Author Speed Dating – Ellyn Oaksmith

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match. 

This week’s guest: Ellyn Oaksmith



15 Questions

1. If Disney made an animated movie about you as Princess Ellyn, which Disney hero would you choose as your Prince?

Princess Ellyn would fall for Shrek, from DreamWorks, not Disney. Yes, he’s green, but it would complement my eyes. He’s funny, low-maintenance and wouldn’t clutter up the bathroom with his manscaping products. Plus, I love the woods. Donkey would be a problem.

2. In which genres and sub-genres have you been published, and what does your narrow or sweeping focus say about you?

Oh boy. Romance first of all with a heavy dose of comedy. (My first book has talking breast implants — Yes, you read that correctly.) I also have a woman’s fiction, I’m working on a historical fiction, and my YA book is romance. I think I’m branching out as I get more confident. But they are all about overcoming obstacles and personal growth.

3. Denzel Washington or Leonardo DiCaprio?

No question. Denzel.

4. What is one of the biggest risks you’ve taken as a writer?

The biggest risk was my self-published book. I can still remember holding my finger over the “Publish” button and thinking — this is a big step. I was shaking. I shut my eyes and pressed down.

5. If you could keep only the possessions that would fit in one suitcase, and you were limited to two books – one you wrote and one by someone else – which titles would you tuck inside your bag? Explain your choices.

CHASING NIRVANA because it took me so much blood, sweat and tears to write. And it’s an allegory for my battle with depression, so it has great personal meaning. The other book would probably be LETTERS TO MY DAUGHTER by Maya Angelou. So much wisdom and hopefulness in the face of despair. Nothing like a great lady telling you about the time she insulted her hostess. 

6. How many rejections did you receive before you sold your first book, and what did you learn from them?

Oh boy. I’m not too sure. With 50 ACTS, it was like 15, and then suddenly two publishers wanted it. But since I keep changing genres, I’ve had to seek out different publishers, so there have been a lot more rejections than that. The grand total over the years would hit three digits. Those are agents.

7. For your social-media fix, do you prefer crazy cat videos or trivia quizzes on ’80s movies and Biblical characters?

Anything with dogs on social media. And Facebook. Please someone save me from Facebook. I do not need to know that my cousin’s dog ate socks again. I just don’t.

8. Which character from one of your own books do you wish you were more like?

Well, they are all aspects of me, but probably the main character from CHASING NIRVANA. She’s like me but tougher and funnier. Plus, she’s young so I’d like her abs. 

9. Perfect outfit: cowboy hat and boots or sundress and sandals?

Sundress and sandals. One-piece dressing. I do love sundresses. 

10. Are you a pantser or a plotter in your writing, and have you always written this way, or have you changed methods throughout your career?

Plotter. Plotter. Hard-core plotter. And I will argue this one to my grave. You pantsers are all rewriting needlessly.

11. What is your most ridiculous fear, and what have you done to challenge it?

I have a fear of heights. I make myself look down sometimes. One time I did that and had a panic attack, so now I make sure I’m holding someone’s hand first.

12. What are some of the activities you’ve participated in, people you’ve interviewed or places you’ve visited to do research for one of your books?

I have been to Forks, Washington, for a screenplay I wrote about a logger. I’ve been to New York, which I didn’t know was really research at the time, but my main character in 50 ACTS OF KINDNESS lives in New York, so it worked out well. Most of my research is online. I know more about the band Nirvana than anyone I know.

13. Name the strangest snack or food combination you love to eat when no one is watching.

I love to eat raisins on peanut butter toast. Grosses my kids out. So I do it in front of them whenever possible. They have both hated raisins since Junie B. Jones said, “Raisins taste like dirt,” which is what I hear when I eat them.

14. Faith Hill or Lady Gaga?

Wow — two totally different ladies. Faith Hill, probably, but I do like Lady Gaga when she is old school. I like both their personas. Strong ladies. 

15. In 10 words or less, give your best writing advice to aspiring authors.

Edit, persevere, stay true to yourself and then edit more.


5o Acts of Kindness

By Ellyn Oaksmith




My heart clutched. I needed a cigarette. Now. “Whatever happened to any publicity is good publicity?”

He ignored my lame joke. “She’s threatening to file suit. I checked with legal. We can tie her up in court but the claim is legit.”

I inhaled sharply, forgetting, in my growing panic, to exhale.

“Breathe Kylie.”

“S-s-suing us?” Great, now I was stuttering.

“You called her fat. She says you created an unhealthy work environment.”

My jaw dropped. This was not the time to point out that, as a former chubette, I never, ever use the F word. “The operative word here is work. I was running on vapors.”

Bob got up, looked out the window at his fabulous view. “Stella, by the way, corroborates everything you’ve said.” My eyebrows shot up in alarm. “Yes, I’ve talked to her. I’ve talked to a few people but the point is that sooner or later we all have to deal with this. Pregnant women deserve—” He stared off into the silver buildings, the cloudless sky. When I entered, the view felt empowering. Now it was an invitation to jump. “Latitude. We are a family friendly company.”

I snickered bitterly. MLJK years were dog years. Most of the senior partners were divorced. “And what about women who aren’t ever going to have children? We just put up and shut up?”

He gazed at me, his eyes weary. “Come on. You’re what, not even thirty? You don’t know that.” Bob was still in his marriage of origin.

“Look at me Bob. My relationships have the longevity of a fruit fly. I have nothing left at the end of the day.”

“Maybe it’s time to branch out.”

Clearly he pitied Betsy. It was time to grab the controls. “I can fix this. I can smooth things out. Get my assistant her own assistant. At least until she’s had it.”

“Her baby is not an it,” he snapped.

“Did I say ‘it’?” I’d been talking so quickly. Had I just made a tactical error?

“Yes,” Bob said quietly, losing his starch. Crossing his arms he glanced at a framed photo. A gap-toothed pig-tailed toddler on a swing, pushed by his beaming, very pregnant wife. “You’re going to have to leave until this dies down.”

For a second I felt nothing but a weight pressing on the top of my head, a dull ringing in my ears. “This isn’t Survivor. You can’t let random strangers on YouTube vote me off because I lost my temper.”

“They’re not. Lance is.”

The CEO? I was in a tippy canoe and by golly, there went my paddle.

I made a tiny bubble of an objection as I sank. “She wasn’t doing her job.”

“Effective immediately,” he said. I knew what preceded those two words. Terminated.

This wasn’t a break.

This was permanent.


50 ACTS OF KINDNESS, a Gemma Halliday Publishing release, may be purchased through these and other retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million.




About Ellyn

Ellyn Oaksmith is the USA Today best-selling author of 50 ACTS OF KINDNESS, FAMILY SECRETS, FUNNY IS THE NEW SAD and ADVENTURES WITH MAX AND LOUISE. Ellyn’s upcoming book, (late 2017) is CHASING NIRVANA about a girl who tries to get Nirvana to play at her prom. Her work in progress is based on a story set in 1927 when Ellyn’s Nana kidnapped a baby. Ellyn lives in Seattle, Washington, with her family where she spends as much time as possible in or on the water or with her nose in a book. Connect with Ellyn through these social-media channels: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.




























Author Speed Dating – Kris Fletcher

Author Speed Dating(1)

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted to my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match.

This week’s guest: Kris Fletcher

Kris Fletcher pic



15 Questions

1. Ferrari or Ford F-150?

These would be vehicles, correct?

2. What is your biggest fear as you are writing a story?

Earthquakes, volcanoes, the dead rising from the grave, cats and dogs living together.

3. Name a TV you have either binge-watched or own on DVD.

Galavant. (I believe in you, Tad Cooper! I super believe!)

4. What is the one thing you wish someone else had told you before you published your first book?

Sleep while you can.

5. Rolling Stones or Florida Georgia Line?

I’m more of an Arrogant Worms girl myself.

6. Name the most embarrassing concert you ever attended.

The Osmond Brothers. I was 12, okay?

7. What do you eat for dinner when you’re all alone in the house, and no one has to know about it?


8. Name your favorite gift you ever gave to someone else, and what made it special?

The kids and I made a Father’s Day slideshow for my husband once, talking about the things the kids had learned from him. It made him cry. Total win.

9. What is one of the biggest risks you’ve taken as a writer?

Sitting down at that damned computer day after day.

10. Kurt Vonnegut or J.K. Rowling?

Oh please. I can’t even PRONOUNCE Vonnegut.

11. What are your favorite activities outside writing?

I’m quite fond of sleeping. Breathing is right up there, too.

12. How many books have you published, and how many had you written before you thought of yourself as a successful writer?

Published: (counts on fingers) 5 novels, 1 novella releasing next month, many more in the pipeline. There is no success yet. There is only Zuul.

[Editor’s note: Host Dana had to look that one up. Zuul the Gatekeeper of Gozer is a demigod who possessed Dana Barrett (aka Sigourney Weaver in “Ghostbusters.” You learn something new every day.]

13.  What would you choose as your super power, and what would you do with it?

I could seriously go for one of those Time Turners they use in Harry Potter.

14.   In which genres and sub-genres are you published, and which was the hardest and easiest to write?

All my books are the equivalent of family sitcoms. The hardest one to write is always the one in progress. The easiest is always the one I just finished.

15. Kardashians. Yes or no?

Yes, but only for as long as it takes me to get the name of their publicist.



The Bridesmaid and the Bachelor

By Kris Fletcher



Chapter One

Kyrie Elias walked into the gaily decorated Bellagio function room, scanned the space filled with folks she was charged with deceiving, and decided the only sensible place to start was the bar.

She wove her way through the room, smiling politely at all she passed—the other attendants for the impending Boyle-Sitka nuptials. Her sister had assured her it would be easy to carry out this charade. The bride is the only one I know really well, Paige had said on the phone. You know her well enough to convince her you’re me. And she’ll be too busy to spend much time with anyone, let alone a late game fill-in bridesmaid. You can pretend to be me with no problem.

Right. Paige could pull this off with no problem. Kyrie was pretty sure she was going to spend the next three days carrying a paper bag in her purse so she would have it handy when she started hyperventilating.

She squeezed between some husky shoulders—all the groomsmen, according to Paige, were the groom’s former college football teammates—and smiled at the bartender, who stopped midway through pouring a glass of wine to nod at her.

“I’ll have a glass of white—”

No. If she was going to carry off this bridesmaid-in-disguise thing, she was going to need to do more than wear Paige’s short skirts.

“On second thought, make that a Brazen Mojito. Thanks.”

The bartender nodded and tossed ingredients into a small blender. Kyrie turned to survey the rest of the guests, trying to get a feel for the land before she dove in.

She would have pegged Siobhan as the bride even without having met her a few times. The little silver hair band with a short veil attached was a helpful clue. Kyrie would bet a very large amount of the money she no longer had that Siobhan’s hairpiece hadn’t come from one of the tacky tourist shops just off the Strip. And unless she missed her guess, the stones winking out from the silvery half-circle could probably have paid off the debts that had left Kyrie with no choice when Paige proposed this masquerade.

Do this for me, Kir, and I’ll forgive the loan. Totally and completely.

“Miss?” A light touch on her elbow had her turning and accepting her drink. Ew. Paige really needed to switch to something that didn’t look like it was the residue from an industrial accident.

Pretend you’re sampling a new coffee for the shop. That, she knew how to do.

“Over the lips and past the gums.” She took a deep breath, tipped the concoction high, and promptly choked.

But not from the booze.

She stared in horror at the tall, lanky man who had just entered the room. The black haired man now laughing and slapping the back of one of the football players. The man with the bluest eyes she had ever seen, once she had peeled away his tinted glasses and tossed them to the ground two years ago.

Ben Sitka. Brother of the groom. The one man who could blow her entire deception out of the water before it truly began.

She whirled back to face the bar, wishing she’d thought to pack that Emergency Hyperventilation bag before she came to this party. She needed to … crap, what? Running was out of the question.

Stay calm.

Right. She needed to stay calm. Ben hadn’t spotted her, and if he did, so what? It had been almost two years. Her hair was styled like Paige’s; her clothes came from Paige’s closet. He knew she was a twin. All she had to do was act like she’d never met him, introduce herself as Paige, and carry on. She could do this.

Assuming, of course, she could stop herself from turning into a puddle of something hot and needy the moment he spoke to her. Or once she caught a whiff of that soapy-musty-slightly-bookish scent that had lingered in her memory all this time. Or if he touched her.

She really couldn’t let him touch her.

“Need another?”

The bartender’s quiet question made her open her eyes. Ack. She must have closed them when she started remembering. Not a good plan when tracking the one person who could blow her cover.

“I’m good, thanks.” She dredged up a smile. “Still jet lagged, I guess.”

He nodded toward the drink. “Better go slow, then. That thing’ll knock you on your ass faster than you can say, ‘Welcome to Vegas’.”

“You’re right.” Grateful for the excuse, she set the glass on a tray and wiped her damp palms on her skirt. She could wait and hold her breath until Ben noticed her, or she could take matters into her own hands, start mingling, and make her way to him naturally. The way Paige would do it. The way Kyrie had taught herself to draw out her customers.

She could do this.

She tilted her chin, did her best imitation of her sister’s smile—breezy, carefree, I love being with people! —and dove back into the wall of shoulders, aiming for the bride.

Maybe she should have mentioned Ben to Paige when they made this deal. But seriously, who would have believed he would be there? Yes, he was the groom’s brother, but when she had last seen him, he had been on his way to a year in Brazil, then a stint in Antarctica. She was pretty sure that people couldn’t simply hop a flight out of McMurdo Station for a long weekend, even for a family wedding.

Though in a way it was kind of nice to know she wasn’t the only one who’d had her plans yanked out from beneath her since they’d had their little…um….

Damn. Two years since he turned a lonely week at the lake into the Best Vacation Ever, and she still didn’t know what to call what they’d had. But she sure had some great names for the things they had done. Not that she should be thinking about that now, though dear Lord, how could she not?

Kyrie slid into the mass of short dresses and long hair swirling around Siobhan. It didn’t take long.

“Paige!” Siobhan stopped in mid-story and squealed, leaning forward to wrap Kyrie in a giant hug. “You made it! I got so freaked when you said your flight was delayed. I just knew something was going wrong and you wouldn’t be able to make it and oh my God, sweetie, how could I possibly get married without you?”

Thank heaven that seemed to be a rhetorical question. Otherwise, it might have been tempting to remind Siobhan that Paige had only been added to the wedding party after another girl had the nerve to get pregnant.

“Girls, this is Paige. We were roommates in our freshman year at Bowdoin, and we’ve stayed like this ever since.” She linked her arm through Kyrie’s and pulled her close. “Paige, this is Gen and Rachel—I work with them—and ….”

The names went on. Kyrie smiled and nodded and squealed where it seemed appropriate, all the while alternating between listening for a shift in Siobhan’s tone or some sign from Ben. So far, so good. If the rest of the weekend went this smoothly, she’d be golden.

She took an outstretched hand from the second or third Megan of the night, looked into the crowd, and knew she’d been spotted.

She didn’t have to be close to Ben to notice the way he stopped moving, the way he seemed to have taken a deliberate step back even though she could swear he hadn’t actually shifted position. His glasses had slipped partway down his nose and his hand hovered in midair, caught in the act of preparing to push them back into place. Behind those glasses his eyes were round and stunned. His mouth hung open the slightest bit. Honestly, if she weren’t so terrified, she would have to giggle. All he needed was a lab coat and she could slap him on a poster for the World’s Sexiest Absent-Minded Professor.

As it was, she sent silent thanks skyward that she had seen him already and was prepared for this. She made herself meet his gaze. Easy. No worries, no flinching, and oh crap, he was gulping and shoving his glasses back into place as if hoping they would tell him he wasn’t seeing what he was seeing.

Do. Not. React.

She smiled in his general direction – polite, friendly, the kind that could be bestowed on any stranger seen across a crowded room – and turned her attention back to Megan 2.

“I’m sorry, how did you say you know Siobhan?”

“Well, I was at a meeting of the Junior League and they needed people to work on the Black and White Ball, and I wasn’t sure if it was the right job for me because, you know, I’m not very good at organizing things, but then Siobhan leaned over and said ….”

It was almost a relief when she saw Ben heading in her direction. Things might get ugly, but at least they weren’t going to be as boring as Megan 2’s story.

“… we would only have to meet once a month, so that made me think that—”


For one moment, she let herself soak in the wonder in his voice. So many emotions packed into that one tiny utterance, and to know it was for her—not for Paige, not for any of her other sisters, but for her, Kyrie—well, hearing that amazed disbelief both filled her and broke her. Because there was no way she could let him know the truth. No way she could follow through and see what would happen if she were to whirl around and tell him it was her and fall into his arms the way she longed to do.

If she were to come out of this weekend with any hope of keeping her beloved coffee house solvent, she had to get Paige to forgive the start-up loan. Which meant she had to fulfill Paige’s one request: keep Siobhan in the dark as to her true identity. Which meant she had to keep Ben as distant as if he really were down at the Pole.

She steeled herself and turned to him.

“Not Kyrie, sorry.” She smiled with what she hoped was the right amount of resignation and regret. “I’m her sister Paige. Don’t worry. People get us confused all the time.” This would be the point when Paige would flash her dimples, but since they weren’t identical twins—not that most people could tell—Kyrie was, sadly, dimple-less. She had to settle for a tip of the head. “So hello, pleased to meet you, what’s your name, and how do you know Kyrie?”

Confusion and disappointment clouded his face and lodged in her throat. Had he missed her that much? Had he, like she, lain awake at night, remembering their week together, and wondered what if?



The Bridesmaid and the Bachelor, a Calypso Falls novella, will be released Nov. 15, 2016, from Penguin LLC. It is available for pre-order through these online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million.


About Kris

Kris Fletcher writes about small towns, big families, and love that grows despite them. She has a thing for underdogs, which probably explains her lifelong devotion to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Kris shares her central New York home – fondly known as Casa Kitty – with her husband, a few of their many kids, two cats, and a large population of wild killer dust bunnies. You can learn more about Kris, her books, and how much snow is on her deck at Also, connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.