Posted by: theresegilardi | June 25, 2015

First And Fourth Fridays Welcomes Jane McGarry

Welcome to another installment of First and Fourth Fridays! Today’s guest is the lovely Jane McGarry. Jane lives in New Jersey in a house full of boys, including one over-indulged cat. When she is not running around with her family or writing, she can be found curled up with a good book and said cat. It is her belief that a good book, a loyal pet and anything made of chocolate can brighten just about any day. Reading was always a big part of Jane’s life. Over the years, creating stories developed out of this love. Finally, she decided to try her hand at writing a novel and that was when Not Every Girl was conceived.

Now that you know a bit about Jane, let’s give her the First and Fourth Friday Questions.

1. What was the first book that so captured your imagination that you felt a physical loss when you reached the last page?One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I had such a visceral reaction to this book. A number of books have made me cry because they were sad (Uncle Tom’s Cabin comes to mind), but this book moved me to tears with its beautyand poignancy. It changed the whole meaning of books for me. Before, they were merely stories—escapes from reality, but this boook transcended that, evoking a connection to the human spirit and the “oneness” of all life. Marquez’s work reframed what I thought an author could achieve with a book.

2. What is the most romantic/loving thing you’ve ever done for someone else?This question made me chuckle a bit. My husband and I have been a couple for almost twenty years now. Eternal pragmatists, we were not terribly romantic to begin with, let alone two decades and two kids later. I asked him though, and he says he thinks it is romantic that I still remember the dates of all our important milestones—first date, first kiss, when we got engaged, etc.

3. What is the most romantic/sweet/loving thing someone has ever done for you?As per the last answer, we are well past the “grand gesture” stage of early dating life. I am sure there was something back in the day which has been tempered through the lens of time. Now, he leaves me little notes around the house for me to find to tell me he loves me, or make me smile and that is sweet and loving enough for me.

4. What do you think is the most romantic song?Wow, hard to pick one, but I will say, “Come What May” from Moulin Rouge. It is a song about loving one another despite the hardships life may bring, loving one another “until my dying day”.

Jane is clearly a true romantic. Below is an excerpt from her book “NOT EVERY GIRL”: “I came to offer the young lady one of my guards as an escort home."What?That is not part of my plan! And besides, my father could not seriously consider sending me off into the woods with a strange man, royal guard or not. It takes every ounce of my restraint to not jump up and protest.""That is gracious of you, Your Majesty," my father answers. "However, Iam concerned about the propriety of that arrangement. Not," he adds hastily, "that I would expect anything less than the highest scruples from oneof your men."Good. So Father has a grasp on the situation. Sending me back with any strange man and no female chaperone is entirely inappropriate. And there are no other women on the trip. Too bad Puck isn't here; my father would trust him with me. Now, they will all have to work out the only viable option—that I continue on the trip. I merely sit quietly and wait for them to come to this inevitable conclusion."Well, I certainly understand your feelings. Especially since the young lady in question is your daughter," King William agrees. "I am sure if I had a daughter of my own, I would feel much the same way.”

This book sounds amazing! You can find it here:

Posted by: theresegilardi | June 4, 2015

First And Fourth Fridays Welcomes David W. Landrum

Last Minstrel

First and Fourth Fridays is pleased to welcome David W. Landrum. David has been writing from an early age, but began writing and publishing about 2008. He has published over 200 short stories and several novels and novellas. The Last Minstrel is from Clean Reads; others, from other publishers, include The Gallery, ShadowCity, The Prophetess, Strange Brew, The Sorceress of the Northern Seas, and, newly released, Mother Hulda. David teaches English at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan.

Here are David’s answers to The First and Fourth Friday Four Questions:

1. The first book that I felt a physical loss when I ended? It was The French Lieutenant’s Woman, by John Fowles. It is a postmodern novel that, literally, has two endings, and the reader is invited to chose one. I felt sadness at the second ending, which, the author admits, since it comes at the close of the book is probably the one most people will pick.

2. The nicest and most unique thing I did for someone? It was when I decided to throw someone a surprise birthday party. I knew the young lady I was dating liked pie rather than cake, so I told everyone to bring pies. I managed to keep it a secret, and when we pulled up to the house where the party was to take place (it was summer) I said, “Gee, there are a bunch of people out in the yard.” She realized what it was and started crying out of happiness.

3. What is the most romantic thing someone has ever done for you? A girl I dated took me out on a wildflower walk. A city boy, I knew nothing about wildflowers. She asked a farmer we both knew if we could go walking in his wood lot. It was early spring, and we saw violets, trillium, wild columbine, wild roses, Dutchman’s breeches, Jack-in-the-pulpit, spring beauties . . . a whole range of flowers growing out in the wood. The event struck me as more romantic and sweet than any before, and it remains so in my mind even today.

4. To me, the most romantic of songs is the old Beatles song, “Norwegian Wood,” sung, and so probably written, by John Lennon. It starts out, “I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me.” It is the story of the last night of a romance. The narrator sees that the girl he loves has left him that morning (“and when I awoke, I was alone / this bird had flown”) and, later–and I picture this taking place on a winter afternoon–he lights a fire in the fireplace and remembers some words she said: “So, I lit the fire. ‘Isn’t it good Norwegian wood?'” Maybe a little sad, but so beautiful and romantic.

Wow, so we know David is a romantic. (I’m listening to “Norwegian Wood” as I type this.) Here is an excerpt from David’s latest release, “The Last Minstrel”:

We walked to the shrine. Caelen laid a trillium at the base of each of the five monoliths. Her feet crunched on the jewels as she walked around and distributed the flowers. When she had finished, she looked up at the sky for a moment then around at her house, the trees and groves, the flowering bushes. “Stay here,” she instructed, and walked back to her house. I waited. The sun glittered on the precious stones inside the circle of monoliths. Caelen emerged from the house. She carried a purple bag.
“You are in the goddess’s favor,” she said. “Abide here for one hour. After I am finished making atonement, the shrine will pass from Morrigan’s control to Ardwinna’s. It will once again be a place of healing and safety.” I wanted to object but knew it would not be appropriate. Sorrow and pity for her filled my heart.
“Will you bless me?” I asked.
She laughed a short, bitter laugh. “Bless you? I have blasphemed Ardwinna, desecrated her image, and disgraced her shine. I have brought suffering, evil, and misery upon this land. I am not worthy to lick the dirt from your feet, let alone bless you.”
“You are a priestess of Ardwinna. Nothing you have done can erase that. Her blessing will come through you because of your standing and your position, whatever you have done.”
She contemplated and then nodded. She put down the bag and knelt in front of me. When a priestess of Ardwinna blesses you, she kneels. In the Church, you always kneel for the priest to bless you, but in the old religion the one giving the blessing knelt to show that she was simply a conduit of the goddess’s favor and that you, who received the benison, are the one who should be reverenced. She put her hands on me and muttered the blessing in an ancient tongue. When she was finished, she rose.
“Take the path over there”—she pointed—“in an hour. I asked you to do what is proper for me, though I deserve nothing but scorn. Still, I ask this as a grace.”
“I have the ring and the necklace Orlev carried—and the gold he had in his purse. Do you want them?”
“No. Keep them. You may use them as you see fit. Your mother will return with the other captives when the shadows of the stones fall entirely within the circle, I’ll go now.”
I leaned over and kissed her. She turned and walked to the path.

That sounds fantastic! So go check it out on Amazon. In the meantime you can find David here:

Posted by: theresegilardi | April 30, 2015

First And Fourth Fridays Welcomes Susan B. James

Time and Forever 1800x2700 pixels

Today First And Fourth Fridays is pleased to welcome the wonderful Susan B. James. Susan is a Southern California actor and writer who also publishes children’s books under the name Susan J. Berger. And now to the First And Fourth Friday Questions:

1) What was the first book that so captured your imagination that you felt a physical loss when you reached the last page?
I get the feeling you mean grownup book? But at eight years old, it was Maida’s Little Shop by Inez Haynes Irwin. It’s now available as a free download. I still have that book and much of the rest of the series.
I read my first romance in July 1962, in Port Colborne Canada. It was a Mills and Boon romance (Harlequin in the USA) No Roses in June by Essie Summers. I still have a copy. I adored that book.

2) What is the most romantic/loving thing you’ve ever done for someone else? When Susan put this question to her husband, he texted “I can think of two. Our kids.” Too cute. She then texted back “Love you.” Swoon.

3) What is the most romantic/sweet/loving thing someone has ever done for you?
We are actors, so our anniversary celebrations varied in tune with our finances.
On our 5th year anniversary, Barry was flush. He’d just done Stir Crazy. We got a babysitter. He hired a limousine and took me to the historic Chronicle Restaurant in Pasadena. He stocked the Limo with roses and champagne. After dinner, the chauffeur drove us along Mulholland Drive. We drank champagne in moonlight.
Our 6th Anniversary was at Denny’s. They were both wonderful.

4) What do you think is the most romantic song?

Too many! I love Long Before I Knew You from Bells Are Ringing. And For Good from Wicked. The first song I danced to? Chances Are by Johnny Mathis.

Susan’s debut romance is Time and Forever. Here’s the book blurb, followed by a small excerpt. 1969. Love was free, man walked on the moon, and Sherry and Lorena found the loves of their lives. Sherry shared a kiss that dreams were made of, with a stranger on the tube in London. And ran away. Lorena found the love of her life in Los Angeles and married him.
2014. Sherry’s a successful businesswoman with two grown sons. Lorena’s an actress on a popular sitcom. Sherry’s husband dumped her for a younger woman eighteen years ago. Lorena’s husband died of cancer.
Sherry wants a second chance at Love. Lorena doesn’t believe that’s possible. But when a glitch in a Virtual Reality Adventure game sends them back to the real 1969, anything can happen.

Scene from Los Angeles in 1969.

Lorena took in the giant brown cement hat fronted with a brick colored awning. “I love it.” She craned her neck to look up at the Derby shaped sign ‘Eat at The Hat’. “The sign looks like it’s sitting on a water tower. I wonder why?”
“It may have had something to do with the dome air conditioning. The Brown Derby was one of the first air conditioned buildings in Los Angeles back in the thirties.”
Lorena was intrigued. “How do you know that?”
Dave shrugged. “Read it somewhere. I like odd facts. They also used to keep live chickens on the premises. They used to have a slogan on the menu ‘Chicken whose feet never touched the ground.’”
Lorena shuddered. “That’s gross. I’m not ordering anything with chicken.” She slipped her arm through Dave’s. “Come on. I’m starved.”
The Maître d’ showed them to a circular padded leather booth and handed them menus.
“Hey, this isn’t too bad,” Dave said. “I thought it would be more expensive. Meatloaf. $3.50. I like meatloaf.”
“Look, it’s George Burns.” Lorena pointed at one of the many framed caricatures above their booth. “And there’s Bob Hope.” She scanned the other booth looking at the pictures. “I don’t recognize half these people.”
Dave grinned. “Last year Andy Warhol said everybody was going to get their fifteen minutes of fame. Maybe he ate here once and that’s where he got the idea.”
A tuxedoed waiter brought them a cloth covered breadbasket and took their drink orders.
Dave lifted the napkin covering the bread. Heat wafted up from the thin dark buttery cheese sprinkled slices. He sampled one. “This is great.” He leaned over and offered Lorena a bite.
She closed her eyes to better appreciate the flavor. “Mmmm. Heaven. I could make a meal off this. But I have to have a Cobb Salad. It was invented here.”
“I thought you weren’t going to order anything with chicken.”
“It’s leftover chicken,” she said defensively. “If I don’t eat it, they’ll throw the poor thing out. Besides,” she added, looking around the circular room full of linen draped tables and red padded chairs, “I don’t see any cages. Maybe they quit doing that.”
The waiter brought their drinks and took their food order.
Dave lit a cigarette and glanced at the lantern-shaded chandeliers. “I could get used to this.”
Lorena tried not to look like a tourist while scoping out the other diners. “Look! There’s Carol Burnett. She’s my hero.”
Dave peered in the direction Lorena was looking. A waiter was carrying a telephone to a booth.
She jabbed him. “Not like that,” she whispered “You have to look like you’re not looking.”
Dave grinned at her. “I actually understood that.” He offered the breadbasket to Lorena. “Pay attention to me. You promised you’d tell me about my writing.”
Lorena tore her attention away from their fellow diners. She took a piece of the offered bread. “Well, the first one was the Hugo.” She bit into the cheesy goodness. “This bread is amazing,” she mumbled. “I wonder if I could get the recipe.”
Dave’s eyes lit up. “I get a Hugo? What for?”
“It was for a novella. The Wayfarer. It’s about . . .”
Dave looked like he’d been hit with a brick. “I know what it’s about. I wrote The Wayfarer for my short story class my senior year. Professor Davidson said it showed promise, but the way he said it . . . I don’t know if I even kept a copy.” He reached for his pack of Winstons.
Lorena firmed her lips, but the words came out anyway. “I wish you didn’t smoke.”
He tapped out a cigarette. “Why? I like it and everyone does it.”
“Yeah, well everyone doesn’t get cancer.” She bit her lip. She hadn’t meant to say that.
He froze. Put the pack down slowly as if it were a snake poised to bite him. “Is that what happened? I died of lung cancer?
Lorena nodded. Two tears squeezed out and trailed wetly down her cheeks.
Dave brushed them away with a gentle finger. “I gather no one’s discovered a cure for cancer.’
“Some cancers are curable, some are not.” Lorena drew a ragged breath, willing the blackness away. “You hung on an extra year because of the state of the art of medicine. But there was a lot of pain for both of us.”
“That seems so . . . It’s hard to imagine your own death.” He picked up the cigarette and lit it. “I was old though. That’s a good thing.”
Lorena slapped the cigarette out of his hand. “Not. Old. Enough!” Her eyes flamed. “Listen you jerk, do you know what it is like to have to watch someone struggle for every breath? To know you can’t breathe for them? To watch your heart slip away?” Her voice broke. “You were god damned not old enough! I wanted another thirty years with you.”
The waiter brought the check. Lorena reached into her purse and counted out the money in seething silence.
Dave took a deep breath. “I don’t think humans are made to imagine our own deaths. Or even remember them. Empirically, I hear what you’re saying, but I don’t believe it.”
Lorena started to protest.
Dave leaned over and hushed her with a kiss. “I don’t believe you, but I will quit. I haven’t been smoking very long. I only took it up in grad school.” He took his pack of cigarettes and placed them on the table. “Maybe the waiter will take them as part of his tip.”
Lorena looked at Dave with wonder. Joy welled up inside her.
“What are you thinking?” Dave asked.
“Did you ever have a moment so perfect you wanted to capture it in crystal?”
“Yeah.” Dave looked across at Lorena. “Did you ever have a moment when the center of your universe changed?” He reached for her hand. “Let’s change time. Stay.”

Wow, I’m sure you now want your own copy of Time and Forever and to connect with Susan. Find her here:

On Twitter@SusanJBerger

On Facebook at AuthorSusanJames

Posted by: theresegilardi | April 23, 2015

First And Fourth Fridays Welcomes Amy Gettinger


First and Fourth Fridays is pleased to welcome one of the funniest writers around, Amy Gettinger. Amy Gettinger, once a part-time community college ESL instructor, now writes plays for and coaches reader’s theater for 90-year-olds at a local assisted living. She lives in her dream house in Orange County, California underneath a very noisy eucalyptus windrow with her husband and her two piteous poodles. For fun, she walks the beach cliff path at Laguna Beach.

Amy is the author of the recently released ROLL WITH THE PUNCHES. Before we enjoy an excerpt from the book Amy has graciously agreed to answer the First and Fourth Friday Four Questions.

1) What was the first book that so captured your imagination that you felt a physical loss when you reached the last page? Too many to count.

2) What is the most romantic/loving thing you’ve ever done for someone else? I went through 2 pregnancies. Pregnancy was not fun. Weeks of nausea, an invaded body, permanent messing up of my sacral ligaments. That was one of the most loving things I did for anybody. Plus the 18 years after each one. Each stage of childhood has its pluses and minuses. I nursed 2 people for 2 years each. And putting up with cranky night-owl teenagers was no cake walk.

3) What is the most romantic/sweet/loving thing someone has ever done for you? My husband took over the dog walking when my back went permanently out in 2008. That was a blessing. The dogs love to walk, and I had walked them an awful lot, but I couldn’t do it any more.

4) What do you think is the most romantic song? “Stand by Me” by Ben. E King

Now that you know a bit about Amy let’s here about her new book. This scene takes place at Rhonda’s writers’ group meeting.

Marian poured tea. “So who else wrote something this week?”
“Not me.” Jackie nudged me. “But Rhonda, back to your new long-lunch hottie. How big is his bat? Can I use him for my next hero? Pitcher, catcher, pirate or man about town?”
Yvette smiled up from my book. “Our little Rhonda’s a pirate’s treasure?”
I had to endure patronizing from Yvette now? “Look, there is no he.” I looked to James for support, but the traitor was cozily reading my book over Yvette’s shoulder. I narrowed my eyes at Jackie. “Hey. Has anyone tried the new George Bonner and Jackie Shawn Memorial Tollway yet?”
Grins all around.
I sighed. “Okay. Fine. My long lunches have all been spent in Sports of Call, looking for ska-sheets.”
Crap. I’d almost said skates. I was skirting disaster here. This group knew James played street hockey and roller hockey. What they didn’t know was that I had recently run across my old inline skates from high school, when Harley and I had practiced speed skating against my brothers, who had competed statewide. We’d been good. Now, I’d started doing some outdoor skating practice to fight flab, and it was a blast, just wicked fun. It would be even more fun when James and I went rollerblading at Venice Beach, my dream date. But Venice Beach was a drive. The roller rink was closer, so at Sports of Call, I’d just splurged on a gorgeous new pair of quad roller skates, which were slower but maneuvered better for indoor skating. If this bunch found out about my skating practice or my new skates, they’d kid both James and me to death and surely wreck my chances with him.
“Yeah, sheets,” I said, decisively.
“Sheets for him? Scarlet silk or black satin?” Jackie drawled, mistaking my blush for an admission of guilt.
“Us library nerds sleep on parchment,” I said. “Uh. Care to read some pages, George?”
“Rhonda, you don’t go to Sports of Call for sheets,” Marian said.
I checked my watch. “Look, if no one else wrote anything new, I’ll see ya.” I rose and started to push past Jackie, who blocked my way.
“But you might go there to visit a boyfriend,” Jackie trilled. “Is he that guy at the ski counter? Or a mountain climber? No. I know. A surfer. Smoking hot in a Speedo with washboard abs. With your lifesaving skills, Rhonda, you could administer CPR daily.”
George sang under his breath, “Help me, Rhonda.”
Jackie chimed in. “Help, help me …”
“Rhonda!” they all yelled at the tops of their lungs. My lips could have pressed pennies as the whole group broke into a bawdy Beach Boys cacophony, even James joining in, completely off-key. Only Yvette stayed mum, frown lines deepening in her forehead as she kept reading my magnum opus.
Oh, to hell with my short skirt. I hoisted a knee to crawl right over Jackie just as Yvette broke in, in piercing tones. “Excuse me! Sit down, Rhonda! This is exactly why this group needs a leader.”
The group ignored her, singing even louder.
Yvette yelled, “Has anyone read the new Reynard Jackson book, Memory Wars?”
Jackson was a reclusive genius who had rocketed to the bestseller list three years before, with four new titles out per year since then. His whereabouts were a state secret. His work was slick, predictable, shallow, uneven, and unaccountably beloved by millions of readers.
I sat down and squinched my eyes shut. If I didn’t look at the group, maybe they’d all stop bawling at me to get her out of their hearts.
Over their cackles and bawls, Yvette shrilled, “People! This is disturbing. I read constantly for my job, but this is really bad.” She pointed at my manuscript like it was rat droppings.
“Could we get a muzzle for her?” I said to Jackie, who elbowed me hard.
The room sullenly quieted down. This woman was such a wet blanket.
Yvette smiled in triumph. “You see, I’ve already read this exact story. Last week. In a published work. The chubby strawberry-blond main character here?” She held up my manuscript. “Well, Reynard Jackson’s latest protagonist is a chubby strawberry-blond—”
“Oh, strawberry-blond characters are a dime a dozen,” George said, still feeling his oats. “And Rhonda always writes ’em chubby … Takes one to know—Ouch!”
Marian of the steel-toed pumps smiled.
Yvette slammed my manuscript down on the table. “But wait. Jackson’s strawberry-blonde neuroscientist, Dr. Amelia Steele, discovers a memory serum that will cure not only her great aunt’s Alzheimer’s, but also her handsome, shell-shocked army captain with amnesia who can only be saved by knowing the truth about his dark past.”
I looked up, my stomach sinking.
She went on. “Dr. Steele and Captain Russell Bonner work against an evil drug company, Sinbad Pharmaceuticals. It sells expensive anti-Alzheimer’s drugs and will stop at nothing to keep Dr. Steele’s permanent cure for the disease off the market. The heroes nearly get killed in the process of saving old people’s memories everywhere.”
Silence in the room.
Jackie looked sick. “Oh, my God. If you change the names, that’s Rhonda’s book!”

Wow, now I know you’ll want to read this! Here is where to buy ROLL WITH THE PUNCHES″>

And here is where to find Amy: On Facebook: Amy Gettinger
On Twitter: @AmyGettinger

Posted by: theresegilardi | April 2, 2015

First and Fourth Fridays Welcomes Karen (K.S.) Jones


First and Fourth Fridays is pleased to welcome Karen (K.S.) Jones. K.S. Jones, whose first name is Karen, has been writing most of her life, usually in stolen moments between raising children, caring for elderly parents, and working a real job. Her debut novel is Shadow of the Hawk.

Let’s put the First and Fourth Questions to Karen:

1) What was the first book that so captured your imagination that you felt a physical loss when you reached the last page?

For me, the first book to captivate my attention and imagination was CALL OF THE WILD by Jack London. I think I was about nine-years-old when I first read this book, and to this day, Mr. London is still one of my favorite writers.

2) What is the most romantic/loving thing you’ve ever done for someone else?

The man I married 35-plus years ago is still the love of my life, but how we’ve happily survived so long is still a mystery! Our early-married years were fraught with life’s little difficulties, so when our daughter and her husband had their first child, I wanted to help them get a better foothold. I decided to give them an “invisible me” for their first week home from the hospital with their precious baby. I cooked, cleaned, did laundry, and only made myself known when they had questions or needed help. I wanted to give them time to learn how to be a family without all the pressures of daily life. My daughter and her husband had time to bond with the baby, and bond to each other in their new mommy and daddy roles. It makes me happy to see the love and unity that exists today in their growing family.

3) What is the most romantic/sweet/loving thing someone has ever done for you?

Many years ago, as a young couple with two children, my husband and I struggled financially. We were not opposed to working several jobs at once to support our family on meager wages, but we often fell short in spite of our efforts. During one of our harder-than-most weeks, and still five days from the nearest payday, our pantry had scant food and our car barely had enough gas to get us to and from work that day. My mother had offered to watch our kids while we worked extra jobs, so I drove my kids to Grandma’s house for the day. As I was getting them settled in, my mother stood and quietly watched. When I turned to kiss her goodbye, she took my hand and led me into her kitchen. On the table was a quart-canning jar filled with silver coins. “I’ve been saving change, it’s not much, but I want you to have it.” And she handed me the jar. It was enough money to buy food for the week and gas for the car. By today’s standards, it wasn’t much. But to me, it was one of the most loving things ever done.

4) What do you think is the most romantic song?

Many romantic songs touch on a moment in time when love peaks. However, I believe we miss true love when we limit it. I want to feel its effects overall, not only in my heart, but also in my world. With that said, take a quiet moment and listen to “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong.

Now that you’ve met Karen here’s the blurb from her debut novel:

It is May 1932 and life in the timbered rise and fall of Western Arkansas has just gotten harder for sixteen-year-old Sooze Williams. With debt mounting and both friends and family fleeing, Sooze is determined to “do the right thing.” She promises her heart to a well-to-do man believing true love is just another loss along the way.

But when her uncle is murdered and family is accused of the crime, Sooze vows not to be beaten. Is salvation within her grasp by relying solely on truth, or is it in the security of her intended’s money? Sooze must decide before it’s too late.

This sounds like a suspenseful read. Here are the buy links:

And here is how to connect with Karen:

Posted by: theresegilardi | March 26, 2015

First And Fourth Fridays Welcomes Jannette Spann


First and Fourth Fridays is pleased to welcome contemporary romance author Jannette Spann. Jannette is a member of Heart of Dixie, the North Alabama Chapter of RWA where she serves as PRO Liaison. Her first book, ‘Hidden Hills’ was released in 2013 by Astraea Press, followed by ‘Right Time for Love’ in 2015.

Now that you’ve met Jannette, let’s see how she answers the Four Questions.

1)What was the first book that so captured your imagination that you felt a physical loss when you reached the last page?

This is going to age me, but that’s okay since I retired before ever publishing my first novel. When I was in the fourth grade, a senior high girl came to our classroom each day after lunch and read to our class. Her favorite books were The Camp Fire Girls. Throughout the year she probably read the entire series. Up until that time I’d read only when I had to which was mostly text books. I have to say by hearing those stories, an entire new world opened in my imagination, causing me to fall in love with novels.
2) What is the most romantic/loving thing you’ve ever done for someone else?

My older brother was a remarkable man. He lost his sight to glaucoma when he was in his thirties. Having no sight at all, he built a barn, planted a vegetable garden every spring, canned and froze what he raised, overhauled the motor and transmission on his tractor, and created hand-made Christmas presents for his wife and children each year.
A few years ago he was diagnosed with end-stage bladder cancer. He knew how much we loved him, but I wanted to show how proud we were of him, so I wrote a short story of his life. I was able to read the final draft of the story to him, but he passed away just before it published.

3) What is the most romantic/sweet/loving thing someone has ever done for you?

Other than the Bible and our local newspaper, my husband doesn’t share my passion for reading. So far he hasn’t read either of my books. I wasn’t at home the day my first paperback copies of Hidden Hills arrived in the mail. He called to let me know they’d arrived, and before hanging up, he said, “I’m proud of you.” It made my day.
4) What do you think is the most romantic song?
There’s been some beautiful songs written, but for me it’s Anne Murray’s “Can I Have This Dance” for the rest of my life, will you be my partner, every night? When we’re together, it feels so right. Can I have this dance, for the rest of my life?” My husband and I have been married forty-eight years, and even though he doesn’t dance—at all—the words to that song fits us to a T.

Here is the blurb for Jannette’s Book “Right Time For Love”: Brandy Wyne’s future includes an old house with plumbing problems, a new job, and caring for her mother who has suffered a stroke
Gavin Wilkins has increased his Grandpa’s plumbing business to twice its original worth, but the old man’s got a hot lady friend with greedy hands. How can he convince his grandpa of what she’s after without hurting him? Added to his problems is the responsibility of caring for his seven-year-old niece for the summer.
Brandy can’t afford the plumbing repairs she needs, and Gavin can’t find a sitter for his niece. Ever heard of the barter system?

Intriguing, right? Here’s where to buy “Right Time for Love”

And here is where you can connect with Jannette:

And on Twitter @jannettespann.

Thanks Jannette and thank you dear followers. Happy reading!

Posted by: theresegilardi | March 5, 2015

First and Fourth Fridays Welcomes E.A. West



Happy Friday! Thanks for joining me for another “First and Fourth Friday”. Today’s guest is award winning writer E.A. West, who is an animal lover, book enthusiast, yarn crafter, and research junkie.

Let’s get right to the First and Fourth Friday Questions with E.A.

1) What was the first book that so captured your imagination that you felt a physical loss when you reached the last page?

I’ve read a few books like this over the years. The first one I remember feeling an actual loss when it ended was a Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew combination mystery. I don’t remember the title of it, but it was set in Hawaii. I missed the characters and story so much after the first time I read it, that I re-read it almost immediately.

2) What is the most romantic/loving thing you’ve ever done for someone else?

Oh, that’s a tough one! I suppose the most loving thing I’ve ever done for someone was when I was a teenager. Life had been kind of rough, but my mom was a rock for me. I wrote her a poem close to Christmas telling her how much I loved her and appreciated her. She actually teared up when she read it and showed it off to all our relatives, which was both embarrassing and heartwarming.

3) What is the most romantic/sweet/loving thing someone has ever done for you?

There are two sweet incidents that come to mind, both of which involve flowers. Right after I graduated from high school, I facilitated a youth drama group in my hometown. At the end of their big performance, the kids called me on stage and presented me with a lovely bouquet of flowers to show their appreciation for the work I’d done for them.

The other one came a few years later. I had just gotten hired for my first editing job. My dad surprised me with a single white rose and told me he was proud of me.

4) What do you think is the most romantic song?

I’ve heard a lot of romantic songs over the years, but one that sticks with me is “Tangled Up In You” by Staind. Actually, I listened to it a lot while writing Battlefield of the Heart because it reminded me of Cindy and Danny’s relationship.

E.A. has a new book out titled “Pressure”. Here’s the blurb:

Ravi Singh is a homeless veteran haunted by memories of his time in the Marine Corps. Thanks to his attempts to get a group of teenaged gang members to leave the life of crime they’ve chosen, he got shot. Now the wound is infected, and he’s too sick to move. When the teens bring his favorite nurse practitioner to him, he’s torn between anger that they kidnapped her and gratitude that they cared enough to get him help.

As Emma Johnston works to treat Ravi, searches for a way to escape, and attempts to figure out just what his relationship to the gang is, she meets the young orphan boy dubbed Twitch. The child brings out the best in Ravi and helps Emma see a side of the gang members she never expected. The more she learns about Ravi’s unconventional life, the better she understands him and the more she wishes he would quit stubbornly refusing to seek psychiatric treatment. Falling for him was never part of the plan, but neither was getting kidnapped.

Can their budding relationship survive such challenging circumstances, or will it end in devastation?

Here’s where to buy “Pressure”:

Amazon US:
Amazon UK:
Barnes & Noble:

And here is how to connect with E.A.

Posted by: theresegilardi | February 27, 2015

First And Fourth Fridays Welcomes Elaine Cantrell



First and Fourth Fridays is pleased to welcome prolific award-winning author Elaine Cantrell. Elaine was born and raised in South Carolina where she obtained a master’s degree in personnel services from Clemson University. She is a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary society for women educators and Romance Writers of America. Her first novel, A New Leaf, was the 2003 winner of the Timeless Love Contest. When she’s not writing or teaching, she enjoys movies, quilting, reading, and collecting vintage Christmas ornaments.
Before we hear about Elaine’s latest project she’s going to answer the First and Fourth Friday questions.

1) What is the book that most captivated you? I’d pick The Sherwood Ring. It has everything I enjoy in a book: Colonial America, romance, and ghosts.

2) What is the most romantic/loving thing you’ve done for someone else? When my husband and I graduated from college, we didn’t have a lot of money so he didn’t buy himself a school ring. For Christmas that first year I bought him on. I have a picture of him when he saw what it was, and it never fails to warm my heart. He loved it.

3) What is the most romantic/loving thing someone else has done for you? t isn’t something someone did. It’s what he said. My husband was going to the grocery store to buy some dog food and asked me to ride along with him. We had been driving a few minutes when I noticed him looking at me. He smiled and said, “You’re more beautiful now than you were the day we got married.” Obviously, he needs his glasses changed, but that little comment meant more to me that any number of gifts he’s given me.

4) What do you think is the most romantic song?

The most romantic song ever is Bryan Adam’s singing (Everything I do) I Do It For You. It’s from the movie Robin Hood that came out twenty years or so ago. Listen to the lyrics and see if you don’t think they’re wonderful.

No wonder Elaine is so good at writing romance – she’s living it. Her latest book is “Rest Thy Head.” Here is the blurb: Running away from a fiancé who betrayed her, Peyton O’Malley finds employment at a beautiful bed and breakfast inn called Rest Thy Head. She didn’t expect to live in the haunted room or to fall for the inn’s owner, a fire-scarred, war veteran who uses the inn to hide away from the world. She didn’t expect her sister to show up at Rest Thy Head either, much less her formidable mother. Now, thanks to the aid of a friendly ghost, Peyton has a shot at true love, and so does her sister Ashley, provided the guys cooperate of course!

You can pick up your copy from the following vendors:

And of course you’re going to want to connect with Elaine. Find her here:


Posted by: theresegilardi | January 22, 2015

First and Fourth Fridays Welcomes Helen Pollard

WarmHeartsinWinter_HelenPollard_ Cover



“First and Fourth Fridays” is delighted to welcome Helen Pollard, the author of the recently released “Warm Hearts in Winter”.

Helen Pollard writes contemporary romance with old-fashioned heart, and lives in Yorkshire, UK with her husband, two teenagers and a psychotic cat. Warm Hearts in Winter is her first published romance.

Now that we’ve met Helen, let’s get right to the Four Questions:

1) What was the first book that so captured your imagination that you felt a physical loss when you reached the last page?
Probably ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ by J D Salinger. We read it in school when I was fourteen, and I became so caught up in the character of Holden Caulfield that I couldn’t bear to leave him at the end of the book.
2) What is the most romantic/loving thing you’ve ever done for someone else?
Our wedding was a small-scale affair. It rained and quite a few other things went wrong on the day! Since neither of us have particularly fond memories of the day itself, a few years ago I got all the photos together and spent months scrapbooking them into a beautiful album with ribbons and doodads and all the rest, to make our memories more special. My husband was impressed at the time, although I’m not sure he’s looked at it much since… Still, it’s the thought that counts!
3) What is the most romantic/sweet/loving thing someone has ever done for you?
My husband and I first started dating a couple of weeks before Valentine’s Day (22 years ago!) and in the week running up to it, he posted a Valentine’s card to me every single day – it was quite a collection!
Romantic gestures can be nice, but for me it’s the small, everyday loving things that matter most. He cares for me when I’m sick, listens to me when I rant, tries to cheer me up when I’m down, and cheers me on when I have a goal I want to achieve. I couldn’t ask for more.
4) What do you think is the most romantic song?
‘Have I told you lately that I love you?’ sung by Van Morrison. The lyrics express perfectly how I feel about my husband.

Here’s the blurb for “Warm Hearts in Winter”:

Forced by circumstance into the world of temping, when Abby Davis accepts an assignment in the wilds of Yorkshire as personal assistant to a widowed novelist, she assumes he is an ageing recluse.

Thirty-something Jack Blane is anything but. Still struggling to get his life and writing career back on track three years after his wife’s death, Jack isn’t ready for a breath of fresh air like Abby.

Snowed in at his winter retreat on the moors, as the weeks go by and their working relationship becomes friendship and maybe more, Abby must rethink her policy of never getting involved with someone at work … and Jack must decide whether he is willing to risk the pain of love a second time.

This novel sounds like the perfect read for a cold winter’s day. Here is where to get your copy:

And connect with Helen! You’ll find her at:


And On Twitter @HelenPollard147

And on Tsu @HelenPollard

And on Goodreads:


First and Fourth Fridays is thrilled to welcome best-selling author Kimberley Troutte. Let’s meet Kimberley.

Kimberley Troutte is a NY Times, USA Today and Amazon Top 100 bestselling author as well as being in the Top 10 on Amazon for Romantic Suspense. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, one dog, a wild cat, an old snake and all the other creatures hubby and boys rescue.

And now to the four questions!


1) What was the first book that so captured your imagination that you felt a physical loss when you reached the last page?
Good question. I’ve experienced this many times with really good books. When I’m deeply involved in a book, or series, I find myself slowing down because I don’t want it to end. One of the first times I can remember that happening was when I was a teen and read The Clan of the Cave Bear books. Gosh, they were good. Sometimes it happens when I am writing my own books too. I find myself dragging my heels toward the end. With GOD WHISPERER, I felt an overwhelming loss when I typed the last page. I didn’t want to stop.

2) What is the most romantic/loving thing you’ve ever done for someone else?

When my boyfriend turned 21, I planned a whole surprise day for him. I made him breakfast and had it ready and waiting for us on a picnic table at a park overlooking the Pacific. Thanks go to my mother and sister for helping out. After breakfast, he unwrapped the gift I made especially for him–a framed poster of a beauty in a bikini (ahem, it was me, of course). We hustled over to the marina for a two-hour catamaran ride I’d hired for just the two of us. It was a fun day. Hmmm, whatever happened to that boy? Oh, right. I married him. And the bikini poster is hanging in the garage.

3) What is the most romantic/sweet/loving thing someone has ever done for you?

You know what? My life is full of loving and sweet things. My parents and sister are all generous and loving people. I grew up in a wonderful household. I married the boy of my dreams and together we are raising two beautiful, loving boys. Life is sweet. My hubby does romantic things for me all the time, like massaging my back and holding my hand in public. I love him with all of my heart and he loves me. I really couldn’t ask for more.

4) What do you think is the most romantic song?

Now that’s a tough one. There are several songs that make me melt. Off the bat, I can think of two. I sigh when I hear “Lady in Red” because the band played it at my wedding for all the bridesmaids dressed in red. I loved “Hero” by Enrique Iglesias so much that I incorporated it into my first novel, CATCH ME IN CASTILE.

Wow, no wonder Kimberley writes so well about the romantic life – she’s living it. Kimberley’s latest release is included in the USA Today Bestselling SEALs of Winter boxed set. Nine brand new Navy SEAL romance heroes from your favorite NYT & USA Today bestselling authors: Cora Seton, Elle Kennedy, Jennifer Lowery, Elle James, Anne Marsh, S. M. Butler, Delilah Devlin, Kimberley Troutte, and Zoe York!
Kimberley’s contribution to the set is UNDER THE RADAR (SEAL EXtreme Team III). SEAL pilot, Ty Whitehorse, is shot down in the Arctic and must escape through hostile territory. But when the mother of all blizzards attacks, he holes up in a hunter’s cabin with Holly Colton, a sexy lady musher with a deady secret. Ty isn’t the only one laying low under the radar. They’re both in enemy crosshairs. Staying together is dangerous. Separating? Impossible.

Also, the authors of SEALs of Winter have a wonderful giveaway going on right now for a chance to win a Kindle Fire. Receive nine free books just for entering at:
Here are the buy links for this fantastic collection:


1hat is the most romantic/loving thing you’ve ever done for someone else?

3) What is the most romantic/sweet/loving thing someone has ever done for you?

You know what? My life is full of loving and sweet things. My parents and sister are all generous and loving people. I grew up in a wonderful household. I married the boy of my dreams and together we are raising two beautiful, loving boys. Life is sweet. My hubby does romantic things for me all the time, like massaging my back and holding my hand in public. I love him with all of my heart and he loves me. I really couldn’t ask for more.





Be sure to visit Kimberley’s website at and sign up for her newsletter.

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