HE TAKES THE CAKE – Meet the Main Characters

It’s been about a week now since HE TAKES THE CAKE hit Kindles. There are still a couple days left to enter my Release Day Giveaway, for a chance to win a $25  Amazon Gift Card or a Kindle copy of HE TAKES THE CAKE.

If you haven’t had a chance to read Tess and Ty’s story, here’s a little intro to our main characters.

Meet Tess Gardiner

Baking has been important in Tess Gardiner’s life since she was a child. But until her college years rolled around, she never considered making a living by doing what she loves most. Between her business degree and a baking certification course, she soon turned her love of confectionery into a thriving bakery and cafe in her hometown of Savannah, Georgia.



With her focus on local and regional success, Tess doesn’t have much time to pursue romance. She’s content in her corner of the world, surrounded by friends and family who support and love her. Tess’s ambitions have never been about far-flung fame, but she’s worked hard to gain recognition. If there’s one thing she can’t stand, it’s feeling left in the shadows when she deserves a share in the accolades.

Unfortunately, that’s what ultimately led to her parting ways with the person who convinced her to pursue culinary arts in the first place…

Meet Tyler Brinks

Tyler worked hard his entire life to achieve his goals. First culinary arts school, then Le Cordon Bleu. Now, between his two restaurants in Charleston and Hilton Head, South Carolina, he’s become something of a regional celebrity. Charismatic, well-liked, and talented as can be, Ty is always on the lookout for a challenge and new opportunities.

Success has come easily for Ty, and has given him the chance to hone his skills in countless ways. But if Ty has one regret, it’s the way his relationship with Tess ended after they graduated from college. She remains the one who got away, and he’d give anything to at least figure out what went wrong.

HE TAKES THE CAKE is now available for Kindle!

Sometimes it just takes a little spark to reignite an old flame…

THE ONE I’M WITH – Meet the Main Characters

It’s hard to believe that THE ONE I’M WITH is almost a week old already! I hope everyone who’s snagged a copy has enjoyed it (and of course is telling everyone you know about it).

If you haven’t entered my Release Day Giveaway, it’s not too late. The giveaway ends tomorrow at midnight, so make sure you hope over to the giveaway post for details and the link to Rafflecopter. You can win a $25 Amazon gift card OR a Kindle copy of THE ONE I’M WITH.

If you haven’t yet grabbed a copy (or if you have but just want another fun tidbit), perhaps a little meet-and-greet with the main characters will convince you to check out this sweet (but slightly spicy) romance.

Meet Marissa O’Brien

For the past three years, Marissa O’Brien has focused on renovating her Victorian-era farmhouse and building a solid, reputable, and highly sought-after interior design business in Asheville, North Carolina. She likes to have fun with her friends, and does date quite a bit. But never more than five dates (and really, a guy is lucky to make it that far). But her flirty, lighthearted personality hides the scars left by a devastating breakup that’s left her gun-shy when it comes to flowers-726532_1920love.

She has rules. Nothing more than a casual kiss until after three dates. No hooking up until after five. And no sleepovers. Ever.

So while her professional life has been a smashing success, Marissa’s personal life is a shell of what it could – and what she hoped it would – be. But all that seems destined to change when a chance meeting with Josh Mattingly on Girls’ Night Out has her wondering if it might be time to throw her rules out the window and take a risk…

Meet Josh Mattingly

Josh Mattingly has spent most of his adult life perfecting his image as a rich playboy. Being the second son of a prominent family with global corporate interests, his job has allowed him the luxury of having fun without responsibility. But one too many bad choices and a step too far have landed him in hot water. Desperate to avoid an ultimatum that will cut him out of his beloved nieces’ lives, Josh has sworn off romantic entanglements that could lead to bad press for his family and their business.

sparkling-wine-1030754_1920Determined to prove to his parents and brother that he can be serious about his life, Josh has come to Asheville to help save a dying company. If he can pull off this corporate merger, he might be able to convince his family to let him branch out on his own – and finally free himself from their expectations and control.

Romance is the last thing on Josh’s mind – until he meets Marissa. There’s something different about her, and the way she makes him feel.  Though he’s terrified a revelation of his past indiscretions could send her running for the Blue Ridge Mountains, Josh decides that taking a chance on Marissa could be the answer to everything.

If he can convince her to let him into her heart…

THe One I’m With Is now available for Kindle! Order today on Amazon!


Better Than Chocolate: Meet the Main Characters

Tomorrow is release day! It’s finally here!


If you want to order your copy of the ebook, head on over to Amazon ASAP. Don’t have a Kindle? Not to worry! As long as you have a device that supports the Kindle Reading App (which is free), you should be able to download BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE with no problems.

Don’t forget that I’m running a Rafflecopter Giveaway through 11:59pm EST on September 9th. You can enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card (1 winner) or a copy of BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE (5 winners). All winners will be notified no later than 8:00pm EST on Friday, September 11th.

All day tomorrow, from 5:00am through 9:00pm, I’ll be hosting a Virtual Release Day Party on my Facebook page. I’ll be popping in throughout the day, mostly in the evening (because I went back to work – more on that another time). Feel free to bombard me with questions, comments, and so on, about BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE.

And as always, don’t forget to sign up to receive my newsletter by email!

Okay, now that the housekeeping is done, who wants to meet the main characters?

Meet Carmella Sannarelli

Carmella Sannarelli is an Upstate New Yorker by birth, but considers Savannah, Georgia, to be her adopted hometown. She came south to attend college at the University of Georgia in Athens, after a sticky situation cropped up following her high school graduation. She walked away from UGA with a degree in History and has aspirations of becoming a museum curator – or maybe something more. Until she lands that dream job, she’s content to volunteer as a tour guide at several Savannah historic sites, and makes her living as a pastry chef.delicious chocolate

Which allows her access to plenty of her favorite sweet something – chocolate!

Carmella’s aim is to please people and keep those she loves happy. This has kept her a bit in the shadows, but she’s never been resentful about the attention her more outgoing friends tend to receive.  She’s the sort who’d drop everything in a heartbeat if a friend needed her – which is why she’s ready and willing to board a plane to the Caribbean and be the maid of honor at Sadie’s elopement to a complete stranger.

Finding out what happened between Sadie and Ryan, her two recently-engaged but now broken-up best friends, is just another motivator.

Meet Sadie Miller

A native to Athens, Georgia, Sadie Miller befriended Carmella on their first day of orientation at UGA, and the two were basically inseparable until Carmella decided to move to Savannah. The quintessential people-person, Sadie’s bubbly, effervescent personality makes her the sort who’ll do her best to make others feel welcome and have a good time. Even though she sometimes comes off as being air-headed or shallow, she has a heart of gold and is fiercely loyal to those she loves.

Sadie wedding-dress-850606_1280earned a degree in marketing, but she’s never been quite as enthusiastic about her career as she has finding a fairy tale Happily Ever After. Throughout college, she seemed to have a revolving door when it came to boyfriends.

That is, until she and Ryan decided to give romance a try toward the end of their senior year. She stuck with her commitment to him for six years – but something drove her to break their engagement and find love elsewhere.

Meet Ryan Wutkowski

After serving four years in the Marine Corps, Ryan Wutkowski decided to attend UGA and earn a degree in Civil Engineering. The native Michigander went on to earn a Master’s Degree in historic preservation, but the engineering firm he works for in Atlanta doesn’t give him much opportunity to put his graduate studies to work. Though a promotion came his way shortly after he and Sadie got engaged, he turned it down in favor of the more hands-on projects he enjoys in his current position.sports-768430_1280

Loyal doesn’t begin to describe Ryan – he’s the ultimate protector of those he cares about. The whole reason he met Sadie and Carmella at the end of their freshman year was due to his instinct to step in when people are threatened, when he took down one of Sadie’s exes who decided to harass the two girls.

But loyalty can be Ryan’s downfall, as well. Making a lifelong commitment to Sadie may have meant giving up a piece of his own happiness – he’s not as broken up about being jilted as one might expect.

Character Mutiny

Have you ever sat down to write something, having plotted the whole scene out in your head (action, dialogue, descriptions, the works) only to have one or more of your characters basically mount a mutiny against you?

It’s happened to me on more than one occasion.

Usually, my characters engage in literary subterfuge only when I drag my internal editor (sometimes kicking and screaming) into the “back room” and lock the door.  That sounds a little crazy, but you know what I mean.  My internal editor is surprisingly strong-willed and tends to nag, and frankly, if I don’t lock him (or her, I guess I’ve never thought about what gender my internal editor is) away from time to time, I’d never get anything written for constantly going back and fixing what I’d done the previous day – or week, or year….

I think my characters bide their time, waiting patiently while my internal editor and I plod through a diligently thought-out scene after scene, knowing all the while that, at some point, the editor will insist I go back and revisit previous work.  Sometimes I’ll go along with the editor because, let’s face it, sometimes you have to go back and cross reference your own narrative.

But the characters know… Eventually, the editor will nag once too often about that descriptive passage that’s too beautiful to hack to pieces just now, or insist on a complete re-read of all 41 chapters written to date when the self-imposed deadline is looming just weeks away, and then I’ll be force to knock that poor editor into the closet and prop a chair under the doorknob for his (and my) own good.

Sometimes, when this happens, the characters play it cool.  They realize that we need to work together.  But every so often, they insert their own agendas.  And suddenly, an hour and a scene later, I realize that what I’ve just written is nothing like what I’d imagined.

I’ve actually said, out loud to my computer screen, “How did that happen?  I didn’t want him to do that!”

Sometimes the characters just don’t do what you want.  Sometimes they’re very stubborn and uncooperative.  And sometimes, they take the ship by force.

Granted, when this mutiny occurs, I generally have the wherewithal to step back from the computer, close the writing program, and take a day to let things stew.  Often when I go back the next day and reread what I wrote when the characters took the ship, it’s really not half bad.  In fact, it’s often rather good.  It’s like the characters just knew what I really wanted to happen in that scene.  There are times when it just doesn’t work with what’s been written previously, but most often I can let the editor out of the box for an hour or so and we can work through the passages in question, making them work with the story that’s already been told.

More challenging are the times when the character mutiny is so good and so seamlessly tied to the previous chapters, I have no choice but to accept the changes and developments therein.  I have to then make some serious adjustments to what I’d intended to happen next (and later, and last).  There have been definite struggles in the past make mutinous passages jive with the outline of the subsequent chapters, or vice versa, so the story wraps up the way it should (the way I planned it).

I recently avoided a mutiny from one character in my novel only to allow a different character to subvert her intended role.  I have to say, she’s better off for it – her previous characterization and ultimate development never sat well with me.

For now we’ll roll with it.  Eventually I’ll have to let the internal editor have his way with the manuscript.  But as it stands, I’m curious to see how things will play out.