Monthly Archives: March, 2016

Pineapple Casserole…

QUESTION:  Does anyone make a pineapple dish with Ritz crackers and is it really good?  I keep hearing it’s easy and fabulous and I like pineapple but it just sounds weird to me.  It’s got cheese and butter and cracker crumbs and pineapple and maybe it’s a Southern thing but hubby is from Tennessee and his mama never made this.  I’m thinking I might try it for Easter dinner.

Cuff Me, A Virtual Tour…

Enter to Win a Custom Mug, $25.00 Amazon Gift Card 
and a Print Set of FRISK ME and STEAL ME



New York’s Finest #3
Lauren Layne
Releasing on March 29th, 2016
Forever: Grand Central



Vincent knows he’s not the most charming of the Moretti brothers. He prefers brooding to flirting, reading to talking, and he sure as hell isn’t about to give into his mother’s insistence that he ‘settle down with a nice girl.’ Luckily, Vincent’s gig as one of the NYPD’s top homicide detectives keeps him busy. As does his long-time partner, Jill Henley–a tough-as-nails cop with the face of an angel and smart mouth that makes Vincent crazy in all the worst ways.


After six years of working the homicide beat with the tight-lipped Vincent Moretti, Jill figure she knows him better than anyone. Which is not at all. But when their most recent case points to a potential serial-killer situation, the higher-ups send them on a rare
undercover mission to a place no NYPD officer dares go: the Upper Eastside.


Now the bureau’s most antagonistic set of partners is posing as Mr.and Mrs. Brooks of Park Avenue. Spending 24/7 in the suspect’s territory brings them closer and closer to their killer . . .
and closer to each other. Soon Vincent and Jill are playing good cop/bad cop in and out of bed, and Jill’s falling hard. But can she convince Vincent to give her a shot as partner in life, as well as at the bureau?




One never really realized how much New York City got under your skin until you left it for a while.

It was like one minute New York was your adopted home—a little bit intense, a lot scary.

And the next, you were holding your breath as your plane landed, your entire body on edge with the anticipation of being home again.

Jill Henley smiled as the plane touched down, her eyes closing just for a moment at the realization that she’d be sleeping in her own bed tonight. Going back to her job tomorrow. Eating at her favorite gyros place tomorrow.

But none of that—not the city, nor her pillow-top bed, nor the really freaking amazing gyros—were as important as who awaited her.

The Morettis.

Jill loved her mother desperately—it was the reason she’d spent the past three months in Florida taking care of her.

But the Moretti family had become every bit as much family to Jill as her own mom.

She couldn’t wait to see them again.

All of them.

Okay, so maybe there was one Moretti in particular whom she was especially excited to see.

Not that the excitement was mutual.

As she walked through JFK toward baggage claim, she couldn’t figure out for the life of her why she was even the tiniest bit disappointed about the fact that Vincent Moretti wouldn’t be the one picking her up from the airport.

She hadn’t even asked him. He might have said yes. Maybe. But it would have been done with a grunt and a grumble, and probably a lecture about how his workload was double because his partner had “up and ditched him.”

Besides, it made more sense for Elena to pick her up anyway.

Not only was Elena her best friend, but Elena was an attorney at a fancy-pants law firm, with access to a company car that was a hell of a lot nicer than Vin’s car and didn’t smell like old coffee.

Plus, Jill had news.

Big news.

The biggest.

The kind of news that female friends squealed over in the appropriate, gushing manner.

So why was she so nervous?




Lauren Layne is the USA Today Bestselling author of more than a dozen contemporary romance novels.
Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. A year after moving from Seattle to NYC to pursue a writing career, she had a fabulous agent and multiple New York publishing deals. 

Lauren currently lives in Manhattan with her husband and plus-sized Pomeranian. When not writing, you’ll likely find her running (rarely), reading (sometimes), or at happy hour (often).

Want More Moretti’s?
Frisk Me
(New York’s Finest #1)




(New York’s Finest #2)



Lessons Learned, Part 2


This is Reggies’s story…Part One is here.  

See that picture?  That’s what most people think of when they think of Virginia Beach.  And part of the Tidewater area does look like that touristy ocean scene, the statue of Neptune, the boardwalk.  At Christmas you can drive your car on the boardwalk and there’s miles and miles of lighted aquatic themed sculptures.  It’s gorgeous, even if fish and dolphins don’t scream Christmas for you.

But that’s not where I grew up.  Sure, I’ve been to the beach, especially when I was older.  But I grew up in Newport News — yeah, the same place where pit bull-owning, NFL quarterback Michael Vick grew up.   Near the shipyards because my dad was Navy and worked there.  That’s what my mom always said, though I didn’t know him because he never married my mom and he didn’t hang around long after I was born.  But most people don’t know where Newport News is anyway, so I just say I’m from Virginia Beach.

The only guy I ever called Dad was my mom’s first husband, Tom, and I think he married her when I was about two or three.  He was a nice guy and was good to me and mom, but he was Navy, too.  One day we stood at the docks waving goodbye to him and crying as he shipped out to the Middle East.  That was the last time I saw him, waving to us in his desert camos, because he never came back.   He never came back to me and mom because a sniper’s bullet took him out.  And that’s when my mom started having a drink or two just to get through the nights.  It wasn’t out of control or anything, she still worked and I still stayed with the nice old lady next door, Mrs. Boyd, while my mom was gone.

We were okay for awhile, but then I was about ten and old Mrs. Boyd moved away, I think in with one of her kids.  We couldn’t afford a sitter, so I was a latchkey kid.  I was getting off the bus and letting myself in, starting dinner, doing homework.  I was always kind of old for my age anyway.  So when mom got home and had a beer or two or three, it was fine cause I handled stuff.  And she was never really drunk, just happy instead of crying all the time.

When I was in middle school, she got a different job making more money and met a guy at work and she started dating.  And then they both were partying and drinking more and smoking some dope and I’m not really sure what all else.  He became stepdaddy number two.

If it weren’t for a few friends at school, I have a feeling I’d have ended up just like my mom.  But my best friend at school since fourth grade was Bobby Williams.  We were in the same class and he was smart and nice and asked if I could come over and hang out.  And from that moment on, we were just best friends.  Even though there were some other kids who hung out with us from time to time, Bobby was my best friend.  I spent a lot of time at his house and lots of times Mrs. Williams would ask if I could stay and have dinner with them.  I just thought she was nice, but later I figured out that she knew how my mom was and felt sorry for me, too.

Some of my best childhood memories are of hanging out on the Williams’ front porch, drinking sweet tea and catching fireflies in the summer when school was out.  We’d lay on our backs and look up at the moon and stars and just let ourselves dream.  Sometimes in the summer I stayed overnight and shared Bobby’s sister’s room.  I always had to call and ask my mom if she needed me to come home or if it was okay to stay.   It was always okay.  It got so I usually had pajamas and jeans and t-shirts at the Williams’ house anyway, so it was easy to stay.

All this went through my mind as I was sitting on the Southwest flight to Virginia Beach.  It’s less than a two hour flight from Chicago and I didn’t really feel like reading so I just sat and let the memories wash over me.  I must have drifted off a little, because the next thing I knew we were bumping down gently after circling over Chesapeake Bay and coming in for our landing.  I got my carry on bag down and made my way to baggage claim, turning my phone back on as I deplaned.  It vibrated a little and I saw Rhia Williams’ name come up. Rhiannon is Bobby’s sister and she and I are still friends after all this time.  Yeah, their parents really liked Fleetwood Mac.

I’m outside waiting.   Can’t wait to see you, Reggie!

Me, either,  I typed.  Are you in the garage or by the lot?

On the street by the lot.

Be there in a few.


My bag came up soon and I moved quickly through the airport, anxious to see Rhia.  It had been a few years since I’d been home.

~Diane D.                                                                 Photo credit: Pinterest

Small Presses: Opportunities for Unagented Writers

WRITERS WANTED:  For my blogging friends who are writers, perhaps this would be of interest?

Cindy Fazzi

HessCollectionHommage-CindyFazziPic “Hommage” by Leopoldo Maler, Hess Collection Winery’s Art Gallery, Napa Valley (photo by Cindy Fazzi).

Two small publishers are open to unagented and unsolicited submissions within the next few weeks. Tayen Lane Publishing is seeking short stories for two anthologies until the end of March, while Black Balloon Publishing will consider manuscripts in April. Both companies publish a wide range of fiction and nonfiction books.

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Race the Darkness Cover Reveal…

It’s precisely 7:22 pm ET, the sun has just set in the east, and it’s starting to get dark…

We are excited to reveal the cover of Race the Darkness, a dark, gritty, emotional and sexy romantic suspense novel by debut author Abbie Roads.

First in a gripping paranormal romantic suspense duo by a Golden Heart finalist debut author whose clinical work gives her chilling insights…

Cursed with a terrible gift
Criminal investigator Xander Stone doesn’t have to question you—he can hear your thoughts. Scarred by lightning, burdened with a power that gives him no peace, Xander struggles to maintain his sanity against the voice that haunts him day and night—the voice of a woman begging him to save her.

That threatens to engulf them…
Isleen Walker has long since given up hope of escape from the nightmare of captivity and torture that is draining her life, her mind, and her soul. Except…there is the man in her feverish dreams, the strangely beautiful man who beckons her to freedom and wholeness. And when he comes, if he comes, it will take all their combined fury and faith to overcome a madman bent on fulfilling a deadly prophecy.

About Abbie Roads:
Abbie Roads is a mental health counselor known for her blunt, honest style of therapy. By night she writes dark, emotional novels, always giving her characters the happy ending she wishes for all her clients. Her novels have finaled in RWA contests including the Golden Heart. Race the Darkness is the first book in the Fatal Dreams series of dark, gritty romantic suspense with a psychological twist.

Race the Darkness will be available on October 4th

Dear Readers,

I wrote Race the Darkness from start to finish three different times, with three different story lines, and with three different titles! The only thing that ever remained the same between the versions was Xander and Isleen. I believed in them and the story they wanted to tell. I hope you love reading about their tragedies and triumphs as much as I enjoyed writing them… All three times! And isn’t the cover amazing, beautiful, gorgeous? I cried the first time I saw it! It made all the hard work to get this book to you worth it!

Abbie Roads

P.S. I would love to connect with you and hear what you think about the cover! You can find me here:

An excerpt from Race the Darkness

No fucking way was he going to die running. He stopped, turned and faced the truck barreling toward them. The tires ate up the ground at an indecent rate. He clutched Isleen tighter to his chest. For her sake, he wanted it to be a quick death. No more lingering. No more pain.

That thought infuriated him. None of this was right. They shouldn’t be on the verge of death. Again.

The truck kept coming—twenty-five feet.

Everything slowed, happened as if through the quicksand of time. A white dandelion floaty meandered on the breeze directly between them and the truck. His heart no longer ran a staccato rhythm. Duh…duhm. Pause. Duh…duhm.


His life didn’t flash before his eyes. The future did. Isleen’s future. In an ethereal dream beyond time, her skin was gilded by firelight, her eyes void of sadness and fear, her body whole and healthy. She smiled, an expression so full of warmth and tenderness and undiluted joy that it plunked itself down inside his heart and wouldn’t leave.

He ached to create that kind of smile on her face, but their lives were over and it all could’ve gone so differently if he’d only listened to her, believed in her, found her years before now.