Dream a little Dream – Giovanna Fletcher



Dreams really can be amazing.

Dream a little dream is Giovanna Fletcher’s third novel and was widely anticipated following her first two bestsellers, ‘Billy and Me’ and ‘You’re the one that I want’. Although she is a highly dedicated wife and mother, Giovanna always finds time to write, despite her increasingly busy schedule. This book is for an adult (or young adult) audience and Giovanna’s writing certainly suits and reflects this. Despite knowing how a typical romance novel runs, Giovanna always takes a particular idea to explore in each of her novels; this is why I like her so much as an author. In this case, she considers the notion of dreams and their potential significance. This idea definitely intrigued me throughout the novel.

Having only discovered Giovanna’s books after her first two had been out for some time, I was amongst those anticipating the release of this one. The…

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Dialogue: Don’t Let ’em Say What You Mean

  • Time HeatInstructor: Shannon Donnelly
  • DATES: November 1-23
  • PRICE: $20 YRW members/$25 non-members

We all know great dialogue when we read it—and the best dialogue seems effortless. But good dialogue takes work and a few key ingredients.

What do you need to get your characters talking in ways that make for riveting, exciting scenes?

  1. Your Characters’ Voices
  2. Making it Better Than Reality
  3. Subtext: Layering Under the Words
  4. Accents, Ye Olde English, and Slang 
  5. Internal Dialogue – What’s too Much?
  6. Invisible Tags and Punctuation
  7. Punch it! – Making it Matter

For more information or to register: http://www.yosemiteromancewriters.com/#!workshops/cctds

The Instructor 

Shannon Donnelly’s writing has won numerous awards, including a RITA nomination for Best Regency, the Grand Prize in the “Minute Maid Sensational Romance Writer” contest, judged by Nora Roberts, RWA’s Golden Heart, the Laurel Wreath, the Winter Rose, the Bookseller’s Best, and multiple finalists in the Holt Medallion, the Colorado ACE, the Golden Quill, and others.  Her work has repeatedly earned 4½ Star Top Pick reviews from Romantic Times magazine, as well as praise from Booklist and other reviewers, who note: “simply superb”…”wonderfully uplifting”….and “beautifully written.”

In addition to her Regency romances, she has had novellas published in several anthologies, has had young adult horror stories published and is the author of several computer games. Currently, she is a member of several chapters of RWA, and she is a past-president of the Beau Monde, Regency Chapter of RWA. She has spoken at past writer conferences, including RWA’s national conference, and regularly gives workshops online.  Her abiding passions include–besides writing–her dogs, reading, gardening, painting, belly dancing, and the ever present horses in her life.

Secret Pleasures Every Bookish Fan Should Indulge In 


Good evening, or good morning, wherever you are, I hope you had a wonderful day so far😀 I have been thinking about this for a while now and have decided to share with you a secret that I have kept until now… And even worse yet, I want you to indulge in the same pleasurable secret as I.

But first, let me tell you a little story.

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A Heartwarming Guest Post by Author Amy Vastine

As the end of summer nears, kids go back to school and temperatures begin to dip low enough in the Midwest to allow me to wear my favorite sweatshirt. As much as I enjoy the warm-weather months, there’s something about the fall season that makes me feel particularly warm and fuzzy. Maybe it’s the holidays approaching, maybe it’s my love of everything pumpkin. Either way, this is a fabulous time of year.

It’s also the perfect time to cozy up with a good book. Don’t get me wrong, I love my beach reads and the books that we can gobble up poolside. But nothing compares to snuggling up in my Chicago Bears blanket with a cup of something warm (I’m a hot chocolate kind of girl) and a good book in my favorite chair.

a heartwarming holiday cover

This October, myself and 14 of my fabulous fellow Harlequin Heartwarming friends have put together a sweet and emotional holiday anthology for those of you just like me. A Heartwarming Holiday is 15 connected stories all set in the same place – Christmas Town, Maine. Each set of three stories covers the three upcoming holidays – Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. All my favorites!

My novella, Peace, Love, and Baby Joy, is the Christmas story in the 24 North Pole Lane section of the anthology. It’s my take on the crazy world world of extreme Christmas light displays. You know what I’m talking about, right? These wild, over-the-top displays with half a million lights and laser shows set to music are on my Facebook timeline every holiday season. There’s even a show where families compete with other families across the nation, and it was this show that became the inspiration for my star-crossed-lovers story. The Warrens and Bakers have battled it out in the annual Christmas Lights Competition for years. They have a long history of sabotage, idea stealing, and one-upping that has led to a family rivalry reminiscent of the Capulets and Montagues. Last Christmas, Valerie Warren and Lucas Baker had thought the news of their elopement would bring their warring families together, but the rivalry ended up tearing them apart. Eight months after signing their divorce papers, Valerie returns to Christmas Town revealing a secret that could change everything this time. Little does she know, she’s not the only one who’s been keeping things from her ex. Lucas has a secret of his own to tell.

Family rivalries, secrets, and one epic brawl between two eighty-year-old grandpas. This story was too much fun to write and I hope that it’s as equally enjoyable to read!

Here’s an excerpt:

Amy VGramps was on a rampage, shooing the Warrens away. “Why don’t you take your pregnant granddaughter back to your side of the street? I bet you sent her over here to on purpose to twist the knife a little bit. Breaking his heart wasn’t enough, huh?”

“You sure do like to rewrite history, Joe. I think you missed the part where your grandson broke our granddaughter’s heart,” Valerie’s grandmother argued. “And we didn’t know she was home.”

“We didn’t even know she was pregnant!” her mother cried.

“She said it was Lucas’s baby,” his dad said.

“Oh, no, it’s not!” Valerie’s dad wouldn’t hear it. “There is no way I will allow my first grandchild to be a Baker.”

“Dad, please stop,” Valerie begged.

“Just you wait, John,” Gramps said with a sinister laugh. “I’m going to have my grandson name that baby Always A. Baker.”

“Over my dead body!” Valerie’s grandfather stepped off the sidewalk with his arm raised.
Gramps put his fists up, ready for a fight. “That can be arranged, you out-of-shape buffoon!”

Complete chaos ensued. Rick Fisher had to step in and stop the two old men from duking it out. There was more shouting, more threats issued. Valerie was in tears when she made her way over to Lucas.

“We’ll talk soon. Away from here. I’m … I’m sorry.”

He wanted to wipe her tears away and make those gorgeous blue eyes smile instead. Lucas should have been the one apologizing. This kind of thing was exactly what had torn them apart. Their families hated one another. They had hoped their love for each other would be a turning point and reason for their grandparents and parents to reconcile. Unfortunately, once they went public with their romance, everyone had done what they could to break them up.

“You sure you don’t want to go to the hospital? It’ll get you away from all this,” Rick said, waving his hand around.

Lucas stood, his eyes still glued to Valerie as she ushered her family back across the street. Her dark hair was longer than it had ever been, reaching the middle of her back. He wanted to chase after her, but knew better than to set foot on Warren property. She would find him when it was safe to talk all this out.

Valerie was pregnant with their baby. Their baby.

“I think you should go get checked by a doctor. Just to make sure everything is okay,” his mom said, wrapping an arm around his waist. “Dad says you got quite a shock.”

Perhaps his mom had misunderstood. Lucas had been shocked, but the biggest one had been delivered by Val not by the electricity. And there was no doctor who could make everything okay.


So here’s to fall and the holiday season. I’m ready for football games and falling leaves. Christmas shopping and holiday decorating. Most of all, I can’t wait for the release of A Heartwarming Holiday. What are you looking forward to as the holidays approach?


Amy V Head shotAmy Vastine has been plotting stories in her head for as long as she can remember. An eternal optimist, she studied social work, hoping to teach others how to find their silver lining. Now, she enjoys creating happily ever afters for all to read. Amy lives outside Chicago with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband, three fun-loving children, and their sweet but mischievous puppy dog.

Other works by Amy Vastine:

THE MAGIC STOCKING / A Heartwarming Holiday
WEDDING AT TURKEY RUN / A Heartwarming Thanksgiving
THE GINGERBREAD HEART / A Heartwarming Christmas

Yosemite Romance Writers September Workshop on World Building from an Intelligence Point of View


Instructor: Merien Grey
Dates: September 5-30
PRICE: $25*

As writers we always look for ways to make our jobs easier.  If you are building a world from scratch you have enough on your plate.  One of the things intelligence professionals do is build country studies.  They are very similar to what an author does when they build their world.  It is very easy to take one or two country studies that have a characteristic based on something in your story and find dozens of cause and effect relationships to build conflict.  All you have to do is know where and how to look.  By the time we are done you will know how to build your own country study and how to use the ones already available.

Your setting is a character of its own.  It can push characters to kill, love, despair, or feel great joy.  Everything in your story stems from and hinges on the world you build it in.  When the stakes are high (life, love, money, freedom) the first thing any real organization (military or private) does is do a country study or some version thereof. These studies expose where potential conflicts may arise for those wanting to travel in this new land.  As a writer you are after those potential conflicts, they ground your writing in reality and keep the cardboard out of your characters.  This course is to provide you with new insights to how everyday things can change your setting.  There are over forty key items intelligence professionals know before anyone goes near new territory.  You will be given the perspective to look at your world like an intelligence operative would.   Links to real world country studies will be provided along with how to understand them and apply that type of information gathering to your world making it fuller, more believable and roiling with conflict for you to capitalize on.

*$20 for members of Yosemite Romance Writers
Image Credit: Adobe Stock | Photocreo Bednarek

About Merien Grey:

 Merien spent eleven years in the military intelligence.  She learned a lot of things and specifically ways to pick things apart to determine what significance each tiny item has. She is always into something and curious about nearly everything. She has multiple degrees specializing in Anthropology, Sociology, English and Communications Technology. She spent a decade traveling the world as a military intelligence analyst learning and observing all manner of people and their behavior. Before becoming an author and speaker, her occupations ranged from bartender to infrared security system instructor and developer to many years as a 911 operator. She currently lives in the shadow of Mount Rainier with her husband, two dogs and a little one who rules the land with an iron hand at least until bedtime.

About Yosemite Romance Writers:

Romance AdobeStock_56168345Yosemite Romance Writers is a chapter of Romance Writers of America. All writers of romance are invited to join our San Joaquin Valley group of aspiring and published authors.

Yosemite Romance Writers offers regular and online membership. It is a group of dedicated, experienced, and fun writers to assist and encourage advancement in every stage of the writing career. For members, monthly guest speakers present on various and cross-genre topics related directly to writing.

 To learn more, visit YRW’s website.

Image Credit: Adobe Stock | aleshin

My Divinely Decadent Duke–an Interview of His Grace, Gordon Sedgewick of Althorn

My Divinely Decadent Duke is the second book of The Duke Series by Sandra Masters. Today, we have an interview of His Grace, Gordon Sedgewich of Althorn. To set the stage, here is a description of the book:

Orphaned and abandoned by family, Lady Cassandra Montgomery yearns for love. Beautiful and innocent, she attracts the attention of a renowned rake, the Duke of Althorn. When her security is threatened, she offers him a proposal for an arranged marriage in exchange for his guarantee of safety for her and her ward. After her first taste of desire in his arms, she finds the sexual attraction irresistible. Finding herself in a family way, she leaves his home, unsure of his love.

The Duke is at first enraged by the brazen behavior, yet he sees Cassandra as a captivating caregiver for his mother and impossible to resist. He agrees. The arrangement becomes inconvenient because love and sex enter the equation.

Will she believe her husband truly loves her and return to his waiting arms?

Will the Duke admit his love and use his rakish skills to woo Cassandra back to his bed?


Q. Your Grace, when you first met the former Lady Cassandra, what did you think of her?

A.  To start with, I sat in a wing back chair sipping a liqueur in front of a warm fire in the drawing room of a manor house where I attended a ball. I was startled by a conversation between a man and a woman who had entered the room totally unaware of my presence, The bounder had just summarily broken their engagement in favor of someone who had a higher status than she. I looked for a moment when I could interrupt and leave their presence, but that didn’t happen. A book flew across the room, as well as a paperweight of sorts. He left rather quickly. I stood up, announced myself, and offered my handkerchief and my glass of spirits. Do you know what she said? Something like, “Is this my night to meet nothing but scoundrels?”  But she did take the cognac and my handkerchief. That is how I met my future wife.

Q.  What happened then?
A.  Kindly remember I was an acknowledged rake and proud of it. The last thing I needed was a woman who needed comforting, like a wounded puppy. I’ve a fondness for such creatures. Imagine my surprise, when she took the arm I offered and we walked out of the room, only to meet her now ex-fiancé’. She excused herself for a moment and walloped him with her fist. Bravo, I thought. Great spirit. He wasn’t going to get the best of her. She and I then left him to nurse his cheek, and we joined the others at the ball.

Q. When did you meet again?
A.  Two weeks after that evening, I was on my daily walk on Brighton Beach and I saw an enchanting woman peering through a telescope and when she looked toward me, we recognized each other immediately. The lilt of her warm greeting pleased me. One thing led to the other, need I say more?

Q. Tell us something we may not know about you?
A. I was the second son of my father, therefore, not the heir. That suited me fine. I loved my brother. We were schooled together and then we were tutored at home. We learned the dead languages of Greek and Latin, and not too much else. The fate of second sons was a choice of the divinity or military. I cared for neither but did convince my father to allow me to travel to Barbados and learn about the sugar plantation and factories we had there. The good thing is that it showed me a different part of the world and commerce. The bad thing was that I contracted malaria and after four months on the island, I had to be transported home because foreigners were susceptible to the disease that could kill. Kalinya, a native woman I cared about, arranged for a witch doctor to ink me with a tattoo of a lion so my ancestors could protect me.
Tomas, my good friend from school days, went with me and therefore had the opportunity to transport me back home to England where I barely survived the ocean journey.  Without realizing it, my island life was left behind. Then everything changed.

Q. What happened?
A. My mother greeted the ship with footmen, a physician, solicitor, vicar, and a tutor whom I recognized. That somber sight could have sobered a drunk. I wondered why she was outfitted in black. Tomas assisted me to the carriage. When she saw me, she broke into tears. My father was dead, and three weeks later, my brother died in a carriage accident. That left me as the sole heir to the Duke of Althorn. There I was, totally unprepared for my dynastic responsibilities. My carefree life was over. I could never see Kalinya again. I did apply myself after my health returned, but it was a lonely existence. So I sought out former school chums, and I freely admit, we got into mischief in many ways. My mother tried to talk sense into me, but it was to no avail.

Q. You are a well renowned duke, honored by all. What caused you to change your ways?
A. To say I loved my family would be an understatement. All I had left was my mother, whom I adored. When she fell and sustained an injury, I determined it was time to remember who I was and to emulate my father in all things. Above all, he was an honorable man. Honor became my personal signature. Now, I do not expect anyone to believe I became a saint. Not true by any means, but I was discreet. I did believe that personal integrity, respect, dignity and pride would distinguish my dukedom from others. My mother’s illness was the catalyst to my epiphany. I became aware Cassandra and her ward, Alicia, were also friends of hers, who visited my mother annually. I should say technically that Alicia was her brother’s ward, but the little girl belonged to Cass in every sense of the word. I never really cared to notice, until one day I was at home, when I overheard a conversation between Cassandra and the professional caregiver as to the unkind treatment she rendered my mother. As I listened, I realized this was not the compassionate aid my mother required, so I summarily terminated the nurse. I had to start the search again for I had terminated at least four others.

Q. You speak of your reputation, were all the allegations true?
A. I did acquire notoriety with the ladies, a small part was deserved. The other was conjecture, fodder for the scandal sheets, and wishful thinking. If I had all the liaisons attributed to me, my manly parts would have fallen off from overuse. Beg your pardon, Lady Masters, for my risqué banter. I am a model husband now, ever in love with my wife.

Q. How did the romance progress?
A. Rather quickly. It was clear I had an interest in her, but she came with a ‘package’, her ward, Alicia, a tow-headed blonde who resembled Cassandra. The unkind talk of the town was that the little girl was the issue of a liaison gone wrong. Cassandra was the sister of the earl, so she was semi-accepted in society. While there was no proof of such indiscretion, tongues wagged. The simple truth was that Alicia was the daughter of her best friend who died in childbirth. Cass, that’s what I sometimes call her, agreed to honor (there’s that word again) her promise to raise the child as her own. That’s courage I admired considering her circumstances..

Q. What caused you to propose?
A.  I didn’t. She offered me a business arrangement. She’d care for my mother if I would offer protection for her and little Alicia. In other words, it was a marriage of convenience. No mention of love or sex. I refused the proposition twice out of pride. Then I recalled how difficult it was for her to make such an offer to someone like me. My arrogance repelled me. One day I officially offered and we did marry. We now have two sons, two dogs, Runt and Giant, and there were a few puppies, also. And yes, then there was the traitorous mother dog who went everywhere with Cass, my dowager mother, and the children who frolicked on the beach. I was captivated from the start.  If you wish to know anymore, I suggest we reschedule.

Q. I say there, Lady Masters, I’m getting thirsty. Are you going to offer me a libation?
A. You have such a wicked smile. It makes me sigh. So sorry, your grace, kindly allow me to pour your favorite, since I know what it is.

Q. Your grace, I assume if readers want to know anything further, they should read the book My Divinely Decadent Duke?
A. Absolutely, I’m sure you can use the proceeds to fund future stories.

End of Interview

About Sandra Masters

From a humble beginning in Newark, New Jersey, a short stay at a convent in Morristown, NJ at the age of fourteen, retiring from a fantastic career for a play broadcasting company in Carlsbad, California, to the rural foothills of the Sierras of Yosemite National Park, Sandra traded in the Board Rooms for the Ballrooms of the Regency period and never looked back.

Sandra wrote her first book at the age of fifteen and since then she has always traveled with pen and paper in hand. She loves to write. Romance is at best a gift and her passion is the Regency period. Admittedly, she would prefer to be the sister of a duke or an earl…perhaps even a princess? Or the other endless possibilities of a widow. Hmmm.

Not being able to time travel, she now writes about what she loves and it has been worth every headache and heartache. She has been blessed with a great content editor, Cindy Davis, a lot of helpful The Wild Rose Press staff.

For a new author, it was nothing she expected, but everything she dreamed. However, her first love will always be for Regency Romance. There are five books in process in her DUKE series. ONCE UPON A DUKE is available from Amazon and the Wild Rose Press. Her new second release, MY DIVINELY DECADENT DUKE will have its worldwide release on January 29, 2016.

Her third book, THORN, SON OF A DUKE, is the prequel to her fourth book, THE DUKE’S MAGNIFICENT BASTARD, which is a multi-cultural romance story of a young couple defeating all odds.

P.S. Sandra love bears of all sizes and shapes. However, she prefers to view the real life ones from afar.