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Author Justin Murphy: A man of many talents!

June 2, 2021 by in category Jann says . . .

Born November 26, 1985 in Dothan, Alabama. Whether it be Fiction or Non-Fiction, Justin Murphy has always tried to explore many themes in his work. One is probing into the darkness of pure evil with The Original Night Stalker: Portrait of A Killer, a fictional story based on a real life murderer Joseph James DeAngelo. He also enjoys exploring obscure figures often forgotten in entertainment. Such as with his most recent success Gene L. Coon: The Unsung Hero of Star Trek. It profiles the ex-Marine, pharmacist, and journalist who did the actual heavy lifting on The Original Series.

We’re here today talking with writer Justin Murphy. So let’s get started!!

Jann: At what age did you want to be a writer?

Justin: Was always told I was creative, imaginative, and lived in a fantasy world (for better AND worse)! But the moment of realization came on my 15th birthday, the desire to write hit me like an ocean wave! It was both terrifying and amazing.

Jann: What’s your favorite genre and why?

Justin: For a long time, I would’ve said Sci-Fi/Fantasy. Both for the spectacle and the idea of being transported to another world.

Yet in the years since I’ve started writing and been published, I’ve begun to prefer crime, detective, mystery. They pose questions and raise issues about our every day reality.

Jann: Your book Gene L. Coon: The Unsung Hero of Star Trek has been well received. What inspired to write about Gene L. Coon?

Justin: Read an article a few years ago announcing the documentary Batman and Bill creator Bill Finger. Read a comment on the article, saying “Someone should do the same thing on Gene Coon”. And I figured “Why not?”. Researched the online newspaper archives and every other resource I could about him.

In addition to his work on Star Trek, he sang on the radio in Omaha, Nebraska at age four. Was a Marine who served in Korea. He even ran a pharmacy for five years until becoming a screenwriter. Also did radio reports on the Atomic Bomb tests in Yucca Flats, Nevada.

Jann: I understand you are writing on a single mother detective series. Can you share a little about this series? 

Justin: Been writing installments this past year. Working on the latest one, nothing published yet. But I’ll give you a teaser. It’s about a woman who balances work and family life to an extreme by investigating missing child cases while dealing with her own special needs kids.

Jann:  Do you find yourself returning to certain themes in your stories? What? Why?

Justin: With the above-mentioned series, there are quite a few themes I keep returning to. Such as the main character’s struggle to balance single motherhood and investigating missing child cases. Of course, the issue of missing children is a recurring theme in of itself.  As well as dealing with children who are disabled, as both the character’s kids are.

Jann: What kind of writer are you? A page a day? Or are you a burst writer?

Justin: For many years, I wrote four hours a day (based on the advice Stephen King and several other well-known authors publicized). In the last year or so, I write more whenever the mood hits, but I still try to remain consistent. Although my writing is somewhat limited by current cross-country travel.

Jann: Do you have a website, blog, or twitter where fans might read more about you and your books? 

Justin: Here are the links to my Amazon, Audible, Facebook, and Twitter pages: — Justin Murphy — Justin Murphy — Justin Murphy — Justin Murphy

Jann: What’s your all-time favorite book? 

Justin: Possibly Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. It’s the book that really got me paying attention to words, phrases, and sentence structure. Though I’m still not perfect. Also learned not to use the same word in a paragraph twice. There’s such a flow to the way Bradbury wrote that we may try to emulate, but never fully capture. It seems we as author tend to emulate the greats until we find ourselves. 

Thank you Justin for talking with us today on A Slice Of Orange!


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Author Judy Duarte talks about her Rancho Esperanza Series

May 2, 2021 by in category Jann says . . . tagged as ,

USA Today bestselling author Judy Duarte has written more than sixty books and novellas for Harlequin Special Edition and Kensington, earned two Rita® finals, won two Maggies and received a National Reader’s Choice Award.  She lives in Southern California with her personal hero.

When she’s not cooped up in her writing cave, Judy enjoys traveling with her husband and spending quality time with her grandchildren who refer to her as Memaw because she reminds them of Young Sheldon Cooper’s spunky grandma.

I have the pleasure today to be speaking with multi-published author Judy Duarte. Her romance novels always leave the reader wanting more!

Jann: What does romance mean to you? Has it changed since Cowboy Courage, your first book, was published in 2002 by Silhouette Special Edition.

Judy: The industry has certainly changed, and so has technology, but romance is eternal.  And so is a happy ever after.  Life can be rough and painful, and I believe a lot of readers want to be reminded that there’s always hope, that the night is always darkest before the dawn. 

Jann: You have published over 60 novels. Does it get easier?

Judy: Yes, it gets easier, especially when you have an acquiring editor working with you to make a book stronger and more marketable.  But I’m always open to learn more about the craft and to apply what I’ve learned to my books.

Jann: Your books focus on families, second chances, true love and have lots of babies J. How important is the setting, theme and plot in your stories? 

Judy: They’re all important to me.  I grew up in a small town, where yards were big enough to have horses and pets, and where people tend to know each other.  So I tend to gravitate to those settings.  And I like creating real-life characters who could be your best friend or your neighbor.  Take, for instance, a single mom or a single dad.  Raising a child on one’s own implies that there’s been some grief of stress in the past.  And who else deserves to fall in love and be happy?

Jann: What inspired you to write your latest series, Rancho Esperanza?  

Judy: Two years ago, my husband and I vacationed in Big Fork, Montana.  We’d barely gotten into a rental car in Kalispell, and I was already swept away by the beautiful, big sky country.  And I knew the setting of my next books.  So I created the town of Fairbrook, Montana.

Jann: Book One, A Secret Between Us, with main characters Callie Jamison and Ramon Cruz, and Book Two, Their Night to Remember, with characters Alana Perez and Clay Hastings, in the Rancho Esperanza series have received great reviews. Would you share with us how you develop your characters?


Judy: I create a flawed character.  Then I ask myself, given that character’s fears and flaws, who would be the worst possible person for them to fall in love with.  The built-in conflict will help both characters learn and grow—and earn their happy-ever-after.

Jann: Starting Over with the Sheriff, Book Three in the series makes its debut on May 25th. What is the premise of this novel?

Judy: A woman running from her entangled past finds herself attracted to a single father of twins, but when the by-the-book-lawman learns the truth about her, she fears their romance will be doomed before it ever begins.

Jann: What do you hope readers will take away from this series?   

Judy: That everyone deserves a second chance and that love is worth fighting for.

Jann: Will there be a Book Four or will you be starting a new series?  

Judy: Yes, I’m working on book 4 now, and book 5 is simmering in my mind.

Jann: I see that you were included in the Harlequin Special Edition March 2021 Box Set 2 of 2 with Marie Ferrarella and Christy Jeffries. What was that like? 

Judy: As an author, I can’t imagine a greater thrill than to be matched with Marie Ferrarella, the queen of Harlequin romances, and my very own daughter, Christy Jeffries!

Jann: Do you have any writing rituals? Schedule?

Judy: I write or edit every day, even if it’s just a few pages.  At the end of a writing day, I print out the scene/s I wrote and set them in the kitchen, next to the coffee pot.  The next morning, I make a cup of coffee then pick up a red pen and edit those pages.  Next, I sit down at the computer and input my changes.  That’s usually all it takes to jump back into the story and write the next scene.  I’ve also learned not to end my writing day at the end of a scene.  I always push on and write a couple of paragraphs of the next one.  That usually gives my muse a jumpstart.

Jann: Are there any words of inspiration on your computer, in your office or in your mind when you write?

Judy: My daughter, Christy Jeffries, gave me a plaque that sits next to my computer.  It says:  Oh that my words were written!  Oh that they were written in a book!  – Job 19:23

Jann: What are you working on now? Can you tell us about your next project?

Judy: I’m writing the third book in the 2022 Fortunes of Texas series.  I love working on continuities, especially this one.  It’s the third romance in the series and will be released in March of 2022.

Jann: Where can we get your books?

Judy: My books are available at online in print or e-format.  You can find them at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the Harlequin website.

Jann: Do you have a website, blog, twitter where fans might read more about you and your books?




Thank you for spending time with us her on A Slice of Orange. Your novels have inspired so many readers. Good luck with the debut of Starting Over with the Sheriff on the 25th of this month!!

Some of Judy’s Books

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Harlequin Special Edition March 2021 Box Set 2 of 2

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Author Leslie V. Knowles debuts The Wolverton World of Regency Romance!!

April 2, 2021 by in category Jann says . . . tagged as , , ,

My husband and I met, married and raised our two children in Southern California where we still live. Our oldest is married and has three grown sons. The other is an aerospace engineer who made watching The Big Bang Theory seem oddly familiar. I started writing when a co-worker challenged me to write my own book after I complained about a disappointing story. At the urging of friends and critique partners, I entered the Golden Heart Contest for Unpublished Writers, and Silent Song was one of six finalists in the short contemporary category. It eventually sold to Kensington Publishing. Between my day job as a high school teacher and family obligations, writing was put on hold for several years. Once I retired, however, characters and story ideas began dancing in my head again, but now they danced to Regency music. The Wolverton World is the result of letting them dance onto the manuscript page.

Jann: Tell us about your road to publication?

Leslie: My road trip was long, winding, and a bit rocky at times. My first book (a contemporary), Silent Song, took 10 years from first concept until Kate Duffy bought it for Meteor Publishing, then for Kensington when Meteor was sold off. By that time, my day job and growing family obligations pretty much took over and I set aside my writing for several years. When I retired, I had time to immerse myself in reading for pleasure, and it wasn’t long before the “what if” ideas started popping up again. I rejoined RWA to get caught up on the changes in the market and started writing once more. I completed Scandalizing the Duke and Chasing Scandal before I started submitting to the traditional houses. The long waits between submission and check-backs, the almost-but-not-quite editor nibbles from contest entries and the black hole of Covid lockdowns finally made me decide that I didn’t want to wait another 10 years to see my book in print. I researched all the “new” stuff and asked lots of questions, then uploaded Scandalizing the Duke through Draft2Digital and set my release date. I’m still learning, but I’m back on track.

Jann: What motivated you to write Regency romance?

Leslie: I decided to focus on historical in general, and Regency in particular, for their unlimited shelf life for readers. Contemporary stories quickly lose their freshness which can limit their appeal to new readers. Readers of historically set stories embrace the time warp instead of being distracted by it. I also write what I like to read, and I love historical fiction.

Jann: Historical romance readers look for accuracy from the author. What are your favorite sources for research and how much time did you spend on research? Do you research before, while you write a first draft or after?

Leslie: I tend to research as needed while I write. I usually begin with overview information off the internet for key events for the time period when the story will be set. I use historical study sites like universities and English history sites that I come across, then cross check for accuracy. I look for events that might impact my characters or move the story in a particular direction. I’m also a member of Regency Fiction Writers and we share a lot of links and sources, so I can often verify information that way. One of our members (Kristine Hughs) has recently completed an exhaustive research book on Waterloo in which she has read reams of primary source letters and dispatches, etc. to include. I know I’ll be able to rely on the accuracy of that book for both facts and flavor of the time period. My third book, Scandal’s Choice has an amputee hero, and I read the biography of Lord Oxley as well as researched recovery times, the history of prosthesis, and interviewed a man about the actual sensations of using and wearing one. Every story has a different research component, so I use whatever seems appropriate at the time.

Jann: Where did the idea come from for this series? Did you think of character, plot or theme first?

Leslie: I always think of people first. My first concept for the series was a what if–what if a widower returned to London with three daughters to launch and one was a bluestocking, one was a rescuer, and the third an intuitive, and what if the mother of one of his suitor’s mother caught his attention?

Once the writing/plotting began the bluestocking, Elizabeth, became a woodworker and enters a marriage of convenience, the rescuer became Charlotte in Scandalizing the Duke, and the intuitive has yet to emerge from the schoolroom. The widower papa doesn’t show until Scandal’s choice (Elizabeth’s story) and he has remarried when he does.  First concepts never make it past research and revisions. 

Jann: How long did it take you to write Book One?

Leslie: About 6 or 9 months initially. I think of book like babies: 3 months of trying, 9 months to delivery.

Jann: Book One, Scandalizing the Duke, from your new series The Wolverton World, debuted in February of this year. How did it feel?

Leslie: Fabulous, exciting, and scary.

Jann: Tell us about your main characters, Lucien, Duke of Wolverton and Charlotte Longborough. What major conflicts did you set for Lucien and Charlotte to work through on the way to their HEA?

Jann: Charlotte is a compulsive rescuer whose determination to rescue her former neighbor’s wife from his abuse will surely spell disaster and scandal if she is caught.

Lucien is determined to see that scandal never again attaches itself to him, or anyone under his roof.

Charlotte can’t achieve her goal without help, and Lucien can’t take the chance that she’ll act on her own.

Jann: I see you have Book Two, Chasing Scandal and Book Three, Scandal’s Choice, set to publish soon. Can you share what these two books are about? Will you have more books for this series?

Leslie: Book 2, Chasing Scandal, is about Lucien’s illegitimate brother Tristan who is an agent of the Crown. His mission to uncover a traitor is complicated by an abducted child and the woman who believes he is the kidnapper. To protect the child, the two of them must work together though their journey leads to unexpected discoveries and rewards.

Book 3, Scandal’s Choice is Charlotte’s sister Elizabeth’s story.

Known among the ton as the odd sister, Elizabeth has decided two failed Seasons are as much as she can tolerate. But her plan to return home and run her father’s household is shattered when he remarries, and an unfortunate incident at a local assembly limits her prospects even more.

Faced with war injuries that resulted in amputation, Major Warleigh hates the idea of being dependent on anyone, especially his brother and sister-in-law. Their overwrought sympathy and plans for his invalid care make him shudder. Neither of them like the prospect of returning home, nor do they have many choices in the matter. What began as a flippant remark grows into a genuine proposal for marriage of convenience. They discover loyalty, honor, and love are more than ideas, and marriage is more than spoken vows when a woman claiming to be his fiancé arrives, unannounced, at their door.

One on my beta readers asked for Anne’s story (Lucien’s sister), and I had originally planned on her book being book 2, but I realized I didn’t know her fears and secrets yet. Her personality is a lot like the heroine in my current work in progress, but her background and goals don’t fit, so she’ll have to wait.

I do want to do a book for the Duke of Everham (I affectionately call him the doggie-duke). There is a good reason he prefers dogs to people.

Jann: What do you hope readers will take away from this series?

Leslie: Satisfaction. I want the reader to like the people in the stories and root for their journey to happily ever after. I don’t begin with theme as my goal, but certain ones tend to show up. Family is always a part of my stories since the support or absence of family impacts how we deal with life and the goals we form for ourselves.

Jann: You also have a new series, Hazardous House Parties, coming out in the future. What can you share with us today about the series?

Leslie: Several guests at Lady Kirkwood’s birthday house party deal with accidents a bit more frequently than normal. The first book is currently titled Braxton’s Vow and is a second chance trope that evolved from friends to enemies to lovers.  

Jann: In your books, who is your favorite character and why?

 Leslie: My favorite character is the one I am developing at any given time. Charlotte was eager and hopeful, Julia was braver than she realized, Elizabeth is a creative who cannot deny her drive. In Braxton’s Vow, Arabella is clever, inquisitive, and daring.

Jann: What’s your all-time favorite book?

 Leslie: Only one?? How does anyone pick just one? I’ve read Pride and Prejudice every other year since I was in the 4th grade, so I guess that’s it, but I cherish so many stories and the authors who’ve written them. It is like asking who’s your favorite child. Always for different reasons, but always equally.

Jann: Where can we get your books?

Leslie: You should be able to get my books at all the major vendors by typing in the title of the book. This lets you select the vendor you prefer to make your ebook preference. The paperback should be able to be ordered from any of the vendors.  (Editor’s note: see below for buy links.)


Jann: Congratulations Leslie on The Wolverton World!! It’s been a real pleasure talking with you today. Take care and stay healthy!!

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Author Nancy Brashear debuts her Psychological Thriller!!

March 2, 2021 by in category Jann says . . . tagged as , , , ,

Nancy Brashear lives in Orange County, California, with her husband, Patrick, and their rescue dog, Goldie, where her grown children and seven grandgirls have supported her writing adventures. A professor emeritus in English, she has published short stories, poems, academic articles, textbook chapters as well as website content and writing projects with educational publishers. Gunnysack Hell is her debut fiction novel and was inspired by a true-crime event. And, yes, she did live off-grid with her family in a homestead cabin in the Mojave Desert when she was a child.

We’re here today talking to author, Nancy Brashear, about her debut psychological thriller novel. Gunnysack Hell has received fantastic reviews. So let’s see what all the excitement is about.

Jann: Tell us about your journey to publication?

Nancy: I’ve always loved to write. I vividly remember the experience of writing a poem about sitting in the fog on a bench and searching for just the right word to express a specific feeling when I was only about-eight-years old. In more recent times, as a professor in Education and English, I’ve published many academically-related writings along with occasional short stories and poetry. However, Gunnysack Hell is my first full-length published novel, and I’ve had to learn much about the craft of writing longer works of fiction to get this debut novel published.

Jann: Gunnysack Hell made its publication debut in February. How did it feel? 

Nancy: It felt great! I signed my contract with The Wild Rose Press in April of 2020 (with a big thanks to Ally Robertson, my editor, for being my advocate and steward), and, now, less than a year later, it’s been released world-wide. It’s been exciting to introduce my “baby” to the world during the pandemic, and I’ve gotten a lot of support from my writing communities, especially my critique group, Serious Scribblers.

Jann: How long did it take for you to write this story?

 Nancy: I began writing Gunnysack Hell when I was working at a more-than-fulltime job and had to set it aside. Once I picked it back up in calmer times, I worked on it, on and off, for about three years including taking it through beta readers, multiple edits, and the publishing process. I’ve learned a lot through this process about how to write, polish, and publish a book. I have a few other projects backed up in the pipeline waiting for the same treatment—but on a quicker timeline!

Jann: Will you give our readers the premise of the story? I understand the idea for the book came from a childhood stint in the desert.

 Nancy: My story was inspired by a true-crime event in my family when I was young and our family lived in my grandmother’s homestead cabin in Apple Valley. A predator who had been terrorizing our desert community stopped my sister and me when we were walking home, a mile and a half down an isolated, dirt road. Needless to say, this led to a lot of drama in our family!

Jann: Why multiple points of view?

 Nancy: It didn’t start out that way. I began writing this story from a 3rd person POV, focusing on the young girl, Nonni. About a third of the way in, I discovered she had her own story she wanted to tell in 1st person. However, after I made this conversion, I discovered that her limited perspective was too restrictive to tell a full story. Other characters were bursting with their own secrets. In the long run, I think it made for a much richer story to have rotating 1st person POVs—but it wasn’t an easy task for me to accomplish, and it took a lot of rewriting to get it right.

Jann: Which character has the biggest arc?

 Nancy: Although there are several adult characters in the novel, Nonni, the older child, probably experiences the most dynamic growth in this thriller, which was definitely not written for children. Through her personal epiphany, the truth will set you free, she emerges a much wiser young woman who finally finds her “voice” and can finally take action.

Jann: In your acknowledgment you mention your mother, Peggy Powell. Do you mind sharing with us today about her and how she inspired you?

Nancy: Although my mom had a challenging childhood, throughout her life, she fully embraced the idea that life was an adventure, even the gruddy parts, and, with a little faith, you could get through anything. This attitude embodies Claire, the mother in Gunnysack Hell. At my website (, my free prequel short story, “Dare to Wish Upon a Star,” is based upon Claire, as a ten-year-old living in Santa Ana with her mother, a singer in a 40s girl-band who also runs a boarding house out of a Victorian mansion. This backstory was also inspired by my mom’s young life, and provides insight into Claire’s personality.

Jann: What motivated you to write Ready or Not, A Creepy, Retold Fairytale for Grownups?

Nancy: I enjoy writing twisty things with elements of psychological suspense, and this short story for adults was inspired by “Hansel and Gretel.” At this point, I’m planning to continue this series with short-story retellings of “Little Red Riding Hood” and “The Little Mermaid.”

Jann: What’s next?

 Nancy: I have a couple of rough draft novels completed, awaiting some tender, loving care. Probably the next one out will be Love on the Fly, a psychological thriller about a flight attendant who becomes agoraphobic after losing part of her family in a mysterious housefire. That’s all I’m saying for now.

Jann: What’s the best thing about being an author?

 Nancy: I love letting my mind run wild as I create the interior landscapes of characters and put them into impossible situations in which they have to use all their resources to survive.

Jann: How can we learn more about you and your writing?

 Nancy: Please sign up for my newsletter and blog (author interviews, reviews of books for children and adolescents, and other topics) at my website; follow me on social media! Email me if you’re interested in featuring Gunnysack Hell in your book group (as a SoCal-based thriller) and/or would like to do a Zoom author talk with me.


Author website 

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Amazon Author Page




 Jann: What sound or noise do you love?

 Nancy: Bird songs (lots of them in our back yard)

Jann: What sound or noise do you hate?

Nancy: People chewing.

Jann: What profession would you hate to do?

 Nancy: Politician

Jann: What is the one thing you have never been asked, but you wish someone would?

 Nancy: What it was like to live in a UFO commune, as a child, for six months

Jann: What‘s on your To-Be-Read pile?

 Nancy: The psychological thriller, You Should Have Known, by Jean Hanff Korelitz (the novel that inspired the short Netflix series, The Undoing)

Jann: Favorite song?

 Nancy: “I Can’t Stop Loving You” by Ray Charles

Jann: What is the craziest thing you have ever done?

 Nancy: I taught for a month in Zimbabwe during a period of deadly civil unrest, and my family and I were almost kidnapped on our return to the airport afterwards.

Jann: If you could travel back in time with whom would you like to meet and why?

Nancy: I’d like to meet Christopher Wren (1632-1723, distantly related) and talk to him about his contributions as an architect in the rebuilding 52 churches in London after the Great Fire of 1666, his anatomical and autopsy work, and his connection to other events that happened in Great Britain during those years. (And my son’s name is Christopher Wren Brashear.)

 Thank you Nancy for your time here today. It’s been an adventure getting to hear about Gunnysack Hell and your exciting life. Stay well!!

Enter new Rafflecopter drawing (ends March 7) by following Nancy Brashear on Amazon to enter (and meet new authors and their books, too): Enter Here.


Gunnysack Hell

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Author Tracy Reed debuts The Good Girl Part Trois!!

February 2, 2021 by in category Jann says . . . tagged as , , , ,

Tracy Reed | A Slice of OrangeA California native, novelist Tracy Reed pushes the boundaries of her Christian foundation with her sometimes racy and often fiery tales. After years of living in the Big Apple, this self-proclaimed New Yorker draws from the city’s imagination, intrigue, and inspiration to cultivate characters and plot lines who breathe life to the words on every page. Tracy’s passion for beautiful fashion and beautiful men direct her vivid creative power towards not only novels, but short stories, poetry, and podcasts. With something for every attention span. Tracy Reed’s ability to capture an audience is unmatched. Her body of work has been described as a host of stimulating adventures and invigorating expression.

Jann: What inspired you to write The Good Girl series?

Tracy: This is a very easy question, sort of. I was asked to be in a box set and needed a book. The box set was focusing on heroines in their twenties. I had a possible book, but the heroine was older and it wasn’t possible to make her younger. I kicked around a few possibilities and then I got an idea for a book. A young Christian woman gets her dream job and how she handles the possible ethical and moral challenges. I kicked the idea around some more and started writing.

Jann: How long did it take you to develop your characters, Gabriella Townsend and Phillippe, and plot for the series?

Tracy: I’m a pantser, so all I had was a basic idea…an office romance. I develop my characters on the fly as the story unfolds. I write books with faith and sex. In all my books someone is wrestling with their hormones, urges and faith. I call it real life. People of faith or Christians are not super heroes. They face the same challenges and temptations as anyone else. It’s how they handle them that’s different.

Since I use a basic template, it didn’t take long for me to develop this story. The biggest challenge is to keep Phillippe’s identity a secret. I think I handled that pretty good. I didn’t want Gabriella to come off as naive or not bright although she’s very perceptive. She knows he’s keeping something from her, but she hasn’t been able to figure it out. I sort of address it, by having him tell her there are things about his employment contract he can’t divulge.

I knew the characters had to be the opposite of each other. Gabriella is petite, curvy, pretty and has curly hair. She loves God and has a heart for people. She values character more than money. In the beginning of the series she sounds a little immature, but when she is exposed to Phillippe’s world, she grows up fast. Her dream is to work for Morgan Grant, eventually earning a VP position and a corner office.

Phillippe is a triple threat…handsome, smart and rich. To make him even more appealing, I made him very tall, dark, part French and African. He often slips into French when he gets excited. Which makes some of the love scenes very interesting. Gabriella refers to this womanizer as a walking sex dream. He’s amassed a fortune of his own, but heading Morgan Grant isn’t something he expected to do until much later.

Jann: The Good Girl Part Trois makes its debut this month. What major conflicts do your leading characters have to work through in this book?

Tracy: The way I write books is a little sadistic. I rope you in with a semi-sweet story and slowly turn up the heat throughout the series.

This book is no different. On a scale of one to five flames, I think this is about a 3.95. Gabriella is wrestling with her emotions and raging hormones. She’s promised herself she would save herself for her husband, but that’s a lot difficult to do when your boyfriend is a walking sex dream…your boss…and neighbor. She’s adjusting to her new life, feelings for her boss and convincing it might be possible to have a future with Phillippe. There’s just one thing gnawing at her, what is Phillippe hiding?

Phillippe has been hiding his identity from the outset of the series. He’s terrified if Gabriella finds out before he proposes, she might leave him. Oops, I let one of the cats out of the bag. The reader has known from book one, who he is, but not Gabriella. In a way it seems like their relationship is built on lies, but it’s more like half-truths and secrets. Phillippe is trying to figure out why his grandfather is insisting he get married before taking over the company and why is his ex-girlfriend back in town.

Without giving too much away, a quiet vacation in Anguilla changes the course of their relationship forever.

Jann: Part One and Part Deux in The Good Girl series are novellas, why is Part Trois a full-length book?

Tracy: Book one had to be a novella for the boxset. As I was writing, I thought it was going to be a one and done. But something happened towards the end. The characters took a turn and I really wanted to see if they could make their relationship work.

In book one, the relationship happened quickly because I was on a deadline. Once I got to the end, I did a horrible thing and ended it with a cliff hanger confirming there would be another book. When I started book two, I read something about the power of cliff hangers for sales. So that’s what I did. I amped if the sexual tension and left it with a cliffhanger. I immediately started writing book three and a couple of people and a highly respected author told me no cliffhanger. Readers don’t like them unless the next book is available.

When I started the third book, I really thought it would be a novella too and that I could tie up everything. Once I started writing, the story kept going. I wish I could tell you what happens. If you’ve read the series, I don’t think you saw the ending coming. I know I didn’t. I have to admit, I was tempted to make Gabriella pregnant, but I thought that was expected. Instead I did something else while keeping Phillippe’s identity a secret from her.

Jann: How many books do you plan for this series? If there is a book four, when will it be out?

Tracy: Yes, there’s a fourth book and I think it will be the end. Book four is a result of what happened in book three. The Good Girl is now a sophisticated businesswoman engaged to her boss. That’s the only spoiler.

I’m writing the last chapters now. My goal is to release it a few months after Part Trois.

Jann: What do you hope readers will take away from this series?

Tracy: Good question. You don’t have to sacrifice your beliefs for love. Or as some would say, It’s just as easy to fall in love with a billionaire as it is to fall for the average bloke. 

Jann: I understand you’re planning on rebranding your Alex series. Tell us about the series and what’s involved to rebrand it.

Tracy: The Alex series are the very first books I’d written. The series is about five best friends and a pact they made in college to never get involved with any of their exes, employees or relative.  Unfortunately, they break the pact.

It was originally written as a chick lit. It was the book I used to get my agent, I had. While it was being shopped around, I wrote another book and started reading a lot. [Early in my career, I was told not to read anyone else’s work. I later found out that was some very bad advice.] The more I read, I more I knew the series needed work. I did a major rewrite.

I stand by this series.  I received an Amazon review from a reader who got my style. “Book one of the series was set on simmer, but book two was a rip roaring inferno. The word used incessantly throughout the book, passion, tells you all you need to know. My favorite couple, Alex and Moses, finally get married, and boyyyyyy they dang near tear each other’s clothes off with their teeth!!! Y’all know that feeling!!!😁😁😁 The second part is just as good as the first part, but be warned, there were some unresolved issues that cropped up. There may be a book three, SURPRISE!!😄😄😄 incess. Buy it, read it and enjoy!!”

Sales have been slow and the few reviews have been pretty good. I believe in this series but know it’s time for a new look The new covers scream contemporary, which is what I want. The female body image is being replaced with man chest. I’m also changing the fonts and updating the blurbs. I’ll be testing the covers with my reader group later this month. 

Jann: You’re a multi-published author. How do you stay motivated? What drives you to keep writing?

Tracy: Good question. The answer for both questions is the same. I like telling stories.

Jann: Thanks Tracy for sharing with us today. Good luck with The Good Girl Part Trois!!

Read Tracy Reed


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