The women in these photos are near and dear to my heart. They are my mother and my mothers-in-law in the first photo. My mother and my cousin in the second photo. All are past the three score and ten mark, active, healthy and vibrant. I am incredibly blessed.
There was a time when I would accept blog tours without reading the book. I no longer do that. Before hosting Brooke Williams’ blog tours, she sends an advance copy of each book. If I don’t like the book, I won’t agree to host. That is as it should be. I want my readers to know that if I am promoting a book, I have read and enjoyed it. Accept This Dandelion is a sweet, funny romance. It’s an easy read, the kind of book I like reading when I am traveling or needing a mental break. Her female protagonists are charming and unpredictable. Her books are clean reads, no cursing, no explicit sexual scenes. After reading Accept This Dandelion, I asked Brooke to allow me to “interview” one of her main characters. I chose Ben, the male protagonist.
Accept this Dandelion Character Interview: Ben McConnell
Ben, tell us what it was about Renee when you first saw her that made you tell Mike you wanted her on the show?
Well, she was a disaster! (laughs) But that’s not all that made her stand out. Her answers were unusual, to say the least, but she came across very genuine. She wasn’t putting airs on for anyone. Even though she was auditioning for a TV show. Most of the girls showed up wanting to impress and they would do anything to do just that. But Renee…I don’t know…she was just Renee.
On the first episode, what was your first thought when she took told you to close your eyes, and removed your handkerchief? What were you expecting her to do?
My mind was racing and honestly, my first thought was “this is going to be good!” But once I had my eyes closed, I was a little worried. It put me in a more vulnerable state and I wasn’t sure I would like it. I thought she might hug me or even kiss me or something. And I was curious why she didn’t want me to see her right away. I certainly wasn’t expecting the spitting sound!
I was quite surprised that you didn’t reject her after she caught her dress on fire. What made you decide to let her stay?
Once again, she was a disaster, and had it been any of the other girls, I might have done just that for my own safety! But when I was with Renee, even on that first night, I felt something different. At first it was just a spark and it interested me. But I also had a keen sense of curiosity. What was this girl going to do next?! And I had to find out.
What were you thinking when she pushed you in the pool on the second episode?
She ruined my drink! (chuckles) I think I was far too shocked to have any thoughts at all. Once I surfaced I just wanted to pull her in after me…you know, get even. But she beat me to that as well.
How did you feel when Cleo left with the race car driver?
I was rejected, plain and simple. And that never feels good. Part of me wondered if the process was really going to work for me. If someone better came along for her, wouldn’t there be someone better for all of them? I was afraid they would all realize that and ditch me too. And while I was starting to rule her out as a candidate, I still wasn’t certain so it hurt a little bit.
Was there a moment when you thought, “This girl is just too crazy for me?”
The funny thing is that it’s her craziness that I love! Yes, she’s out there…she’s quirky…and she’s perfect for me. I’ve dated enough to know what’s out there. And none of the women I found so far are anything like Renee. I needed something different and I found it. No matter how crazy she ended up being. You’re not going to tell her I said that, are you?
Was there anything you didn’t like about Renee as the show was being taped?
Even though she was herself at all times, I could tell she had a wall up around her. She wasn’t giving me a fair chance at first. She wanted to be on the show and maybe she even wanted to fall in love, but she didn’t want it to be with me. She had fun teasing me and pushing me into pools, but she thought she knew who I was and she wasn’t giving me a chance to change her mind at first. I’ve been judged enough to recognize it. I didn’t appreciate that side of her but I felt like there was enough there to give it a chance.
If Renee didn’t accept your last dandelion would you have considered asking Eve out?
Eva is a wonderful woman and any man would be lucky to have her. She’s smart, beautiful, funny, charming, she has it all. But honestly, it was Renee or no one. Eva looks great on paper, and even in person, but in the long run, she wasn’t “the one.” I know she’s going to make someone very happy someday and I hope she finds him very soon.
What are the plans for your next big date with Renee?
We spend a lot of time together and life is much more normal now. We don’t have to plan big, elaborate dates to have a good time. She’s taking me to a concert this weekend. She goes to most of the ones that come through town because of her job at the radio station. But tonight, I invited her over for dinner and a movie. She gets to bring the movie and I get to bring the dinner. I say that because I’m not cooking! Not tonight at least!
What did your family think of the TV show? What was their reaction to Renee and her antics?
They got a big kick out of the things she did to me! Said I deserved all that and more, can you believe it? I think they reacted much like the rest of the viewing audience. They adored her because she was so different. Not the type of woman who would put up with any flack from me or any other man! They recognized that we were a match. They appreciate her imperfections and the fact that she is willing to show them with pride.
Accept This Dandelion goes on sale today:
By Brooke Williams
Release Date: February 4, 2015 from Prism Book Group
Order digital and paperback copies HERE
Renee Lockhart has her eye on a lofty goal…to fill the open position of morning radio show host at the radio station where she works. When her co-workers sign her up for a local TV version of “the Bachelor,” Renee goes along with it in order to raise her public profile. Ben McConnell, the most eligible bachelor in town, insists that Renee be placed on the show, despite her bumbling audition. Ben gets much more than he expected in Renee. He gets a girl who doesn’t bow to his every whim…and a girl who opens his eyes to true, unexpected love. When nothing goes right on the local program called “Accept this Dandelion”…hilarity ensues. Imagine your worst possible dates happening…on TV!
Add “Accept this Dandelion” to your Goodreads list HERE
About the Author
Brooke Williams writes in a sleep-deprived state while her daughters nap. Her romantic comedy is best read in the same state. Brooke has twelve years of radio in her background, both behind the scenes and on the air. She was also a television traffic reporter for a short time despite the fact that she could care less about hair and make-up. Today, Brooke stays at home with her daughters and works as a freelance writer for a variety of companies. When she isn’t working for paying clients, she makes things up, which results in books like “Accept this Dandelion.” Brooke is also the author of “Wrong Place, Right Time,” “Someone Always Loved You,” and “Beyond the Bars.” And she looks forward to the upcoming released of “Mamarazzi” and “Baby Sheep Gets a Haircut.” Brooke and her husband Sean have been married since 2002 and have two beautiful daughters, Kaelyn (5) and Sadie (nearly 2).
Connect with Brooke:
Praise for Accept this Dandelion
“This book is adorable. I had to sneak away from my desk to read the rest of it once I started. It had my smiling and laughing the whole way through.”
-Sarah, Advanced Reader Copy Review
What could possibly evolve from such a strange attraction? That’s the meat of Accept this Dandelion, purportedly a romance, but in essence so much more. Acceptance is, indeed, at the heart of Accept this Dandelion: acceptance of self, others, and the paths life offers up, whether for good or bad.
-D. Donovan, eBook Reviewer, MBR
Renee leaned way over in her chair, throwing her arm up beside her for dramatic effect. She had the perfect line to close her short ad, but instead of delivering it, she flung one of the flickering candles to the floor with a loud crash.
“Fire!” she screamed as she realized the flame had not extinguished, but rather had transferred itself to the hem of her dress.
Before Renee could stop drop and roll, Ben leapt from his chair and threw himself across the small space separating them. The pressure of his body against her leg put out the fire instantly, but it also toppled her chair over, leaving them in a heap on the concrete.
Renee found herself on her side with Ben’s breath on her cheek. She slowly turned her head, though what she really wanted to do was push him away and run out of the studio as fast as possible.
“That was quite a commercial.” Ben didn’t make a move to rise. “Are you okay?”
Renee wasn’t sure how the dress looked, but there were no burning sensations on her leg. There was a twinge in the pit of her stomach. She nodded. “I’m okay.” She met his eyes and allowed herself a few beats to study him closely. He was handsome. And now, he was even a hero. Though he wouldn’t have had to save her from burning flames had she not set herself on fire.
Ben deftly got to his feet and pulled Renee from her chair as the producer rushed over and the camera operators stood by, panning down to capture Renee’s smoldering dress.
“Hey, Renee,” Ben whispered into her ear, “next time there’s fire between us, I’m not going to put it out.”
There have been many times in my life that God has sent someone into my life who provided just what I needed at that time. Alisa, half of the Clifford Rush writing team, is one of those persons. I was thinking about not blogging anymore, since it seemed that no one read it anyway, when Alisa wrote some very encouraging words in the comments on a “Wordless Wednesday”. I promised myself over a year ago that I would take my camera out at least once a week, no matter how I felt, and share at least one photo every Wednesday. Knowing that someone noticed was the fuel I needed to continue. When she commented, I noticed that she referred to Clifford Rush as a writing team. It took me a few weeks, but eventually, I went to Amazon and searched for books by Clifford Rush. I bought the short story, No Eye Has Seen, not really knowing what to expect. It was amazing. I purchased it to read on an upcoming trip. I opened it the day before to preview it, and could not put it down. It’s an urban mystery that is not filled with sex and profanity, just great writing. The characters are well-developed. It is intellectually stimulating, yet thrilling. I loved it so much, that I finished it that day, leaving myself with nothing exciting to read on my trip. Naturally, I returned to Amazon and purchased their novel, No Mind Has Conceived (End of Days Book 1), and loved it just as much. The Clifford Rush team successfully managed to keep me hooked from beginning to end. The detective and his assistant are great characters. The whole investigating team is made up of lovable, fallible characters who are giving everything they have to fight evil. I’m really looking forward to their next book.
Book Description: No Eye Has Seen
Two sisters—one is a cook, and the other is a criminal—seem to have nothing in common. Yet they share a secret someone is willing to kill for. Arlington Police Detective John Metcalf uses unexpected clues to solve one of his toughest murder cases. This is a 4-part, fast-paced short story.
Book Description: No Mind Has Conceived (End of Days Book 1):
At the crime scene, Metcalf finds a cross pendant necklace. An identical necklace shows up at a second location attached to a corpse. He finds a third cross worn by his son. To solve the case, Metcalf recruits an unexpected team, including an Israeli Special Forces operator, a farm girl, a news anchor, and two MIT dropouts.
Metcalf must reconstruct the victim’s last days to protect his son. He learns the senator’s daughter took a dare, researched prophesy, fell in love with an Israeli, begged for her reporter friend’s help, and stumbled onto a truth worth killing for. Skeptical, Metcalf follows the facts, but he can’t explain a series of supernatural roadblocks, culminating with a threat to his son. Facing an impossible situation, Metcalf realizes there are things No Mind Has Conceived.
No Eye Has Seen
No Mind Has Conceived (End of Days Book 1):
About the Authors:
Clifford Rush is the pen name of husband-wife writing team Dave and Alisa Clifford. They share 15 years in law enforcement along with entrepreneurial success. Clifford Rush novels combine fast-paced plots with dynamic characters, and always leave you with something new to think about.
Dave and Alisa first met when they were fourteen-years-old. He gallantly gave her his jacket during a chilly whale-watching trip out of Westport, Washington. They’ve been together ever since. Married for over two decades, they currently live in Idaho. Learn more at CliffordRush.com.
Crossing The Line: A Darcy James Mystery is a book that I was given for review purposes through the Read and Review program at Choosy Bookworm. Reading and reviewing books is one of my winter volunteer service projects. I know how difficult it is for writers to get reviews, and I enjoy supporting other authors. I have found some very enjoyable books there. I strongly recommend it if you enjoy reading books by fresh voices. The one I am promoting today, is one of the best ones I have read through this program; yet, I promote for another reason as well. The person who completed and published this book is not the author. She is the sister of the author. Miss Lively passed away in 2012, and her sister, with the support of other family members, is working hard to complete and publish her work. This fall, I lost a family member while I was recovering from pneumonia, reminding me of the shortness of our stay on this planet. I am impressed with her family’s devotion, and wanted to do my part to help them get this wonderful book into the hands of more readers.
Darcy James is the daughter of a black jazz musician and a French prostitute. She could easily pass for white. In 1913 Chicago doing so would make her life a lot easier. Instead she clings tightly to her racial identity and the memory of her beloved father. That is, until her courage and intelligence are put to good use as an undercover investigator for Ida Wells-Barnett and her anti-lynching campaign. Darcy is recruited to investigate the death of a young black man, Saylor Cates, in the town of Medicine Chant, Oklahoma. Accused of raping a white woman, Saylor is killed by an angry mob. But the facts are far from clear. Her mission is to dig deep into the community to uncover the truth behind Saylor’s murder. Before leaving Chicago, Darcy launches her own personal crusade to find and punish the men responsible for her lover’s death. Danny Sardo was a tortured soul and escaped his pain with an overdose of morphine. Darcy enters into an uneasy alliance with his former employer and infamous brothel owner, Fat Louie Napoli. It is up to Fat Louie to use his resources to uncover the conspiracy behind Danny’s death and clear a path for Darcy’s revenge.
Meanwhile in Medicine Chant, Oklahoma, Darcy sustains a dangerous masquerade. Posing as white, she has easy access to the local elite. But her questions are making some people nervous. The community has something to hide that goes deeper than the killing of one black man.
Darcy must use all her wits to solve this tragic puzzle, or she could very well be the next victim of a noose tied in Medicine Chant, Oklahoma.
Character Interview: Darcy James
I understand your mother killed herself right in front of you when you were a child. That must have been awful. Do you ever have nightmares or are there other ways that this event still haunts you today?
I was only four, but I remember it well. I had always felt somehow responsible. I remember her words, that she was doing it because of me. It seems silly, really, that a four-year-old could be responsible for someone else’s life; particularly a mother, the one who should be taking care of the child. But I couldn’t shake the feeling. My father tried to make up for it. He thought I couldn’t have remembered it correctly or not at all, really. I tried not to think too much about it. But for the longest time, I believed she never really loved me. And that thought did haunt me for much of my life
While I understand how you clicked with Danny, was there a time when you were afraid that being with him was too dangerous?
No, never. I would have done anything for Danny, gone anywhere with him. My only fear was being without him.
I love how close you are with Yeva Silver. Tell me more about your first meeting with her and how she came to love and accept you.
Yeva Silver was kind to me even before I met her. She, well, all the Silvers, came into my life through a misunderstanding, the misreading of a title on a piece of music my father wrote for me. It was her influence on her husband that helped me reclaim my father’s legacy. Yeva is one of the most giving and loving people I know. I believe it is in her nature to be understanding of human frailty, to try and heal wounds, both physical and emotional. When we finally did meet in person, I think she saw in me someone who needed a family. Sometimes I catch her looking at me in a certain way, and I think she can see things about me that I don’t even know about myself.
I am so impressed with your courage. Investigating lynching can be very dangerous. Was there a point where you thought about backing off of the assignment in Medicine Chant?
I prefer going it alone. So I usually work without partners or backup, and I don’t join the communities where I’m investigating. Typically I pretend to be a newspaper reporter just trying to get a good story. But Medicine Chant was so different. The lies were intricate and embedded deep in the community’s past. The only way to get at the truth was to go undercover. This meant relying on others and working as part of a team. And, well, trust isn’t something I give easily. Posing as white is extremely dangerous, and I did at one point think of leaving, particularly when I realized my safety depended on others.
It was fascinating to see the way you and Karen connected. What do you think drew you to her so quickly?
Connected to the murder of Saylor Cates was the suicide of Sarah Hart, Karen’s mother. In fact, the two deaths happened on the same day. Karen, unfortunately, was present in the room when her mother shot herself. Her experience was jarringly similar to my own. I understood immediately her self-contained silence. Suicide is another type of mystery. It leaves behind so many questions. And, I think, when you love someone, it is hard not to feel in some way responsible. In solving the murder of Saylor Cates, I was able to understand Sarah’s actions. I hope one day, when Karen is older, that the truth of Sarah’s suicide will free her from the terrible burden of her mother’s death.
About the Author
Donna Lively was a writer, poet, and award-winning storyteller. Her audio compilation of Scots-Irish stories, “Onions in the Stew,” won a 2005 Parents’ Choice Award. She was a member of the Tejas Storytelling Association and was recognized as one of the best storytellers in Texas.
She was also a huge fan of historical mysteries and an excellent amateur genealogist. In fact, it was a mystery in her own family’s lineage that inspired Donna to create the character of Darcy James and give her a complex puzzle to solve amidst the racial violence of the post-Reconstruction South.
Donna was committed to telling the stories of forgotten people, marginalized cultures, and unforgivable crimes. In her stories, she gave voice to the ethnic diversity that is America; a diversity that was a particular characteristic of her own family.
Donna died in May 2012, leaving behind a legacy of storytelling of which “Crossing The Line” is the first in a planned series of three Darcy James Mysteries.
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