Musings Over Coffee: A New Look!

One of my books got a bit of a facelift this week! The same guy, just looking the other way and a new title. And a few new promo images for social media because… well, it was due. I’ve ignored poor Roxy and Kodi enough since their release day in March.

But not anymore!

I’ve changed the title and spiffed up the blurb. It’s short and to the point. A feel-good quick romance for those summer days hanging out by the pool!

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EVERY GOOD THING

A Friends to Lovers Romance

What happens when you end up with your own trending hashtag?

For Roxy Porter, you try to salvage what’s left of your nursing career by agreeing to billionaire Kodi Donovan’s suggestion that they pretend to be engaged… just until the trend dies down.

But pretending to be something you’re not, it turns out, isn’t as easy as it looks… especially when feelings between them become real.

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It’s a New Release: Her Lucky Charm 🍀🍺


Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, Her Lucky Charm, a lighthearted (though with a little bit of angst) is now LIVE!

I had originally written Falling for Jordan‘s Addison and Jordan’s St. Patrick’s Day wedding and honeymoon but before I knew it, Roxy and Kodi, (the bridesmaid and groomsman respectively) took over!

Suddenly, it was the morning after the wedding and Roxy’s alleged “walk of shame” from Kodi’s townhouse goes viral.

Oh, what to do, what to do, right?

So I kept going and Her Lucky Charm came to be. I hope you like it!

Here’s the blurb:

HER LUCKY CHARM
A St. Patrick’s Day Romance

Did we or didn’t we?
That’s the million-dollar question when I wake up next to Kodiak “Kodi” Donovan the morning after a mutual friend’s St. Patrick’s Day wedding.

Forget that he’s one of the hottest bachelors in Manhattan, a billionaire, and as the founder of the nonprofit ReBuild to Heal, a philanthropist to boot.

And so we agree to go on with our respective lives and pretend nothing happened.

Too bad my walk of shame ends up getting plastered all over social media and the next thing I know, I’ve become #walkofshameroxy.

As if that isn’t bad enough, my job as an ICU nurse is in jeopardy, too.

Suddenly whether we did it or not is the least of our worries. To save my reputation, the only other question becomes…

Should we or shouldn’t we just take it all the way?

Her Lucky Charm is also part of Steamy Sensations Holiday Love: 10 Authors. 10 Holidays. 10 Steamy Romances and please do check my fellow authors’ stories out, too!

Not Much Has Changed #TeaserTuesday

I feel Benny’s mouth on the back of my neck, his beard tickling my skin. I giggle, feeling his arms tighten around my waist as I playfully struggle to pull away. As I open my eyes, I see the time blinking from his bedside clock.

“Isn’t your flight in two hours?”

“Hmmm.” He nips the skin behind my ear and I shiver, goosebumps dotting my skin.

“You’re going to be late, Benny.”

“Just one more kiss,” he murmurs. “For the road.”

“One more kiss that’ll lead to one more–”

“Are you complaining?”

I turn my head toward him just in time for our mouths to meet. Of course, I’m not complaining. Why would I? I need to take what I can get for he’s leaving again and for how long, I don’t know. One would think after twelve years as an Environmental Protection Specialist, he’d get to stay in one place for good but with a new oil spill reported on tribal lands in Minnesota, he’s been called in as a consultant. Again. And just like the others before this one, whatever recommendations he proposes will only get mired in government red tape.

But I push the thought away, rolling onto my back as my lips part and his tongue slips between my teeth. My belly tightens as his kiss deepens, his tongue sweeping and tasting, making the butterflies in my belly come alive. Funny how twelve years since he first kissed me, not much has changed. Benny Turner still makes me weak in the knees with just a look, a touch, a kiss.

And that’s just the parts I can talk about.


Sarah and Benny lead the way for Love in Taos, a collection of holiday steamy short novellas I’m doing for 2019. The shorts are about 17k words each and will feature a couple you may have already met in earlier books or new ones.

New Release & Guest Blog Post: Reactance by Dacia M Arnold

Before anything else, I’d love to wish a Happy Book Birthday to Dacia M Arnold for her latest release, REACTANCE, the prequel novella to her upcoming novel APPARENT POWER! Don’t miss her guest post following the release announcement! Congratulations, Dacia!

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REACTANCE

by Dacia M Arnold

Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Release Date: August 18, 2018

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Given a gift she never wanted, a young woman fights to find a place in post-apocalyptic Denver.

When a dormant gene awakens in a quarter of the world’s population, conductors of electricity are at the mercy of the DiaZem who rule over them.

After her father is killed in a thwarted plan to eradicate the population without the conductor gene, teenager Sasha Bowman channels her bitterness toward the woman she believes is responsible: The Queen DiaZem.

Keeping a journal to share with the world what really transpired, Sasha rallies the community to React against the Apparent Power.

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About the Author

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Dacia Arnold is an author that struggles to find a balance of work, motherhood, marriage, writing, and the occasional craft. Her first full-length novel, Apparent Power, is in the works to be released December 2018. Dacia served 10 years in the U.S. Army as a combat medic and deployed twice to Iraq and often incorporates these experiences into her writings both fiction and non-fiction. She currently lives in Denver, Co with her husband, two children, and a fat beagle named Watson.

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GUEST POST

I am so excited Liz Durano let me take over her blog for the day. My novella, REACTANCE just went on sale on Amazon and she wanted all of you to know about it. I have been a fan of Liz for a few years now and she has been extremely helpful to me and my career over those years. Thank you, Liz.

How fitting in the wake of Breaking the Rules, she would have me on her blog to talk a little about my personal military experience and the representation of such in literature. I served in the US Army, Active Duty for ten years. I deployed twice to Iraq in the medical field and witnessed both miracles and horrors of war. While my experience as a woman in the military differs from Sawyer’s, it is always important to remember women do serve and have served in the military for a long time.

Gender differences and representation in literature is not what I want to talk about though. I want to talk about my experience at war, PTSD, and losing dear friends.

I worked for fifteen months in the busiest trauma center in the world, Baghdad ER. Books were written and documentaries were filmed about Ibn Sina Hospital located in the Green Zone of Baghdad. I assisted in the birth of healthy babies and witnessed the death of young men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to their country. I also fought for the lives of other men and women who felt they could no longer go on and decided to take their own lives. In the absence of understanding I was often angry when we would fail in our attempts to resuscitate my fellow brother or sister in arms.

We also treated children, criminals, terrorists, murderers. And we treated them all the same. A man, who was shot for creating an explosive which killed five Americans, received the same life-saving measures as a child who was considered collateral damage and was injured for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I saw a lot. I let for Iraq at 23 and returned home when I was 25. I left far more than a birthday and year worth of holidays in that marble clad medical facility. I left nearly every memory I had and held onto the feelings of comradery, the twisted sense of humor one often finds in an emergency room, and pride in the work we did and care we provided. When our mission was done, our emergency room held a 98% survival rate. If you made it to the Combat Support Hospital, your chances of living to see your family again were pretty good. We still managed to lose so many.

All of this happened over a decade ago. I am older, have kids, and left the military when my contract ended four years ago. I do not have post-traumatic stress disorder. This simply means when these memories come back and affect me negatively, I am able to successfully find a coping mechanism to file the memories back in my mind. An inability to do so does not make a person weak. There was a time where I drank too much, cried a lot, and felt guilty about those lives lost in my care. I am, after all, still a human being.

My second deployment to Iraq, I was asked to manage the outpatient clinic (a position multiple levels above my pay grade) while my peers were shift leaders in the emergency room. They wanted the guts and glory. I had seen enough gore by then and was happy to have my quiet predictable corner of the hospital. On Christmas morning (was Christmas night in Iraq), my best friend back home was murdered by her boyfriend with her six children in the home. Because she was not family, I was not granted the opportunity to go home to pay my respects or offer assistance to her children. She was also a veteran. Her boyfriend was still in the military at the time. He was sentenced to a mere fifteen years of prison because he was clinically diagnosed with PTSD. He’s halfway done with his sentence already.

All of these experiences bleed into my writing. Articulating the feelings of loss, pain, guilt, the emptiness one experiences when someone they love is no longer there helps me in filing those hard memories in my mind. It helps me make sense of situations and the grieving process. Everyone has a “fight or flight” reflex and it never occurred to me that flight was an appropriate road to take in such matters.

As a mother, my knowledge of terrorism, guns, and survival are always thoughts running in the background of my mind. I was working in a major hospital when someone called in a bomb threat. Patients and staff alike were notified. Many patients wanted to leave against medical advice. After we received the all clear, some of the nurses, knowing my background, asked me what I would have done. I simply said, “I really just depended on what happened, but either way, I’m going home tonight.” While I knew I had no control over the situation, I needed to maintain the confidence of my ability to fight.

I often call my time in the military “the best worst time of my life” I do not regret joining, serving, deploying OR getting out after ten years. Every experience added a layer of clay to my skeleton and molded who I am today. It gives depth to my writing and a strength I know even the most likely of characters can muster.

And with that, I present my novella, REACTANCE.

Reactance is written in the form of a journal. The story runs the timeline of my novel, Apparent Power, and the sequel, Shifting Power. Though Reactance is meant to be a teaser to the main DiaZem Trilogy, readers can either pick it up while they wait until Apparent Power is released in December 2018 OR they can read it between books 1 and 2. Either way it wets your pallet for the dystopian world I have made.

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A Nice Surprise

Today I got this in the mail and I’m so happy. It’s the paperback edition of In His Heart complete with a new cover that best fits Josh and Olivia, the couple inside my head. It’s a novella, about 32K words trimmed down from its original 52K word novel after I thought it was going to end up in a summer box set only to pull out at the last minute and release it on my own.

While most of my other characters have lots of angst, Josh and Livvy don’t have that much. They have some issues, but it’s nothing like the people around them – or the other characters inside my head, that is.

Some books just make me smile and In His Heart, at least in the happy department, is on top of that list.

Here’s A FREE Novella For Your Monday!

Yup, you read that right! My clean and wholesome novella WILD CARD is free to download!

Daniela Simmons has stopped asking all the why’s in life.
Like, why did the accident have to happen? Why did the drunk driver not stop at the red light?
But when her name gets picked to be on a reality TV dating show, there’s a new question that she’ll need to ask herself:
“Why not?”

When Daniela Simmons’ sister enters her name in the reality TV dating show, Paired in Paradise, the last thing Daniela expects is to be chosen as the Wild Card, the latest contestant added halfway through the show to compete for the heart of billionaire adventurer, Tyler Drake.

Now, whether she likes it or not, Daniela is going to be a reality TV star.

For Tyler, being the object of the women’s affections has become exhausting.  How can one truly know who’s being real or not – including himself – with cameras constantly filming their every move and producers manipulating everything they say?  But he’s willing to coast through to the end of this fabricated fairy tale with whomever producers decide will be the best choice for him, even if it’s just for the show.

But that’s before he meets the Wild Card… and suddenly Tyler realizes that what’s best for the show isn’t necessarily the best choice for his heart.


I wrote Wild Card two years ago for a short story competition but ended up going past the word count limit of 10K words and decided to keep going. Some stories just don’t want to follow the rules and this was one of them. This was a story about a woman who, despite everything that happens to her, remains true to herself.

I hope you enjoy it and if you can, please leave a review.

In His Heart is LIVE!

Yep! In His Heart is LIVE a week early!

It’s a novella, about 28K words, and tells the story of Josh Morin and Olivia Firelli, two characters who were introduced in my first novel, Finding Sam. What I like about their story is it’s more lighthearted than the rest of my stories. Josh and Livvy simply were written that way and I always smile when I think of them.

It’s also set primarily in Ojai, a small town east of Santa Barbara, about three hours north Los Angeles. There are some amazing hiking trails in Ojai and I always thought it would make a great retreat and resort spot, and so the Rosemary Inn (the setting for In His Heart which first appeared in Finding Sam) was born.

So if you’re in the mood for some lighthearted and sometimes steamy romantic fare set in Southern California, pick up a copy of In His Heart! It’s available everywhere where ebooks are sold.

Character Arcs Via #StorySocial

Today I received a note from my editor telling me that she’ll have my manuscript back a week early, which means I have to finish my current WIP by Sunday. It’s supposed to be 20K words only, something to tide me over while waiting to dive back into her edits and so now it’s crunch time.

With a 20K word story, that means you have to be efficient when it comes to your arcs. And I found the perfect guide to help me:

If you’ve never heard of StorySocial before, definitely give them a look. They do weekly chats like this and it’s a great way to meet other authors like you!

In His Heart #TeaserTuesday

It was always the same dream. Just like the day it happened seven months earlier, someone switched off all the lights and the living room where the drug buy was supposed to happen plunged into darkness. Panic and confusion filled the air as gunfire erupted around undercover Detective Josh Morin, and within seconds, he lay on the floor, dying.

He should have known it was an ambush. His gut told him that as soon as his partner showed up at the last minute to say that it was going down that night, giving him no time to ask questions. But in his dreams, all Josh could do was to react after the fact, pulling his gun in self-defense against veteran detective Ray Bigby, the partner he’d trusted for the last year since he’d been assigned to the drug detail. He was a rookie, after all, Ray would always say, and he still had a lot to learn.

Ray went down first, or at least, it looked like he did and not from Josh’s gun for backup came then. But the searing pain in Josh’s thigh told him that he’d been shot, too, and his leg buckled beneath him.  They said the bullet almost nicked his femoral artery which, according to the doctors, remained intact until they got him to the Emergency Room where it burst, nearly killing him if they hadn’t stopped the bleeding right away.  They said he coded on the table.  Twice.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, there was that second bullet—the one that shattered parts of his collarbone and damaged branches of his brachial plexus, leaving him with numbness down the inside of his arm and along some of his fingers months later. Hell, he would never know such anatomical terms if it weren’t for the fact that he’d almost lost the limbs they innervated. But that was life. You never know what you got until you lose it.

It was a major screw-up, and even the press said so when the full investigation began, where everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong.

But there a few things that never failed to capture Josh’s attention every time the dreams of his ambush returned. It was as if a part of his subconscious wanted him to take one more look in case he missed something, planting seeds that Ray was not working alone.

In his dreams, Josh would always see Ray turning to look back at him before the lights would go out saying something. At first, Josh thought it was Ray saying something like, alright, kid, here we go, like he always did to break the tension just before a drug buy, and that’s exactly what Josh had said during the investigation. But in his dreams, Ray couldn’t have said those words because his gun had already been drawn and pointed straight at Josh. No, the words that had emerged had been something else.

Sorry, kid. Hate to do this to ya.

And like every night when the dream would come, Josh would wake up, heart racing, sweat coursing down his back that would leave his pillows and sheets soaked. He hated feeling so helpless, so stupid, for he should have known. He should have trusted his gut instinct. But that was probably why he still kept dreaming the same dream and hearing Ray saying the same thing over and over again like a broken record.

But if Josh were honest with himself, it wasn’t Ray’s words that sent Josh into a panic every time he awoke from his dream. It was something he’d never admitted to anyone, not even during his therapy sessions with Dr. Ecklund to deal with the emotional trauma. Never mind the shooting. This one left him weak knowing he’d almost missed his chance.

Three words.

Three simple words he never got to say to the only woman he ever truly loved even though she had no idea how he really felt for her.

I love you, Olivia Firelli.

Okay… that was five words.

In His Heart is one of the fifteen novellas included in Just You & Me Contemporary Romance Collection that’s available for preorder now.

If you’ve read Finding Sam, then you’ll recognize Olivia and Josh, and this is their story.