‘Christmas On The Run’ Released Today!

Christmas on the Run released today! Pick up your copy from Amazon and Smashwords today!

Christmas on the Run by Louise BehielWhen Ramon Ramirez is found not guilty of first degree murder, Adelina Ramirez grabs their six year old daughter and leaves Atlanta, determined to keep him from taking Sadie to Brazil and keeping her there.

A bad snow storm on an almost-deserted road in Montana forces Lina to stay in Bandit Creek for Christmas. New friend Todd Black is bound to help the quiet woman and her child. He knows there’s more to her story than she’s saying, but it’s none of his business.

In the midst of Christmas preparations and a record snow storm, Ramon tracks her down. He doesn’t care about Lina but he wants his daughter and he’s going to take her.

With Todd at her side, Lina is forced to confront her worst fears. Together, they will face Ramon and forge a new future – a gift from her Christmas on the Run.

Read the Excerpt

‘Thief of Hearts’ Released Today!

Thief of Hearts released today! Pick up your copy from Amazon today!

Trying desperately to escape an abusive husband, Melissa Stacey drives until she reaches the town of Bandit Creek. She doesn’t know why she has stopped here, but as she sits looking at Lost Lake, she realizes that she too is lost. She has no family, no friends and no hope of ever escaping her cruel husband. Her hopelessness drives her to make a rash decision.

After being warned by Bandit Creek’s town drunk/prophet, depending on who you spoke to, Gabriel Waters rushed to save her. He didn’t know who she was but Old Jack told him he had to hurry or he’d be too late. He arrives at the shores of Lost Lake in time to see a woman disappear below the surface.

What happens next is a story of how two people, brought together by tragedy and fear, can find each other and solace in the discovery of true love. Love that can be found everywhere, even in Bandit Creek. After all everything happens in Bandit Creek.

Click here to read an excerpt.

Carla Roma Interviews A.M. Westerling

Hi Carla Roma here, enjoying a frosty glass of lemonade in A.M. Westerling’s garden. It’s a hot prairie summer day and even though we’re in the shade of a couple of huge poplars, I need all the coolant I can get. <winks>

Astrid: <walks up with the pitcher of lemonade and sits down> Ha ha, I heard you Carla! Would you like more?

Carla: <holds up glass>. Yes please. And is it okay if I call you Astrid? A.M. sounds so, um, stuffy.

Astrid: Of course. I’m using my initials because I thought my name would get so long otherwise. <pours lemonade> So this is a recipe from my ancient Betty Crocker cook book. You know, the one I’ve had since I got married. It’s my go to cook book. She has recipes for everything!

Carla: <takes a sip> Delicious, thanks. So let’s get started with the interview. Why don’t you tell our audience how we met?

Astrid: Sure thing. In yoga class. I looked over during one particularly long downward dog and there was Carla looking back at me. I think we were both wondering how much longer we’d have to hang out, so to speak. <laughs>.

Carla: <rolls eyes> Yeah, I remember that class. Brutal. We were holding the poses for way longer than 5 breaths. I think the instructor forgot to count.

Astrid: But we survived. Barely. <grins>. And yoga has taught me to listen to my body, which stands me in good stead with my writing.

Carla: How so?

Astrid: <shrugs> Not to force it. If I’m in the zone, I go for it. But if the writing’s not coming smoothly, I’ll put it away and do other writing related activities, like research, or catching up with social media, or even just read another book. It’s always good to see how other authors do things. And if I absolutely can’t get past it, I’ll go for a walk. That’s always good for inspiration.

Carla: How long have you been writing? And what inspired you to start writing in the first place, anyway? And I’ll have some more of that lemonade, please! <holds out glass while Astrid pours>

Astrid: I first realized that being an author was something I could actually accomplish when I attended a romance writing seminar given by two of our Bandit Creek authors, Louise Behiel and C.J. Carmichael. Shortly after that, in October of 2004, I joined CaRWA and I’ve been following the dream ever since. And the reason I started to write? Simple. I got tired of reading books and thinking “How did THIS ever get published?” <chuckles> I really thought I could do better so I sat down at the keyboard and started. Nike has it right when they say “Just do it”!

Carla: And where did you get the idea for your Bandit Creek story, “Bootleg My Heart”? Interesting title, by the way.

Astrid: I’m a NASCAR fan. My husband and I regularly attend the race in Las Vegas.

Carla: NASCAR? As in left, left straight, left, left straight? Stock car racing? That NASCAR? <grins>

Astrid: <nods> Yeah, that NASCAR. Hot cars and cute drivers, what’s not to like! I’ve wanted to do a prohibition era story every since I discovered the roots of NASCAR lie in the bootlegging drivers of that time. They’d fix up their cars and race against each other to see who was the fastest. And, of course, to get away from the federal prohibition agents.

Carla: Hmm, who knew.

Astrid: Anyway, it’s a fun era. So innocent in a lot of ways yet with a dark side. I plan on writing another story set in that period, especially now that I’ve done the research.

Carla: I can’t wait to read this one! Especially after reading Alyssa’s “Prohibited Passion.”

Astrid: <nods> This story has one of Alyssa’s characters, Patrick Sheridan, the Irish gangster. It was fun working with her to get everything to jive. Anyway, I hope you enjoy reading “Bootleg My Heart” as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Carla: Can’t wait!

You can connect with A.M. Westerling at her website, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

Carla Interviews Marlene Renee about My Heart Burns

Hello, I’m Carla Roma and my latest Bandit Creek interview is with Marlene Renee. I managed to slide bits of this interview into the scheduled walk breaks during our morning run. (Actually I gasped out the questions.) As we cooled down – and I thanked the Almighty the run was over – we completed the interview about Marlene’s Historical Western, MY HEART BURNS, available August 15, 2012.

Marlene: How are your legs?

Carla: <groaning> Firm as jelly. Bring on the comfy chairs and a stack of pancakes.

Marlene: <grins> Might be a good idea to stretch first.

Carla: Might be. <grins> You stretch. I’ll watch and ask questions. What possessed you to write an historical western?

Marlene: I’ve always been intrigued by that time. Devoured Zane Grey books as an adolescent and thoroughly enjoy movies like 3:10 TO YUMA.

Carla: But those are typical westerns. You’ve got the good guys, the bad guys and the protagonist is a male. In MY HEART BURNS you switch things up a bit.

Marlene: True. Mackenzie Delaney, my protagonist, is female. And she tends to follow her heart rather than listen to the dictates of society.

Carla: Like defying her father and striking out on her own. She’s a female doctor in 1887. What prompted you to incorporate that element into the story?

Marlene: I admire strong, independent women – trailblazers. I thought it would be fun to pick an unusual occupation for a woman during that era.

Carla: But in the untamed West? Mackenzie could have blazed her trail in her hometown Chicago instead.

Marlene: True. But leaving what she knows to head West is life-changing for her.

Carla: How life-changing?

Marlene: <cheeky grin> We could run again tomorrow. I’ll let you in on the ending after we’re done.

Carla: <Laughs> Thanks, I’ll pass on the run. But give me some hints about Mackenzie’s life-changing events.

Marlene: Well, everything she owns is stolen, a bandit wants to kill her, the Sheriff wants her to leave town . . .

Carla: <rubs her hands> Hmmm, a robbery, death threats – sounds intriguing. But the Sheriff wants her to leave? Isn’t he the love interest?

Marlene: He is. But they reconcile after she operates on his backside.

Carla: And? <pauses> You’re not going to give the full reveal are you?

Marlene: <looks up at the sky> I’d really enjoy another run tomorrow.

Carla: <laughs> Not going to happen. I’d really enjoy hearing about the Sheriff’s backside.

Marlene: You certainly can – just remember August 15.

Carla: I’m on it!

You can connect with Marlene on Facebook and on Twitter.

Carla Interviews Suzanne Stengl about The Ghost and Christie McFee

Hello everyone. I’m Carla Roma and I’m here with Suzanne Stengl, the author of THE GHOST AND CHRISTIE McFEE. I found Suzanne in the little village of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on the island of San Cristóbal in the Galapagos Islands. Or as they say here, Las Islas Galápagos.

We’re enjoying some ice tea in an open air restaurant beside the ocean and watching the sea lions lazing on the beach.

Carla: I’m glad to finally meet you, Suzanne. Do have time for a few questions about your upcoming release?

Suzanne: (pouring a pitcher of water over her head…) I have all the time in the world.

Carla: It’s really hot here, isn’t it?

Suzanne: It sure is. Forty-five degrees Celsius. In the shade.

Carla: Whoa. (fanning herself) What’s that in Fahrenheit?

Suzanne: You don’t want to know.

Carla: I understand you have some pretty authentic details about scuba diving in your book?

Suzanne: Yes, authentic. I’ve experienced every one of them.

Carla: I’m beginning to understand how hot it would be wearing a 7 mil neoprene wet suit in this heat. Do you really need a wet suit? The water doesn’t look that cold.

Suzanne: The water temperature here ranges from 64 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit at the surface, depending on the season. Of course it gets colder as you go deeper. So you need a wet suit.

Carla: If it’s as low as 64 degrees Fahrenheit, that’s similar to the temperature of Lost Lake, isn’t that right?

Suzanne: Yes, it’s similar. And in both places, in a wet suit, the temperature is perfect – once you’re underwater. It’s beautiful. (She looks out at the ocean.) There’s a wreck right here, in the harbor.

Carla: A wreck?

Suzanne: A sunken ship. It makes an artificial reef. A place for algae to grow and invertebrates like barnacles and corals and oysters. They provide food for the smaller fish, and then the smaller fish in turn provide food for the larger fish.

Carla: (fanning herself) I don’t know how the tourists can stand wearing a wet suit until they get in the water.

Suzanne: Most tourists live aboard boats and dive from them. Their sleeping quarters are air conditioned. (She dumps another pitcher of water over her head.)

Carla: Do the staff care about you doing that?

Suzanne: No, they’re used to me.

(The waitress brings another pitcher of water, and another pitcher of ice tea, and sets them on the table.)

Suzanne: Muchas gracias.

Carla: OK, let’s talk about your book. The opening scene in GHOST has your heroine on a dive boat. And she’s seasick. Have you personally experienced that?

Suzanne: I sure have. We did an 8-day tour aboard the Yolita here, in the inner islands, with a group of 16 passengers and 5 crew. Every one of the passengers got sick on the first day. Including Rolf.

Carla: Rolf is your husband?

Suzanne: Yes he is. He’s a traveler.

Carla: You’re quite the traveler too, I must say.

Suzanne: No, I’m not. I’m a tourist. There’s a difference.

Carla: Then, you’re quite the tourist.

Suzanne: I’m the tourist from hell. (She dumps more water over her head.) I should have known I’d get seasick, since I also get carsick, and bus sick, and avoid roller coasters. And like I said, everyone got sick for a day. But since I’m so good at being seasick, I did it for the full eight days.

Carla: That must have been horrible!

Suzanne: Parts of it. Parts of it were great. The food was excellent. Although it would have been even better if I hadn’t been so nauseous. And the passengers aboard the Yolita were incredible. Mostly young travelers, all interesting people. The sixteen of us would sit around the big table for meals. For the first few days, French was the default language and then we changed out a few passengers and the default language became English. We had Italian, Swiss, British, Swedes, one guy from California, and the French.

Every day we walked different trails on different islands and saw the endemic plants and animals. It was a mixed blessing, being on shore. No seasickness, but the heat was extreme. For me, anyway. Before I left the boat, I’d soak my shirt so I could be cool for a time. At the end of the hike, I’d walk into the ocean. I love my Tilley hat because I can dip it in the water and douse my head, when it isn’t possible to jump in completely.

Carla: When would it not be possible to jump in completely?

Suzanne: If it was a beach that the sea lions had claimed. They can be territorial.

Carla: (glances uneasily at the sea lion occupying the bench in front of her.)

Suzanne: I don’t know why they love those benches, but they do.

Carla: Okaaay . . . So, you slept aboard the boat? Weren’t you seasick while you were trying to sleep?

Suzanne: Yes. Some nights, when we were making a long open water crossing between islands, it was especially rough. Many of us would lie on the sundeck and watch the stars.

Carla: And that helped the seasickness?

Suzanne: Yes. The stars don’t move so they are a reference point. It’s like focusing on the horizon in the daylight. And it was fun, lying there with everyone. Kind of like a pajama party.

Carla: Hmmm. But with being so seasick, weren’t you afraid you’d be sick while you were diving? That couldn’t be good.

Suzanne: It’s a real leap of faith, for someone like me – a non-adventurous tourist – to sit in a zodiac fully loaded with dive tank, 7 mil neoprene and 13 pounds of weights. And feeling nauseous. If you throw up underwater, it’s important to keep the regulator in your mouth.

Carla: ewww.

Suzanne: Otherwise, you’ll drown. But I learned to deep breathe until we tipped over the side. And then all of a sudden, I was underwater and no longer rocking and I was out of the heat. My head was instantly clear and, for about 30 to 40 minutes, life was normal. At least, it was normal for my head and my stomach. The rest of the world was not normal.

Carla: Not normal?

Suzanne: No, it was amazing. Sea turtles, sea lions, penguins, sharks, rainbows of fish. And when we weren’t diving, we were snorkeling. Snorkeling with the little penguins is something I will remember forever.

Carla: Too bad you can’t forget about this heat. Can you pass me that water jug?

Suzanne: Sure. Help yourself.

Carla: (dumping water over her head) I’m glad it’s not this hot in Bandit Creek.

Suzanne: ¡Yo también!

Carla: Does your heroine Christie McFee get over her nausea and learn to love diving?

Suzanne: You’ve just read the first chapter so far, right?

Carla: Yes.

Suzanne: Then you’ll find out in chapter two. More ice tea?

Carla: Please!

THE GHOST AND CHRISTIE McFEE is available from Amazon and Smashwords on August 1, 2012.

You can connect with Suzanne at her Website, Facebook, and on Twitter.

Carla Interviews Sheila Seabrook about Wedding Fever

Hello. I’m Carla Roma and my latest interview is with Sheila Seabook, who I encountered while hiking up Sulphur Mountain in Banff, Alberta. The hike was a rigorous three hour climb, which—when we weren’t gasping for air—gave us lots of time to chat. At the top of the mountain, we ogled the breathtaking view, ate lunch in the mountaintop restaurant, and rode the gondola back to town. Right now, we’re in the Rimrock Resort Hotel main lounge, enjoying the view, the roaring fire, and a few glasses of the hotel’s specialty coffee. And I’m trying to get Sheila to tell me about her upcoming Bandit Creek book, WEDDING FEVER, which will be available July 15, 2012. Confidentially, it’s like I’ve asked her to strip naked in front of twelve million viewers.

Sheila: After our hike, my legs feel like rubber. How about yours, Carla?

Carla: <rubs thighs and calves, waves over waiter> We’re going to need another round or five to help us forget the pain.

Sheila: So tomorrow I’ll be nursing a sore head instead of a sore body?

Carla: <grins> Just go with it, honey. Forget I’m a journalist out to discover what deep, dark secrets you’re harboring.

Sheila: <channels innocence> I’m Miss-Goody-Two-Shoes, Carla. If you want deep dark secrets, check out the 30 Days of Secrets in Bandit Creek. Big secrets, huge secrets, superglue-your-mouth shut secrets.

Carla: Will I find your secrets there?

Sheila: I’m an open book.

Carla: Which brings us to the reason we’re here. WEDDING FEVER. Your upcoming Bandit Creek release. One of the first things I noticed about you is that you love to laugh. And you talk—a lotabout your family.

Sheila: Am I boring you yet?

Carla: Weelllllll…just kidding. <grins> I know you’re dying to tell me more about them, so what does your family have to do with your book?

Sheila: Family creeps into every one of my stories. I don’t plan it that way, but before I know it, these quirky family members show up and demand to be heard.

Carla: Is your family the inspiration for your characters?

Sheila: Sort of. The people in my family make me laugh, even when they’re driving me nuts. So I bring that aspect of family into my work.

Carla: Tell us about WEDDING FEVER.

Sheila: It started with BABY FEVER, my short story from the Bandit Creek Fool’s Gold Anthology. BABY FEVER is about a woman’s desire for a grandbaby and the story gave me the opportunity to introduce the heroine from WEDDING FEVER.

Carla: Finally we’re getting to the good stuff. Tell us about your heroine. Is there a hot hero, too?

Sheila: Liz Templeton is Bandit Creek’s star reporter and for almost sixteen years—ever since she divorced her husband—she’s been keeping a huge secret. In WEDDING FEVER, her ex-husband returns to town and he’s still a hunk. Her mom and ex-mother-in-law are planning a wedding that’s never going to happen, or so Liz swears. And Liz’s daughter…well, gosh, Carla, I guess I should shut up now. It’s kind of a secret.

Carla: Oh no you don’t, girlfriend. You can’t start, then stop like that. I promise, if you tell me the secret, I’ll superglue my own lips together. <yeah, right!>

Sheila: <leans forward, gestures Carla to meet her halfway> Liz’s daughter is a ghost. A teenage ghost with an attitude. Everyone who has read WEDDING FEVER has fallen in love with my little ghost.

Carla: <whispers back> Is this a paranormal story?

Sheila: No, it’s a humorous story about a family reunited. Although seriously, every time I read the ending, I cry. <glances at her watch and gets up> I have a date with my husband, so I really need to run.

Carla: <jumps to her feet> That’s it? You’re going to leave me hanging? Hey, I thought we were friends.

Sheila: We are, and that’s why you’re going to read my book and love it.

Carla: <plops back onto the chair, watches Sheila walk away, and motions the waiter over> I need another drink. This journalist crap isn’t as easy as it looks. Do yourself a favor, buddy. On July 15th, pick up WEDDING FEVER by Sheila Seabrook. You’re going to love it!

You can connect with Sheila at her Website, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

Carla Interviews The ‘Fool’s Gold’ Anthology Authors

Hi, I’m Carla Roma and welcome to the Powder Horn Saloon – home to country music and cold beer in Bandit Creek, Montana. I’m seated beside Trip Williams, one of the seven writers whose short stories comprise the Fool’s Gold Anthology to be released April 1, 2012. I recognized Alyssa Linn Palmer and Victoria Chatham from previous interviews, but Trip introduced me to Louise Behiel, Julie Rowe, Sheila Seabrook, and Brenda Sinclair.

Carla: Hello everyone. I’m delighted to meet with you today.

Cotton: <bartender approaches table> I turned the music down as Trip requested. Just wave if you folks want a second round. 

Carla: Thank you, Cotton. <bartender saunters back behind bar> Let’s get started, shall we? Now, today you’re sharing April Fool’s jokes that you’ve pulled on someone or been caught by yourself. Shall we start with Victoria? 

Victoria: Years ago I worked in a bookstore in England. A new title on the history of transvestism came in. I composed a letter, supposedly from the publisher, congratulating my boss on purchasing ‘this new and exciting social treatise’. He called friends and family, asked my colleagues if they were responsible. I carried on working, and somehow he missed me altogether. His wife came in later, took one look at the letter, and said ‘Oh, that’s Victoria’. It took awhile to live that one down, but he had to admit he’d been fooled. <chuckles> 

Carla: What about you, Brenda? 

Brenda: Unlike Victoria, I was on the receiving end. Several years ago, The Red Deer Advocate printed a front page story about the City of Red Deer issuing special bags for collecting doggie poop – blue for boy dogs and pink for girl dogs – and I read most of the darn thing, totally annoyed at the idea, until I caught on I was reading an April Fool’s story. I felt rather silly. <chuckles and smiles> 

Trip: I got caught by a newspaper item, too, Brenda. About six years ago, we had a winter packed with heavy snowfalls late into the season.  The sides of my driveway were piled to five feet and the snow kept coming. Unfolding the morning Sun, I was beside myself! The city declared that all streets in front of homes were now the responsibility of homeowners to keep clear. I was spitting mad and would not stand for this! By 9:00, I had written letters to my MLA and Alderman. This, I would not tolerate! At lunch I was informed it was April 1st.  Man, did I feel stupid. Laughing at myself, I could only hope the recipients of my letters found the same humor in them as well. <everyone laughs and sips their beer>

Carla: I travel the world, avoiding cold weather, preferring to lie on a sunny beach. But then I meet with friends for a ski week in Switzerland every year. <chuckles and shakes her head> Whose next? How about you, Sheila?

Sheila: We “sent” 12 employees to a conference at $500/person and stuck the requisition in a stack of paperwork for approval. Our boss marched out of his office, face sweating, hair on end, and told us we couldn’t spend this much money without head office approval or he was going to get fired. When we told him we’d already paid with the company credit card, he looked ready to have a heart attack. Finally we yelled, “April Fool’s Day!” and his chin hit his chest.

Carla: Six thousand dollars! No wonder he almost had a heart attack. <joins laughter> Alyssa, what happened to you?

Alyssa: A friend of mine once blogged about learning he was a father, from a relationship he’d had nine years prior. Of course I believed him, since it wasn’t something anyone would joke about. And later that day, he owned up: it was only a joke. I’d never been so annoyed. I still can’t believe anyone would joke about such a thing.

Carla: Men aren’t always the most sensitive beings on earth.

Trip: Hey, I don’t agree with that.

Carla: You’re an exception, Trip. <smiles> Who’d like to share next?

Louise: I will. My department doesn’t play pranks on each other. One morning my office door was unexpectedly locked. I had a big presentation to finalize for the executive committee, and needed to work on my unnetworked desktop. But my secretary couldn’t find the key, so called maintenance.  He couldn’t open it either.  I steamed from both ears and sweat pooled everywhere. The key guru came but couldn’t open the door.  Panic overwhelmed me. Finally an hour later, my secretary dangled the key in front of me.  “April Fool’s” she yelled.  She’d been notified that morning the meeting was re-scheduled. <smiles and chuckles>

Carla: Julie, finish our interview off. What happened to you?

Julie: The best April Fool’s joke I’ve ever witnessed is one a good friend of mine played on her husband. My friends have four kids. The first two were planned, but #3 happened when the IUD failed and #4 happened when the condom failed. They decided he better have a vasectomy before #5 ‘happened’. April Fool’s day fell shortly before his surgery. She phoned him at work to say her period was late. His response: total silence. So, she went on to say she’d done a pregnancy test. It was positive. He broke his silence at that point with some very creative remarks, which I won’t repeat. Then he hung up. She called him back and as soon as he answered the phone said, “Honey, what day is today?” Then SHE hung up. <lots of smiles and laughter>

Carla: Thank you for sharing these wonderful pranks with me. And I look forward to seeing all of you again one day.

For more fun and famous April Fool’s jokes and pranks, please check out this website:
Top 100 April Fool’s Day Hoaxes of All Time.

Pick up a copy of the Fool’s Gold Anthology to be released on April 1, 2012 .