! Was not happy when the alarm woke me up to go to work the next morning!

Received/Purchased/Library Lend:
Click on cover for Goodreads link:

Both library audio books. I hope to get to them soon!


Nothing new....

How was your week?

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Review: Wild Sign by Patricia Briggs


Wild Sign (Alpha and Omega #6) by Patricia Briggs
Publication Date: March 16th  2021 by Ace Books
Pages: 368
Source: Publisher
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
The Alpha and Omega series is one of my all-time favorites! It’s one of those series you just know you’ll re-read over and over and relish!  This is a series that is best read in order, and if you haven’t started it, go now, and get the novella prequel! You’re in for a treat!

Bran sends Charles, Anna and Tag off to investigate when a whole off-the-grid sort of community disappears from Northern California and there are hints that supernatural forces were at work.

I’ve loved Anna and Charles together from the beginning since they mated on sight and had to sort out the rest as they went along. It just so happens they ended up being perfectly matched, complimenting each other and bringing out each other’s strengths in the very best way!

Leah, Bran’s mate, has been a pretty unlikeable character thus far.  Even with her appearances in the Mercy Thompson series, she was mostly hateful, but the last two books, this one especially has shed some light on her history and motivations, which has changed my views on her greatly!

There’s also a lot of Sherwood Post’s history connected to this story which I found very interesting. Tag was a fun addition, getting to know him better was a treat.  

As usual, from the first page I was addicted! Mystery, danger, and characters I’ve grown to love had me fully invested all the way through! And OMG, that ending! I can’t wait for the next Alpha and Omega! Also, the next Mercy Thompson because I bet Sherwood Post’s revelations will be a part of the next installment!

5 Stars

About the book:
Mated werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham must discover what could make an entire community disappear — before it's too late — in this thrilling entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling Alpha and Omega series.

In the wilds of the Northern California mountains, all the inhabitants of a small town have gone missing. It's as if the people picked up and left everything they owned behind. Fearing something supernatural might be going on, the FBI taps a source they've consulted in the past: the werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham. But Charles and Anna soon find a deserted town is the least of the mysteries they face.

Death sings in the forest, and when it calls, Charles and Anna must answer. Something has awakened in the heart of the California mountains, something old and dangerous — and it has met werewolves before.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Sunday Post #112


The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated reviewer book blog, and is a post to recap my bookish and non-bookish things from the last week.

I'm up in Napa/Sonoma Wine Country for a long weekend and the weather has been gorgeous. We've been wine tasting (outdoors only) and even when it was stormy it was beautiful! Here are some pics:

A field of flowering mustard

Bartholomew Vineyard

Click on cover for Goodreads link:

As you can see I didn't get much reading done, but Her Dark Lies was a captivating! 

Received/Purchased/Library Lend:
Click on cover for Goodreads link

This is a library lend audio. Novella length I think it's just over two hours long. I'm so happy my library had it because it's not an inexpensive novella.


I watched Mrs. McGinty is Dead from the 11th season. I think Poirot is a little more funny in the books, but David Suchet is the best Poirot, IMO.

If you'd like to visit Italy and you love food (me on both accounts!) this is wonderful! 

What about you? How was your week? 

Friday, March 12, 2021

Blog Tour Review, Q & A: Her Dark Lies by J.T. Ellison

Her Dark Lies by J.T. Ellison
Publication Date: March 9th 2021 by MIRA
Pages: 416
Source: Publisher
Rating: ½

My Thoughts:
Claire Hunter is marrying the man of her dreams, and it’s not his riches or good looks that made her heart sing, but the man on the inside. However, Jackson Compton was married a decade before. Jackson doesn’t speak of it, and Claire is wildly curious. What happened to Morgan, the first Mrs. Compton? Now in just a few days Claire and Jackson are set to tie the knot on a secluded Italian island, part of the perks of marrying into the Compton family, and things start to get…interesting!

Her Dark Lies was a twisty thriller! It took me a little bit to settle in and become invested, but boy this had me on the edge of my seat! Atmospheric and downright creepy, I was hooked! As a reader you do know the main villain, but figuring out the how and why, and all the players made this a riveting read. There seemed to be a surprise around every corner, and I desperately wanted to know exactly what happened the night of Morgan’s death. The ending chapters were quite the wild ride with lots of death and destruction! I’m pleased with how it all turned out, which is something, because I don’t always get what I want by the end with thrillers. The endings can ambiguous, depressing, and tragic, which is unsettling to me, but that wasn’t the case here.

This is my first time reading J.T. Ellison, but it won’t be my last!

4.5 Stars

About the book:
Fast-paced and brilliantly unpredictable, J.T. Ellison’s breathtaking new novel invites you to a wedding none will forget—and some won’t survive.
Jutting from sparkling turquoise waters off the Italian coast, Isle Isola is an idyllic setting for a wedding. In the majestic cliff-top villa owned by the wealthy Compton family, up-and-coming artist Claire Hunter will marry handsome, charming Jack Compton, surrounded by close family, intimate friends…and a host of dark secrets.
From the moment Claire sets foot on the island, something seems amiss. Skeletal remains have just been found. There are other, newer disturbances, too. Menacing texts. A ruined wedding dress. And one troubling shadow hanging over Claire’s otherwise blissful relationship—the strange mystery surrounding Jack’s first wife.
Then a raging storm descends, the power goes out—and the real terror begins…

About the Autho
J.T. Ellison is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than 25 novels, and the EMMY® award winning co-host of the literary TV show A WORD ON WORDS. With millions of books in print, her work has won critical acclaim, prestigious awards, and has been published in 28 countries. Ellison lives in Nashville with her husband and twin kittens.

Connect with J.T. Ellison:

Her Dark Lies Q & A:

  1. Explain the difference between police procedurals, thrillers and psychological dramas.

The differences are subtle but meaningful, for sure. 

Procedurals focus generally on the police/private investigators/law enforcement as the main characters, and the stories are about their day-to-day involvement with the plot, their relationships to one another, and to the suspects and victims. 

Mysteries are often procedurals, with the general focus on the “who” done it. The reader and the hero often learn the solution to the puzzle at the same time. The challenge is intellectual.

Thrillers, on the other hand, are more “why” done it, or “we need to stop them” from doing it. The reader often knows the solution to the puzzle well before the hero, and the reader often knows the identity of the villain early on and the fun of the story is watching the hero (protagonist) and the villain (antagonist) match wits, with a few twists along the way. The challenge is physical.

Psychological dramas are usually more focused on a non-law enforcement main character. It’s an extraordinary event happening to an ordinary person, and the story is about their interaction with the plot, suspects, and victims. Often, they are the victim themselves. Storylines can pull from either mystery or thriller formulas. The challenge is emotional.

I like to think of these stories in terms of your house front door. In a suspense novel, the main character is inside the house. In a thriller, the main character is about to knock on the door. 

There’s also one more element that separates them––immortality versus mortality of the main characters. In my mind, a thriller has a hero that is invincible, and can’t be killed. In a psychological story, the main character is truly at risk, and might not survive. 

  1. Which is the most fun to write?

Oh, that’s not fair. I love them all. The procedurals are usually series and the characters generally immortal. They are easier for me to write because the world is already built. The psychological suspense books are usually standalones for me, and much more complicated. 

Think of it this way – a series title is like making dinner with access to a full pantry. You can open the doors, pull out the ingredients you need, and get to work on making dinner. 

A standalone is like making dinner without the ingredients at hand. You have to make a list, go to the store, shop, then unpack the groceries, put them away, then cook the meal. 

I love a good series title, but the freedom that comes with a standalone is intoxicating. I am in control of every ounce of the story, and don’t have to worry about pulling threads from other books or leaving a trail for the next one.

  1. We've read your series with Lt. Taylor Jackson and Dr. Samantha Owens. Who would you cast for TV or Film?

That is a moving target, because those books have matured past my original inspirations. I always thought of Charlize Theron when I wrote Taylor. Now, I’d love to see Blake Lively play her, and maybe even Florence Pugh in a few years.

Sam is different. She has morphed in my mind as she’s matured. Such a wide range of actresses would be perfect. If I were casting today, I’d like to see Teyonah Parris in the role. She’s so gorgeous and has such intensity!

  1. What's it like to work with another writer, such as Catherine.

Two heads are sometimes better than one! It was great to build a story with another author. Novelists are rare in the creative storytelling world because we work alone. TV and movie writers are used to having a number of heads at the table. It was quite nice to have a partner to bounce ideas off of, and work with day to day. And of course, working with Catherine was a masterclass in writing. She knows exactly what her readers want and expect from her stories. It was illuminating.

  1. So your new novel is another stand alone. Tell us why we want to read it. Elevator pitch?

Claire Hunter, an up-and-coming large format oils artist, is about to marry the man of her dreams, Jack Compton, son of the Compton computer family magnate. Their wedding is about to take place on his family’s private island, Isola, and things go wrong from the start. Claire and Jack are both hiding some hefty secrets from one another–and why won’t he talk about his first wife, and her suspicious death? It’s a will they, won’t they gothic thriller set in an isolated, creepy villa on a remote Italian island in the midst of a terrible storm…with a killer is on the loose. 

  1. Which one of Her Dark Lies characters was the hardest to write and why?

Honestly, my main character, Claire. She didn’t want to give up her secrets, and I had to force them out of her. Once she admitted her sins to me, the whole story fell into place. I understand why she didn’t tell me, and when she tells the story of her past in the book, that’s exactly when she let me know, too. Wow, she made it hard on me! 

  1. Which character in (Her Dark Lies) is dearest to you and why?

Katie, Claire’s best friend, is a total spitfire and so dedicated to Claire’s happiness and well-being. They’ve been friends since childhood and she’s seen Claire through every stage of her life. She’s a great chick and a lot of fun to write. I have been blessed with several Katie’s in my life. Everyone needs that friend who is loyal to you and loves you no matter what. 

  1. Where did the inspiration Her Dark Lies come from?

I was in Italy on a family trip for a big birthday. We were on Lake Como, in a beautiful room with a terrace, and a yacht pulled up to Comacina Island, across the water from where we were staying. A wedding party got out and proceeded to have a huge party. At dark, fireworks went off. I knew immediately I wanted to write it as a story – with a dark side, of course. Imagine being stuck on an island, in a storm, with a killer on the loose. Yep. Boom. Story. 

  1. What do you use to inspire you when you get Writer’s Block?

I actually had a pretty rough time writing HER DARK LIES. I had two knee surgeries back-to-back while I was drafting, and it messed with my head and with my storytelling. I felt completely blocked, and the story just wouldn’t cooperate. When I emerged from that fog, the work got much easier. So assuming there isn’t something organic behind a block, or a life event that gets in the way (cough pandemic cough), I generally treat it as my story trying to tell me it’s going in the wrong direction. Almost every time I’ve been blocked, when my word counts start to dwindle and I find myself doing non-fiction instead of writing, that’s a sign I need to step back and see where I’ve gone off the rails. 

  1. Favorite Season (Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer)?

Oh, I love Spring, especially after the winter storm we’ve just had, but my heart is all Fall. I love the colors, the crispness in the air, the leaves drifting to the ground (though that first one always makes me melancholy), the scent of burning leaves, the sense that things are wrapping up for the year and preparing for renewal. It’s a moment of inevitability that I cherish. 

  1. What has been the hardest thing about publishing? What has been the most fun?

Honestly, the hardest thing are the business expectations. There’s so much that goes into writing a novel that has nothing to do with writing.  But the most fun – that’s almost impossible to narrow down. Getting fan letters from people who genuinely loved a story, seeing the cover for the first time, finishing that first draft when you’ve been at it for months, meeting someone you’ve inspired to start writing themselves, or have returned to reading and chose your book to start… all amazing moments! 

  1. What advice would you give budding authors?

For the inspiration answer: Read everything you can get your hands on and write what you love to read. Don’t worry about the market, don’t worry about your friends or family and their reaction to what you write. All good books find a home, so write with passion and excitement. On the practical side, respect your time. Find the time that’s best for you to write, carve it out of your day, and protect it like your life depends on it. A daily writing habit creates a long-term career.  

  1. What are you reading right now?

I just finished Ashley Audrain’s THE PUSH which was delicious and creepy and touching, and am about to dive into Lisa Jewell’s THE INVISIBLE GIRL, Allison Brennan’s TELL NO LIES, and Adele Park’s JUST MY LUCK.

  1. If you could have your books adapted would you want them to be adapted into Movies, a Short Series on HBO/Netflix, a Stage Play, or a Melody?

A series, I think, so there’s time to get to know each character and reveal their true motivations. Though I’m not going to say no to a movie…

  1. Are you a morning bird or a night owl?

I am a night owl forever in training to be an early bird. At some point, though, I think it’s important to celebrate what sleep schedule works for you! I try and try and try to get up early and write, and it simply doesn’t happen. But from 2-5 in the afternoon? Watch out!

  1. What does the act of writing mean to you?

It is a sacred contract with myself while I’m drafting, to honor the muse, honor the spirit of the story, and give life to the voices in my head. To show up for my work, to allow the words to flow through me to the page. Storytelling is in my blood, and I get very cranky when I’m not writing. It’s something I love, and I respect the work and the process of creation tremendously.

But once I’m revising, it becomes a sacred contract with the reader. I want to take you on a journey, for you to be excited to pick up the book and regretful to set it down. I want to get in your head and live there,r long after you close the pages. I want to take you away from your troubles, at least for a little while, and to give you entertainment that makes you happy. So every word, every line, ever paragraph, page, chapter, is designed to excite and delight you. 

  1. Did you have a hand in designing the book’s cover?

I did a bit, but the art team at MIRA is so astounding they need very little help from me. I gave them some photos the cliffs and fortress/villa I used as inspiration, and they created the most brilliant cover ever. When they sent it I yelled in delight. It’s so perfect for the story and exactly what I imagined the setting to look like.

  1. How did the book’s title come to you?

Funny you should ask that. This title was attached very early on. The original working title was THREE DARK NIGHTS, but my team felt like it needed to change, and I knew I wanted three words and dark in the title. HER DARK LIES came to me, I ran it up the flagpole, everyone loved it, and off we went. It’s not usually that simple, but this one was!

  1. How could you describe this book in five words?

What if Rebecca hadn’t died?

  1. Did COVID-19 hinder the release of this book?

Actually, I was the hindrance on this one. I had to have two knee surgeries a few months apart and that pushed back my deadline by a few months. I did almost half the book and all of the revising during the early months of the pandemic when we were in complete lockdown, and the final revisions over the summer and fall of 2020. I got very, very lucky, I think. GOOD GIRLS LIE came out December 31, 2021 and I was just finishing up my tour when we went into lockdown. That freed me up to write like the wind.