Blog Hop stop 3 for Sandra Sookoo’s new release

Thanks for hosting me today, and thanks to the readers who’ve joined up as part of the Hollywood Dreams and Buttercream virtual blog tour. This is stop #3. Be sure to visit all stops to better your chance of winning swag!

First, let me introduce myself. My name is Sandra Sookoo. I write romantic fiction, but over the course of the last year, I’ve primarily focused on contemporary and Regency romance. My latest book is a sweet contemporary.

In many of my books, food of some sort usually makes an appearance. Whether my characters are chefs, home cooks, bakers, food critics or some other sort of food handler, I think food brings people together. Food, in a way, is a universal language.

In my new book, Gwynn manages an ice cream shop, but she also dreams of decorating cakes. The hero, Cole, is a foodie as well. He writes an article in the newspaper about food… but his identity is secret and he hasn’t told Gwynn. What could go wrong, right?

Here’s the blurb for Hollywood Dreams and Buttercream:

HollywoodDreamsandButtercreamCoverArt-smlSometimes the sweetest things in life don’t have anything to do with dessert.

Gwynn Flannigan wants respect from her father and freedom from her big, loud family. The icing on her cake would be to win a decorating competition hosted by her favorite food magazine writer. Cole Marshall’s one outlet from the stress of business life is writing his Cooking in the Buff feature. Who cares if he never has time for fun?

The answer for them both lies in the deep freeze at Sweet Endings, the struggling ice cream shop Gwynn manages and the one property Cole needs to secure a big promotion. He’s stuck in Madrigal, Indiana to unravel a knot of family drama that drives him crazy.

Things heat between Gwynn and Cole on the competition floor when Cole’s alter ego is revealed.  Cake and accusations fly while dreams and goals are left crumbling. In order to balance family, business, and love, Gwynn and Cole will need to work together and become partners—in more ways than one.

And here’s an excerpt:

“I apologize for Gwynn’s behavior. She’s usually funny and caring and a much nicer person when she not being a witch. But, she’s rude. There’s no other way to explain it. In her defense, hanging around the Flannigan men would make anyone crabby. Just overlook that tendency and you’ll be fine.”

“Sarah!” Gwynn’s jaw dropped. I can’t believe she threw me under the bus.

“Trust me. I’ve seen much worse behavior in much nicer people.” Cole’s lips twitched, but a smile never materialized. “Maybe we did get off on the wrong foot.” He held out a hand. “Hi. I’m Cole Marshall. I’m sure you’ve heard I’m handling the sale of Sweet Endings.”

“Yeah. I’ve heard. Gwynn’s been talking about you, and not in glowing terms.” She shook his hand with a lifted eyebrow. “I’m Sarah Hubble, Gwynn’s best, and probably only, friend. I guess I’m just too lazy so I stick around. If nothing else, she makes me laugh.”

“I have other friends.” Gwynn frowned. Just watching the way Sarah practically slobbered over Cole made her want to punch something — or eat another half-pint of ice cream. The frown edged into a full-on glare when Sarah continued to chat about mundane things. This time he almost smiled. “Get a room you two.” Her weird dip into jealousy melted as quickly as popsicles in the sun when Cole turned his gaze on her — all 1000 watts of green lightning that turned her insides to mush and made her heart do a coronary version of a country-line dance. It was really too bad such a to-die-for face had to be the cover for a cold-hearted businessman. “I don’t need coffee.”

“Actually, getting a caffeine infusion would be the best thing for you right now.” She nudged Gwynn a little farther in Cole’s direction. “Be careful when you take her out in public.” Sarah winked at Cole and urged Gwynn another step. “She’s not used to people, ya know, since she keeps herself locked here in the shop all the time. It might take her a while to thaw.”

“Seriously? I’m not ice cream.” What was up with her friend?

“That’s the truth. Ice cream has more sugar.” Cole glanced at his watch. “I suppose I could make time for breakfast.” He lifted his gaze to Gwynn’s once more. Some of the animosity had faded. “We can discuss the finer points of the real estate transaction.”

“Sure. A write-off.” She threw a helpless glance to Sarah, who shrugged and waved with a smile. “Uh.” How was she supposed to act with a guy who intended to take away her business — her dream? “You don’t have to do this. We can go our separate ways as soon as we’re a block from the store.”

“Neither do you. I’m perfectly capable of returning later, but I’m trying to be the bigger person and maintain civil relations. I’d rather not have the deal go south and involve legal orders.”

It was on the tip of Gwynn’s tongue to make use of his easy exit, but he quirked an eyebrow in what she interpreted as a challenge. If he could be the bigger man then so could she… er, the bigger woman. “Actually, coffee sounds good. You have a choice. Java John’s or Bean Around the Block. They’re both good. One’s quieter than the other since you obviously intend to work.” She shot a glance to his laptop bag.

“Coffee is coffee. I don’t have a preference, but I did already stop at Bean Around the Block once today. Anything has to be better than the complimentary brew at the B & B.” When they reached the front door, Cole held it open and guided her out with his other hand at the small of her back. “By the way, without work, a man is nothing.”

“I think a man is nothing without some fun in his life.” Tiny tremors climbed Gwynn’s spine from the point of contact. Not liking how she reacted to a simple, everyday touch, she moved away from him and marched down the sidewalk. Her sandals made short, slapping noises against the pavement. When he matched her quick stride, she snorted with annoyance.


You can purchase this book at the following locations:

Desert Breeze:




Have we connected on social media yet? If not, here’s my info. I’d love to talk to you!


Believing is Seeing blog:




Giveaway information on this post: One lucky random commenter will receive a Hollywood Dreams and Buttercream swag pak. Be sure to leave your contact information.

Posted in Historical, Ice Queen, Mystery, Novella, Red Queen, Regency, Romance, Sandra Sookoo, Suspense | 4 Comments



Murder in the World Below introduces a tight-knit community of second and third generation survivors of a government institutional system that went horribly wrong at the hands of people in control.


A Haven Mystery

In 1922 the federal government built the largest facility for handicapped children in the country, hidden in the Shenandoah Mountains of Virginia. It was closed forever in 1960 amid horrifying stories of deplorable conditions, overcrowding, illegal testing and sexual abuse of the young inmates.

Sixty-one years later, the academy is now a community college, all trace of its evil past swept away. Or is it? For under the campus of renovated buildings, escapees from the academy and their descendants still live in an elaborate series of tunnels and caves, hiding their differences and fear of the upper world.

Haven, as the residents call their underground home, is a happy, thriving community until they learn their source of power is about to be cut off. A resourceful young woman named Awen sets out to find an alternative source of energy. But someone in Haven is murdering people and sabotaging her efforts.

Aided by a professor from the college, Awen is in a race to expose the killer and hunt for a source of energy that will save Haven. Unfortunately, the murderer now has their sights on Awen as the next victim, and time is running out for the world below.


Billy Two flung aside the tarp and stomped into the small cave Awen Four used as her bedroom. She jumped, startled. Her rat, Coco, squeaked then dove into the crook of her arm.

“Damn it, Billy!” She huffed. As usual, the young boy disregarded Haven’s rules of privacy.

“Old Harvie’s dyin’.” He grimaced then flopped into a battered armchair, his face grim, rounded cheeks streaked with a layer of perpetual dirt. “Shit’s gonna hit the fan now.”

“What? I saw him this morning. I thought he was better.” A chill crawled over her skin. They couldn’t lose Harvie. The Boss. He was the heart and soul of Haven. “It must be a rumor. People are scared.”

She stroked Coco who’d poked her head out, blinking dark sparkling eyes at the boy.

“Nope, he’s dyin’. Now Kinnik’ll take over and you know what that means.” He pressed his lips together in a thin line. He took off his newsboy cap and smacked it against his knee. He pulled open a much patched wool jacket, revealing layers of several T-shirts, two button-up shirts, and a sweater vest.

Awen stared at him askance. Maybe it was denial, but Harvie seemed too integral to Haven to die. A part of their secret world would diminish in his absence, and she feared it would be the best part.

“Heard it from Pop himself,” Billy insisted. He rubbed a hand under his nose and planted his cap over matted brown hair. “I overheard him talkin’ to Joe outside the group room. He’d come from Harvie’s place ‘n said the Boss was going downhill fast. He went lookin’ for Kinnik to tell him.”

“Oh, no. This is horrible.” Her heart lurched. Harvie wasn’t just important to Haven, he was the dad she never had. She ran a hand through her hair. What were they going to do?


Lara Nance’s writing shines brightest when she’s building new worlds. Murder in the World Below will draw you in where her characters win your affection. Her story takes you on a grand adventure, and you never want to leave.” – Author, Laura Kitchell

Meet Lara Nance

Lara Nance grew up and lived in many cites through the South. She started out with a career in business/marketing for twenty years and then went back to school for a masters in nursing and is currently a nurse practitioner in Virginia Beach, VA.

From ghosts, witches, and energy vampires to thrilling mysteries and Steampunk tales, she is willing to explore a variety of compelling adventures full of danger and suspense, along with a touch of romance. Lara loves to weave interesting true historical tidbits into her fiction which invite the reader to explore further after the novel is finished.

Currently docked in Norfolk, Virginia (until the wind changes) Lara enjoys living on her sailboat and spends time reading, of course writing, indulging a variety of artistic endeavors, cooking and sailing with her husband, Joe and their Yorkie, Rio.

Amazon print:
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Memories of Murder:

1. Best paranormal romance 2012 – NEC’s Bean Pot award- a readers choice award.

2. Award of Merit for Best book by a Virginia Author in VRW’s Holt Medallion contest in 2012

DraculaVille – New York

3. Rudy Award for best novel with strong romantic elements 2013, Chesapeake Romance Writers, Finish the Damn Book Contest.

Find Lara Nance

Amazon Author Page:


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An editor talks about editing

A Jessica Sales Novel

Today I’ve got Sue Toth, from Secret Cravings Publishing, talking about her job as an editor. I guess after reading this post they really aren’t the enemy just not so friendly friends who help us make a good book great.

You’ve worked long and hard on your novel. You’ve slaved over the plot, fallen in love with the characters, researched to make sure the setting is just right. Your masterpiece is finally complete.  Now it’s time to put it in the hands of an editor.

Sometime later, you get your manuscript back from the editor and it’s filled with—what is this??–red track changes! Lots of them! How could this be? This is your blood, sweat and tears, and the editor didn’t like it? This is impossible. How could the editor not like your book?

Contrary to popular belief, most editors don’t dislike a book. Even though it may seem that…

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Lindsay Downs Presents – Jessica Sales

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The Voices in My Head

NatalieGayle (2)

Yep it’s true.  I hear voices in my head. But before you lock me up or call the men in the white jackets – let me clarify.  You see that’s how I write my novels.  The characters talk and I listen.

Do they talk to me? Well not really.  They don’t go “Hey Nat this is what’s going to happen.”     It’s more as if I’m sitting watching things evolve through a movie.  I refer to it as the “fly on the wall” phenomena.

You see, I can vividly hear and see everything that is happening and playing out in my books.  Then I just describe it and write it with a bit of help from my characters.

I’ll be driving down the road listening to the radio and then next thing I know I’m watching a scene play out between my characters.  The dialogue is, as if it’s happening in the car with me.

It makes me smile. It makes me laugh.  My family often see this happening and walk past shaking their head.

“Mum’s head’s in her book again!”  My kids say and walk off shaking theirs.

I’ve been caught with a sly smile on my face many times by my husband.  For the first few times he said “What?”

After a little while I had to come clean, I think he was starting to get suspicious of something that was only a figment of my imagination.

Now he just raises his eyebrows, I smile and nod and he nods as well – very knowingly.  Yep she’s up to it again.

What is totally bizarre is when the characters do something you don’t expect.  It’s a bit unnerving actually.  Take Rihanna for example.  She did something big in Finding Trust.  Something, that I just didn’t not expect.  No way. No how.  If you’ve read it – you’ll know what I mean.  If you haven’t I won’t spoil it for you.

But when she did what she did.  I kind of sat there gobsmacked.  Really – she was going to do that?  Apparently yes.  Who am I to argue?  I’m just the idiot on the keyboard!

I must say life’s never boring when you’re writing about dominant and interesting characters.  They do and say the most amazing things, regularly.

I think this experience is probably very similar to all authors.  I’m really interested to see if it still continues.  It served me well to get “Finding Trust” written and delivered.  I only hope it continues as well for all the other novels I have planned.

“Don’t fail me now – character’s!”  I cry.

Not sure what I’d do if the process changed. So I’m not going to think about that.  I’m a firm believer that if you start dwelling on the negative, you suddenly make it a reality.  I’m going to trust that the characters want their story to be told and I’m going to do my job and write it the best I can.

So having now divulged that I hear voices in my head I hope you won’t think any worse of me.  Maybe everybody does – they just don’t want to admit it?

What do the voices in your head tell you? Stop and listen – you might just be surprised.


Brayden and Rihanna He’s hot, sexy, and leads a double life. Sometimes in the limelight, mostly in the shadows. Brayden James holds fast to a secret that’s more than his to share. She’s a singularly focused veterinarian out for a rare night of fun with friends, at a New Year’s Eve rock concert. Going home with the lead guitarist was furthest thing from Rihanna Mason’s mind when the night began. When Rihanna inadvertently becomes the target of a deadly terrorist plot using the Hendra virus as a biological weapon, Brayden is forced to reveal his other life. His job is to keep her safe and together they must stop the terrorists before it’s too late. But what happens when she becomes more to him than just the assignment? Will the secret he cannot disclose ultimately prove too much for Rihanna’s fragile trust in relationships? Or will he finally break through the double brick walls around her heart, where every other man has failed?

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Doggone Blog Hop

Welcome. We love our dogs and we’ve come together to support our favorite animal charity! Thanks for joining us. FYI, June 21st is Take Your Dog to Work Day and National Dog Party Day.

I’ll be donating a dollar ($1.00) for each comment to the Texas Humane Heroes, a no-kill shelter in Leander, TX.

One thing, among many, I love about my dog Dakota a border collie mix, is the unconditional love he gives me. A year ago this past April I rescued him from a kill shelter in Bristol, CT and immediately a bond was formed between us.

When I got him he was underweight, had bad teeth and hadn’t been fixed. Now he’s at his proper weight, his mouth is healed and I got him, as any good dog owner would, neutered.

When we were living in CT we had to deal with leash laws but now here in TX he can be a dog. I let him run around outside, mostly unsupervised, on his own. Finally he’s become what he truly is, a real dog who knows how to have fun.

Even when I leave him home to do to town, don’t forget here in TX people get vicious if they see a dog left alone in a car, he might whine or so I’m told then goes to sleep. But, when I get home forget it, he’s all over me.

I’ve even named my muse after him, now if that isn’t love I don’t know what is.

Besides hanging out in his house, a wire crate, he loves lying on the floor with his head under the bed. I guess if he can’t see me then I can see him. Go figure.

photoVote for Dakota, hiding his head, for Top Dog.







Besides donating to the SPCA I’ll give to one commenter an eBook copy of my newest release, Ice Queen. Sorry but there aren’t any dogs in the story. Well, yeah if you consider what Ronny, Jessica Sales boyfriend does, you might consider him a dog.


Military grade weaponry is disappearing from bases all over the world, only to end up in the hands of terrorists and dictators.

Governments are helpless as the threats of being overthrown mount. As a last resort the IceQueen_SMworld leaders turn to The Consortium to bring the biggest arms dealer to justice. They set Special Operative Jessica Sale on the trail of Justin Grey.

Portraying herself as the go to person when a buyer is looking for quantity and quality Jessica easily instills herself into his organization.

Buried deep within the mountains of Wyoming she finds her target and something she didn’t expect-a traitor in the guise of her boyfriend.

With personal feelings aside she charges ahead with the mission. Flying to New York Jessica arranges for monies to be transferred and weapons shipped. Pleased with her work he invites Jessica back to Wyoming except he never makes it home.

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Posted in Blog Hop, Charity, Collie, Dakota | 4 Comments

Tuesday Tales

A Jessica Sales Novel

This week, instead of a word prompt, we’re writing to a picture prompt. We had 4 to choose from and this is the one I liked as it goes so well with my current untitled WIP.


Stepping out onto the porch she gasped at the beauty before her. The pine trees had been skillfully thinned allowing an uninterrupted view of the lake. The only thing which concerned her was the furniture, two recliner wooden chairs and nothing else. She wondered if he set a trap for her, after all they were mortal enemies in one form and coworkers in another.

“I know I’m not early and it’s the right day,” she mumbled to herself. “I wonder if he knows about my other half?”

No sooner had those few words slipped from her lips than her nose detected a disarming stench, one she’d only learned to recognize a few days ago.

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